How to raise resilient kids

As a change and transformation specialist, I’ve spent many years in my professional career helping people navigate change. I’ve watched first-hand many struggle to come to terms with how their lives were going to alter. It was my job to outline the steps of the change and then support teams through each stage of the transition.

With a separation or divorce, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of having all the plans laid out for you. In fact, most of it can be very reactionary. I wholeheartedly believe, that if you do plan for the change, you’re more likely to navigate the change with a sense of ease and certainty.

When I reflect on my own separation, I wonder why it took me so long to get out. I now know it was because I feared it would ruin my kids life forever and I was scared of the unknown. People tried to reassure me by saying kids are resilient and they’ll be OK, but seriously, separation and divorce impacts everyone regardless of how well you manage it.

I consider myself a well-informed individual. I had a plan and chose a path of harmony throughout my separation for my kids sake. That plan took a month to execute and included things like creating a positive story about how our lives were going to be different, taking my kids along to some property inspections, so they were involved in the process. My kids were two at the time and I felt it was important for their well-being to step the process out for them.

Even though I went to a lot of effort to support my kids, their lives mostly certainly were impacted and when I saw the signs of distress, it was a hard pill to swallow. In saying that, my kids have done incredibly well to ride the waves alongside me and I have no doubt in my mind that the whole process has helped them build personal resilience.

So, what makes for a resilient kid? In my opinion, there are four basic skill sets – independence, problem solving, optimistic outlook and social connection.

Here’s how to promote those elements of learning;

1) A balance of support and challenge – wrapping your kids in cotton wool and doing everything for them will not teach your kids to be resilient or to have the necessary life skills to navigate tricky situations for themselves. You will see this unfold when they go to school. In fact, I will go as far as to say, when your kids get to school they will struggle to find their feet if they haven’t learnt to develop a sense of independence.

They may even end up getting bullied because of their inability to stand up for themselves. You’re not going to be there all of the time to defend your kids, so teaching them to respond constructively will help build their confidence.

Experiencing bullying behaviours, which is every parent’s worry, is exactly the type of behaviour the cotton wool kids need to build up personal resilience.  Allow your kids to make their own choices and decisions from an early age, but be sure to have firm boundaries in place. Kids need to know if they cross that line and when they do, make sure there is a consequence.

Bolster the learning, by taking a supportive approach and explain what went wrong. Invite your child to come up with solutions on how that problem can be resolved next time.

This process works an absolute treat and goes a long way to teaching kids to problem solve. The answers they give are logical, reasonable and meaningful to them. Be sure you add in your ideas too and collectively make a decision on what the best outcome is for all of you.

2) Mindset is everything – for every obstacle your child faces, take the time to show them another way to look at the situation. We, as adults have such a hard time reprogramming our brains after years of conditioning, but kids have an open mind and a willingness to learn new things without the mindset issues we face.

I’ll give you an example of something simple you can try with your kids. My son and I were playing catch one day when he was about four years of age. He was still developing his fine motor skills at that stage and was getting frustrated with himself for not being able to catch a ball.

He started with the “I can’t do this” statements, so at that point, I intervened. I told him instead of saying “I can’t do this, to say out loud three times yes I can,” before his next attempt. Every attempt after that he caught the ball, true story.

3) Lead by example – I think the whole process of separation and divorce forces kids to adjust to a new set of circumstances, which in turn builds some personal resilience along the way. They need to navigate two homes, possibly a new school, new friends, new partners, new rules, less of some things and maybe more of others.

I do believe, over time your kids learn to adjust to the new rules. Don’t however, underestimate the power of what they will learn from you. Your kids most formative years are between the ages of 0-7 years of age.

They will be soaking up all the skills, knowledge and experiences that you provide them with, so be mindful of how you handle yourself. As whole human beings, embrace both sides of your personality and when it comes to your kids, be sure there is a balance between that support and challenge.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve had an off day and taken it out on your kids. It’s how you recover from that situation and explain to them why you were so mad, is where the real lessons lie. Be sure to reassure them of your love and use  “I” statements to explain yourself rather than the “You” ones.

