Embracing Pregnancy

pregnant-775036_1920When a woman first hears she is pregnant there are a so many different things to think about. There are so many things that can scare you such as financial fears, the pressure on the relationship, sleep deprivation, as well as the feeling that your life is no longer yours. It’s important to not read all the pregnancy books available explaining all the scary things that could potentially happen which can just intensify your worry and make pregnancy stressful. Instead of focusing on all the fears and the potential negatives try to see it as an adventure.

Life can feel mundane, at times, with the same old thing happening everyday. When you’re pregnant, every week your body will go through more changes and every week this little baby is growing. This is a whole new ride for you and your partner, so why not take a step back and just enjoy the roller coaster. This could be the most amazing phase of your life as your body is literally creating a human being.

This process can actually make you more connected to your body as you have another soul growing inside you. Instead of being afraid of the weight gain and the labour, try embracing the little magical moments along the way. Take time out of your day to observe the changes, slow down, b-r-e-a-t-h-e deep and connect to your body because in 9 months this phase will  be over.

Try connecting with your partner as much as you can. Read the book “Your Pregnancy Week by Week”. Instead of scaring you this book offers insight on the size of your baby, when your belly will start to show and other fun changes. You can also journal about how you are feeling, how your body is changing and the excitement you have awaiting your first reunion with your newborn. Also try meditating and relaxing as much as possible.

Connect with other new moms who are just as excited as you. Surround yourself with the people who are also embracing this beautiful stage of life. This adventure starts with quieting the “what if” voice in your mind and enjoying the many little moments until your bundle of joy arrives.

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Hello, Spring!

tulips-635263_1920As the season changes it’s always a good idea to reflect on your life. Things can sometimes become robotic and you may feel yourself repeating the same old over and over. When the seasons change, especially into spring, it’s like the fresh air is breathing new energy into your life. Restaurant patios are open, you can take walks on the lake, go roller blading, or have a picnic in the park. This is particularly welcome after a long dark winter of hibernation and feeling sluggish.

One of the first things people associate with spring is spring-cleaning. This year I suggest you to do a sort of spring-cleaning of your life. Look at any clutter you may have that you want to get rid of. It could be setting boundaries with a negative person you work with, a relationship that is no longer serving you or mustering up the courage to have a difficult conversation with someone you love.

Let this spring season of new beginnings and fresh starts motivate you to let go of habits that get in the way of your happiness. Habits such as going to bed too late or spending too much time on social media. Ask yourself, do you want the rest of your 2016 to look different? What do you have to let go of that is no longer serving you? Try to think of at least one thing that you don’t want to take with you into this spring season and the rest of the year. Just like cleaning out your closet: You have to let go of old clothes to be able to bring new ones in.

Once you have removed toxic energy from your life, you will have a renewed sense of peace and vibrance. It’s important to decide what you want to do with this renewed positive energy. Often people try to find happiness in striving for a new car or that house or that relationship. Instead try to think about how you want to feel and focus on that and then do things that will bring that feeling to you. So if you want to feel joyous and energetic try doing activities that you know will create those feelings. For some, doing a weekly yoga class or a daily walk in nature can provide these feelings.

Whatever you choose to let go of and whatever you choose to let in this spring, be intentional. The time is going by quickly, it’s already May. Slow down enough and think about what you really want your life to look like. How do you want to feel? Hold an intention of how you want this season to look. Then be open to all the goodness that comes your way! Here’s to fresh starts and new beginnings! Happy Spring!

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How Much Do You Invest In Your Marriage?

couple-260899_1280Research has shown that half of divorces happen in the first 7 years of marriage, this means if you are married longer than 7 years you are half as likely to get divorced. Research also shows that people who stay in an unhappy marriage are less physically healthy due to the unhappy relationship: Their nervous systems are constantly aroused and always under stress. Additionally, happy couples are likely to live approximately 4 years longer, on average, than those who are not.

For the most part, people take advantage of their relationships until things start going bad. Instead, try to notice if you’re happy and do the things in your relationship that will keep you happy. According to the work of Dr. John Gottman, the health benefits of a satisfying relationship are so high that if a health buff took 10% of the energy they use to do a workout and commit it to their marriage instead they would be 3 times healthier. This means committing just 20 minutes a day to your spouse has vast benefits.

It’s important to note that every couple fights, whether they are happy or unhappy. Even couples that have been happily together for 45 years still have the same typical arguments about money, in-laws and sex. The difference is that happy couples fight more fairly and know when to let it go and say sorry.

