Tag: self care

a woman looking away, with a green and gold background and title trauma is not your fault but healing is your responsibility

Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility.

A few years ago, I went through a trauma that really messed me up. Afterwards, it was like I lost all control of myself. I felt like I couldn’t breathe no matter what I did, and I couldn’t think about anything else. My entire body would shake, panic attacks were constant and I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing what had happened to me. I cried myself to sleep and then woke up screaming from the nightmares. It honestly felt like my whole world had been ripped apart.

Everything I thought I knew felt wrong and I was terrified all of the time. I had trouble finding motivation to get out of bed, lost interest in all of my hobbies, and moved through my life like a zombie for months. I’m pretty sure that everyone could tell that there was something wrong with me long before I was officially diagnosed with PTSD.

My husband convinced me to go to therapy and during my very first session, the therapist said something that changed everything.

“What happened to you was not your fault, but healing is your responsibility.”

At first, I was livid. Why was I the one that had to do the work when I was the one that got hurt? I wasn’t the one who made life-destroying choices, yet I was the only one suffering.  How was that fair?

All I wanted was to go back home, crawl under the covers and continue shutting the world out. But as we talked through it, I realized that he was right. No one else was going to fix me. I could sit around and let myself drown in my misery, wishing things had been different, or I could work towards rebuilding. I’m really proud of myself for choosing to rebuild.

I’ll be honest with you; there are times where I’m still going through it.

I still have bad moments some days where I start thinking about the past and feeling bad for myself. Moments where I am suddenly terrified or angry or wracked with pain.  But while they used to consume me every minute of every day, now they’re few and far between. I’m so much better than I was, and I’m continuing to get better. I’m building a life that fills me with joy and purpose. Because I am so much stronger than my trauma, and once I owned that, I was able to change everything.

Over the years, I have made some MAJOR changes in my life.

The most important change was becoming a mom. My daughter breathed a new life into me and motivated me to work even harder to heal and become stronger. And then my son increased that drive and made me even more determined. Every single moment with them is healing on it’s own.

On top of those little blessings, I cleaned house on all of my toxic relationships, set some major boundaries, and started learning about self-care and empowerment. The relationships that were good for me were strengthened and I found a whole new sense of self-worth. I also traveled, left my full-time job, started my own business, moved to a new state where I’ve been renovating my dream house, and started conneting with other women who want more out of life. I’ve taken a bunch of new classes and got certified in things that have interested me, participated in multiple summits for women who want to take their lives to the next level, learned new skills, and so much more.

Not bad for someone who just a few short years ago had pretty must lost the will to live, right?

The point of all of this?

Basically, I wanted to tell you that if you’ve been through something traumatic or scary or sad that wasn’t your fault…

You didn’t deserve it. How do I know? Because no one deserves to be traumatized. But even if you were a victim- even if you were just the collateral damage of someone else’s horrible choices- you still need to heal. You need to do it for you. That is your responsibility.

Don’t let them take your life from you. Don’t let them win.

Even if it seems like your world has ended and there is no hope of happier days, you need to try. Start with small goals and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Some days, your goal might just be to get out of bed, and that’s okay. Heal at your own pace and start building a life that you love. I promise you, you will not regret it.

You are stronger than you think.

If you take nothing else from this, please just remember that you matter.


And of course, a reminder that if you need a little extra support, I’m your girl. I offer one on one coaching as well as a free facebook community for support. You can check get more info by clicking the links, and of course feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions.

a woman with here hainds in the air in front of a mountain with a green and gold background and title building your self-confidence

Building your self-confidence

I went live in my facebook group this morning to talk about self-confidence after it was mentioned to me by a few different members of the group as well as from a past client. Low self-confidence is an issue that affects many of us, but it doesn’t have to. That’s why I wanted to share a few options with you to help kick those doubts to the curb.

When it comes to building self-confidence, I usually go right for mindset work, meditation and journaling. I’ll start off by briefly mentioning that I do have a couple of paid but affordable options, and then I’ll go into more detail with a whole lot of free things that you can try.