Own your feelings and reactions and they will too. It’s OK to display emotion because that teaches your kids to release theirs too. Everybody has a light and dark side, so no point denying it or pretending you’re perfect. That’s where kids get screwed up thinking they have to live up to something that doesn’t exist. 

4) Genetics – some kids are gifted with optimistic genes and power through challenges in life with relative ease. That’s not to say that those kids who haven’t inherited that gene is a lost cause. Research has shown us that there are two types of mindset, fixed and growth.

People with a fixed mindset believe they are born with fixed gifts and talents in life and that’s that. Whereas, someone with a growth mindset believes they are born with certain gifts and talents but come to understand through hard work and dedication they can continue to learn and grow. Teach your kids that knowledge is power and to expand their minds is one of the most empowering things they can do for themselves.

Falling-in-love with being alone this Valentine’s Day

Falling-in-love with being alone this Valentine’s Day

No one ever said that in order to be happy you need a man in your life. Sure, companionship is important, but it’s more important to have a good relationship with yourself first, particularly after a bad breakup or divorce.

Rather than lamenting over what you have lost or getting caught up in the commercial hype of Valentine’s Day, why not do something novel this year, such as learning to love yourself more.

Here are eight practical ways you can start honouring the true essence of who you are.

  1. Turn a blind eye to social media – do yourself a favour and stay away from it. Hear this, no one’s going to post anything bad about their Valentine’s Day, so resist the urge to get drawn into the hype. It’s not going to serve you to see how the other half live!
  2. Embrace where you’re at – stop comparing your life to others. Let go of the judgements, self-ridicule and wishing you were somewhere else in your life. No one has walked your path and nor you in theirs, so honour yourself by respecting where you are. Sure, it might not be where you want to be, but I assure you, you’re in the perfect place for now.
  3. Write a card to yourself – there’s no better way to improve your self-worth than to tell yourself that you are loved. Write a card to your future self about where you hope to be in a years time. Include a few things that you most admire about yourself too. Sign it off with love and put the card away and be sure to read it in a years time.
  4. Reframe your experience – the grass is not always greener. Regardless of why you have found yourself alone, don’t assume that others are much happier than you because they have someone in their lives. Too many people are afraid to leave what they have because they fear the unknown. Face the unknown, one day at a time with courage and strength. Decide to focus on how empowered you feel to make your own choices and decisions in life. Recognise the freedom you have in that choice. Be open to life unfolding in new ways. Embrace new experiences. Realise that this is just a moment in time. Use the opportunity to build resilience and self-reliance.  Take the time to heal from the past and access the stillness that you might otherwise avoid.
  5. Reward yourself – just because you’re alone on the day, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for yourself. You know what you like. You know what you need, so permission to go do it. A little self-indulgence never hurt anyone. Let go of the guilt and give something back to yourself. Here are some ideas – soak in a beautiful bath, cook or order a beautiful meal, have a massage, walk along the beach, light a scented candle, lie on the couch and do nothing. Take a trip to the hairdressers.
  6. Bring in the reinforcements – get on the front foot and arrange a nice get-together with your sisterhood. That way you will have a positive, familiar bunch of people around you if you’re feeling a bit melancholic. 
  7. A gift of compassion – when you’re feeling down, shift your focus by sparing a thought for others that are hurting too. You might want to consider reaching out to one of those people and give them a gift of your compassion. Whether it be a phone call or a catch-up, just listening to someone may be enough for them to feel loved, considered and cared for. Not to mention the reward that’s in it for you.
  8. The non-negotiable  – take this opportunity to decide what you want from love next time it comes around. Learn from the past and feel comfortable being a little more selective with the next person who takes your interest. Get crystal clear on the things you aren’t willing to compromise on and the things that you’re willing to overlook if the right things are there.

You’re responsible for your wellbeing, so do whatever rocks your world this Valentine’s Day.

