8 simple ways to set healthy digital limits.

The proof is undeniable: our devices are making our lives more stressful, toxic, and anxious.

For many of us, our devices are the first thing we look at and the last thing we see.

Yet they have become an integral part of our lives and in many ways, are improving the way we live.

They allow us to work from anywhere in any time zone.

We can reconnect and stay updated with people who would have otherwise been lost to us through time, and feel like we know them even if we never speak to them in real life.

You can find the answers to anything you can imagine in seconds.

You can monitor your health and even find apps to make you healthier.

You can be informed and entertained, and never have to deal with the uncomfortable feelings of loneliness, boredom or awkwardness, simply by turning on a screen.

They have become our constant companions.

Yet, the more plugged in we are, the more disconnected, lonely, and overwhelmed we become.

When my husband and I watch TV, often I’ll sit in front of him and rub his feet while he rubs my neck or plays with my hair.

It’s a nice way for us to connect and each get some loving in after a long day.

The other night while my husband and I were on the couch in our basement, he was watching hockey, and I was snuggled up next to him and decided to check my Instagram.

I had been rubbing his arm, and he my leg, when I felt him impatiently nudge me because I had stopped as soon I checked my phone.

Annoyed by his impatience, I asked him if he was trying to get my attention.

Immediately I realized that I had disengaged…from him: a real person here with me now.

(Sigh, I’m human too.)

When I see commercials of families watching TV together, they look something like this:

A happy family is tangled together on the couch laughing.

There’s usually a dog, some popcorn, and the room is dimly lit to highlight the TV screen that everyone’s eyes are on. The faces are engaged, smiling, and happy in a beautiful yet comfortable living room.

I’ve never seen a commercial of mom and dad trying to catch up on work emails while the kids are on Snap Chat. The whole family all staring at their own device, not speaking, while the TV blares on.

But maybe this one is more honest.

This is the paradox of devices because as humans we are all looking for connection.

And, you can be disconnected, distracted, and disengaged from your life and everything you say you love most…like I did with my husband.

Screens are important, and using limits allow you to enjoy the power of them while still feeling present and connected to what’s important to you.

Personally, I utilize strong limits and I have specific rules for my screens. Here are a few simple ones I try to use daily:

  1. Do not disturb. I have mine set from 9pm to 9am even though I get up at 6am everyday. This allows me to be in control of what and when I see it. Before 9am it’s my time and family time.
  2. Out of sight out of mind. When I’m with my son, family or friends, my phone is away. I don’t want to be distracted (or tempted) to reach for it so I keep it out of sight until I need it. It actively prioritizes the people I’m with.
  3. Time limits. Social media is like a black hole for me just like it is for so many. It’s too easy to keep scrolling hoping to find something that peaks your interest. But we don’t feel any happier, and often feel worse and more agitated because of it. Information overload is a real thing so, I limit my sessions to under 5 minutes.
  4. I have my work email on my phone, and just like I don’t start looking at them until 9am, I also don’t check them after supper. Looking at email in the evenings makes our minds too active to wind down, so leave it for the morning.
  5. Turn off your push notifications. When I had a Blackberry, I used to get anxiety every time the red light flashed, and it flashed ALL THE TIME. That flashing little light was so hard to resist, and it felt so insistent. So, I turned the push notifications off and have never turned back, continuing to do this with my iPhone. Turning off the notifications puts me back in control, so I am the one deciding when to look at my phone, not the phone.
  6. The TV is on for only a few hours. Before I moved in with my husband I hadn’t owned a TV for over 8 years. We have satellite and Netflix, but I still find TV mostly boring and a time waster that doesn’t do much for me. We have a young son, but even before he came along the TV was never turned on until after supper, and now, it’s after he goes to bed. Now, when we do watch TV together, it feels like something special rather than something to fill the space with.
  7. Read books. Even with all my limits, I use my device for most of my news, recipes, and information, so when evening comes, I read real books and magazines. One of the things we often forget with devices is that we are rarely ever doing one thing. We are often looking at multiple things at a time creating more brain buzz. Reading a book creates more focus, calms the mind, and helps you wind down before bed.
  8. Ask why. Lastly, question your motives when reaching for a screen. Are you bored? Do you want to kill time? Do you want to be entertained? Are you lonely? Are you uncomfortable? Do you want to feel busy? Do you want to tune out? These are all valid and very real ways to feel, and screens can easily be used for coping, but at a high cost. Instead, by putting screens away you’re doing the real work of building resilience, connection, and meaning which are the building blocks of happiness.