Paid options:

So for the paid things, I have a guided journal that I created to help with self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs which is on amazon.  It has exercises, prompts, etc to help to build confidence and self-belief. And then on my website, I have a guided meditation which is to build up things like confidence as well as lessoning stress and increasing self compassion which all tie into each other.

You can find my guided journals on amazon here.  And my website shop here.

You can also check out my website for things like affirmation downloads or reach out to me about coaching if you want something more hands on.

But now onto the free things that you can try.

For most of these, I still use a journal, but not a guided one. It can just be a blank journal or scrap paper, a notes ap or word doc. Just something to be able to write things down.

First, basic self-care like nutrition and getting enough quality sleep.

It might not seem like it would be connected, but it affects the way your brain processes everything, how you focus, how you feel, etc.  So if you’re doing better physically and mentally, it’s going to affect your mindset and your confidence for sure.

Give yourself grace/self compassion.

Basically, don’t be so hard on yourself. Think about how you would treat a friend and apply that to you. This is one that I’ve done a lot and recommended to my mom… write down whatever you’re struggling with and then go back and read it as if a friend wrote it. You can make someone up or think of someone in particular. And then write a letter back as if you were talking to that friend. So for example, look at whatever you wrote and pretend my mom wrote it and think of how you would answer her. Then once you’ve written the response, go back and read it as you again. Often, we’re a lot kinder and more supportive to the people we care about than to ourselves, so this is sort of a way to trick our minds into being more supportive of ourselves.

Challenge your negative thoughts.

If you have a doubt or negative thought or something holding you back, write it down. Then try to list any reasons that this thought is true.  Then re-write it as a positive thought challenging it and list the reasons that it is or could be true. This helps to get rid of unfounded doubts that often have no real basis or are really other people’s voices in our heads.

You can also try giving that negative voice in your head a different name.

This helps so that you can separate it from yourself. This sounds silly, but it’s effective for a lot of people. For example, let’s call it bob.  Every time you start to have the negative thought or doubt, you can actually say out loud, be quiet bob. I know I can do this.

Set smaller, realistic goals.

Rather than focusing only on the big picture which can be intimidating or overwhelming, focus on the next small thing you can do. What is an achievable step in the right direction?  And then make sure to celebrate the success! Doesn’t have to be a party (though it could be) but do something to acknowledge the accomplishment. A happy dance, an excited call to a friend, a piece of chocolate, etc.

Focus on your strengths.

Make a list of the things you love about yourself, skills that you’re proud of, areas where you didn’t quit and saw success. If you can’t think of any, ask friends or loved ones and write them down. You can even word it as what words come to mind when you think of me or what would you say I’m good at, etc. (I did this a few years ago and I was really nervous at first that it would look like I was fishing for compliments or something, but the people I reached out to were very quick to send me a few things each that made me realize more about myself than I had before. It was a very cool experience.) write these down and keep the list in a place that’s easy to reference on days where you need a reminder of your amazingness. Add to it as often as you feel called to.

Affirmations

You can use affirmations in so many ways. Print them out and put them somewhere you’ll see often, include them in a meditation, say them out loud as part of a morning or bedtime routine, etc… you want them to be something like “I am” and then whatever belief you’re trying to instill. Ex, I am confident. I am capable. Make it part of your daily life and your brain will start to recognize it as part of who you are.

Support system

Reach out to your friends, your family, a coach, etc… (feel free to post in my group whenever too) remember that you are not alone. If you have people who are constantly pulling you down or making you feel like you can’t do things, consider implementing firmer boundaries with them or some space. Notice who hypes you up, supports you, encourages or makes you feel better and nurture those relationships more.

Be willing to ‘fail’.

I’m using quotations for fail because I don’t really consider it to be a failure to try something new or to get it wrong as long as you don’t just give up. No one is perfect and expecting perfection is one of the quickest ways to get down on yourself. So this kind of goes back to giving yourself grace and compassion- realize that everyone makes mistakes or has a learning curve. And that it’s okay. That’s why we practice, start again, call on mentors, etc.  Replace the ‘I failed’ mentality with ‘I didn’t get it yet but I can try again.’ Or something along those lines that resonates. But you can’t succeed if you never start.

