How to peel back the layers of your #anxietyonion & get to the core of what you need

Having anxiety when you are a mum can be challenging because we often put everyone else first, meaning focus on our own wellbeing can be lacking.  However, I’d like you to see this blog as a message of hope because my recovery began when I became a mum.  Having Eden gave me all the reason in the world to recover and was the beginning of my becoming positively selfish (you can learn more about this in my podcast, here).

However, if I have learnt anything from my 10 year long relationship with anxiety, it’s that recovery is not straightforward.  It transcends our physical, mental and spiritual state.  I’ve learned to think of it like an onion and I’d like to help you unpeel its layers.

So if you are feeling anxious right now, or have been diagnosed with anxiety, or are navigating the complex recovery process, or are supporting somebody else to do so, this blog is for you.

I am not a doctor, I am not diagnosing you and I’m not even really making any recommendations, I am just sharing what happened and what worked for me in the hopes it helps you.

The external layer of your onion – your anxiety’s cause

A cause of anxiety is something that caused your anxiety disorder to be a part of you in the first place.

For some people there is no obvious cause, but for others there is a clear link to your situation and your anxiety starting.  For me it was a pressured work environment.  Don’t get me wrong, other things contributed in the lead up to it, which broke down my resilience, but the long-term, persistent stress was the tipping point for me and was the catalyst to my long-term anxiety issues. I have had friends and family members who have developed anxiety after living with cancer, and others who have developed anxiety after troubled relationships or loss.  My first step in recovering from my anxiety was to get away from its cause.  Obviously this is not possible for everyone, but if you can move away from the cause of your anxiety, I really recommend that you should, to open up the space to heal, which for me started in my physical state, rather than my mental state.

The next layer of my onion – my physical state

I am sharing this as a really important layer of everyone’s anxiety onion (should I hashtag that? #anxietyonion?) because it wasn’t until I had become physically more healthy that I realised that my physical health had played such a significant part in breaking down my mental resilience to cope with life. Of course, the persistent stress was also damaging my physical health, so it was a revolving cycle; a mess.  My recommendation is that if you are having anxious feelings right now, make an extra effort to do the following things:

  • Clean up your diet
  • Kick out the processed stuff and replace with clean, homemade food that is low in sugar and other rubbish like preservatives
  • Add in a probiotic to your day
  • And start taking a good multivitamin.  (I take these.)  B Vitamins, magnesium, vitamin d and other vitamins, minerals and even amino acids like Tryptophan can all have a positive impact on your anxious feelings.

The third layer of my onion – Counseling/Coaching

Counseling is one of the first things a doctor will offer somebody who is suffering with anxiety (alongside medication), and for some it works really well. For me I felt it was a load off to talk about the the things that were bothering me, but that was all it was, a load off.

Then in 2016 I was offered a sponsorship to train to become a life coach. As part of this I received a lot of coaching and it was transformational. Read more here.

And if coaching or counseling is something you haven’t tried yet, give it a go. Talk to me about the difference between the two and what might serve you best.

The fourth layer of my onion – are my daily actions nourishing or draining?

How we spend our time can massively impact our anxious feelings.  If we spend all of our time around noxious people, sit in front of a screen all day, never get outside, listen to bad news and lie awake all night fretting, we are going to feel low and drained, which is like swinging the door open for the anxious feelings to come in.

If we instead try to do things that lift us and make us feel good, it gives us the resilience to keep those anxious feelings out.  I didn’t know any of this in the early days of my recovery.  It was in my personal development that I learned about our personal energy and how everything we are is energy and about how we can either vibrate high or low.  And it’s the nourishing things that keep our vibration high, which keeps anxiety out (mostly).

I started to learn about Gratitude Walking and Earthing and the power of nature and sunlight. I started to look critically at the people I was spending most time with, the things I was reading and listening to and paying attention to what made me feel good so I could do more of it.

Kickboxing has always been something that has made me feel better. Exercise gets our heart beating and increases our good hormones, and helps us sleep (which is also important to how we feel.)