These aren’t the only ways to limit your screen time, and it’s a work in progress for me as I try to balance it within my own life. What I do know, is that using these guidelines has dramatically lowered my stress, made me feel more in control, and deepened all my relationships.

Tell me in the comments, how you manage your screen time and what are you interested in trying on the list?

The only thing that matters to live a happier fuller life.

A 70-year study from Harvard has identified what separates the happiest fullest lives from the least successful and it can be summed up in one word: love.

Our relationships with other people matter, and they matter more than anything else in the world.

Loving strong relationships helps us live longer, and increases our happiness and our resilience.

Our relationships help us bounce back from setbacks faster, accomplish more, and feel a greater sense of purpose.

Research has proven that our relationships matter more than anything else.

Yet, especially for women, our relationships are usually the first to go with things get stressful…when we actually need them most.

Every year around this time, I reflect on the past year and spend time planning out the new one.

Last year, after reflecting on the previous year I’d had, I realized how isolated and lonely I’d felt. My husband was away a lot for work and I was at home a lot by myself with a baby.

It’s not like I don’t have friends, I’ve got tonnes of women I love to hang out with.

But in my struggle to balance everything (especially on my own), I had pushed away the very thing I needed most: my girlfriends.

Our girlfriends are the ones who get our stupid jokes, encourage our crazy dreams, and tell us honestly when we’ve messed up. They love us even when we’re ugly crying, and give us loving advice when we need it.

They are the ones who remind us that we are worthy, and we are deserving, and that we matter.

When you’ve found good girlfriends, even long distances and time don’t stand a chance of breaking that bond.

Last week on the night before New Year’s Eve, I had a dream that I was out for coffee with one of my oldest and dearest friends who I haven’t seen in almost 5 years since she moved to Paris.

I dreamed that it was summer, and we were sitting at a sidewalk table outside a coffee shop in shorts and tank tops. Our tanned legs sprawled out catch the sun as we leaned back in our chairs, heads back laughing about something silly in the sunshine.

Just like we had countless times before.        

When we got up to leave, I was so happy and felt so filled up. Better than I have felt in a long time.

I gave her a huge hug and I can still vividly remember the feeling of hugging her like she was here.

When I woke up I almost cried I missed her so much.

So later that morning on New Year’s Eve, I FaceTimed her in Paris. She was making dinner and we laughed and cried and caught up like nothing had changed.

I felt so happy and filled up.

This is the power of girlfriends.

I’ve seen my best friends go through all of life’s challenges. Big moves. New love. Lost love. Babies. Parenting. Empty Nesting. Retirement. Maternity leaves. Starting over again. Illness. Loss. Entrepreneurship. Marriage troubles. Kid troubles. Life.

You name it. This is life, and it has it all.

We can survive and thrive through anything when we have each other.

If you’re feeling stressed, isolated, lonely, or need a pick me up: call one of your besties. Make a plan to see them (even if it’s just virtually) and fill yourself up.

Then, tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂

Why I apologized to my husband.

I apologized to my husband today.

I started to feel a bit under the weather earlier in the week, but by sleeping in an hour and taking extra vitamins I was over it in a few days.

Towards the end of the week my husband started feeling sick. He was moaning and groaning about his head, and stayed in bed for 3 days.

Man cold, I said to myself.

We had company over during the weekend. My brother had come out with his family and I took care of all the meals and entertaining while my husband slept and only came out for the briefest moments to say hi or take a quick shower.

On one occasion he got up just to change the sheets because he said he sweated through them.

