emotional wellness

The Great Pause

By on March 30, 2020

Here I am writing from my little nook in St. Augustine. It’s noisy, the kids have pulled out all of their toys. I look at the clutter around me and sometimes I don’t feel a huge change in my day-to-day. Having Mira has really slowed my pace down and I already feel like I live a rather quiet life. I feel that familiarity until I want to go to the beach or run to a thrift store and can’t.

We have spent these few weeks trying to stay positive. We are adjusting and adapting to our current new reality. While staying focused on our goals and being gentle with ourselves. We have had to pull out all of our tools to stay positive as we have more confined time together and have to navigate the emotions that go with all of the world’s current uncertainty.

I know as a global collective, we are all adjusting to our new reality. People are working from home who are used to going to an office, people are laid off, people are worried about their health, their finances, having their children home for school, and the list goes on.

Finding ways to stay relaxed and calm helps me so much as a wife and mother. The calmer I am, the easier I can breathe– the easier the family life and rhythms fall into place.

I have found it a necessity to stay away from (majorly limit) social media and the news. The days I spend too much time on social media really disrupts my sleep. I see and feel everyone else’s emotions. Their fears, worries, and theories. I have enough of my own and seem to be able to feel it all intensely when I lay down to sleep at night. My mind will go to the worst-case-scenario mode and will keep me up for hours.

To find my calm, I need to be 100% present with whatever I’m doing. If I’m doing laundry, do laundry. If I’m with the kids, I actually play with the kids. The phone is put away, I get out of my head and enjoy the NOW for what it is.

The simplicity this quarantine is allowing my husband and I to connect to each other and our true value of living a simple life. A life with way less consumerism, way less waste, no need to hoard– the need is to be resourceful. It’s been kind of fun to plan ahead more and shop less.

For what it’s worth, embrace the chaos. Send yourself loads of love when you start feel your feelings. It’s okay to feel fear, it is okay to feel anger, just don’t let the fear or anger (or whatever it is you feel) define everything. Finding a sense of peace is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. I feel like where we are mentally and emotionally right NOW will mean so much on the other side of this crisis.

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emotional wellness

Simple Emotional Wellness Tips

By on October 9, 2019

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Have you ever wanted to just run away?

This is my M.O. when I’m feeling stressed or down. I have an escapist fantasy. I imagine running away from my husband and kids and lounging in Bali in a beachside treetop hut.

My reality is that I am having one of those weeks… ugh, and it is just Wednesday. We had an amazing weekend and then it seems all of my stresses piled up in my body and mind and now I’ve created an internal disaster zone. Plus, I’m not getting any sleep (friggin 4 month sleep regression).

I am not writing this blog for recognition or sympathy. I am writing this down because I’m sure many people who open this post have these thoughts and feelings too. It is a tough place to be and for me, the cycle of negative thinking can spiral much quicker than it should.

Call it hormones, call it sleep-deprivation, call it emotional imbalance. Whatever it is, it sucks and I know I want to make bad choices when feeling this way. I often run to comfort eating, Target or Amazon retail therapy, an extra coffee– just something to pacify the mood. All of that can be well and good, but right now none of those choices line up with my current goals.

These days will come over and over again, however, I am learning to lessen the impact and the length of time I’m “out of commission” with stress and overwhelm.

I’m writing to share the tools I use to reduce the impact of negative days and recharge when the kids are extra draining. You know, since it isn’t possible to retreat to Bali, or even stay in bed for a day.

  • Always remember my goals— I keep a vision board around to remind me of my goals. I make a new one every few months to stay fresh and to recognize my progress. I will spend a few moments looking at the vision board and remind myself where I am going so that I continue to make wise, not rash decisions (eat a whole pan of brownies for dinner, lol)– so guess what? My vision board currently showcases a lot of green and fresh veggies, exercise, and positive affirmations.
  • Meditate/Pray— I will take 5-10 minutes during the day (usually during the kids’ nap) and sit down. It is always surprising to me how this action will recharge my batteries or fill my cup when I don’t think I have any energy left.
  • Take care of my belly— My goodness this has been the best thing for my nervous system and anxiety. Magnesium supplements, a good probiotic and keeping my ph alkaline really help regulate my moods! I’ve posted a few times what I use to keep my belly healthy.
  • Art– doing something creative is also a great way to replenish when you’re dragging. I am not the most artistic being on the planet, but making a vision board or writing are great outlets (hence the blog post).
  • Rest– a nap or just lying down with your eyes shut for a few minutes can change your outlook as well. As a mom of 3, it is often hard to find a few moments for a nap– but I can utilize Buzz Lightyear or Baby Einstein for a brief 10-minute pause, and not feel guilty for taking a few moments of “me” time in the middle of a highly emotional day. A rejuvenated mama is better than a burnt-out one!