Prior to my life coaching I’d started kickboxing because someone had recommended exercise to ease how I was feeling and I literally tried the first class I saw a sign for on the way home from work! I was instantly hooked. I never intended it to be anything more than a hobby, but after Eden was born I ended up saying yes to a fight! Turned out to be transformative in how I looked at my anxiety disorder. For all this time I had been experiencing this irrational fight or flight feeling and then suddenly, there I was heading into real combat with a real reason to feel my cortisol burn. And yet, by focusing on the trust in my training and the end goal I was able to control the feeling and function. It wasn’t until my life coaching that I understood the power of this perspective and how to use it in my daily life to face the fears that didn’t exist outside of my mind.

The final part of my onion – the core

I refer to this as the core of my onion because it took a state of real self-awareness to understand it, and that self awareness mainly came from all the other work I did on myself, as I peeled away the other layers. However, the other reason it is a core issue, is that without getting a handle on this, however many times you think you have a handle on your anxiety it will always trip you up again. It’s the panic attack that takes you by surprise, the sudden fall from Zen to chaos and the middle of the night when you suddenly can’t sleep and it feels like the hands are closing round your throat. This sudden return to anxious even if you have had months of being OK is caused by triggers. This is different to the cause of your anxiety, you may long have moved on from that, but it is like your body remembers how it feels to be in certain situations and puts you in the state of fight or flight all over again. For me it was the multitasking that juggling motherhood with a business brought, the chaos that unfolds with small people and the pressure of success. It was crazy because I’d be under pressure on the Monday and feel nothing, then multitasking on the Tuesday and feel nothing, then do nothing on Wednesday and be hit with a panic attack! It wasn’t until I started wearing my Helo that I started to identify the triggers that were causing my heart rate to rise and my breathing to hasten way before I spiralled into a panic attack. To figure things out I started to journal what I was doing each day then I would reference that with my Helo data that gets stored in a Lifelog, so you can see exactly what every single one of your bioparameters is doing at every moment through the day; even down to your mood and energy levels. I saw very quickly that there was a clear pattern between trying to work from home when the kids were there and my spiral into an anxious state, so I was able to make simple changes to my day that had a big impact on how I felt! I also used my Helo to stay on track because if I slipped back into bad habits, my bioparameters reminded me to take a look again at what I was doing. I don’t think I could have progressed as quickly as I did without this sort of accountability!

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What if our experiences are exactly what we need?

I ask this question because my anxiety disorder changed my life, in a good way.  It got me to question certain things and make changes and ultimately get to a better place of health, mental calm, spiritual awareness and now I am helping others to do the same.  If we can alter our energy about the things that are happening to us we immediately change our vibration and this helps us to feel hope.  It helps us to find the motivation to move forward and helps us set the intention to make positive change.

Much Love x x

Has this blog been helpful to you?  I would love you to reach out in the comments.  And please contact me directly if you would like to discuss any of the information above.

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Full Circle Wellness

I’ve come full circle. I feel like a flower that is blossoming with Spring. I feel like the motherhood I have experienced thus far has been a journey that is now evolving into something else entirely, at whole new level of life, of financial freedom and opportunity.

The challenges with Eden’s health, my battles with my own demons and my decision to believe that my dreams are not beyond me have all lead to the place I stand now; welcoming a new opportunity to impact others in their wellness; to come full circle like I have.

What does this mean for Essential Mum?

I am going to be making some changes to this site. It will still be your place to go for coaching and essential oils. I am committed to getting back to blogging more frequently now I have freed some time up in my life. In the interim I am going to be putting some time into building a new website and coaching mums to Design Your Life; my ultimate 8 week experience to transform your life into one that brings you happiness every day.

Design Your Life isn’t for everyone, because not everyone has reached a comfortable place with the idea that it’s OK to put ourselves first as mums and live a life that brings us happiness every day.  Getting to that point is itself a journey and one I can help you with! (Join my free opt-in at the pop up here).

