Happiness

Life Coaches Use This Powerful Technique in their Own Lifestyle Design (and you can too)

Most people think of their future goals or lifestyle as this thing in the future that is coming as long as they work at it.

in coaching we really focus on an extra piece: you walking, thinking, talking and acting the way that the future version of you will.

In my climb out of depression, I know I can’t rely on forcing or willpowering myself to go out of the house, because in depression your feelings become like a thick fog in muted greys.

However I DO know (journalling and visualizing got me there) exactly what I want the future me to be like and what that future lifestyle is, how the future me feels. You need that for this crucially important strategy of deciding, what part of this future life CAN I live or talk like, right now.

Does that make sense?

I have an image in my mind of writing, a flexible schedule, active outdoorsy lifestyle. So what do I do now? I sneak off to cafes to write in my journal to be in that future life. It’s not often but I dress up glam some days as I want to in my future life and really take a moment to appreciate, and let that steep in my mind.

I call this technique “trying your future life on for size.” – and if you are not clear on what you want in 2019 yet, try little activities on for size. Successful people often do this in the form of mini challenges, projects, or goals. Some you won’t like, others you will discover something new about yourself you never knew. This past year I ran an online konmari method group challenge among my friends where we got rid of 1 item day 1, 2 items day 2 and so forth. I discovered (and I never knew) that though I hate cleaning, I LOVE organizing.

What piece of your future life will you try on (and love) – you need to mix it up and challenge yourself or you’ll never know. Look at this tree. That was a seed that was planted. What seeds are you planting now? 🌱

Advertisements
Gear for Kids, Happiness, Toddler Gear

Christmas Gift Ideas for a Five Year Old Girl and Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Young Girls

Today I give you a whole bunch of ideas for christmas gifts for a five-year-old girl.  Every year I have an absolute blast christmas shopping and creating awesome stockings, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites with you as well as some huge hits in years past! 

Most of these recommendations, I found in person and loved, so there are links to Michaels, Walmart, MEC, Indigo, and more – but I’ve included Amazon where it is cheaper –  those links are through my affiliate account, so if you do purchase them, I receive a small referral that supports the blog. Thank you!   And if you have any awesome additons please add in the comments! 

Grow Unicorns & Sloths – these are really fun! (available in Beaners Calgary stores)

Water Pipes for the Bath & Your little Engineer!  By Boon on Amazon $17
Marble Run kit, also a hit with engineer types! 

Kindred Coast Children’s Clothing – Made on Salt Spring Island and amazing quality! 

Plasticine is a level up over playdoh – it doesn’t dry and you can reuse it.  This brand is the better quality of them all and every European kid has this as a memory! 
Mermaids and Kittens, the perfect combo for a little girl who loves both! haha. So cute. 

7″ Pusheen Mermaid Cat Plush $17.95 at Chapters, $13.59 on Prime. 

Melissa and Doug Water Wow!  Pads are amazing (really great for plane travel btw) and at 5 years old, she’s learning her letters and numbers and naturally enjoys it!  – This 3 pack makes a great gift.  These are often in Winners, YYC Locals! 
These are on sale at the bay. Huge hit and way better than loonie store temporary tattoos.
Hair chalk = way better than goopy hair gel or sketchy spray that stains their scalps! 
I cannot emphasize how AWESOME and good quality these adidas crops are, it’s all we use for our daughters’ activities.  They last 2 seasons at least since they are crops. 
Of all of the backpacks, we’ve been so impressed with Pottery Barn Kids’ Backpacks.  They fit the larger width requirements of kindergarten these days and we particularly love the travel one with the pull handle – it’s a great investment which you can stuff with goodies, especially if you are going away for christmas (we did last year) 
Also from Pottery Barn they have a huge selection of lunch bags, with hand handles or over the shoulder straps – they are so easy to clean, excellent quality and you can get food allergy tags for them (see below) 
Our Generation Kayak Adventure Play Set (for Our Generation Dolls) 

Alex Toys Tea Party Set $32.96

I’ve found Crayola Water Colours to be the best quality! $3.99
Melissa and Doug Drawing Pad $3.89
Ikea Mala Stamp Pens $5
Go to Michaels and get lots of fun cupcake toppers in the baking section for your little baker and put them in a pretty storage box!
This is a 40 ft slack line, but it has different monkey bar accessories, SO awesome for your little gymnast!! $139 but a great investment especially for camping / backyards!
6,5 foot kids’ climbing rope $32
Comfy Kids Teen Beanbag (Walmart $89) 
My daughter had these magnetic tiles at her preschool and it was incredible watching what the kids were able to build.  $$ but worth the investment. 
Kids. LOVE. Flashlights.  Headlamps.  Lights. Get them a headlamp for camping season (or evening walks) and watch them fall in love with the outdoors!
It’s a shame they are missing mummy and daddy’s beer / wine cooler. $25
Why not put some climbing wall holds on your kids’ bedroom wall? 🙂 Love this.  MEC. 
Magical Books by the Fan Brothers $13
The Puppy’s Wish  – beautiful imagery featuring a little girl of the same age!  $11
The Reindeer Wish, our favourite book 2 years running, beautiful imagery!