Hopefully these are helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to talk about any of these further or whatever.

 

 

a woman with dark hair making pizza dough in a cedar kitchen with a green and gold background and title hands-on healing

Hands-On Healing

How often do you work with your hands? (And by work, I don’t necessarily mean a job- but just hands-on activities in general.) So many of us sit at a computer all day and sure, typing uses your hands to a degree. But I’m talking about hands-on activities, meaning phsyically moving them around and using those fine motor skills… Have you noticed any benefits to it when you do?

I’ve noticed that if I’m feeling stressed or frustrated, that getting my hands moving in some sort of activity can help me feel better, so I started looking into it. It turns out that these hands-on activities actually affect us in a lot of ways- from our mind to our body to our heart/soul.

I wanted to share some of the things that I learned with you.

When you actively use your hands, you’re creating new neural pathways. This affects how your brain processes information. And so the more pathways you create, the stronger your brain is, meaning you can learn more. You get better at things like problem solving or remembering details.  But there are a lot of other benefits as well.

Improved fine motor skills:

Through participating in activities that use our hands, we’re using our fine motor skills.  The more we use them, the more they improve which means our precision and coordination will get better.

Improved cognitive function:

Many hands-on activities, like puzzles, stimulate your brain and therefore help with cognitive function. There is a definite connection between hand movements and brain activity, so this can help us to strengthen our mind.

Stress reduction:

Hands-on activities usually have a calming effect. These hobbies can help reduce stress as well as help us to relax and focus our attention.

Increased creativity:

Many hands-on activities allow us to create things that were not there before. From actual art (painting, sculpting, doodling) to other creation type activities (baking, writing, dancing), these activities allow for self-expression and can inspire creativity and innovation.

Sense of accomplishment:

You know that feeling when you finish a project and you just feel so proud? You can grab this feeling again and again with these activities, meaning boosted self-esteem and motivation. This leads to a positive mindset which can ultimately change the way you experience life.

Learning and growth:

Hands-on learning can be more effective than passive learning for a lot of us. Actually using your hands and engaging with different materials can help us to understand and remember things more deeply.

Physical health benefits:

Some hands-on activities, like gardening or DIY home improvement projects, can provide some enjoyable exercise. This can improve physical strength and increase flexibility. Plus the serotonin that comes from moving your body.

Mindfulness and focus:

I sort of mentioned this earlier but wanted to highlight it on its own. Hands-on activities often require concentration and focus. This means having to stay present which can help us to detach from stressors, triggers or fears.

Social interaction:

A lot of hands-on activities can be done with a partner or group which can be a lot of fun and deepen relationships.

These are just some of the benefits that come with moving your hands. If you’ve noticed others, I’d love to hear about it- drop it in the comments!

I’d also love to know what some of your favorite hands on activities are.

Mine are drawing, painting, cooking, gardening and puzzles. But the thing that works best for me, and honestly what inspired this training, is baking. I was rolling out some homemade pizza dough and it honestly felt like I could feel all of the tension just leaving my body. It’s such a rewarding experience and it’s also a lot of fun! With that in mind, I figured I’d share the pizza dough recipe that I use with you.

This makes one family size pizza, but I’ve also doubled or tripled it and divided it up for several personal sized pizzas. The personal pizza activity can be a really fun bonding experience to do as a family or a date night or with friends. Have all of the toppings on the table, section the dough off and everyone makes their own. I’ve done it a few times now and it has never not been a good time.

I’ve also used this recipe to make breadsticks, adding just a bit of oil and oregano, maybe a bit of cheese. It’s really hard to go wrong with it.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup warm water
• ½ tbsp. of active dry yeast (one packet)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 2.5 cups flour
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 Cups of mozzarella cheese
• Any wanted seasonings and toppings (oregano, garlic, rosemary, etc)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 and either grease pan or use parchment paper
  • Mix yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl and set aside to let bloom. This should take about ten minutes- will look puffy when done.
  • Add flour, oil, salt and mix until smooth. Kneed it for a while until it is mixed well and smooth, not sticky but still has a bounce to it.
  • Let sit for at least 5 minutes.
  • Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll out to your desired shape. You don’t want it so thin that there are holes, but you don’t want it too thick either. It will double in thickness when baking so aim for about as half as thick as you want it.
  • Add your seasonings, sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes.

