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4 days ago · · 0 comments

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

Depression After Baby

happiness in motherhoodWhat 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 mothers today?

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. 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 or contact the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE). You owe it to yourself to make yourself a priority too.

Lizzie 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

7 days 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 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 child 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 child

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 child 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.

Lizzie o'halloranLizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

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



2 weeks ago · · 0 comments

How you can stop your fear of rejection

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?

  • Do you 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?

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

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

  • Do you worry if 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, because it’s a long ingrained bad habits. 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.

The fear of rejection you are feeling in this scenario is usually caused by a desire to make sure everyone likes you, because 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 about 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 often 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, because fear of rejection is often coupled with insecurity and self-doubt. 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

3 weeks ago · · 0 comments

How to be happy in life

How to be happy

The key to being happy is to view the pursuit of happiness as part of your life. Just like you brush your teeth, eat lunch, get dressed and have a shower every day, it’s important to do one small things every day to ensure your happiness lasts. By looking after your body, mind and spirit on a continual basis and building your self-esteem, you life will improve beyond your dreams.

build self confidenceYou may think you don’t have time to work on improving your happiness, but what are you living for if it’s not to feel your best? Isn’t that really the pursuit of all your goals? Everything you strive for has an underlying desire to please you. For example, you search for the perfect partner to make you feel happy. You strive for a career you love so that you can feel excited every day going to work. You exercise so you can have more energy and feel healthier and happier. Being happy is an underlying goal whether you are conscious of it or not. Even things you do that are not good for you are undertaken in the pursuit of happiness. For instance, if you eat chocolate when you are feeling down, you are doing so to boost your mood and to feel happier. If you avoid doing exercise today, it’s because you believe you will feel better staying home. If you drink too much at a party, you do so thinking you will have a better time drunk. These underlying goals are often subconscious, but nevertheless they are still very powerful.


By changing the way you think about living a happy life, you will ensure that it’s a part of your very core!

This diagram below ‘Never Sick Again’ highlights certain foods that can help manage some health issues you may be experiencing. Of course, it is always best to seek professional help if you suffer from physical or mental ailments, but this diagram gives you an idea of some things you can take control of in your life to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

foods and health





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







3 weeks ago · · 0 comments

Getting Your Child To Sleep: Surviving Toddler Sleep Issues

Dealing with toddler sleep issues: What can you do if your child fights to go to sleep?

parental loveAs a parent of two young girls and a professional therapist myself, I have been challenged both personally and professionally over the past 8 years with this exact issue. Both my girls are night owls and will do anything to stay awake. They love being part of the action at night and could just play well into the night. However, this would be fine if it had no impact on their mental, physical or emotional health. But of course it does. The result is grumpiness, over emotional responses and complete over tiredness which becomes a sleep debt as the week progresses. So I know first hand how to deal with this issue! I have tried several methods, which at various stages have worked and then failed. However, there are a few key elements to getting the night owl to lie down and get to sleep that really improve the situation.

 Step 1: get to know your child’s temperament 

Firstly, it’s important to get to know your child’s temperament. This is vital, because if your child has a temperament where a lot of soothing and feelings of security are required, trying to force this child to sleep on his own at the start of the night is going to prove very challenging. Both my girls have a slow to warm up temperament. This means they need soothing to go to sleep and lots of comfort so they are not afraid. Once they allow their bodies to relax and their heads hit the pillow, they go straight to bed.

Step 2: learn how your child is motivated

As children and then as adults, we have preferences for being encouraged to behave in particular ways. For instance, some children are motivated by receiving rewards, others by punishment (taking away something desired), whilst others are motivated by external or internal praise and a sense of achievement. If you want to guide your child to behave in a particular manner, it’s imperative that you observe which style of motivation seems to get the best response. If your child is motivated by praise, you may set up a reward chart system with a prize at the end for 5 nights in a row of good bedtime routine behaviour.

Step 3: Structure your dinner time

Ensure dinner is eaten 2 hours before bedtime. Eating too close to dinner can lead to feeling very uncomfortable in bed and make settling much harder. It can also cause ad dreams – leading to further waking during the night.

Step 4: Herbal remedies

Talk to a herbal professional such as Herbario in Chapel St in Melbourne about calming drops you can give your child to help with physical overexcitable behaviour before bedtime. These can really help to calm things down.

