Category Archives for "Wellness"

The Mindful Divorce

Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events. It affects everything important to us: our children, our finances, where we will live, our identity and our expectations about the future.  Going through a divorce is emotionally draining. The hassles involved in the divorce process can make a person irritable, frustrated, and short-tempered. Practicing meditation and yoga during and after divorce promotes self-love, clarity, and balance. There are only a few other things in life as traumatic as going through a divorce. If you are trying to manage a divorce, your work, and your kids, you may be neglecting your own health and peace.

During these difficult times, it is more important than ever for you to take good care of your mind and body. Yoga is a nurturing practice for your emotional well-being and great for your physical health. The combined mind and body approach of yoga makes it an ideal practice for improving overall health.

3 Ways Meditation and Yoga Can Help You Manage the Stress That Surrounds Your Divorce

1.      It builds a community – Going through a divorce can make you feel isolated. You may feel like you have lost the constant support that you had. Experiences of personal growth and relaxation are common to those who practice yoga. Being surrounded by people with the same values as yours will help you fight any anxiety and stress that has stemmed out of your divorce.

2.    Cultivates self-love in you – Getting overwhelmed with doubt ,guilt, and self-blame while going through a divorce is natural. If you are getting separated from a violent and abusive partner, you might even be facing aggression and gas lighting. Practicing yoga and mindfulness is integral to curbing the effect of stress on your mind and body. Yoga and meditation teach a radical approach towards relationships and life, an approach based on love. You will begin to set yourself free of worries and regrets after you start practicing mindfulness.

3·      Helps you gain clarity – Getting divorced brings you to a crossroads in life. While this is terrifying at first, it can be equally empowering with the right approach. Yoga and mindfulness will help you get better clarity of the past and plan for a better future. If you are unable to fathom your situation at the moment, mindfulness will help you find order out of chaos. When the fog of doubt, negativity, regret, and fear will fade, you will see your life clearly.

Mindfulness comes from practicing yoga and meditation. In general, mindfulness helps you stay in the present moment at all times without rehashing over the past or worrying about the future. Using a mindful approach to your divorce can have many benefits including less stress, better relationships, better decisions and lower legal fees because you aren’t making your decisions based upon reactive emotions.  

In addition, being part of a divorce support group can have enormous benefits to help you through your difficult time. You can share what your are going through with others who understand firsthand the challenges you are experiencing. You won’t feel alone. It is also a great way to build new friendships in your post-divorce life.

Divorce is not easy, but putting important supports and tools for selfcare in place will make it easier for you and your children. Life after divorce can be happy and fulfilling, but you have to be proactive in taking care of yourself as you begin this next chapter of your life.


 

Good Vibes Only. That’s Ridiculous!!

All too often in social media and other places I see people posting about how they want "good vibes only" and how they have a "no negativity" zone.  At the risk of emitting "negative vibes", I have to say that I find these mantras to be ridiculous.  I will even go further and say that not only are they ridiculous, they are harmful to people, our relationships and our ability to connect with one another.

Continue reading

The Perils Of The Modern Day Wonder Woman: Can I Really Be A Hot, Fit, High-Powered, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lawyer, Wife And Perfect Mother?

Wonder Woman was created in the 1940’s as a comic book heroine who was set for high adventures, excitement and romance. Fast forwarding to 2017, the modern day wonder woman has a high powered career, is a fabulous mother who home cooks healthy, vegan, gluten-free meals grown from her organic garden, keeps a clean house, is extremely fit, practises yoga, is a sexy wife, and looks fabulous. This woman still has to be a fictional character as no woman can manage all of this at once, but yet for many of us, this is the model we aspire to be like. What’s worse is that we beat up on ourselves, and other women, for not being able to attain this standard. This must stop!

As women, how many times a week, or even a day, do we feel like we aren’t measuring up to this unattainable standard? We feel less than, not good enough, and like we are constantly disappointing our family, our friends and ourselves.  Where does this pressure to be perfect come from and how can we stop it? Social media made it even worse as it has become easier to compare ourselves to the other Wonder Women who are posting about their fantastic lives with fantastic photos too.

The reality is that if you are managing to excel in your career, or motherhood, or fitness, or cooking, you are probably doing better than most. It isn’t a competition though and we need to stop competing against each other.  We need to be more supportive of one another.

In some ways it seems to me that younger women have much better boundaries and a better understanding that women shouldn’t be expected to do all of this.  It is often women who are over 45 who I find struggle the most with trying to be all things to all people, and putting their own needs last. Women in this generation grew up with the women’s movement and many sought careers outside the home. It seems though that changes in the division of labour on the home-front didn’t accompany the changes in the work force at the same pace.  Many of these women still perform all the household and childcare tasks of prior generations while balancing a demanding career.