There seems to be this deep stereotype that I hadn’t noticed until recently around  #beingmum that makes it OK to get to the end of every day feeling like a complete failure, as long as you can grab a wine or lose yourself in the bottom of a pack of Maltesers. It’s OK because everyone else is going through it too right? Tomorrow is another day, another chance to do what you’ve always done and feel frustrated that nothing changes. I know I sound harsh writing this,  but 713 comments under the post of a popular mum blogger led me to this conclusion. The post had 12k likes!

What she said was fundamentally right.  I had a lot of respect for her observations:

1. We are too hard on ourselves as mums

2. The years are short and we will miss these challenges once they are passed

3. There is always a wine or a box of chocolates at the end of the day to set the day right.

What broke my heart was how this post was received.  Like an invitation to believe this is the only way it can be.  The repeated stories in the comments of deep struggle and belief that a box of chocolates really is the only answer broke my heart. One lady in particular deeply impacted me; she basically said she feels like a failure every day, that every day she feels like she could have done better, so I offered her a chance to look at Design Your Life, but she didn’t.

 

 

I get it.  You know that I was in that place of  struggle.  I shared that recently in my article in the Natural Parent Magazine, Why No One Should Survive Parenthood (read it here).

However, I also know that just a simple shift in expectations and a bit of time management can make a massive shift in how we cope with #beingmum, and that this is just the start of what is possible! I understand that it is only a select few who are able to see passed the crowd to a life that is easier and more enjoyable. To let go of the belief it’s OK to just survive parenthood and believe it’s OK to want to thrive because the years are short and we should make the most of them instead of struggle through. We deserve to feel fulfilled in our roles as mothers, we deserve to feel we are doing a good job, not just #beingmum, but as strong, empowered, independent women with our goals and dreams ahead of us.

So I will continue to work on with those of you who come to me open and inspired to change.  And I will begin my new chapter of Full Circle Wellness where I will share even more ways to feel wellness across your whole life!  Mind, body, wealth and more…drop me a line if you are interested in details or watch this space for my launch!

Much Love in motherhood and now, beyond x x x

7 Signs You Could Use a Life Coach

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again & expecting different results…  The difference between getting some life coaching and not is being limited or empowered.

I have NO doubt in my mind, that life coaching has been the vehicle for the single biggest, most fundamental change in me and how I live my life.

The thing is, I picked up the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to get coaching, rather than being proactive and seeking it out. The cost of this was that I spent a long period of time feeling deeply unfilled and unhappy, in which time I lost control of my basic emotions – got angry easily, felt down repeatedly and suffered anxious feelings regularly.  I lost precious moments with my children in an unrelenting busyness and beat myself up constantly that my intention was completely the opposite; I wanted to be the best and most present mum I could possibly be.  I was riddled with #momguilt for not achieving that.

At the heart of not having made that change sooner was a cluster of limiting beliefs and negative thoughts that were residing in my psyche and holding me back.

I am mum. Everybody else must come first. I will get onto me when the girls don’t need me anymore. I have to be everything they need me to be and be the best at it too.

And yet, if I had have been a 35 year career woman in a challenging job I would have had no qualms using the services of a life coach to manage those challenges. So why not #beingmum, one of the most challenging jobs there is?

Here are some signs that you could benefit from a life coach, so that you don’t get picked up by the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff! Because the fall isn’t pretty…

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What might you get if you decide to engage a Life Coach?

For a start it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see you’ve got way more in you than you realise and that you have dreams like any other person, even though you are a mum, and those dreams are not beyond you. And you’ll get full permission to live the life you want to design.

Across my own 12 week coaching journey I peeled back the onion layers of who I am and what I want. Coaching gave me a blank slate where all possibilities were valid options. My coaching space was one where nothing was holding me back from being or trying anything. It was liberating to cut the legs out from under the beliefs holding me back from true happiness and fulfilment. And with that I reclaimed my enthusiasm and energy to recreate my life.

Over 12 weeks I experienced at least 12 transformational results:

  • I shifted quickly out of overwhelm
  • I completely redesigned my schedule
  • I decluttered my whole house
  • I learned powerful prioritising
  • I gained the ability to let go; of the stuff that didn’t serve me and of limiting beliefs, which gave me freedom
  • I started purposefully working towards something outside of #beingmum
  • I rediscovered living in the moment
  • I got complete clarity over what matters to me; my values
  • I became friends with my fears, so I could work on them rather than ignore them
  • I understood myself for possibly the first time ever
  • I designed a life for myself that fit with my values and my goals
  • I started living on purpose instead of on autopilot.

