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Bring on the Positive! Affirmations at Work

Affirmations are a great way to help us make changes in our lives. We can use them to help us shift our energy and motivate us to live the life we want to live. In this blog, I am going to share some of my current favorite affirmations and give you some guidelines on creating your own. These five affirmations are the current ones I am working with. The affirmations I use change as I grow. “I am enough” I use this one quite often, especially at times when I am feeling like I don’t measure up, I have envisioned that I have not performed or am beating myself up about a perceived shortcoming. “I am perfectly imperfect and that is ok.” As mentioned in last weeks’ post, this is a new one for me that I use when my perfectionist is rearing its ugly head. “I am grateful for my experiences” This one I use to help remind me that, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for. Even in the most difficult situations there is something you can be grateful for. I have discussed in previous posts the importance of practicing gratitude and this affirmation reminds me of that, and helps me change my perspective. “Love and peace and joy are what I know” This helps guide my mind to focus on the positive. I have a choice with how I view a situation and this affirmation guides me to view it through a lens of love and peace and joy. “I trust the process of life to bring me highest good” This one reminds me to trust in the process of life and it brings me out of a place of fear of the unknown future, and moves me away from a victim mentality to one of trusting the process. When I am in a space of feeling like life is picking on me, it grounds me. These are my favorite go to affirmations! I use them regularly in the situations mentioned above. They are a powerful way of changing my thinking, stopping old patterns, grounding me and bringing me back to a balanced place.   When I introduce a new affirmation, I start practicing them when I am in a balanced place to get myself accustomed to them and to anchor them to a calm, positive, balanced energy space. This is important because I am training my brain so that when I repeat them, it brings me back to that balanced energy. When starting out don’t begin reciting when you are in the throws of the negative experience you are trying to change. For example, if you are creating an affirmation about abundance then don’t start practicing the affirmation when you are about to sit down to pay your credit card bill and you are stressed; rather start saying them in the mornings before you start your day, and maybe throughout your day, then when they are starting to feel stronger you can start to use them in stressful times like when you are paying your credit card bill. This is similar to training your physical body. You wouldn’t try to lift a 200-pound weight without first practicing with lighter weights!     Create your Own If any of the above situations are suitable for you, feel free to use the above affirmations. If not you can always create your own! Here are some guidelines to writing your own affirmations. Reflect on the positive – You want to use positive terms when creating affirmations. Rather than focusing on what you don’t want, focus on what you do want! Instead of saying “I don’t want to be stressed”, say “I am feeling calm and centered.” Use “I” – Make it personal. You are not responsible, nor can you change someone else’s behavior, so make your affirmation about you. Try “I am open to other’s opinions” rather than “So and So agrees with me”. Use present tense – Rather than focusing on the past which we cannot change or focusing on the future which is undetermined, focus on the present. By using something like “I am” rather than “I will”, you are stating your intention for now, not at some undetermined time in the future. Keep it short – Keep the affirmations short and sweet. Focus on one thing, not numerous things. It is best if you can repeat your affirmations from memory. For example, an affirmation like “I am feeling successful, happy, abundant, at peace, balanced and smart.” Is too long and contains too many different areas. Instead “I am at peace in my life.” Or “I experience abundance all around me.” These are clearer and more focused. Lastly, make them personally relevant to you. – The more personal they are, the more impact they have! If you are working on a specific belief or circumstance in your life, create an affirmation around how you would prefer to feel in that situation. For example, if you are trying to create a better work place, “I view my work place as joyous.” Using affirmations can be a great way to get you moving in the direction you want, in creating your dream life. Using them often helps set your intention and change outdated patterns. When you are working with a specific affirmation, use it often. Words have power! Time for sharing! Do you have an affirmation that you love? Please share your favorites below, I would love to see them and they may help others too.

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Perfectionism- Part 2- and What to do!