Hatley Pyjamas, they are SUCH good quality and so many patterns . On sale & they’ve lasted through three kids! $18-$39
Plush Toys from Ikea, so soft and durable! they’ve lasted several kids! $6
Fizzing bath colour drops – Walmart or most drug stores $6
Mouldable foam soap for the bath – my kids love making ‘hats’ and laugh hysterically!
Colour changing, floating LED bath lights – these are magical in the bubble bath! 
Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Window Made Easy Kits (so fun to do together and they turn out lovely!) 
Children’s ‘fairy mist’ aromatherapy spray for bedtime, from Saje
Aroma Fairy – Children’s Aromatherapy Roll On by Saje for the little lady who is eyeing up your perfume cabinet 😉 
Supplies to make your own fairy garden at the base of a tree or in a flower pot.  Fill it with doors, ladybugs and more!  Michaels has an amazing selection. 
(Our fairy garden)
Nail CHARMS…because we’ve all had nail polish disasters with a 5 year old girl!  Michaels
If your daughter is losing teeth these are cute! Beaners Calgary or online 🙂
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING STOCKING STUFFERS ARE AT CHAPTERS/INDIGO
(Not sponsored just a GREAT one-stop shop or free shipping)
Podcast, time management

The Great Parental Leave Podcast Episode 002 – Time Management for Moms.

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/7712270/height/45/theme/standard/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/direction/backward/

Time Management for Moms.

Today on episode 002 I cover time management for moms, and when it goes wrong (aka THE OVERWHELM that I KNOW you are all familiar with. Shall we just call it PARENT OVERWHELM ?) – and why running out of gas on a highway was the moment I knew I needed to get back on track with boundary setting and priority management, which is really what time management is.

One of the first pieces we need to know, is that there are many different approaches to managing and organizing our lives, and where you sit on the spectrum varies from person to person.

In this Episode, I cover how your personality influences what good versus bad time management feels like, and why time stress means different things to different people. 

I also share the one question you should ALWAYS ask yourself before you commit to anything.  

*And* The one sentence that helps you set boundaries.  Simple, effective, and for YOU.

Enjoy this episode!

Xo Carina

Lifestyle, Lifestyle Design, Organization, time management

How to Reduce the Sense of Overwhelm in Parenting and Feel Less Rushed for Time.

Today’s blog post is designed to help you become more in control of lifestyle design, and a major question that comes up in lifestyle design is: “How do I feel less overwhelmed?!”

The second you are armed with the knowledge below, you are much better able to:

-Design your lifestyle

-Maintain time boundaries and get better at yes versus no.

-Reduce anxiety and that rushed feeling

-Feel less like time is slipping pouring through your fingers

Time management is like a sail boat in the ocean navigating to a destination.

Time Management is truly about constantly noticing when the winds of life (and your own management of the sails) blow you off track.  You have to then decide to stop, reassess the situation, decide what worked and what didn’t, and then adjust the sails to get back on course to your goals.  Equally important is we HAVE to know the destination, we HAVE to know what kind of lifestyle we want, and you know what, it looks very different from person to person.  Some people like a busy booked up life.  Others hate that.  We’ll get into that today.

A key point with sailing across the ocean, is that it will take constantly watching and adjusting the sails.  Sometimes you’ll slack off with the sails, like overcommitting.  Other times a storm will blow in (big life events.)  You don’t just get to sit back and sail to your desired lifestyle.

Even the best practitioners of time management find themselves saying yes to things, getting anxious, feeling frantic and overscheduled, and having to course correct when they realize they are passing that same rushed energy onto the kids… I can speak to this myself.

So, before we go further, let’s just note that this post isn’t a silver bullet.  This post is going to give you better awareness so that you can catch yourself before you are too far gone and rushing like a panicked parent chicken with its babies. I know you have that visual in your mind if you’ve ever been to a farm.

When I give you this tool, you’ll still be adjusting, correcting and feeling satisfied, then falling off track, adjusting, and correcting again.  But much less so than before and your goals, your destination will arrive sooner.

