''Happy New Year to everyone!! It's that time of the year when most people have already decided what their New Year's resolutions are going to be for 2018.
There are many who will make resolutions and sadly will be failing to keep them by the end of January. They start off all fired up, motivation and will power strong but the challenges of keeping up a new behaviour is too difficult. Slowly but surely they lapse back into their own routine even more demoralised and demotivated.
All over the media just now is information on losing weight and staying healthy, but most people make one huge mistake when making their New Year Resolution's. They don't plan their way to their goal. They set an unrealistic goal, maybe several of them and it proves too difficult to implement. As January closes out so does their dreams of attaining that goal.
If you are attempting to make a change to your life then you have got to plan things out into manageable steps.
There should be several small steps, each of which takes you one step closer to your goal.
Small steps are more realistic, achievable and easier to implement into your routine.
Small steps help you feel with each milestone reached that you are succeeding.
You don't get into bad habits in ONE step so why do we think that one step can change us back?
Lets say that your goal is to lose weight. You need to plan several steps to start losing weight. For example to lose weight you need to change what you eat, eat less and increase your activity levels.
People come into the New Year with resolutions that haven't been carefully thought out.
Some people expect loads of progress in a very little time and when they don't see the results instantly they give up!
When you give your resolution a lot of thought and plan your way to your goal, it is easier to see progress which in turn motivates you to take the next step.
Little steps mastered can lead to big changes!
I know people who have tried to diet, exercise, cook more and not allow themselves any "naughty snacks" all at the same time beginning on the 2nd of January and by the time the end of January is near they have given up on it all because it was simply too difficult to implement and sustain in their everyday lives.
Take what you want to achieve and break it down into manageable parts that take you towards your goal. do it one step at a time, doing one thing at a time. Once you have incorporated that small change into your life then move onto the next step and so on. You don't eat a chocolate bar all in one bite so don't try to fix your life all in one go!!
I wish you every success in whatever you have decided to accomplish in 2017 and don't forget to check out my new book at:
Families are intricate and complicated relationships in our lives. No family is without their share of flaws, arguments and disagreements. Sometimes it can be very difficult to get along with family members who are a constant stream of stress and upset.
I want to discuss the pros and cons of breaking contact with a family member who has caused a lot of issues in your life. 3 years ago I broke contact with several members of my family who were a constant source of arguments, stress and anguish.
My family has always been a complex situation and when my Father died the whole dynamics of the family changed, in my eyes for the worse.
I tried to be there to support my Mother and Brother, but it became evident that I was in fact sacrificing my own families happiness and stability as well as my own sanity in the process.
There was much point scoring, deceit, gossiping, and pot stirring going on at that time with my family and there was always drama.....always. It was never done in fact. Every week there was something else. My Mother was a huge controlling personality and the older she got the more controlling she got. I was expected to do as she said and be there when she said, otherwise 'What will the rest of the family think?' was always her favourite guilt trip line to make sure I complied with her decisions.
I Felt like I had to put up with it out of a sense of duty. I felt obligated to comply, feeling like I owed her for raising me, even though my childhood had been filled with mental and physical abuse.
I felt like I had to keep trying to keep the family together and bought into her theory of "What would the rest of the family think?" Feeling ashamed and guilty that I should even consider breaking off contact! After all families are supposed to stick together no matter what right?
Wrong! The mental abuse did not end when I left home. It didn't end when I married and started my own family. It continued in the form of gas lighting and devious ways causing so many arguments with my husband. I really believed I had no choice. I had been told over and over that families stick together no matter what so I thought I had to put up with it.
I was expected to put my children second to her. I was expected to play happy families for the world to see. I got to my breaking point with the stress. Then I discovered that my mother had told some other family members that I was depressed! I had never been diagnosed with depression.
She was covering her own ass in case I tried to extract myself from the family, so that she had already planted the seed that it was something wrong with me. People had no idea what I had endured. People had no idea what she was like behind closed doors. She was like a Jekyll and Hyde personality.
She portrayed herself as a charitable, church going upstanding example of the community who would do anything for her family.
Eventually my husband had also had enough and he received a job transfer offer 5000 miles away from Scotland in Houston, Texas.