Now that you have had a chance to digest the information from a couple weeks ago, about being a perfectionist (I know I needed time!) and you have probably moved from resistance into acceptance, you may have recognized that your perfectionism might be a problem, even if only sometimes! I think it is important to understand why I think we develop a perfectionist voice in the first place and how I keep mine in balance. A quick recap from last week’s blog. My belief was that being a perfectionist is a motivator, a lot of people believe this. In my life, I thought it was what kept me moving forward, and what I realize now is that it wasn’t a motivator, instead it hindered my momentum and growth. So why do so many of us have a such a strong attraction to being a perfectionist? Perfectionism as an Armor Brene Brown states that we use perfectionism as armor to protect us from vulnerability. I completely agree! But what is so vulnerable about being not perfect? I think this relates to our core need to belong, and we think that if we are perfect then we can’t be judged or rejected. For me it starts with our primal need to belong. This need has developed over generations for very real reasons. In primitive times, if our ancestors did not belong to their tribe, the consequence could and most likely would be death. This also true for us an infants. Therefore, the need to belong boils down to survival. Today, our survival may not be on the line, but we still feel this strong need to belong. If you doubt this, talk to a youth in high school – they would do almost anything to fit in! Fear of Rejection So, we start with this need to belong, from this need comes a fear of rejection. When we fear something, we avoid anything that could make the situation a reality. Therefore, if we fear rejection we do what we can to not be singled out and we do everything we can to fit in. A type of rejection is being judged, therefore in our minds we take in information that will help us avoid being judged and ultimately rejected. To help us we create an idealized vision of the “perfect”….. mother, employee, entrepreneur, wife, social worker, and so on. We internalize these ideals and strive to attain them… to fit in. These ideals are the playground for our perfectionist. Once we have an ideal, our perfectionist compare us to it and tries to keep us in line for fear of judgment and rejection. This may sound complex an example may help clarify. In my life, I have talked about my career in the human services field, my version of the perfect social worker was selfless, non-judgmental, always positive, all knowing…the list goes on and on. I strived to be all those things for fear that others would see that I was not a “perfect” social worker. I would push myself and chastise myself when I fell short of the ideal. That was my perfectionist!   The Snowball Effect Now consider that I was not only a social worker. I was a friend, wife, puppy parent, daughter, coworker, family and community member as well. All these roles also held an idealized version and, to be all of those “perfectly” all the time, is impossible, and exhausting! When I would judge myself, I would assume others were judging me as well, so I would push harder to reach that ideal. The thing is, as mentioned last time, perfectionism itself is unattainable. So, I was like a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster in efforts to keep up with the ideal and to avoid judgement and rejection. What I realize now is that this striving for perfection in one area inevitably stole time and energy from other areas (i.e. the more I tried to be a perfect social worker, the less energy and time I made for my relationships), which then brought on whole new self-judgements. And that is when things begin to snowball! It’s kind of crazy when you think about it: We push ourselves to be perfect and then beat ourselves when we don’t measure up, which makes us feel like we are not good enough so we start to pull away from others for fear they will notice our imperfections. The result is that we end up losing the connections that we feared losing in the first place!  Crazy making stuff!! What I do… Since I have had that big “a-ha” I have adopted a simple mantra that works to bring me back to balance. When I notice, my perfectionism is ranting, I simply say to myself “You are perfectly imperfect and that is good enough.”  Sounds simple, for me it has really worked. Saying this reminds me perfection is unattainable and brings me back to a balanced place where I understand that I am not perfect and that is ok! This is something that I have to practice, almost daily and it all started with the realization that perfectionism is not a motivator but rather a roadblock!

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Let Your Inner Child Play!

This week I have had the opportunity to let my inner child play! It was liberating. To be honest, I guess it was more my inner youth, nonetheless liberating. I recently returned from a road trip with one of my dearest friends where we had been exploring the US. On this road trip, we went to a New Kids On The Block concert. As an adult, I am not that big into music, I realize now it’s something I just let slip by the wayside. When my friend found the tickets, I thought “Sure why not?” Boy am I glad I did! As soon as the concert started, I heard songs that instantly brought me back to my youth! It was so neat to experience the totally excited 14-year-old in me, she was excited beyond words and that is something I have not felt in a long time. I was instantly brought back to my 14-year-old self who danced around the basement, had posters of the band on the wall and fantasized about the cute boys. She was so enthusiastic, so full of life, so optimistic and so passionate. What an amazing experience to feel her, to be her again. I could feel her absolute excitement about being at the concert. I could feel at times that my adult “in control” serious side wanted to squash her as I didn’t want to look silly, I overrode the impulse and let her play! It was exhilarating!   What a blessing for this experience! After the concert, I started thinking about that it was at around that age that I started really struggling to find my identity, which is the plight of adolescence. It is during this time that the need to fit starts to outweigh almost everything; the primal fear of rejection pushes us to start to sacrifice parts of our personality that we deem undesirable. Parts that might get us singled out or that someone might reject. I am sure I am not alone in this! Allowing the 14-year-old in me to come out and play gave me the opportunity to reassure her that she is perfect the way she is and that she is good enough! This was so liberating and healing! So, needless to say, she played that night at the concert and I reconciled some deep wounds of suppression. I will let her play! As I continue this journey into myself, I am finding that there are more of these traits. They are like treasures that I am dusting off and putting back on display. What a cool experience! Of course, there is some shame for having hid them in the first place. I have always advocated for owning who you are and I believe that completely, but as with most things, we are harder on ourselves. Continuing on this journey, I find myself curious and excited to see what other treasures I will find. And I made a promise to myself that when my inner child/youth arises I will let her play! Oh and of course dance!!      

