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

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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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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 buy alprazolam xanax online 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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5 Signs Your Partner May be Cheating

couple kissingIf you think that your partner may be cheating the best possible thing you can do is confront them outright. The next best step to take is to seek help from a couple’s therapist and try to rebuild the trust that has been lost. One of the most common reasons I’ve noticed people cheat is because they feel lonely in the relationship. Rather than talking to you about it, he or she resorts to having an affair for the short-term satisfaction. Here are some signs that could point to a possible affair particularly if you notice several or all of them together:

  1. Your partner starts to groom themselves differently. If your partner has always had the exact same grooming habits and then suddenly changes it up, this could be a sign they are cheating. They could be grooming this way as it is the other person’s preference or simply to keep the other person interested.
  2. They change things up, all of a sudden, in the bedroom. This could mean they’ve experienced a certain sex position with someone else and want to try it with you.
  3. They have their phone on them at all times. We are all attached to our smartphones but if you notice a difference in how attached your partner is, it could mean they are hiding something. If they don’t leave their phone sitting on the table but instead have it in their pocket or they don’t let you use their phone or look at their photos. You may want to look into this further.
  4. They shower more often and as soon as they get home. This is particularly significant if your partner has always had the same showering habits and always showered first thing in the morning or just before bed. If they suddenly have to get in the shower as soon as they get home this could be a sign of infidelity.
  5. They want sex less. If someone is getting sex elsewhere he or she will likely be too tired or even uninterested in having sex with you. If you used to have sex several times a week and suddenly its declined to once every couple of weeks or even none at all this could be a sign that they are getting it elsewhere.

It’s hard to even think about the fact that your loved one may be with someone else. If you are questioning whether this is the case, you may want to see a therapist to prepare for this difficult conversation with your partner. If you are willing, couples therapy can be very effective in helping you build trust again.girl-958417_1920

 

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Preparing for Blue Monday

worried-girl-413690_1920Blue Monday is the 3rd Monday of the year and is often referred to as the most depressing day of the year. It’s a time when winter is feeling particularly dark and cold: Christmas is over, most people have broken their New Year’s resolutions, and most importantly Christmas bills are coming in and most people went over their budget. There are a few things you can do to beat this slump before it even hits you:

  1. Prepare yourself: Be aware that this darker Monday is coming up: Mondays can be hard enough as it is but coupled with the long cold, dark winter, this is a Monday that is typically worse. The most important thing is to know that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling down find someone who you can talk to such as a friend you can confide in. If you’re really feeling down talk to your family doctor who may recommend a therapist or even a psychiatrist.
  2. Pick up a copy of my book, 52 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally, where you can find lots of great ways to get out of a slump, if it’s just a bad day or clinical depression. Some great tips from my book include changing your thoughts and focusing on what you’re grateful for. A lot of our mood has to do with what we are thinking about. Typically on a Monday morning you may be thinking about how you have a long busy (maybe even unfulfilling) week ahead of you. Instead of focusing on these negatives try to think of what you are grateful for. It could be that you feel well rested, that your boss won’t be in today, or that you have fun plans this coming weekend.
  3. Another tip from my book is to reflect on your life and on your mood. Reflecting on your mood is a great way to determine how you are doing. It’s important to note that mood oscillates with time and with the ups and downs of life. Just because you are a 2 on the happiness scale today does not mean it won’t go up and just because you are a 10 one day does not mean you’re happiness will always be 10. While reflecting, try to think of one thing you can do to make yourself happier. If you’re having a hard time doing this try reading my book or talk to your family doctor or a psychotherapist.

When you’re feeling down it can be easy to think you will feel this way forever. It’s easier to fall into certain depressive behaviours such as oversleeping, overeating and withdrawing from your social life. If you feel yourself starting to become depressed, combat it with one of the tips listed here, particularly given Blue Monday is coming in a few days.

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3 Tips on Weight Loss from a Psychologist

granville-50423_1280The biggest complaint most people have about themselves is their body. It’s a common issue that several people face and can cause a lot of stress if you are trying to lose weight but just cannot seem to.

Here are 3 things you can try to release the extra pounds.