Have I Ruined My Kids’ Lives Forever Now That I’m Separated?

Have I Ruined My Kids’ Lives Forever Now That I’m Separated?

When I was contemplating my separation, my greatest fear was that I would ruin my kids’ lives forever. Thankfully, the universe intervened, showing me that I felt I had no other choice but to leave. It was time – no more excuses and no more hiding away from the things that were happening in my life at the time.

I had an idealistic view about what my family life would look like and the life that I was in was far from that reality. My entire world and patterns of behaviour that I had grown to know had become foreign to me.

I felt deeply unhappy and restless within myself. The vibrant, energetic mum I had imagined myself to be was nothing more than a past desire. I was closed off, stressed and in many ways so uncertain about who I was.

Like all mums I’m sure, I wanted the best for my kids. I was conscious they were getting older and I knew that as the years went on their life experiences and influences would become more cemented. What they had grown to know at that point about their family dynamic was not what I wanted them to experience ongoing.

On the surface life looked OK, but beneath, the environment around them was not harmonious. People kept telling me that kids were resilient and they’d manage if I separated, but I was scared of the unknown.

Being a single mum of two-year-old twins (at the time) was not what I’d signed up for and with my mum and sister going through their own troubles I knew the support around me would be limited. What I have come to learn is that if a separation is handled in the right way – and what I mean by that is that your kids’ well-being drives the process of separation rather than your own ego – it is possible for your kids to transition well.

My kids have been incredible during the transitions and upheavals.

Why?

Fundamentally, because I allowed their needs – not the hurt and anger I felt at the time – to drive the process. Our kids are here to teach us many valuable things about ourselves, some of which we won’t like, but if we embrace this knowledge we can learn to heal and, eventually, to love who we transition into.

I won’t lie. Of course there have been heartbreaking moments where my kids were upset and could not be consoled for a while. In that moment the only thing you can do to soothe them is to sit quietly with them, cuddle them and reassure them that you are there.

To me, there is no point in brushing their feelings away by saying it’s OK, because clearly in that moment it’s really not OK for them. I want to encourage my kids to express their emotions, to allow their emotions to rise, not to push them down and pretend all is well.

I stuffed my emotions down for years and I can see the impact that has had on me. Rather than learning to express the underlying emotions and get choked up or make myself vulnerable, I tended to raise my voice to prove that I was handling it all. The consequence of stuffing down my emotions was that my behaviour was misconstrued as being aggressive at times.
Now, almost two years post separation, I see that I am a far better single mother than I would ever have been in my old family dynamic. I want my kids to see, feel and express love, and when two people are fighting their own insecurities it’s not possible for kids to have that in an authentic way.

The most precious gift and life experience you can ever give to your kids is to focus on yourself and your own healing. When you do that, every area of your life will transform and flourish in ways you couldn’t have anticipated.
That road, of personal development can be lonely and difficult at times, but the more you slice through the layers to get to the true essence of who you are, the more gratifying the journey. Most people live unconsciously and move through their lives not ever knowing what drives their behaviour.

I look at my kids each day in awe. I hear what others say about them and I watch them socialize with others and realise that, yes, they are incredibly resilient and well-adjusted. They don’t need to live in the fanciest house or attend the best school.

They need boundaries, security, consistent routines and your unconditional, authentic love to thrive in life. So each time you doubt your own abilities, thinking “I should”, come back to the basics and ask yourself, Do I have firm boundaries in place? Are my kids safe and secure? Is there consistency in their lives? Do I demonstrate unconditional, sometimes tough, love?

If you’re doing your best at fulfilling those areas, then know this: You’re well on the way to raising resilient, well-adjusted kids of your own.