Long story short we decided that we had been given an opportunity to cut ties and break off all contact. We spoke about it for a while and I decided that I would lay it all out for her in an email and ask that she and my brother leave us alone.
The email was met with strong resistance from her. She tried writing back, she tried to call. She called my husband at work several times. She tried many, many ways to give reasons we HAD to stay in touch. She said she wanted our address to send the kids birthday and Christmas presents, we stayed strong.
We stayed united. My husband and I were determined to see this through this time. We had already tried several times previously and she always managed to find that chink in our resolve and worm her way back in and within weeks the drama would start again.
It was by no means easy. I had many doubts along the way. I felt like I was being unreasonable and felt terrible that we could not keep our family together but I knew it had to be done. She was never going to change. She was always going to cause stress in our lives.
She tried other ways to pressurize us into staying in contact. She gave some family members a sob story, so that they would contact us by facebook and tell us how 'upset' she was at what WE were doing. I know can you believe it?? Some believed it. I got told that she was so worried about me during the recent Hurricane Harvey. Judged for what I had done but you know what it was WORTH it!
I did miss her in someways. It felt like I had been orphaned in a way. It felt like I had lost the whole family because I knew she would be telling the extended family all sorts of lies but I knew that we had to stand strong for the sake of our kids.
Now that we are 3 years on and have I would say it was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. One of the best things we have ever done for our family. In the times I wavered my husband strong and encouraged me when it got tough.
I was honest with my children why their grandmother and uncle had to be removed from their lives. They were appalled when I revealed the real reasons behind why we couldn't be in touch with my immediate family. They supported me too.
My hope is that this can give some people in the same situation the courage to do the same if they have been thinking about it. I wanted to show that it is possible but it is not easy.
If you are considering doing something similar whether it be a friend or family member there are some things to consider:
The person or people will resist. They will try many different tricks and strategies to get you to do what they want you to do. You will need to be strong and determined. Backing down is not an option if you want to see it through.
Lies will be told as a leverage to try and shame you. They will try to shame you into giving in. You can't enter into this. If you enter into this then it will erode at your soul. You have to accept that lies will be told about you and you will not have the chance to defend yourself. You have to accept that as part of the deal. You have to believe that you do NOT need to defend your decision or yourself. The truth always comes out in the end remember that. It may take weeks, years even decades but it always comes out.
You have to be prepared to stop talking and thinking about this person, and all the wrong they have done you. Every time you talk or think about this person you are re-establishing the connection. I believe that we are all connected. For example this works very much like the way you are thinking about someone and then they call you. Every time you give that person energy you are keeping the energetic connection there.
You have to be prepared to lose other people from your life. If there are people close to the person you are breaking contact with you have to accept that they will probably not be aware of the real reasons behind your decision. Chances are they can't see beyond the facade.
You have to be aware you will be judged by people who have no right to make a judgment and that there is no point in trying to tell them your side. Take the higher ground and don't talk about it to others. You cannot put people in the middle and expect them to choose a side. People hate conflict and will see you as the problem if you try and push them to take a side.
If you commit to doing this then you have to see it through. If you don't see it through then should another time come when you need to do it, the person will know that you didn't see it through last time and that means the chances are you won't be able to see it through this time. Every failed attempt at no contact gives the person less reason to take you seriously when you say 'no contact.'
I would say 3 years on it was one of the best decisions we ever made for our family. We have no stress in our lives and as a family unit we are closer and stronger. I am so much happier and confident now. It made me feel empowered and strong managing to get through it and managing to stay the course. I have written a book and started a business since moving on.
I certainly don't regret what I have done. My kids now have the chance to have a normal childhood without ever experiencing their mother being mentally abused or the risk that the same might happen to them at the hands of their Grandmother. For me it was the right choice.
Only you can decide if ultimately it's what you need to do. Only you can decide what's best for you.
Can you believe it is nearly December? I don't know about you but my brain is still in May!!
The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone. It is a time when there are parties, childrens activities, food to buy, shopping to buy, family arriving, decorating the house and Christmas cards to write.
