I'm pretty sure when the isolation started, we never thought it would literally shut us down for months. Here we are, week 11 working from home is about to start, and we are slowly contemplating going back. What does that mean?
I am the type of person who barely slows down. My brain works a mile a minute and I think of so many things at once that I have several lists to keep me organized. In the first couple of weeks I was going stir crazy....anxious to get "back at it" as soon as possible. I didn't realize how caught up in "the busyness of life" I was until I had to stop. Now, I have a much different perspective. I have been blessed with the opportunity to have the time to reassess my values and priorities. I have learned what to let go of and what small irritations really don't matter. I have learned to just sit and enjoy- listening to the birds, walking in nature, petting my aging dog and laughing again. I have learned to completely walk away from any drama and remain solid in my positive thinking.
I do realize that someone reading this may disagree and perhaps you have had a completely different experience with your time. Outside of a few exceptions, I do believe it is a personal choice for what you allow into your world. You can use this time to be frustrated and impatient or you can take the time to truly check in with yourself. Look at it as an opportunity to create a solid foundation and set the boundaries that you will stick to for YOUR OWN mental health and well being. Try not to slip right back into the same old, same old.
I challenge you to create "your new normal"!
Week number five of isolation and social distancing. Out of everything that is happening, who knew I would miss HUGS the most!
Its very strange, isn't it? One day we go from being completely caught up in our working world, constantly moving on to the next "to do list" and worrying about meeting deadlines. We run ourselves ragged and often forget to pause and be grateful for what we have. The next day the world is on pause.
I have never been a fear based person. I choose not to watch the news and I am not obsessive about being online. Having said that, I am also not naive to the challenges our world is facing in this moment. My heart goes out to all those who have lost, are sick or are actively fighting for their health. For once I actually appreciate the speed of our online communication. Within days, the entire world was notified to take some time away so we can actively help in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
I realize that there are many people who are stuck in shock and fear and are truly scared for our future. This is very scary, however if we all choose to remain calm, help others where necessary and take the time to spend quality time with our families and loved ones, we will get through this together.
So please join me in taking a deep breath and using this time to be grateful for all that we have.
Its that time of year again when we can all start with a "clean slate". We wake up rejuvenated and full of hope and promise for the exciting year ahead. I have always used this time to create my "101 Goal List", a practice I learned from my best friends mom Nancy, back when I was a teenager. I take the time to make a list of the things I would like to accomplish, things I need to fix or buy, what financial goals I want to achieve, places I would like to go and things I want to do.
While creating my goal list, I always set my top goal for the year as well. For as long as I could remember, my top goal was always to lose weight and I would put exactly how many pounds I felt I needed to lose that year. I would see women that I perceived as beautiful and they were always skinny, I assumed that is how I needed to be in order to be happy with myself. Unfortunately, I never seemed to achieve the weight loss goal.
In the past couple of years, I have changed my top goal to "be healthy". To me, this means mentally, emotionally and physically healthy at any weight I happen to be at. Interestingly enough, as soon as I changed my mindset, I became the healthiest I have ever been.
A lot of us live our lives comparing ourselves to others and wanting to be something other than we are. The only thing we need to be is the very best version of ourselves and that makes us beautiful in our own, unique way!
So its the time of year where you can get your creative juices flowing. You are constantly expressing yourself, whether its in the gifts you buy or make for others, the cookies you bake, the people you gather with or the seasonal parties you attend or host.
I love Christmas time and everything it entails. The lights, the music, the sentiment of thinking of others and most of all, the cheesy Hallmark movies (yes I"m one of those!). Aside from all of that, I can express my creativity over and over by decorating my home. I absolutely love this and for those of you who are similar to me, you literally transform from season to season.
I saw this caption and it really resonated with me. How many times do people have amazing ideas that they leave unsaid because they are worried about what someone else would think about them or their idea. No ideas are bad ideas and brainstorming is how the truly phenomenal dreams take flight. So this holiday season, allow your ideas to flow without judgement or filter. Our entire universe was created from single ideas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to You and Yours!!
I am just returning from my yearly visit to Grail Springs and what an amazing experience once again. It always amazes me at the beginning, not knowing anyone and then finishing the week with new friends. What a group this year!
