mental health, Mindfulness, stress, anxiety, depression, help, support, Uncategorized, wellness

5 Ways To Forgive Yourself For Breaking New Year Resolutions

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There’s something about the 1st of January, that makes me feel as though everything bad that I did the day or year before doesn’t matter. It’s a clean slate. I can finally be the person I’ve always wanted to be. I have a new diary with fresh pages and this year is going to be sooooo different. Plus, everyone else is talking about New Year’s resolutions so I guess I should make some of my own? The reality? It is literally a month following a previous month. I am the same person, eating the same thing for breakfast, living in the same house, talking the same shit!

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to set these ridiculous goals that we intrinsically know aren’t going to be achieved? It’s like we want to put ourselves through the pain of our ego telling us “I told you so, I told you that you couldn’t do it!” Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fantastic when people want to make positive changes and stick to them. I’d be out of a job if people didn’t. However, all this badgering of thoughts around eating better, exercising more and doing all the things, only leads us down into a spiral of anxiety and disappointment when we don’t achieve the list of 100 resolutions, come the end of January.

So, how can you still aspire to improve your life without the self-loathing and deprecation that goes with it?

Start small: If your goal is to wake up every morning at 5am to go to the gym, but you’ve never in your life woken up earlier than 7am, forget it. Start really small and aim to get up at 6.30am for 1 or 2 mornings of the week to exercise. Also pick the days later in the week, never on a Monday morning!

Be realistic: If your goal is to quit sugar, but every meal you eat is filled with the stuff, be real with yourself and commit to cutting out sugary drinks to start with. If you go cold turkey and put yourself through punishment at every meal, it won’t be long until you’re craving a large quarter pounder meal at Macca’s drive through on a Tuesday night. Sober. (Yep been there)

Be the Devil and Angel: Stop trying to label yourself as “really bad” or “really good” and just BE. We all need balance in life and too much of anything doesn’t end well. Let’s take direction from the Old El Paso taco girl in the ad and say “Porque non los dos?” Translation: Why can’t we have both? (Also, you can never have enough tacos, hard or soft)

Stop telling everyone about your resolutions: Nobody actually cares. Don’t get me wrong, people generally want you to be happy, but sometimes it can make others feel inadequate, like they HAVE to set ones for themselves. It also makes you feel worse when you don’t actually start doing them. Keep it private and surprise yourself and those around you.

Does it really matter anyway: What matters is that you are genuinely wanting to be the best version of you and live your most authentic life. What matters is feeling great while you are doing that. There is no set formula for this, only what makes you feel most alive.

If you feel like you’re struggling with what you want out of life right now and it all just seems too much, let’s have a chat. I’m a huge believer in setting ourselves up to achieve, taking small steps that accumulate into amazing results. I hold you accountable, working with you to carve out those moments in time that make life worth living. Email me: mel@timetoexhale.com.au. Happy New Year!

mental health, Mindfulness, stress, anxiety, depression, help, support, Uncategorized, wellness

What Does Success Mean To You?

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I’m quickly learning that running your own business from home comes with its downfalls. Somedays you feel like you’ve made the best decision and you’re on top of the world, whilst other days you question WTF you were thinking trying to do this all. You realise that most of your time is spent alone in front of a laptop in your sweatpants.

When your well-dressed husband, who has been out in the real world comes walking through the door with a sense of achievement, you feel a tad jealous. You get paranoid that it looks like you’ve done nothing all day, so you start listing all the medial tasks when he asks how your day was, only to see that he’s still so preoccupied with his emails. You feel like you almost want to be back in the structure of corporate life, where you worked for someone else and most importantly, had a steady income each week.

This has been the topic of conversation for us lately. A few weeks ago, I finished up a part time contract role and had to face the reality of putting my heart and soul back into the business, 100 percent. All of Me. This was what I’d wanted for the last 10 years, so why wasn’t I jumping into my business with the passion and excitement that I expected? I sat quietly and had a light bulb moment. I only feel successful when I am making money, when I can see that same dollar value in my bank account every week. That’s when I feel like I am worthy in my life. I’ve also been in sales for 15 years, so like a well-trained soldier, my discipline or craft was making money. My mindset had become so used to measuring my self-worth via two scenarios; how much money I was earning and how much money I was making for whoever I was working for. In the early days of my career, someone so eloquently told me that I was “Only as good as my last sale.” Well how very motivating and inspirational! As the years went by, the messages were pretty much the same, just delivered differently and packaged up in pretty little bows disguised as compliments.