The media floods our minds with thoughts of the perfect Christmas where the children run around playing happily, delighted with their gifts. Family sitting round enjoying each others company with the fire blazing and mountains of food on the table.
More often than not this is not the reality of Christmas!
Usually we end up stressed out by the family staying and tearing our hair out at the children's constant bickering. This time of year can be exceptionally challenging for anyone and even more stressful if you have chronic pain or a medical condition.
Here are some tips for surviving the holiday season:
Families aren't perfect. We all have issues getting along from time to time. Accept that there will be times that family members will irritate you. Try to just let it go when you feel yourself getting stressed out by a family member. Play some uplifting music or go for a walk to decompress.
Try to be organised so that you are not leaving everything to the last minute. Take a little time each day to get yourself organised for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Leaving things to the last minute will only exhaust you.
Remember to try and stay in the present so that you can enjoy each day.
Make sure you get enough rest and are not running on empty as this can make you more unhappy and irritable.
Write a list of gifts you have to buy for each family member so when you go shopping you can stay on track. This makes shopping so much easier and less stressful than just browsing while racking your brains for who and what you need to get.
Ask for help. People don't always know you need some help unless you ask. Don't try and do it all yourself!
Listen to you body, if you are tired or in pain take a break! Nobody gets a medal for pratically killing themselves trying to make Christmas perfect!!!
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2017!!
Check out my new book under the store tab of my website!
Today we are busier than ever, more connected than ever and our lives are busier than ever. It can be difficult for us to allow ourselves to relax. When the world around us is bustling we can find ourselves rushing about and forgetting to give ourselves some and rest and relaxation.
It's difficult to relax in these times. We are constantly interrupted by our phones, and feeling the need to check them every five seconds. Research had now shown that many of us are in fact addicted to our phones as it lights up the pleasure centers in our brains when we are on them.
Kids are busier than ever with increasing demands on them in the education system and an increase in the out of school activities, our children are at risk of losing the ability to just relax and do nothing. They are being brought up to believe that you should always be busy.
It's important to teach the coming generations that it is okay to kick back and just enjoy life. Taking time out and not be clock watching and rushing around.
It's important to identify good ways to relax and some not so good ways to relax. I see many mums going for a manicure for some 'me' time and then they spend the entire manicure on the phone posting and commenting. Hello? this is not relaxing!
Relaxation needs to be calming, rejuvenating and must have the ability to calm the mind and spirit allowing yourself to just be in that moment. Regular relaxation can help to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, pain and stress that comes with life today, yet many of us are just not scheduling time to do this.
Many say they are just too busy and don't have time but it is important to remember that you will be much more productive if you take some time away from the rush of everyday life. The benefits of relaxation outweigh the time taken away from your regular schedule.
So many of us think that we simply do not have the time to "relax", sometimes we think that we can't allow ourselves to relax believing we don't deserve it. Some believe that they can't relax until they have done everything on that never ending "to do list' but never get through that list and so never get time to relax. Guilty anyone? Yes? Yeah me too!!
It is so important to schedule regular relaxation and the right type of relaxation to recharge your batteries. I have put together some tips on how to work in relaxation to make it part of your regular schedule. Its not difficult to implement and you will feel the benefits almost immediately!!
The whole point of relaxation is to take time out from the world and disconnect for a while. No phone, no news, and no stress interrupting. Relaxation is a necessary part of life. Period. No excuses. Implementing relaxation into your life can provide many health benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, reducing blood pressure, reducing pain levels and calming your mind and spirit.
When you implement a relaxation program into your life you will be able to return to your life energized and recharged ready to take the world on again.
No matter how tough or difficult your life is I believe that happiness is a choice. You can get up each morning and decide whether you choose to be happy or not.
So many of us are running on autopilot these days, sometimes struggling with the stress of every day life that we don't monitor our emotions, our feelings or our self talk.
At the end of the day we all want to be happy. No matter what you are striving for in life whether it be money, a successful career, a sports car or a family, we are motivated to strive to reach these goals because we all want to be happy yet many of us reach these goals and realize that when we achieve these things we are still not happy.
Happiness is a choice you make. You can either look around your life and see what all you don't have or you can look around and see all of what you do have. It's your choice, simple as that.