Please let me know if you try it and how it goes! Also, what are your favorite hands-on activities?


And of course, a reminder that if you need a little extra support, I’m your girl. I offer one on one coaching as well as a free facebook community for support. You can check get more info by clicking the links, and of course feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions.

 

a woman's hand with dark nail polish, holding a pen, writing in a journal.. green and gold background and title set boundaries for how you treat yourself

Set boundaries for how you treat yourself

Last week, I spoke about boundaries and how they are a necessity when it comes to self-care. I wanted to expand on that, because while the boundaries you set for the relationships in your life are crucial, so are the boundaries you set for self-treatment. So today, I’m focusing on those.  This ranges from things like your routines to self-talk and more.

Just like the boundaries we set in relationships, personal boundaries for how we treat ourselves are important for building a healthier and more fulfilling life. I believe they are the foundation for almost every area of our lives and determining how things will play out.

Ditch the negative self-talk:

The first step I recommend in self-boundaries would be addressing negative self-talk. Set limits on your self-criticism and establish a positive internal dialogue. Pay attention so that you can recognize harmful thoughts and actively replace them with affirmations. Remember, the things you say and think directly affect the things you feel and believe. This means that curbing that negative self-talk can greatly improve your quality of life. And so a commitment to speak to yourself with kindness and compassion is a great start to setting your boundaries with yourself.

Prioritizing self-care over neglect:

Next, I’d say to set clear boundaries between self-care and self-neglect. Figure out the things that genuinely rejuvenate your mind and body, and commit to making time for them. Whether it’s a relaxing bath, reading a book, or practicing mindfulness and meditation, these moments need to be non-negotiable. You don’t need to be ‘busy’ all of the time. You just need to be intentional.

Make sure you’re getting quality sleep:

Moving on to your quality of sleep; this is a really important one. Set a consistent sleep schedule, create a bedtime routine, and make getting a good night’s sleep a priority. By setting this boundary with yourself to guarantee that you get the rest you need, you’re investing in both your mental and physical health which means you’ll feel better and even be more productive. Some other bonuses from this are better cognitive function and emotional resilience.

Find a balance with work and personal life:

Another big boundary to set is the separation or balance between work and personal time. This is especially important for entrepreneurs who often work crazy hours at crazy times. Overworking can lead to burnout and compromise your overall well-being. So it makes sense that we need to be firm on setting limits. Learn to say no to excessive work demands and create a schedule that allows for both productivity and relaxation. Also make sure that you’re getting some ‘me time’ every single day.

Pay attention to your nutrition.

Setting boundaries around nutrition involves making conscious choices about what you consume. Prioritize nourishing your body with wholesome foods, and establish limits on indulgences that are negatively affecting you. Listen to your body’s signals and respond with mindful eating. This might mean a little more time, effort or work, but the convenient and quick solutions are not always the answer. By making sure that your body is getting the nutrients that you need, you’ll feel better and have more energy. Odds are you’ll probably also see positive effects on things like your hair and your skin when you’re making sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition, along with less aches in your muscles and joints. Your mood and focus could also improve depending on what your current diet looks like and the changes that you put into motion.

Exercise and movement are important too.

I also recommend creating boundaries around exercise or movement that promote a healthy relationship with physical activity. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore workout. Choose things that bring you joy and make sure it aligns with your energy levels and capabilities.  For some this could mean things like yoga or walking. For others it could mean swimming or kickboxing. The important part is just to get your body moving.

How to set these boundaries:

(This is where I recommend breaking out the journal to form your plan.)

Start by thinking about your current habits and areas that might need adjustment. Clearly note these boundaries to yourself. Make sure that you’re viewing your commitments to yourself with the same importance as you would view your commitments to others. Be firm in enforcing them, but also give yourself grace. It can take time to establish new normal which will probably feel very uncomfortable at first. Like I mentioned last week, our brains are wired for the familiar. So even if a new thing is super positive compared to the old thing that might even be outright toxic, our brains struggle to make the transition with ease. It does get easier- don’t give up after one hard day.

