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    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    The Best New Years Resolution for 2017

    What’s Your New Years Resolution?

    Every year millions of people around the world make New Years Resolutions which they quickly either break, neglect, or forget once the new year commences. The main reason for this is that these resolutions are either too unrealistic, the person is not ready to commit to the resolution, or there was insufficient planning.

    what is motivation

    Boosting Your Motivation

    The Best Resolutions

    The best resolutions are those that are really meaningful to you and that you are confident you can achieve. For instance, deciding to commence a healthy diet is all well and good, but without a diet plan that you believe will fit into your lifestyle and that has a built in formula for boosting motivation when yours wains, it is going to be hard to maintain your resolution for a long period of time. In contrast, if you find a program you believe you will enjoy, you engage those around you to support you and the program is realistic enough to suit your lifestyle (e.g. if you are extremely busy, it’s not a good idea to start a program that expects you to commit to 7 days of 1.5 hours of exercise per day), your chance of success will dramatically increase.

    An easy and powerful new years resolution 

    This year, why not take up an easier resolution that will have a more dramatic influence on your lifestyle. One great new years resolution, is to decide to be more grateful. This sounds like something ‘airy-fairy’, but in fact grateitude has been shown to be one of the greatest influences of overall happiness. When you focus on things you are grateful for, it not only increases your happiness in the moment, it also detracts you from thinking about the things in your life that have made you unhappy. It also helps you to be clear about whats really important to you in your life and to stop worrying about doing things just to make other people happy.

    So how do you start being more grateful?

    One of the things you can do to start boosting your gratitude is every night before going to bed and every morning when you wake up, listing 5 things that happened that day that made you feel grateful and 5 things you feel grateful about in general. Here is an example:


    1. Living in a safe country
    2. Having good food to eat
    3. Having a loving family
    4. Having a supportive best friend
    5. Building a successful career


    1. That my daughter gave me a hug
    2. That I arrived at work on time
    3. That my partner told me he loved me
    4. That I achieved everything on my to-do list
    5. That I was able to make time for me to exercise

    You can repeat any of these once day after the other. The point is just to commence a routine of being grateful for everything great in your life on a regular basis. If you have children, you can ask them to join in with you – especially before going to bed (asking them what they were grateful about that day).

    Whatever your New Years Resolution is, make a commitment to it, make sure it’s realistic and achievenable and have a good plan to follow through. That way, you can start your next year the way you’d really love to, knowing you’ll your resolutions through.

    Happy 2018

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac
    Personal Development Coach & Counsellor


    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

    How To Build Self Esteem Through Your Relationships

    There is a lot written about how low self-esteem can impact on your relationships (e.g. through insecurity, jealousy and mistrust). However, what is often forgotten is the impact that having poor or high quality friends can have on your level of self-esteem.

    Studies looking at adolescence (a very important time for friendship development and subsequent identity development) show clear impacts of the quality of friends on girl’s self-esteem (particularly the friendships they have with boys). A study looking at the relationship between friendship quality and self-esteem in adolescent boys and girls found:

    “… that girls’ self-esteem was significantly lower than boys’ self-esteem and that girls rated their relationships as stronger, more interpersonally rewarding, and more stressful than boys did….As expected, girls’ self-esteem was positively correlated with the friendship quality of their cross-gender best friend.”1

    mums making friendsResearch shows us that when we are happy within our friendships, the way we feel about ourselves (our self worth) is much higher and we are much less likely to suffer from low self-esteem

    But why does having good relationships impact on our self worth so significantly?

    Our self-esteem and self-worth are a combination of our internal messages (what we say to ourselves) and our internal beliefs, as well as the messages we absorb about ourselves from the outside world. The messages we tend to take on board and believe the most, often come from those we love, admire and respect the most.

    Our relationships with friends, family members and partners have the greatest impact on us and can be our greatest asset, or our greatest enemy to  self-esteem.  In intimate relationships, it’s also very easy to take each other for granted, particularly if you have been together for a long time. If your relationship is not regularly tended to, complacency can quickly set in, leading to regularly snapping at each other and talking in a negative manner towards the person who arguably should be treated like a true best friend.