The Spectrum of Life and Time Management

Think of time management as a spectrum.  We are all constantly moving back and forth between two different styles of time management along the spectrum. We are going about, living out our lives using different styles, but we DO have a gravitational pull, or a preference to operate within a particular zone of the spectrum.  It’s what we like, what we are familiar with, and what suits us. It’s easy, accessible and familiar.  

But remember, when there’s a spectrum, there is an opposite version of what you prefer to do.  And lots of people prefer that different approach.  Even in the work world, there is a clear preference for how we are supposed to operate on the spectrum and we try our best to fit into that, no matter what our preference is.  It may be easy, or it may totally drain us.   

Ready to learn the styles?

The Organizer

The organizer likes a life that is has a nice structure.  They like to operate on some kind of schedule, with order.  Their lives are planned, well thought out and intentional, and the words definite or deliberate come to mind.  Their conversations are functional and effective, often inspiring action or takaways, or improvements in some manner. They like to come to decisions and take action, preferring to move forward with that plan – they don’t ilke to adjust or throw out a plan and in conversation, prefer to have closure and make a decision for action, than keep things open-ended.  You won’t hear them say “hey, let’s go for coffee sometime!” – they’ll ask “Would you like to go for coffee next week?” They will have the date set, in their calendar and they’ll commit (and show up on time.)  They prefer to have the say in decisions and get going on taking action and moving forward, often offering their opinion and stance in a matter and asking others for theirs.  They inspire people to set goals, plan and bring structure into their lives.

What makes an organizer tired, stressed, anxious, frantic, frazzled, overwhelmed and feeling like their life is slipping by too fast? 

Constantly changing situations, emergencies and unexpected events, changes of plans,  not having an input in the planning stages, lack of structure, disorganization, lack of clarity, lack of decision being made. Too few activities and underbooking.

The Adapter

The adapter loves the variety of life and emergent twists and turns that life brings. Though they live in structure as well (everyone needs it to some extent) they are very open to, and enjoy adapting to new information, situations or opportunities. And they are definitely not as structured as their counterparts.  Their conversations are open and speak of possibilities.  Not every conversation has to result in an action or takeaway.  They like to explore whether in life or conversation.  They will make decisions but know those can change, they understand the “diaper blowout in the car,” or the “running late” situation, and it doesn’t bother them in the slightest, in fact, they’re usually running a bit behind but don’t think it’s a big deal either.  Life happens and there are too many variables that can throw deadlines and times off. 

They are less willing to commit to too many things because of their appreciation of life and change, and they may tend to take a diplomatic middle stance in conversations, preferring to be open ended rather than decisive.  They are happy to roll with decisions – whether it’s theirs or others’ – because they know both lead to great places.  They are less quick to offer their opinion or stance, mostly because of their easy-going nature and preference not to pick a position.  They inspire people to relax, embrace life and spontaneity.

What makes an adapter tired, stressed, anxious, frantic, frazzled, overwhelmed and feeling like their life is slipping by too fast? 

Being controlled, no variety, the same schedule and events day in and day out, the same routine, lack of flexibility, no alternative approaches to plans that are made, being pushed to make a decision or share their stance on a topic they are not passionate about, not having places in their life where they can just say “surprise me!”  Too many events and overbooking.

We must honour our natural strengths and preferences, and make sure that we allow space for them in some domain of our lives (ie, if you are an adapter and have to be an organizer at work, honour your adapter nature with your kids and go on fun adventures.) 

Life becomes much easier, less stressful and less draining when we are kind and recognize our inner nature.   Honour who you are, what your preference is and if you find yourself becoming grumpy, stressed, rebellious or drained, ask yourself

Where have I been operating that moves away from my natural preferences?   What other areas can I put time into that will let me operate in my natural preferences?

When I am over-booked, over-committed and too structured, it crushes my soul and doesn’t allow for spontaneity and adventures.  I can’t commit to things 2 months in advance.  Life changes.  Right now, as a kindergartener parent I’m already not loving the restrictions on our day and where we can go in the 3 hours before school starts. A few months ago with my return to work I found myself with NO alone time, no unscheduled time, and no spontaneous creative expression or relax time.  Over two months that compounded and made me incredibly unhappy and almost militant in my approach to the day “kids we have to go NOW, because we have to be THERE AND WE CAN’T BE LATE.” I was stressed out, frazzled with no openings in my calendar to just be. Operating with a tight schedule and back to back events or bookings, I felt my mindset shift.  Previously, a diaper blowout or hard time getting the toddlers in the car was not abig deal, it’s just life with kids.  In a tightly scheduled day?  HUGELY stressful and I was getting so aggravated and rushing the kids out the door. I was keeping up to strict timelines without the natural preference or desire to do the planning and organization approaches that are necessary in a strict schedule, and I began to lose my spontaneity in adventures with the kids.  I had let myself go too long, forcing myself to be in a state that drains me and I got stuck there.  I was forcing my kids to and from the car to all sorts of scheduled events. Your kids pick up when you are not your best self, trust me!