One thing that can really make a difference to your relationship is to be interested in your partner’s daily life, try asking what’s worrying them and what’s exciting them. Just try to always have a really good idea of who they are and how their life is going. The underlying friendship that results from these conversations will help you handle arguments with more ease. This is because you have a fondness for the other person and will take arguments less personally. Take a moment to reflect on how much you have invested in your relationship lately. Commit tonight to turning off your phone and the TV. Snuggle up to your partner and enjoy a meaningful conversation.wedding-443600_1280

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6 Things To Do Instead of Social Media

flower-731300_1920So many of us are guilty of spending our downtime by mindlessly scrolling Instagram or other social media websites. There are, of course, endless posts that you can browse and so many things to see online. While this can be an easy way to pass the time, it’s not always conducive to happiness. Instead of wasting time on Facebook or Twitter, try one of these 6 things instead.

  1. Take a walk outside. Get out into the brisk fresh air. Breathe it in, feel your feet on the ground. Notice nature around you. If it’s not around you, go find it. Leave your phone at home. You will be unreachable for an hour, and you will love it.
  2. Pick up the phone and call a friend. Call someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Life can be so busy and most of the time we’re tired. Instead of spending downtime by sitting on Facebook, which can often leave you feeling more tired, connect with someone who uplifts you. The fulfillment you get from connecting with a good friend will leave you feeling more energized than you were.
  3. Run a bubble bath. Provide yourself with a candle lit oasis. Use epsom salts, dim the lights and play some soul soothing music. Turn your phone off and bask in the stillness of it all. Ponder life and focus on what makes you happy and what you could change to be happier. This can also be a great time to do a facemask or a conditioning treatment to your hair. Nourish you.
  4. Do your nails. Play your favorite music, turn off your computer and phone. Invest in yourself for a few moments by painting your nails. You’ll feel great afterwards.
  5. Clean areas that haven’t been clean in a while. Go into your storage closet or garage and throw out everything that you don’t need or use anymore. You can do this with your junk drawers too. There’s really something to be said for purging the old and doing those things you always procrastinate doing.
  6. Write down your to-do list for the week. Rather than numb yourself on Facebook, take a look at your upcoming week. Schedule everything you have to do in your phone calendar. Then take a look at the free time you’ll have and see if you can make it to a yoga class or a zumba class. The idea is to schedule in activities that will make you happy.

Often when we’re bored or have some free time the easiest thing to do is sit on Instragram to kill time. Some may even be guilty of spending hours sitting on social media. Notice the way you feel after spending time on Facebook and then notice how much better you feel after trying out one of these suggestions. You will feel more fulfilled and have more energy.urban-438393_1920

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Do you put off your happiness?

mother-429158_1920Everyone has that one thing that they are working towards which they think will make them happy. This could be something like buying a new house or a new car or a promotion. It’s interesting because what we do to achieve this goal is often actually draining us of our happiness until we get there. We spend hours and hours working and doing all we can to reach this goal and say to yourself “I will only work this hard until I can afford that house or car or get that promotion”. What’s interesting is once you get that material object it’s never what you think it would be.

The problem with material goals is that the happiness that comes with it wears off because as a human you will habituate to the new car or new house. And once you put all those hours in to get that bigger house you will never be able to get all those years back. You’ll never be able to nurture your relationships or your soul but you’ll have that bigger house.

The truth is that most of us know deep down what would make us happier immediately and it’s probably something along the lines of working less, enjoying more time with loved ones and experiencing new things. This is a really hard decision to make but if you do decide to stop working overtime, you will feel immediate happiness and freedom.

Here is something to keep in mind when making this type of decision. Everyday people everywhere worry that they will never be successful and that they won’t be able to afford what they want or experience what they want. Always remember that the millionaires in the world, the people who are considered “ highly successful” are just as worried that they will lose it all. This means they are just as worried to lose it, as you are worried to never get it.holiday-house-177401_1920

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6 Ways to Worry Less

 

sunglasses-635269_1920If you feel like you are always worrying it’s important to remember that everyone worries, however some people do have a tendency to worry more than others. The one thing I’ve noticed, as a therapist, is that anxiety has a lot to do with worrying about the future. If you fall in the category of constant worry these tips could really help you out.