  1. Shift your mind from the craving: The most common time people crave junk food is after dinner at the end of a long day. You’re stressed out and want the instant comfort that junk food gives. Instead of giving in to the cravings try to focus on your stomach and notice if you are actually hungry or not. Most of the time it is likely you will find that you are not. Every time the thought to eat something comes, again focus on your stomach and the feeling of not being hungry. Eventually you can train yourself to listen to hunger and not cravings when reaching for the fridge.
  1. Soothe yourself: Most of the time when you’re craving unhealthy food it’s actually the comfort and pleasure you are seeking. You’re not actually hungry but want the immediate satisfaction of a sweet or salty treat. What you can do instead of giving in is try to find comfort elsewhere. Buy yourself a super fluffy blanket and watch your all time favourite movie, or have a warm lavender bubble bath. Taking a nice walk is also a good way to soothe yourself while getting active.
  1. Push through your craving: Surprisingly experts say that cravings only last 3 to 5 minutes so try your best to breathe through these few minutes and soon you will be free of the pull to eat those cookies. People also often crave food by association; one of the best examples of this is craving chips or sweets while watching TV. So next time you are watching your favourite show and find yourself walking to the kitchen try distracting for just 5 minutes. Try to clean your house or check your email or go for a walk until your craving subsides. Then sit back down and watch TV. If your craving does come back try to have a cup of tea instead or a bowl of fresh fruit.girl-690614_1280
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Hello 2016!

fireworks-74689_1920Another year passed, can you believe it? What did 2015 teach you? What did you learn? What did you love? What are you grateful for that happened? What do you regret happened? A new beginning is upon us, 2016. With it brings hope and aspiration. What do you need to let go of before you enter the New Year? Old toxic thoughts and habits, maybe even people? Let them go. Create space for better and brighter.

Try this before the New Year:

  1. Reflect on the lessons you learned and reflect on all the good that came from this year. In 2015 there were lots of ups and downs and each one helped you get to where you are today. If you think back to January 2015, in hindsight, you probably had no idea where the next 12 months would take you. One thing I recommend doing is reviewing your journals, if you keep them, and check for any negative patterns in your life. Reflecting over the past allows us to notice our mistakes and makes us less likely to make them again. It is also a great way to relish in all the good we have.
  2. Decide what you want to let go of from 2015. Think back to bad habits and toxic thinking. This could be jealousy, obsession with weight, money or anything else impacting you in a negative way. Try writing down all the things you want to let go of on a piece of paper. On New Year’s xanax online Eve, take that piece of paper and destroy it in a meaningful way: Burn it or tear it apart. Do this with someone you love to make it extra symbolic.
  3. Set intentions for the New Year. Resolutions create too much pressure and you’re still in holiday mode, which is setting resolutions up for failure. Instead of setting a goal or a resolution, decide how you want your year to go. Get really clear. Decide how you want to feel. Whether it be calmer, more fulfilled and inspired and then compare your actions to how you want to feel. Focus on how you can change your actions to create feeling good.
  4. Enjoy more. The more you enjoy your life, the happier you’ll be. Make a conscious choice to enjoy the things you do everyday. Research done at UC Davis has shown that practicing gratefulness can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate efficient sleep. If you only change one thing this year make it a promise to yourself to enjoy the little things more.

The New Year always brings pressure to do something big: Lose 20 pounds, learn a new language, stop drinking, or save money. The best thing to do is focus on how you want to feel instead of setting a goal you want to achieve. Focus on feeling good and create actions and habits in order to feel that way.to our amazing followers

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Overcoming Loneliness During the Holiday Season

sofa-1101538_1920For most people the holidays mean being surrounded by friends and family and enjoying age-old holiday traditions together. However sometimes if you’re single, not close to your family or live in a different city, the holidays can feel lonely. When you feel lonely it can be easy to start engaging in depressive behaviours such as overeating, oversleeping and over drinking. If you’re looking for ways out of this slump try the following steps.

  1. Stop avoidance behaviours. Instead of withdrawing and numbing the loneliness by sleeping or eating, try to connect with someone. Pick up the phone and call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, message a friend on Facebook to plan a coffee date or even try joining meetup.com for some fun outings in your area.
  2. Focus on what you can control. Instead of focusing on something you can’t control, like living alone, focus on changing your habits. Get out of your house more. Instead of sleeping in try to get up early and take a walk and feel the brisk air on your face. You can also walk to a café and get your favourite warm drink; try to relish in the people surrounding you.
  3. Create connections. If you’re single you can try online dating, reconnect with old friends even if it’s just on Facebook. We live in a very social world which can feel overwhelming and daunting at times, but take advantage of this when you’re feeling lonely. Also keep in mind that just because people are posting happy pictures by the Christmas tree does not mean their lives are better than yours or that they’re any less lonely.
  4. Make the best of staying in by doing the things that make you happy. Read your favourite book, make some hot chocolate or tea and wrap yourself in a big blanket. You can also play Christmas carols, run a bubble bath and do your nails. When you’re feeling lonely instead of over indulging in food or drinks, take the time to do things you don’t usually have time to do that make you happy. This can even be a good time to clean the house.
  5. Think of the good. Instead of focusing on being alone and thinking that everyone else must be having a great time, think of the reasons you’re happy to be where you are. Instead of being at home, you could be at a stressful family gathering where you feel disconnected. Instead you’re at home and you get to do whatever you want and cook whatever you want and relish in the stillness.