I’ve spoken to parents who sit on the opposite side of the spectrum from me, and what is a huge stressor for them?   They  do such a great job of working on planning and structuring the family’s schedule and they are dedicated to making sure their lives cover a spectrum of experiences.  Life with kids throws so many wrenches into a day (sickness) and those last minute changes are not fun for an organizer.  They can be frustrated with late arrivals, cancelled RSVPs to an event, or the seeming lack of commitment from people for a plan everyone said they were interested in, that they are now working hard on bringing to fruition.

Wherever you are on the spectrum (and you can be in between!) it’s important to 

1.) Honour your natural strengths and make sure you commit to things in a way that honours your preference (structured or spontaneous.)  This will keep you content and less anxious/stressed/frazzled/frustrated. 

2.) Work to overcome weaknesses, improve and grow by ‘testing out’ or at least understanding the opposite approach. Walk in their shoes to appreciate both sides and elasticize your mind.

With this knowledge you can now be more aware of when you are in an environment that pushes you to work in your less preferred areas, which may drain you and stress you out.  

When it comes to time management these distinctions above are important because time management is NOT a one size fits all “hack” or “timetable” or “approach.”  Time management looks VERY different depending on where you are on, on this spectrum. As yourself, given my preferences, what is a great month for me?  How many events? What are they? Is there flexibility or is it more planned? Do I have time to plan and organize somethng (organizer) or do I have time to maybe do a random roadtrip; or fun activity with the kids (adapter) 

3.) Give people who frustrated you the benefit of the doubt.  Endeavour to understand their mindset. Nobody is ever doing something to upset you, they are simply acting from their philosophy of life, and once you ask them about it, you’ll completely understand why they act the way they do.

You don’t have to join them, but you can understand them and communicate better 🙂  You can state your boundaries and your needs, and honour your true nature instead of fit yourself to society which is telling you to be, act, and do a certain way.   That my friends, is a less stressed, less anxious, more in control parent who is mindful and intentional about everything they do, and is not mourning the loss of time. 

Building a Business, Creativity, Etsy, side hustles

Start a Business on Maternity Leave, Etsy Edition.

Have you thought about how to start a business on maternity leave? today I present to you the etsy edition of starting a side business or what the cool kids are calling a “side hustle” these days. I’m not going to teach you how to do it, but rather prime your mindset and show you why it is totally doable. You can have a thriving Etsy store with kids.

I am often asked if it is easy (or even possible) to run an Etsy store with kids and my answer is… absolutely, because YOU are in control of your schedule, and how much you want to do, and how much you want to make. Etsy has been my creative hobby for a while now and I’ve been experimenting extensively with SEO, Marmalead, Pinterest and other methods to create a side income. 

Why is Etsy a really good option for side income?

-You can run your store ENTIRELY on your iPhone, and you can do it in big chunks of time, or little chunks in time.  There’s two approaches you can take to your work on Etsy:

The first approach is what I call the “Start to Finish” and this is great when you have 2-3 hour chunks of time (perhaps the kids are in daycare, or you are working with naptime.) You can see in this example that you flow through your work, from creation of an item, to fulfillment of orders/customer service.

The second approach is what I find most effective with 3 small children and that is the “By Category” approach to work.  What I do is one day a week, I go on a creating binge.  I’ll time naps or have my husband or mother in law cover the kids, all I need is 1-2 hours to make 7-8 pieces.  That is the one thing I do prefer to have little people out of the room for, because it takes incredible patience when your kids are picking up gemstone beads and dropping them all over the floor!!

Then I strategically break up listing items during the week. After tons of research and experimenting, I’ve found that if I list on certain days at certain times, a few new listings will generate some orders, as Etsy’s search bot prefers new listings.  I’ve found lunchtimes during the week, and evenings during the weekend work really well.  As you gain experience on Etsy you’ll be able to look at your traffic to see when it spikes in your store.  

I made the conscious decision to scale my Etsy store down with little kiddos, because of the stage of life I am in with 3 under 5 – so shipping for me is a random trip down to the post office here and there.  However, if you are dealing with multiple orders a week, it is great to set aside a shipping day and your little helps will LOVE going to the post office with you. 

