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2 years ago · · 0 comments

Improving self esteem unlocks the key to happiness

Why Improving self esteem is vital to your health and happiness

career mother returning to work and improving self esteemWhen you do not feel happy about yourself at your very core, life is so much harder. Low self esteem has a profound impact on all aspects of your life. Feelings of insecurity, self doubt and lack of self confidence are all intrinsically linked to low self esteem. Yet, improving self esteem is often at the bottom of people’s to-do list. People spend copious amounts of money on external things in a hope this will boost their happiness levels; like going on shopping sprees, going on expensive holidays, having regular day spa treatments, cosmetic surgery and going into millions of dollars in debt to purchase a bigger home. Whilst these things are lovely and will give you an instant buzz, they do not lead to long term happiness or self-confidence.

If your self esteem is low, the good feeling you achieved from these external purchases will only last temporarily. If you are regularly making these purchases (& they are not causing you further financial stress), the feeling you gain from these experiences will be long lasting and treasured. For instance, when you save for a holiday and really enjoy the experience, that positive feeling stays with you for life. On the flip side, if you took that holiday as an escape from your current life, you would return to the same problems and your ‘holiday buzz’ would soon dissipate.

In order for these feel-good moments to last, you must first work on improving self esteem, so that these experiences enhance your life, rather than you relying on external events, people and circumstances to boost your self worth.

Improving Self esteem In Relationships

We often measure ourselves by how people are treating us. We often feel happy when our family, work colleagues partner or friends are nice to us and can feel devastated when we are treated poorly. To have a healthy and strong self esteem it’s necessary to have strong resilience. This means that when things happen you are entitled to have a reaction to them (e.g. to feel upset). However, it’s important to deal with the issue at hand and not take the next step and assume you are a bad person as a result of someone else’s behaviour or their beliefs.

When you can accept criticism as separate to you, your self esteem is kept intact. You can also deal much more productively with issues that arise in relationships over time. Instead of crumbling every time someone points out a criticism, you can look at the criticism objectively, separate if from how much you value YOU as a person and deal with the criticism is isolation.

The next time someone upsets you, put it in perspective. Separate yourself from the other person and deal with what just happened – as soon as possible – so you don’t internalise it and assume you must have done something to create their behaviour.

Improving Self esteem Through Exercise

There is a strong connection between being active and feeling good. Just try to go to the gym and do a workout and NOT feel good afterwards. Unless you overtrain or give yourself an injury it’s pretty hard not to feel great from exercise. One of the reasons you may not be exercising is that you don’t remember that good feeling, or you feel too tired now to get up and take part in the exercise.

However, how would you feel if you knew that being physically fit and healthy actually leads to improvements in all areas of your life. This is especially true for your energy levels? Think about how much more confident you feel when you’re healthy. What about the fact that you are less snappy at other people because you’re in a better mood? What about the fact that you have a lot more tolerance, can think clearer and have more energy to do all the things you’ve been putting off?

improving self esteemSo, the first step is pushing yourself to just get started. In the Refresh Your Life program we just start with 10 minutes of walking – that’s it. WHY? Because 10 minutes is achievable for most people. Also, once you see how easy it was to do 10 minutes, you can slowly increase the time exercising to gain even more mental and physical health benefits.

Making a start is all you need to start boosting your energy and positively impact your self esteem too.

 

 

Improving Self esteem and Rebuilding The Past

It can be very difficult to let go of past pain when you’ve suffered rejection. This is a big one for many people, particularly when it is associated with a bad break up or rejection from within ones own family.

It’s never easy to deal with this rejection. Sometime we just have to learn to accept that everyone lives in their own world of experience. Being rejected does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. In fact, it says volumes about the person rejecting you. In children rejection often comes from feeling hurt or rejected in the first place. Children lash out with rejection to avoid being hurt again. Being rejected also does not mean you’re not worthy of that person’s love. It simply means that the other person does not have the capacity to be strong enough to maintain the close relationship or at least verbally explain why he/she is no longer able to be close to you.

Learning how to deal with rejection is a key aspect of re-building self esteem.

