Archive for the ‘Working Moms’ category

Do Something That You Love TODAY!!!

June 3, 2009

What do you love to do?  Take a moment and write out the things in your life that give you pleasure, joy, happiness and peace.  Then ask yourself: When was the last time I gave myself permission to do any of these things?

Today I want you to remember that “Attitude is everything“.

If you love watching your kids play, then watch them play. Feel the joy of having them in your life ( as opposed to the work of raising them)

If you love listening and singing to the music on the radio – then really listen and sing out loud.  Feel your energy as you sing

If you love listening to opera and your soul is moved beyond measure when you do – then really listen to opera today

If you love walking in nature because it grounds you and makes you feel connected to your spirit – then make time today to go for a walk and really feel that connection

If you love the taste of chocolate and your body feels the love – then savour a piece of chocolate today

If you love having fresh flowers in the house – then treat yourself to a bouquet and smell the scent

Drink in the beauty of what surrounds you – friends, family, a healthy body, laughing children,puppy dogs and kittens

Make a commitment today to do something that you love  to do – it could be cleaning your house, folding your laundry, writing that report, driving your kids, chairing a meeting or what ever your day holds.  When you feel the love and appreciation for the moments in your life, the rewards in improved health and wellbeing are endless.

Blog with you later

Gerrianne

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Are you a Martyr or do YOU Matter!!!

June 1, 2009

What is a martyr? Someone who sacrifices their needs for the needs of others.  Now this seems like a noble thing to do.  Aren’t many of us conditioned from a young age to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others.  Plus, the reality is that as a mother, there are times when it is absolutely essential to put our needs lower down on the list because we have babies and children to feed, change, organize etc.

How many times however, do you find that what YOU care about does not seem to matter?  Somehow we have it set up in our mind that everyone else’s needs must come first.  I used to call myself –  Martyr Mom – not a pretty title but it fit.  For years, I  spent my time doing for everyone else and whining about my needs not getting met.  Looking back on that time I see that this was not only awful to listen to but it also set a very poor example for my kids.

When I got the wake up call that no one else was going to make sure that I exercised, ate properly, had my quiet time, or had play dates with my friends I realized that if I wanted to feel good in my life, it was up to me and only me to take the steps necessary to do that!!!

However, being a martyr is a bit of a hard habit to break.  For me, there always seems to be a tension between taking care of myself and taking care of others. That is the truth.

To know that “I MATTER” I need to be vigilant about asking myself  in the moment –

What am I doing?

Why am I doing this?

Do I want to?

Do I need to?

Answer truthfully to myself

Before I begin, I always make sure that I take my 3 intentional breaths do get me  into the moment to help me clarify my intention and listen carefully for the answers from within.

Give this a try and let me know how you are doing on the Martyr/Matter debate

Blog with you later

Gerrianne

WHO ARE YOU? Take 5 minutes to begin your journey of discovery

May 26, 2009

Who are you?

Many people answer this question with a description of their various roles. For me I am a mother, coach, workplace consultant, former nurse, wife, sister, aunt, friend etc. With each of these roles I have certain expectations as to how I want to fulfill them.  For example as a mom, I have three adult children whom I love spending time with, imparting my words of wisdom to (always being careful not to overdo the WISDOM part) and for many years my children defined me. By that I mean, everything that they said and did were a direct reflection of me i.e. their accomplishments, their dreams, their sorrows, their joys and their mistakes.  I was totally tied into their stories and their lives to define me as a good mom, an attentive mom, someone who had it handled, someone who makes mistakes or someone who was not good enough or there enough for my kids.  I had many judgements as to how well I fulfilled my role.

How about you?  Are you totally defined by your roles – parent, nurse, teacher, health care worker, daughter etc. Even though it may seem natural to do this, it is not who you really are!!

Behind all of the roles and expectations you have for living your life, who are you really?   What makes you – YOU? If you do not spend any time in relationship with yourself, how will you really know who you are?  When you spend this time you start to get connected with what is at the core of who you are and it is a beautiful journey of discovery.

