As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting a lot to Facebook lately. I thought about it a lot, and I worked to come up with articles or ideas to share, but it didn’t feel organic, so I let it be. I let the page collect some dust because to be truly honest, I need a break. I needed some time off. You may be thinking, “well all you do is post articles, how much time does that take?”. I don’t want to post any random article. Everything I post is thoroughly read and it is something that I agree with 100%. It takes me time to read and thoughtfully think about what I want to post. I also want to be excited and fully support what I post. I don’t want to fill your newsfeed just to have something out there because I can’t get behind that. Now what I can get behind is doing what feels right for you. I’m really working hard to listen to myself more and do what I feel is right. Not what is right for my colleague, not what is right for my partner, not what is right for my neighbor, but what is right for me and my business.
Sometime in March, I realized I was too busy and too booked. I wanted to cut back and slow down, so I’m doing just that. I took inventory of all that I have been doing, and all that I am committed to, and I am learning to say no. I’m working to focus on what makes me happy, what brings me joy, and eliminating the rest. I live in the moment. I know that we aren't guaranteed tomorrow, and because of that, I want time with my family, I want time for myself, I want to do what I want to do. So that is what I’m working on. It is taking time. This is something that I anticipate will take several months, possibly years. However, I have already stopped doing some things, and it feels wonderful! It feels like I can breath again. What an amazing feeling!
I wanted to share with you my steps to slowing down. I have been reading and listening to podcasts about slowing down, and it helps a lot! I recommend the book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner and the podcast The Slow Home Podcast. They bring so much insight and support around slowing down, that it is truly inspiring! Besides those things here are a few ways I am slowing down:
Step 1: To start I made a list of what is truly important to me. What values do you cherish? In a dream world, how would you spend your time. Mine revolved a lot around my family, friends, my self care, and my hobbies.
Step 2: Next, I made a list of everything I’m committed to. It made me tired even looking at it, so I knew that was a big sign I needed to slow down and cut some stuff out.
Step 3: Then I started thinking a lot about what brings me joy and happiness. What makes me feel good, and makes me want to keep coming back? I also ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”. That has shed some light on the real reasons I felt the need to take so much on. These questions help me find what I really want to be spending my time on.
Step 4: Then after some time, I realized what brought be joy and happiness, and the rest I’m saying no to. I have quit a few things, and I have said no to a few others. Then as I slowly quit or say no, I cross those things off of my list. Man does that feel good! Bye bye busyness!
Again this all can take a lot of time. I am nowhere near where I want to be with my slower life, but I’m making progress. I know that slower living is not for everyone, and that is ok. You do you. And remember you’re amazing no matter what life path you choose.
I was just talking to my sisters about how much your life changes when you become a parent. This change is something I was not ready for. In fact, I still miss my old life at times. It’s been two years since I have become a mom, and yes, I still miss my old life at times. Becoming a parent is a huge life transition, and I don’t think it is one that we prepare enough for. I know I wasn’t prepared as much as I thought I was. To be honest, I miss the alone time, the free time, and the time with my husband. There are things that I just don’t get to do any more, and things that take a lot more time now. I have to plan things out more, and I have to be more picky about what I do and when I do it.
Do I love my life with my son and as a mom? Hell yes! But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my old life some too. I still grieve my old life. That is ok. I don’t think it makes me a bad person or a bad mom. Instead being open about how I’m feeling allows me to be in tune with my feelings, and to notice what makes me miss my old life and what doesn’t. Being a mom has been an amazing journey for me. I have had an amazing time, but I have also had a very hard time. There are some days when I wish I could jump in the car last minute and go to yoga, but now it takes more planning. That is not a bad thing, but I do miss the impulsivity I used to have. Since I no longer have that impulsivity, it makes me realize how special time away is. If I’m going to plan a happy hour or a yoga class, and I have to coordinate schedules and get a babysitter to do so, you better believe I am going to be fully present and enjoy that happy hour or yoga class. Being a mom has made me realize that I need to be a little more picky about my activities, but that isn’t always a bad thing. In fact it makes those activities extra special for me. I have found that taking the time alone or with friends, has made me feel like my old self again and has given me a that sense of freedom back I used to have. This has been a big revelation in my motherhood journey because it has allowed me to be more present when I’m away and more present when I am back at home.
So yes, I do grieve the loss of my old life. The grief is less intense now, but it still pops up every now and then. I believe that it is ok to say you miss your old life. Notice it. Acknowledge it. No need to be ashamed of those feelings. It does not mean you don’t like parenthood or that you don’t like your child(ren). It means that you had a great life before and you have a great life now, but they are different lives. Different is not a bad thing. Being a parent is hard work. We are all learning as we go and each day is different. Remember to take time for yourself because you will find that time to be extra special and extra rewarding when you come home.