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Perfectionism a Problem? Really?

Perfectionism a Problem? Really?

I have been running this blog through my head for weeks, and finally I am ready to write it! The funny thing is, I haven’t wanted to write it because I wanted it to be perfect, guess I still have some work to do! I was convinced that perfectionism could not be a problem! Listening to Brene Brown’s books Daring Greatly and The Power of Vulnerability, she talks about how perfection is an armor that we use to protect ourselves from vulnerability. I must admit when I first heard this I thought “NOPE!!!!!” It made me uncomfortable (perhaps even angry) and physically nauseated, I wanted to throw up! I had flashbacks of my life when I had proudly stated “I am a perfectionist!” The more I let this sink in, the more I wanted to disprove it and find examples of events in my life that could prove that it was untrue. I was convinced that perfectionism could not be a problem! After all, it pushes you to achieve, it keeps you at your best and it keeps you on your toes…and on and on I went, trying to justify why being a perfectionist was a good thing! The more, I listened to Brene talk about it, (honestly, over and over), I finally let go of my resistance and with some awareness, willingness and a whole lot of self- compassion, I began to accept that maybe my perfectionism was not the motivator I thought it was. The problem with perfectionism is: Is there ever perfect enough? After receiving a good performance review at work, the first thing my mind would focus on would be the one slightly less than great comment. My mind would say ‘not perfect’. When I would receive a compliment on my cooking, typically I would reply with something like “I wish I would have…”, implying that the dish did not turn out ‘perfect enough’. When my husband would tell me I looked beautiful, I would respond “I still need to lose a few more pounds”. You guessed it, ‘not perfect’ was playing in my head. That is the thing with perfection, the very meaning of it means it is unreachable. Could you ever really be perfect in a perfectionist mind frame? No, because there is no such thing as perfect and when you do reach a milestone or make some headway the perfectionist in you says, “Oh no you didn’t”, and moves the mark. You are like a rabbit chasing a carrot at the end of the stick, you keep running and running but will never get the carrot. And, if by chance you do achieve a goal and for a minute recognize your accomplishment, the perfectionist will poke holes in it and point out how it really wasn’t ‘perfect enough’. It is never ending and crazy making! How can we put ourselves out there if we are waiting for everything to be perfect? The other side of perfectionism, according to Brene Brown , is that it kills creativity and innovation. How can we put ourselves out there if we are waiting for everything to be perfect? We can’t! The biggest thing that stands out in my life is my procrastination on sharing my photography. The self-talk tape I would play when someone would give me a compliment on my photos was never-ending. When I would look at my photos I would pick them apart like a vulture. I was ruthless in my judgement and the underlying message was “These are not perfect you can’t put them out there!” And so, I didn’t! There would be times I would sit in front of Photoshop working on a picture and after a couple of hours I had only cropped one single picture – no word of a lie! Back and forth I would go, the little cropping lines taunting “you are not going to get this perfect”. I was paralyzed and then frustration would set in and eventually, I would give up. To be honest this still happens sometimes, but now I just walk away for a little while until I can get my perfectionism in balance. Then I return and finish the picture. Having this understanding I now think, “Thank goodness there are people out there who have learned to keep their inner perfectionist in check.” Otherwise there would be no creativity and innovation and I imagine we would still be living in caveman times if that was the case. Although I resisted it at first (OK let’s be honest, I full out rejected it), I can now see that the more I am aware of my perfectionist and the more I can keep her in balance, the more I accomplish! The coolest thing is, I am enjoying it too! As a recovering perfectionist, I can tell you that you don’t accomplish less you actually accomplish more! So I leave you with this question, “What has your perfectionism stopped you from doing?”