Younger women and younger men seem to have a better understanding that one person can’t do it all.  The modern day man helps around the house, helps with the kids and is expected to do so.  Middle aged women can learn a thing or two from their younger peers on this front.

The best thing we can do to help facilitate change about the expectations of women is to support one another.  We need to recognize that most women are doing the best that they can, and they are usually brutally aware of any areas where there is room for improvement.  We don’t need to judge each other, and more importantly, we need to be willing to be honest and authentic about our own struggles, and stop putting on the perfect Martha Stewart or Gwyneth Paltrow façade that we are juggling everything to perfection.  If we start to get real and honest about the impossibility of being a hot, fit, high-powered lawyer, who is a perfect mother and wife,  who grows her own organic vegetables, and cooks, as well as eats, a healthy, gluten-free, vegan diet , we will then make progress.

If you are having difficulty juggling everything in your life, coaching can really help you establish priorities and boundaries.  Contact me at leanne@leannetownsend.ca for details.  I’d love to help you be your best and create the life you desire.

5 Key Things To Consider Before Dating After Divorce

Whether you were married 5 years or 25 years, returning to the world of dating after a divorce can be a daunting task. If you were married a long time, it is especially scary, but it is important not to let yourself become so paralyzed by fear that you choose to rule out putting any effort into finding love again.  Life after divorce can be lonely so it is important to be open to finding love again, but you must be ready.  Here are 5 things to consider before returning to the dating world after your divorce that will help you gage whether or not you are ready:

1.  Where are you in the healing process?

Divorce is a major life event.  Like any other life changing event you may go through, it requires time to heal.  How much time is a very individual issue.  Often after a divorce it is natural to feel guilt, to blame yourself, and to question your instincts, especially if you didn’t see the divorce coming.  It is also natural to have strong feelings of anger towards your ex, and this can be prolonged if the legal settlement takes time.  If you are still thinking about your ex frequently, whether your thoughts are good or bad, you are not ready to date.  To be able to attract a healthy relationship, you need to have healed from your previous one so take the time to heal and work on you.

2. Have you reclaimed you?

After a divorce, it is common to feel insecure, unwanted and full of self doubt.  This is not the way you want to feel about yourself when you re-enter the dating world.  You want to be confident and secure.  You need to take the time to work on yourself so that you feel this way.  Also, following divorce many people feel a loss of identity.  They don’t know who they are anymore.  In order to know what you are looking for, you need to know who you are as a person, separate from your ex-spouse.  Reclaiming your identity is part of the healing process, but it is so important, it is being stressed as a separate consideration.

3.  Are you in a position to attract what you want?

The law of attraction states that we attract into our own lives what we put out into the universe.  If we are bitter, untrusting and have walls up, we will attract people who are similar.  If we are emotionally available, we will attract others who are emotionally available.  In order to attract what we want, we need to know what that looks like. We need to make sure that we don’t repeat negative behaviour patterns from our previous relationship that may cause us to make the same mistakes.  We also need to consider whether we are ready for a long-term relationship, or whether we are better suited to just get out there and meet a variety of new people by dating.  Those of us a little older sometimes want to get serious again too quick.  There is no harm in just having fun for a while rediscovering who you are and meeting lots of people.

4.  Do you have a realistic vision of your ideal mate?

All too often people approach dating with a rigid checklist of what they want and they won’t even consider someone who doesn’t meet all of the criteria.  It is easy to forget that we have aged and have some baggage, so of course a prospective partner will have aged and have baggage too.  It is easy to become extremely picky as you get older, especially if you are happy with the other areas of your life, and feel that you just need someone to complement an already good life.  While I would never suggest for a moment that anyone should settle for something less than they desire, just be mindful that you haven’t set the bar so high that there is no living person who can meet it.  Don’t settle, but be open to a Prince or Princess Charming who perhaps doesn’t look or seem exactly like the one you envisioned.

5.  How do your children factor into your dating life?

First and foremost, dating is an adult, individual decision and children should never be the one telling you whether or not it is ok for you to date.  Young children won’t understand it and older children should not be telling their parents what they can and can’t do.  Having said this though, children are always our first priority.  If you have young children you will want to be protective of them and need to decide who it is appropriate for them to meet and when.  Children are only young once and it is important that they never feel that they are secondary to mom’s or dad’s dating life.  It is also important though that when you are ready you don’t let your children hold you back from finding a new love.  Be mindful not to use them as an excuse, when the reality may be that you just aren’t ready yet and that is perfectly ok.

We all deserve to find love again following a divorce.  Don’t let the hurt, betrayal or blow to your self esteem hold you back from doing something that could bring a great deal of happiness to your life.  If you need some support on how to approach dating after divorce, coaching can really help.  Please contact me at leanne@leannetownsend.ca for a free 30 minute consultation.

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.