Step 5: Talk to your child about the process

Once it’s time for lights out, talk to your child about what’s happening next. Ensure there is no burning issues that need to be discussed once the lights go out. Then continue to remind your child if she wants to begin conversing again in an attempt to avoid going to sleep.

Other methods

There are several other methods you can employ, like sticking to a routine, having a warm bath before bedtime and telling stories before going to bed. Whilst we engage in all of these in my home, unfortunately they make the girls tired, but they still fight to stay awake. So, the steps above have been the answer to us moving from taking 2-3 hours to get the girls to sleep, to taking 20-30 minutes. The latter is much more enjoyable and much less exhausting for all of us.

Give these a go in your home if you’re struggling to get your child to sleep. It could make the world of difference to your lifestyle too. 


Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

4 weeks ago · · 0 comments

Postnatal Anxiety & Guilt & How To Stop Feeling Guilty

Working Mother Guilt

As a working mother, one of the most challenging emotions to deal with is guilt. This negative feeling permeates through most of our lives, leaving us with exhaustion, anxiety and loads of self-doubt.

Why is guilt such a big part of motherhood

professional mother returning to work after maternity leaveOne of the biggest changes that occurs when you become a mother is this immediate sense of protection and responsibility for your child and his/her development. This instinct is seen in all cultures across the globe. Along with this instinct in human beings, comes judgement as mothers take responsibility for every aspect of their child’s life – from friendships, to academic performance and physical and mental wellbeing. The problem with this sense of responsibilty is that there is no perfect outcome, or a manual to guide mothers towards the perfect way to parent in order the assist her child to achieve the best outcomes. There is no ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL. So mothers are left to judge themselves based on the opinions of others in their lives, social expectations, media portrayals of the perfect parent and on the ever changing landscape of research. The latter is often contradictory and very confusing and thus leaves many mothers stressed about whether or not their chosen parenting method is the ‘right’ one for their child.

Research into parenting is often at polar opposites. For instance, one researcher will find that babies should not be left alone for one moment. They should be carried all the time and co-sleep safely with parents. Another, equally respected researcher will find that babies are best placed in a routine, should be sleeping safely in a cot and this cot should be in a separate room. These researchers and popular opinion lead parents to have particular views on best parenting. These views often result in criticism of other parents for not adhering to perceived best parenting styles. For instance, stay at home mothers may assume working mothers are not providing the best care for their child, whereas working mothers may believe they are providing the best example for their child. So you can see why it’s so easy for mothers to feel stressed, depressed and full of guilt and self doubt. However, the reason for these feelings is that parents are focussed on the wrong aspect of parenting – the method, rather than the outcome.

Low self-esteem: the culprit and the savour

Research shows that women in general have low self-esteem (low levels of confidence, self worth and self belief). In motherhood, this level of self-esteem is tested even further and mothers often find it very difficult to trust they are doing the right thing for their child. There is often self-doubt and worry over their chosen parenting styles and a huge amount of self-criticism when things do not go according to plan or expectation (e.g. a child acting out in public, or achieving poor grades). However, those mothers that have invested in themselves to boost self-esteem and self-confidence find parenting much easier. They research the best parenting methods to suit their lives and their child’s best interests and can block-out the opinions of ‘well-wishers’ and criticisers trying to tell them their way is the best parenting method. They know that one of the biggest mistakes the population in general makes is assuming there is a ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL approach to parenting. They know that children differ significantly due to their temperament, personality type, family customs and cultural and religious norms. Most importantly they know that the best way to measure a parenting style success is in their child’s level of health, happiness, safety and security. These are the key elements of parenting success.

The key to good parenting

The key to good parenting is not whether or not you are using a particular method – it’s in regularly evaluating your method to assess the outcomes. For instance, regardless of whether you are co-sleeping or using controlled crying with your baby, if he/she is safe, secure, healthy and happy that’s all that matters. If any of these four elements are compromised, then yes it’s time to re-evaluate and modify your parenting style accordingly. Similarly, if you are working full-time and feeling highly stressed on a regular basis and you can see this is having a negative impact on your children, then it’s time to change something. If you’re working full time, but managing your stress well and have a positive and healthy relationship with your children and they are healthy, happy, safe and secure – you do not need to feel guilty and you do not need to change anything! The core element here is NOT working full-time, it’s the outcome for your child and for your personal health too.