For social media strategy my advice is to make it a total habit.  With a listing you should automatically PIN + POST.   Get into the practice of listing an item, then making a pinterest graphic using the free program http://www.canva.com (they have a free pinterest layout) and pinnning it.  Also, create an Instagram graphic in the same moment.  Again, both can be done with your iphone.  The apps I use most frequently are:

Photoshop for iPhone – Editing images before listing on Etsy 

Typorama – Great for Instagram (can add text)

Canva – Great for Pinterest Graphics 

Hope you enjoyed this quick blog post and if you’d like more Etsy success guides, please let me know in the comments, I have so much experience and information to share in this area! 

Crafts, Family Activities, Nature and Forest Play

Nature Crafts and Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Young Children, Christmas Pinecone Ornaments

As christmas approaches, I have been thinking about how to combine getting outside with the kiddos in nature, and christmas crafts.  Today I present to you a wonderful craft activity that is suitable for ages 2+ – I will warn you, glitter is involved…

Supplies: 

Pine Cones, preferably gathered out in the beautiful fresh winter air, which will get you and your children outside and ideally in a forest.  the act of looking for and gathering pine cones is a wonderful mindfulness-based activity.

Get out there in the forest!

Glitter Glue and Sequins: 

+1 for Crayola glitter glue, I’ve tried lots of type and this stuff washes off of clothes great! 
I like this set of crayola brushes, the two bigger ones are great for crafts with glue, the two smaller better for painting.
I like this set of crayola brushes, the two bigger ones are great for crafts with glue, the two smaller better for painting.

With craft time I prefer to let my kids freely design, the younger (3) is a big glitter bomb and the older (5) did cool little blobs to make it look like christmas ornaments.

When you are finished, simply tie with cooking twine or ribbon that you have on hand! 

Book Club, Happiness, Lifestyle Design, Personal Development, Spirituality, Working Mom, Working Parent Life

Five Things I Love about Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis – My Review of Rachel Hollis’ New Book.

There are five things I love about Girl, Wash Your Face, a best-selling book by Rachel Hollis which is on the NYT list right now.  I wanted to share those today.  I’m jumping the gun a bit, because I am ONLY halfway through the book right now, but I know I won’t get around to this post if I take my usual all-or-nothing approach, so we’ll have this half-way review, and a completion review, k?   I promise you I have my sleepy time tea ready and the kids are asleep and I am going to crush that thing tonight.  

Yes, I finally caved and downloaded it!  I usually run away from best sellers.  I prefer to explore in the fringes of self development / personal growth books, because I know the content there is just as good as any best seller content.  BUT… after hearing Rachel on the Lewis Howes School of Greatness Podcast (my fav podcast in the world and my trusted companion over 3 mat leaves) I loved her vibe and decided to spend the $10.

I FINALLY located my Kindle Charge Chord (in the ‘nono drawer’ a repository of all the things I have taken away from my little people.  Scissors, craft glue, matches, and all sorts of other absurdly dangerous objects they manage to find and play with) ) I was able to get back into my favourite mat leave habit of snuggling my little guy and reading the kindle.  Bliss!

Want to hear something else? I put off reading it because of this emotion called…

Jealousy.

Ugggh. Gross.  Jealousy is a very human but a rather sinister emotion and you feel horrible for experiencing it.  But, as I posted on Instagram TV the other day, if you are able to look hard emotions in the eye and break them down, you can often break through to a gift, or positive emotion underneath.  I did that very thing with this jealousy that came up, and discovered it is because she is doing what I desire MOST.  Jealousy can illuminate your deepest purpose and desire, and get your ass in gear. It shows you what you want.  Now, it’s up to you to get past your barriers (the barrier is your own thinking, btw.) It certainly is mine.  I keep putting writing off.  I keep shying away from setting the boundaries with my kids and husband.  I keep doubting my abilities.  All of those are thinking things. And they block the doing. 

What are yours?

I am absolutely driven to write the Great Maternity Leave Book, filled with all of the adventures from that bucket list I’ve been working through since 2012 when I started this crazy parenthood journey.  There’s a chapter on initiation into motherhood and how weird it is, striving  to keep developing, growing and retaining my identity, stepping out of the rat race and being a human BEING instead of a human DOING and doing deeper exploration into who I am as a human. 

I knew, in the depths of my soul, that when I read Hollis’ book that the passion and desire to begin writing would be ON FIRE and I was certainly right, because a central tenet of Hollis’ book is taking OWNERSHIP and RESPONSIBILITY for your own happiness. And now I’m like DAMMIT I need to fight for the space and time to write this book already ( the entire structure is sitting in my Evernote, whispering my name.)

But this post isn’t about me, it’s about Rachel and her wicked book, so let’s continue.  

