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, wellness

My Story

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You know that question teachers ask when you’re trying to figure out who you are; where do you see yourself in 10 years?

My response;

“Well gee I don’t know, I’ve only just worked out how to sneak into the club on Saturday night with my fake ID!” (thanks cousin Tina…)

The one thing I’ve always known though, is how much I loved talking to people, and helping others when they felt like their world was imploding. It was so good when someone walked away feeling happier from a conversation we’d shared. So I thought about becoming a psychologist, a teacher… Or perhaps even an actress during my drama phase at school! Where I did eventually find myself, was in the world of media sales; and what a journey that was.

I’ve spent the last 15 years talking, selling, presenting, and eating, drinking and laughing with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met; many of whom remain great friends of mine today. I loved what I did for the first few years, and it made me feel so connected to people, but something was missing.

I started to feel burnt out and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t shake the stress and anxiety that was building. I wasn’t living my purpose; in fact I was avoiding it like the plague. I finally reached breaking point one Sunday morning, when I had a panic attack while making a cup of tea. It took a lot for me to walk away from the career I’d built, but I did.

I created Time to Exhale so that I can help others who are going through a tough time like I was. We can all get back to being the best version of ourselves, which doesn’t involve an overnight fix, or suppressing feelings until they disappear (because they don’t).

My journey didn’t happen overnight, and it’s one that sees me learning new things about myself every day. I have a great team of people around me. Some of them are coaches, and others are my natural therapy gurus. We all need a little help sometimes, so don’t be scared to reach out when things aren’t feeling right.

Welcome to my community!