Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Five Changes That Are Changing My Life

Over the past few months, I have been trying my very best to be fully transparent through my social media. This desire hit me like a ton of bricks when last Winter I found myself burnt out, overwhelmed and struggling with anxiety and insomnia. I felt this contradictory between what I shared on social media and what was happening in my life.  Not that we need to share everything in our life, but in the last few years I felt this community building and being real to it, was more than a little important to me. I so badly wanted to be more real and authentic about mine and our struggles but it didn't come without a ton of fear. Sure enough, through the last few months, as I shared on one of my recent posts... I went back to counseling since I have always found it incredibly helpful to personal growth. As per usual... best decision I ever made. As we worked through a lot of things, I felt my confidence and desire to share our real journey through social media. Not for a pat on the back... but because I knew what it felt like to struggle in silence. Something we as people just shouldn't have to do.

Opening up was scary, encouraging and especially rewarding. To have so many people connect with me and share their stories and appreciation made all of it worth it.
But to get to this point didn't come without a price. I wish I had just woke up one morning and felt different... but I didn't. I remember weeks into counseling struggling to understand how I would ever make a change in my life that could hopefully help me grow and get past some of my struggles. Some would need vulnerability and transparency while others needed assertiveness and dedicated change. I taught myself once again, "change happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the pain of letting go". And sure enough... I had to let go.

I am by no means in a place where I have it all together... far from. I still get anxiety, I still struggle with intense emotions, my time management still sucks at the time, but in all, things are changing for the good.

1. I quit the jobs I couldn't do
Back earlier this year, I was struggling with the number of jobs I needed to do for my multiple businesses. I felt stuck, overwhelmed and discouraged. I felt I needed to do everything by myself until I finally pulled the trigger and realized I needed to quit something to make things better. And that I did. This year I hired a bookkeeper, I quit weddings, and I am in the process of hiring someone to help me. All of these things changed my stress levels immensely. And I am so thankful.

2. I made my friendships more of a priority
Communication and friendships are one of my top priorities in life. Partially because I am more on the extroverted side,  and also because I find talking through things, great for processing emotions and thoughts. So this summer I decided some things needed to wait while my friendships needed to be nurtured. And that they did. Community and connection is a gift. Although I am still not as good as I would like to be at it, I push myself to be with the people I love the most and I know who truly love me as well.

3. I medically got help for my anxiety
Here's being really real. This fall I decided to go on some anti-anxiety medication prescribed by my doctor. A total night and day difference in my ability to cope with the stresses of my life. That being said, when I had my Eating Disorder I tried a lot of medications that did not work for me. If you're struggling and you feel this is the right decision, make sure you talk to your doctor openly about finding something that really works for you.

4. I saw a counselor
I had seen counselors for years while I struggled with my Eating Disorder. Since Sean and I were married... not as much. For the first time, I was a bit jaded towards the idea since it had been a long time the last few I had seen were not as beneficial as I had hoped. We really did luck out with our current one. Like with a community, processing is helpful. Finding people who you can truly trust with your emotions and vulnerability is a key in working through our crap and our counselor was just that.

5. I self-cared a bit more and allowed myself to hang out without my children
Lastly, I made a pac with myself I would not guilt myself when I was leaving the house again to hang out by myself or with a friend, taking another bath, or just checking out in my office... all without my children. It is not selfish, it is self-care. All in which makes me a better, happier, more patient person.

In time I may have to say goodbye to more things, but for now... I am choosing to outsource and see where everything goes from here.
I wish seasons would just end with a magic pill, but instead, they take hard work, pushing myself out of my comfort bubble and trusting the process even when it feels like I am taking 10 steps backwards at times.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

I Am Enough // 10 Printable Quotes To Read Everyday

There were more than a few things I did through my rehabilitation program at St. Pauls hospital while recovering from my eating disorder. The program focused on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy also known as CBT, which for me has been the best therapy program I have ever been through. 

Daily we would attend classes that focused on learning healthy new ways to cope with our thoughts and feelings. However, we all know it's not just those who struggle with eating disorders that struggle with stupid thoughts about our confidence, our looks, our worth, our value, our purpose and more. We all do to some degree in all sorts of different areas of our life. I still struggle with envy, I see things I want to own or places in my life I would rather be and struggle with the messages I tell myself and all the things I learned in therapy come back up. I have to, I would sit in a pool of discouragement wasting precious moments of my life if I didn't choose to fight those thoughts and tell myself something different. So I thought since I still use so many of these quotes in my daily life when I start to feel a little down or business has got me all feeling like I am not good enough etc. I am sharing below 10 great quotes that are "tape them on your mirror and read them often" worthy. I created a PDF for easy downloading! 

Hope you ladies feel these quotes and know, you are enough!


1. Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive. - Unknown

2. Some people make you laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter and your life a little better. Try to be one of those people. - Live Life Happy. 

3. Keep a smile on your face, it's the best accessory you can ever wear. - Unknown

4. Be Vulnerable. Let Yourself be deeply seen. Love with your whole heart, practice gratitude, and joy... be able to say "  am thankful to feel this vulnerable because it means I am alive" and believe " I am enough." You are worthy of love and belonging. - Brene Brown. 

