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9 months ago · · 0 comments

Relationship Counselling – Do You Feel Unappreciated?

Do You Ever Wonder If Your Partner Really Appreciates You?

One of the things that often occurs in long term relationships is complacency. You get so used to your partner, you do the things you HAVE to do to keep each other happy and you assume your partner should just know how you feel. Affection drops, you look around and it feels like every other couple is ‘loved up’, holding hands and happy. Just look at the recent Royal Wedding! This lack of appreciation is a common thread in many relationship counselling sessions.

relationshp counsellingOf course life gets busier as the years pass in your relationship. When you add children to the family unit, life gets even busier, as a lot more your of  your energy needs to be directed towards raising a family. With or without children, life becomes more complex and financial responsibilities increase. As a result, couples often forget what it means to really show their partner they are still in love. They love each other, but often forget the important aspects of intimacy and expressing love. If the love is still expressed, it is often only reserved for special occasions, such as Valentines Day, Birthdays and Holidays.

How Do You Show Your Partner You Care – & Vice Versa?

Do you ever stop to asses how you and your partner like to give and receive love? Consider the 5 love languages described by Gary Chapman:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch 

If your preference is for Quality Time, but your partner’s preference is for Receiving Gifts, miscommunication of love can easily occur. One is not better than the other, but they are very different.

What often occurs in relationships is each person is expecting to receive love in the same manner in which he/she prefers to be shown love. Everyone has elements of each of the 5 love languages, but one is almost always more prominent. If your prominent preference is lacking in your relationship, you can feel very hurt, unloved and resentful. Confusions strikes when one person is showing love through their preferred love language, but it is falling on deaf ears. This is something I see often in my marriage counselling practice with couples.

So what can you do to bring love back so that both people feel loved and satisfied?

Firstly you need to understand how each of you prefers to receive love. Then, it’s time to talk about it honestly. Sometimes you need an impartial therapist to guide the conversation during relationship counselling and not deviate towards hurtful conversation. Then it’s also important to understand how you prefer to communicate. This is achieved through the Myers Briggs. It’s a wonderful tool for helping couples to understand their respective personality types and the best ways to communicate to really hear each other. For instance, the Myers-Briggs helps each person within couples discover:

  • if they prefer details or bigger picture themes in a conversation
  • whether they make decisions based on facts rather than feelings
  • if they need to be alone or around other people to reenergise before engaging in ‘partner time’ after work

and so on…

These issues are so important to help to understand each other and in turn avoid each person taking conversation or behaviour the wrong way. Miscommunication often happens as a result of each person within the relationship operating within the confines of their own Myers Briggs personality type. Thus not really understanding how their partner prefers to communicate.

We can’t be complacent in relationships. We need to regularly check in with each other and be mindful of each person’s needs. In doing so, each person feels really heard and truly loved.

Is Relationship Counselling Right For You?

If you are struggling within your current relationship, it’s important to speak to an expert. A Relationship Counsellor can really help to get your relationship back on track and to also tap into the real issues behind relationship conflict. Relationship Counselling takes place in a supportive and trusting environment. It’s a place to work through issues that you are your partner are struggling to resolve alone.  Relationship Counselling is not about casting blame on to one person within the partnership. Therapists take an empathetic and objective view of your personal circumstances, so that they can assist both parties to achieve happiness and peace.

Find Out More

relationship counselling

Author, Therapist & Motivational Speaker

9 months ago · · 0 comments

Is Your ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ Thinking Holding You Back From Being Truly Happy?

Do You Engage In “Grass Is Always Greener” Thinking?

When you engage in “grass is always greener” thinking, you are rarely satisfied and always looking forwards or backwards, assuming life is better ….over there. This type of thinking leaves you feeling frustrated, unhappy and constantly searching for something external to bring you happiness.

