How I learnt to build resilience

Hi Moms,

I’m back writing after a few weeks of a break (spending lots of time with my Issey) and truth be told since having the break it has taken me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things ;0 (however have really enjoyed the slow pace and just having fun with my little one).

So this week, I wanted to write about a practice that has really helped me and still does to this day.

This practice is meditation. I stumbled across this when I was quite ill after having Issey and was searching online for something to help me and I came across many testimonials explaining how much meditation had helped.

Initially, I was sceptical as anyone is when they first learn about something new. I had a  belief that meditation was for people that were enlightened beings, like monks, or those who spent time in ashrams, not for little old me 🙂

However, I’m a great believer in trying things for myself and making up my own mind. So I purchased a guided meditation programme online and started listening to the 12 min audio morning and night.

After a couple of days, I started to notice subtle changes initially, feeling less stressed and anxious about my situation and noticed that I was sleeping better.  Over the next couple of weeks, the body pain was reducing and my overall mood was much lighter.  I was starting to feel that it was possible for me to get well and was feeling much more positive.

So after noticing all these benefits I got fascinated and started researching all about it and found that the experiences I was having were in fact backed up by science, for example:

  1. Lowers stress: In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. Another study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.  Before finding meditation I used to be a constant worrier and dare I say a control freak, however since meditating I don’t find myself doing either of these things anymore. If I happen to find myself heading down this path, I’m much more aware and observe the thoughts/feelings that are occurring and then reach for good thoughts/feelings instead.
  2. Reduces pain: One study looked at the effects of meditation on 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. Meditation definitely helped me with my chronic pain and I can report that this ailment is thankfully gone – giving me back my quality of life!
  3. Better sleep: Another study found that participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate.  We all need a good nights sleep right?!! – especially us moms, (even though that can be hard sometimes, with little ones) so my intention is always to meditate before sleep, sometimes I get to do this and other times it’s not possible. But I always try at some point during the day even if it’s just 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Better health: meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations,

Note the above is just a small list of the myriad of benefits – there are so many more!

As I love meditation so much, over the years I have sought out teachers to learn more about it. I have bought online courses from Dr Joe Dispenza and have attended one of his progressive workshops when he visited Dublin back in 2017. I also have learnt a lot from Dr Sue Morter. Both Dr Joe & Dr Sue share similarities such as their breath work but that’s perhaps for another blog post.

As for now, the purpose of this post is to share how meditation has helped me so that it may pique an interest in you?

I really wish we were taught this from an early age as I do believe that meditation is a tool that we can all use to enhance our lives and help us face our challenges much more mindfully, ultimately building resilience! However, unfortunately, we haven’t been made aware of it…. thankfully it seems to be gaining more attention and it’s my hope that meditation starts to be taught in schools so that it helps our children have richer and much more peaceful lives.

Lastly, I’d also like to point out that it hasn’t always been easy for me to meditate and some days it still isn’t, however, on the days where my body is fighting me to stay still I just give myself some extra time and extra grace and before I know it I’m in the ‘zone’ (also known as the sweet spot!!)  The key is to keep showing up until its just becomes a habit and part of your day.

So Moms, as always I love hearing from you – do you meditate and if so what benefits does it provide you? Or perhaps you’ve wanted to but never tried, maybe this will be a sign to get going… and if you do please let me know how you get on.

Love and best wishes,

Lisa X

PS: there are lots of free meditations out there especially on YouTube, however, there is one app that I love and use from time to time and that’s insight timer and it’s also free ;0

References

Science-backed benefits of meditation 1

Science-backed benefits of meditation 2

Dr Sue Morter 

Dr Joe Dispenza

Insight Timer

 

Getting ready to Shred!

Dear Moms,

This week I wanted to share with you my plans to do a shred for 10 days starting this Monday. I hear you say first of all what’s a shred and let me tell you I asked the same thing once I first heard about it!!

For me, the word shred initially conjured up images of small pieces of shredded lettuce and shredding my food into tiny pieces. However, this is not the case at all ;0)

What I learned about the shred 10 programme

Firstly, the shred runs for a 10 day period and it’s a time to jump-start your health and ‘shred’ certain foods and habits and focus on cleaner healthier foods thereby flooding our bodies with whole food nutrition.

We use this time to become more mindful of what we are eating and allow our body to have a break and a time to rejuvenate.

It’s part of the healthy living revolution that Juice Plus has rolled out and invites us ‘shredders’ to participate so we can ultimately achieve better health and energy whilst allowing our bodies to safely detox.

Also, this is not a programme that counts calories, there is no deprivation so you can eat as much as you like as you are only consuming whole foods.