Reducing Feelings of insecurity is vital for improving self esteem

Insecurity is often associated with low self esteem. When you feel unsure about yourself you can spend a lot of time double guessing your thoughts , behaviours and feelings. It’s common in this mindset to irrationally question things like whether:
  • you said the right thing to someone, because they haven’t called you back today
  • indirectly you upset someone, because they look tired/bored
  • or not somelike likes/diskiles you, because they forgot to thank you

Many of your self doubts can be based on interpretations of behaviour, rather than on actual facts. For instance, many women spend a long time asking their partners “are you OK?”. This often happens because their partner doesn’t feel like talking, isn’t smiling at that moment in time, or is just too tired to pay as much attention as usual.

It’s really easy to assume someone is upset with you when you read into facial and body expressions. This is particularly evident when you’re feeling insecure about yourself. The easiest way to get around this is to ASK questions. Seek reassurance in a kind tone – without it seeming like an interrogation. For example, there is a difference between saying:

  • “You seem a bit quiet tonight, are you tired” and
  • “What’s wrong with you, am I boring you?”

Ask questions to open communication and keep those insecure emotions in check and take the time to rebuild your self esteem to reduce feelings of insecurity too.

Improving your self esteem is vital to your health and happiness. Make yourself a priority and do this first. Then everything else in life will be SO much easier. Start by downloading our free ebook on the ‘5 Everyday Ways to Add Serious Self-confidence to Your Life

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Tired Parent – Is Your Sugar Intake Making You Look Even More Tired?

Tired Parent: Could Sugar causing you to look even more over tired?

tired parent
Many health professionals state that sugar changes the appearance of your skin. In fact, experts now believe a lifetime of overeating sugar can make skin dull and wrinkled. Too much sugar can cause damage to the collagen and elastin in your skin. These are the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. So, if you are looking more tired, drawn out and ‘blotchy’ than normal, it may be that you have too much sugar in your diet. When you’re a tired parent, it’s easy to assume this lack of elasticity or dullness in just due to the tiredness caused by bringing home a newborn baby.

Sugar is often hidden in foods you think are healthy

Regardless of how healthy you think your diet may be, if your skin is not as fresh and bright as it used to be, start paying attention to the processed foods in your diet to see what effect they might be having. Most nutritionists will tell you that sugar is one of the negative foods in your diet. It’s an ingredient that is very difficult to avoid if you’re not paying attention. Foods such as pasta sauce, yoghurt, spreads, crackers and chewing gum are laden with sugar to enhance taste.

Of course sugar is not the whole answer to your tiredness when you’re a new mum – that waking baby has a pretty big impact! However, when you feel extremely tired it is very tempting to resort to sugar laden foods to wake you up. This has become a habit and before you know it you have developed an addiction to sugar. When you consume sugar, it also gives you an instant ‘high’, so for that moment and a few moments afterwards, you feel happy and energetic. Unfortunately, this positive feeling does not last. Your body gets a quick burst of sugar, but because it happens so quickly, it depletes your body and causes you to feel more tired that you were to begin with.The effects of sugar are not so easy to detect, because they happen so gradually. Being a tired parent can also mask the effects of sugar. You may assume your skin tone is solely the result of becoming a new parent, when in fact sugar may be playing an important part.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

tired-parent The go-to food for many people when you’re feeling tired, emotional or overwhelmed is chocolates and sweets. You don’t have to give them up completely, however, you will find the moment you reduce your sugar intake, your cravings for sugar will reduce also. If you have a sweet tooth, there are loads of sugar free treats you can introduce into your lifestyle so you don’t feel you are missing out.  Try our free recipe for chocolate almond protein balls here. When you have your next sugar craving, sink your teeth into one of these instead. You will feel satisfied and you’ll begin to swap processed sugar for healthier sweet alternatives.

 

The good news about sugar

The exciting thing is the effects of sugar on your health are irreversible. You’ll start to see results very quickly. If you are looking for a way to get back into your healthy lifestyle, take a look at Refresh Your Life: motivational weight loss program. This program makes it easy to eat low sugary foods, in a balanced way.
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2 years ago · · 0 comments

Depression After Baby: What can you do to reduce this?