If you engage in these types of thoughts on a regular basis, it is highly lightly you are engaging in grass is always greener’ thinking:

  • “things will be better when…”
  • “if only I had [xxx], then I’d be happier”
  • “when I get [xxx], then my life will be easier”
  • “things were better before this”

grass is always greener thinkingThis type of “grass is always greener” thinking style leaves you feeling very dissatisfied with life. It also welcomes too much upheaval into your life as you pursue happiness in the form of change. Lastly it creates low self-esteem because you no longer learn to trust your instincts and easily question decisions that you finally make. This makes it very stressful for you and for those around you. You regularly break promises, disappoint and change your mind to satisfy your insecurities and hope that new decisions will ultimately lead to happiness.

Despite all these negative arguments, MANY people engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking style.


Has the “grass is always greener” thinking style held you back?

Think about your life this past week in your life. How many times did you think to yourself that life would be better if something changed? Yet, how many changes have you made and how many goals have you achieved over the course of your life? Do you recognise these achievements, relish in them and feel happier – long term – as a result? The problem with “grass is always greener” thinking style, is that it leaves you constantly dissatisfied. You feel happier for a moment when you achieve yor desires, but this happiness is only short lived and you soon look for (and find) problems with this outcome. This negative thinking then creates a dissatisfaction with your current situation and you search for change again.

Good example of “grass is always greener” thinking, include when:

  • you search for a new relationship, but soon find problems within it
  • you buy a new car and soon crave a newer/shinier model
  • you move to a new location and soon pine over the old one you used to complain about

grass is always greeneAre you convinced yet that the “grass is always greener” thinking style is NOT good for your health?

What if you learnt to trust your instincts and relish if your achievements and desires? Imagine how much more enjoyment you would gain from your life, if you consciously decided to STOP engaging in this negative thinking style. Let’s look at an example.


EXAMPLE: Engaging in “grass is always greener” thinking

You are feeling unhappy at work. You begin to engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking. You tell yourself, you will be so much happier if you just get out of there. You spend every effort to move into a new job. You settle into your new job, but soon the same personalities begin to annoy you. You soon begin to feel just as agitated and dissatisfied as you did before you left your last position. In fact, you begin to look back with rose coloured glasses to find positives in the job you just left behind. You feel very dissatisfied and start looking for a new job again.

EXAMPLE 2: Curbing “grass is always greener” thinking

You are feeling unhappy at work. You begin to engage in the “grass is always greener” thinking. You tell yourself, you will be so much happier if you just get out of there. You stop yourself and you begin to question what your dissatisfaction is really about. Are you unhappy with the work location, the hours you’re putting in, the work you’re undertaking, your pay scale, or the people you’re working for? You pinpoint what’s going on. You’re feeling undervalued. You decide to have a meeting with your boss to discuss the issue, but you do not feel much better after your meeting. You decide to look for a new position, but you focus on looking for a job where your skills will really be valued and you can shine. You project this through the interviews you sit and you finally secure a job that provides you with that validation you have been missing. You settle into your new job and begin to thrive. You leave that “grass is always greener” thinking style behind and feel so much happier. You love your new job.

The key difference in both these examples is questioning WHY you might be engaging in “grass is always greener” thinking. Most likely, there is something underpinning this thinking tendency. When you identify what is really going on, you can address the issue at hand and stop yourself from looking for change to make you happier.

But isn’t change as good as a holiday?

They say “change is as good as a holiday” and this is true. You feel great when you go on that holiday, but very soon after you return, life goes back to normal. If you were feeling dissatisfied before – you will feel dissatisfied again. The holiday does not fix any internal issues, it just helps you to ignore them for a while. Whilst this is a nice distraction, it’s not the way to resolve personal issues, because they are all there waiting for you when you return. The change, just gives you a break. It does not make you happier long term if you continue to search for happiness externally to yourself. The first place to start building your happiness is internally, but focussing on building your self esteem. Then, you will be in control of your life and your destiny.

lizzie o'halloran, grass is always greener blog article

lizzie o'halloran, grass is always greener blog article

10 months ago · · 0 comments

Separation Anxiety In Toddlers – 5 Steps For How To Best Overcome It

How To Ease Separation Anxiety In Toddlers

separation anxiety in toddlerSeparation anxiety in toddlers is very normal, however, it can still evoke worry and guilt in mums having to leave a crying baby behind. The good news is, it usually dissipates with age and careful strategies which we will discuss in the 5 step process.