Preparation

shakes image

In preparation for this, I’ve purchased the Juice Plus complete shakes (plant-based protein) to try them out before I started the shred. I’ve since purchased another set of shakes as we love them so much. Rok, Issey and I have either a chocolate or vanilla shake every morning for our breakfast. I’m also enjoying one in the afternoon or just before bedtime.

I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post that I’ve started using the Juice Plus premium blend capsules which is a trio of fruit, vegetables and berry blends. Together with the shakes, my body is taking in over 45 fruits, vegetables and berries! So ensuring only whole foods, eliminating processed food and removing dairy, gluten, alcohol, artificial and refined sugars and caffeine for 10 days, I think my body will be very grateful!

And what I love is that I am getting all this for just €5.80/day (based on 30 days of capsules and shakes) and replacing my breakfast! How amazing is that?!! You know what’s interesting to me is that I used to pay €3.50 for a Starbucks back in my corporate days and sometimes would have two! So I think this option is a no-brainer for me.

juice plus trio

This January I took on a 7-day juice cleanse which was very challenging however this one seems far more achievable to me as I’m still eating food, I’ve also got more support as we have an online community that checks in with one another every day. Also, there is an amazing recipe book with tasty ‘shred approved’ recipes and I’ve also got my whole food capsules and shakes this time.  So I’m confident I’ll make it the whole way through the 10 days.  The only thing that may be difficult for me will be my morning small cup of coffee, so I plan on weaning myself off this slowly.

The key for me will be ensuring that I’ve stocked up on an array of pantry staples, fruits and vegetables and plan out what I will cook every day during the shred for lunch and dinner. This weekend I will be sitting down with Rok to plan this out and ensure we get off to a great start! So please watch this space, I’ll be reporting back soon on how I’m getting on. I’m actually very excited as I do love a challenge however also nervous of which habits might try and get the better of me, however, I’m so grateful that I got my Shred 10 community to check in with.

So, Moms, have you taken on a challenge like this before and if so how did you get on… as always I’d love to hear from you so please feel free to post in the comments below.

Wish me luck!

Love & Best wishes,

Lisa X

Resources

Shred 10 video

Learn more about Juice Plus 

The power of affirmations and how they’ve helped me

Dear Moms,

This week I wanted to talk about the topic of affirmations?!! I think the first time I stumbled upon affirmations was about 3 years ago when I watched a great movie on FMTV called ‘you can heal your life’ which is a Louise Hay film and speaks about how our thoughts and our language can hugely affect our lives. Shortly after that I downloaded some of her books to my kindle app and got straight to reading.

Firstly, I was amazed and humbled about all her work with Aids patients back in the 80s and that affirmation work was very popular back then however as I was merely a young child living in Ireland I hadn’t caught on to this great tool yet ;0

So now as a new mom, I was curious if affirmations could actually work for me. At this time, I was still recovering from chronic fatigue and peripheral neuropathy and was just about to go back to the corporate world full time. What I needed most was more energy and also less body pain so I started using affirmations and soon I found some favourites and here they are:

  • I say yes to life and life says yes to me (one of Louise Hay’s favourites)
  • I am willing to change and grow
  • I love myself just the way I am
  • I am enough
  • I forgive and set myself free
  • I listen with love to my body messages
  • All is well
  • I am in vibrant health
  • Only good lies before me
  • I am happy, calm and relaxed
  • I am always full of energy
  • I am the creator of my own life
  • I do the work I love

After a few weeks, I started to feel a bit lighter and had an increase in energy. I also started using affirmations if I was feeling a bit anxious about a situation and it helped me feel much calmer.  I did affirmation work in the shower, whilst I was driving, commuting on the train and found quite seriously that my mood was much better and also felt more energised.

What I discovered is that affirmations are simply replanting new seeds in our mind. It can be hard to do in the beginning as our mind is simply not believing what we are telling it…  So, from my research, a little trick that can help in this instance is to start with ‘wouldn’t it be nice’

For example,  wouldn’t it be nice if I am happy, calm and relaxed today… Wouldn’t it be nice if I could do the work I love…, wouldn’t it be nice if only good came into my life today? This statement will be accepted by our subconscious mind until we are able to use the ‘I am’ statement…

Where’s the reward?

So, for me, this took a least a month to feel some changes. You must ‘do the work’ and repeat your affirmations throughout the day (unfortunately, there are no shortcuts!) However, the reward is worth it. As Louise herself says ‘when you plant the seeds in the ground you don’t expect them to grow the very next day, you plant the seeds and then wait as you know they will grow in due time’  I know this can be hard, as some of us (including me) are conditioned to want results instantaneously, however, there is an element of trust and the planting the seeds analogy is a great reminder.

