How Can I Be More Assertive?

Hi there mamas! For the rest of the month, I’m taking part in Perspectives Panel, an opportunity for viewers to understand and learn the value of life coaching. I will be answering a series of questions on their channel each week along with some other amazing life coaches. You can follow along by subscribing to their channel: Perspectives Panel

Being assertive can be difficult when it involves standing up to loved ones. There are some very useful and simple tips to make sure that you're asserting yourself in a calmly so your needs aren't pushed aside.

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Time Management Part 1

Do you find yourself struggling to find a flow? Perhaps you’re all over the place and need to find a rhythm that is right for you. Maybe you’re too flowy and find yourself missing important things in your life and desire some structure.

In this Mom-ME Moment, join me and my two co-hosts as we talk about the 4 Ds to help you become a better manager of your precious time.

To learn more and to schedule a Dreamcatcher Session with Belle, visit: http://www.mom-mecircle.com/contact.

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Trust Your Season

Do you find yourself hoping for Spring when it’s the dead of winter? Or perhaps you’re waiting for whichever season is your favorite.

Motherhood also has seasons and it’s important to understand how to trust the season you’re in rather than trying to force yourself into another season or desperately waiting for your current season to be over.

In this Mom-ME Moment, I share some of my own struggles that I experienced during the seasons of my motherhood journey. Join me as I talk about how you can learn to trust your season.

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Do you ever feel like a bad mom?

Do you every feel like a bad mom? If the answer is a resounding "YYYYYYEEESS!!" you are not alone, my friend. So do I.

Believe it or not, there are things you can do to remember that you are the best mom you can possible me.

"Really?!?!?"

Yes! And I'll tell you how...

1) Clear Limiting Beliefs
This is one of the steps in my 4 part ICAN method. You can learn more about it here...

The first step in clearing a belief is to identify what you’re telling yourself. Self-talk is a powerful tool that can be used to create a positive or negative reality. If the script running through your head all day long is that you aren't good enough or that you should be different than you are, you are bound to feel bad about your mothering skills. You can shift this internal dialogue by listening to your self-talk.

What are you telling yourself throughout the day? Notice your thoughts and how they make you feel. For instance, you might find that you tell yourself, “I lost my cool and shouted at my two year old, I'm a terrible mom.” Saying this makes you feel even worse about raising your voice.

2. Call a trusted friend or family member and ask them to just listen to you express your feelings. 
When you find yourself caught up in negative thoughts about your mothering abilities, reach out to a loved one like a sister or best friend. Preface the conversation by telling them that you don't need them to fix you, you just want to be witnessed.

  • Say, “Oh, Julie, I feel horrible. I’ve been so tired. I haven’t had any energy to play with the kids. They’re been binging on cartoons. I feel like I'm the worst mom EVER”

  • You may be surprised to find that just saying your feelings out loud allows you to see how untrue they really are. This reminds me of the bumper sticker that says, "You can't believe everything you think."


3. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. 
Every mom, at some point, feels like she's not doing a good enough job. That’s right, even those moms who seem to have it all together have bad days. So, dear mama, I beg you to give yourself a break and comparing your insides to other mothers outsides. If you’re always caught up in what your friend or sister does for her kids, you will continue to feel worthless.

  • Why? Because you actually have no idea what her life is like. When you meet other moms at events or see snapshots of their lives on facebook, you aren’t seeing the ugly parts. They aren’t putting their bad days on display. (At least not most of them.)

  • When you find yourself wanting to compare,say to yourself, “Just because I don’t see her bad days, it doesn’t mean they don’t happen.”

  • Consider having a media free day once a week and notice if it helps with your experience of compare and despair.

  • Don't get involved with a moms group that doesn't feel like a good fit and holds you to higher expectations than you can maintain. Instead, look for a more suitable group. If you haven't joined the Mom-ME Circle FB group you can do so here.

 Shame is a garbage emotions that doesn't deserve any space in motherhood!

Coping tool box

This month, in our Facebook group, we are talking about coping skills. I hope you'll join the conversation!

Here is a brief peek into my personal coping tool box:

- Stop (or at least slow down for long enough to become aware of what is happening.) FEEL all the feels. And notice the thoughts.

- Connect to my inner wise self and take charge of those thoughts in an empowering way.

- Shift away from fear and move towards love.

More to come!

 

What's in your coping tool box?

