Friday, 15 September 2017

Work a Little “Me Time” into Your Life

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘How on earth do I schedule me time into my busy, hectic, crazy life?’ And while yes, people are busy these days, what are we busy doing, exactly? We are busy with our families, our jobs, our friends and the never ending stream of information that we get from social media. And while it’s great to be engaged and in touch it is also a blessing to have dedicated time to yourself so you can unplug, unwind, destress and slow things down.

Psychologically, having that alone time to decompress does wonders to our psyche and wellbeing. It allows us to enjoy the little things that bring us joy such as a hot beverage under a blanket watching the sunrise (or set), getting into that great book, working on a craft project you’ve been meaning to try or simply just being alone with your thoughts.

Alone time allows us to slow down, and our brains to process the massive amounts of information that we are bombarded with each and every day. It is one thing to hear or see all this information and quite another to process it into a useable state as much that we see and hear has nothing to do with our happiness whatsoever. Once we take the time to sort through it all and find out what we need to keep and what we can discard we are refreshed enough to start the onslaught of information all over again.

Me time also allows us to gain focus over what’s on tap for us. It energizes us so that we feel fresh and invigorated to jump back into the fray and continue with our day and it allows us to make better decisions about things. And sometimes we just need to escape the problem and gain a better prospective on everything; working on ourselves from the inside out. Finding peace and tranquility within ourselves does wonders both for the problem at hand and for everyday life itself. It’s amazing what a little alone time can accomplish!

So how do we get this much needed refresher time into our day? Well, we can schedule it much like we schedule the kids’ playdates or a lunch with a friend. Throw it on the To Do List, put it into your phone, make it something that you have to do, rather than something that you may get to if there’s time.

It may mean getting up before everyone else, it may mean staying up after everyone has gone to bed, or it may be something as simple as putting a sign on the door saying ‘do not disturb’ where for that half hour a day you know you won’t be interrupted.

So this all sounds great, right? Except for the guilt associated with not being there for everyone during that half hour of alone time. Instead of feeling guilty, know that alone time is helping you become a better mother, better partner, better worker. It is refueling you to go back at it stronger and more in control than you were before you took the break. It is lessening your anxiety levels, making you think clearly and can lessen your tension. It is good for you and when you’re good to yourself, you’re great to everyone else! 

If you are looking for some "me time" then why not look at Marlene's Annual Fall Retreat.  Each year a fall retreat within easy reach of the Greater Toronto Area.  Spend some time focusing on yourself! 

Learn more about Marlene's Annual Fall Retreat

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Developing the skill of gratitude

Gratitude is a dying art. If this fact sounds a teensy bit alarming to most of you, then you are not alone! Gratitude (like its cousins – kindness, love, charity, empathy and more) just seems to be one of those skills that people simply aren’t bothering to really learn any longer. But working daily on your gratitude and appreciation for just everything and anything in your life will pay off in more ways that you can even begin to imagine!
One important thing to remember when you are grateful is to SHOW IT! Studies have found that those who regularly express gratitude are happier, less depressed and more satisfied with their lives overall than those who don’t.
So be grateful for the things you already have! Since the Law of Attraction states that “like attracts like”, when you’re grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more things for which you can be grateful.
Giving back offers a large set of health benefits too. Giving has been associated with better physical fitness, lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, better sleep, reduced stress and even a longer lifespan!
When you work on cultivating things like gratitude, you are then able to actually feel true joy and contentment, no matter what you have or don’t have in your life. It isn’t even a difficult process – simply try out these tips!
·         Try being grateful for the little things
o   Stuff like air conditioning or the fact that you don’t have to work on the weekend are all great reasons to say thanks!
·         Try rehearsing your blessings mentally throughout the day
o   There are many small opportunities every day to be thankful! Don’t miss the chance to recognize them
·         Don’t forget to appreciate and be thankful for your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments!
o   Celebrate your big successes, but don’t forget to acknowledge the daily victories
o   We all need acknowledgment, but the most important acknowledgment is that which we give ourselves
·         If you are single, don’t feel frustrated or sad about it... this just means that you have the freedom to choose your mate and make sure that you find the right one
o   In the same way, we can shift our perception of looking at other things, like the job we have which we don’t really like all that much or our current living situation
At first, it may not feel natural to focus on appreciating the things that you already have. However, by faithfully practicing some daily habits of gratitude, you’ll quickly begin to change your life!
How to do it though?
Want to kick-start your daily gratitude practice? Take a few moments each day to share at least three things for which you’re grateful for with people. Even the smallest act of gratitude will have a positive impact on your life!