  1. Embrace reality. Realize that worry is a part of life and you will never stop worrying completely. That being said it is possible to bring your worry down from a 10 out of 10 to a 4 or a 5. Using these tips and seeking help from a therapist are a great place to start.
  2. Use cognitive distractions. If you are having a really hard time letting go of worry for an upcoming event, it’s important to use distractions that will actively take your mind off it. Watching TV can sometimes work but instead try something that you need to focus on like putting extra hours in at work. This will keep your mind working and stop you from thinking about what’s coming up. This is a short-term solution, as eventually you will have to feel your feelings and work through them.
  3. Use a journal. It’s impossible and unhealthy, to distract yourself from your worries forever. In times when you are not actively distracting yourself, be sure to let it out, cry if you need to and keep a journal. When you’re journaling, be sure to write out your emotions clearly: Write things like “I feel sad and I want to cry” or “I’m angry and feel like screaming”.
  4. Call a supportive friend. Often when you’re worried about something you will play it over in your head and blow it out of proportion. By calling a friend who is supportive they will help to ground you, they will also remind you what you have been through and that you’re strong and can get through this.
  5. Remind yourself you can handle it. When you are going through something difficult, it’s easy to forget what you have overcome in the past. Oftentimes it’s not the event you’re worried about but it’s your doubt in your ability to overcome the event that makes you stressed. So next time you’re worried about something think back to all that you have overcome and remind yourself that you will get through this.
  6. See a psychotherapist. If your worrying is becoming unbearable it could be what we call catastrophizing, or seeing a situation as far worse than it is. Anxiety is actually a learned response and is often caused by past events not going as you planned. Maybe you felt unsafe or you were left behind so your mind is now trying to protect you but really it’s making things worse.

Worrying is a part of life but that doesn’t mean it needs to consume you. Next time you find yourself worrying too much, try one of these tips. If you find your constant worry is taking over your life, seek out professional help. A few sessions with a psychotherapist can really make a difference.girl-593194_1920

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7 Things Successful People Do Before 8:00am

sunset-691848_1920Our habits are largely related to our success in life. There are several habits that successful people have that unsuccessful people don’t. In fact only a small1% of the population owns half of the world’s wealth. There are certain habits that people with such success have, such as:

  1. They get up early. They get up before everyone else is awake. Even if you were to wake up 1 hour early each day that’s an extra 5 hours you earn at the end of the workweek. In order to wake up early successful people go to bed early as well to be sure they get 8 hours of sleep a night.
  2. They drink hot lemon water. The very first thing you should do in the morning to set yourself up for a great day is take half a lemon in hot water and drink it, chug it if you can. Hot lemon water alkalines your body and cleanses your liver. Do this before you eat or drink or do anything else.
  3. They work out. A successful person will workout first thing in the morning. By getting it out of the way they know that their work life or social life won’t interfere with their workout plans. The workout usually involves cardio, weightlifting or yoga.
  4. They meditate 10 minutes a day. Lie down on your bed and find a 10-minute calming instrumental song. Try inhaling for 4 counts and exhaling for four. If you cannot meditate try deep breathing with no interruptions for 10 minutes. And remember, all this is done before 8:00am.
  5. They eat breakfast. They eat a breakfast jam packed with vitamins. Usually it’s something quick like a smoothie with protein, berries, kale and even omega 3 oil, which fuels the brain.
  6. They do the thing they hate first. They start with the task they like the least and they do it before 8:00am. This is the task they know they will procrastinate doing. They are committed to getting it off their to-do list right away. So they can spend the day focusing on the things they love to do.
  7. They focus on what they are grateful for. During their morning routine they think of all the things they are grateful for and make it specific to the day. Try being grateful for the sun being out, there’s no traffic today, you get to work from home. By practicing gratitude first thing in the morning their brains are primed for the day and they are more inclined to notice the positive things for the rest of the day.

Our thoughts and habits have a huge impact on our mood and our success. The best way to change your habits for the better is to do so in small steps. If you try to start doing all these things at once it is likely you may get discouraged. Instead try to add one of these habits at a time to your daily routine.running-573762_1280

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Creative ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day when you have children