Depression After Baby

depression after babyDepression after baby is becoming more common than we would like in modern society. What do you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted after having a baby? Do you ignore your feelings, or think about getting support? There is a misconception that parenting should come easy. With all the pressures that befall mothers today, it’s very common to feel out of control as a new mum, to ignore these feelings and then to allow these feelings to seep into depression after having your baby.

There has never been more depression and anxiety in motherhood. However, both anxiety and depression after baby are not very well recognised by mothers. In fact recent research highlights that many mothers experience symptoms of postnatal depression, such as feeling overwhelmed, stressed, overly emotional. Mothers often do not recognise these feelings as potential signs of depression or anxiety after having a baby, or do not believe their symptoms are ‘bad enough’ to warrant help. If you are a mum reading this, can you relate to this?

As a mother, how much do you expect yourself to be PERFECT?

How does trying to be the perfect mum impact on having depression after baby?

Just today a friend was telling me about three different mothers she knows who have not been coping very well since becoming mothers.  The first one has begun to lash out at her child physically, the second one has begun crying uncontrollably and the third mum has squashed her emotions and is finding it difficult to enjoy being a new mother as a result. All three mothers have battled with feelings of sadness, stress, pressure and low self-confidence for many years (even before having children), yet not one of these mums has sought professional help.

Why are these mothers waiting until things get so bad to even admit to having problems? Why are they so ashamed to ask for professional help – even when it’s impacting so significantly on their personal lives? There are a range of reasons for this. Fear of judgement, fear of appearing weak, not wanting to let other people down or not wanting to be stigmatised as a failure are common reasons.

The factor that most mothers do not consider are:

  1. seeking help significantly improved a mothers health and happiness
  2. seeking help makes coping with parenting much easier
  3. seeking help is private and no-one needs to know
  4. seeking help creates a positive influence for children and
  5. seeking help reducing negative responses in mothers such as snappiness

Being the Perfect Mum is not the Goal of Parenting – The Goal is to Be The Best Mum YOU Can Be For YOUR Child

Every parent and expert thinks they have the answer to parenting, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the plethora of views on parenting has influenced the increase in mothers feeling depression after having a baby. We have research and theories on parenting that work for some and not for others. Children are unique. You are unique. No two families are the same, so we cannot place our values and beliefs on others, because we are not walking in their shoes. All we can do is observe the outcome of parenting on a whole family.

If things are not looking right (e.g. people are not healthy, happy, safe, or secure) then something needs to be changed. This ‘something’ though is up for debate and discussion. There is no single one way to parent. As a parent your sole responsibility is to be the BEST VERSION OF YOU possible. Then you adjust your parenting style to meet the needs of your child/ren. You will adjust things as you go along. You can take on board the opinions and beliefs of experts and well-meaning others, but the only thing you need to consider, is how well your child/ren are doing. That’s all that matters.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed or emotional don’t wait until you feel out of control, or until things start to go wrong in your personal life. Send an email, or pick up the phone and seek help. You can start by sending us and email at info@helpformums.com or contact the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE). You owe it to yourself to make yourself a priority too.

Depression After BabyLizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums & Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

 

 

Having a New Baby: Getting Your Mindset Right In Pregnancy

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Having a New Baby: Getting Your Mindset Right In Pregnancy

Your New Baby

counselling for new mums having a new babyWhen you’re pregnant all you can think about is how wonderful life is going to be when you’re new baby arrives. Of course there are the usual anxieties about how things might change and how you’re going to cope with sleep deprivation and so on. However, no-one really talks about the expectations of parenting and that life cannot possibly stay the same – that it’s essential to make your child, yourself and your relationships a priority otherwise stress, depression and anxiety can easily set in.

We have a strange misconception about parenting that it should be easy. That mothers should be able to seamlessly work full time or part time, run the household, look after their health and happiness, be on top of their finances, maintain healthy relationships and just be calm, happy, fun, energetic and consistent parents all the time. But this is not the reality that befalls 99.9% of mothers in this world. Due to the fact the expectations do not meet reality, motherhood is often a shock for many new mums. Mothers can easily become confused about why it seems so tiring, difficult or not as seamless as expected and therefore can be left asking themselves regularly “why can’t I cope as well as I expected I would???”