Hollis’ book was about $9.99 to download on Kindle through Amazon.ca  and it’s showing that it is usually more, so I must have gotten a deal.  Win!  I’ve debated reading paper books versus Kindle, but the truth of the matter is, despite my preference for paperback, the kindle makes it possible for me to read with young children.  Another huge bonus of the kindle is that you can highlight and then log into your Kindle cloud reader and go back through the highlights, which I am doing right now as I type.  

I crushed 50% of the book yesterday and am already looking forward to crawling into bed with a tea (husband on night shift! win!) 

So, what are my impressions so far of Hollis’ book? What stands out for me?

First, her complete and utter authenticity.  She is bold and dives right into her most personal stuff. It truly takes courage to bring up one’s deepest challenges, particularly her early relationship with her husband and consequential journey with understanding self-worth.  I think part of what has made her a sensation is she has finally said (in a published book) what so many of us are thinking at this point in our lives (30s, with kids.) . I don’t know about you but I’m done jumping through the hoops of life’s benchmarks of success, and I’m done shifting myself to accomodate other people. At this point in my life I shall be unapologetically me, and not polish or buffer myself.  

Second, her humour!  Hollis’ sense of humour comes out in subtle ways in this book but I can easily imagine that in person, she’s hilarious.  I would dare say she could have unleashed her humour a bit more, but I’m only halfway in so perhaps she gets bolder as we go?  I hope so, it’s awesome.  So far, every now and then, out of the blue, she’ll drop a hilarious sentence into a paragraph that had me giggling.  It takes a keen sense of humour to be able to drop hilarious sentences into what is otherwise quite a serious topic, and when she talks about a particularly challenging point in her life, and that she “can see it coming” her perfectly timed reference to the Phil Collins Song  and the drum solo made me snort my tea out.  

Third, You’ll Feel Connected to Her.  It’s not just me, I’m confident that you will be reading this think and nodding your head like , yes, yes, YES.  Hollis has her finger right on the pulse of women in their mid 30s, and an entire movement (I believe it is a world movement) of people who know there must be something more behind these stupid frantic crazy lives we have, filed with to do lists, and places to be, and things to pay and show up to.   

My oldest just started kindergarten, I’m still working on getting her lunches together and getting her to school on time (I had to pick up my first late slip today and felt quite guilty.)  When I began to see just how many emails I get from teh school council, this 6 day activity schedule (wtf? They go to school 5 days a week?) . all of the folders she takes on certain days and themes?  Jayyyysus. I can’t keep up.  Nor can Hollis.  And she spins a positive on it. 

Do what you’re good at.  Be average at the rest and be okay with average. GET BETTER AT BEING AVERAGE.  Or sub-par even.  Embrace your average-ness.  That is an entire blog post I need to write.  It’s freeing!

Fourth, She Doesn’t Bullshit.  Hollis is a hard, and I mean hard working mother, and she doesn’t sugar coat the work and sacrifices it took to get her media company to where it is today.  This is incredibly refreshing in the self help / personal development industry.  Though Hollis will rightfully tell you (as I do my own clients) that you can literally design your future and have it come to you, it’s also going to take some serious hard work and early mornings and crushing self doubt and questions as to whether the sacrifices are worth it. Story of working Mamas, I tell ya.  

Fifth, her Christian Faith is Strong, but not Alienating.  I’ve never subscribed to one religion, I think they all have the same themes anyways just packaged in different stories.  I grew up Anglican in England, and then attended Catholic School as a teenager.  I always felt a bit odd with literal interpretations and to be honest, totally confused at all fo the stories, characters, bibles, sections, etc.  Hollis references scriptures quite frequently in this book but what i really appreciate, is that she owns her faith, but not in a way that feels pushy, and though she shares scriptures, she links it back to our own lives.  For me, I felt this was a perfect blend of honouring your deep faith / religion, but in a way that doesn’t alienate others of different beliefs.  It’s a model of how the world should proceed – everyone should feel comfortable with expressing and living out who they are, and no-one in the process, feels pressured or judged.  

So far, halfway through the book, there’s been some things emerging which I am hoping she goes into a bit more depth on in the book. 

She’s mentioned how easy it is to buffer the intensity of human life with substance abuse (alcohol, cannabis, whatever the method) which was fascinating.  She’s also so far briefly mentioned letting go of the need to control and predict life (she teaches this through sharing her unexpected career twists and turns, and weaves it into scripture.) 

I find with self help and life coaching tools, that if you stay too surface level and just give tips, tricks and a quick anecdote, it doesn’t connect, it feels pithy and and pinterest-worthy, but doesn’t truly impact you, and you move onto the next thing.  Literally this is my only critique is that she offers some total gems of wisdom which you want to journey into deeper with her, but there’s simply not time and space for it in the book. 