Ten Reasons My Separation Became My Biggest Blessing

Ten Reasons My Separation Became My Biggest Blessing

When you’re in a world of turmoil and going through a separation, it’s hard to image that you will ever escape the stress, anxiety and uncertainty you feel. I have always been a big believer that things don’t happen randomly to us.
We are thrown these curve balls in life because there is something we need to learn. Get too cocky and watch the universe or life throw something your way to knock you off your pedestal. But make the best out of a bad situation and I do believe the rewards will come.
I wouldn’t continue to do what I do unless there was a greater purpose behind it all?
Here’s what I have uncovered since my separation:

1. I have a new-found respect for myself. I knew I was resilient and strong, but my willingness to take a look at myself and make some serious changes in my life is something I feel proud of. I wouldn’t have had the incentive to do so if I was still in my relationship.

2. l feel comfortable making decisions and choices that support my path in life rather than those that detract from it. I strongly believe that the people that have been in or around me have been my greatest teachers. They have taught me so many things about my personal boundaries and how to maintain them.

3. I see life through a different lens and feel nothing but gratitude for where I am today. I couldn’t say that before my separation. I felt like a victim of my circumstances, burdened with expectation and responsibility.

4. I’ve given myself permission to invest in my own well-being. I have learnt to listen to my body, surrender when I need to and be OK with doing nothing. I have let go of the fallacy that I need to keep busy all of the time.

5. I have an incredible kit bag of tools to draw upon when I need them, whereas before I felt trapped in my own small certainty. Now my knowledge and awareness is so much more expanded.

6. Life is much more harmonious and peaceful and I can see that’s how it’s supposed to be.

7. Feelings of fear, anxiety, worry and stress are slowly dissipating and I have a greater sense of trust that I’m exactly where I need to be.

8. I’m triggered less. I don’t feel the need to fight or defend myself as much as I did before. If people don’t like certain things, but I’m honoring myself, then that’s a matter for them to deal with – not me.

9. I see now more than ever that I am in control of my life and of my path. I am able to live on my own terms and not by someone else’s rules.

10. I have come to understand my own worth again. Next time around, when I’m ready for love, I know I will be more of a whole person and won’t settle for something that doesn’t feel right to me.

My separation was the greatest wake-up call I’ve ever had. If I hadn’t experienced what I did, then I would have been playing a role in life that would have left me feeling empty and even more of a victim. I see so many things that I couldn’t see before about myself, my family and all the relationships that I had been in the past, but now I have the opportunity to do something about it.

Five Ways to Help Your Kids’ Transition Between Visits and Time Away from You.

1) Make the transition a positive experience. No matter what you feel towards your ex or their girlfriend etc., keep those feelings aside momentarily and make it about your kids. Whether you’re picking them up or dropping them off for a visit, be enthusiastic about the changeover.

Your kids will pick up on the energy and if the dynamic becomes negative or tense they will more than likely resist going. If you’re OK with the situation, then there is a high chance your kids will be too.

2) Take your time with the transition. If you’re picking your kids up after they have been away from you, take a little extra time to collect their belongings, allow them to say goodbye with ease to the other parent or even hear them out if they have things to tell you about their weekend or show you. Perhaps they have been to a party and have made something that will stay there, but they want to show you. Be interested and in the moment with them.

3) Allow your kids to talk when they are ready. Save the Spanish Inquisition. Your kids will tell you what they want in their own time. Your job is to create a safe environment around them, so that they can share with you what they need to.

They will decide what they want to disclose or not and it may not come at that very moment. It could be the following week. Or they might not have anything to share with you at all.

Be receptive and without judgment to what your kids share with you. Your kids feeling comfortable talking with you is healthy for their well-being. If they feel as though they are being questioned, it could have the opposite effect and they may clam up on you. If you hear something that concerns you, take it up with the other parent when you are alone.

4) Do something fun to reconnect with your kids. There is a break in the bond that you share with your kids when they are away from you, so find something to do that’s enjoyable to re-establish that connection between you.

When my kids were younger and were dropped off after a weekend away, I found that they would fall into a heap as soon as they got in the door. There would be a massive outpouring of emotions that became difficult at times to manage alone.

After some time, I realised that I was the parent and needed to do something different about it. It used to cause me so much stress because I had spent the weekend trying to be calm, but when the kids would come home I felt like everything was undone.