The bulk of this happened across just 8 weeks. It just took creating space and giving my complete commitment to working on the areas of my life that were not serving me. The weight that was lifted following those 8 weeks was almost as transformational as the coaching itself! I was floating on air. I finally started to enjoy my children and reconnect with my husband and do the the things that made me happy, which made me better able to look after everyone else.

Thinking ‘I’ll have me some of that?!’

The good news is that I am a Life Coach working to empower open and inspired women with more balance, freedom, fulfilment and happiness in their lives.

If you are overwhelmed, stuck or simply shelving YOU right now let me help you find out whether life coaching can help.

If you feel lost in the demands of #beingmum or are just ready for some ‘pzazz’ in your life right now, let me help you find the space and time to find true alignment between what you want and what you have in your life.

My role as a life coach is to ensure that you start unearthing your true desires.  To enable you to re-discover the aligned, healthy, happy and self-compassionate inner-you.

You can thrive for yourself, within the demands of your family life and within the time you have. You just have to give yourself the permission to work on yourself and commit to following through.

My mission is to help mums feeling overwhelmed, unsure and unfulfilled to find balance, focus and happiness. I don’t see it as a luxury to be this way, I see it as our responsibility as mums because if our cups aren’t full we can’t fill the cups of those around us to our best ability. Plus, our children model their behavior on how we treat ourselves, so if we can’t put ourselves first when we need to we can’t expect them to ever do so either.

To coach with me is simple.

Just:

1. Contact me to enquire about coaching

2. Book a 30 minute Discovery Session with me, either for coaching or my Design Your Life Experience

3. Decide if we’re an awesome fit and then get started!

I look forward to connecting with you and sharing a journey together.