My challenge for you today is to spend 5 minutes quietly in relationship with yourself.

Turn off all electronics (TV, cell phone, computer etc.),

Sit quietly in a chair,

Close your eyes and breathe deeply and intentionally.

Set a timer so you know that you will be alerted when the time has passed.

Notice what you hear

Notice what you see

Notice how you feel

Notice what you feel

Still your mind chatter

breathe.

Just notice what you notice and

BE. IN THE MOMENT

I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR STORIES.  Take care.

Gerrianne

6 Tips to Help Our Kids De-stress

May 5, 2009

Hello all,

For those of us who are parents, the idea that our kids are not finding effective ways of coping with stress is scary.  When you see all of the problems with childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc.  there is often a fear that we are not doing enough for our kids to help them with the challenges they face.

After 35 years as a nurse and 28 years as a mom, a specialist in stress management and developer of effective “in the moment” tools,  there are some simple strategies that we can  use with our kids that will help them calm down and “live more in the moment” (and by teaching them these tools, we are also doing them ourselves so it is a win/win).

1 – Teach them to breathe intentionally. As I described in the #3 of the  “Moment-Is Challenge” taking 3 deep breaths into the area around the solar plexus has a calming effect on the whole system.  Set aside time each day to coach your children through the breathing.  Some ideal times to do this include:  a) before you drive out of the driveway on the way to school, b) when you pick them up from day care, school or dance class, c) before they start their homework and d) before they go to bed.  Do it with them, you will both calm down tremendously.

2.  Help them remember something that makes them smile – it could be playing with a friend, riding their bike, dancing, playing soccer.  Tell them to close their eyes and smile or laugh about a good memory they have.  By helping your kids remember the good times they’ve had can help them recreate those feelings in their bodies and counteract the negative effects of  stress.  It is very easy for all of us to remember and obsess about the negative stuff and it takes effort to reconnect with the positive.  By setting this intention with your kids it helps both of you connect to positive emotions.

3.  Develop a habit of talking about “what went well today”.  When our kids were younger and still at home we tried to have everyone come up with 3 things that were good about the day.   I tried to focus on this a couple of times a month.  What I noticed is this was often difficult  to do depending on the drama of the day (it is really easy to focus on the bad but not so easy to focus on the good).  If your younger (and older) children cannot come up with something good you may need to coach them through this.  Our youngest daughter was the recipient of a fair amount of bullying over the years which made this exercise challenging.  We  needed to focus on things at home that were good(because school often was not) , for example: “Molly (the older dog) snuggled with Charlie (the puppy) isn’t it cute they are getting along better than they used to”.

Please let us know challenges you find in doing this.

4. Get them active – try and go to the park after dinner, ride your bikes, if it is lousy or cold outside turn on some tunes and dance, sing to the music, let your spirit soar!!!

Be your goofiest self, feel the groove to the music and let it out.  Your children may be shy to start, that is okay, be the role model and it will help you de-stress as well.  This not only helps all of you release the tension it also creates a closer connection when you can laugh and play together. Having fun, enjoying each others’ company and appreciating life helps to increase our serotonin levels which is the feel good hormone we have circulating through our veins.  We can naturally increase this by feeling joy and observing joy in others.

5.  Healthy eating – Healthy eating is fundamental to a positive outlook on life.  It is a challenge with all of the busyness of the day/week/month to find time to prepare healthy foods for our kids (and ourselves).  However, taking the time to plan can pay off in huge ways – nutritionally, economically and your sanity. What I try to do (and am successful 60 % of the time) is plan my meals on Sunday and do the grocery shopping for the week.