Good parenting comes from creating a lifestyle that best suits your needs and those of your family. That’s what really matters. What hold most mums back from trusting they can ‘have it all’ is lack of self-belief and an expectation that they need to live up to other people’s expectations of good parenting. In order to trust that in yourself, it’s imperative that you invest in yourself to build your self-confidence and self esteem.

Begin building your self-esteem in motherhood now

Download these two free books

  1. How to understand your child’s temperament from birth
  2. 5 everyday ways to add serious self-confidence to your life



4 weeks ago · · 0 comments

Getting to the point – How to stay motivated to lose weight

Why do you really want be healthy or lose weight?

motivation-weight lossIt’s very interesting to note the magnitude of weight loss products available on the market, yet more and more adults, adolescents and children are struggling with weight gain. So, what’s missing?? There must be a piece of the puzzle missing.
Why does it seem to be so easy for some and yet so hard for others to stick to a balanced diet and fitness regimen? Those who find it easy may assume it’s just as simple as making a decision to be fit and healthy, but this is not accurate. Often there are various underlying issues which make is much harder for some to achieve their health and fitness goals. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t reach their goals because they were lazy! What presents as laziness, is often fear, insecurity, or lack of confidence rearing it’s ugly head.
What’s the secret then to becoming a healthy individual: the answer lies in the reasons behind deciding to be healthy. When you’re trying to shift behaviour, it’s not enough to want it. It has to be imperative and there must be a significant consequence to not engaging in the desired behaviours that lead to heathy living. In other words you must feel that you have no choice – but change!
Once you have reached this point, then you can start to focus on how great you feel – as a way of sustaining motivation, because by this point it has become a way of life. At this habit stage, the routine of healthy living becomes automatic and enjoyable.

The secret to best weight loss thus lies in finding your crunch point

Figuring out what’s going to happen to you if you don’t change your behaviour today is a great place to start. You may take time to discover your drive.

Start thinking about the cost of living an unhealthy life in terms of the following:

  • money (how much do you end up spending on medical & alternative therapy trying to undo the damage you’ve caused by your unhealthy lifestyle?)
  • work (how many promotions are going to pass you by as a result of your lack of energy and lack of mental clarity due to your poor diet?)
  • love life (how many potential and current partners are you going to self sabotage as a result of lacking in confidence over your appearance or health)
  • health (how sick do you have to become before it really matters?)
… And so on
The more you focus your attention here, the more importance you will give to your reasons for changing your lifestyle.
If you really want to live a long and successful life, you owe it to yourself to stop looking in envy at other people who are leading the life you really believe you should be living and then that when you make positive changes, your life will begin to unfold in the manner in which you truly desire – eg to be fit and health inside and out.

You owe it to yourself to life your best life & to live a long, happy & successful life

Are you currently struggling with your weight?

4 weeks ago · · 0 comments

How To Lose Weight By Boosting Your Motivation

How to get motivated to lose weight 

Research clearly shows that diet is the biggest influencing factor of your weight. Approximately 80% of weight loss is related to the food you consume, compared to physical activity alone.

how to be confidentWhilst this is true, there are many inadvertent ways that being active actually influences the choices you make when it comes to healthy eating and as a result has a motivating or demotivating impact on your healthy eating behaviour. In addition to supporting your motivation efforts to consume a healthy diet, there are also a great deal of mental and physical health benefits to being physically active.

Let’s look at two weight loss and exercise examples

Weight loss example 1

You’ve had a hard day and are feeling exhausted when you arrive home from work. You wit down to watch television and become even more tired. In order to boost your energy levels, you decide to eat some chocolate. This boosts your energy for a little while, but soon you need to eat more and more of the chocolate just to maintain that energy boost. A little while afterwards this sugar fix dissipates and you’re left feeling more tired than you were to begin with. In addition, now you feel emotional and frustrated that you’ve eaten junk food. You’re negative mood leads to you deciding to forget your health kick for tonight and just order a pizza instead of eating the grilled fish and salad you left waiting for you in the fridge this morning. You finish dinner feeling really sluggish, crash in front of the television and take yourself off to bed in the middle of the night. You wake up feeling sluggish, unhappy and unmotivated.