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Release It!

When I attended my yoga class, our instructor advised the class that it was a full moon this week. Our practice was based all around releasing. Therefore, I thought this would be the perfect topic for the week. Releasing can be either in the physical sense or it can be on a spiritual, emotional or psychological level.  There are two sides to releasing. First, a natural grieving for the letting go process and, on the other side, an excitement for opening of space for something new. Too often we focus on the difficulty of the letting go! We equate letting go with leaving the comfortable and the known. Many of us subscribe to the old saying “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. But if we ascribe to this, we end up staying in relationships that don’t serve our highest good, we hold on to grudges and negative feelings that are stealing our joy, we stay in situations that are either stunting our growth or are harming us; all for the safety of the known. I understand the compulsion to stay in the comfort, even when it is uncomfortable. In my experience, when I am resisting moving forward the Universe finds a way to help me make that move!   We are the captains of our lives and we intuitively know what is best for us! Often, we either consciously or unconsciously talk ourselves out of making those changes for a variety of reasons. We think we are better staying where we are because it is known. Usually, when we do this we feel agitated and stressed we may not realize why we are feeling that way but we just don’t feel right. We find ourselves feeling exhausted and like we are banging our head against the wall, or running around in circles. We feel this way because this is exactly what we are doing we are using our energy to go against what we know in our gut is right for us. In my experience, I have found that the more I continue to resist the truth the worse I feel and slowly but surely, I am disengaging from my life; only showing up halfheartedly to everything. Even the things I truly love, being stuck is energy sucking. It is usually then that the Universe finds a way to intervene and assists me in making the move that I didn’t feel I could do on my own!   The issue with this is that if we are not aware of the gift of being moved forward then we often end up feeling resentful for how the situation ended. In my life, I have been gifted by the Universe many times over when I was not able to move forward; I am trying to hold on to the old and comfortable. I see this same pattern with the people around me. One friend, found herself staying in a relationship that was holding her back, she stayed because she felt that it was her responsibility to work on the relationship. She believed in the vows she had taken and tried to make the relationship grow with her. The problem was that she was the only one trying. Her spouse, for his own reasons, was not willing to grow. She begged, pleaded, argued and cried trying to get her partner to grow with her; to no avail. She continued to stay in the relationship because she was holding out hope. It wasn’t until she started to see the effect this was having on the rest of her life and the lives of her children. She had been sacrificing herself to stay and that was causing friction in all areas of her life. She was withdrawing from a career she loved, she was constantly feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. That was the point when she finally listened to her intuition and made the decision; it was time to leave the relationship. And she did! She released the belief that she needed to make the relationship work and opened up to the unknown of being a single parent. Since this releasing she has found a happiness that she had not felt for a long time. She has rekindled friendships and most important she has honoured her inner wisdom and is feeling more confident and present in her life.   Now I am not saying that you need to get a divorce, or quit the job, or leave the partner. That doesn’t have to be the only solution. In her case this was, but maybe in your case there is a belief that needs to be released that will completely shift the situation. Maybe you feel that you have to be perfect and that is causing strain, maybe you believe that to a good wife or mother you need to be self-sacrificing, or maybe you believe that at your age you should be married so you are settling for less than you deserve in your relationship. When you are able to release the belief, the person, the emotion, or the situation then things can and will shift. You will be releasing the old that is not working for you and opening up space for something new that suits who you are. I guess it really all boils down to a choice. Do you want to stay stuck and keep banging your head against the wall or do you want to release what is not working to welcome something new? I know when I become aware of something that I need to release I choose to release because I know the alternative is hard and, to be honest, it sucks! All that said ask yourself, with this full moon in effect, “What is it that you are ready to release?”, so that you can open the space for something new!

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Just Say Yes!