Much love, Clare X X

How To Let Go Of Stress

The Design Your Life blog series has been about how, as Mums we are notoriously busy, often with few pauses or chances to catch our breath, and how this affects us.
Read on for a Guest post by Kirsty Salisbury, Wellness Coach about how we can let go of stress.  And why we should!
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It can often seem like a never ending mission to ensure that everyone else is going OK.  That the kids are still breathing, there’s food in the fridge, lunch boxes in bags, and that everyone has at least one matching pair of socks to wear…  Throw in trying to look presentable, have a job, while keeping the house semi hygienic, and that juggling act is almost certain to fall apart. Whether it does or not, I can guarantee that stress is never far away.
Perhaps you’ve felt like you’re on a constant roller coaster with stress, up and down, up and around.  It’s the ride you never realised you had tickets for, yet here you are – swooshing up and down, side to side and flying loop de loop.  Just when you think that things must be about to even out, that gut curdling dip and rush of cortisol hits again.  I can totally relate.  There was a time not so long ago when my doctor actually diagnosed me as being ‘addicted to stress’.  Yep, I had become so familiar with those roller coaster rides, that I had unknowingly started creating drama and stress just to feel the exhilaration of the roller coaster ride.  A little confusing to say the least.  On one hand I hated what it was doing to me, and on the other, I needed that rush to feel like I was doing what I should be, trying hard enough, and achieving enough.  I was pretty much living on caffeine and chocolate and I was a mess.  My gut was in tatters, my emotions all over the place, I barely slept, and I shocked myself each time I burst into tears with simply no explanation.  On one hand I was addicted to the drama, and on the other hand I just wanted to scream “Let me off!!!”
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Stress is a good thing, but ONLY in the right circumstances.  Like when we need superhuman powers to run from a wild beast chasing us, or to escape an attack or before an exam/presentation, or escaping a life threatening situation.  But ongoing or frequent high stress brings no value into our worlds.  In fact, it can have very serious effects to our health and wellbeing.  Ever heard the term ‘worry yourself sick’?  Well, there’s a reason this saying exists… because when we let stress take over, the rise in health risks can also take over.  Research suggests that stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40%, heart attack by 40%, and stroke by a whopping 60%!  Not to mention inflammation, ulcers, hair loss, sleep deprivation and depression.  It’s believed that in some areas that 3 out of 4 doctors visits are stress related – yes 75%!*
But what can we do about this?  Well… we can start to look out for ourselves for a start.  Begin taking time for ourselves, and doing something that serves no purpose for anyone else.  It’s amazing how this can help us to refocus, let go of the stress, and to see things in a positive light.  Things like getting out in the sunshine, going for a walk, joining up for a short course, coffee with the girls, or that dance class you’ve always wanted to try out.  Meditating, yoga, breathing and relaxation techniques can do absolute wonders too. Anything that is going to start to refresh our thought patterns.  Next, is to be aware of how we fill our time.  The people we hang out with, the TV shows we watch, what we look at on social media, and the amount of things we try to fit into our days. Spending just 15 minutes a day doing something truly relaxing can make all the difference to how we see the world.
My 7 year old daughter is learning about filling her cup at school at the moment.  It’s beautiful.  The teacher has literally helped them to decorate cups with their names on them, and they have all been stuck to the wall.  At any point, a child can write a nice word, or draw a picture, and pop it into one of the named cups.  They are also learning how their activities can fill or empty their cups, and how the people they spend time with do that too. She now knows what types of things give her energy and happiness.  Something us adults need to know too.  The other day, things had gotten her down, and I was met with a truly sobbing child at the school gate (yes, the kind of sobbing where snot goes everywhere).  Once in my arms all she had to say was  “my cup is empty” and in an instant I got it.   She felt empty, and needed some love, and best of all – we didn’t need to navigate the other 100+ questions to try before getting to the bottom of her emotions.
So why as Mums, are we not doing more for ourselves?  Allowing ourselves to get off that stress roller coaster and to do more to fill our own cups?  When our cup is full, we can offer a lot more to the world, and everything seems to have so much more perspective.  They don’t need to be big things.  But things that give us charge.  Now is the time to go and do these things.  A little time each week to make sure that our cups are getting filled as well.  It will feel great to switch out the cortisol for some endorphins.  Overall, if we can reduce our sources of stress, we can connect better with ourselves and experience more joy.  This makes us feel better, look better and actually be nicer people in this world.  My challenge to us all is this:
Do one thing each day, (no matter how small) to love our inner selves.  Even deep breathes are like little love notes to ourselves.
A recap of Kirsty’s ideas to let go of stress!
  • Get out in the sunshine, go for a walk
  • Join up for a short course
  • Have a coffee with the girls
  • Take that dance class you’ve always wanted to try out
  • Meditate, try yoga
  • Use breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Try anything that is going to start to refresh our thought patterns.
  • Be aware of how we fill our time – the people we hang out with, the TV shows we watch, what we look at on social media, and the amount of things we try to fit into our days.
  • Spend just 15 minutes a day doing something truly relaxing to make all the difference to how we see the world.

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Kirsty is a Wellness Coach and Speaker.  She inspires others to reach their full potential, no matter their circumstances or restrictions. Personal crisis is inevitable, but it’s how we deal with it that she believes matters most.  She is the host of her podcast ‘Let’s Talk Life Design’ (www.letstalklifedesign.com), and loves enabling others to share their incredible stories along with practical strategies to living a life filled with purpose.
Find her at:

Facebook: @kirstysalisburyofficial
instagram: @kirstysalis

Happy Mum Happy Child

Happy mum happy child, that’s such a powerful statement.  I was curious, as I explore the idea that at the centre of designing a life you love, which brings you happiness every day, is yourself (read more about designing your life here.)  Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.

My  third guest blogger is Maria, a mum of two, creator of website / Facebook page Happy Mum Happy Child, which is dedicated to helping parents feel less alone in this parenting journey.   Having started in 2014, HMHC is now the top parenting blog in New Zealand.

