The Best Mother’s Day Gift You Can Give Yourself

With Mother’s Day coming this weekend, I want to give other mother’s the best piece of advice that I have:  Celebrate You. 

Yes, being a mother is wonderful and it a fundamental part of your identity, but to be your best, to thrive in your life, you need to celebrate the other aspects of who you are, not just motherhood.

Once we have children, it is all too easy for many of us to completely lose ourselves and our identity separate from being a mother.  We think about our children all the time, talk about them all the time, put them first, and often this is at the expense of the other areas of our lives.  Careers get put on hold.  Marriages suffer. Women let themselves go.  We lose touch with what it means to be a sexy, vibrant woman. These are the many truths of motherhood.

The mothers that I know who are the happiest are the ones that don’t just derive their identity from being a mother.  They have careers they enjoy.  They go on date nights with their husbands.  They make time for fitness, friends, hobbies and other things beyond motherhood.

When my children were younger, I thought that I was being selfish if I made time for these other things.  I felt that because I worked, I needed to always rush home to my kids.  No time for workouts, friends, hobbies or any form of me time.  I mistakenly thought that such things were selfish.  I love my children more than anything, but leading my life for them, caused me to suffer.  I felt like a doormat.  I lost my sense of self.  I slowly began to let myself go, and this caused me to lose my passions for life, and my desire to be my best. Feeling sexy and vibrant were concepts I thought were reserved for pre-motherhood only.

What I have learned though is that the best mother is a woman who loves herself and her children, and in that order. 

It’s a woman who models what high self esteem, boundaries, self-care and continuous personal development look like.  This is a woman who shows her children that while she loves them, it is ok for her to have a life away from them too.  This is a woman that her children will respect and want to emulate, rather than a martyr who felt she had to constantly sacrifice for them.

If you are a single mother, like me, it is even more important that you do these things for yourself despite the greater challenges you have to manage as compared to married mothers.  You must find time for yourself.  Workout, date, find a career you enjoy, spend child-free time with friends.  These things are imperative to do if you want to truly thrive, be happy, and be an excellent role model for your children.

So this Mother’s Day, celebrate YOU!  Do something for yourself that makes you feel good and has nothing to do with being a mother.  I am confident that you are good to your children, and meeting their needs.  I am not so confident you are being good to yourself and meeting your own needs.  If you would like some help on how to find time for yourself and identifying what you need to do in order to rediscover passion and be your best, I have developed an excellent coaching program to help.  It has been personally tested by me, so I know firsthand that it works.  If you would like to learn more about how coaching can help you, let’s chat.

7 Tools For Successful Midlife Weight Management

Over the past 10 years, I have seen my weight fluctuate up and down.  As an emotional eater, in times of stress I get heavier, and in times of happiness and contentment, I am lighter.  I guess I wear my feelings on my hips, butt and tummy.  After years of yo-yo dieting, binge eating, starving myself, and trying every new diet fad out there, I have learned a thing or two about successful weight loss, and weight management.  I am going to share 7 tools that I have found to be essential to maintaining a healthy weight.

1.  Eating Frequently

Yes eating often seems to fly in the face of weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight but it really is key.  Of course, you have to eat healthy foods, but if you eat frequently (5-6 times per day), you won’t get hungry and then overeat when you do have a meal.  I can’t count the number of times I skipped a meal only to overindulge in another meal later in the day or late at night before bedtime because I was starving.  Once I started eating frequently, I stopped this unhealthy behaviour.

2. Bulk Up Your Meals

I started to add an extra cup of non-starchy vegetables to my meals.  Leafy greens, broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms are examples of the extra veggies I add to my plate.  This fills me up with healthy foods and not empty calories, and makes me less likely to grab an unhealthy, high calorie snack between meals.

3.  Schedule a Weekly Meal Prep

I block 2-3 hours per week on Sundays to do my meal prep for the next week.  This is marked in my calendar as a weekly, non-negotiable item.  If I don’t block time in my schedule I know it won’t happen.  I prepare a variety of vegetables and meats and combine them in different ways.  I cook a whole chicken and use the meat for salads, stirfrys and wraps.  I mix vegetables with different combinations to give myself some variety.  I make egg muffins so that I have an easy grab and go breakfast for the week.  If healthy, easy meals are on hand it is easier to eat nutritiously.

4.  Load Up On Water

We all know we should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day but sometimes this is hard.  Take a water bottle with you everywhere as this will help increase your H2O intake.  If you don’t like water, you can ease into it the same way that I did. I started first by drinking carbonated water and flavoured water because I like the bubbles.  From there I switched to plain water but I would add slices of lemons, cucumbers or strawberries.  Next, I switched to plain water with nothing added.  The switch was gradual but it worked, and now I am much better at staying properly hydrated.

5.  Find Creative Ways To Exercise

If you can’t get to the gym every day, there are other ways to increase activity level.  Walk where you can, take the stairs where you can and find creative ways to add exercise.  When I am doing chores such as laundry, unloading the dishwasher or cooking I incorporate squats into what I am doing.  After folding a piece of laundry I do a squat, after taking a dish from the dishwasher I do a squat.  There are easy ways to add activity to every day life.