Regardless of whether you are a first time mum, or a seasoned parent, separation anxiety in toddlers is often a source of great anxiety and stress. As a parent, you always want the best for your child, so it can be heartbreaking to see your little one crying as you leave, or even getting upset when being held by others. Because there is a misconception that children should just easily transition to new experiences and to new people, parents often (incorrectly) blame themselves for their child’s separation anxiety and this causes further anxiety and guilt down the track. These emotions can make the separation process even more difficult and drawn out for both you and your toddler or baby.

The good news is there are easy to follow steps you can implement to aid your child through transitions. This process will also be much smoother if your understand your child’s temperament, which we will go into a bit more detail in the 5 step process below.

5 steps for how to overcome separation anxiety in toddlers

How To Ease Separation Anxiety In ToddlersStep 1: Getting to Know Your Child’s Temperament

You may be thinking “what does this have to do with easing my child’s separation anxiety?” Well, it is actually the key piece of the puzzle that not many people talk about and yet it is SO… helpful to parents when going through separation anxiety in toddlers. Research tells us that approximately 65% of children fall into 1 of 3 temperament characteristics. Slow-to-warm Up, Easy, Feisty. Each one of these responds very differently to new environments and new people. If you work out your child’s temperament, you with then be able to assess the best way to deal with separation anxiety based on your child’s temperament.

Each of these 3 temperaments responds uniquely to new environments

Slow to warm up

The slow to warm up child takes time to adjust to new environments and people. They need lots of security and attachment to parents. These babies do not like to be held by people they do not know. They need to feel comfortable and then they will relax and be the life of the party. These children need gradual introductions and repeated similar introductions. So ensuring your child is left with the same carer in childcare for instance, will make the transition MUCH smoother. Also, this child is better off attending childcare a few days a week, rather than one day a week. The reason for this is that by the time ‘day-care day’ returns you toddler will have forgotten about it again and the separation anxiety will once again begin.


The feisty child needs rules, boundaries and structure. So, this child will want to be very clear of the process of transition. Keeping the routine and simple and clear as possible will really help this child to adjust. For instance, going through the same motions in the morning on your way to childcare, or when leaving your child with a babysitter will help your toddler to feel comfortable about the separation process. You may also have a routine after childcare pick up which you can maintain consistently for your child to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.


The easy child will find new environments much less stressful and will adapt to new environment with greater ease. With an easy temperament there may be signs of separation anxiety, however these will typically only last for a short period of time. They will only represent in times of extreme stress or uncertainty.

How To Ease Separation Anxiety In ToddlersStep 2: Ensure the care in which you are leaving your child meets the 4 Quadrant ‘Perfect Mum Book‘ Rules

In order for you to feel OK about leaving your child crying in someone else’s care, you need to feel comfortable about where you are leaving your child. In the Book Perfect Mum, I talk a lot about the 4 essential parenting quadrants which centre around four critical questions:

Is Your Child

  1. Safe?
  2. Secure?
  3. Happy?
  4. Healthy?

When you can answer “yes” confidently to these 4 questions, you are much more comfortable about the emotional aspects associated with separation anxiety in your toddler. For instance, when you receive images throughout the day from your day-care centre showing your child is happily playing, you feel comfortable that question 3 (is my child happy) has been satisfied.