Last week I talked about setting boundaries and how absolutely important that is! The other side of boundaries is that you need to be able to say yes too! Often, we lax on our boundaries for others but are rigid with the ones we have on ourselves. Curious? Have you ever found yourself really wanting to do something like starting a yoga class, or taking a trip with a friend, or even something as simple as going for a massage? We (at least I do) set boundaries around saying yes, “I will take that class when I lose 5 pounds”, “I will go on that trip when things slow down at work”, “I will go for a massage after I finish my spring cleaning”. Whatever it is, we set ourselves a boundary that stops us from doing something we really want to do. Why is that? In The Power of Vulnerability, author Brene Brown says we do this because a “shame gremlin” pops into our heads and we don’t feel good enough to say yes. We don’t join the class because we are not slim enough to be in a yoga class, we are not productive enough to take the trip, not clean enough to have the massage. Does this sound familiar? It sure did for me! I was always saying, to myself, “When I am fitter I’ll take that class”, “When I am better at photoshop I’ll sell my pictures”, “When I have this work completed then I can take that trip”. There are a couple problems with this. The first being, is there ever going to be a time when we do feel enough? We tend to keep moving the milestone and never get to the “yes”! So you may lose those 5 pounds, but then the thought becomes “I’ll join the yoga class when I am more flexible”, or “I’ll take the trip when this next client gets on track”, or “I’ll go for the massage when I clean out the garage, too!” And on and on the cycle goes. Never saying “yes” because we never measure up to the qualifiers. The second problem: When we say “no” to something we really want, we are left regretting not having that experience. What I have realized! I place these boundaries on myself and I miss out on opportunities that would bring me joy!  Once you take all the beliefs, fear and judgments out of it, you realize this is crazy!!! When I realized this, I decided to start asking myself, “What would I say to a friend?” Doing this keeps me in check, because of course, I would say to a friend, “That’s crazy! Take the class, go on the trip, go for the massage!” What I have decided! In my life, I would rather have the discomfort of facing the self judgments, and saying “yes”.  Now, I practice going for what I want to do, when I want to do it. I have decided that I would rather have the slight discomfort now, rather than the regret. If you have read my story, then you know that when my husband’s illness worsened, he regretted not taking chances and doing the things he really wanted to do. This regret was burned in my mind! I don’t want to be 80 and looking back on my life wishing I had said yes more often. Therefore, for me in my pursuit of a joyful life, I have strengthened my boundaries with others and loosened the self-imposed boundaries. I am now practicing saying yes to life, yes to experience, and yes to joy! How about you? Is there something you have imposed a boundary on that you want to do? If so I challenge you to say yes. In my experience the more I practice yes, the easier it comes.

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Learn How to Set Your Boundaries + A Free Boundaries Cheat Sheet!

Ok…. wait. Don’t close the page. I know boundaries can be a scary word to a lot of people. We hear about the importance of putting boundaries in place… Then for some reason or another we don’t follow through with it. Why does even thinking of boundaries frighten so many of us? It may be because some of us like to identify ourselves as “givers” or “nice people” who would do anything for anyone. This isn’t bad, but when we give to the point of being drained or we give to others till our cups are empty, then we get to a point where we start to feel bitter about it.  This can happen so slowly that we don’t even realize it is happening, until you realize…  You avoid certain friends because you don’t have the energy. You start isolating yourself from others because you’re drained. You dread Monday morning and count down the hours till Friday afternoon. Sound familiar? Just say no In our society, we are taught that we need to give selflessly to be liked. At the same time, we are taught that if we say “no”, or set boundaries, it’s selfish and rude. When you’re everything to everyone, it’s exhausting! That is why so many of us give until we burn out. We become apathetic and give out of obligation instead of desire. This is a very soul sucking place to be! The thought of saying no to friends and family, the mere mention of taking time for yourself rather than being selfish is overwhelming, especially if we have dedicated our lives to being everything to everyone. I call it a “giving addict.” We feel that we will be seen as selfish, friends will abandon us and that we are not good enough. The negative dialogue takes over. We muster the strength and continue to give more and more and betray ourselves more and more. How I recovered as a giving addict Hindsight is 20/20! I was like this with my family and friends, but especially with my career. Often I chose to allow my work to dictate my life. I would leave my work cell on and respond to clients’ calls in the evenings and on the weekends. There would be days where I would realize when I got home that I hadn’t eaten or taken a break all day. But I continued to do it again the next day. My ego would say “my clients need me…I have to be there for them. What kind of worker am I if I’m not available?” Most evenings I would be so exhausted, I would crash on the couch trying to recuperate, and weekends were a write-off, I was too worn out to do anything. I needed to recharge! My wakeup call came too late! When my husband passed, I started to see all the things I had missed out on. He always wanted to do things on the weekend…. take little excursions, go camping, socialize with friends and family or go on dates. I was always too tired and burned out from my work that the thought of having fun… just seemed like more work! I missed these opportunities and special times with my husband because I was not able to set boundaries around work. I learned and I now know how important boundaries are! Not only did I lose out, I also robbed my clients of the chance to figure things out on their own. I stole from them the opportunity to grow and learn. So really it was a lose-lose! Now I have boundaries in place, I take care of myself, I honour my feelings and I do things because I want to, rather than feeling obligated to (most of the time) and I have people in my life that support those boundaries! You can have this too! All it takes is total honesty with yourself about what you will and will not accept. You need to feel good about putting boundaries in place. This is definitely a process. Our culture has deeply ingrained the need to please in us. It takes awareness, patience and a lot of self-love to get through to the other side of a boundary-friendly life. When you do start moving in this direction, you’ll be rewarded! You will regain energy, love yourself more, and people will offer more support than you envisioned! Sounds good, right? The first step is awareness. Recognize where in your life you need boundaries. Where do you give too much of yourself? Listen to your internal voice and determine whether you feel motivated by “should do” or “have to do”. If you feel heavy and dreadful, then these are good clues that you need boundaries in place. There are some things in life that we choose to do because they need to be done, (i.e. laundry or dishes for me). These become the exceptions to your boundary rules. Ready to take that first step? Get with yourself and recognize where you are betraying yourself and giving out of obligation or guilt Start valuing yourself and get ready to set some boundaries. Get TSW Life Coaching’s free printable boundaries cheat sheet here!  