Now, whether I pick them up or they get dropped off we usually go to a park, play a game or cook something together, so we get a chance to come back together in a fun way.

5) Keep the adult conversations with the adults. If you and your ex need to discuss something that could get out of hand, save it until the kids are out of earshot. You know your patterns and triggers, so be prepared to step up and put into practice your personal boundaries.

Have your exchange over text or email and not in front of the kids. No kid wants their parents to be talking about them in front of them or hear their parents arguing about something like being late, or not returning clothing or toys or money that’s owed.

Keeping your emotions in check can be difficult. If you or the other parent messes up, try not to beat yourself up about it or make the kids pay for it. Realise your best intentions and take small steps each week to allow your kids’ needs to be paramount in these moments.

Later on when they are in bed, then you can scream into a pillow or release your frustration in a constructive way. It’s not easy to go back into the place you left behind or allow your ex into your safe haven, but it’s a momentary situation that will have a lasting impact on your kids’ lives, so try to do it well.

Being a better me

Being a better me
I’ve been reading an incredible true story called Dying To Be Me, by Anita Moorjani. It’s a story of her journey from cancer, to near death, to true healing. I feel compelled to share her message, as well as the realisations about my own life that I have come to on my own.
Throughout my life, relationships have been the one thing I’ve struggled with more than anything else. Still, I have had a few of them, all long term, but each time they ended, I wondered why. Was it not possible for people to give me the things I wanted in my life? I felt as though I had given these men my full love and that I’d worked harder at these relationships than I really should have.
My habit was to stay in dysfunctional relationships for too long until I left feeling depleted and lost. Then I’d do it all over again. In my life, there have been only two people who I felt loved me for me. But like my other relationships, these two didn’t work out in the long term, in this case, because I didn’t feel deserving of their love.
I’ve not searched for partners. People have naturally flowed in and out of my life with relative ease. When I think about it now, all the failed relationships have been given the opportunity to keep learning the lessons that I have needed to heal within me.
When I read Anita’s book there were many realisations that came to light, the biggest one being that I have always looked externally for answers to why things haven’t worked out in my life. The world’s biggest misconception today is that we have been led to believe that in order to be whole we must look for answers outside of ourselves.
I looked to relationships to validate my worth. Others may look at their acquisitions or material possessions as a measure of success, and therefore true worth. Look at how good I am, they might say. They might wonder what else they need to have to feel good about who they are. Where does that stop though? When we go external of ourselves, we are really measuring ourselves against others, believing that if we have what they have, we will feel better about ourselves.
At the end of the book when Anita had her near death experience she realised that she had created her own turmoil in life and that the only thing she needed to believe in to heal was that she was enough, perfect, whole and complete.
Up until that point she hadn’t felt that way about herself. This was such a big wakeup call for me, because I could see the pattern repeating itself in my own life. I have read self-development books one after the other. I have taken numerous personal development courses over the years. I’ve tried different modalities to access inner messages, realisations and a deeper understanding of myself.
Why? Just so I could feel OK about myself. It wasn’t until my separation that I got the opportunity to look into the darkness and turn on my own light and see who was really there all along. The book left me with a bigger question: What if I believed that I was already enough? How would I feel in each moment? What would my life look like today?
The inner turmoil I’ve struggled with throughout my life finally subsided when I realised that I am enough. When I let go of the persistent idea that I should try to be someone else, things melted away around me. I know I am doing the best I can and that is more than enough. I feel nothing but deep gratitude for every life lesson that has led me to this point of realisation.
I am unique. I have everything that I need already in me to feel that all is well. When things trigger me, I see that I am judging myself in some way that is compromising my own worth. I recognize now that if people cross my path and don’t like something about me, then that’s their choice, but I am not willing to compromise my own self-worth to be something that I am not. I know what keeps me feeling vital.
I have taken a lot of risks by sharing the personal journey I went through during my separation, but I felt it was necessary in order to share my truth. When I share my truth I’m being authentic to myself, and by doing that I hope to inspire you to change the way you feel about yourself too.
I just love the message that we have everything that we need within us. We were not born with voids! We came into the world as complete human beings. As we progress in our lives we have merely become distracted by all the external noise around us.
Being a better me with love!