Weight loss example 2

You’re exhausted after a hard day at work. On the way home from work you decide to get off the train 1 stop earlier than usual and walk the extra 30 minutes home listening to some uplifting music. By the time you arrive home, you feel energised, invigorated and happy. You relax with a nice cold glass of sparkling water and a protein bar. You feel great, so you go straight to the fridge afterwards and start preparing the grilled fish you had left for yourself that morning. You feel so mentally clear and dinner that you decide to read through that paperwork you had been putting off for a while. Then you give yourself a relaxing bubble bath and settle in with your favourite television show before going to bed and sleeping well all night. You wake up feeling refreshed and motivated.

In both examples you were originally feeling motivated to be healthy and as such were organised with a healthy meal in the fridge from the previous evening. However, engaging in just the extra 30 minutes of exercise to music made all the difference to your eating behaviour the next day. So you can see what a positive impact being active can have on your healthy eating choices.

In order to maintain a healthy diet, it’s really useful and helpful to add some exercise to your lifestyle. Even just a 10 minute walk will have a tremendous effect. This is why my ‘Refresh Your Life’ weight loss program incorporates gradually building physical activity into your lifestely with just 10 minutes of walking a day and a morning 5 minute energy boost. These little bits of exercise have the power to motivate you and support you along your healthy lifestyle journey.

How to motivate yourself to lose weight 

Here are some steps to boost your motivation to eat healthy foods – through exercise

  1. Introduce a wake up exercise routine like the one in my ‘Refresh Your Life‘ program – to get your day starting right (for example start with 10 push ups, 10 sit ups and 10 lunges)
  2. Look for ways you can increase physical activity into your day (e.g. walking up a few flights of stairs at work)
  3. Take your meetings outside – engaging in walking meeting where possible is a fantastic way to both engage in physical activity and boost your positive mood whilst talking too

You don’t need to be on a strict diet to lose weight long term. The key is to make lifestyle changes that are effective and long lasting and that suit your needs. By making small changes that actually boost your motivation along the way, you will find healthy eating comes much easier and is much more enjoyable too.


Lizzie O’Halloran

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

1 month ago · · 0 comments

How To Stop Being Insecure

How to stop being insecure and learn to trust your instincts

boost self confidenceThe daily punishment you can place your body & mind under – as a result of constant negative feedback – can leave you with a lack of trust in your inner instincts. You can learn over time that it’s not safe to trust that inner voice that tells you it’s time to speak up (particularly when there is a chance you may get hurt).

Why might you feel insecure and not trust your instincts?

Often this happens as a result of rejections and others letting you down. When you feel rejected by someone you love you can easily learn (incorrectly) that you are not a worthy person and also learn that your instincts about this person were not accurate. You can begin to wonder if you really can trust your guidance system that has led you into a situation where pain has been the outcome. Add to this when those you care about regularly let you down, you can learn not to trust your inner guidance system which once again led you to these relationships.
Unfortunately, ignoring your instincts often gets you into trouble, because your internal guidance system is set up to support you in making daily decisions and to inherently protect you. Just think of the amount of times in your life when you ignored internal warning signs about new friends, a colleague at work, or a new partner. Did ignoring your instincts work for or against you? In the instances above, when you might convince yourself that your instincts let you down, it’s most likely that you had a niggling feeling that things were not right, but you were not consciously aware enough of these warning signs to take action. More often than not, your inner voice has tried to warn you about others who may not be the best ‘fit’ for you, but you have allowed your desires ‘in the moment’ to drive your behaviour and hence pushed forward with people who time and time again let you down.

It’s time to listen to your inner voice

The question you need to ask yourself is “when will I start to realise the importance of listening to my instincts?”
When you repeatedly ignore your inner voice you leave yourself vulnerable. You are vulnerable to:
  • being hurt by those who do not truly show you the respect you deserve
  • ignoring potential errors that could lead to future problems
  • rejecting opportunities to stretch your wings and be the person you truly want to be
  • not standing up for yourself
  • others developing an inaccurate picture of you
So you can see, learning to pay attention when your intuition is trying to speak up, is vital to your overall health, happiness and success in life.

