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10 months 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

10 months 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

10 months ago · · 0 comments

Are you suffering from sleep deprivation?

The power of sleep

sleep deprivationWe are all in a rush. We rush to work. We rush to get our kids to school. We rush to social outings. We are in a rush to grow up and so on. Life seems to be spent in a perpetual hurry. We have load of things on our to-do lists daily and in order to fit it all in, the one thing we usually sacrifice is sleep. We are all guilty of it from time to time, because it is the easiest part of out lives to give up, in order to get through our daily check lists and to feel as though we are succeeding in our pursuit of altruism and self-actualisation. But, of course this is at a huge cost to our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

There is a difference emotionally between you deciding to reduce your sleep and someone else (e.g. a snoring partner, a wakeful child, a noisy animal that wants to be fed at 5am every day) making that decision for you. When you are in control, there is less anger and bitterness associated with the sleep debt. Even a waking baby can drive parents to distraction – despite understanding that the baby is of course not deliberately trying to make them sleep deprived. You ability to cope with either situation is also dependent on how well you are able to catch up on sleep on other occasions and on you total sleep debt.

So how much sleep is enough?

On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours per night, however, you may function well on as little as 6 hours sleep, or may require 10 hours of sleep to be at the top of your game. Most people have a sense of how much sleep they need in order to feel alert and functioning at their best – the average being 8 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep Deprivation Effects

According to WebMD too little sleep may cause/influence:

  • Memory problems
  • Depression (e.g. postnatal depression)
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

The accumulation of repeated sleep deprivation results in a sleep debt which is only temporarily masked by coffee. When you are really tired, that coffee hit won’t do the trick – you need to repay the sleep debt in order to be able to function at a suitable and safe level again. If you continue to push through your sleep deprivation, you can end up with depression, so it’s important to catch up on your sleep at the next available opportunity. Do whatever you can to regain your sleep. For example:

  • take a quick nap with your child
  • eat dinner an hour earlier to allow your food to digest & give you a better night’s sleep
  • give yourself permission to have the night off & go to bed earlier
  • ask someone to give you a hand so you can have a rest
  • ask for an extension on a work project or class project so you can catch up on sleep

It’s a matter of planning and making sleep a priority. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you really are sleep deprived, make a commitment to clear your sleep debt and see how much more positive, clear and vibrant your life becomes.

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help for Mums and Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

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5 ways to reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem

12 months ago · · 10 comments

6 Questions To Ask Yourself If You Suspect You’re Suffering From Postpartum Depression

How To Know If You’re Suffering With Postpartum Depression or Anxiety

According to the Centre for Disease Control, approximately 11-20% of women who have given birth in the United States experience postpartum depression each year. Other countries like Australia display similar statistics. Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) notes approximately 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men experience antenatal depression (anxiety and depression during pregnancy). Further, approximately 1 in 7 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads experience postnatal depression each year in Australia. However, despite these statistics, only a small proportion of mothers suffering from depression and/or anxiety seek professional help.

Why Do So Many Mothers Avoid Seeking Help?

what is postpartum depressionThere are a range of reasons why mothers do not seek help for anxiety and depression, either in pregnancy or after birth. Mothers report there is the stigma associated with admitting they are not coping. They also report feeling embarrassed, guilty or ashamed for not experiencing the euphoria a mother is ‘meant’ to experience when she becomes a mother. These feelings are heightened even further is a mother has been trying to fall pregnant for some time.

Mothers are expected to always be full of energy, happy, besotted and in control during motherhood. However, this is ideal of the Perfect Mum, is often very far removed from every day life. However, when mothers suffer in silence, they leave themselves open to trying other coping mechanisms, such as self medicating with drugs and alcohol to cope and potentially living with lifelong depression and anxiety.

There are a number of warning signs that you may be experiencing postpartum depression

Here are 6 key questions to ask yourself if you or someone close to you suspects you may have postpartum depression

  1. “Am I feeling worthless, hopeless, helpless, or excessively guilty?”

  2. “Am I feeling sad or down more often than usual?”

  3. “Feeling restless, irritable or stressed?”

  4. “Have I lost interest in being social?”

  5. “Am I showing little interest in my baby?”

  6. “Have I lost motivation, or energy for things I used to enjoy?”

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, it is very important to seek professional help. You can begin by talking to a trained mental health therapist, talking to your General Practitioner, or calling an organisation like COPE or PANDA.

Other Common Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

The MAYO Clinic identifies the following symptoms that are often associated with postpartum depression (mothers may experience some or all of these symptoms during their depression):

  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • intense irritability
  • difficulty bonding with the baby
  • negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, panic attacks
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • emotions reactions such as crying, restlessness, depression, fear
  • fatigue
  • weight gain or weight loss
  • lack of concentration

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you suspect you may also be experiencing more severe symptoms, such as fearing you may hurt your baby, or yourself, please seek help immediately. Pick up the phone and contact your GP, your obstetrician, your midwife, or your mental health practitioner today. These symptoms should be treated immediately.