What I did to help my kids through separation in six steps

My relationship was over. It was time to get out and focus on creating a new life for myself and my kids. I knew in my heart I didn’t want to turn the kids’ lives upside down, so I made a decision to transition into our new life over a period of a month. My deepest desire was to ensure my kids’ needs were front and centre of this transition. I didn’t want them to be lost amid the turmoil that would surely ensue. Intuitively I knew that if my actions were based around their best interests, there would be a higher chance they would transition with their emotional well-being intact.

Here’s where it started;

  • Finding our new home – When I started looking for a place to live I was specific with what I was after.  I wanted my kids to come to a place that would make them feel they were getting a fresh, exciting start, not just temporary accommodation.

I created a positive story around this to start them on that journey of transition. They were two years of age at the time. I explained that I would be finding a new home for us to live in.  I was going to buy new beds for them and they would get two places to play in with lots of their favourite toys in both. I involved them in the process of looking at places to live when I had narrowed down my search. They were excited!

  • Moving out – It was important to me that when I removed all of our belongings from our current home, the kids were not present. I packed things up gradually and put all of the boxes out of sight.

Over the weekend our things were moved out and unpacked, so that when the kids arrived at their new home things weren’t in disarray. To ease everyone into this new situation, I allowed the kids’ dad to stay the first night, so that if they woke up the next morning unsettled, we were both there to comfort them.

  • Transition – Over the next ten weeks the kids’ dad came to see them each day for a short period of time. I didn’t want there to be a huge void in anyone’s life. It was extremely uncomfortable for me, but it was more important for my kids to be able to maintain their connection with their dad. I know that allowing this to occur was an absolute game changer for helping my kids transition in the best way possible.
  • Communication – My ex-partner and I agreed that we would keep all communication in front of the kids respectful and conflict free.

I knew that if our kids saw us as being okay with each other they would be too. Any important conversations were done via text message and the kids were never burdened with passing messages back and forth between us. Adult conversations stayed with the adults.

When the kids were sad or missed their dad, they rang him or vice versa. I took photos of the kids enjoying special activities or events and sent them on to their dad to see.

To help them get used to living in two locations, for the first three months I read them a story each night about another child who had two homes to live in because her parents were separated.

  • Normality – I tried to keep the kids’ lives as normal as possible. They continued going to the same school, even though it was much farther away for us now. Whenever my ex-mother-in-law wanted to visit the kids, I said yes.

Christmas came two months after separating. I knew this would be difficult, so I introduced a new family tradition for the kids. We put up a Christmas tree for the first time. They helped me decorate it. We left biscuits and milk out for Santa and his reindeer’s.

  • Gratitude – As time passed, I was keen to teach the kids what I had learned about being grateful. Each night at dinner I would ask them “What was the best thing about your day?” Without judgment, I wrote the things down in a journal. Their answers at the time were nothing short of delightful. They included things like “having fun with my friends and when I’m sad my friends make me happy.”

I have learnt to never underestimate my kids and their intelligence. Yes they are shielded from a lot of things, and that’s my job as a parent, but I wanted them to be fully engaged in this life-changing event so that they knew what to expect every step of the way.

The victim, the villain or the hero

The victim, the villain or the hero

Which are you?

I’m introducing a model in my Live Louder program called the Drama Triangle. The model is designed to help people understand what role they play in life socially and psychologically. Think about these roles as those often played in the movies.

Villain – the evil one who has perhaps been wronged in the past and therefore seeks retribution for that wrong doing. The only way to rid them of that pain is to hurt others and seek revenge.

Victim – the one that feels hard done by or ripped off in life. Blames everyone and everything for their helpless state and therefore feels powerless. A victim cannot see it’s within them to make powerful changes or different choices.