I imagine that this is a really hard part of the editing process for ANY writer!    It’s so hard to capture an entire lifetime worth of experience in a book (I have no doubt she’ll write another) and so if she doesn’t’ go deeper on some of the above topics, I really can’t fault her for it, but I felt it worth mentioning I was left wanting more on a few topics and that is a GREAT thing.

Happiness

Depression Recovery for Moms: Start by Drinking a Glass of Water

I write this while I am on sick leave from work, due to disease symptoms flaring up and a bout of depression.

I believe in sharing experiences authentically and in a way that helps others.

In this article I hope to provide you with some tools and inspiration if you are overcoming the gravitational pull of depression in early parenthood.

We all oscillate in our mood space and emotions, but depression is an interesting one because it is a little more insidious. Depression is often framed as deep sadness and despair, but it has another aspect; hopelessness, lack of motivation, detachment and total, overwhelming inertia to do the things we know are so essential to feeling human.

I knew I was going into an episode because of this inertia; I struggled to care and motivate myself to shower, brush my teeth, get dressed or leave the house – these are all things that as a parent, it is important to model yet it becomes really hard to do. You try to think your way through this inertia and lack of motivation, but it is like a house of cards – just as your positive thoughts gain a bit if momentum, a whisp of wind (a negative or hopeless thought) makes them collapse.

What do we do?

It really is about overcoming the inertia and I liken it to the transmission of a car. When you get going in your car, the first two gears take more RPM and more gas than once you are going. Getting started is big effort, but an object will stay in motion, once in motion. This is a law of energy and physics. As a bunch of subatomic particles & energy ourselves (not the dense material beings we tend to think we are) it is helpful to remember that these laws apply to us, too.

In depression recovery there are two strategies that have been really helpful:

Ramping up your RPM for those first difficult two gears, through SMALL WINS.

What have my small wins been?

  • Making the bed
  • Putting on foundation and mascara
  • Playing music while I do chores
  • Opening my kitchen window for fresh air

We tend to forget our small wins in depression, because the brain focuses on losses – so really do take a moment to appreciate how fresh air feels, or a nicely made bed. It is fleeting, but a start.

What are 1-2 small wins you can design? Don’t be ambitious. Stay simple.

For example, showering has been work and I know it, so to shower AND blow dry my hair isn’t something I added to my small wins list. Just a shower is great.

The second strategy is a bit woo-woo but I swear by this. Once a day marinate your brain in your ideal life. When you marinate in cooking, the dish retains the flavour of the marinade.

If you marinate your brain in your future that you want (and can conceivably happen if you take the actions) – it will retain that positive energy, even if for an hour.

How do I marinate my brain? I wrote my ideal day in 5 years down in a journal and my iphone notes. I reread it or rewrite it constantly. But the brain’s language is pictures, so I double down and have a pinterest board filled with images of what I want my future life to be.

A lot of psychologists will recommend you stay away from social media in depression, I agree that Facebook is horrible, but I do think you can use Pinterest as a wonderful strategy because it’s about ideas and visualisation, rather than watching your friend’s lives and ruminating on what you don’t have.

And that brings me to the third and most important point for depression recovery:

To overcome the gravitational pull of depression and climb out you have to have something to climb up towards.

Depression recovery may involve healing trauma, addressing problems in a therapeutic approach but I believe when that is done, it is time to focus on what you DO want to move forward. Don’t focus on what you currently have. Focus on what you are going to have.

Remember that you are not just your brain.

You have a body and a soul, too. And they are equally powerful. Your brain is not a North Korean Dictator. It has to work side by side with your body and soul. It just tries to convince us otherwise 🙂

Even if your brain feels like it is conspiring against you, know that you have two legs and a heartbeat which will take you for a walk and can override that brain.

Even when you are in dark days, remember that your soul never switches off. It is this quiet whisper of intuition which if you listen, is telling you what would work better for you, what you have to look forward to in life and it is always saying this is a temporary stage and you are larger than your brain.

Even in my least motivated days I know deep down there’s a different lifestyle and upward progress coming, that this is an episode and nothing is permanent in my life, including my moodspace or thinking patterns.

In fact, if you listen closely enough and get out into nature and quiet places (meditation, yoga, the occasional sparks of happiness) in those moments we catch thoughts that come from somewhere deeper.

Depression is the choppy shallow waters of our inner world. The deeper waters are more calm. Those are the waters of our soul and there, our soul tells us that this difficult chapter is a gift.