I like to spend time on Sunday afternoon making a meal or two for the week with the kids.  Some things I do in batches include soup, spaghetti sauce, cut up veggies for lunches etc. This is a great activity to do with the kids as it teaches them about healthy eating and also creates some quality time with you. We often have a nice family meal on Sunday night that will help us with leftovers for lunches or dinners on Monday night. As much as I know this works well for me, I am not good at always getting it done.  If I do not get a chance to do this meal prep, I make sure I have some staples in the house like brown rice, sweet potatoes, frozen chicken breasts, cans of salmon or tuna as well as salad fixins and veggies so I can throw together something when I get home.  I find it so frustrating to get home at the end of the day and there is no food in the house to feed anyone.

If your children are a little older, ask them to plan and prepare one meal per week. Set up some guidelines to help them learn about healthy food choices that will improve their energy as well as their performance in school.  Make sure they include at least one vegetable and some protein in their meal prep.  If their dinner of choice is macaroni and cheese you can suggest they make a salad, add some broccoli or carrots etc.  Make it fun!! I found How to get your kids to eat but not too much was an excellent source of wisdom on the healthy eating dilemma.

6. Practice relaxation and visualization exercises – One of the best ways I used to help my kids de-stress at night was to do a guided relaxation and visualization exercise with them.  I would put on some relaxing music, and talk them through a visualization where they would get into a special place inside of them and just be there. What I found incredible about doing this was that as I guided them through this exercise, the benefits were huge for both of us. The thing is this did not add another thing to my day, it was a way of connecting with my kids when I was helping them get ready for bed.  What works well is to set the intention that you are going to help your kids feel relaxed and calm before they go to bed and this exercise helps with this.

With the launch of the Moment-Is website in July I will have a variety of relaxation podcasts that you can use with your kids to help them get into that relaxed state.  By learning to fully relax, visualize positive experiences, get connected with themselves and meditate,  children (and adults) learn they have the ability to control their emotional state which will serve them well throughout their life.

Let me know how things go with your kids as you use these suggestions.  Each one of these activities will not only help your children de-stress but will also improve the connection between the two of you.  You can use any one of them at any time throughout the day.  Good luck.

Take care all and I will blog with you again soon

Gerrianne

Take the Moment-Is Challenge

May 3, 2009

Many of us are WAY TOO BUSY to spend a lot of time on personal development but yet are desperate to find better ways to be more connected with ourselves, our children and our world.  So we at Clare Consulting Group have developed the Moment-Is Challenge.

For the next 30 days we are asking you to set aside 5 minutes each day to be “in the moment“.

1.  Set your alarm for a specific time that you will put aside 5 minutes for you (Some suggestions include a) when you are in the shower, b) when you first get into your office before you start your computer, c) when you are making dinner, d) eating lunch, e) getting the kids ready for bed f) lunch time or coffee break (if you take these).  This does not mean you have to stop everything you are doing, you just set the intention for a specific focus of being in the moment for the 5 minutes.

2. When you are ready to dedicate this time for you, set your timer for 5 minutes. This insures that you are not concerned about going overtime and you can truly focus on the task at hand.

3. Take 3 deep intentional breaths into the solar plexus (half way between the belly button and the rib cage). With your eyes closed

Breathe in for the count of 5,

Pause,

Breathe out for the count of 5.

When you do this, really focus your attention to the area around the solar plexus and try to envision the breath getting right to the solar plexus.

This takes your attention away from any outside stressors and helps you calm down your body.

4. Now allow your breath to flow easily in and out through your lungs while you continue being in the moment. Notice any sensations in your hands and feet.  Really focus on how your body feels in this moment.

5. Pay close attention to the sounds around you.  It may be the shower water running, the kids playing (or arguing) in the background, your computer hum etc….

6. Pay close attention to the things that you see around you. Breathe in the sights and the sounds.  Be with the sensations of the moment until the timer goes off.

7. When the timer goes off, take a deep intentional breath in for the count of 5 and out for the count of 5. Smile and know you have just taken 5 minutes for you and did it within the busyness of your day.

