Category Archives: transformation

Tips on how NOT to Procrastinate

imagesProcrastination happens to all of us. Whether we’re delaying paying a parking ticket, writing a paper, or simply getting out of bed, procrastination can be a bad habit to fall into and can end up causing our bodies a lot more stress then the original task at hand. Here are some tips to try next time you notice yourself procrastinating:

1. Set smaller goals
Having a huge goal can be daunting; especially when it’s not something we are looking forward to doing. The best way to start on completing the goal is to break it down into smaller, more “thought” friendly goals. This way your goals seem more attainable, and you never feel like you’re “biting off more then you can chew.” Your goals should always be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a time frame (SMART). Having smaller goals allows you to celebrate your accomplishments more frequently, boosting your self-confidence and positive feelings toward yourself! Finally, find some sort of interest in what you are doing. We are always more inclined to do something we enjoy. If you can’t find enjoyment in your goal, give yourself rewards for completing each step, allowing you to remain excited about it.

2. Give specific deadlines for the goals
Goals require you to have a specific time frame when you would like them to be completed. By setting a time frame you’re giving yourself accountability towards the goal. If you decide on a time frame for yourself, then you are the only one to blame if it’s not completed. Often when we procrastinate we love to blame every aspect of the universe for not meeting our goal. Having a time frame will help you take accountability and responsibility for your actions.

3. Tell others about your goals
This next step partners with the accountability aspect of goals. This step is easy -tell someone about your goals! It’s always great to talk about what we hope to accomplish in the future and it’s even nicer to hear others reply, “You can do it!” When we tell someone about our goals we subconsciously become aware that someone else may be counting on us, even when it’s only a personal goal. This makes us jump into action and become more likely to work towards the completion of the said goal. I also highly suggest telling someone whom you are close with and who will ask you how your goal is coming along. This will give you constant reminders to get going, and keep going.

4.  Find someone who has a similar goal and work together
This step is very important. Motivation is essential to accomplishing your goals, and sometimes it can be hard to find. When you have someone near you with a similar goal you can feed off one another. It’s great for measuring how far you have come and how far you have to go. You can keep tabs on where the other person is, and compare that to where you are or where you would like to be. Humans are competitive in nature, having someone to “race” to the finish line beside you can stop procrastination in its tracks.

5. Don’t overthink it
Lastly, don’t overthink your goal. Overthinking can make us feel overwhelmed, which never helps us reach our target. Take a deep breath or a step back from the present. Look at how far you have come, and praise yourself for getting there. Look at your timeline and take it one day at a time! If you begin to feel discouraged, talk to your goal buddy and discuss how you’re feeling. There’s power in numbers!

By: Rachael McAllister

Why There’s no Room for Normal in Your Life

Health Wealth Happiness signpostOne question I get asked a lot by clients is: “Am I normal?” Who doesn’t, consciously or subconsciously, consider this question sometimes? If you’re like me and have been dealing with social anxiety for a good chunk of your life, it’s likely this is something you’ve obsessed over a lot.

Psychological assessments and diagnostic manuals aside, the word normal is flat out one of the most dangerous words that can be used in the process of personal transformation. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, so I can’t comment with any degree of authority on the correlation between prescribed treatment models and symptom reduction. Yet one thing that I am sure of, is that there is no handbook out there that can match the power of our innate intelligence to direct us to the most optimal outcomes for our lives.

In other words, no book, no online quiz, no expert – no matter how educated and helpful they may be – can paint a reliable picture of who you should strive to be. And if they can’t, your friends, family, and colleagues most certainly can’t.

Whether its bliss or simply peace of mind you’re after, at some point you will need to part ways with whatever roadmaps you’ve acquired. What we most strive for as human beings are the most intangible and ephemeral experiences that life has to offer. Happiness belongs to an invisible world that can’t be put into words, let alone be scientifically defined. If you truly want to experience it, at some point you’re going to have to take a leap into the unknown.