More than anything affirmations really helped me bring an awareness to what my daily self-talk was and what language I was speaking, for example, I became more aware/conscious of how I might put myself down, or how I would not accept a compliment. I was also more aware of my negative words and started to catch myself and be mindful of how I spoke about myself and others. Rok and I would try and hold each other accountable so that we didn’t fall into the negative talk trap/spiral.

Around this time, I gave up watching the news as I found it was so negative and energy draining, there was rarely any good news stories. So, I began to choose what information I wanted to hear and see myself. This was and still is very empowering.

Science has proven that affirmations do work by rewiring our brain! A study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology in 2015 showed that affirmations helped people at work perform better and calm their nerves! So, it’s not ‘woo woo’ stuff, thankfully it’s becoming more mainstream ;0

Nowadays, I still use affirmations, however, l don’t feel the need to use them as much, which shows how mich I have changed my thoughts and beliefs.  I also regularly share Louise Hay’s affirmations in our Mom’s private Facebook group as her work has really helped me and therefore I want to share this with other moms too.

Also, it’s important to point out (and even Louise Hay says this herself), there is no one panacea – affirmations are part of an self-help toolbox, just another tool to help you with your life’s journey. For me I used affirmations in conjunction with many other things like nutrition, exercise, meditation and energy work, a holistic approach!

Firstly, observing our self-talk can really help us get started on the right path and this helps us with other key areas of our life too, like ensuring we eat healthily and work out our body. Starting with the right mindset means we are able to create more successful habits.  Using this approach really helped me change my life both physically and mentally.

So, Moms, have you used affirmations before and if so please let us know if and how they have helped you.  Maybe you have a favourite… please feel free to share 🙂

Love and best wishes,

Lisa X

PS: ‘All is well’

Resources: 

References

4 Keys to Break Free from Worry

Dear Moms,

This week I thought I’d share my story about how I used to be a chronic worrier and how I’ve found some very useful keys that really help when worrying strikes. I’m grateful to report that with these keys my worrying has become less frequent 🙂

I think unless you are extremely lucky or an enlightened being worry does visit us for time to time, however, I didn’t realise how bad it was for me until I started watching my thoughts and observing how a little worry could turn into the worst disaster! On a scale of 1-10, I probably was at an 8 or 9 especially after becoming a mom. Most days I would spend a lot of my energy worrying?! Finding some relief was really warranted 🙂

Dare I say it but looking back I thought worry was actually beneficial that if I worried enough I’d be able to prevent bad things from happening, plotting out every scenario in my head. However it wasn’t until I took a step back and started researching/reading and practicing Reiki that I realised that I didn’t need to live like that especially since the activity of chronic worrying is so bad for our well being. Worrying causes our brain to think we are in danger, this starts a cascade of events – our brain signals our body to release stress hormones, then our immune system gets suppressed which in turn leads to us becoming more susceptible to illness.

It started for me in secondary school when I put a lot of pressure on myself to ‘succeed’, to get good grades and get into university. And, then worrying about jobs and climbing the career ladder, and then that turned into worrying about what people thought of me, or worrying if I made a mistake how it could affect my career etc.  After Issey was born I worried about her health and then my health and how I was going to manage my career and being a mom. It was exhausting… It wasn’t until my health really suffered that I started to review all the areas of my life and realised that this chronic worrying was a bad habit that I needed to change as a priority.

So if you find yourself getting into a worry trap here are 4 proven keys that have really helped me.