But what if mothers were able to alter expectations and become more prepared for motherhood for their new baby as a result?

Having the right expectations

The first thing that needs to be altered in pregnancy is expectations. Specifically, the expectation that a child will just fit into your lifestlye, will always behave and will always give you time to yourself. The expectation should be that you have a child that needs you to make her your first priority, but not at the expense of yourself. You still need to look after your health and happiness but it’s important to understand that there will be times when you plan to do things a certain way and your child decides she needs you right now.

These instances are prime targets for high levels of stress. For instance, let’s say you have to pay some bills. You have been putting this off and now finally have a minute to pay the bills whilst your child sleeps. But, your new baby wakes up after 20 minutes and won’t settle down – she needs you right then. You start to feel resentful and angry that you can’t get a minute to yourself. However if instead of letting this resentment build up you took a breath and remembered your child has to be priority no 1, you would be able to think clearly for a minute to work out your best course of action to look after her needs and your own. You might put your baby in her sling and rock her to sleep and then sit on the computer to complete your bills.

Making your new baby a priority does not mean neglecting your own needs

One of the things that many mothers neglect is how to look after their own needs. They push through exhaustion, neglect to maintain a healthy diet, emotionally eat or drink to soothe negative feelings, worry about whether or not they are meeting the expectations of friends, family members, or the wider community, spend money they don’t really have in order to appear to be coping/or have the best dressed child and so on… When mothers neglect their own physical and mental health, it is very easy to feel insecure and allow self-doubt to impact confidence in parenting. Feeling insecure often leads to snappiness and fighting within relationships too. So, the key to maintaining a happy home and to achieve the goal of positive and consistent parenting – is to look after yourself as a mother so that you feel calm in the face of stress (e.g. when your baby won’t go to sleep or is having a tantrum in public), or to feel energetic when your child wants you to get down to his level and play. So, your health and happiness is paramount to the health and happiness of your child.

Motherhood is not meant to be perfect

You are going to make mistakes. This is part of being a human being. So, it’s really important to trust that being a Perfect Mum is not the goal of parenting. The goal is being the best mum you can be for your child. When you make mistakes, don’t criticism yourself. Just think through the situation and ask yourself “is there anything I can change that would make things easier or better?” That’s all you can ask of yourself.

Prioritise time for fun with your new baby

This is really important. Often mums feel guilty about all the tasks they ‘should’ be doing when they are playing with their child. Then they  feel guilty when they are undertaking these tasks – thinking they ‘should’ be playing with their child at that time. So they do not allow themselves to really enjoy the opportunities to have fun together and they never feel as though they are being ‘present” with their child. If you can relate to this, take a few minutes to schedule you day so that you can take opportunities to have fun with your child (for example going to the play centre or park together) and then feel relaxed and happy about having ‘you time’ or spending time on work or tasks during other times in the day. That way you create a balance and you and your child create special moments together that will last for every in your memory.

The key take-away

Always remind yourself why you had children. What was the reason you wanted to have a new baby and how can you alter your mindset to create more realistic and calming expectations of parenting. Being a mother is very taxing because children crave your attention. However, when you become mindful and set time together to have fun and relax, when you look after both your needs and the needs of your child and when you feel OK that things will not always go to plan, your live becomes easier and much less stressful. Plus, you can cope so much better when things don’t go the way your way.

new babyLizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life

 

 

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Fear of Rejection – How To Finally Stop It From Ruining Your Life

Fear of rejection can be very debilitating

low self esteemPut a stop to fear of rejection

Fear – It’s a very debilitating emotion. A simple way to reduce fear of rejection is by paying close attention to your perception of the world around you. Fear of being rejected often leads to second guessing what people around you might be thinking or feeling about you.

For instance, when you have a heightened fear of rejection and you say “no” to someone who asks you to do a favour and you don’t hear from them for a while. Your mind starts to panic and you start to berate yourself for saying “no”. You assume that this person hates you now and this leads to you thinking you’re a bad person. You don’t calm down until you hear from the person and find out that everything is OK.