8.  How did you feel? Each time you make the commitment to take those 5 minutes, you are beginning to develop a habit of taking care of yourself  “in the moment”.

Please let me know what you notice about this exercise.

How you are doing with your 5 minute commitment? The key to remembering to do this is setting your alarm clock and scheduling into your day. If you are doing this when you get up in the morning and are having a shower, put a little note on your mirror to breathe.

PLEASE

Be gentle on yourself if you do not remember

When you realize you are not in the moment – you are

Have fun with this.

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Gerrianne

Notice your reaction

May 1, 2009

Hi everyone and Happy Spring,

It is a beautiful day outside. I love the sunshine, the buds on the trees and the smells and sounds of spring.  Ah it is great to be alive.

I was reading a blog yesterday “6 tips for being a CEO and not ruining your kids life I hope” and could really empathize with Penelope who is a busy working mom/CEO and is trying to balance it all while keeping her children nurtured and safe.  In the treadmill of life it can truly be a challenge.  What I noticed most about the blog were the reactions from others to what she did.  There were those that totally sympathized and empathized with her dilemma and those that judged and condemned her for her actions and decisions.

What I have noticed most for myself and my clients is that the clue for true personal growth comes from our reaction to other people’s behavior.  When you watch or read something that makes you antsy or you judge it as wrong, maybe you need to ask yourself “Why am I reacting to this so strongly?” Why do I feel that I am better than they are in how they are coping?  Let the situation be a mirror for you and what is going on in your life.

Some of the comments on the blog pointed at how hard it is for people to take care of themselves while taking care of a multitude of work demands.  How did you react to the blog and to the comments.  Notice your reaction as it can be a great clue as to what is really going on for you.  You may be developing an awareness that you want to change how you do things in your life because the sacrifices to yourself, your children and your career are too great when you do things the way you do. You know you want to change but do not know what to do. Developing awareness of a desire to change is the first step in making the change.

There were those who were judgmental about what she did and sounded angry at her behavior.  Notice the reaction.  What I have noticed with clients (and myself) is that when we judge others behavior, there is often a place where we are resentful (and sometimes jealous) of others as we know we are not living our own life fully.

Throughout my career I have always worked outside the home.  I had this in various degrees of intensity.  I worked full time, more than full time, part time and casual employment at various stages while my children were growing up.  It was a balancing act of monumental proportions.  My priority (as it is with most moms) is to be a good mom, have healthy relationships with my kids, help them grow into be healthy responsible adults and hopefully not screw them up along the way.  I always wanted to be there for my kids but I also wanted a career.

I stayed at home full time for a while when my third child was born.  What I noticed during this time is that I got way too involved in my kids lives (thus not letting them live their own), I judged others for not being there for their kids  and I was unhappy.  When I started to look at my reactions to others and I opened up to what was really going on with me, I realized that I was resentful of other women for being able to make the choice of having both career and family. I noticed that women who took on the challenge of both career and family were very interesting women.  I also noticed that women who made the choice to be at home full time with no outside aspirations of a career were also amazing women.  I would  judge myself as bad for wanting a career because I made a choice to be a mom. What I noticed however is that I was better for my kids when I was able to cultivate and enjoy my goals and aspirations in my career. So what I did when my daughter was 18 months old, I became a co-owner of a children’s clothing store.  Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire.  I went from home full time to never at home.  Another lesson in life.

Fast forward to today, my children are 28, 27 and 19 and they are all great people.  I was not a perfect mom, I made mistakes, I sometimes ignored their pleas for attention and we ate a fair amount of fast food.  You know what, regardless of all of it, they are amazing young people who I am proud and honored to have in my life.

Every person needs to make the choice that is best for them and their situation.  If we judge others for their decisions, maybe we are really judging ourselves (remember the mirror) or not telling ourselves the truth about what we really want.  Life is too short to live in regret of not living our lives, or judging others for living theirs.

Have a great weekend and will blog with you soon.

Gerrianne