Crisis Fatigue - What is it?





I know I am echoing millions of people when I say…. 2020 has been tough. In fact, “tough” is the biggest understatement imaginable. And, this year just seems to be getting tougher and tougher.

This week alone we’ve experienced continued political turmoil, social instability, a global pandemic, and record-breaking wildfires - and that’s just what is happening on a national scale. Your hometown, surely, has difficult issues of its own that you’re dealing with on top of all the rest.

With every new crisis compounding on the last, you may have started to feel like you’re right on the edge of your breaking point.

You’re not alone.

There’s actually a name for what you are experiencing, and we as a nation are actually experiencing it together - it’s called “Crisis Fatigue”. 

What is “Crisis Fatigue”?

Crisis fatigue occurs when a stressful incident endures for a long period of time or becomes chronic. We as humans are very well equipped to handle short high stress situations and emergencies, it’s part of our built-in “fight or flight” complex. However, when a crisis situation drags on, our bodies become overwhelmed because we are simply not equipped for that type of situation.

You could think of it like working out. When weightlifting, the first few reps are relatively simple. However, the more reps you do the more tired your muscles become and the harder each rep becomes. Until you reach the point where your body simply can not take any more reps - that’s fatigue.


4 Stages of Crisis Fatigue

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified 4 stages of Crisis Fatigue:

  1. Heroic Stage - Individuals band together at the beginning of a crisis to determine how to survive together.
  2. Honeymoon Stage - The initial positive feeling that occurs when we feel like we are “in the same boat” as others and all taking the necessary steps for survival.
  3. Disillusionment Stage - We begin to feel overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted in response to the continued onslaught of negative information.
  4. Fatigue Stage - Our bodies experience burnout due to an overload of cortisol and adrenaline being released for an extended period of time. Individuals can become easily triggered and angry or completely withdrawn in despair.

While everyone’s circumstances are different and we are all encountering the same events in different ways, chances are you are experiencing this fatigue on some level and degree. We will focus next week on healthy ways to cope with the symptoms of crisis fatigue but the best way to get to the root of the issue is to talk with a mental health professional. If you are feeling overwhelmed in this time and need someone to talk to, please email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323, I would love to set up a time to connect.





How to Manage Frustration without Taking it Out on Others


How many times have you found yourself grumpy? It’s funny how the word “grumpy” has such a juvenile connotation - only kids are allowed to be grumpy without judgement. There’s so much grace given to a child who simply “wakes up on the wrong side of the bed”; and yet, we as adults aren’t allowed to simply be grumpy. We must manage our frustration, force ourselves to be positive, and live within the socially acceptable boundaries of emotion (which are very narrow, by the way). 


However, the reality is….adults get grumpy too! 


There are so many things in adult life that cause frustration - relationships, circumstances, unexpected events, and sometimes we’re just in a bad mood for no explainable reason. 


There is nothing innately wrong with being grumpy - actually, it can often lead to a deeper understanding of yourself - but there is a healthy and unhealthy way to deal with frustration. We can either use it to help us understand ourselves and others better or we can take it out on others - I bet you can guess which way is the healthiest option. 


Here are 4 simple steps that you can take whenever you find yourself frustrated to help you move through it and get to the other side without having any casualties along the way. 



  1. Identify the Real Enemy - I’ll let you in on a little secret...the little things aren’t usually the issue. While your partner leaving the dishes in the sink for the 800th time may be annoying, it probably isn’t the real reason you want to explode. Take a moment to ask yourself “what in my life is really bothering me and what is the worst thing about that?”

  2. Be Prepared to Feel Overwhelmed - Once you sit with your feelings and identify what the real root is, you may find yourself feeling even worse. We oftentimes displace our anger, focusing on something small we can control (ie. dirty dishes) because if we acknowledged the real issue (ie. sorrow from a loss in the family) it feels like we may drown. 

  3. Don’t Force Yourself to Get Over It - It may be possible to force yourself to get over the dirty dishes being left in the sink, but it’s completely unreasonable to expect yourself to “just get over” the deep root of your frustration. Acknowledge that this feeling may linger for a while, it may even bubble under the surface for a long time, but that it will not take over your life and you will make it through to the other side. 

  4. Determine Your Next Steps - Creating an action plan gives you the ability to get back into the control seat and can actually make you feel a lot better immediately! Determine what your next steps are and write them down. A next step may be setting up a call with a therapist, committing to working out twice a week, or sitting down with a friend to share how you’re feeling. 

How wonderful would it be if we all decided to normalize “adult grumpiness” and allow ourselves and others to feel grumpy and move through it to a positive outcome on the other side?


If you find yourself simply stuck in the middle of the frustration with no energy to move through it, please reach out leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323 so we can identify the real root and work through it together. 