Depression tells us that we are on the edge of change and upward evolution is always preceded by a bit of suffering, because it makes us realize this next step in our life is necessary.

In depression we begin to see what is not working for us and when we’ve suffered enough we will finally let those things go and begin to implement what does work for us. That takes great faith and courage but I am here to tell you unequivocally that Beyond my poor thinking and self care right now, I still have a voice rising up from the deeper waters that says, am excited for you, I am excited for me, and evolution and greater happiness is ahead. Will you put into practice the strategies above, and join me?

We’ve got this.

Let’s do this together! 

Communication Skills, Happiness, Learning, Lifestyle, Lifestyle Design, Personal Development, time management

A Tool for Parents Interested in Better Time Management and Lifestyle Design.

Takeaway: This article shows how to gain some awareness (and better choices) in your schedule by becoming more aware of your speech

Copy of Copy of Copy of saturdaymarch 23, 20194_00 pm

Have you ever been at a friends’ house for a playdate and you wind up observing the interactions between your friend and their partner, noticing the differences, or maybe similarities in how they talk to each other versus how you talk to your partner?

It’s easy to observe others talking, but with practice, we can turn this same observation on ourselves, and in here is massive personal growth and self development.  The technique of becoming an observer of your own speech is powerful when it comes to better time management and lifestyle design.

Read on, especially if you struggle with saying yes, or you find yourself frequently overcommitted or overbooked and frustrated that you don’t have the space to act on things that are of higher priority (or interest) in your life.

If you think about it, we walk around with many thoughts and ideas in our head.  More than 40,000 of them in a day, actually.

Out of all of those thoughts and ideas, which ones do we choose to put out there into the world?  Which ones remain our “inside voice” ‘and which ones become our “outside voice.”  When you think about it that way, you realize that speech is powerful.

Nobody knows what is going on inside of us until we speak.

Technically ,we don’t commit to anything in our outside world, or bring our future into existence until we speak.

When you think about next week, you’re just visualizing it.

When you talk about next week, you are designing next week by talking about things, committing to things, speaking next week into existence.

We design our life by speaking, and there are a few “speech acts” that commit us to our future.

Making a declaration (next Tuesday I am going to a playdate with X.)

Making an offer (would you like to go to the zoo next Wednesday with the kids?)

Making a request (I’d like us to get outside more next week.)

Making a promise (I’ll get that back to you by next Thursday.)

 

An example is today, we are getting outside with our kids for some fresh air. Thursday is designed.  When did it become a plan versus a thought in my mind?

Last week.  Last week I said to my husband,

Me: we need to get the kids out for fresh air (vague request.)

Husband:  I’m off on Thursday, we could go out in the morning (declaration.)

Me:  How about we go to the zoo? (offer)

Husband:  Great idea! (accept)

So I:  *Put it in the calendar.

There you go.  An idea floating around in our heads that we both agreed on.  Then we designed our upcoming week with speech acts (a variety of them in this conversation.)

As you begin to think about this, and watch yourself in conversations this week, notice what your tendencies are.

Reactive Tendencies:

(your week is planned and you are left asking yourself, why do I have all this shit on my schedule that I don’t want to do?)

Do you make promises or offers to other people?

Do you tend to plan your week based on other people’s requests (that you’ve said “yes” to) or their declarations (letting them take the lead.) 

Proactive Tendencies:

You don’t make promises or offers.

(You declare your priorities and what you have capacity for and want to achieve in the upcoming week – yes that means putting it out there in speech 🙂 and you say No as well as Yes.)

You plan your week based on your own and your family’s requests (which brings me to an interesting point, do you KNOW what you need in your upcoming week and do you have the speech skills to not let other things get in the way? Can you say NO to other people’s stuff, so that you can protect and experience your own stuff?)

 

Questions for you to take away:

This week, I simply invite you (with this knew knowledge) to observe yourself and what your tendencies are.

How do they influence how your days and weeks unfold ?

If you are interested in designing a lifestyle and a future that works for you, how do your speech acts work for you in designing that?

How do they work against you?

 

 

Podcast

The Great Parental Leave Podcast – Episode 001

Show notes for the Great Parental Leave Podcast, Episode 001

In Episode 001 of the Great Parental Leave Podcast, I share my story and journey into parenthood, and what drove the creation of the Great Parental Leave Blog.  I believe that parents do not have to ‘survive’ parenthood and that they can ‘thrive.’  We do this by ensuring that we ourselves continue to grow, evolve, and dedicated ourselves to personal development.

LISTEN BELOW!

The Great Parental Leave Episode 001

//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/7099321/height/45/theme/standard/autoplay/no/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/

Right click here to save this episode to your computer.