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10 Best Quotes on Family and Friends

Holidays can be a really hard time for many, especially if you have been through one of the 5D’s. When you have gone through a loss from death, divorce, dumped, downsized or disease, holidays can be huge reminder of the loss and can be very stressful. If this is the case then this is the perfect time to lean on family and friends; it is not a time to suffer alone. Although, family and friends can, at times, be a source of frustration, they are also our greatest teachers and our greatest support. I am so grateful for my family and friends (whom I consider family). Without them I would not be the person I am today, so to honour all those I love this holiday I compiled a list of my 10 favorite quotes on family!      Do you know what is the best part of life? When your family understands you as a friend and your friends support you as your family. – Unknown      To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. – Confucius               Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learnt the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. – Muhammad Ali       A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you. -Elbert Hubbard     A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. – William Shakespeare       The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson       There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of humans, are created, strengthened and maintained. – Winston Churchill       What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa        Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. -Unknown       Families are like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. -Unknown   An extra…. I couldn’t resist! Families are like fudge mostly sweet, with lots of nuts. -Unknown   Happy Easter, I hope you all feel the love of family and friends this holiday! And of course, the Easter bunny!  

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Top 3 things to Consider When Looking for Work!

Being downsized or let go can be a pretty upsetting thing. When this does happen most people just want to run into a new position. They crave that security and there is a lot of fear surrounding the uncertainty and overwhelm of the situation. I understand the desire to just jump back in, but I encourage you to consider these three things before looking for your next job. These are especially helpful when you are looking not only for a job, but a job that you love, a job that excites you! 1. Consider your values! Get crystal clear on what your values are. We operate through our life according to our values, therefore if we want a job that fits us, it has to fit within our values. For example, if you value community, then getting a job where you are on your own working by yourself where there is no community probably won’t be satisfying to you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take this job but it could be a struggle to keep you interested or engaged. If you really want the job you may need to find a way to incorporate community into the position like a weekly lunch gathering, so that your value of community is being met. That is a decision only you can make but if you understand your values then you understand your unique perspective on the world. This way you won’t get into a situation where you are working somewhere that is out of alignment with your values, and you are more likely to find something that suits you and that you love. So, consider what values you hold and how strongly you hold them. 2. Know your worth! This is one many people struggle with, including myself. We tend to undervalue ourselves. We tend to minimize our special talents because they come easy to us and, therefore, undervalue our worth. I am guilty of this for sure! The more I learn the more I realize that common sense to one does not mean common sense to everyone. You are a unique individual with your own special set of superpowers and that in itself is awesome! You should be valued for those gifts. Therefore, when looking for a new career make sure that, not only does it align with your values, but your superpowers too! Set standards on what you will accept and what you will not and then, most importantly, don’t settle for less! You deserve to be valued. Stop playing small! The world needs you to shine in all your glory! 3. Clear out negative energy! This is so important, especially if you have been downsized or let go! If you are carrying around negative energy and negative beliefs about your abilities, about working or about people then this will hinder you in finding your dream job. Clear out all the negative stories you are telling yourself, so that you can open the space for the positive energy to move in. If you are replaying stories of fear, mistrust, abandonment, anger or judgement directed at either yourself or others or both, then it is time to let it go! Think about this, would you hire someone who has a big dark storm cloud hanging over them? Of course not, it’s not good for business! You may think you are hiding it well, but usually those types of emotions are written all over our faces and they come out in our body language and tone. Not the best face to show at an interview! Getting rid of those emotions will open up the space for you to move into something new with a clean slate, ready for new experiences and ready to face new challenges. Now that sounds like a great employee!   If you get these three things in line then I am sure you will be in a better place to find a job that you like, that suits you, that you are excited to do. Who doesn’t want that? We spend a lot of our lives at work.  We may as well enjoy that time, rather than counting down the days to the weekend!