These are my tips for getting through when life and parenthood are taking their toll. I always feel more grounded and generally at ease when I pull a tool (or 3) from my toolbox rather than booking my flight and disappearing from my family.

 

 

 

 

 

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emotional wellness | integration

Mama-Nesting: Tidying Up to Clean out the Mental Junk

By on February 7, 2019

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No. I am not referencing Marie Kondo in this post! I am nearly out of my second trimester, it seems time is flying these days. I generally feel ready for Mira’s arrival and I am not stressing about preparations. I haven’t even read a pregnancy book. The weekly growth reminders from my app are all I need.

It is kind of weird to be in this space. Naturally I am a planner, but somehow this pregnancy is letting me go with the flow more than I ever have in my life. I mentioned in a previous post the personal work that is required of me at this time. I wanted to expand on those thoughts a little more.

Identifying the Clutter

When I wrote Integrating the Mama, I identified the types of thoughts that have negatively occupied my mind. This is the first step in healing any type of wound. Identify the problem, know how you react, what the mind does when you think those thoughts, and consiously change your behavior.

Just as you walk through your home (my Marie Kondo insight) and feel if your things spark joy, you do the same with your thoughts. Thoughts are things, and holding on to negativity will create a negative outcome in life. So, if a thought doesn’t spark joy– release it, change it, get rid of it!

Catch 22

Yes, it is easy to say stop thinking “bad” thoughts. Actually doing it is something else. We are creatures of habit. We have been told many things that are not always in alignment with our true nature, and we’ve started to believe it. We have maybe been abused or endured a trauma that has left its mark. Maybe feelings and thoughts around those events creep back in more than we care to admit.

It all becomes a habit. The emotions we are “comfortably uncomfortable” with are easier to dwell on than the joy we can create. Trust me, I speak from experience.

I think the definition of my habitual attitude is “brooder”. Merriam-Webster defines that as someone who worries about everything, lol. I will brood about something that happened 10 years ago and feel nothing will ever be “right” when everything within my grasp IS right. You see quite a catch-22.

Owner/Victim Choice

A few years ago I was pointed to this audio by Steve Chandler. It is totally worth your 30 minutes to listen! He outlines two very different outlooks on life, the choice of being a victim or an owner of life. I was a victim, who had a glimpse of ownership. An owner is someone who sees life as a gift and uses life as an energy source to create what they want for themselves. A victim is someone who is lackluster, feels that life is unfair or a burden.

I was raised by victims. My main influences were people who were defined by their negative circumstances and often blamed their problems on those circumstances. A very common thought in my family was that something bad happened 10, 20, or even more years ago, so today is doomed. This is why my childhood was riddled with addiction.

My parents and grandparents fell victim to their emotional pains, so they would reach for a substance or choose an action to numb those negative feelings. They could not name the thought, claim it, and tame it. I had (and yes, it still sometimes reappears) tendencies to lean toward some of those thought patterns.

Becoming an owner is to recognize it and know that I have complete and total control of how I think and feel. Each and every day it is my choice to wake up and choose to be happy. I believe life is a gift and there is beauty all around, so my to-do list each and every day is how am I going to recognize this beauty and express it to the world around me?

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Weed and Seed

There are many techniques for changing our mental habits. To truly tidy-up the mind you have to make a commitment to yourself to make a mental change.

To begin my “weeding” process I take an inventory of things that I engage with that are either fulfilling or draining. What am I listening to? Who am I spending time with? What am I watching on tv or engaging with on social media? Being aware of what is nourshing points you in the direction of what you need to do more of.

Consciously program in all that’s GOOD. I do this by listening to something inspiring in the morning and reading something positive as I end the day.  I do not spend a lot of time reading rants on the internet or diving too deeply into politics.

Spend time in nature. This is another big one for my well-being. Connecting with nature and taking in the beauty allows my mind to relax and feel expansive rather than constricted. Too many days without doing this exercise can really change my mood, and not for the better.

Surround yourself with a tribe of good people! Just a short coffee break with a friend or a playdate with a wonderful mama is a great way to nourish and keep yourself uplifted. It is easy, especially as a mom of young children, to stay inside and sweep up crumbs. Take time to nourish yourself and your relationships!

These are the tips I use to keep myself in a positive mindset, and something that I am making a habit of during these last months of pregnancy. I am keeping the garden that is my mind clear of the weeds, and planting plenty of good seeds that I can nourish and grow as I move into this next phase of life.

 

 

 

 

 

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emotional wellness | integration | success | yoga

The Power of Acceptance

By on January 30, 2019

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Last Wednesday night I attended my first prenatal yoga class in several weeks. The instructor prompted us to set an intention for our practice and the word that popped directly into my mind was “acceptance”. Since I left the class, the word and the word meaning has been bobbing around in my mind. What is it I need to accept?

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What is Self-acceptance?