Step 3: Repetition is the Key

Your child will feel much more comfortable being left within an environment that feels comfortable. Whilst it may always be his/her preference to stay with “mummy’, your child will find the separation much easier if you ensure things are kept relatively similar and the environment is not completely alien. When beginning a new childcare arrangements, start slowly if possible. Begin by attending the centre together a few times, then leave your child for 1-2 hours and eventually build up to the required day-care length of time. Repeating the process several times will help your child to feel safe and secure being left somewhere without you (quadrants 1 and 2 above).

How To Ease Separation Anxiety In ToddlersStep 4: The Comforter

Choose a special toy your child can bring from home to provide familiar comfort throughout the day. You can also select a special toy your child likes at childcare. You can talk about how exciting it will be to see your child’s special toy again when you arrive and go together to collect the toy. This little routine can give your child something special to look forward to and because you have been talking about it, the toy provides a comforting reminder of you if they begin to miss you throughout the day.

How To Ease Separation Anxiety In ToddlersStep 5: Avoid dragging out the drop off

This step is probably the toughest for mothers experiencing separation anxiety in toddlers. As a mother, you want to leave your child in care feeling happy. However, the longer you stay to comfort your child, the harder it is for your child to separate and make the transition. Quick and comforting goodbyes are usually best. Your child then becomes accustomed to this routine and will not draw out the tears begging you to stay. You can tell your child “mummy is coming back to pick you up” when you leave. Then when you collect your child, repeat this again – “see mummy came back to pick you up”. This helps your child to feel secure and to trust that everything is going to be OK. Then at pick up, if you’d like to stay a bit longer to play with some toys together or read books, this is the time when you can take as long as you like to leave.

Following these 5 steps to easing separation anxiety in toddlers will really help to make transitions into other people’s care much smoother. There may be tears from time to time, especially if your child is feeling unwell or overtired. However, you know the tears will only last for a very short period of time. It is important to note, though, if your child continues to feel anxious, or the anxiety is getting worse, it’s time to intervene. Talk to the carer/s about what might be happening. Assess whether the childcare arrangement is suitable for your child. Further, don’t be afraid to make a change if you feel it’s in the best interest of your child.

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

separation anxiety in toddlers

10 months ago · · 1 comment

What happens if I experience breastfeeding problems?

Breastfeeding Problems – the biggest stressor for many new mums today

counselling for new mumsAs a new mother, you make certain assumptions. One of these assumptions is that you will be able to breastfeed naturally and not experience breastfeeding problems. You assume breastfeeding comes easily to most mothers and subsequently, it should come easily to you too. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is one of the biggest causes of stress for many new mothers. The main reasons for this are:

a) it does not always come easily to all mums

b) babies can reject the breast

c) there is a method behind getting it right so babies latch correctly

d) there can be issues with milk supply

All these issues can result in problems breastfeeding when your new baby arrives.


‘But.. Isn’t Breast the best?’

There is little talk about the issues many mums face when attempting to breastfeeding. The facts are that approximately 5% of women are physically unable to produce enough milk to feed their babies and further. The Centre For Diseasde Control and Prevention in the United States notes, by the time a baby is 1 year of age only 33% of mothers are still breastfeeding. This is despite the fact that currently, the World Health Organisation recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby until 6 months of age and then combining breastmilk with solids until the age of 2 or beyond. So you can understand why new mothers feel such intense pressure to breastfeed and why they berate themselves and feel so stressed and depressed when breastfeeding does not go according to plan.

Why is breastfeeding claimed to be so great?

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. According to The World Health Organisation :

Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.

The Word Health Organisation also notes the following:

  1. Breastmilk contains antibodies that protect a baby against diarrhoea and pneumonia – the two most common causes of infant death world-wide
  2. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer
  3. Breastfeeding reduces the chance of your child becoming obese or overweight later in life
  4. Mothers often require assistance in how to breastfeed correctly
  5. Formula milk does not contain the antibodies of breastmilk

In addition, research has shown that breastmilk also influences your baby’s gut microbiota which protects your baby from skin conditions such as eczema and can having a healthy gut helps protect against chronic illness’s later in life. You may like to read the book ‘Clean Gut‘ for a details explanation of the importance of good gut health.