valentines-day-1182247_1920When you have children it can be really tough to make time for one another. Life gets in the way and most of your time is spent taking care of the kids. As a result, your relationship begins to starve for love, romance and passion. I suggest using this Valentine’s Day to rekindle your connection with one another. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Prepare for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to think about what you will do for Valentine’s Day a couple days or even weeks before the big day. Try to think of something meaningful you can do for your significant other. Maybe make a collage or a nice picture in a special frame. Be sure to make it meaningful rather than material.
  2. Ask for help. Ask a friend or family member to come over and watch the kids even if it’s just for 2 hours. When you’re out together try to focus on things going on in your life instead of talking about your children. Try talking about how your day was or how you’ve been feeling. It’s hard to keep in touch and know what’s happening in your partner’s life all the time, so be sure to take advantage of this time to reconnect.
  3. Make it a priority to connect with your partner. Hire a babysitter, turn off your phone and spend some quality undivided attention with your special someone. It doesn’t have to cost a thing. It could be breakfast and Netflix in bed followed by a walk in the park chatting and catching up.
  4. It’s not all about the woman. Remember to focus on your husband: Get him something really special or create a really meaningful experience. Go to your favourite restaurant, when you get home put the kids down and connect again and cuddle or make love. Try to do something that is really meaningful for him: Write a love letter, get him a meaningful card, or do something creative that he’ll love.
  5. Re-create a past date for an extra special day. One date idea I love is to re-create your first date. Go to the same restaurant, sit at the same table (if possible), even wear what you wore on your first date if you still have it. Do all the same things you did on your first date. By revisiting this day you will be reminded why you fell in love in the first place.

Valentine’s Day can be hectic enough as it is. When you have children it can be even more difficult to make time for each other. This Valentine’s Day plan in advance and make the day as special as you can. It’s an excuse to reconnect and rebuild closeness in your love life, you will be glad that you took the time to invest in this very important relationship.

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Depression and the inner critic

getholistichealth.com

getholistichealth.com

Do you feel like you should be in a better place in your life? Lots of people feel like their life doesn’t measure up to where they want to be. Some people believe that they’re underachieving if they don’t own a house, have the job they want or even if they aren’t engaged to be married.

A lot of self-judgment is born from your inner critic. We often judge ourselves, and what we have, based on what we know about what others have. The act of comparing can really bring you down if you perceive that other people have more than you, and that you’re missing out because you’re in a different place.

To calm your inner critic, there are 3 things you can do:

1. Stop comparing

Life often seems good until you compare yourself to someone who appears to have more (and you will always find someone who appears to have more). Remember that no matter who you compare yourself to, those people are also comparing themselves to someone else who appears to have more. That’s why it’s important to catch yourself when you’re being hypercritical. No matter what you have or how happy you are, comparing yourself will always rob you of enjoying life and the things you do have. Releasing the urge to compare yourself is an important stepping stone for tip number two.

2. Find the joy in what you have

It’s truly amazing how gratitude can shift your perception. Being grateful for even the most simple of things can make you feel more grounded. Try thinking about three to five things you’re grateful for each morning, and notice how that makes small differences in your day. The fact is that you are where you are in your life, so you can either hate it and life will continue, or you can try to find some joy in it and life will continue. If you try to find some joy in your life, eventually you will be at the next stage and you’ll feel good that you enjoyed the process.

3. Control what is in your control, and let the rest happen

Think about the qualities of your life that you wish were different. Maybe you wish your debts were paid off, that you were further ahead in your career or that you were married with a baby on the way. But know that you have much more control of the simple things in your life as opposed to the bigger picture. You can make sure you get a good night’s sleep, connect with friends regularly or take a yoga/fitness class. Focusing on the simple things that you can control can help you to enjoy life now, regardless of what the bigger picture looks like. There will always be things that you can’t control, so you may as well enjoy the process and the now. If you’re having trouble, ask yourself how you can do more of what brings you joy when you feel down.

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familytreecounselling.com

The difference between people who are happy and people who aren’t is that happy people relish what they have, and they do more of the little things that bring happiness. Life is going to happen, so you may as well enjoy it.

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3 Ways to Argue Better

argument-238529_1920Do you find you and your partner argue often? Small disagreements can be healthy and are a sign that you are both sharing your needs. What matters more is not whether you fight but how you fight and how you reconnect with your partner afterwards .

Do you have difficulty saying you are sorry? This is one effective way to reconnect after a heating argument. You will notice that when you say sorry your partner usually says sorry back. This is because a relationship is a dynamic (kind of like a dance) between two people and shifting your attitude will increase the likelihood that your partner shifts theirs.

Here are a few things you can do to argue better.

  1. Learn to say sorry (right away if possible) and practice saying sorry well. Try to explain the situation from your point of view instead of blaming your partner. You are both just experiencing the relationship differently and with some patience can reconnect through open communication and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
  2. Learn to take responsibility for your own emotions. Believe it or not, people can’t actually make us feel anything. It is our perception of what is happening that makes us feel a certain way. Notice how you feel, notice your thoughts and ask yourself if you can think about the situation differently.
  3. Learn to let go of grudges: After an argument is over, try your best to let it go. As a Relationship Therapist, I witness so many couples hold on to anger for. If you feel angry and can’t shake it, try journaling to let it out or call a supportive friend.divorce-908743_1920
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