Don’t you wish you could pick and chose the emotions you want to experience?
Especially during lockdown and online learning. I remember one morning laying in bed, mentally preparing the start to my day.
I was telling myself…
‘Today I won’t feel irritated. I felt irritated yesterday and it was exhausting, not today!’
Within 10 minutes of getting out of bed my son was already complaining about having to log on to do his learning – he was asking for his fifth snack and it wasn’t even 9 am yet!
I was irritated!!
I couldn’t avoid it. My body and brain felt irritated without my consent.
This is what I know: I quickly learned that emotions can surprise you and they aren’t to be avoided and can’t be avoided for the long term. We are emotional beings whether we are comfortable with it or not!
So, the real practice becomes in allowing ourselves to feel and acknowledge our emotions and then find healthy ways to move with/through them.
Here are some simple and effective strategies that I find helpful:
• deep breaths (make your exhale longer than your inhale)
• remind myself that it’s ok to feel what I’m feeling
• notice where the emotion impacts me physically (neck pain, stomach ache , heart rate)
• 5 min meditation
• talk to someone
• go for a walk
• listen to music
What helps you move with and through an uncomfortable emotion?
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…
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:
reduce stress & anxiety
establish stronger relationships
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…
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.
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…
25 Jun 2020
Take Care of You First
Be selfish to be selfless. Sounds pretty … selfish!
What if, in order to help others, you first have to take care of yourself?
You would never take dead batteries and put them into a flashlight and expect it to shine. Yet, sometimes you will drain yourself, your battery, and then put yourself into relationships, work and conversations and expect to shine.
It doesn’t work that way!
You need to take care of yourself first. That’s why flight attendants ask you to put on your oxygen mask first. If you run out of oxygen, you won’t be able to help anyone else with their mask. The same applies in life.
The happier, healthier and more self-fulfilled you feel, the more you will be able to give to what matters to you most… family, friends, work, community.
Take time for you by reading, sleeping, eating healthy, listening to music, exercising, deep breathing etc. Make sure you are rejuvenating and recharging your batteries so you can keep on shining for yourself and others.