  1. Observe – as mentioned above I’ve learnt that simply observing my worrisome thoughts as they start to come in I have the ability to quickly stop them turning into worst case scenarios. This takes practice (the more you practice you are literally re-wiring your brain with what’s called new neural pathways to stop the spiral happening) I am now amazed how quickly I can turn my thoughts around, I just simply say thank you for showing up worrisome thought however I am not going to engage in you. I also find that affirmations help change the nervous energy in my body to more of a calm energy. My favourite affirmations are ‘all is well’, ‘only good lies before me’, ‘I am happy, calm and relaxed’ and ‘just for today I will not worry’ (this beauty is one of the five Reiki principles). I’ve also observed that worry happens for me when I am extremely tired,  haven’t eaten well (although this is extremely rare) and/or watched some news that was extremely worrisome. So now I ensure I put my sleep and food as a priority and decide what I watch, for example, we never watch the news anymore (growing up it was the first thing we saw in the morning and the last thing we saw at night!). I’ve broken the habit of news watching and we have removed our TV from our home so we only watch content on our devices that we choose for ourselves. I’m not suggesting you give up your TV however maybe observe how you feel after you watch something especially the news…
  2. Meditate – yes I am talking about meditation again ha! I have to tell you that my meditation practice has literally changed my brain and my personality, I am no longer the person I used to be and therefore no longer a chronic worrier! I always feel relaxed, refreshed and calm after doing a 10 or 20-minute meditation and this stays with me throughout the day. I see this as a daily habit I will never give up.
  3. Take purposeful action and then let go – when the worry doesn’t seem to be going away or it is indeed a very big worry then sometimes action is warranted. This may be in the form of writing out the worry on paper and then reviewing it later. What I find is most of the time on relection it doesn’t seem so bad… Depending on the worry another action maybe simply contacting someone to find out some more information… However, once I have done all that I can then I let it go and simply hand it over to a greater power in my case I will ask the angels for help ;0
  4. Practice Gratitude – yes I am also mentioning gratitude again 🙂  if you follow my blog or are part of the moms speaking your truth private facebook group you will know I am always talking about the simple yet extremely powerful practice of gratitude. Two things to mention about gratitude, firstly, if you feel worried just start thinking about what you are grateful for this will stop the worry trap (your brain can’t be worried and grateful at the same time!!) Did you know that if you earn more than $10/day you are better off than 80% of the rest of the world. This statistic always brings me back to reality and grateful for my home and my running water! The second thing with gratitude is that if you genuinely start practising it you will find worry doesn’t come to you as often. This gem of a practice is so powerful and changes your energy for the better. In our household every night before we go to sleep with Issey we all take turns to list out the things we are grateful for, this is a practice we want to instil in Issey so that she will believe it’s the norm and becomes a great habit of hers.

So Moms, if you try the above out I’m confident that it will help you, as it has truly helped me. My advice is not to try and implement everything at once maybe try one key out and see how you get on.

As always love to hear from you so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below…

Love and best wishes,

L X

References:

How worrying affects your body 

Stress and the immune system

Anxiety and the immune system

Neural Plasticity

Reiki Rays just for today

Statisitics 

 

Figuring out how to be more productive

Today I am writing about productivity 🙂  How can I be more productive with my time and be able to stay focused and achieve the things I want to do as well as all of the other items I manage as a mom.

Over the last number of weeks, I have been asking myself this question and working on finding a solution that suits me.  I find that procrastination can set in for me when I think there is too much to do; this can be immobilising and then the overwhelm starts to creep in and before you know it I’m not getting anywhere fast?!!

As a mom there is always a tonne of stuff to do, not to mention the stuff that just turns up unexpectedly and oftentimes I feel I don’t get enough quality time to dedicate to working on my projects and my Reiki practice so I’ve set myself a goal to try and be more productive and ease up on the overwhelm.

So for the past number of weeks, I have been doing the following:

1) Breaking it all down: On Sunday nights I’ve started preparing for the week ahead by writing down all the things I have to do and putting them into the following categories this avoids things becoming too much, for example, I ask myself the following:

  • What’s important and urgent this week? These are the items that I need to focus on first, note this can range across the board from household chores, food shopping, meal prep, work items, courses I am taking, holiday planning and family stuff etc.
  • What’s important but not so urgent yet? Whatever ends up here becomes the next set of items that I will work on?
  • What’s not really important and not that urgent and can probably wait?
  • What stuff on my list can be delegated? This mainly goes to my husband lol!

The idea of separating my massive to-do list into these categories (entitled the magic matrix) came from a book I was reading called ‘Project Me’ the author Kelly even has worksheets which you can download from her site (link below)

This new process has really helped me as now I’ve got my plan prioritised and I know what to focus on first. I’ve found that sometimes I need to break the overall task down even further into smaller chunks. Overall this has been a positive change and working well for me 🙂

2) Extending my workout: I’ve added in a 7-minute-high intensity workout (or minimum effective dose – after watching an interview with Vishen Lakhiani) to my morning routine to help me keep focused and also keep my energy high throughout the day. So now after I finish my yoga (with Adriene on YouTube) I follow it with my short workout.

3) Avoiding distractions: I’m trying to not look at my emails or any social media until later in the morning or sometimes well into lunchtime. This keeps me focused on ensuring I give myself time to exercise, eat right (make my green juice/smoothie) and have quality time with Issey before I tackle anything.