When we are physically sick we have to turn to prescribed treatments for resolution. But not even modern medicine is foolproof. In many cases, it’s only because we’ve dulled ourselves to our own innate intelligence that the body needs to resort to physical cues that something is wrong. When we are open to it, we receive abundant signals that something is no longer working. And when we pay attention to these cues – some people refer to them as intuition, but they are quite simply your feelings – we may even be able to prevent physical issues from occurring in the first place (check out the emerging literature linking stress and disease if you want an example of what I’m talking about).

If you truly value happiness, then you need to reframe your approach. Instead of approaching everyday situations from the mindset of “what’s normal?”, ask yourself, “what’s healthy?” And as you consider the options before you, tune into what’s actually happening for you in the here and now – not what you overheard or were taught would happen if you chose A instead of B.

We are so conditioned to the cult of normal that this may feel like taking a leap across a canyon at first. But the more you cultivate an attitude of healthfulness, the sturdier you will become. Soon, even the most giant leap will feel like a stroll in the park. And then peace of mind will no longer be conditional on what’s happening in the media, your social circles, or anywhere else in the world. It will simply be your way of life.

By: Kelly Pritchard

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Kelly Pritchard is a therapist-in-training at Transformational Arts College. She focuses on the best of many healing traditions to offer time-tested, self-empowerment strategies that anyone with a sincere commitment can master. She provides non-judgmental, caring support to enable clients to embrace their strengths and weaknesses. She empowers clients to discover the inner resources that will enable them to live the lives of their choosing – and inspire others to do the same. Kelly practices client-centred, holistic psychotherapy which guides clients to work with their bodies, emotions, minds, and spirits in order to achieve their highest human potential. If you are interested in learning more about Kelly or her services, you may contact her at [email protected]

 

Mindfulness: Work Out if it Matters

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‘With neuroplasticity, extraordinary change is possible.’ Rick Hanson

The human brain is fascinating to me. I love the fact that although we are all very different, we are also very much the same. One of the ways that we are the same lies in our potential to train our brains to rewire themselves and form different loops of thinking. This for me is an important aspect of mental fitness training. Being able to train your brain to work well for you links directly to mental health. Doing this can really support us to work out how to manage anxiety.

What is Neuroplasticity?

Knowing about neuroplasticity matters because it is a step towards self-awareness and this is central to good mental health. Neuroplasticity is the brains ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. We have neurons in our brain and they join up and link together to form thoughts. Everything that we experience, whether it is a thought, a sound, a sight or a feeling, all requires underlying neural activity, and so how we interpret our experiences across the board, all contributes greatly to how we think and feel.

Neuroplasticity and Mindfulness

While this rewiring or reconnecting of neurons happens more easily at a younger age, it is something that is possible at any age, once we make an effort to focus our attention on it. We can’t take our brains out of our heads in order to try to understand them, but we can come to know our brains in various ways by gaining knowledge and by becoming self-aware. By being aware of the neural activity in our brain, we come to know that the more our neurons fire together and join up in particular ways, the more patterns within or brain (like patterns of thinking) develop. These patterns become ‘the norm’ in terms of what our brains routinely do. And if ‘the norm’ is to feel anxious or low, it is possible that focussing on neuroplasticity could help.

We get into habits with our thinking, each developing a style. And just as we can develop a particular style of dress that becomes ‘comfortable’ for us to wear, we can develop ways of thinking that become comfortable for us to fall into. The ‘comfortable’ thinking is akin to our fall back option, the way of thinking that we tend to fall back into when we aren’t really focussing on where our thoughts might be going. For some, this fall back option regarding thought is a really positive or optimistic thinking style. But for others, this fall back option can be more negative, more anxiety-provoking and perhaps very self critical. So if you think a lot or if you tend to worry a lot and become anxious, it can be good to know how to put this neuroplasticity into action in order to make it work in your favour.

One way to take the concept of neuroplasticity and make it work in your favour is to understand what happens to these neural connections during mindfulness practice. When you are practicing mindfulness, your thinking style is interrupted for a moment and that can be a very good thing. The loops of thinking stop running at full speed, your brain gets a chance to slow down and the neural connections loosen. Because the connections loosen, you are making it possible to break out of old ‘comfortable’ habits regarding the way you think, perhaps a thinking style that is contributing to feeling anxious. By practicing mindfulness, you are slowing the connecting of neurons down. You are, in that moment, setting the scene for neuroplasticity to work it’s magic.

My Why for Mindfulness

People have many reasons for practicing mindfulness. When I spoke at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit last week about how to incorporate mindfulness into your life if you are super busy, I spoke about the importance of knowing your ‘why’. When super busy, things need to really matter in order for you to make time for them. For me, the reason why mindfulness matters relates to neuroplasticity. Mindfulness is enjoyable, calming and nourishing for the soul, but it matters because of neuroplasticity. I want to be mentally fit. I want my mental health to be good. I believe in the power we each have to influence our own thinking styles and I know that mindfulness creates the potential for neuroplasticity to happen. Work out your why for mindfulness. You will then find the time to work it into your day!

By: Anne McCormack

Anne

Anne McCormack is a Psychotherapist and writer living in Dublin, Ireland. Anne is passionate about adolescent mental health. Her first book on preparing young people for social media is due to be published this year.

To sign up for more information from Anne on the topic of young people and social media, go to www.annemccormack.ie and follow Anne on Twitter @MentalFitnessXX!

Lets Talk Mental Health!

Ending-Stigma-300x274Even though mental health research makes advances daily, especially in countries like the US and Canada, we have yet to eradicate the harm that stigma has on people with mental health issues. It is important to note, then, that stigma, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and so forth, have been found to be powerful barriers when it comes to accomplishing one’s life goals. So, who in the world would want to have a mental health diagnosis attached to his/her name in a world where mental health is seen as less than?

I want to share with you a story that challenged the way I thought about mental health –not only as a psychology master’s student, but also as a mom, a friend, and a caregiver- and I hope that it challenges you as well. Three years ago, my family and I decided to move abroad to a South American country, despite all of our Canadian friends and family advising us not to. Once in our new home, cultural differences quickly became evident, such as educational deficiencies and political problems, among many others. All of which are important when it comes to mental health.

About four months ago, I noticed how at my daughter’s school, one teacher was targeting a little boy who exhibited conflictive behaviours during an activity. I must say that I was very distraught with the way the teacher was handling the situation and making this little boy feel. I learned soon after that the child had been working with the psychology department and that some strategies were being applied. However, as a social worker, I could not just ignore the issue, so I decided I would talk to his mother and share what I had just seen. To my surprise, his mother told me that her son had been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) at the age of 9. I was startled. I had been reading about this illness in my master’s program and I knew it was not an easy diagnosis for anyone to have. But one thing that struck me, even more, was the fact that I did not remember reading about MPD in children before. So, I decided to read up on it and I found that there was very little information concerning this type of population. In fact, there were only two academic single case studies looking at MPD in children. These studies clearly specified that children who have been diagnosed with MPD present over-the-top behaviours such as suicidal ideation, instability, identity distortion, troubled relationships, and so forth. But, most importantly, it was mentioned that there are no real tools to diagnose these children, and therefore, practitioners often have to use adult tools on children whose behaviours are by nature unstable.

It is here where I want you to think about how often we challenge those who diagnose us? How often do we challenge ourselves to go further and self-explore the information we receive? One of the ways to eradicate stigma, help those who really need it, and advocate for better services, is for us to think critically and openly start talking about mental health issues. Had the mother, in my previous example, felt comfortable talking about her child’s mental health issues with the other parents and classmates, her child may not have had to endure being mocked at school for “being special” or being resented by his schoolmates for receiving more attention from teachers. Unfortunately, however, the mother lived in a country where personal image was everything and so talking about her child’s illness was not an option.

As I said previously, cultural and educational differences define us quite strongly in the way we do things. However, and maybe needless to say, despite all the economic, political and social differences that separate us, many people still struggle with the idea of a mental health diagnosis and live with it quietly and painfully. Just like any other physical health disease, mental health should be a concern to all, not just to those suffering from it. So, let’s talk about mental health!

By: Diana Blanchette

Tips on how to Boost your Self-esteem!

 

5_things_your_should_know_about_self_esteemSelf-esteem is essential to our overall well-being and directly impacts the way we experience the world and the choices we make. Low self-esteem can be an incredibly painful inner experience and often causes isolation, withdrawal, and limited engagement. On the other hand, healthy self-esteem is directly related to stronger relationships with others, higher life satisfaction, and more goal-directed behavior. While low self-esteem may be rooted in our early experiences and circumstances, our thoughts also determine the way we interpret ourselves and the world around us. Read on to learn some valuable ways to start boosting self-esteem.

Acknowledge and Talk Back to Your Inner Critic

First, it’s important to become aware of your inner critic and the way that it speaks to you. We all have one. It’s that little (or sometimes loud) voice that is destructive, cruel, and rejecting. It drags us down when we’ve made mistakes or are confronted with things that we don’t like about ourselves. In order to improve self-esteem we need to tell this voice to “STOP!” and talk back to it with a more compassionate, understanding voice. Trying to refocus these thoughts into something more productive can help transform your critical voice into one that is far more constructive.

It’s also important to determine the purpose of that inner critic. Sometimes we rely on it for motivation or protection from potential hurt. For example, we can get tricked into thinking that our self-critical thinking is motivating us to achieve more and try harder or that when our critical voice tells us that people won’t like us, its protecting us from potential rejection. The problem here is that these are assumptions that aren’t grounded in reality and can be seriously damaging.

Watch Your Language!

Often, we use pejorative language that can destroy our self-esteem due to their negative connotations.  Telling ourselves that we are “ugly, fat, stupid, pathetic” and so forth is harmful. These words are subjective and arbitrary. They are also so immeasurable that we tend to define ourselves using the connotations that words hold. Instead, try to use words and descriptions that are accurate and factual. That way, the things we don’t like can be more readily challenged and, in some cases, worked on if it’s in our best interest. For example, saying something like “I’m stupid” can become more fact-based if changed to “I lack knowledge in a, b, and c, but I know a lot about x, y, z”.  Now, a strength is acknowledged and, if it seems important, the perceived weakness can be turned into a goal to learn more about a, b, c.

Self-imposed “shoulds” and “can’ts” are limiting and set us up for failure. Words like always, never, and perfect are also extremes. Try and be more open, realistic, and flexible with your language.

Practice Self-Acceptance and Celebrate Your Strengths

It’s important to acknowledge both our strengths and weaknesses. We don’t have to love every aspect of ourselves or our experiences, but we must learn to accept them. Make a list of your strengths and get into the habit of reminding yourself of them. This can be done with things like daily affirmations, reminder signs around the house, and actively remembering times when your strengths have been demonstrated.

Develop Compassion for Yourself

This means to understand, accept, and forgive yourself.  Somehow, compassion for others comes more readily to most of us. We must learn to treat ourselves like we treat our closest loved ones in order to improve self-esteem. A first step toward compassion is to begin to understand ourselves and the nature of our problems. We have to develop some sense of why we are the way we are. Next, we must learn to accept ourselves and remove the judgment we impose on ourselves. Finally, forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. A good way to engage with a compassionate self is to try and speak to yourself the same way you’d speak to your best friend if he or she was experiencing something similar.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s easy to get into the habit of comparing ourselves to others who appear to be more successful, accomplished, intelligent, and attractive than us. When we do this we disregard all of our own individual traits, successes, and positive qualities. We also usually do this under the illusion and false assumptions that others aren’t dealing with their own personal struggles, making us feel worse. The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is the person we were yesterday as we strive to improve each day.

Practice Self-Care

Get in the habit of doing things that are good and feel good for YOU. Participate in things that bring you joy and that make you laugh. Surround yourself with people who support you. Eat well. Exercise. Take good care of yourself – mind, body, and soul.

By: Catherine Kamel

counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapy

Are you seeing what you want to see?

indexI think I can vouch for all of us that we paint a picture in our minds of what we want our life events to look like.  Whether it’s the day we graduate, the day you get married, the day you bring your first puppy home, or buying your first home, we create the perfect portrait of how we want to see ourselves at that specific moment. Although it is wonderful to imagine these things (and all of us still will), it’s easy to alter our perceptions of realty by doing so.

We often fall into a risky illusion of “seeing what we want to see”. This is when our perceptions of reality conform to our desires. When we want to see ourselves in a particular manner, we make it our goal to do so. We search for information to confirm our goal and ignore information that might not support our goal the way we want it to. By doing this, we alter our perceptions of realty… We see what we want to see, and disregard the unpleasant.

It’s difficult to ignore this illusion because it often runs in our minds unconsciously. For example: Imagine your goal, whatever it may be, was a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle.  To more efficiently put the puzzle together you may start by sorting out all the edge pieces. However, because you are so focused on only finding the edge pieces, you may miss out on some other significant pieces. These may have even given you some helpful clues to this massive puzzle. Likewise, in our own lives, we look for associated schemas within our own goals—causing us to “give a blind eye” to other vital clues surrounding us.

So how do you not fall into the illusion? Honestly, it’s hard. My best advice is to be conscious of your goals, and analyze all aspects of a situation to avoid seeing what you want to see. There are many approaches you can take when trying to achieve your goals. You can also ask someone who knows you well, this could be a family member, partner, or best friend, to play devil’s advocate every once and a while. This will make you re-analyze information and make sure it’s not just what you want to see.

By: Rachael McAllister

Self-Care After Orlando

1456995150_prideevents.dataphoto.153I have been thinking about recent events in Orlando this morning and thought I would put pen to paper to share my thoughts and reflections over the last week.  I am a psychotherapist that works within the Toronto LGBTQ community.  And at a time when Toronto Pride week is so close and we would normally be excited, it is a tough time for many both within the LGBTQ community and for those who simply feel touched, directly or indirectly, by the horrific Orlando shooting.  As a psychotherapist I spent much of this past week supporting people as they grieve and work through personal triggers, after the shooting.  Feelings of being unsafe seem to be a common thread.  Toronto is wondering, “Are we as open-minded and loving as we think we are?”  I believe we want to grieve these events in a positive way and be left feeling we are lucky to live in a wonderful place where we care for each other.  But sometimes I sense that people simply do not know how to do so.  So I offer some guidance and advice.

We need to protect our mental health and spirit the same we take care of our physical bodies.  Please be aware of the energy you are taking in.  After the Orlando incident, Facebook was inundated by opinions, comments and posts regarding the tragic event.  This is always a mixed experience for me.  Even if these are supportive posts, it can still feel overwhelming and lead to us thinking about the event incessantly.  This is not healthy for us.  I would also suggest we need to be aware of how often we watch the news &/or place our attention and energy onto negative world events.  The media always offers a biased view and we feel like we are informed when we may not be well informed at all.  It also results in a change in mood and affects your mental health and ability to grieve in a healthy a way.  So while it is great to care and get involved in change, we need to be aware of how often we are thinking about only negative events in the world.  Please reach out to trusted friends and loved ones to process these feelings and grieve and when you are able, become an agent of change.

One post I saw on FB that stayed with me was a quote by Mr. Rogers, who was a children’s show host many years ago.  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.  To this day, especially in times of “disaster”, I remember my mother’s words and I am comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in the world.”  What I love about this quote is where he chooses to place his energy as he grieves and processes horrific events.  I was astounded at how many images I saw of people after the Orlando shooting carrying wounded people to the hospital a few blocks away.  I also see the outpouring of love and pain within all people after an event like this, rather than only members of the LGBTQ community.  I urge you to remember that we are all in this together.  You are not alone.  There are helpers and caring people out there.  Sometimes helping is a quiet thing that does not make the news.  So it takes a bit more cognizance to remember this.  Please reach out and get the support you need.

I hope at Toronto Pride this year we all hold our heads high and remember as we both grieve and enjoy the Pride events that we feel the support and love all round us, and feel comforted and safe in that.  I know a horrific event like this is important and will not be forgotten.  What I fear is that what is forgotten is the outpouring of love and support that accompanies these awful events.  Let’s remember this too.

By: Lisa Shouldice

Lisa Shouldice

The Risk of not Risking

0f2134d‘Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently….The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” said Steve Jobs.

What happens if you have a plan, a wish or a desire to change something about your life but you are fairly certain that for you, the risk of trying to implement that change seems too big. Many people tend to ruminate about the possible consequences of taking a risk. What might happen if you take a certain course of action? What will the fall-out be? It can be easier sometimes, and ‘safer,’ to just remain within the status quo or so at the time it may seem. At least then, the anticipated consequences won’t materialise and they don’t ever have to be something that becomes real. At some level, you know that what you ruminate about is only the negative side of taking the risk, but it can seem best not to risk it just in case the risk leads to things not working out.

Although it would not be wise to go thoughtlessly wreaking havoc in our lives, with thought and conscious desire for change, it is important, I believe, to consider the impact on oneself of not risking. The risk of not risking, in both our personal as well as our professional lives can be profound. If we are not willing to allow some level of uncertainty into our lives then the consequences of this inaction to take risk (even if it is to bring about desired change) can lead to depression, anxiety and health problems. If you feel you want to take a risk but don’t do it because of fear, then you are letting fear dictate how you live your life. Is that the choice you consciously wish to make? Contemplating the consequence of not taking the risk and considering what risk you may be taking in terms of the cost to your mental health and your ability to live your life authentically, can be a good place to focus some thought and energy if you do not wish to allow fear to dominate your path through life.

Be confident in your ability to make your plan work, whatever the plan might be. Be aware of the fear but don’t let it stand in your way. Triumph over fear and be courageous. Believe you can do it and you’re already half way there. We only get one shot at living our one, precious life. Live it for you…… you are worth the risk!

 By: Anne McCormack

Anne

How To Achieve Your Best Self!

Happy-WomanWith an increase in technology, fundamental social skills are on the decline. There are, however, steps we can take which will pave a path to a better living standard. I am a huge advocate for the following eight steps, steps which contribute to an individual becoming the best possible version of themselves.

1. The first and most important step is to have PASSION and LOVE in your life. You need to be surrounded by individuals who love you and want nothing but the best for you. People who want to see you succeed because they truly know how special of a person you are. Passion, as much as it is about receiving love, is just as much about giving it. It’s about finding that job that you always wanted, that hobby you can no longer live without, that reason to fight for something that you truly care for. Passion allows you to make and achieve your goals, whether they are academic or personal (including things such as travel, career or fitness. The popularly quoted Beatles’ song “all you need is love” targets ad expresses this idea perfectly. Keep the people you love close because they are the ones who will support you in your life journeys.

2. HARD WORK is something that is consistently taught from a young age. If you want to succeed you need to work hard with regards to all aspects of your life. You need to work hard in order to discover and maintain a type of life that you are always going to be proud of. Imagine yourself in five years, ten years and fifteen years: you have to picture where the finish line is for that long journey of hard work. Always think of the positive outcomes that will come.

3. HUMILITY is an important quality to practice throughout your success. Through your hard work in achieving your goals you inevitably will face challenges. The ability to recognize the hardships of your journey is satisfying and is a great alternative to the resulting mistreatment of others while exhibiting an entitled personality. It is important to be grateful for what you have and offer your help in areas you specialize in to those who need it.

4. We all get stuck in places of sadness, anger and frustration. Life is all about overcoming obstacles. Life is filled with pushing through the obstacles which present themselves in front of our goals. ENDRANCE through these times is an attribute which will allow one to successfully get through these rough times, leaving one feeling satisfied in the end. Endurance is not only physical. IT is important to endure through both spiritual and mental obstacles as well as the physical.