Listen to your instincts

Start to listen to your inner voice. Don’t rush into decisions. Give yourself time and permission to do things in your own time. Don’t ignore your inner drives – particularly out of fear. Act – when your instincts tell you to speak up.
A simple way to start tuning in to your inner voice is when you’re going about your daily life. Every day you are placed in positions where you have to make decisions. Driving a car is a perfect example. Put this theory to the test… Now that you are aware of the power of your instincts test what happens when you drive and listen to your instincts, versus when you ignore them. For instance, you are driving your child to school and there is heavy traffic. Your first instinct is to take the short cut, but you ignore that and travel your normal route. This decision to ignore your instincts results in you running 15 minutes late. However, the next day, under the same set of circumstances, you listen to your instincts and turn into the short cut. This decision gets you to school on time. It sounds like a silly example, but I test this decision every single day and 9/10 my first instinct is always right. The reason most people would ignore their first instinct to turn into the shortcut, is fear – worry about taking a risk and making a mistake. This is not the best way to live your life. When you learn to be guided by your internal guidance system, you will be surprised at how much more relaxed you are, how much you boost your self-esteem and self-confidence and how often your guidance systems knows what is in your best interest.
So don’t be afraid to give it a go.
Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac
Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life

1 month ago · · 0 comments

How to cope with stress and anxiety in this busy world

How to slow down to beat stress and illness

stress and anxiety
When you push yourself too hard physically and emotionally you can find that you take a lot longer to recover from colds and flu. Modern life does not tend to present you with many opportunities to take time out to fully recover from mild illness. Thus, once your obvious symptoms dissipate, you tend to either feel too guilty to continue to rest and recuperate, or you have too much on your plate to do so.
There are a finite number of hours in the day and your list of ‘to-do’s’ can often feel overwhelming, leaving you little time to allow yourself permission to rest. This is particularly true for high level professionals and parents, who are relied upon significantly by others – day in and day out. In addition to external pressures, it’s very common to feel guilty about resting, when there is still so much more to be undertaken and achieved.


So, how do you fully recover from illness in order to function at your optimum – most of the time?

In order to recuperate fully and feel your best, there are the ‘usual’ things to do, such a sleep well/enough and eat well. However, in reality recent research shows that in order to achieve your ever growing list of tasks, most people find it easiest to skimp on sleep. Shaving a few hours here and there can add a significant number hours to your year, so it’s no wonder it’s so tempting to give it up and thus to squander the recommended 8 hours of good quality sleep a night.

Taking it slower to beat stress and illness

Instead of trying to change your sleeping habits, a quick and easy way to improve your health (before, during and after illness) is through slowing down. Most people tend to make the misguided assumption that in order to succeed in life, one must move with speed. The problem with this theory is the body’s reaction to being placed under pressure on a regular basis – STRESS. Regular, ongoing stress has been shown to cause a short-term reduction in IQ and can have a significant impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem, particularly if the anxiety turns into depression. This is why, it can be very difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions with you’re stressed. Chronic stress leads to increases in the chance of making mistakes and having to end up working even harder to amend these mistakes. Rushing around tying to achieve a million things in a day/week/month/year usually ends up resulting in a lot of wasted time and energy.

Taking a breath

In contrast, if you were to start your day with a few deep breaths, 5 minute relaxation exercises and made a conscious effort to slow down, you would be able to think more clearly and rationally and thus be much more productive during the day.

For instance, most people arrive at work and feel anxious as soon as they begin to look at emails, to-do lists and speak to other stressed co-workers. They tend to spend the day frantically trying to spot multiple fires, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unproductive. If instead of this strategy, they walked into the office, took out a notepad and began to scan through emails, to-do lists and verbal requests from staff first thing in the morning and then developed a daily priority list, they would be able to tick off the most important jobs they had achieved that day. This would in turn provide both a feeling of achievement and a sense of control.

Undertaking such a morning task would take between 15-30 minutes per day, but would give back many more hours of productive work in return. The act of slowing down and gaining control is vital for health and wellbeing, particularly in this busy world we live in.

Your mind significantly impacts your physical health and emotional state, so if you’re feeling run down or overwhelmed, try to simply slow down. Try it for 1 week and see how much it improves your life.

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

Positive Parenting Blog

Positive Parenting Blog