Causes of Postpartum Depression?

There are three main causes of postpartum depression:

  1. Hormonal Changes after childbirth (e.g. a drop in oestrogen and progesterone resulting in feeling tired, sluggish and depressed)
  2. Emotional changes (e.g. being sleep deprived, coping with external pressures/stress, feeling overwhelmed)
  3. Expectations not being met

Becoming a new mum can be a shock, particularly if expectations about motherhood do not match reality. This issue has been heightened in modern life due to the influence and exposure to the mass media and social media. Mothers in general spend a significant proportion of time on social media like Facebook. As a result, social comparison easily influences a mother’s perspective of how well she is coping. Social media provides a very skewed perspective of people’s lives, mainly because people tend to post the good times in their lives. So very quickly you can look at someone’s profile and assume they are always looking healthy, happy, energise, always having fun and very socially connected.

In addition to this, famous mums can give the misconception of being the ‘Perfect Mum’. Their ‘posts’ highlighting them looking immaculate, with beautiful houses, perfectly dressed children, in healthy relationships and looking energised and happy. This may be true of a portion of their lives, but it is not a true picture of their reality. Famous mums like Blake Lively have had to refute publicly comments that her life is perfect – because her Instagram posts give this perception.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in social comparison when:

  • you feel tired
  • your baby won’t sleep easily
  • you feel lonely
  • you’re having problems breastfeeding
  • you feel unsupported at home
  • you are having money problems
  • you’re feeling like a failure

However, it’s important to trust that perception is not reality and all mums are going through their own personal struggles. Social media posts are often well crafted and only show you the part of a person’s life he/she WANTS you to see. That is not their whole reality.

What if I don’t think I have postpartum depression, but I’m not coping as well as I thought I would?

It should also be noted, that many mothers experience depression and/or anxiety after childbirth and ignore these symptoms. These women feel their symptoms are not as severe as those described above. Ignoring feelings of depression and anxiety often leads to these negative feelings worsening, causing mothers to struggle emotionally throughout motherhood.

Feelings of insecurity, lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, emotional eating/drinking are just some of the consequences of ignored depression and anxiety. So, if you not feeling as good as you hoped you would, or are not coping as well as you would like to cope, don’t continue to battle these emotions alone. Start by downloading the free chapter of the book Perfect Mum: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood so you can begin to find better coping strategies and feel more hopeful and happy in your new role.

So What Can You Do If You’re Experiencing Depression or Anxiety in Pregnancy or Motherhood?

best parenting book for new mums

how to survive motherhood as a new mum

You are not alone. Don’t wait until your symptoms worsen. If you identified with any of these symptoms described above, please seek help as soon as possible. Don’t struggle alone.

In the meantime, make sure you ask for help from those close to you. Find ways you can get some good quality sleep and support during times when you need it most. Ensure you have a healthy diet that is not too high in carbohydrates and ensure you are being physically active every day. Research shows improving your healthy lifestyle behaviours elevates your baseline moods and has a positive impact on depression and anxiety overall. So focussing on your health is a really good place to start your journey towards feeling happier and more confident in motherhood.

Experts are here to help you

You are never alone and should not feel like a failure because you are not feeling as positive as you would have hoped. Depression and anxiety can strike anyone at any time of life. Motherhood is a testing time for all mothers. Seek help when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. It is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby.

You can also start by accessing these FREE ONLINE RESOURCES

Seek Help Immediate

If you or your partner are at immediate risk of harm call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 

Postpartum Depression - lizzie o'halloran

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums

1 year ago · · 0 comments

How To Boost Self Confidence As a New Mum

new mother at home with baby or todderAre You At Risk?

When you become a new mum, your self confidence and self esteem can quickly take a dive, particularly when things don’t go quite as well as planned. One of the major issues new mums face is shifting from being in control of your child during pregnancy to feeling completely lost as your child begins to develop and grow into this new life. When things such as breastfeeding and regular sleep do not go well, new mums often begin to question their parenting methods and begin to assume they must be doing something wrong. Add to this the opinions of friends, other mothers, family members and health  professionals, its no wonder so many new mums begin to feel like failures.
So what can you do if you begin to feel like a failure, or begin to self criticise yourself ?

Reduce the pressure you are placing on yourself

One of the first big mistakes new mums make is to stop listening to their instincts and to begin listening instead to everyone else’s advice and opinion on how best to parent their new baby. As a new mum, it’s very easy to begin to doubt yourself when things you try (like breastfeeding or placing a baby in a swaddle to sleep) simply do not work, particularly when you have been told by experts that these are the best ways to feed or get your baby to sleep. What no-one seems to tell new mums (or perhaps as new mums it’s hard to believe), there is no 1 manual of parenting that works for every child. Each baby is different and also has a mind of his/her own. Some babies will easily soothe, for instance, whilst other will not. Some babies will sleep for 2-3 hour stretches at a time, whilst others will only power nap for 30 minutes at a time. If you begin to place too much pressure on yourself to be perfect, you will quickly begin to start feeling overwhelmed and self criticism will begin to seep into your mindset and quickly reduce your self confidence. So, the key is to have a parenting plan and then to just go with the flow. Sometimes your parenting style will work wonders, but other times it won’t (for instance if your baby is feeling overtired or unwell). These are the times to take a brake and just try something new when you are feeling more calm and rational.