Signs You’re Neglecting Your Mental Health






Have you ever heard someone praise another individual for “just sucking it up and getting on with it”, or “putting your nose to the grindstone and getting things done”, or “simply muscling through”? We tend to place a high value on this idea of “strength” and associate “grit” with ignoring our body and mind’s needs.


We as a society praise individuals who forego their own needs and simply “do what it takes to get things done”.


There’s a real danger in perpetuating this notion that prioritizing our own health equals weakness or lack of determination. In reality, if we really want to succeed in life we need to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and tend to those need first.


Maybe you’re so used to this “suck it up and keep going” mentality that you don’t even know how to figure out if you need a break. Well, you’re in luck, because your body is most likely telling you - you just have to learn how to recognize it.


Here are just a few signs that your body may give you to let you know you’re neglecting your mental health. 
  1. You’re having trouble focusing and feel indifferent at work/school

  2. Your sleep pattern is off

  3. You are isolating more

  4. You find yourself more irritable or snappy more often than not

  5. You’re experiencing changes in your appetite

  6. You’re losing interest in things you usually love and care about

  7. Your sex drive changes

  8. You have unexpected physical symptoms

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms it’s a good idea to take a break and find a few things you can do to focus on your mental health. Get outside, talk to a friend, do something you really love just for you, or set up a time to talk to a professional counselor.


Mental health support is always important, now even more than ever. If you would like to set up a time to talk please email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323, I would love to put together a plan with you to get your mental health back on track and get you back to enjoying your life to the fullest.

How to Maintain a Relationship with a Mentor







Let’s talk about mentors! Last week we took a look at the first big milestone on the path to creating a thriving mentor relationship - initiating. Today, we’ll tackle the second milestone - maintaining.


Once you’ve made the initial contact with your potential mentor and established a baseline relationship then it’s time to keep the relationship moving along smoothly.


Maintaining a great mentor relationship takes work and if you don’t put the time and effort into building it then it can very quickly fall by the wayside and could even leave a sour taste in your mentor’s mouth.


Here are just a few tips on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your mentor:

Come Prepared Consistently

By this point in time, you should have discussed the cadence of your communication and either set up regular times to connect or established a different arrangement to regularly communicate. Now the ball is back in your court! Make sure that every time you meet with your mentor you come prepared. This means you have a list of questions that you’d like to ask, goals for that specific meeting, and, if relevant, an update on the topics that you discussed at your last meeting. Remember that your mentor is taking valuable time out of their day to help you grow - make it as easy as possible for them and set both of yourselves up for success.


Update on Milestones and Accomplishments

Everyone loves seeing someone they care about succeed and your mentor will be no different. Keep your mentor in the loop as you pass milestones in your career (and personal life if that’s the relationship you have established) and achieve new accomplishments. You don’t need to prepare a full presentation every time you have an update or achievement, simply shoot over a quick email and share the excitement.


Be Flexible

As you continue to develop your relationship remember that just because something is working for you both today doesn’t mean it will work in 6 months. Be cognizant of your mentor’s workload and other life events. As things change for you both over time, you may find it necessary to adjust the frequency with which you check in or meet in person. Remember, your mentor is volunteering their time to help you succeed so stay flexible and always be prepared to offer an alternative solution that benefits you both.



The value that a mentor can add to your life is immeasurable and when done well, a healthy mentor/mentee relationship can last a very long time (you may even become a mentor yourself which would make your mentor a grand-mentor!). However, finding a mentor, reaching out, and continuing the relationship may seem easier said than done. If you’re interested in finding, establishing, and maintaining a mentor relationship but need help to get started you can email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323.

How to Initiate a Relationship with a Mentor




Have you ever met someone and thought “Wow, I wish I could crawl into their brain and learn everything they’ve learned in life”? It may not have been those exact words, but chances are you’ve met at least one person before whom you admire and want to learn from. 


Having a mentor is a game-changer when it comes to both personal and professional development. The ability to ask someone with real experience for advice is even more important than ever as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters in our country. 


So...you’ve decided that you’d like to initiate a mentor/mentee relationship with someone, now what? 


There are two key milestones in the evolution of a mentor relationship: Initiating and Maintaining. 


Before we dive into how to maintain a great relationship with a mentor, let’s cover the first and sometimes most difficult step - getting started. 


How to Initiate


Ask yourself “WWW”? 
Before you reach out to anyone or even think of writing an email, you must first determine why you are looking for a mentor, what you want to gain from the relationship, and who is the best choice for those goals. 
  • “Why” - Why am I interested in entering into a mentor relationship?
  • “What” - What do I want to get out of this relationship? 
  • “Who” - Who do I know directly or indirectly that could help me accomplish these goals? 

Start Small and Specific

No one asks for your hand in marriage before the first date - it’s the same way with a mentor relationship. Don’t come right out of the gate with a huge ‘ask’. When you reach out to your potential mentor, start small by requesting between 30 minutes to 1 hour of their time and state specifically what you’d like to gain from the meeting. During the meeting you can discuss your interest in having an ongoing professional relationship and lay out what you would like that mentor relationship to look like. 