    People often assume others should just know how they feel about them and so don’t take the time to tell others how they feel, or what they mean to them. In addition, tiredness, irritability and exhaustion, which we all experience from time to time, can lead to a less than kind communication style within partnerships and families and things can then be taken the wrong way (e.g. a partner’s snappiness, or tiredness could be misconstrued as not caring, simply due to lack of clear, calm and respectful communication). Further, during arguments people often say things they don’t really mean, but these negative comments stay with those receiving them. Last, but not least, in friendships, those that are not assertive can be taken advantage of and neglected, simply because they will be the least likely to complain later on.

    As a parent it is important to be aware of our child’s self esteem and the impact that friends can have on a child’s self worth, particularly when they begin to become interested in dating. Throughout life, intimate partners play a significant role on our self esteem and self confidence. This is why, the best thing you can do in a relationship is to make sure you are close friends (best friends is preferable) and that you never compromise on trust and respect in the partnership. By following these 3 guidelines you will maintain a healthy relationship and both people in the relationship will also maintain a healthy self esteem too.

    The take home message

    • Be mindful of your communication style with significant people in your life.
    • Don’t be afraid to be assertive and speak up when you feel you are not being treated kingly or with respect.
    • Look after your health because this plays a significant role in how you feel and then how you communicate as a result of your internal emotions.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Personal Development Coach & Author


    1 Thomas, J.J. & Daubman, K.A. Sex Roles (2001) 45: 53.

    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    How To Relieve Stress In 3 Easy To Follow Steps

    Learn How To Relieve Stress In 3 Easy Steps

    boost self confidenceIt’s easy to say “just relax” but not so easy to do when you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of tasks ahead of you each day. One of the major causes of stress in our lives stems from a desire to meet internal and external expectations that may or may not be reasonable. These expectations are formed through your personal experiences and results in the creation of particular rules you have decided to live by.

    Stress Management Begins with the identification of your rules that result in potentially stressful outcomes

    A common stress inducing scenario is – running late. Do you ever feel stressed when you’re running late? 

    This type of stress is caused by an expectation, such as ‘if I happen to run late, there will be a negative consequence’. So you quickly develop a rule that states ‘I must always run on time’ in order to ensure you meet this expectation. Thus, any time you break this rule, your stress levels significantly rise.

    Another common stressful scenario is panicking about not having enough time. Do you feel highly stressed when you are working to a deadline?

    This stress is caused by an expectation, such as ‘if I don’t achieve my demands on time I will get into trouble’. So you quickly develop a rule that states ‘I must get everything done on time’. in order to meet this expectation. Therefore, any time you break this rule, your stress levels rise.

    Stress Management – The problem with these rules

    The main problem with the rules we create for ourselves, is that life is not predictable. You can try your best to keep everything running smoothly, but sometimes external circumstances will get in your way.

    In the first examples above, you may leave your home right on time, but a train is delayed, an accident on the roads causes a traffic jam, or a road may be closed due to road works. AS a result your perfect timing is thrown into disarray and you begin to feel stressed about a circumstance that is no longer within your control.

    In the second example, another priority may come into your life which causes you to de-prioritise your current tasks. If these competing tasks are not managed well, your stress will begin to rise and is likely to impact on your performance too.

    If your rules are rigid, you will find yourself stressed on a daily basis, because life is not always predictable. So the answer is not to try to control everything as much as possible so you can adhere to your rules. Rather, the answer is to use your rules as a guiding principle to live by, but to be flexible when things don’t go according to plan. When you live life in this manner, your stress levels reduce dramatically.

    What can you do today to reduce your stress: The 3 steps to relieve stress today?

    Step 1: Review your stress triggers

    Take a look at your level of stress this week. Can you pinpoint a time when you were really stressed?

    Step 2: Assess the rules & expectations that reinforced your level of stress

    In that moment, have a think about the rules and expectations that were guiding your behaviour. Where you worrying about what someone else might think? Have you placed way too high demands and expectations on yourself?

    Step 3: Evaluate where you can make a change to your rules and expectations

    Take a look at what you could change that would be more realistic and adaptable to suit your lifestyle and your needs.

    Use this example to help you follow these three stress relieving steps

    Let’s say you’re a new mum. You bring your baby home and your baby cries a lot more than you expected. She takes a long time to settle and has difficulty breastfeeding. You feel your stress levels rising every time she cries, won’t latch on, or struggles to settle. You notice your expectation is that motherhood should be easier and your baby should settle because you’re doing everything the experts say to do. Your rules include ‘if I do what the books say, my baby should settle’. So on top of everything, you’re feeling like a failure. 