4) Staying mindful and enjoying what I am doing: I stay mindful of the task that I am working on giving it my full attention and also remembering to be kind to myself by ensuring I take regular breaks, sometimes I try and stretch myself and that is where the categories above come in. I review what is a priority. Also, I remember it’s important to enjoy what I am doing– remembering the Maya Angelou quote, ‘determine to live life with flair and laughter’ ;0

5) Sleep: I’ve set myself a bedtime goal of 10pm (all going well) note this doesn’t always happen but I generally make this happen at least 3 nights out of 7 which is good for me, as I used to be a night owl! I find on the nights where I do get to bed early the next day I really do feel the difference.

So, watch this space, I’ll let you know how my productivity is going and if this new system is working out for me.

Moms, I’m interested in hearing from you… do you find it hard to stay productive every day or have you found a system that works for you – I’d love you share with me.

Best wishes & love L X

Links:

Project Me

Vishen Lakhiani – Minimum Effective Dose

 

 

For those days…

Hello Moms,

So on my last blog post, I talked about how I was feeling more mindful lately whilst going about my daily tasks. However, I wanted to highlight that while this is the case I still have some days that are challenging for me and I thought it’s important to share my thoughts and my approach when this happens.

Moms, even though I employ mindfulness and have a regular meditation practice I still have those days where things don’t flow the way I wish they would – and you know this is perfectly normal as we are human after all, trying to raise little humans 😉

My research and readings about the practice of mindfulness, meditation and following certain mentors that I resonate with often don’t talk about difficult times and sometimes just say you have to keep doing the work. Whilst I agree with this and it’s important to keep your meditation practice going I also think it’s important to talk about the days that are challenging and what to do when these days arise.

Challenging days for me include emotions just cropping up from nowhere, or my little one is calling me for the 100th time and I’m feeling quite drained. To wondering what time it is… as all I want to do is go to bed (however its just 1 pm in the afternoon). And/or, I know it’s time to cook the dinner and all I want to do is eat toast, not prepare a nutritious beautiful meal. When I have one of those days then I remember a few things that help me to get through it, let me share this with you:

  1. This will pass:  I remind myself as often as I can that these feelings will pass and if I need to I will have a little cry to release my emotions.
  2. Thoughts are just thoughts: I say to myself ‘my thoughts do not mean anything’  I  learned this from A Course in Miracles Workbook (ACIM), which is one of my favourite lessons from the course, it just means that your thoughts are not ‘real’ thoughts and sometimes our mind makes things out to be worse then it really is. I also use the following affirmation: ‘All is well’ and will say this as often as I need to.
  3. Have compassion: I remember to be kinder and more compassionate to myself. Oftentimes we don’t extend the same compassion to ourselves as we would to our friends/family members. So I will ask myself – if a friend was having a difficult day what would I say to him/her? And I extend the same kindness to myself and take the pressure off.
  4. Remove judgment:  I also stop judging myself for thinking I’m a bad mother, especially when I need time to myself, I will take a break, breathe deeply and make a cup of tea, and often times will write down how I am feeling. It’s surprising how writing down my thoughts will help change my energy.  However, it’s always challenging for me to do this at first, but I always feel better afterward.
  5. Move my body: I will often put on Spotify and dance around my living room (energy permitting) which always makes me feel more uplifted and helps toshift my energy.
  6. Reach out to someone I trust: Sometimes I will give someone I trust a call/text… this is a person who I know will hold space for me (i.e. just listen) and not judge me.
  7. Grateful for my awareness: And, importantly I remember how grateful I am for my awareness that I’m just having one of ‘those days’ and I’ll feel better soon because I always do 🙂

Moms, do you have ‘those days’ and if so what helps you? Love you to share this with me.

Best wishes and Love L X

Moms speaking their truth

Hello Moms!

This is my first blog post 🙂

I’ve decided to create this blog and post as often as I can on all the joys and challenges of being a mom?!!!

I’m also looking for a connection with other moms out there.  Perhaps we can help each other and offer support.

Having left my full-time role as a self-employed business analyst last year and now being home with my beautiful Issey all the time – I thought having this blog would be something that’s just for me.

My aim is to also set up a private Facebook group so we can post images, questions and provide a safe space for us all to connect.

I consider myself a multi-passionate mom, so that means I have lots of interests: besides trying to be the best mom to my daughter I also love learning about nutrition, essential oils and cooking especially anything related to plant-based meals, juices, and smoothies. I absolutely love reading (especially self-help books – particularly interested in the mind-body connection), meditating (nearly 4 years of practice now… ;0) yoga and practicing Reiki (delighted to become a practitioner last year). These are just some of my passions –  perhaps you’d like to share some of yours with me…

Love to hear from you…

Best wishes, Lisa X