6.  Portion Control

Bring out the measuring spoons and cups and actually measure the portions of food you are serving yourself.  This helps ensure that you aren’t over-eating and that you are mindful of your serving size.

7. Change Your Attitude

Instead of telling yourself, that you are over 40 or 50 and it is impossible to stay slim or it doesn’t matter at your age, tell yourself that you are a sexy, man or woman in the prime of your life.  Remember that maintaining a healthy weight is completely doable and that you owe it to yourself to make it a priority so that you can be the best version of yourself.

Try incorporating as many of these tools as you can into your life on a consistent basis, and you will find that losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight are realistic outcomes at midlife and beyond.  If you would like some help with finding ways to incorporate these and other healthy living tools into your life, I’d love to chat.  I have a great coaching program that will help you achieve your goals.

5 Advantages of a Holistic Approach to Divorce

 

If you are considering separation or divorce, or have already started the process, you may want to consider the many advantages offered by a holistic approach to the process. Family law is not suited to the adversarial process that has evolved in our legal system.  A holistic approach recognizes that the consequences of divorce and family breakdown are often devastating, and there is lots of healing to be done.

Why not incorporate healing into the entire divorce process so that parties can act from a place of wellness when making decisions, rather than from a place of devastation?

Here is a summary of five of the inter-related advantages of a holistic approach to divorce:

  1. The biggest advantage of using a holistic approach is that it will benefit any children who are involved. If parents are healing and taking care of themselves, they will be better parents and make better decisions for their children. It is far better for children if their well-being is being determined by rational, healthy parents who love them, rather than a judge who knows little about them and to whom they are just another case.
  1. A holistic approach will likely result in significantly reduced costs. Everyone knows that litigation is very expensive. Collaboration, mediation and a holistic approach create a process designed to be less adversarial, promoting cooperation and agreement. This reduces costs.
  1. A holistic approach using a lawyer also trained in life coaching or therapy allows the client to work through emotional issues without having to hire a separate professional and spend money reacquainting someone else with what is going on. This results in further cost savings. Even if the other party is using a more adversarial approach and the divorce has more resulting conflict, using a holistic lawyer will mean that the lawyer is able to help the client deal with the emotional challenges more effectively.
  1. Using a holistic approach ensures clients are taking care of their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical self during one of life’s most stressful and devastating events. This not only benefits the client, it benefits his or her children to have a parent who is practicing self-care and therefore, is better equipped to meet the needs of the child.
  1. Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not just a legal event. As countless couples in the throes of separation can attest, accusations about the past and fears about the future can make constructive conversation impossible. As partners “lawyer-up” emotions often drive the agenda, but yet the legal process is not the place to deal with emotions. Using a lawyer who is also trained as a life coach or therapist will help a client with all facets of the matter, not just the legal.

We have learned the many benefits to approaching our family and health from a holistic perspective, why not bring this holistic approach into family law matters? If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of a holistic approach to family law or are involved in a family law matter and need assistance, please contact me and we can discuss how I might be able to help.

2 It’s Time for a Holistic Approach to Family Law

The biggest complaints that I constantly hear from those going through divorce or separation are that their lawyers were not in tune with their needs, cost too much and had little compassion. Given the pervasiveness of these complaints, the legal profession should be examining how to better meet the needs of these clients.

When we have a holistic approach to so many other areas of service these days, why has the legal profession been so slow to incorporate a holistic approach to law?

I think it is long overdue, that family lawyers approach clients from a holistic perspective and that is exactly what I intend to do with my expanded services.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed and if you haven’t been through one yourself, you most definitely know others who have. Although the experience of divorce is not uncommon, it is considered to be one of life’s most stressful events, often ranking only below death of a spouse in terms of the stress and overwhelming emotions felt by someone going through it. Family Lawyers are frequently the first point of contact for those who find themselves in this situation because they have no choice but to get a lawyer to help them navigate through what is often foreign territory, ……a foreign territory with far reaching implications that affects where they live, when they see their children and their financial security. Everything important in someone’s life is at stake. Those in this situation are understandably overwhelmed, bewildered and extremely stressed, and they have to make important decisions.  People in this situation need someone who is compassionate, and understanding, and who has the skills to help them move forward, making far reaching decisions while in a state of complete shock. Lawyers need to provide effective and competent legal representation, but they also need to provide emotional support and compassion. This is why a holistic approach is long overdue.

Family Lawyers need to have some of the skills of a social worker, coach or therapist in order to be able to effectively assist clients. While outside referrals to these professionals may always be necessary, I am fortunate in my practice to be able to offer some of these skills and services to clients without them having to go somewhere else to receive them. This means that clients can reduce their costs and benefit from a lawyer who sees the big picture, and has the skills and training to assist them in a much-needed holistic fashion.

My holistic approach places a primary focus on a client’s unique life situation and allows us to develop an optimal legal strategy having ensured there is proper support in all areas of a client’s life.