You see, what I’m starting to learn about myself is that money comes and goes. I haven’t turned into a full tree hugger burning notes while chanting around the camp fire! I still believe we need it to survive, but our mindset around success and how we define it needs to change. Just because I technically didn’t convert a sale this week, it doesn’t mean that I’m worthless and not working hard, or more importantly, working towards a purpose. We need to go easy on ourselves and remember that money and material possessions don’t define us and we are more than enough without the bells and whistles. Success can be anything you want it to be. For me, it’s helping a client see clearly when they feel like everything is hopeless, or dragging my butt out of bed at 5am to get to the gym. Better yet, it’s knowing that I can now cook at least 4 decent meals a week! Not kidding, a year ago “I used my oven for storage” as Carrie Bradshaw from SATC would say.

I want you to sit still for a moment and ask yourself “What makes me feel a sense of achievement that doesn’t involve money or possessions?” Only then will you start to feel a wholeness that can only be achieved when we connect deeply with our hearts and not through our wallets.

mental health, Mindfulness, Uncategorized, wellness

Love It Or Hate It

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I’m talking about my relationship with social media. Ironically, I’m now sharing this article via those platforms, but I just wanted to express my thoughts and feelings about them since launching my business.

Let me start with the positives. I love how it connects me with people who I just don’t get to see anymore. Some days I feel more connected than ever. Especially when I hear about new babies, engagements, career changes and basically any great moment in someone’s life. It lights me up inside. I’m all for sharing articles and videos that challenge the way society is, or help us to make sense of the world we live in today. I love that I have connected with more like minded businesses since I started and it’s opened doors that I would have never thought possible. The downside? Well, where do I start?

I was never a big user of social media before I launched my business. I was more of a quiet background creep. I would still scroll through every day and hit “like” on people’s posts, but was too shy to write or post anything myself. I think I’m over that whole phase now, but what I still struggle to understand, is how fickle the world of Instagram can be and how it’s existence sometimes does not resonate with the values of my business.

I couldn’t understand why people buy followers, follow you for a follow back, then drop you like a hot potato the next day and you’re left following all these people and you don’t know why. Did I mention follow? It’s like a fake currency that we trade with and your worth is based on how many people follow you, how many likes and comments you get on a post and how amazing your life “appears” to look. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great tool for loads of businesses and creates a sense of community among many, but we need to be asking ourselves if we are being truly honest and authentic with our communication.

At first, Instagram got me down and I felt like I was in another country, trying to speak the native tongue without a dictionary or a tourist guide. Then I realised something. Instagram does not define me and my business. It is purely another channel for me to get my messages out to the people who matter and resonate with my brand. My relationships with potential clients happen either over the phone or face to face, like in the old days. My currency is human connection and energy work. You can’t translate that solely with an image. I refuse to try and fit into the Instagram box of perfect feeds where all the colours and fonts match all the time and there are perfect pictures of a mug on a table with a magazine. That’s just not me. Kudos to the people who produce these beautiful works of art, as they truly are gorgeous to look at, but who am I kidding? I’ve never been that polished version of a human. If you come over to our place for dinner, you will see that all of our plates are chipped because of my clumsy nature and most days I can barely do my hair and make-up. That’s just me.

And those boyfriend shots where your man takes your hand and it looks like you’re just casually leading him, walking into the ocean/sunset/cliff, well my husband would rather the cat take those pictures than him.

So I put this challenge to you; let’s stop worrying if our feeds are Instagram worthy and let’s starting posting completely and utterly from the heart. It doesn’t matter how many likes or comments we get, or how we look when we post. If we feel compelled to put something up because we love it, then do it. We need to stop comparing our lives to the strangers on Instagram and start sharing all of who we are, warts and all (I mean if you have a wart I probably wouldn’t take a picture of it but you catch my drift). Love and share your life through YOUR eyes, not through the manufactured lens of who social media says we SHOULD be.

How do you show up in the world of social media and is it really who you are?

mental health, Mindfulness, Uncategorized, wellness

Out of the Phone and Into Real Life

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I have a confession; I’m starting to have an unhealthy relationship with my phone. I love how convenient it makes my life, but I hate that sometimes I go to bed and feel like my eyeballs have merely jumped from one screen to another for 16 hours of the day! Ironically you are now reading an article about how to minimise your smart phone screen time while you’re on it, am I right?