So, the message is clear – if you can breastfeed – it’s the best source of nutrients for your baby.

But what if you experience breastfeeding problems and must top up with/or exclusively feed with Formula?

bringing baby homeThere is an underlying assumption in the wider community that women stop breastfeeding because they want to make their lives easier. This is rarely the case. Most mothers (in the Western world at least) are very intent on breastfeeding and go through a very traumatic emotional turmoil when they experience breastfeeding problems. They experience high levels of stress when they come to the realisation that they HAVE to formula feed their baby – for the baby’s health’s sake.

Whilst breastfeeding should come naturally to most mothers – it doesn’t always come easily and often takes a bit of practice and guidance to get it right. In fact, it is not uncommon for pregnant women to enter motherhood quite unsure about how to breastfeed their baby.


Anecdotally, mothers often report having issues during the breastfeeding days, such as:

  • cracked nipples
  • sore nipples
  • enlarged breasts
  • decrease in milk supply
  • tongue-tie
  • vasospasm
  • babies gaining insufficient weight
  • babies with wind pain after breastfeeding

just to mention a few….

Therefore, in order to feel calm and relaxed during the breastfeeding process, new mums should consider the following:

  1. Be aware that it’s not uncommon for breastfeeding to take time to get the hang of
  2. When/if things do go wrong there are things you can do to ease the issues
  3. All you can do is try your best and if all else fails, you can still look after your baby’s health well using the right formula

There are a number of things you can do if you are experiencing trouble breastfeeding

  • Speak to a lactation consultant (start with a call to your midwife, or the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline on 1800 686 268)
  • If you have engorged/swollen breast, try to gently hand express some milk, or place your baby solely on this side of the breast to initiate the flow of milk – this will hurt a bit, but it should only last until the milk has flowed through the breast
  • Place a cold pack on the breast when swollen, or a heat pack to ease the pain
  • Speak to a health expert about natural herbs to increase milk supply (we can recommend Herbario in Melbourne)

If all else fails and you need to switch to formula milk, it’s very important to not feel like a failure and to trust the most important thing is that you and your baby are healthy and happy. If you are increasingly getting stressed and your baby is also stressed – this is NOT good for your baby’s health. If your baby is losing weight due to poor milk supply, this is also no good for your baby’s health. So, in this case, it is a good idea to do some research into the best brands of formula. There are many formulas that are very close to the make-up of breastmilk. These brands are the best to use to ensure your baby is getting the best nutrients possible.

There are a huge range of formulas to choose from. However, one formula brand which is recommended by Naturopath Kate Dalgleish, containing  a good source of nutrients for your baby is the Bellamy’s organic brand. Kate also recommends adding DHA and probiotics to the formula, which you can read about in her downloadable guide.

The take-home message

In the ideal world every mother would breastfeed easily and without any breastfeeding problems down the track. However, this simply is not the case for many mothers. Personally, I was able to fully breastfeed my first child with the help of some lactation teas from Herbario. I struggled with the pain of engorged breasts from time to time, but was able to treat myself and continue breastfeeding. However, despite being confident everything would be the same for my second child, I did not have sufficient milk for her. I persisted, expressed milk and tried natural therapies, but nothing changed my milk supply.

I didn’t want to lose the intimate connection I had soothing my baby with breastmilk, so I finally gave in to ‘formula top up feeding’. I continued to breastfeed my second child until 2 years of age and just topped up her feeds with formula milk and solids (after 6 months of age). I was warned that my daughter would reject the breast, but she never did. Perhaps this was because she had started the first 3 months with exclusive breastfeeding. Perhaps it was because she would soothe to sleep on the breast and found this very comforting. I’m not 100% sure. However, the main thing for me was knowing I was doing my best for the health and wellbeing of my child. She soon began to regain weight on formula milk and we still had our comfort feeding with breastmilk, so it was a win-win in the end.