Written by Veronika for Motivational Moments

Monday, 27 February 2017

Celebrating Death

Some things in life are absolutely certain, including death, taxes and winters in Canada being colder than many would like. Taxes are easy enough to deal with (when done properly), and you can always put on a sweater... but there is just no avoiding death. With death comes many emotions, including anger, grief and acceptance. Grief is typically the most difficult emotion to deal with, as it is typically an unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling. Grieving, however, is a perfectly normal and natural part of life.
Grieving is an extremely personal and highly individual experience. The way that you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experiences, your faith and the nature of the loss. The important thing to remember is that the grieving process takes time. Healing of any kind happens gradually. There is no “normal” timetable or schedule for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Everyone’s experience with death is as unique as they are, and their understanding of it is equally their own. The tough part is learning to accept, and even eventually feel good, about the loss. But why should we mourn the deaths of our loved ones if we are not also willing to celebrate their lives?
Celebrating someone’s life is a wonderful way to appreciate everything that they brought to the world while they were in it. This is quite simply accomplished by little things, such as keeping pictures of your deceased loved ones around your house, sharing your memories of them with others, or preserving something special that they created or did. This will forever remind us that death is never final – we all live on in the memories and hearts of our loved ones.
Remember that there is no time limit on grieving – everyone has to go through it on their own time. For some the process takes days, while for others it can be months or even years that they will feel the sting of the loss. Always just remember that everyone has a support network on friends and family that they can turn to when the pain of the loss gets to be too great. They will help you through it, as well as help you to process and deal with the emotions that it brings up.

Death is never final – we live on in the memories and the hearts of our loved ones. 

Written by Veronika for Motivational Moments

The importance of affirmations

I had a starling realization this week. It would seem that there are an alarming number of people living in our world and our communities that simply are not hearing the affirmations that they need to every day to maintain their optimal level of functioning. The world we live in is such a negative place... we need to counter that by pumping up our own levels of positivity! You can do this by utilizing the power of affirmations.
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. They strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action that we desire to manifest. This is why we are instantly empowered with a deep sense of reassurance that our wishful words will become reality when we verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions. (I cannot stress how important it is for you to hear yourself saying these affirmations out loud... it makes a world of difference in the success of this endeavour!)
Many people seem to think that using affirmations is difficult, but nothing could be further from the truth! It’s easy to start. Are there areas of your life where you feel that you would benefit from being told that you’re doing alright more often? You know yourself better than just about everyone else on this earth. You don’t even need another person to say these to you – it works just as well to say your affirmations to yourself.
If you are having trouble getting started, try these example affirmations out and see if it gets your creative juices flowing:
I love and approve of myself.
I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.
I am a powerhouse. I am indestructible.
I matter and what I have to offer this world also matters.
I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.
My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless. My potential to succeed is infinite.
In other words...
I am important.
I am worthy.
I am happy.
I am at peace.
I am enough.
You can utilize any of these affirmations alone or create your own unique list based on your personal experiences, wishes and needs. What is most important is to establish a profound communication connection with the universe, so say it with conviction, say it in your own unique voice, and make it happen in the real world!

Written by Veronika for Motivational Moments

Self-kindness goes a long way

As much as it is common sense for people to be kind to others, it is sometimes not so easy to remember to be kind to ourselves. But by being kinder toward yourself, you will become happier, more effective and more motivated. It will ever help you overall to be better (and kinder) in your relationships with other people.
Here are a few habits that you could work on developing that will help you to become a person who is more kind to themselves:
·         It all begins with r-e-s-p-e-c-t
o   Just as much as you should respect other people, don’t forget to respect yourself too! But this is entirely too easy to forget
o   An easy first step? Smile at yourself when you look in the mirror
·         Define worthiness for yourself
o   Examine your own values. Define your integrity. Get clear on what you actually believe, what kind of person you want to be and how you want to live your life... within the context of what is realistically attainable
o   Create your own personal operating system for life, without relying on what others think is best for you. Listen within yourself for the answers
·         Watch what you feed your brain with
o   In other words, be mindful of the things that you are putting into your brain – all of the television, newspapers, magazines, even conversations can greatly impact your view of the world and yourself
o   Try replacing all of the negative feedback with things like the encouragement of friends and family, or spending more time with yourself in nature and in silence. This will greatly help you with recharging your batteries
o   Be aware and conscious about what you have flowing into your mind (and what you want to keep out)
·         Practice realistic optimism
o   Rather than making blanket statements about your self-worth, identify more honest, but optimistic affirmations that you can say to yourself: “Today I’m not as accomplished as I want to be, but I know I can improve and feel better about myself!” or “Today I will take one small step in the direction of my dreams and goals!”
o   Improvement is always possible, and working on an improvement goal will actually help you to feel better about yourself
·          Take a break sometimes!
o   Choose to give yourself a break when things don't go as you may have wished
and choose to cut yourself some slack
o   Try to take action on your thoughts maybe 60% of the time. Then raise the bar slowly over time... just not all the way to 100%! This will help you both with being able to improve and being able to be kind to yourself
o   Accept that you will make mistakes or have temporary failures a certain
percentage of the time. That’s just life... and it’s ok

Self-improvement is the first step top cultivating real, true self-love. By practicing these habits, you will grow to love yourself more.

Written by Veronika for Motivational Moments