I realised that I needed to change things when my phone was the first thing I reached for upon waking and the last thing I touched when I went to bed. Too much information? Spooning becomes less romantic when you are holding your phone that’s for sure. I also have moments with my device in the bathroom, the kitchen, the lounge and dare I even say it; the car (only at the traffic lights). But seriously WTF is so important all the time that we need it glued to our hands?

I have a few theories, the first one is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). God forbid that we will miss something on our Instagram or Facebook feed that happened between the 10 minutes of not checking it! Secondly, the thrill of receiving a notification and the inner dialogue associated with it; “How many people like my post?” or “What did they write?” or “What will they think of me if I don’t write back quickly?” Truly, this happens to all of us, but especially when you’re starting out in business and have never been a massive social media user, hoping that at least someone is finding your content useful. Again, these are my confessions….

So how do we minimise our screen time, when it’s not just social media that lures us, but also our work emails and other stuff like online shopping or the latest viral video that everyone’s talking about. I’m hoping the below list gets me through the next month, so maybe you can try a few tips if you’re feeling the same and let me know what worked for you:

1. Buy an old school alarm clock and keep technology out of the bedroom

2. Stop taking the phone into every area of the house (my place is tiny, this is a problem!)

3. No phone use half an hour before bedtime

4. Give people your full attention when having a conversation – phone down

5. Set a timer for work email notifications i.e – nothing comes through between 7pm and 7am

6. No phones at the dinner table

7. Do something on the weekend without posting about it #guilty

8. Have a meal without instagraming it – I’ve never done this but it may be helpful for others, I’m always too hungry to take pictures!

9. Play with your pets when they are sitting there staring at you on your phone

10. Same as previous but replace this with kids (for me this will be my husband!)

Really, we all just need to reconnect with what’s around us and get our heads out of the phone and into real life. When you have to visit the Chiro because your forehead is constantly facing the floor, it’s time to take action. I’m not there yet and hopefully never will be that bad!

mental health, Mindfulness, Uncategorized, wellness

5 Signs of People Pleasing

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Don’t we all just want to be happy and get along? Most of us search for connection and understanding with others, desiring for life to be peaceful. We avoid conflict as much as possible.

Unfortunately, we also spend a lot of time doing things out of obligation, because we feel bad, because our family said so, or because we come from a culture of keeping people happy at the expense of our own peace. Self-defeating right? Well it doesn’t have to be….

I’m finally coming to understand that it’s ok to say NO, to put myself first and walk away from people who no longer support me and my vision for the future. It’s so hard to be honest with yourself and question why certain people are still your friends, or walk away from an interaction with someone, knowing they just suck the life out of you. The worst part? You agree to do it all again the same time next week, just to keep THEM happy and avoid that awkward conversation.

There are so many signs to show us how much people pleasing we actually do on a daily basis, but I’m going to share with you my experiences:

1) I don’t mind, whatever you feel like/want to do/want to go:

If you are always the one who is compromising your choices, tastes and preferences, you need to STOP. Share your opinions and what you would like to do with people and if they are not respecting that, it’s a clear sign they don’t respect you.

2) Blah blah blah blah, ok thanks for the chat – BYE!

If you have someone who always calls to dump their shit on you and doesn’t even ask how you are or bother to listen to what is happening in your world, move on. This person is self-absorbed and does not see the value in you, so why waste your energy.

3) Downplaying your own happiness and success:

There will always be people triggered by your happiness and ability to create the life you want. Clear signs are when that person makes passive aggressive comments or questions your choices with a smirk on their face, as if to catch you out and expose something sinister to their friends about what’s ‘really going on’. The sad thing is, that person is probably just really depressed in their own life and feeling jealous. Don’t shrink who you are to make them feel better. Have empathy but don’t waste too much time on them.

4) Ah, yeah, sure, ok, I can do that, um….:

The language of NO can be really tough, especially if it’s being said to our family and friends. Often, we say yes to things and days later we regret committing! Be honest with yourself and those around you. Phrases like, ‘I need to be at home this weekend’ or ‘thanks for asking me but I need some time out at the moment’ are not offensive, it’s just putting your needs first. Wouldn’t you rather be honest, than show up as a half-arsed version of yourself when you just aren’t feeling it?

5) 50 First Dates syndrome:

Do you have someone in your life where your friendship feels a bit like each time you meet, you need to warm them up like a car engine on a cold winter’s day? It’s always you accommodating for their social awkwardness or lack of connection. These friendships need to slowly die or end quickly – the choice is yours.

Life is way too short to waste time with the wrong people. Ending friendships and distancing yourself can be painful at first, but your future self will thank you one day I promise!