Self- compassion is something that I have only been practicing for a few years, and I have found that it makes me happier and kinder to myself and others. I wanted to share more about it with you today because it can have some powerful positive influences over our mind. Let’s get started, shall we?
What exactly do I mean when I say “self-compassion”? Well, first and foremost I mean the act of being kind to yourself. When you encounter a fall, it’s not beating yourself up, it’s being kind and understanding to yourself. It’s the act of compassion toward yourself from yourself. Self-compassion is the process of sending yourself love and gratitude on a regular basis. It is appreciating yourself even if you fall and even if you think you’re not doing that great. It is limiting the negative self-talk and increasing the positive self-talk.
So that all seems super easy right? Well, it might not be as easy as it sounds...
Explaining and understanding self-compassion is sometimes easier than putting it into practice. Why? Because we live in a world where we thrive on comparison and competition. In a world where it’s easier to put ourselves down and beat ourselves up than it is to be positive toward ourselves. Wait, what? Yep, I’m saying that it is sometimes easier to be negative than it is to be positive especially when we are talking about ourselves. Also, in our world it’s sometimes seen as arrogant or bragging when we give ourselves a compliment, so with all of these factors you can start to see what I mean. What do we do to change this? Insert: self-compassion.
You might be thinking, “Well that’s all great, but how do we even start to implement self-compassion?” Well, let me get to that now.
Self-Compassion takes practice, but with time will become easier and easier. The next time you have a fall or feel you did something bad/stupid/dumb and you’re about to beat yourself up. Stop. Send yourself some love instead. Say something positive and cut yourself a break. This may seem silly at first, but you will get used to it over time. It is a practice, and it will grow as you grow. Regular self-affirmations can have lasting positive effects on our mental and emotional health.
So the next time you want to beat yourself up over something, send yourself some love instead. We all need more love in this world :)
And just for fun a few positive affirmations incase you’re feeling stuck:
-“I am strong and powerful”
-“I am really good at ______”
-“I am a great friend/partner/roommate, etc.”
Did you know that, according to NAMI, 1 out of 5 adults will experience a mental illness in a given year? That means that each of us will probably encounter or have encountered someone with mental illness. It is not as scarce as you may think, so why don’t we hear much about it? Because of mental health stigma.
The stigma around mental health is something we see every day in our society. It is ignoring concerns of anxiety and depression, it is not supporting people when people are feeling upset or down, and it is continuing to not talk about how we are feeling and thinking. This stigma is everywhere. It is in the news, in our communities, in our schools, and at our work. Due to this stigma, some people may feel ashamed or scared to get the mental health support they need. They may be embarrassed to tell people they see a therapist, or they may be embarrassed to even get help at all. Why? Because unfortunately there is a lot of judgement when it comes to mental health.
However, I am here to say that getting help does not make you weak, it makes you strong. Yes, that’s right. You are stronger when you can recognize something is not right, reach out to someone, and get the help you need. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. We all have feelings and thoughts we need to talk through. We have difficult times and situations and we have difficult relationships. Yes, the severity of these things differs for all of us, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Your mental health is what is important, and I bet you will find that more people have mental health concerns than you realize. I am a little biased, but I do believe that it’s much better to talk about your feelings and concerns.
Eliminating stigma takes time, but there is one thing we can all do to work toward normalizing mental health right now. We can talk about it. Allow mental health to be open and honest in our conversations. Like I said above, everyone has difficult times, and if we talk more about mental health and the support available we will normalize it. Normalizing mental health will create a space where mental health can be talked about in a judge-free environment. It will allow people to get the support they need without feeling isolated or weak because, again, getting help makes you strong. So go ahead, start talking and #endthestigma.
I was talking with a colleague the other day, and the conversation steered into the topic of holding space for others. We were discussing our roles as helping professionals, and how sometimes we have to hold space for others. Now you might be thinking, “holding space, what does that mean exactly?”. Well, I am glad you asked, because this is one of my most favorite things to talk about!
Holding space. There is not one definition that would help explain this concept. Holding space for others is providing a compassionate, safe, and empathetic space for others to come to you. It is not something you can force, in fact, it is the opposite. It is you waiting for others to come to you. It is keeping the door always open. Holding space is a way for you to let others know you’re there for them. It is a way for you to show and provide your support.
There is a good chance that you have done this for several people (or are currently doing it). There often times is not a big indicator when you’re holding space for someone. It is probably overlooked by many, and possibly by you when you’re doing it. However, it is one of the most beneficial ways to provide support to someone. It is an open-ended invitation for them to come to you when they need it.
Here are some tips on how to hold space for those in need:
One of the hardest parts about this type of support is the waiting. What if they never come to you? What if it doesn’t work out like I said above? There is no guarantee when you provide support to someone. You cannot control others behaviors or responses or reactions. You can only control yourself. So yes, sometimes it may not work out, but I encourage you to keep trying and to keep that door open. It could provide lasting benefits to someone.