Let your boundaries adapt with you.

Just as your boundaries with others are going to change as your life and experiences change, so should the boundaries you have with yourself. Be open to adjusting them as you grow and be sure to check in every once in a while to make sure that they are still having a positive effect in your life. Again, this is where journaling can be super helpful. Pay attention to how your new boundaries make you feel and what changes you see in your life. Change them up when they’re no longer effective or practical for your situation.

You don’t have to do it alone.

Overall, the biggest thing is that by choosing self-love and well-being, you are choosing you. I applaud you for that choice and wish you all of the success.  If you should need some additional help or guidance along the way, I’m here. Feel free to reach out to me. And again, I also offer one on one coaching as well as a free facebook community for additional support. You can check get more info by clicking the links, and of course feel free to reach out to me with any additional questions.

girl with long brown hair, smiling, green and gold background, Makayla Carpenter: An Empowered Voice

Makayla Carpenter: An Empowered Voice

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Makayla Carpenter, a nutrition and life coach who is not only empowered herself, but also helps others to take control too!

Makayla specializes in empowering people to overcome restrictive dieting and emotional eating through healing their relationship with food. Having come from a past of an unhealthy relationship with food and knowing how much it impacts peoples’ lives, Makayla is now very passionate about helping others create a healthy relationship with food.

She was kind enough to share some of her story with me to share with all of you.

What was your ‘Ever After’ moment? (The moment that changed everything)

My aha moment was when I realized how much deeper my unhealthy relationship with food was: it was never just about the food, it was about how I was viewing myself, the world and how food fit into this. I was not focusing on taking care of myself and the relationship with food I had reflected this. Recognizing this and coming from a place of curiosity and compassion was like changing as I started to unlearn the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs I had developed up until that point.

What is a challenge that you have faced and how did you overcome it? What did you learn along the way?

I struggled with eating disorders as a teenager, followed by depression, struggles with yoyo dieting and binge eating, plus just feeling very low in confidence and self esteem. I learned that I had to make the decision to do things differently, I had to reach a point where I was ready to address the underlying issues and not just focus on the surface level stuff. I learned that we can completely change our mindset through unlearning and starting to really question the beliefs that we are holding onto. This has changed my life and the trajectory of it.

What is a practical strategy or tool that you have found most effective for achieving success and/or personal growth?

Getting curious and taking a moment before we react. When we are able to pause and just become present to listen to our thoughts, we can learn so much and start shifting so much too.

How do you deal with self-doubt and limiting beliefs? What practices have you found helpful for building self-confidence?

By writing them out. If I find myself pulling back or not feeling great, I write out my thoughts/ feelings and problem solve them, create more helpful thoughts. I have done this alot and find that now I automatically do it, but a pen and paper always helps! Reminding myself that we only have one life and I want to enjoy it and helps others do the same – this is one example of a helpful belief that helps me push through fears or thoughts that may come up.

What advice do you have for staying resilient in the face of adversity? How do you maintain a growth mindset and learn from failures?

Remember why you are doing what you are doing, when things don’t go to plan get curious about what went wrong and what you could learn from it. I just remind myself these things, and regularly check in with my thoughts.

What are some common misconceptions people have about your area of expertise, and what would you like people to know?

When it comes to creating a healthy relationship with food it is about so much more than just the food. It is so important that you address the underlying causes of your struggles with food. Having more compassion and curiosity towards yourself is such an important step in the journey of healing your relationship with food.

How can we connect with you?

Website: Makaylacarpenter.com

Facebook group – Freedom from restrictive dieting and emotional eating.

Business page – Makayla Carpenter Nutrition and Life Coach


Interested in being featured as an Empowered Voice? Click here for more info.

girl with red hair and purple shirt, smiling, orange dress, green and gold background, Melissa Pilatzke: An Empowered Voice

Prioritizing Sleep is Self Care

Do you struggle with sleep? I know that I do.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had difficulty with insomnia and chronic fatigue and I’ve definitely felt the effects of it. That was why I was so intrigued when I met Melissa Pilatzke, who is a sleep consultant. I thought I was passionate about sleep just because I always wanted more, but after hearing her talk about it, I now know what being passionate about it really looks like. Sleep is so important to self care for both our mental and physical health, and I’m so glad that Melissa was generous enough to share some of her expertise with us!