5. What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. - Brene Brown

6. Be your own kind of beautiful - Unknown

7. Every time you catch yourself criticising yourself, think of something you love about yourself.  - Unknown

8. Her life changed the day she learned that she was just as valuable as everyone else. - Unknown

9. Place your value as a person above your size, shape or weight. Your dress size is not more important than your shoe size. - Julie Parker

10. There is no competition because nobody can be me. - Unknown

11. Your life ha a purpose, your story is important. Your dreams count, Your voice matters. You were born to make an impact. - Unknown

12. You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging - Brene Brown.

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Scars That Make Us Who We Are

I will never forget the day I sat down at the doctor's office and the doctor told me I would need to deliver my son via c-section. Safety was what mattered most to me, but a sudden rush of fear pulsated through my body as I thought of the idea of intensive surgery. All I wanted was a healthy baby, but my hopes were that obviously surgery wouldn't be an option. I left the appointment more scared and nervous than anything.

I had never had surgery. I actually had never broken a bone and had only had stitches once in my life while barely conscious. Visions of "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" flooded my brain and I feared everything about the procedure. 
For weeks I worked through my feeling pretty much on a daily basis. I told myself daily, my mom had done, my friends had done it, I could do it. Finally, that Sunday arrived, and I remember the panic as we walked into the hospital. I couldn't stop shaking.

In the OR, they move fast, almost too fast. A part of you wants everything to slow down but it doesn't. You follow behind as they lead, they ask you more than a few questions and sign papers in what feels like a matter of seconds. They lead you into the room alone, have you lean over for the needle and with a quick pinch you are laying down, sheet up and the whole thing begins. I didn't even have time to think it all through and honestly a part of me is grateful for that. If it had slowed down, I would have panicked but there just wasn't time for it. Within 15 minutes my son was out, and although my fear of everything happening to my body was not over, what I was there to do was and I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was in the best hands possible. 

The following hours after surgery were some of the best in my entire life. Holding my first born and connecting with him like no one else. Within a couple days we went home, although the basics of new parenting were hard, it was all so memorable in a good way. Within a few days of arriving home, I received a call from the Health Unit. I was struggling with breastfeeding and due to my c-section, I struggled to leave the house. The nurse kindly offered to come to our house for our first apt. She sat down with me when she arrived and went through a few basics. How I was feeling, how breastfeeding was going, just basic self and baby care. I think she had possibly read on my file that at some point I had struggled with an eating disorder in my early 20's because her next question were, "how are you feeling about your new body?" I was a little caught off guard. I had just had a baby days ago and was for sure not thinking about my "new body", nor my scar. She asked me if I had taken a good look at my new scar because it was going to be there forever, and this was my new body, scar and all. Right away, I thought hard on the question. Was I bothered by my scar? Was I going to be bothered by it as month go on? This is my new body, am I ok with this? 

I thought hard.... and thankfully, nothing. I felt nothing but in a good way. I didn't love it but I didn't hate that day.

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As months went on though, I reminded myself of that question as I looked in the mirror. As my body slowly changed over the months and my scar slowly healed looking more and more like the scar I would have forever. I told myself often, how do you feel about your new body? 
During this time my mind kept slipping back to that one other scar I had from my mid-teens. I have a scar that stretches about two inches and that scar comes loaded with unhappy memories, memories of one of the most difficult times of my life. A time full of anger, confusion, sadness, and hate. I despised that time of my life and that tiny scar was packed with a whole lot of those emotions. I always wanted to tattoo over it and would have done anything to have it disappear.
For whatever reason, I feared I would feel the same way about this one and ultimately maybe not love my post-mom body that I before children had worked so hard to love.
But no, this time was different. Although I didn't love my scar in that moment, I sure as hell didn't hate it.

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As my son grew, and we bonded more and more over the years something happened. My love for my scar grew. I always felt as if I was supposed to hate it, that it was some ugly thing on my body no body wants. Why is it we feel ashamed? As much as I was not capable of changing the outcome of my son's birth, my scar somehow communicated at times on those hard days of comparison and envy, that I didn't try hard enough. The silliest thought one could ever have about going through massive surgery to bring a human into this world that most of the time is what would save their lives. For most this is their only option when it comes to saving the lives of their children, how does that say you didn't try hard enough? Damn, I think that is the definition. Ladies, we all sacrifice our bodies through the act of 9 months of pregnancy and childbirth whether born naturally or via c-section and with that, we should be proud of our bodies. And over the months this is what happened when I looked in the mirror. Instead of hate for my scar, a reminder of how some stupid messages of me not trying hard enough, not having some bond with my child someone who had a natural birth would have that so many articles I read would say, a hate for my "new body" scar and all, and some lifelong ugly scar that would need to hide away from the world or maybe even my husband... no.. that scar became a symbol of so much more. Of strength and sacrifice. Of love and importantly life. It became a beautiful reminder of the best day of my life and the birth of my child who otherwise may have died during birth. That day I would do over and over again and wouldn't change a thing. There was no room for dislike for the scar, whatever that healthy unit lady was referring too I wasn't feeling it, I knew that scar came with so much more than just what it looks like. I am so excited to live my life with this reminder beautifully carved into my skin. I truly fell in love with that sweet spot just above my pelvic bone that reminds me daily of that special day and the incredible person I brought into this world. 

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