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, stress, anxiety, depression, help, support, wellness

Mind Empty or Mind Full?

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Over the years people have asked me what I’m into, what I want from my career and what I like to do in my spare time. Sometimes I’m referred to as a ‘hippie’ a ‘tree hugger’ or I get asked; “Are you into those crystals and oily things?”

My answer – I’m into anything that makes me happy! Which includes practicing mindfulness, something we can all fit into our lives even (especially) if you spend a lot of time in the corporate environment. Mindfulness simply means giving your undivided attention to the present moment, something we can all do and have probably done before.

Have a think about the times in your life when you have been so immersed in something that everything else just slips into the background. Cast your mind back to a movie you were so engrossed in that you just couldn’t take your eyes off the screen, playing in the park with your kids and pushing them on the swing, or maybe just sitting down after dinner is done and enjoying some chocolate or a glass of wine!

All these moments in time help us understand that life is to be enjoyed. The moments where we stop multitasking and really start to see everything in front of us for what it is. This allows us to slow down, relieve stress and keep life in perspective. We can be in flow with the present instead of getting caught up in our minds asking ‘what if?’

Are you struggling to find time to be in the present? Simply stop where you are right now and pay attention. Notice the smells and sounds around you… what can you see?… slow down your breathing and listen to it. Following simple steps like these can help you feel ‘in the moment’ no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Being self-aware is the first step to mindfulness. Time to Exhale is all about making it possible for people to reconnect with themselves and find balance in their lives. Mindfulness training is just one of the things I would love to help you with.

To raise awareness for Mindful in May, I will be offering 2 for 1 sessions to anyone who books with me across the month, so if you refer a friend your session is free! For more details email me at – mel@timetoexhale.com.au

 

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

5 Signs It’s Time to Talk

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There is so much pressure in our society today, for people to keep it together and just “get on with it”. But what if you keep trying day in and day out, only to feel completely lost, exhausted, stressed and teary at the drop of a hat.

Social media can make us feel even more depressed when there are countless images of people’s highlight reels of life, always happy and posting messages to stay positive and motivated. (Hey I get it, it’s my job to motivate people) but even I have to take a step back sometimes and realise when I’m not having an “Instagram worthy” day, week or month and that it’s ok. In fact; it’s MORE than ok, it’s completely NORMAL.

Recognising and admitting when it’s time to reach out and talk to someone is the hardest step, but the most crucial to ensure you stay on track and look after your mental health. Here are just a few signs that it might be time to seek out support:

Food choices:

Having the occasional cheeky burger or pizza meal is ok, I’m all about moderation. However, when these choices become the norm, it’s your body having a reaction to an emotional void that needs to be filled. Next time you hit the vending machine at 3pm, check in with the emotion you are feeling before reaching for your wallet.

Withdrawing socially:

Bingeing on the latest Netflix series for 7 hours straight can be amazing when it’s called for, and some days you just need time out from the real world. Same deal with junk food though, if this is your go to activity every weekend or weeknight, it may be time to phone a friend and have a coffee, to talk about what’s really happening in your life.

Can’t sleep:

Waking up in the middle of the night to visit the bathroom is standard, but if you regularly find yourself unable to get straight back to sleep for hours, ticking over all the things you need to do tomorrow, then your mind is working overtime and may need to offload the information to get a decent night’s rest.

Mood swings:

Feeling like you can take on the world, but then wanting to hide from it all in one day is a sign that your adrenals are out of whack. You could be in constant fight or flight mode. This is great for when a tiger is chasing you in the African jungle, but not when you are on a deadline, or rushing around taking the kids to 25 different after school activities. Take a breath and pick up the phone, it’s ok to put your hand up and say “I’m not coping”.

Anxiety and panic attacks:

These can often happen in the moments of nothingness, like driving, doing the dishes or making a cup of tea. You feel your chest tighten and you become short of breath. You then start to hyperventilate and panic while bursting into tears. This is a clear, if not THE clearest sign that something is not right and hasn’t been for a while. Get help. You are worth it. Your boss, your kids, your partner can all wait. Book yourself in for a professional appointment with someone and talk.

If you are feeling any, or all of these signs then please reach out – mel@timetoexhale.com.au.

If not to myself, at least a friend or a loved one. If you know someone who is going through a tough time, please share this article – it might be what they need right now.