I know firsthand that within the most beautiful picture perfect surroundings of family can lie our greatest struggles.  I know that we bring these tiny, helpless bodies into the world and from us they expect nothing, but love, but from ourselves we expect everything and we give everything, until often there is nothing left in our cup.  I wanted to hear directly from Maria how she maintains self care as a priority to stay happy and what happy mum happy child means to her

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– What has been your greatest challenge as a mum?

I find a lot of things challenging about being a Mum, but the biggest challenge for me was coming to terms with the fact that my life would never be the same as it was before I had children. I’m more used to it now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world – but it was a very difficult for me when my daughter was first born – I think it triggered my post natal depression somewhat.

– What has been your greatest learning as a mum?

That I am in fact capable of so much more than I could have ever imagined – the love I have for my children, the patience I have, the ability to clean up so much poo – honestly so much I have learned about myself

– How much of a priority is your own self-care in your life?

It’s more of a priority now than it was when I first became a Mum.

– How do you keep it a priority?

I think it’s important to have at least one moment a week where you have no children around you (if at all possible). Whether the other half takes the kids to do the grocery shopping, or they go to the grandparents for the morning. Just a moment alone can do wonders for the soul.

– What happens when that priority slips

Thankfully for me my husband is an amazing friend and supporter – if I am struggling then I communicate with him and he helps out where he can.

– What stresses you out?

My children. Lol – honestly though, just the challenges of being a parent stresses me out. Kids fighting, being demanding, etc it all gets overwhelming.

– How do you avoid overwhelm?

I try and be honest with myself and my family if I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m also not afraid to put the TV on and say to myself “hey I just can’t do it in this moment, so the TV is going to help me out”

– What brought you to inspiring mums as your work?

When I started talking about my journey with postnatal depression, so many wonderful mum’s confided in me with their own struggles and told me it was so nice to hear someone talking about it. I don’t necessarily think I’m inspiring anyone, but just working together with everyone so that we all know we’re not alone.

– How do your personal challenges and how you overcome them influence your work?

90% of my work is off-the-cuff – so it really is dictated by how I feel each day. If I’m having a bad day, then I’ll share it with my followers. Not only to possibly make others feel like they’re less alone, but also for me to feel like I’m not alone. Even for me I can get stuck thinking I’m the only one going through something.

– What blogs do you read and who do you look up to in your industry?
I don’t get a lot of time to read other blogs, but do focus on a couple. Here in New Zealand, my wonderful friend Lisa runs No Filter Mum and it’s a wonderful page for me. She is open and honest about her own journey as a Mother, and she’s become a wonderful friend to me outside of the internet.

Internationally I love Tova Leigh – she predominantly does videos, but also has a blog and I love her and what she talks about.

– What does Happy Mum Happy Child mean to you?

Happy Mum Happy Child ultimately means if Mum is happy, then the child is happy. So it’s important to focus on yourself as a parent.

If you’d like to read more from Maria, visit her Facebook page

Or, Instagram

Of find her on Snapchat: happymumnz

Visit her website here

 

Motherhood, Muddles and Mindfulness

As I get close to launching my ultimate 8 week experience, Design Your Life, I drilled down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day.  At the centre of it I found myself.  Specifically a version of myself where I spend time filling my cup.  So I decided to use my next few blog posts to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums.  Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side.  I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.

Meet my second guest blogger, Debbie.  She is a Spiritual Alchemist with over 20yrs experience in the mindbody field.  I spoke to Debbie because I have experienced that it is terribly hard to be mindful when you are a mum.  We are pulled in so many different directions that I reckon our brains actually rewire to always thinking about the next thing we have to get done, instead of enjoying being in the moment.

In this blog Debbie shares her experience and a 1 minute meditation you can do anywhere at any time.

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Mindfulness is a term bandied about frequently these days. But what is it?

It is consciously putting full focus and attention on what you are doing or engaging in.   Being present in the moment.

With its roots in meditative practices, Buddhist teachings see mindfulness as a path to enlightenment as one discovers that our mind is the cause of all our suffering. One then works to master the mind through being present and the noticing of the Monkey Mind or the mind‘s need and desire to be attached – to outcomes, behaviours, beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and stories.