I know a lady many years ago who was trying to lose weight. She was really determined to lose the weight and little by little she started to shed those pounds through healthy eating and increasing her exercise level. When I saw her a few months later she had shed almost 100 pounds, yet she still wasn't satisfied.
I asked her how she felt and how proud she must be losing all the weight and she looked at me and said "You know I thought all I needed to do was lose weight and I would become happier as a result but now I am reaching my goal, I just look in the mirror and feel empty. I have came to realize that my happiness needs to come from the inside."
Many people fail to realize this simple fact. They chase goals all their life believing that the goal is going to make them happy but that is just not how it works. Being happy is a choice. Happiness comes when you practice and recognize when you are happy.
You have to remember how happiness feels to you before you can bring it back into your life by choice. Happiness is that moment when you feel yourself smiling, with joyous thoughts that flood you heart with a surge of pleasure. That moment when you wish you could freeze time at just that moment because it feels so blissfully good.
All too often we forget those happy moments and how they felt. We forget to look back and recapture that moment captured in your memory. We forget to look around each day and find the happiness in each day. The pleasure of simply living. Think about it, life is amazing no matter what you are going through there is always a way you can brighten your day by choosing to remember what happy feels like to you.
Ignore how the media defines happiness. It tries to imply to you through subliminal messages what happiness should look like to you and how you need to look and what you need to buy to be happy. Ignore all that and start to remember how happiness feels to you. How it makes you feel inside. Take that feeling and carry it forward into each day of your life. Happiness is a choice you make. That small feeling that can erupt into such a burst of joy, like you can conquer the world!
Be mindful of how you start each day, are you on autopilot or are you choosing to start each day being happy. When you are smiling the world smiles back!!
Can you remember the last time you laughed…..I mean really laughed. How long ago was it? Hopefully your answer is within the last few days or at the very most a couple of weeks!
When we go through trying times in our lives it can be difficult to see the funny side of things anymore. It can be difficult to see the lighter and brighter side of things.
Having a sense of humor, and more importantly remembering to use and enjoy it is an important part of living a healthy life.
There are many physiological benefits to having a laugh and a joke around. Having a sense of humor can also help diminishmelt away emotions such as anger and frustration.
When we laugh our muscles in our face, chest and abdomen contract and relax.
Our heart rate and blood pressure fall to below normal levels after laughing.
The production of the stress hormone cortisol is reduced.
Our immune system is boosted with the body producing more natural killer cells and T lymphocytes.
It stimulates endorphins the body’s natural pain killer.
Research has shown that laughter can be used as a coping mechanism to help brighten mood. Having a sense of humor can help you bring things back into proportion when it’s been a tough day.
All too often we take adulthood way too seriously, we forget to give ourselves permission to have fun!
Having a laugh and seeing the funny side to things can help us remember that life is to be enjoyed and let us appreciate the gift of life itself. Let’s face it when we get together with good friends and have a good giggle we feel lighter and brighter.
If you find that you have forgotten to include humor breaks in your life then it’s time to squeeze them into your routine! Let’s face it without a sense of humor life would be very dull indeed, imagine that we found nothing funny, nothing at all can you imagine!!
So, when times in life get challenging remember, these tips to help you feel the joy of laughter again:
Think back to something crazy funny that you did or experienced in your childhood, relive that moment. Remember how carefree and light hearted you felt in that moment. Picture that memory vividly. Stay in that memory for a few minutes then gently come back into the present and feel how your negative emotions has diminished.
Don’t wait for that funny video to show up in your social media one day. Go look on the internet for the videos you enjoy. Whether its cats doing epic fails that you enjoy or crazy people doing crazy pranks, go find them. Take a humor break whenever you feel life is getting too heavy, your body and mind will welcome the relief!
Book yourself in to do something you have always fancied doing for a laugh. Gather a group of friends and go do it. Why should kids have all the fun?
Play with kids. Act silly with them. Let them put on your make up or do your hair. Being around kids can remind us that we need breaks from the to do list and chores.
We are programmed from children that we need to grow up and be sensible yet we are never taught the importance of having fun and not taking ourselves or life, too seriously.