Do you trust that you know your baby best?

As a primary carer, no-one knows your baby better than you. Other experts and parents can provide you with support and advice as to what they have observed or perhaps trialled successfully with their children, but ultimately, you know your child best. You will know if your child will respond well to new environments, people and parenting styles. you will be able to assess whether sleeping methods such as controlled crying are right for your child and your family. Trust that you have your child’s best interests at heart and always look at things from the perspective of ensuring your child is safe, healthy, happy and secure (eg living in a harmonious environment).

Catch yourself in moments of negative self-talk

If you begin you hear yourself speaking negatively about your parenting style, try to catch yourself in the moment and rephrase your words. For instance, if you catch yourself saying things like “I’m never going to get my baby to sleep”, alter this to “Every baby eventually sleeps, we just need to keep adjusting things until we get things working well for our family”. Reducing negative self talk will go a long way towards boosting your confidence and ensuring you maintain a healthy self esteem throughout motherhood.

We have a great FREE ebook to help new mums boost self confidence straight away – check it out here

2 years ago · · 0 comments

How to get your baby to sleep

getting-baby-to-sleep

How to get baby to sleep

Are you suffering from sleep deprivation?

As a new mum it’s highly likely that you heard about sleep deprivation but never really understood it until now. It would be great if all babies just fell asleep when they were tired but the reality is that all babies are different and most babies need some form of assistance from you as the new mum to help get to sleep and to stay asleep (download my free parenting made easier guide that details how to parent with child temperament in mind here).

When it comes to your baby sleeping there are two very important motivations – 1) to give your baby a rest and 2) to give you a rest. The second point is vital for both your sanity and for your ability to parent in a calm, rational and safe manner. So bearing this in mind there a few things you need to decide on:

A) am I prepared to let my child cry it out?

B) will my baby even respond to crying it out (see the child temperament ebook to understand that some babies won’t)

C) Do I care if my child does not sleep in a cot – eg co-sleeps safely?

D) what does my child need to go to sleep – eg comfort, reassurance, food?

E) am I prepared to relax my expectations and do what I think is right for us, rather than worrying about what I think will make others happy?

Now, besides all the usual things by now you know to look out for in your baby (eg first signs he/she is tired – like pulling ears and hair or yawning) there are a few extra things you can do to help your baby sleep – once you have addressed A – E above.

1) If your baby has a sore tummy due to excess wind, try picking her up and with one hand gently on the lower tummy gently bounce her/him to allow the wind to move down and pass through. You can also try rubbing the tummy or gently holding both feet and rocking the legs up and down and side to side to pass the wind. Both my girls had lots of wind and these methods worked for them. We also used a natural product called Colic calm which we found very beneficial.

2) if your baby is regularly waking up he/ she may just need extra comfort. Here you have several options.

-) invest in a baby sling so your baby can sleep with you and you can still get on with your day. Personally I have used the Baba Sling for both of my kids and I love it because it’s adaptable up to 2 years of age and has freed me up to have a normal life whilst my girls have received the comfort they need.

-) if your baby keeps waking up, check if your baby has a wet or dirty nappy. Some babies really feel uncomfortable so need to be changed more often. Keep the nappies close to the cot and sleep baby in a grow bag so it’s quick and not too disruptive to change the nappy at night.

-) ensure your baby has had enough to eat so she’s only waking up when expected. When your baby gets older make sure you leave at least an Hour between the last meal and bedtime to avoid a sore tummy, when you’re baby is smaller though keep her in a more inclined position in bed, the pram etc to avoid excess wind. For instance place an extra folded blanket under the head of the mattress to incline the top only slightly so your baby won’t roll to the bottom of the bed. Remember to always follow SIDS sleeping guidelines so your baby is save and don’t place any blankets on top of your baby which could cover his head.

-) with a baby who needs extra comfort it’s all about either giving in to co-sleeping (again ensuring you’re following SIDS safe sleeping guidelines) or investing in a cot that you can place next to your bed so you can gently roll your baby over to the open cot next to you without you baby realising. I highly recommend the Bednest Bedside Cot. Not only is it beautiful, it serves this purpose perfectly.

There are lots of things you can do to ensure you get some sleep and your baby does too. The important thing is to not get stressed if your baby doesn’t just gently drift off to sleep. Your baby has spent months close to you, so it only makes sense that he/she may need some assistance to get to sleep. Be kind to yourself and be patient. You may need to try a few different things before you get it right.

If you’re a new mum and you feel you need some more personalised support, contact me at info@happylife.net.au to book in a private session or visit https://www.helpformums.com/products/coaching_for_new_mums for more information about Wellness coaching for Mums

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac