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26 Oct 2021

Are you feeling discouraged and want to give up?

When times are tough and emotions run high, it can be easy to feel discouraged and want to give up.

In those times try this:

1. Be aware of the emotions you are feeling (name them). Honour them by reminding yourself it’s OK to feel them.

2. Take some deep breaths and reflect back on how far you have actually come. The challenges you have overcome to get you to where you are today, use this as strength to keep moving forward.

3. Remind yourself that the journey isn’t supposed to be perfect and that you have the tools to dig deep and keep going.

This is What I Know: Challenges are chapters of your life not your whole story! You Are Enough! You Matter! You’ve got this!

P.S. These strategies also work for your children/students.

Until next time…

29 Sep 2021

Do you know what makes you happy?

Do you put your happiness on hold?

Do you wait for a special occasion or a goal to be achieved?

This is what I know… Looking for ways to bring happiness into your life is very important to your emotional and mental well-being.

Think of everything you could do to create happiness. It might be talking to a friend/family member, going for nature walks, writing in a journal or watching/playing sports. It could be as simple as starting your day with your favourite breakfast food, song or cup of coffee/tea.

Write your happiness list on a big piece of paper and put it where you can see it.

You have now created your guide to HAPPINESS – a guide that will remind you how to tap into your happy place when you are feeling stressed, anxious or ‘blue’.

I forgot to add…your happiness list should not include ‘I’m only happy when_____ is happy.’ Never let your happiness depend on someone else’s happiness.

You deserve to be HAPPY! Make it a conscious choice!

P.S. Have your children/students create their own list.

Until next time…

13 May 2021

Let Go of the Guilt

You know it’s important to take care of yourself.  You know it will help with your emotional, mental & physical well-being. You know
it will boost your happiness and you know by nurturing yourself, it will put you in a better place to help those you love.

Knowing isn’t enough. You actually have to put your knowledge into action.

And beyond that… you have to make self-care a necessity – a MUST do!

Have you made it your top priority?

If not, do you by chance feel guilty when you do something for yourself?

If you answered yes – please watch this video

Until next time…

14 Apr 2021

You Can Do This!

With the current announcement of students not going back to in-person learning after the April Break and with everything else going on in our world, there are many emotions being felt.

Allow yourself to feel.

Keep reaching out – sharing – talking with respect for self & others.

Let’s keep supporting one another.

Resilience isn’t a solo event – it takes a community.

Your feelings may be BIG but our Strength together is BIGGER and Stronger!

Until next time…

18 Feb 2021

How to Maintain Healthy Relationships

Relationships can be challenging, creating emotions that we are sometimes afraid to share or admit. We are all emotional beings, experiencing a wide range of emotions – yet, it is one of our commonalities that we feel uncomfortable talking about. 

During my presentations, regardless of the age of my audience, I ask, ‘why are emotions hard to share?’ The number one answer is ‘fear of judgment’. It can be too easy to meet emotions with judgment and denial which then creates a disconnect in relationships. Our brain will want to know WHY someone is feeling a certain way so that it can judge if the feeling is warranted. What if we could validate an emotion even if we don’t understand where it is coming from?

Think about how you would like someone to approach your emotions.

Here’s a scenario:

A) You share that you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. Your partner, colleague, friend or family member says, ‘stop it – you are overreacting.’  Does that reaction tell you that it’s not ok to feel your emotions? Do you feel there is no space to share your true emotions?  Do you feel guilt or shame for sharing?

How about this…

B) You share that you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and sad. Your partner, colleague, friend or family member says to you ‘It’s ok to feel. There is a lot going on. I have also felt those emotions.’ Now how do you feel? Do you feel seen? Connected? Supported?

We all want to be heard, be seen and be loved – this is universal.  One of the best ways to validate and to connect with others (including your children/students) is to support their emotions by remembering that ‘It’s OK to feel and that It’s OK not to feel OK.’ This is what strengthens relationships.

Until next time…

28 Jan 2021

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay!

What’s the one part of the human experience we don’t want to talk about…EMOTIONS…which is a HUGE part of our mental health.

We all have emotions!

We may not have experienced the same circumstances – but we have all felt angry, sad, anxious, annoyed, frustrated and disappointed. Yet so many people are saying, ‘I’m fine’ when asked ‘how are you doing?’

It can feel overwhelming and vulnerable to share. You can even feel guilt or shame for feeling the way you do.

Keep reminding yourself…IT’S OK to FEEL. IT’S OK to NOT BE OK.
Write it out. Place those words where you can read them every day.

Be proactive with your mental health by taking care of your emotional health:

☑ Practice emotional awareness. Put a name to your emotions. If you need help with this, email me and I’ll send you a chart to help you identify your emotions. 

☑ Be observant. When experiencing an emotion – what physical impact does it have on you? For example: When I feel anxious it impacts my stomach – it feels like butterflies – it’s uncomfortable. 

☑ Make a list of your healthy ways to move with and through your emotions. Have everyone in your family create their own list. Creating a list is powerful as you can forget what helps you calm when you are experiencing a big emotion. For me, deep breathing, writing, baking, music, working out and talking to someone are all helpful.

It takes courage to talk about your feelings and to reach out for help and comfort when you need it. When you choose to be brave and share you find connection – only with others but also with yourself.

Your Emotions Matter. Your Mental Health Matters. You Matter.

Until next time…

30 Nov 2020

Guess What We All have in Common?

‘What emotion are you feeling?’

When you think about truly sharing your emotions, would you prefer to leave the conversation or conveniently find something else to talk about? Maybe it’s because you don’t know how you are feeling or maybe you want to shout ‘none of your business!’ Or is it because you think sharing emotions makes you look weak?

EXPRESSING EMOTIONS CAN BE TOUGH.

As human beings we enjoy feeling comfortable – ever heard a mattress commercial? All the marketing company has to do is focus on how comfortable the mattress is – SOLD!  We LOVE comfortable. Emotions are not always comfortable. They are messy, awkward and can feel down-right painful both mentally and physically.

You may be able to fool yourself into believing that by ignoring or suppressing emotions you won’t have to face them. Wrong. Not acknowledging your emotions causes burnout, health challenges, anxiety, and strained relationships

EMOTIONS AREN’T YOUR ENEMY.

Emotions are a natural and normal part of the human experience. Emotions are the one thing we all have in common. We may not have experienced the same circumstances – but we have all felt angry, sad, anxious, frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed. Isn’t it comforting to know you’re not alone?

SURPRISE! EXPRESSING YOUR EMOTIONS HELPS:

  • boost happiness
  • reduce stress & anxiety
  • build resilience
  • improve communication
  • establish stronger relationships
  • create empathy
  • bring harmony and well-being to your mental and physical state

Instead of suppressing your emotions, use these 3 ways to help you move with and through your emotions:

1. NAME YOUR EMOTIONS 

There is a release that happens just in saying your emotion out loud, ‘I’m feeling sad.’ It makes it feel less intense. Acknowledge your emotions, instead of making yourself feel bad, wrong or weak for feeling. Next time someone asks, ‘how are you feeling?’ tell them. You are allowed to feel. You are supposed to feel. You will also be giving permission to others to speak up about their emotions.

2. RELEASE EMOTIONS IN A HEALTHY WAY

Create a list of healthy ways to move through your emotions. This will help you get clear about strategies that are helpful. Post it somewhere that will serve as a reminder. When you are experiencing an uncomfortable emotion you can easily forget what helps you move through.

3. FIND YOUR CALM

Being able to calm yourself in the moment from tough emotions and overwhelming circumstances is often easier said than done. Knowing ways to help you relax and decrease stress will calm your mind and body quickly. If one way doesn’t work for you, try another one. Some of my favourites are paying attention to my breath, relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee, humming or singing and watering my plants.

You would never take dead batteries, place them in a flashlight and expect it to shine – yet there are times you will drain yourself emotionally and stick yourself into work, relationships and conversations and expect to shine.

Reach out, ask for help and accept support. You Matter!

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
18 Nov 2020

Start Each Day with an Intention

‘You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.’ Dr. Seuss ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’

When we went into lockdown last March I definitely came down the ‘Lurch’ with an unpleasant bump. All my presentations were cancelled. It was a scary time for me. How was I going to ‘un-slump’ so that I could move forward and not stay scared and worried?