As a new mother all you can do is try your best and ensure you have your own and your child’s best interests at heart. With this mindset you can handle anything that comes your way.


breastfeeding problems


11 months ago · · 0 comments

Reducing Stress and Depression Comes First From Taking Control

Stress is all around us – but reducing stress is within your control

self confidence at work and reducing stressWe live in a very stressful world. Reducing stress is not always easy. Recently I was speaking to an environmentalist. He made an interesting observation. He said “how can psychology really work, when you are telling people to be happy in a world that is full of stress, fear and catastrophe and in an ever increasing state of global climate crisis”.

I had to really ponder on this question. To answer it, I had to look back in time. I thought back to Victor Frankl, who in his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning recounts how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning amongst the struggle and how that gave him the will to live. Throughout history there has always been struggle and this struggle persists today. However, alongside this struggle has been major positive change.

There has never been so much love, kindness and support for those who are struggling. As a I write this, the movement to listen to those who have been abused, to stand up for those who have been persecuted for being women and to stop mass shootings by pushing for stricter gun control in America are underway. These movements all have the same internal belief – that taking control can make a difference.

This is where my personal psychological physilophy ensues. I know that when you gain a sense of personal control you can make huge positive changes in your life. When you trust in your heart that you can change your personal circumstances, you can do anything. When it comes to counselling and psychotherapy, this is the primary goal. To help you to believe and to feel empowered that you can change your physiology, your mental state and your internal health – which in turn will improve your overall life circumstances. Being educated to trust that your voice matters and that you have the power to effect change, is essential.

Reducing stress through more positive news

The news about how terrible things in our world have become is not helping our cause to reduce stress. Particularly when you think that depression arises out of a combination of feeling helpless, hopeless and pessimistic. We need to be informed and educated correctly, not through fear and stress inducing media that leave us feeling as though we have no control and are unable to change our current circumstances. Real news helps to inform us and to empower us to stand up for what is right and ‘just’ and empowers us in ways that we can make a change. When we hear sensationalised news it leads to feeling disheartened, because you can start to wonder if there is anything you can really do to make a change. If you do the reverse and start looking into things you can personally do to make a change, you will feel that you can help, you will feel that there is hope that things you do will make a difference and you will feel more optimistic about the present and future as a result.

So, my environmentalist friend was not correct in stating there is no point in using psychology to help people feel happier when there is suffering all around. This is actually the time when people need the most support in reducing stress, the most meaning and the greatest sense of control in their lives. To feel empowered, is to feel happier. Once you know the true facts and you are empowered to know what you CAN do to effect change, then you can live in hope amongst the stress and strain of the world around you. You can start to believe that change IS possible and you can NEVER give up on yourself, your life, those you love and the world around you. When you are in the midst of personal tragedy, psychology is the greatest help. It provides you with support and guidance to see your way through the pain and loss. It provides you with structure and a personal control and it gives you hope and optimism in the present and future.

What we need more of are stories about what people ARE doing and what IS making a change in people’s lives. For instance, there are organisations like the Climate Action Network Australia  who are dedicated to support its members and allies to take action to protect people from climate change, to safeguard the environment and build a clearer environment for Australians. Here at Help For Mums we are starting a free weekly newsletter detailing the top 10 good news stories of the week. Our aim is to give our readers hope and control in their future. You can sign up to our newsletter at

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

11 months 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

11 months 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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11 months ago · · Comments Off on Eysenck’s Personality Inventory (EPI) (Extroversion/Introversion)

Eysenck’s Personality Inventory (EPI) (Extroversion/Introversion)

The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) measures two pervasive, independent dimensions of personality, Extraversion-Introversion and Neuroticism-Stability, which account for most of the variance in the personality domain. Each form contains 57 “Yes-No” items with no repetition of items. The inclusion of a falsification scale provides for the detection of response distortion. The traits measured are Extraversion-Introversion and Neuroticism.

11 months 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 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

12 months 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