Read a comedy book or a funny short story, a little escapism into a book can do the mind, body and soul the power of good.
Record some episodes of your favorite comedian and take time out to sit down doing nothing else and watch them.
Give yourself permission to have a laugh and enjoy the pleasure, as well as enjoying the health benefits of your sense of humor!
What's on your mind today? Are you going back over things over and over in your head imagining what you should have done weeks, months or even years ago? Do you sometimes get stuck inside your head dealing with emotions from the past or worrying endlessly about the future?
Sometimes we can become stuck when we go inside our heads. Today's blog is to help you become unstuck and start moving your life forward again.
We all have our experiences where things have not gone as planned but how we process them and move past them can have a huge effect on your mental health. Often people don't realize they have become stuck inside their heads, spending a huge amount of their waking hours reliving difficult situations over and over playing out different scenarios in their head wondering if they had acted differently if the outcome would have been better.
It is so important during these times to remember no matter how many times you go over the past you cannot control or change what happened. You cannot change how others treated you nor can you change how the past played out.
The future is the same no matter how much you imagine and speculate how the future will be, no amount of imagining can show you exactly how it will play out. No matter how hard you try it will never be exactly how you imagine.
Yet so many people are playing out scenarios in their heads.
To get yourself unstuck and start living your life with less worry you need to learn how to let situations go if they belong in the past or the future, if you cannot control them then you need to let them go.
The key to getting unstuck and getting yourself moving again is centered around how you talk to yourself. I'm talking about the voice inside your head. The chatter that goes on inside your brain all day long. Have you ever stopped and actually listened to it? Many people answer no when I ask them this question and look at me like I have asked them to cut off their on finger!!
Monitoring self-talk is so important, especially if you are feeling stuck. left unchecked negative self talk can be destructive and can leave you feeling anxious, stressed or worried.
So if you are in the habit of revisiting the past or worrying about the future it could be that you are beating yourself up about something that you simply cannot change. Quit beating yourself up! Why are you torturing yourself? Why are you doing it to yourself?
It could be that you have a lot of negative self talk going on inside your head and it is constantly telling you all the areas where you fall short along with all the things you should have done or said.
Regulate self talk and silence that voice that slowly erodes at your soul making you feel inadequate, not worthy or tells you that you don't deserve to be happy. This voice has learnt to talk to you that way and it can be retaught to say positive, encouraging things to you. You don't deserve to be talked to in that way. No one does. TELL yourself everyday that although you are not perfect you are trying your best and that IS Enough. You are enough. You simply cannot compare yourself to others because we are all different, all living different lives, different circumstances and are in different relationships.
Teach yourself to be kind and gentle to yourself. Support yourself especially when times are tough. Give yourself love and respect, you deserve that, we all do!
Check in with yourself first thing in the morning and again at night as well as a couple of times during the day and listen to what you are saying to yourself, make sure it is nice!!
When you can regulate the self talk in your mind, the more you become aware of it the more positive you can make it.
If you are interesting in finding out more about this topic please get in touch. I offer group online coaching.
We all have lists of to do's and things that need to get done in life but sometimes things can seem overwhelming. Sometimes we can feel there is so much we want to get done but never quite get around to the doing part. It can feel like you are stuck in a rut unable to get yourself motivated to get things done.
In today's world there are so many distractions and life is so busy that it can be a challenge to stay on track. I have put together some tips that can help you get going again and motivate you to get out of the rut!
Life shouldn't be hard and sometimes we are too hard on ourselves to the point that we just give up on getting things done. If your are feeling stuck and need some motivation to get you going again this post is for you! :)
Making lists are a very good way of helping you to collect your thoughts and let you see what and how much you have to do.
I recommend that you keep a list each week of things that you want to get done that week and check it throughout the week to make sure you stay on track. You need to be realistic though, if you have unrealistic lists and you place high expectations on yourself you will only add to you stress.
You need to start each week with a list of just a few things that you want to achieve by the end of the week. When you make a shorter list you collect your thoughts and increase your chances of succeeding in completing your tasks by the end of the week.
