My journey started when I left home at 18 years of age to start a career in nursing, which has spanned over three decades and counting. I grew concerned observing the increasing illness and pain that people endure throughout their life.

 

I wanted to make a difference, but the type of nursing I was doing was working with people AFTER they had become ill. I became interested in Occupational Health Nursing as a way to help people look at PREVENTING illness by promoting healthy lifestyle choices. That included myself, so I quit smoking after a 20 year habit.

 

During this period of my career, working in industry, community and hospital settings, it became apparent to me that the healthy choices of eating, sleeping well and exercising did not stop people from getting sick. I became curious as to what else was going on in the human experience that affects our health and wellness.

 

I became aware that the emotional stressors of life, if not managed properly, can take a toll on not just emotional health but physical, social, mental and spritual, too.

 

I did not grow up being aware of stress or the effects it could take on me, my life and my relationships. This was not a topic that was talked about around our kitchen table, nor do I think for many born in my generation. We didn't talk about problems; we were not encouraged to say how we felt. Other people's business was not ours to get involved in.

 

Being raised in England, there was a culture of having a "stiff upper lip" or "keep calm and carry on". When you are not aware, you silently go about your business, burying your head in the sand- which is what I learned to do with the messaging of my childhood, and hoping things would get better.

 

But they didn't, and when my marriage of 10 years started to breakdown, it was time to start asking myself some hard questions. How did I get here? and What am I going to do now?

 

It would take another 10 years for me to gain the confidence to do something about changing the life I had created, and creating the life I wanted and felt I deserved.

 

I became resilient in my independence to cope, and learn all that I could to help myself. I made a conscious decision to wait until my four daughters were old enough to understand. But who was I kidding?- they knew all along. So my husband and I separated, and then owing to unforeseen and  bizarre circumstances, he died six months later.

 

For the first time in my life I was in charge of my life. I was 45. A huge opportunity: yes. Scary: yes. It was exciting and confusing all at the same time. A roller coaster of emotions. This was my experience of grief and loss.

 

A few years later, I was working in a large community hospital as part of a team offering support to staff for their occupational health, safety and wellness. In 2008, the staff completed their annual healthy workplace survey. In that year, 68% of staff felt "stressed" on any given day.

 

I was taken aback by that number. It was not the experience I had when I worked on the front lines as a nurse. The workplace environment was changing and not just in healthcare. Jobs were becoming more demanding and staff were doing more with less resources. Expectations didn't change, and sick time was rising. I didn't know how to offer assistance to support our staff, but I felt the need to do something about it; to help find a solution.

 

Have you ever had the experience of putting an intention out there and being answered right away? The synchronicity of finding a solution to help me find a stress reduction technique showed up that very weekend.  I believe I was guided by my higher spirit to discover EFT - Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a stress reduction technique that is easy to learn, effective, and I started to teach this whenever I could. This technique helped me overcome my fear of public speaking.

 

That was just the beginning of the next decade of learning that I felt called to do, as I ventured back to school to become a psychotherapist.

 

At the time, I didn't realize that I was also starting a journey to find my voice. I grew up in an authoratative household with little choice.  Doing as I was told and being the good girl that I was, I didn't know any different. I didn't stop to consider I had needs of my own.

 

As a teenager, I was depressed, shy and withdrawn. Making friends was difficult for me, and keeping them even harder. I became socially anxious and depended on myself to cope alone. I am grateful now for learning those skills because that independence and resilience helped me cope when I emigrated to Canada from England with no family supports. It helped me again when I had to cope after the break down of my marriage and into recovery.

 

Learning to manage my own stressors, and sharing tools with others to empower them to manage theirs, has given me great satisfaction and joy. To quote Yoko Ono: "Healing yourself is connected with healing others".

 

It is important that we recognize the necessity of caring for ourselves when we are wanting to see a difference in the world. When we heal ourselves, we then have the resources to care for others, and, more importantly, our own healing clears a space for others to heal.

 

I am grateful to have found the teachers and mentors in my life, that allows me the joy of seeing transformation, of seeing tension on my client's face turn to relaxation; as they discover their own inner wisdom and answers to move them forward and lead the lives they want.

 

To paraphrase what Carl Jung said: and when you do come out on the other side, you will be more beautiful, authentic and empowered.  I have a conscious desire to do this for myself and my clients.

 

My life is now full, with love from a second marriage, and adult children who want to visit often and take vacations with us. I experience ease and grace in my days and confidence to know I am doing what I want now. It's my choice. My inner peace is guided by my higher spirit, creating healthy boundries that  I appreciate and cultivate daily. I like to practice being mindful, meditations, yoga, EFT, travel and fun with family to maintain a healthy balance in my life.

 

I am excited as I continue to grow and learn and explore the power of the mind, body and spirit, and it's ability to heal and change. I invite you to check out the services and treatment modalities I offer. If there is something that resonates with you and you would like to know more about them, please give me a call. Enquiries are free.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

To your best health!

 

Vij

Vij Richards

RN Reg. Psychotherapist

Depression/Anxiety

Stress/Trauma/Loss

181 Main St. E.

Milton, On.

Canada

L9T 1N7

Tel: 905-749-2445