    Instead of letting your rules get the better of you, you decide to do some research into child temperament. You download the Help For Mums free ebook on ‘How To Become An Empowered Mum’ and you realise, children are different and your baby’s temperament is slow-warm-up, so she needs a more gradual approach with a lot more reassurance and comfort. You realise your rule was inaccurate because your expert parenting book should be used as a guide and tweaked according to your child’s temperament. Your expectations now change too. You don’t expect your baby to settle the first time. You know it will take some adjusting as you both settle into motherhood. 


    By following these 3 easy steps you will quickly learn how to relieve stress from your daily life, dramatically reduce your stress levels and feel much stronger, happier and relaxed too.

    4 years ago · · 34 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?

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    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 focusing 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

    4 years ago · · 0 comments

    How Mothers Can Deal With Stress and Learn How To Be Confident

    Motherhood is a prime source of anxiety and stress

    Before becoming a new mum, you would never have believed the amount of stress that could come from expecting yourself to be perfect. Not only do mothers expect themselves to be the perfect parent, but there is added internal and external pressure to be the perfect partner, friend, employee, family member and so on… So it’s no wonder so many mothers report feeling stressed about not being able to get enough done in their day, or feel anxious about regularly falling behind. These feelings often lead to further stress and a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.

    The best cure of stress is to take control

    When you are feeling anxious or stressed, it can be very debilitating and can lead to procrastination or inefficiency as your mind is not is an efficient state to cope with all the demands on your plate.

    However, one of the keys to feeling calmer and more composed is to take stock of what you can and can’t control. For instance, as a busy mother, you may have a huge list of tasks to get through in your day. You have made the assumption that you can achieve this ‘monster’ list because you expect that when you place your child down for a nap today you will have 2 hours of ‘free-time’ to get everything done. Unfortunately, something has upset your child today and she has taken much longer to settle and only sleeps for 30 minutes. You normal reaction might be to feel like a failure, to get angry or upset and to even criticise yourself for not being able to control this situation and have your child in a regular sleep routine. But what if you decided to rethink about what you can and can’t control. This scenario is a very common one for mothers with young children. There is an expectation that babies SHOULD just follow and routine. What mothers are often not considering is, like adults, children are not always predictable. How many times have you struggled to get to sleep or to sleep well because you were feeling sick; it was too hot; you were uncomfortable; you were upset; you were too cold and so on? A young child or toddler is unable to explain why he/she is having difficulty sleeping, yet parenting experts claim children just need to be placed in a routine to sleep and everything will work out fine. So it’s no wonder that mothers blame themselves or their child when things don’t go according to the experts’ plans.

    If on the contrary, in situations like these, you stopped yourself from feeling upset about the ‘uncontrollable’ situation and you re-evaluated your list of tasks, you would begin to take control of your emotions and amend your routine throughout the day accordingly. For instance, you may decide to play with your child for a while and then engage in the activities you had planned together. Even if you were planning on getting some chores done, you could let your child play next to you whilst your cleaned. You could also make the safe assumption that your child will most likely be extra tired that evening, so you could get those chores completed then. Either way, YOU have taken control and adapted to the ‘uncontrollable’ in a way that has reduced your stress levels and still enables you to complete the things on your list – with much less stress.

    Gaining control reduces depression

    Depression comes from a feeling of being helpless and hopeless, so it makes sense that when you regain a sense of control, you begin to feel happier and more hopeful about the future.

    how to be confident, how to deal with stress

    When you take control of your own health and wellbeing, you also reduce stress and boost self confidence

    Some good examples of this are taking control of your:

    •  Wellbeing: Committing to reducing salt and sugar intake
    • Self esteem: Being mindful of negative self-talk
    • Relationships: Taking a breathe to think before speaking in a ‘snapping’ tone to your partner or kids
    • Finances: Making an appointment to see a financial planner
    • Career, Taking stock of what will truly make you feel happy and balanced now that you have a family
    • Personal life: Feeling comfortable with your parenting decisions and your personal beliefs and values

    All these examples above are ways that you can regain control of your life. It is through this behaviour that you can boost your self confidence in times of stress and provide guidance and support for those you love most.

     Take a few minutes now to think about what you would like to regain control of this week and commit to doing this as soon as possible.
     If you need any additional tips on self esteem, jump on to our Wellness Support Page for great free tips, articles and videos on how to feel confident, healthy and happy in motherhood.