Overcome Self-Sabotage

We can be our own biggest critics. Why do we self-sabotage ourselves by hiding behind our fake selves? It's ok to stop pretending and be yourself. Here are some ways you might be self-sabotaging and how to overcome it.

You don't have to compare yourself to anyone else either. Learn how to recognize this in my past video: Overcoming Comparisons

You can also learn how to handle people in just can't deal in this video: How to Deal with People Who Don’t Get It

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To learn more and to schedule a Dreamcatcher Session with Belle, visit: http://www.mom-mecircle.com/contact.

The 4 principles of Mindful Movement

When I look back on my journey to self-empowerment, it's no surprise that my return to work that was personally fulfilling coincided with my first born starting preschool. There was finally time, space and energy for something else... ME!

It felt like I had weathered a very long storm and the clouds were parting. 

As my energy stores began to rebuild I could sense that it was time to take a look at my physical shape... and so I embarked on a journey to find mindful movement routine that worked for me.

A little reminder before I tell you about how I got myself back (notice I didn't say "how I got my body back!"): whatever changes you make, aim to make them long term. Take small, steady steps to moving in a way that encourages a healthier, happier you.

Grand, sweeping changes just aren't sustainable.

The 4 Principles of Mindful Movment:

  1. Move for mental health- It's not just toning your core and thighs. Mindful movement will also boost your clarity of thought and creativity, release your stress, and helot you make better decisions. Remind yourself that this isn't a selfish indulgence, it's an essential part of your self-care routine.
  2. Keep it fun and varied- Sustainable commitment to mindful movement is all about finding a way of moving that is intrinsically enjoyable to you. So, I encourage you to cast aside the notion that mindful movement needs to hurt to be effective. In fact, the whole reason to be mindful in your movement is to avoid getting hurt. Challenging your mind and body in different ways will keep your motivation fresh and prevents your physical results from plateauing. 
  3. Plan ahead- Get your mindful movement routine organized by spotting windows of opportunity. Change doesn't happen without some effort so if you want something different to happen you need to be prepared to DO something different. Get your kids and friends involved and make it a priority to move your body EVERY DAY!
  4. Work with what you've got- Even just 10 minutes during your kid's nap is better than nothing. Mindful movement has a cumulative effect, so keep investing in YOURSELF.

Remember, we need to do the things we have to do to feel the way we want to feel!!!

 

Quick Relaxation Stretches

It’s my birthday, and my birthday wish to you is to relax.

Whether you’re at your desk, kitchen table, or out and about, it’s good to have some tips to help you relax. Here are some of my favorite tips to ease tension in your body and get into a state of relaxation.

When you have time, I really encourage you to go through these methods with me in the video. You can pause and replay the video as you need. I invite you to participate with me through the video to receive some self-care.

 

To begin, start off by being in the moment. Find alignment in your body, whether you’re sitting or standing. Think of a line going straight up from the floor. Place both feet flat on the floor, align your shoulders above your hips, and tuck your chin slightly. You might notice that your shoulders will relax a bit when you’re ready. Your breathing may slow down.

Here are some simple stretches you can do.

The No Stretch

This stretch can remind us that it’s ok to say no and hold boundaries.

Move your entire head as you look over your shoulder from one side to another. Do this at whatever speed feels good to you. Notice any kinks in your neck. You can linger.

The Yes Stretch

Consider what you want to say yes to while doing this stretch.

Inhale and lift your chin toward the sky, keeping your spine straight. Exhale as you bring your chin toward your chest. This can be done at whatever speed is comfortable for you and can be repeated as long as you’d like.

The Maybe Stretch

As you do this stretch, consider the maybes in your life. What are you not super passionate about, but it’s not a “no”?

Take one ear and begin lowering it towards your shoulder, then return it to the center. Repeat this going the opposite way. Keep your jaw nice and relaxed. Take note if one side is tighter than the other. You can do this in a fluid motion without stopping in the center.

Shoulder Circles

Move your shoulders to make circles. Rotate them forward towards your chest, up toward your ears, down behind your back, and return to your resting position. Circle them as slowly or quickly as you’d like.

If you’d like, feel free to grab your favorite relaxing essential oil and rub it between your palms before you start. You can add a drop to some water to drink or drop a bit directly in your mouth to relax. I love the smell of lavender, and a recent favorite of mine is Cherry Plum by BA.

 

Avoiding Comparisons

Do you find yourself comparing your children, your parenting, and yourself to others? Making comparisons develops from an early age and can make us stress more than we really need to.

Learning the signs of comparing ourselves to others is the first step to avoiding this practice. Once you’re able to recognize these signs, I invite you to engage with several strategies that can replace comparing with curiosity, so we can be who we are and not who we think we should be.

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Yoga Mudras

Hands are more than just functional in caring for our loved ones; they are an energy map of our consciousness and health. Each area of the hand corresponds to a certain area of the body and to different emotions and behaviors. By curling, crossing, stretching, and touching the fingers and palms, we can effectively talk to the body and mind.

The position the hand takes is called a "mudra" and is a technique for giving clear messages to the mind-body energy system. The mudra used will stimulate that desired energy, and there are over 100 mudras to choose from. Mudras can take anywhere from one minute to a few hours and be done sitting or standing.

This mudra is very comforting and holds you in your heart center while reminder ourselves of our connection with the earth. It allows us to feel physically grounded and provide a peaceful moment in the now. You can find yourself in the center of the storm of life.

Just as letters are combined in a multitude of ways to form different words, so can the fingers build an array of mudras. Below you will find two of my favorite mudras. Let me know if you have any questions at Mom-MECircle.com/contact.

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Pose #1 (Gyana Mudra):

Place your thumb and fore finger together and place the back of your hand in your knee. This can be done with one hand or both while sitting on the ground or in a chair. Close your eyes if you like. Take some deep breathes.

This mudra helps us feel centered, especially near our belly.

 

Pose #2:

Place you right hand over your heart and your left hand on the ground next to you. Take deep breathes. Feel the rise and fall of your chest with each breath.

 

 

Nourish to Flourish

Have you ever thought about how you can better nourish yourself each day? I sat down with Angelle Batten from the Nourish to Flourish Society about how she empowers women to engage in their own nourishment. 

We discuss some tips for starting each day the right way that includes drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up to help hydrate your body and get your digestive system started. Watch the video to learn other tips to help make you a nourished mama.

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Relax Mama!

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Relaxation puts you back in touch with your body so you know when to push and when to yield. (For more on this see the balanced mama planner.)

As mamas, we tend to be so used to being busy that we forget how to slow down. I think we can even get addicted to busyness because when we pause, we are confronted with the bubbling up of thoughts, sensations, and memories. Sometimes this can be unsettling, so if stillness doesn't resonate with you right now, I totally get it, and there are many different ways to relax.

Here are some of my favorite:

1) Take a meditative shower. Be totally present and just let the water unwind you. Immerse yourself in the sensation of the water against your skin, connect with the cleansing properties of it, feel your troubles wash away with the water.

2) Really FEEL your breath with yoga mudras (hand gestures.) 

3) "I am" meditation. This can be a formal sitting practice or you can do this on your commute/ at your desk/ while nursing your baby... As you breath in repeat the words "I am" and as you breathe out choose a word that cultivates the way you want to feel. I usually use the words "Calm" or "Patient." Keep repeating the one phrase or change it with each exhalation.

4) Seek out beauty! I love this one because it reminds me to be on the lookout for something inspiring. You can also do this from anywhere. Perhaps you glance up at the trees during your commute or you pass a vase of flowers and you vacuum your living room. 

5) Create a relaxation library. This can include magazines, books, photo albums, or netflix movies. Even your own journal can be included here. Build a collection of mindfulness resources and use these to be led into a calm state. 

6) Practice Yoga Nidra. This is a type of guided relaxation, which is not only a great way to unwind, but can also help alleviate depression and anxiety.

What are your favorite ways to relax?

3 Easy Ways to Create your Ideal Sleeping Environment

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-Eliminate as much light as possible. Lower the wattage of your bedroom light bulb or use the hall light instead. Switch off your electronic devices and don't check them if you wake in the middle of the night. Black0out blinds have been life changing for me. So has an eye mask.

-Keep it cool. The ideal bedroom temperature is around 65 degrees.

-Make your bedroom a haven. Use linen that you can't wait to slide into, decor that you find soothing, and a clean and clutter-free environment.

Breathe and Relax: Three Tips

Breathing has long been used as a tool to relax when feeling stressed and overwhelmed

Muneera Wallace lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her two daughters (ages 11 and 8). She has worked as a doula for the past 12 years for several hundred families and as a wellness counselor.

From having kids herself and experiencing the birthing process with so many families, she has come up with three wonderful tips to help us get the relaxation we deserve.

Watch the video to see each of these tips explained in depth and to join us in a breathing exercise.

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