The Merriam-Webster definition of self-acceptance is  the act or state of accepting oneself : the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations”.  

The definition is pretty straight-forward; however, implementing acceptance can be the problem. Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time. In a way, it is almost an out-of-body experience. Hormonal shifts, sleep disruption, and physical discomforts all play a role in this and I often give myself a hard time when I am not functioning at optimal levels.

I tend to have an “I can do it all mentality”, and the reality is that I can’t and I don’t have to. That is what makes a family, a family. All hands need to be on deck to keep things running. Slowing my mind down and changing the way I talk to myself is how I have been able to implement self-acceptance.

Being aware of both my strengths and weaknesses, understanding my talents and capabilities and being satisfied with myself despite having a slower day or making mistakes along the way.

Writing Your Story

Yoga is always a good practice and reminder of what is going on in my mind. Ruminating on my intention and practicing self-acceptance brings me back to a lesson I have learned many times. A key thread in the Yoga Sutras is ahimsa– or non-violence to others and self. In each moment you’re either practicing self-acceptance—or you’re judging yourself.— Linda Arnold

When I am telling myself I am not a good enough wife, mom, entrepreneur, or writer I am being violent to myself. I am actually putting a lot of negativity in my mind rather than fruitful, accepting thoughts. When the negative, violent dialog enters, I take a breath and do something that feels positive or productive.

Taking a moment to journal and write a positive, opposite thought from what I am feeling is another helpful tip. I do this frequently, it is almost writing MY truth because the negativity is just a lie I am telling myself to discourage healthy self-esteem.

Wednesday is upon us again, and this week my mind feels a little less cluttered and down. I know I will leave my practice with another piece of my personal puzzle and I look forward to finding out what I need to reveal to myself.

 

 

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emotional wellness | integration | yoga

Integrating the Mama

By on December 14, 2018

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In my path of personal development, gaining control of my mind and emotions is always at the top of my list. Since becoming pregnant with this little girl, my commitment to ridding myself of some intense thoughts/emotions that I have been carrying is at the top of my list. I have mentioned in some past blogs that I grew up in a severely abusive/addictive household, which forced me to grow up quickly.

I took on the adult role at a young age but held on to the scared, sad girl piece of myself well into adulthood.  Why is this pregnancy sparking some motivation? With each kid, I can see where I have grown and where I need to grow, so adding another life (and a female) that is dependent on me and my strength as a woman really puts things into a different perspective.

My childhood experience was severe. I watched my mother battle her pains, and lose to drugs and alcohol. I intensely craved her love, stability, and support and I know that the mother/daughter experience I craved is gone– but I do have the ability to be whole, complete, and present-centered for my children.

 

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Carrying Childhood Wounds into Adulthood

The broken, fragment, little girl piece of myself caused me to seek out codependent relationships and friendships. Being in this type of relationship was all I knew, and what I felt was “normal”. Somewhere along my path, at age 35, I “got it”. I woke up, realized where I was at, what I had been choosing, and how my physical and mental health was affected by these types of relationships and choices.

After I made the “break” from my old life, I quickly moved into a good space. Things changed very fast. New town, new marriage, a new baby, and on and on. The funny thing about it was that I had this new life and really wrestled with the fact that it was “real”. I feared that I was repeating old patterns, that it was all going to disappear just as it unfolded for me. My entire pregnancy with Ezra was plagued with fear that he would have to endure the same pain that Keenan and I did, that surely things were not as good as they seemed.

My poor husband has had to endure interrogation, judgment, and moodiness all based on my fears. My oldest and I have butted heads. He lived with me in the pain, watched the transformation and has had to gain trust along the way.  I have struggled with finishing projects, pursuing my passions, and just living in the present moment from those old wounds. Three years later, and old thoughts have the power to ruin a whole entire day.

 

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All of Life is But A Transformation

The past is the past. This is something that is sometimes difficult to accept. Making a decision and commitment to myself has been where my relaxation and “change” is coming from during this next phase of life. When I live by the old images or stories I forget where I am committed to going. The life that I am creating for myself and my family and the impact that my change can have on our entire society.

My exercise during this pregnancy is to recognize when I am headed into the constrictive space of recreating pain (in my mind). I lose valuable time during those moments, and the toxic thoughts can actually create tension and physical toxicity which is not an ideal environment for a growing baby (or the children who have to live with a negative vibe).

Over the years, I have used many techniques to change my patterning. During this phase, work and exercise are the most effective. Putting all of the mental energy that I would put into a negative thought stream is now going into something constructive or productive. Fulfilling a goal, finishing a project, truly doing and sharing my passions.

Just like I hate wearing uncomfortable clothes, I hate carrying around uncomfortable thoughts– so the choice is mine. Do I choose to continue carrying pain, or change into those comfortable yoga pants and get it done?!

 

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.” Dean Jackson

 

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