Prepare for a “No” - Have a Follow-Up Request in Mind 

At the end of the day, no one owes you their time and despite how much they may want to help, the timing just sometimes just doesn’t work. If they respond by declining your request to talk, don’t take it personally. Prepare ahead of time for a “no” and have a follow-up request in mind such as a recommendation for someone else in their field that may be available or a list of resources that may help you.


Everyone needs a helping hand right now and establishing a solid mentor/mentee relationship can prove invaluable as we all navigate this changing economic landscape. Making the first move by reaching out can be incredibly intimidating, but don’t let that fear stop you from what could be a game-changing relationship for you. If you’d like to talk in more detail about how to prepare for a mentor meeting or what to say when reaching out you can email at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-032, I would love to help you game plan. 

How to Parent During "VUCA" Times



Whether you’ve heard the term or not...we’re all living in “VUCA” times. The term “VUCA” was first used in the 1980’s as a term that helped military leaders describe the climate of difficult situations and determine the best leadership strategy to move forward. It has since been adopted by a wide variety of organizations and used as a basis for many leadership strategies.



What are “VUCA” Times?

This term can be used to describe many different specific situations, but each situation must contain 4 distinct qualities - volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.


V - Volatile

The quality of being subject to frequent, rapid, and significant change.

U - Uncertain

A component of a situation in which events and outcomes are unpredictable.

C - Complex

A multiplicity of issues and factors, some of which may be intricately interconnected.

A - Ambiguous

A lack of clarity that includes difficulty understanding exactly what the situation is.


As you can see, this term describes our world’s current situation pretty well. We are indeed in volatile, uncertain, complex, and very ambiguous times on multiple fronts.

So, now that we’ve classified what we’re going through collectively, let’s use this classification to help us parent better during these difficult times.


How to Parent During “VUCA” Times


Be Present, Not Perfect - Your children need you right now more than ever. Don’t fret about being “perfect”, you simply showing up for your kids day in and day out is what will help them get through this unscathed.


Talk Openly and Often - Don’t be afraid to talk about the past! Just like it’s important to talk about memories when grieving the loss of a loved one, give yourself and your children the freedom to talk about missing the way things were.


Name It to Tame It - Help your children describe the emotions they’re feeling and use this opportunity to teach them how sometimes simply naming your thoughts can help them become more manageable and less overwhelming.


Allow Feelings to Be Confusing - As humans, we feel many different things all at the same time. Especially during difficult times like these our sometimes contradictory emotions can get confusing - encourage your children to allow themselves to be confused and simply accept how they feel, knowing it will pass.


Parenting is difficult enough already, but parenting during times as tumultuous and uncertain as these is a whole different ball game. I hope that these tips help you and your children connect in this time and brings a bit of peace to what can certainly be an anxious situation. However, if you’re finding yourself feeling completely overwhelmed and in need of a hand to help pull you out of the mess, please email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323 so we can set up a time to connect and game plan together.

Meditation Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere



We are all living during some incredibly stressful times right now. But even outside of these particularly trying times, life is full of potential stressors. There are many things in life that can act as triggers for stress - relationships, jobs, health, social events, and more.


One of the best things you can do to help you manage stress during this time is to practice meditation.

Sometimes when we think of meditation we think of sitting cross-legged saying “ommmm” for hours until you successfully purge your brain of all thoughts. While that is certainly one way to meditate, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time, and it’s not the only way!


Here are a few easy meditation techniques that you can practice anytime and anywhere. I’d encourage you to try to incorporate at least one of these practices into your everyday life this week and take note of how it helps reduce anxiety, stress, and tension in your body.


  1. Count Your Breaths - As you inhale count silently to 4, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds again. Repeat 4 times.
  2. 60-Second Mindfulness Scan - Bring your attention to different parts of your body, starting with the top of your head and moving down to your toes. As your mind rests on each body part consciously relax those muscles before moving on.
  3. Practice Belly Breathing - Place one hand on your stomach and feel it expand as you take a deep breath in, you can pretend you’re blowing up a balloon in your belly. Hold for a moment then slowly exhale. Repeat for one minute.
  4. Perform Tasks with Purpose - Take the opportunity to turn even the most mundane task into a meditation exercise. Doing the dishes? Pay attention to the feeling of the water on your hands, the smell of the soap, and the sound of the faucet. By focusing on your senses you’ll be able to stay present and practice mindfulness. 


Making meditation a regular part of your daily schedule can reduce your stress levels greatly and make a huge difference in your overall mood. However, there are some seasons in our lives that are particularly stressful and need more than meditation alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress and need someone to talk to you can either email me at leemiller.therapist@gmail.com or call my office at (310) 614-0323. I would love to help put together a plan with you to get you through this stressful time peacefully.