There are many studies that confirm the positive impact of mindfulness on our well-being and our worrisome minds. Sounds like a panacea for today’s world and the holy grail of calm huh?

It certainly is, but how does that fit for a mum who is struggling to juggle motherhood, business, finance, relationships, while still making sure the washing’s done and dry, dinner’s nutritious, cooked and eaten, the kids are happy, well and confident, and the house is not sinking under a foot of dust and grime?

How does it fit, when we feel like we have nothing left to give? And don’t know where to turn?

Less stress and topping up the tank

Taking a minute or two can more ‘space’ to breathe and be more of the mum you want to be – an empowered mum with more love to share. It helps our mind settle. Read – Less stress hormones = Happier mum → Happier children → Happier family → Happier community → Happier world!

We all know of the truth of making sure we top up our tank first as mothers, but it can be incredibly hard to do so. Our instinctive, unconscious actions are to attend to children/family first.

But remember the adage of the oxygen mask in a plane crash? We are no help to our children (or anyone else), if we have no oxygen and die. Implementing mindfulness practices are one way to support ourselves – giving our souls oxygen if you like, so we can support those we love in the chaos, muddle and joy of motherhood.

To help meet the challenge of everyday pressure combined with the overlay of motherhood try my micro-meditation here. This meditation is one way to top up your tank and your soul. It is easy to implement, short – under a minute, and with the exception of driving a vehicle, can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime!

Expand time, create space; take a moment

By putting our full attention on what is directly in front of us, we potentially create more space and time. I know it doesn’t make sense, but bear with me.

Think back to a time where instead of finishing a task and then giving your children attention, you did it the other way around. I remember trying to complete some university papers when my son was one or two, and saying hang on, hang on as he vied for my attention. The times I stopped what I was doing and sat with him (and Thomas the tank engine!) for 10 – 15mins then gave me a full half an hour (magic!) to get my words in place for submission. You may have had a similar experience of giving your children full attention for ten or fifteen minutes which then freed up half an hour for you to get those accounts done or phone calls made.

As a mother taking a moment whenever you can, to be present, creates an opportunity to come back to centre. And sometimes we need to take it whenever and wherever we can. I remember taking an extra moment or two in the toilet to sit and centre as sometimes this was the only time I had any space when my kids were younger!

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What might mindfulness look like for an Empowered Mum?

  • Planning time to be fully present when the kids come home from school or kindy so their well is filled with your compassion and attention (even 5 – 10 minutes each child will work wonders)
  • I have found one of the keys to mindfulness is to surrender. Surrendering the shoulds, musts and need to’s
  • Exploring your ability to expand time by intentionally focusing on and enjoying the task at hand – yes even the dishes, cleaning the shower!
  • Try my one minute micro meditation to bring yourself back into centre regularly throughout the day

Further resources you might find useful:

Jon Kabat-Zinn and Eckhart Tolle are well-known proponents of the power of now and being present and are the authors of many books.

Sarah Napthali has written several books on Buddhism and motherhood which may also be of help.

Mindfulness is a growing movement and there are many mindfulness/meditative groups worldwide. Check out the web for something close to you.

See more of Debbie at her Facebook page!

 

Why You Should Do Something to Fill Your Cup

Let’s drill down into what it takes to design a life you love, which brings you happiness every day.  At the centre of it is yourself.  Specifically a version of yourself where you spend time filling your cup.

I decided to explore this by inviting other enlightened mums to guest post.  Those who have been the stressed mum, the overwhelmed mum, the unhappy mum, but have come out of the other side.  I wanted to hear from them how they got there and what the benefits have been.

Meet my first guest blogger, Amy.  She is Founder of Powerhoop NZ and has even created a group from her own journey of filling her cup! My HAPPY 100 is a place where she inspires and motivates more people to do more stuff for themselves.

amy

 

What does filling your cup mean to you?

Self care.

How much of a priority is your own self-care in your life?

It is something I am truly passionate about and of course it is a work in progress for me.

Care to elaborate?

There have been times when I see my own life passing me by and I am not grasping it enough and making the most of it.   I was using being busy in my business and being a mother of three as a reason not to do a lot of things I would love to do. It left me feeling depleted. I was attending to the needs of everyone else before me.

self care blog 1Can you share an example?