What I respect the most is when someone decides not to judge others and instead, work on themselves. A saying I use quite regularly is "judging yourself is taking the easy route, its working through it that makes you stronger." I met people who were coming in completely stressed out, feeling a little lost, being very self-critical and not knowing where to start. What I saw at the end was complete transformation- it was inspirational. To all of you (and you know who you are)....keep going! There is so much creativity, beauty and compassion in each of you- it was a true pleasure!
For years I have been told that in order to slow my mind down, I need to meditate. Sounds easy enough, right? I have tried sitting still in silence, listening to guided meditations and moving through yoga. Nope....nothing. I found I ended up putting so much pressure around what a "meditation practice" should look like that I was missing the entire point of why I was doing it in the first place. My amazing Reiki teacher talked to me about this one day and said that it doesn't need to be perfect. It can be anything that allows you to breathe and relax. Okay, there must be something I can do.
And then I found them- two things that work like magic for me! The first is colouring. I have written and shown some of my colouring projects in one of my earlier blogs and to this day, I still sit with a colouring book when I really need to relax and "zone out". Time passes when I am doing this and I find that I am no longer worrying about the tasks in my day or what I need to do next. I am able to just sit and be creative.
The second is walking in nature, and this is probably my favorite. I am typically walking with my dog Bo and nothing gets me out of my own head faster than being surrounded by nature. Something about the massive trees blowing in the wind, the long grass, the flowers and bushes, the animals running around and the amazing songs of the birds flying by. To add to all of those incredible sounds, I am usually talking out loud. Although I'm sure my neighbours think I'm a bit crazy (which I'm good with), this is my way of sorting out my thoughts while being completely calm.
When I saw this photo, it showed me without the use of any words, the kind of tranquility that is possible. The simple act of sitting in water, shutting our eyes and breathing is all we really need to do to find our own internal peace.
So, I'm about to do something I have never done before.....well, not exactly. I have talked for years. I have presented in a business atmosphere for approximately 25 years now and I have always loved doing that. But this is different. This is a topic and a path that I am so very passionate about, it is going to feel like a first for me!
On August 31st, I will be a vendor in the Ottawa Valley Wellness Show being held at the Renfrew Armouries. In addition to being a vendor that day, I will also be giving a talk called "My Self-Care Toolbox", to those who are interested in signing up. I am so excited to meet new people and share some of my learnings and stories with them. Through the years, I have worked with, mentored and established strong relationships with so many people (adults, teenagers and children), who have had issues or some adversity to overcome. We all go through struggles and hard times, however I wanted to concentrate on the positive: quick, simple, tools to help us get through those times. I'm typically a very private person and don't usually share too much, even with those closest to me, but something in me wants and needs to start making a difference. The sadness, hurt and anxiety is everywhere, and if I can help even one person learn to release in a healthy way, that means everything to me.
If you are in the Renfrew area on August 31st, I would love to meet you. Wish me luck!
As humans, judgement can be a very big part of our every day lives. I don't think we intentionally set out that way, but it happens a lot. We judge other people on how they look or dress, where they work, what their habits are and how they live their lives. At a higher level, we judge belief systems and other races. If all of that wasn't hard enough, we place judgement on ourselves so often that we may not even recognize when we are doing it.
Have you ever done something that you completely regret? Had an important meeting and completely messed up? Said no to a friend or family member but then "guilt-ed" yourself endlessly for days? We are human, so we have all been there. Even the most kind, compassionate and loving person can be awful to themselves at times.
One day I was at a reiki session with my teacher and she said something to me that shook me to the core. I was doubting and speaking negatively about myself without even noticing and she stopped me. She asked if I would ever speak in that way to a child or another person, which I answered- NO, of course not!! She said, "then what makes it okay to speak to yourself that way?". I don't think anything has ever resonated with me so much. If I can speak kindly to others, love animals with all my heart and do anything for friends and family, I am definitely capable of being kind to myself.
So today I would like you to look in the mirror, tell yourself how amazing you are, forgive the person that stares back at you and most importantly send them unconditional love. They also deserve your kindness.