When you’re surrounded by images in the media of perfect happy families during the holidays it can be easy to start to feel lonely and like you’re missing out. Instead of focusing on what others are doing and things that you cannot control, try to be proactive by getting out and meeting new people and pampering yourself.fireplace-558985_1920

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Simple tips for hosting holiday parties

christmas-1059236_1280When hosting a holiday party you may feel a lot of pressure to have everything be perfect. Friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time will be around and you probably want to impress them. Here are some tips to help you host your party with ease.

  1. Manage the mood. Right away, even before your guests arrive create a calmer ambiance by playing soothing music – jazz is a great choice, dimming the lights if you can and lighting some candles. You can also crack a window slightly to keep the house nice and cool and keep you nice and calm.
  2. Say yes when people offer help. You’re probably used to turning down people’s offers to help but it’s important to remember that people want to be of service. It’s great if you can be really specific about what you want them to do too, you can ask someone to bring a veggie plate or dinner rolls or a pie. Let them, and lesson your stress.
  3. Make a seating plan. You can even make festive name cards and put them at everyone’s seat. Remember that not everyone is comfortable talking in a large group. Try mixing and matching people throughout the table, put quieter people with more outgoing ones for a more balanced party.
  4. Play to your strengths. If you don’t like to cook then why not switch things up. You could try a potluck and have everyone bring their favourite dish. Or throw a cocktail party instead and have some fancy drinks for everyone to try. You could also do a cookie exchange party where everyone brings a festive cookie, or a gingerbread house making party where they bring their favourite holiday candy to decorate the house. Brunch can also work, where expectations won’t be as high.
  5. End the party with ease. Ending the party can sometimes be an awkward transition but there are a few things you can do to get the message across without being rude. Start by turning the music off and blowing out the candles. If the lights were dimmed try turning them on again. Get up and start doing dishes but don’t sit down again after, this will alert people the dinner is over.

Try your best to be in the moment and have fun. It is a party after all and you deserve time to unwind with the people you love.christmas-cookies-553457_1920

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Festive Date Night Ideas

UG86T8KW5XDecember can be a hectic time. Between attending holiday parties, navigating the shopping mall and the pressure to give lots of gifts, it can be easy to forget to book in quality time with your honey. If you’re having a hard time thinking of date ideas that are intimate and festive, this list will certainly come in handy.

  1. The first one is super simple and super cost friendly. Grab your honey and a hot chocolate then jump in the car and drive to the fanciest neighbourhood in your area. Look at all the beautifully lit houses and take in the glistening snow. You can also get all bundled up and walk the streets instead.
  2. Do some holiday baking together: Peanut butter balls and gingerbread cookies are great. Make a list of all the festive cookies and treats you will make together and then write down all the ingredients you will need. Take a trip to the store to buy everything and then put on your aprons and bake away! Don’t forget to take some cute selfies with your aprons on.
  3. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take time out of your busy schedule to give back to those who need it most. You have enough time to plan this in both your schedules now. This can make a memorable day that you both share and can help you feel fulfilled.
  4. Go ice skating! Get all bundled up and go to your local skating rink. This is a great way to spend order xanax online cheap quality time together while getting outside and being active. If you go in the evening it’s even more romantic because the rinks are usually all lit up!
  5. Take a trip to the theatre to see the nutcracker ballet. If this is an option for you it can be a super festive treat for you to share with your honey. Put your phones away and soak in the beauty of the performance with no distractions.
  6. Decorate the tree together. For a lot of people decorating the Christmas tree brings back childhood memories. Play Christmas carols, put on ugly Christmas sweaters and take some cute pictures. This can be a really sweet way to build something together.
  7. Host an intimate Christmas party together with your closest friends. Keep expectations low and have it be fun and casual. You can have an ugly sweater party, secret Santa, have a potluck or do a cookie exchange. You can even do a pyjama party.
  8. Have a Christmas movie marathon. Pick all your favourite movies, take out the peanut butter balls you made together, make some hot chocolate and cuddle under a big blanket. This can be a simple yet intimate way to spend time together.

Commit to creating lasting memories this holiday season. The first step is grabbing your calendar and planning it now. Otherwise it will be January before we know it and another year gone by where you tell yourself you wish you had created more time to enjoy!8219694138_d64c1d7bb8_h

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