All the anxiety in this situation is ‘self-driven’. The anxiety is driven from a belief that if you say “no’ to people they won’t like you any more and as a result you conclude that you ‘must’ be a bad person if when you say “no” you are not reinforced immediately for doing so.

Step 1: Becoming aware of your fear of rejection patterns

The first step in combating this unhelpful thinking style is to start to pay attention to all the times in your day when your mind starts racing to fill in the gaps. Do you:

  • assume something is wrong with you, if people look at you a certain way?

  • worry about what you’re going to wear, just case people see a potential flaw in your body, or think you might not be cool enough

  • avoid people who you think might ask a favour of you, out of fear of saying “no”?

  • say “no” to your child, only to give in later out of guilt for saying “no”?

  • fear whether others are going to like you if you have not heard from them in a while?

When you start paying attention to your emotional reactions, you will begin to see a pattern. In doing so you can pinpoint exactly what is going on. For example, do you have an underlying negative belief that is causing you to feel potential rejection? If so, there are many things you can do to eradicate this negative belief. For example, NLP therapy, which we use in our counselling sessions, is very useful to tap into your unconscious beliefs. Negative beliefs and replace them with more acceptable and reasonable and accurate beliefs.

Make a commitment to yourself to not engage is this destructive thinking style any more.

It will take time. It’s a long ingrained bad habit. However, the more you practice, the better you’ll become and the happier you will be!

Step 2: Challenging your fear of rejection

Have you ever been scared of what someone might say if you stood up for yourself? This fear is a very common one and stems from a fear of being rejected by the other person. When you find yourself in this position ask yourself – ‘what am I afraid of here?’.

For instance, let’s say you have a friend who is quite insecure. You love her, but you don’t want her to take on her negative baggage out on you all the time. Every time she says something that insinuates you’re not putting her first, or that you don’t have a right to feel the way you’d like you, you feel anxious and just give in to her demands.

Let’s say she’s been calling you for a few days and you’re avoiding returning the call because you don’t want the stress associated with talking to her. At this point, ask yourself that question. ‘What am I afraid of?’ In essence you are scared of her making another negative comment. But… what if you decided not to be scared any more. After all, she’s made these comments many times before and nothing bad happened. You’re avoiding her anyway. So why not tell yourself that she can feel however she wants. You’re not giving in to her demands and she is not someone warranted of fear. Words can only hurt if you allow them to.

Now if when you call she goes down the same track, you simply do not give ANY fuel to her comments. This is easier when you have been calm BEFORE making the return phone call. You have to retrain the friend to understand that you’re not going to pander to her insecurities any longer.

In summary

The fear of rejection you are feeling in this scenario is caused by a desire to make sure everyone likes you. If someone does not like you – you incorrectly believe you MUST be a bad person. However, this could not be further from the truth, because people’s reactions to things are a reflection of how THEY feel about THEMSELVES and often people project their insecurities on to others.

The key to reducing fear of rejection is to ask yourself whether your response is reasonable. In the above example, it is reasonable for you to ask your friend to stop using you as a emotional punching bag. Your friend is not going to like it at first because she has become accustomed to you taking her punches. However, if you value the friendship, the best thing you can do is calmly (in the moment of being spoken to negatively in an unfair manner) state that this is NOT the way you deserve to be treated and you are more than happy to support your friend when she can speak to you in a respectful manner.

If you highlight that you’re not going anywhere, but there have to be boundaries in the friendship, then you have a much higher chance of coming to a peaceful and respectful outcome, which will only enhance the relationship into the future and will stop you feeding your potential fear of rejection.

Take home message

Fear of being rejected is a very common fear that stops you from living a happy and fulfilling life. You owe it yourself to become aware of when this fear is impacting on your life and then challenging this fear to stop it from impacting on the decisions you make day to day. If you’re suffering from low self esteem you can download our free self esteem building guide at Help For Mums. This will give you a great place to start. So make yourself a priority today.

Lizzie o'halloranLizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Perfect Mum – How to Survive the Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood and Refresh Your Life – The revolutionary motivational weight loss program