The answer…I started creating a daily intention.

Intentions are like a GPS. They give your brain direction – a focus that creates a structure for your daily choices. It doesn’t mean you won’t have any challenges or uncomfortable emotions throughout your day – it means you now have a compass that:

  • Clarifies your choices.
  • Keeps you focused throughout the day.
  • Boosts your happiness and peacefulness.
  • Helps you live in the moment.

Daily intentions give you hope, accountability and keep you moving forward. And that is exactly what my intentions of ‘I choose to be courageous to reach out and ask for help’ and ‘I choose to be open to new possibilities’ did. They helped me ‘un- slump’

It was slow moving at first. I had moments of frustration, disappointment and even sadness. I did a lot of deep breathing, mindful meditation and writing in my journal. In choosing to keep moving forward, guided by my intentions, I was able to create my new virtual presentations for teachers, students, parents and businesses. And I have to say – I am loving it!

Until next time…

10 Oct 2020

I Am Enough.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, ‘I’m not good enough’ or questioning ‘do I matter?’

We all have moments of self-doubts. The problem is those self-doubts keep you from reaching your greatest potential.

Years ago I realized I had a choice – to believe my self-doubts or replace them with three powerful words… ‘I AM ENOUGH.’

By repeating these 3 words you will strengthen your confidence allowing you to carry on with the important work you are doing!  It will also rewire your mind for positivity, gratitude and love.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, consistency and will-power.

The key is to repeat it often so it becomes a habit.

Helpful Tip: Grab a piece of paper and write in BIG letters ‘I AM ENOUGH’ and place it where you will see it daily. Every time a thought or feeling comes up that questions whether you are enough, take 3 deep breaths and mindfully repeat ‘I AM ENOUGH.’

You are Enough! The world needs YOU and your unique gifts.

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature
6 Oct 2020

Boost Well-being with a Dose of Gratitude

As we find ourselves and our children/students adapting to a new version of what school looks like, whether it’s ‘online learning’ or ‘in building learning’, we may all be experiencing challenging circumstances which can trigger some tough emotions like: anger, sadness, frustration, anxious or disappointment.

Is there an antidote to help you and your children/students bounce back from these challenges and emotions? YES!

It’s called GRATITUDE.

Feeling and expressing gratitude not only boosts emotional and mental well-being, but also boosts your immune system and your happiness.

How do you teach children the skill of gratitude? 

Below are 3 grateful activities that are a fun way to practice and express gratitude.

1. VISUAL DISPLAY OF GRATITUDE

Create a tree, a banner, a board or a collage as a display to encourage children to focus on the people, experiences and things in their life that make them feel grateful and appreciative. Every day have them reflect and write one aspect of their life they are grateful for. By adding their paper to the display they deepen relationships and become more connected to the people around them.

2. JOURNALING

Journaling creates a practice of connecting to gratitude and helps with their writing skills. Daily entries in their own private journal about the people, events and things they are grateful for, helps them with emotional resilience and self-esteem. For those who may say, like my son, ‘I can’t think of anything’, here are some helpful hints:

  • What did you do today that was fun?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you look forward to when you wake up?
  • Who or what makes you smile?
  • What did you do today that made you feel brave?
  • What made you proud today?
  • Who was kind to you today?
  • What is your favourite place to visit?

3. CREATE A JAR OF JOY

A Jar of Joy is a fun, creative way to help children practice gratitude. Begin by providing a jar large enough to hold daily gratitude notes. Then personalize the jar with decorations using ribbons, stickers, pompoms, sparkles, markers etc

After decorating the jar, it’s time to add the ’gratitudes’ they have written about people, places or things. They can also add photos or cut out images from magazines that depict their gratitudes. Whenever they are having a challenging moment where they need a joyful lift encourage them to take a gratitude from their jar and have a brief discussion about it.

Being reminded to focus on what they enjoy and are grateful for, will not only shift their mood and mind to a happier state, but also yours.

Gratitude is transformational! Choosing to focus on what you are grateful for transforms how you feel about yourself, others and your life!

Until next time…

sara westbrook signature