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Go on, take care of yourself…IT’S OK!

Self-care is something you always hear about, how it’s so important, but most of us don’t do it. Or at least don’t do it properly! Working in the field of human services for so many years you always hear about the importance of self-care. In fact, I don’t think I have been through an interview where I wasn’t asked “What do you do for self-care?” And to be honest I would throw out the same old answers, read a book, go to the gym, yoga, hang out with friends. I wasn’t necessarily lying, but when I said those things I actually just did the actions the minimum, I was too busy! What I didn’t understand was what it really means to practice self-care! The difference, I know now, is that you can do the actions but if your energy and intention is not in line with the actions, then you are not actually doing self-care.  In many instances, I feel you might be doing self-harm instead! What I mean by this is that when you take a bath and spend the whole time running through a to-do list in your head, or thinking about a mistake you made at work or what else you should be doing, then how are you enjoying your bath? You’re not! You might as well be sitting at your desk! The harm here is, if you are telling yourself that this is self-care then you are sending the message that you are not good enough and don’t deserve the break! On the other hand, if you are sitting in your bath being mindful of the warm water, the way the bubbles tickle your skin, smelling the oils in the bath, enjoying the space and time that you are in, then you are definitely doing self-care! Can you see the difference between the two? Another common go to method of self-care for some is having a glass of wine. If you are drinking it while thinking “I need this glass of wine to unwind to stop thinking about my crazy day”, but you are actually thinking about your crazy day then this is not self-care! If you are drinking that glass of wine mindfully, enjoying the view, feeling how the wine feels on your tongue, savoring the flavor and feeling the glass on your lips then you are doing self-care! The energy behind the two is very different! Keeping this in mind, why don’t you plan some time for yourself to do some actual self-care this week? While doing your chosen activity, notice your thoughts. How is your body feeling? Where are your emotions at? Being present in your self-care activity is what makes it an act of caring for yourself. Think of it this way: If you were caring for a friend would you focus on them or would you focus on your to-do list, planning your next activity or ruminating on your day or would you give them your full attention? You deserve that same attention! The following is a short list of some activities you can do for self-care but remember the most important part is that you give yourself that time and attention while you perform them. Go for a walk. While walking, take in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Pay attention to how your body moves while you walk. What is your breathing like? Read a book. Really read the book. If it is a self-help or personal growth book, focus on the words and lessons from a place of curiosity instead of a place of judgement or trying to fix yourself. Have a spa day. Choose your favorite salts or oils to put in the bath, pick your favorite music to listen to or enjoy the silence. Make and use a facial mask or body scrub. Here are some links to cool homemade spa treatments or or search Enjoy your favorite meal. Either cook yourself something special or go out for your favorite meal. Actually, taste the food, enjoy it…. No guilt or judgement on what you should or should not be eating. Get exercise. Go to a gym, take part in a class that excites you. While performing it do it because it is fun and exciting, no self judgements!   Make sure whatever it is that you do, do it with the intention that you deserve this time, you are worth it and you are doing it because you love yourself! If you set the proper intention before you start the activity, then you are going to actually be doing self-care rather than just checking off another thing on your to-do list!

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