I had been wanting to do things like take my kids away individually on a little holiday to create some memories together.  This meant so much to me, but each year would pass and I just wasn’t making it happen.  So, I decided enough was enough, I wrote a list of things I wanted to bring into my life this year. Not a TO DO list, more of a THINGS I WANT TO BRING INTO MY LIFE list. Because I wrote my list down, and shared it publicly, I felt really accountable for it. It is now half way through the year and I have already ticked off over 50% of my list. And there are 100 things on there!   I can honestly say this has been my best year yet and taking my kids away was definitely one of the highlights for me.   As a result of doing more things for me, I feel less stressed, way happier, and much more balanced in my life. My cup is so much fuller and I finally feel I am living MY best life. I am doing things for ME!!

Wow! So are you the only one who benefits from this?

Well of course I do benefit, but my kids also benefit from having a happier mum, my husband benefits from having a more balanced mum, my customers definitely get the best of me and my friends must see the difference too.

So, what’s your advice to mums out there who aren’t putting themselves first?

First I’d say, I get it.  It is all too easy to wake up in the morning and rush out of bed only to find yourself  zapping around at 100 miles an hour, getting everything organized for the day ahead. It is like a hurricane of packing school lunches, looking for lost socks, feeding the animals, walking the dog, messaging a colleague about something or another, catching up with world on social media, checking e mails, feeding the kids / family, pouring that first coffee down our necks and so on. And that just about covers the first hour of the day!  The rest of the day can look equally as hectic if we allow it, just rush, rush and more rushing.

self care blog 2

We rush to get to work, rush through the traffic, super busy at work, rush to get home to feed kids / family, outside activities to attend,  and get everyone all organised for the next day.  Coffee is the fuel that gets us through.  Or maybe that is wine?

It seems like we never quite  “get it all done”.  We never quite get to tick off our entire lists. We might tick a few off, but we have added more and more.    The end may feel like it is in sight, but it’s not, it’s just a mirage.

So, my advice is to turn around your thinking.  Accept, it will never end. That’s the truth. There will ALWAYS be something left to do.  And if we allow it, LIFE like this can take over and we can end up like FRAZZLED MARTYRS with no time really allocated to just US.

What do you think is the main obstruction to mum’s putting themselves first and taking care of themselves?

Time. We are far too busy looking after the needs of all of those around us to even consider taking time out for ourselves, there are far too many things to get done first. We often don’t value ourselves enough to invest the time to do more things that will bring us that joy.  Everyone else comes first.

Has there been a time that you didn’t fill your cup?

Yes.  Only a couple of years ago, I ended up in hospital.  I had let stress get to me again and I felt done in.  I had a lot going on at the time, emotionally, and I just put NO time into my own self care really.  Yes I was exercising and eating well, which helped me so much, but I was having no down time.  So yes, we can end up like a frazzled martyr if we fail to care for ourselves properly.  I also think if we spend too much time making everyone else happy to our own detriment, then we end up resentful too.  And of course that means those around us, get the brunt of that build up of resentment too!  We end up lacking in energy, feeling wiped out, possibly a little depressed, and turning to narcotics to get us through!  It did used to be like that for me.

So, how can the mums reading this start to fill their cups?

Do anything from exercise, to meditating, to going for a walk, to a massage, to spending time with a friend, or learning a new hobby. Truly something that brings YOU joy when you do it.

self care blog 3.png

Being a parent is when you need to be the best version of yourself,  which means it should be the best time to take more care of yourself. Because if you take care of YOUR needs then you are in a much better position to help others! It’s that simple. You will have more energy, more lust for life and be happier.  If your cup is full, then, you can help everyone else.

Finally, this life is for living now, we are NOT guaranteed any time here, so I reckon we make the most of our time. And the more we can do for ourselves, the happier we are. And the more EVERYONE benefits from it.

To read more about Amy’s Happy List, visit her website.

To read more about how you can Design Your Life, click here!  (I am taking enrollments for 2018!)

Design Your Life! (3)