This multi-faceted approach also provides cost savings to the client who can now receive various supports from the same professional without having to constantly retell the details of their situation to additional people at their own expense.

If you are going through separation or divorce, or know someone who is, and you think a holistic approach would be helpful, let’s have a conversation.

Stop Playing Small – The 3 Ingredients to Being Your Best

If someone told you that in order to reach your full potential and lead a life of true happiness, you had to do 3 things, would you be willing to do them, no matter what it takes?

It seems like the answer to this question should be a resounding YES, but in reality, most people are not willing to do what is necessary in order to live an extraordinary life. There are 3 ingredients to being your best, and while they may seem simple, the reality is that consistently practicing these 3 actions is too challenging for most people.

The 3 ingredients to being your best are what I call my MNF principle. You must:

  1. Move your body;
  2. Nourish your body; and
  3. Flourish by discovering your why and developing yourself to get there.

If you consistently do these 3 things, I promise you that you will become the best version of yourself, feel happy and be fulfilled.

First, we must MOVE our body. Exercise provides both physical and mental benefits that are essential to a happy life. It is good for your heart, your lungs, and every organ in you body. It ensures that you maintain your mobility, flexibility and strength. Aesthetically, it has many benefits too. Fit people tend to look better and having a nicely toned beach body is something many people aspire to have. Looking better often results in increased self-confidence. Exercise also releases endorphins that make our mood feel better. We feel happier and less stressed after a good workout. If you want to be your best, you absolutely have to exercise regularly.

Second, we must NOURISH our body. This means that we must feed our body healthy food and ensure that we are always properly hydrated. Starving ourselves to lose weight plays havoc with our metabolism as well as our moods, so eating healthy is the only way to maintain long-term successful weight management. Drinking enough water is also essential to maintaining a good energy level. If we are hungry, thirsty, too full or suffering indigestion from eating the wrong foods there is no way that we can be our best. Proper nutrition is essential for us to maximize our potential.

Third, we must FLOURISH by discovering our why and developing ourselves to get there. We must ask ourselves these questions: What is our purpose? What makes our heart sing? What do we feel passionate about? Once we have answered these questions, we need to develop a plan to incorporate these things into our life as much as possible. We need purpose in our lives, a reason to hop out of bed in the morning with excitement, joy and gratitude for the day ahead. Without purpose, we can never be our best.

These 3 ingredients are not difficult or complicated, but sometimes it is challenging to consistently practice them. This is where most people stumble. Often it is helpful to have someone assist you in developing a plan and most importantly, holding you accountable. This is why so many people benefit from coaching. A coach will help you design a realistic plan to ensure that you MOVE, NOURISH and FLOURISH. This involves holding you accountable for your actions or inaction, and helping you stop the self-sabotaging behaviours that keep you playing small. If you want to be your best and develop your plan to MOVE, NOURISH and FLOURISH, let’s chat. Remember, the best is yet to come.

 

Ghosting: The Modern Day Dating Problem

 

If like me, you are out there in the dating world, BEWARE OF GHOSTS as they are everywhere.

Ghosting is a phenomenon I never experienced in my twenties. It just didn’t exist or wasn’t very common. I am not entirely sure why, but back in the day, people just didn’t do this as frequently as it is done now.

For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the term ghosting, it is defined as the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Poof, and your boyfriend or girlfriend is gone.

When I first became familiar with ghosting, I thought that it was something that people only did after one or two dates. However, I have learned that it can happen after dating for months and in the online dating world it is very common. One day you can be cooking a nice dinner for someone in your home, making future plans, and the next, that person is gone, without explanation, never to be heard from again.

Having been ghosted, I know first hand that it hurts. It is extremely confusing when someone that you were starting to care about suddenly disappears with no explanation or signs anything was wrong. While it is definitely the act of a coward, that doesn’t make the recipient feel any better.

Why people ghost is easy to explain.   It is an easy, non-confrontational way to get out of a relationship or situation that someone doesn’t want to be in. It is avoidance at its best.

Why, however, did people not engage in ghosting nearly as often twenty or thirty years ago? My only answer is that it is a reflection of the times we are in. People, particularly in the dating world, are viewed as disposable. Someone better is just one click or swipe away. At the click of a button we unfriend, unfollow or block someone without notice or much thought, why would this be any different in dating?

Ghosting is also a reflection of our society’s current desire to avoid negative feelings at all costs. By just disappearing, the ghost doesn’t have to deal with the hurt his or her actions have caused the other person. In reality though, the ghost’s actions have caused more hurt than being honest or upfront would ever have caused, and deep down, the ghost probably knows how cowardly his or her actions were and these feelings will manifest in some way. Avoidance is never a healthy strategy for dealing with anything.

While I don’t have any great pearls of wisdom on how to deal with ghosting, I do offer this: First, and foremost, don’t ever be a ghost yourself. I believe in karma and ghosting will haunt you. Second, if you are ghosted, always remember that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the ghost. You wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with a disrespectful partner anyway.

Dating and relationships will always have their challenges, ghosts or not. If you could use some coaching on navigating through modern day dating, please contact me, and we can chat about how coaching can be of assistance.