Hero – everyone loves a hero. You know the one that swoops in and saves the day or in the case of the movies saves the victim. A hero is often seen as the good one, the fixer, the one that always seems to have the answers.

As individuals, we can swing between these roles in our own lives. We are patterned into behaving a certain way within our family dynamic and assume these default positions for our entire lives. It’s only those that keep banging their heads against that same brick wall who eventually wake up and ask the big question of why?

When you ask why, you naturally become curious and this can lead to some self-enquiry. I was the hero in my family and up until about a year ago I was a victim of my own circumstance. It was a horrible realisation that I had to come to terms with. Being a victim was one thing I swore I would never be.

Feeling powerless and without choice, letting things happen to me and not feeling worthy enough to want to do something about that. I was pushed to a point where I decided to step up and take action and strip myself of that title once and for all.

What’s the alternative to the Drama Triangle?

The Empowered Dynamic model.

Instead of the villain, it’s the challenger. The creator replaces the victim and the hero becomes the coach. Reading those new names feel so much more empowering. The challenger is focused on learning and growth, holding the creator accountable for their actions. The creator, as the name suggests taps into their own passion, is outcomes focused and absolutely believes in choice. The coach, well it speaks for itself, the compassionate one that provides guidance and encouragement instead of rescuing actions.

In my own life, as that victim I felt I had justified reasons for feeling the way I did. What came with that rationale was a startling wake up call, I didn’t like who I had become. Once upon a time I liked what I stood for.

I have a personal saying; if you want something to be different in your life then you need to do something different to change it. Instead of feeling angry, bitter and pissed off, I asked for help. Totally uncharacteristic for me, I was the hero and the savior after all. My request for help was met by a creator, someone who realised they could make different choices about their own life and own their own outcomes.

That’s when the shift began for me, when I realised that it was absolutely within my power to change how I was feeling. On I went as my own creator. This business is a bi product of that ownership and allows me to explore being the challenger and coach for you.

Who are you choosing to be?

If you feel like you’re ready for the next step, do yourself a favour and get on the waitlist for my Live Louder program. Together we are going to shift that world that you live in today to new heights and that’s a promise.

Shake it baby shake it

Shake it baby shake it

I was up early this morning, too early for a weekend off. Instead of getting up and rushing around I decided to stay in bed. I was obviously tired, because I slept for another three hours. Sleeping in meant that I had missed my usual exercise class. Rather than beating myself up for missing the class, I decided I would try something different and do a Zumba class.

I loved to dance once upon a time. In fact, I was hooked on a dance class I used to go to every Saturday, religiously before I had my kids. When I arrived at the Zumba class it was packed, so I knew it was going to be good.

As we warmed up, I felt a sudden rush of emotion, so much that I was nearly crying. Zumba is meant to be fun right, so why the heck was I about to cry? I realised it was because I was doing something pleasurable and fun, which reminded me of the things I used to enjoy.

We all know that dance is a form of self-expression, there’s no judgment, unless of course you get in your own way and start comparing yourself to others around you. When I feel emotion like this, I know it’s because I’m doing something that lights me up inside. That’s my ‘yeah baby” indicator going off.

What stops you from feeling good inside? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Why don’t I give myself permission to do something I enjoy?

Here are the excuses I’ve told myself before;

  • I’m a mother now, I can’t do things like that
  • Never have the time
  • Not enough money
  • Always got stuff to do
  • My partner won’t let me
  • The kids need me
  • I feel guilty taking time out for myself

I know you’re sitting there reading this and nodding your head. We all make excuses not to do something at one time or another. Seriously people, if you do not make your own self-care a priority it aint gonna happen for you.

There won’t be box that gets delivered to your door with a note inside saying permission granted. You get one chance to live life, so decide how you want to live it. The choice is yours. Don’t you deserve to feel vital, energized and healthy?

It’s the first thing that goes when you have kids, your own self-care and doing things you really enjoy. Don’t let it be that way. You will be a far more balanced mum when you have pleasure in your life. Of course pleasure doesn’t just have to be exercise. It can be anything that makes you feel good.