2. Catch Yourself Procrastinating and Redirect Yourself
We are all guilty of this, some more than others. Times management is crucial when trying to get yourself going again and out of the rut. Be aware of what your are doing on a daily basis and keep yourself on track. Being mindful of your time and stop yourself taking that ten minute break to check your phone that then ends up in you scrolling social media on your phone for an hour.
Make a deal with yourself that you can watch 1 episode of your favorite television show and then you will get yourself off the sofa and complete 2 more tasks that are on your list before you sit down again to watch more.
We all have time that is wasted each day procrastinating when we could be completing tasks on the list. Find where you are losing time and put yourself back on task.
3. Keeping Your Motivation Up
When you keep your motivation up you feel better about yourself and how you are doing in life. When your motivation is low we start to feel down and feel like things are getting on top of us hence we feel like we are not coping and we lose the motivation to complete our tasks.
Putting things off week after week only demotivates us further so go easy on yourself and support yourself as opposed to beating yourself up about all your failures.
Concentrate on the things that are going well in your life and tell yourself that you will tackle the things that are not going so good one by one.
Be aware of how to talk to yourself. Are you kind, encouraging and supportive to yourself or are you harsh, mean and critical to yourself? Most people are not aware of how hard they are being to themselves until they start to listen to their self-talk, I mean really listen.
Negative self-talk only demoralizes you and demotivates you leading you to feel even worse, this in turn demotivates you and makes you feel unworthy. Set lower expectations for yourself and when you complete them it will boost your motivation and keep you going, helping you to get out of that rut and keep you going.
4. PLAN EACH DAY
Each evening in your head work out what you are going to do that next day and in what order you are going to complete tasks, I recommend that you take the hardest or most disliked task you have for that day and complete it first. The buzz of getting that done will keep you motivated to complete the other less hard or disliked tasks.
when you are planning for the next day, make sure that you don't overload yourself and prioritize your tasks in order of importance. This ensures that you meet your goals for that day and you will end that day with a sense of satisfaction which ensures that the next day and day after will go as planned too.
Every ones lives are busier than ever these days. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. As our lives have speeded up I believe that many of us are not as happy as we could be.
In my last post I discussed how going back to basics can help stress levels and calm your mind and body down. In this post we are following on from that and adding kindness into the day. When we add kindness we can boost our happiness levels.
Have you noticed how etiquette is a dying art these days? So many of us are so busy caught up in our lives that etiquette is sometimes forgotten. I see so many mums rushing about so caught up in their stress that they have forgotten humility and manners!
When we start to make an effort to show kindness every day, we can make ourselves feel happier while leaving the world a better place!
It doesn't have to be time consuming or complicated, just showing those people who are invisible to so many a little attention and gratitude can make a world of difference.
Take cashiers at the supermarket for example, have you noticed how many people hardly even acknowledge their presence? What about the security guard you pass every day on your way to work?
Every day we come into contact with so many people that are "invisible" to many others.
Make an effort each day to find a few seconds to show kindness to as many people as you can. Ask someone how they are doing. Let someone into the line of cars who is struggling to. Give someone a compliment. Praise someone from their hard work. Leave a kind note for your spouse. Sent a message to a friend you haven't had time to see in a while just to let them know you are thinking of them.
There are so many ways that we can show kindness in the world.
When we start to make an effort to show kindness, there are many benefits for you too. Showing someone else compassion can remind us that no matter how crazy things get there are is still time to show kindness.
When we do something for someone else it boosts your mood, sending feel good chemicals around your body which in turn can reduce your stress and lower any pain you may be feeling.
When we feel good about helping others it can change your mood in a second and remind you that life is about connecting with others and how wonderful it can be to touch another's life that day. It reminds us that life may get crazy but nothing beats the feeling of compassion.
It doesn't have to take a lot of time or a whole lot of effort but it can have dramatic effects on the body and mind and pull us out of our minds where there can be so much stress that we are going over and over.
Starting to make an effort to be kind can change your mindset and make you feel more positive hence reducing your stress levels. When you feel more positive, you feel happier and more satisfied, thus you want to do it over and over again. Imagine everyone in the world read this and did this.......can you imagine the impact it would have on the world today?
Start today and inject a little kindness into your day and see how good it can make you feel!