5. Another way of getting out of that dark place is coming up with new, bright ideas about how to overcome an obstacle. Harvey Spectre, a television character on the Toronto-filmed series “Suites” reiterates the concept that we always have a choice. One of his lines, which I find most relatable is “What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head? You do what they say or they shoot you? Neither. You take the gun, or you pull out a bigger one. Or you call their bluff. Or you do any one of a hundred and forty-six other things.” It is important to keep in mind that there is never just one way to do, succeed, or achieve something. If you ever find yourself stuck in a situation, try taking another perspective and approach the situation with a new angle.

6. SELF IMPOROVMENT is a key act in achieving new goals and overcoming new obstacles. You need to be able to grow mentally in order to think of new ideas and to be able to push your self.

7. Another major step is RESPECT. The Western World has a golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. However, this does not implement the assumption that how people treat you is how they’d like to be treated. Someone’s disrespectful behaviour towards you does not constitute disrespectful behaviour from you towards them.

8. The final step is PERSISTENCE. You need be tough and never give up. The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary. You need to keep working hard and never look back because the only way that you are going is up. Never take anything for granted and never make the same mistakes, but most importantly try not to mind the negative people and what they have to say. The greatest fear in the world is found within the opinions of others. You are no longer a part of a herd of sheep the moment you become unafraid of your herd; you have now become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.

By: Bruno Ngjeliu 

Bruno

Sex After Pregnancy and Baby

GTY_baby_166272556_jt_131103_16x9_608“Not now, honey, I’m tired” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re a new parent. You’re exhausted, sleep deprived and have a world of new responsibilities. You barely recognize your body in the mirror, let alone want someone else to see you naked. Sex may be the furthest thing from your mind. If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It’s normal to lose your libido after having a baby. There are ways to put the desire back into your relationship and balance family life with sex life. Here are my top three tips to finding (and keeping!) that balance in your relationship:

ONE: Be Realistic

Accept that you are both going to be over extended and less likely to be jumping each others bones. Being a parent is tiring. That’s just a fact of life. Your whole perspective and focus also changes when you become a mom. Yet, it’s still important to nurture your relationship with your partner(s). Just because you are now a mom doesn’t mean you stop being part of a couple. Try to focus less on the lack of wild sex and more on what you can do that feels comfortable. Even simple things like more eye contact, heartfelt compliments, and a long hug can go a long way in fostering that connection and intimacy as a couple instead of just parents. Everyone likes to be told they look nice – especially after having their body changed after pregnancy!

TWO: Channel Your Creativity

Sometimes, it really is the small things that make the biggest difference in our day-to-day lives.  Sure, you may want a weekend get away, but that’s not always feasible. Instead, try a ‘stay-cation’ by spending time relaxing in a bubble bath after baby has fallen asleep. You could even spice it up a bit by inviting your partner(s) to join you in the bath. You’re going to have limited time and energy as a new parent. Ask yourself “Do I want to spend my time picking up toys and making complicated dinners, or do I want to enjoy time with my partner(s) and order takeout?” The exhausted stage isn’t forever. Don’t put your energy in places you may regret, like vacuuming the house just because you are worried about what visitors may think! What do you think? You’re more important than a house guest.

THREE: Let’s Talk About Sex Baby

Communication is an important part of any relationship. The most effective way to get more of what you want is by talking about it with your partner(s). Open lines of communication about wants and needs in the bedroom are key to a happy relationship and healthy sex life. Think about it. You talk about money and parenting style, why not talk about sex? Just like anything else, if it’s not talked about, the problem will fester and become a bigger and bigger issue in the relationship. Don’t let your fear or talking about the subject inhibit you from building a stronger relationship. The bond is more than just physical. By talking through all aspects of your relationship with your partner(s) – from money, to parenting style, to sex – you only make the relationship stronger, not weaker. Talk it out. You’ll be glad you did.

Having a baby doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life. It just brings a whole new dimension to your family and relationship. Savor your relationship with your baby, but also savor your relationship with your partner(s). You deserve to have it all.

By: Kelly McDonnell-Arnold

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