Here’s what she has to say:


Have you ever noticed that sleep is a popular topic of conversation? People are constantly discussing their own sleep, their child’s sleep, their partner’s sleep, and it’s usually in the context of not getting enough of it! Sleep is a vital life function; human beings need sleep just as we need food, water, and air. Yet we are all guilty of making sleep a low priority at some points in our lives.

When you have a big test coming up, a presentation to prepare for, or you need to binge the new season of your favorite show, sleep gets sacrificed to make time to accomplish the task. And that’s fine from time to time but what usually happens is that we forget to prioritize sleep again once we’ve aced the test, nailed the presentation, or finished the season. This is where the trouble begins. Placing sleep as a low priority for days or weeks at a time will eventually cause some degree of sleep deprivation.

What Does This Have to Do with Self Care?

Take a moment to think about how being VERY tired affects you. If you are anything like me then you may experience headaches, loss of appetite, low energy, quick to anger, and the list goes on!

Now that you’ve thought about it that way, doesn’t it seem so clear that getting more sleep is essential to our self care?

Why do we do other self care activities? To recharge, right? Some more obvious items that come to mind when you are craving self care are to go for a nature walk, get your nails done, enjoy a long bath. These are all wonderful ideas too! They all help us to restore our bodies, our mental states, and our joy. But what is more restorative than sleep?

So, the next time you find yourself exhausted, try prioritizing your sleep for a few days to a week. Commit to going to bed early instead of scrolling Instagram or watching Netflix. I know! It’s a hard habit to break. But making time for our own sleep is the ultimate act of self care!

I recently did this because I found myself suffering signs of sleep deprivation after weeks of staying up late and waking early. Let me tell you! It was so worth it! My to-do list continued to grow but I did not stay up late to finish it because my priority that week was to get to bed early so that I could be more productive overall. This was very hard for me but as a sleep consultant I made it my mission that week to practice what I preach!

Prioritizing Sleep May Just Be the Missing Puzzle Piece

You may be thinking that you don’t need to place sleep as a high priority because you practice healthy living in other ways. Maybe you eat right, exercise daily, and meditate. That’s fantastic! Amazing! Keep doing that. I’m not saying that sleep should replace all those other healthy habits. But maybe, just maybe sleep is the missing piece to the puzzle. If you consider yourself to live a healthy lifestyle but you are only getting six or seven hours of sleep per night, you may be missing a very important piece to the puzzle that can elevate you to the next level.

When you are better rested you can focus better, you have more energy, and your mood improves. Not to mention that while you sleep your body is busy regulating your metabolism and performing immune repair. That’s a lot of work happening overnight so we should give our body the time it needs to recharge and repair so we can thrive during the day.

Take Back Your Sleep

I wasn’t always this passionate about sleep! It wasn’t until I was no longer in charge of my own sleep that I realized just how precious it is. When my daughter was born, my chance of getting quality sleep seemed to evaporate overnight!

Perhaps you’ve been reading this thinking “yeah…okay… easier said than done” because you have a child who is keeping you from getting the quality sleep you need and deserve. If this is you, trust me, I get it! I was right there with you not that long ago! It’s exactly this scenario that sparked my passion for sleep, specifically pediatric sleep.

The first step in prioritizing your own sleep is to help your little one sleep well. I have created a Free Guide to Sleeping Through Night for parents just like you! Download it now as your first step towards prioritizing sleep for your entire family!


   Melissa lives in northern Saskatchewan, Canada with her husband and two-year-old daughter. After overcoming sleep struggles with her own daughter, Melissa became passionate about helping other families get the sleep they need and deserve. She wants parents to know that sleep deprivation does not need to be a normal part of parenthood and that other options are available. When Melissa isn’t talking about sleep, she enjoys scrapbooking and travelling with her family.


 

Interested in being featured as an Empowered Voice? Click here for more info.