Here are some of the things on my pleasure list;

  • Cuddles in bed with my kids each morning. This time is precious
  • I absolutely love going to the farmers market each week to support local farmers and buy the most amazing produce
  • I love listening 80’s music, yes that was my era of coolness
  • Brunch is my favourite meal out
  • Burning beautiful smelling candles
  • Hot showers
  • Sleeping

So go off and decide how you can bring that “yeah baby” feeling back into your life. Come and tell me what you’ve decided to gift yourself with. If you know someone that needs a gentle nudge in the right direction, show them this post.

 

 

How to be single again

How to be single again

Amongst everything else going on at the time of separation, you’re suddenly faced with the daunting thought of being alone again. For some, this may be a breath of fresh and for others a very daunting prospect, particularly if you have been someone’s better half for a long time.

So, how do you learn to be single again?

  • Embrace where you are. Don’t judge, don’t put yourself down, and don’t beat yourself up mentally. Just be. Accept what is. Your fears are designed to keep you safe, but that’s all they really are, fears. When you push through them you soon prove to yourself that you are OK.
  •  Reframe your situation. Ask yourself what this experience is providing you with. A chance to rediscover yourself again? An opportunity to make better choices? Reassurance to prove you can stand on your own two feet? The freedom to feel empowered rather than controlled? Safety that you have never had before? An ability to make your own decisions in life? By choosing to focus on the positives, rather than being consumed by the negatives, you’re helping your brain to change its usual thoughts patterns.
  • Surround yourself with the right sort of positive support, “positive” being the key word. It’s OK to sit with self-pity for a while, but not for too long. Self-pity can very quickly turn into anger, resentment, and blame. These emotions will keep you stuck in life. Having the right cheer squad behind you is imperative – the ones that will dish out the tough love when needed, the ones who front up to your doorstep and say, “Come on let’s get out and do something.”

 

Don’t just rely of the company of your kids, because when they grow up and move on, your network of support needs to be solid, so that you don’t feel the loss all over again. You need friends who are going to guide you through your pain, not just sit with you in your pain.

 

  • If you’re like me, with limited family support, it’s time to spread your wings and find new ways to connect with people. Joining some positive support groups or forums online. There are loads out there, you just need to find what resonates with you. You may choose to start a new hobby or join a social group of sorts. Think of places where you can make new connections. Get social and have something other than your own thoughts to entertain you.

 

  • Be your own best friend. Remind yourself of all the things that you either like or liked about yourself. These are your unique gifts. Your own self-worth often takes a hit in a situation like this, so you need to start to build yourself back up again. Don’t look for external validation. Invest in some beautiful body lotion or essential oils and each time you get out of the shower rub the oils into your body and tell yourself something positive, like:

“I am an awesome mother.”

“I am doing the best I can.”

“I am beautiful.”

“I have the best arse, boobs, smile or whatever you have that rocks tell yourself that each day.”

If it feels uncomfortable, fake it till you make it baby. There is a psychology behind this positive reassurance.

  • Develop a positive vision board. A reminder of sorts of all the things you enjoyed or would like to experience in the future when you are ready. I’m not talking about a shrine of your past life. I’m talking about the things that used to light you up inside, inspire you, or energise you. Things you have dreamed about doing. This is a subtle way of setting goals for yourself, things to look forward to.

I have a photo frame at home that sits in my bedroom with all the things that helped me get unstuck at the time. It includes things like online groups I was a part of, positive blogs I read, music I loved to listen to that conjured up positive memories for me, positive affirmations and quotes, and inspirational events I attended.

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Life is full of possibilities, and this is just a moment in time. You get to re-write the remaining chapters of your life on your own terms. How bloody empowering is that?

If you have found this helpful let me know and share it with someone who might be struggling with being alone. I have 8 other tips on not only surviving separation, but thriving. You can grab a copy here, by signing up to receive them. www.shefoundaway.com

Here’s to living and epic life post separation.

Andrea.