Woah, he’s laying it on thick I thought.

Then on Monday, I couldn’t get out of bed.

I had a splitting headache, hot stuffy sinuses, and exhausted like I couldn’t believe.

After getting my son up and ready, I asked my husband how he would feel if I went back to bed.

He looked at me like I was crazy for asking, and said, “I don’t care. Do what you need to do.”

What? I don’t care? His response woke me up.

Why did I care so much, if he didn’t? He didn’t look at soldiering on through sickness as a badge of honor or an alter to die on. In fact, he didn’t think about it at all.

It was ME who was asking permission from him to be sick and take care of myself.

Why?

Here’s the thing about beliefs: we don’t see them, we just believe them.

This belief that I don’t get sick days has gone on since I can remember.

I started examining my twenties when I worked 2 jobs, or worked full time and went to school full time, and the fact that with ALL of my jobs if I didn’t go to work, I didn’t get paid.

Or in the case of being self employed in the past decade: if I don’t go to work I don’t get paid AND have to pay someone else out of pocket to cover me.

But this isn’t all.

As women, we are tough. We can self sacrifice like nobody’s business. We will put everyone else first at all costs regardless of how shitty we feel…and if we become mothers, that amplifies times a hundred.

We tell ourselves that no one else can do what we do and that we are too needed to ever slow down.

So, we look at self-care as luxuries to pamper ourselves, instead of the gritty unsexy necessities of life like listening to our bodies when they are sick and resting when we need to.

That’s REAL self care.

I realized that I have drunk a Kool-Aid I am no longer interested in.

I want to feel like my husband.

He didn’t ask my permission to be sick, he didn’t feel bad about staying in bed when he felt like garbage and needed to take care of himself, and I can promise you that he did not think that it made him any less of a man, father, husband, or anything else.

He was sick, so he went to bed. End of story.

And when I was sick, he told me to do what he would do: go to bed, AND he was way nicer about it. He made me meals, rubbed my back, started my car for me when I had to go out, and made me feel cared for.

My belief around what I am allowed with sick days is bullshit, and not only that, it’s bullshit I was trying to push onto my husband.

I believed that if I’m not allowed to be sick, he sure as hell isn’t allowed to either, hence “the man cold.”

It’s not fair.

Our unrealistic expectations about ourselves is exactly that: unrealistic and they are keeping us small.

They encourage us to put our needs last, reinforcing that we are less worthy, less deserving, than those around us.

These subtle beliefs, the ones that we are constantly swimming in, are the ones which can wake us up the most because they are the foundation of all the others.

When I realized all this, I apologized to my husband.

I’ll be honest here, I felt a lot of resistance, but I also know that real connection requires a vulnerability to show up in ways that aren’t always comfortable.

I didn’t know if he was going to say, “I told you so,” or if it would start a long discussion of all the things I’ve done wrong, or really what he would do at all.

So while he was feeding my son I approached him placing my hand on his shoulder and said, “I’m sorry.”

I apologized for not being more understanding when he was sick, and explained my realization to him.

He looked at me surprised, and said, “Don’t worry about it. Go get some sleep, it was the only thing that made me feel better.”

So I went back to bed.

I’d love to hear from you now: Do you allow yourself sick days? And how sick do you have to be? Why do you think we’ve believed this nonsense for so long? Tell me in the comments below!

The Real Reason You’re So Stressed.

Being a woman is hard work.

In fact, we work harder in every area of our lives and then have to prove that we deserve it.

Everything in our culture screams at us that we need to be more:

More sexy, more youthful, more skinny, more assertive, more kind, more compromising, more as a mother, more as a woman, more time at work, more beautiful, more educated, more important, more of a wife/partner, more independent, more available, more involved, more healthy, more active, more inspired, more roles, more open (but only about what others want to hear), more vulnerable, more resilient, more grit, more successful, more ambitious, more of a homemaker, more of a cook, more thoughtful, more of a homemaker, more flexible, more passionate, more vocal, more silent, more understanding, more willing, more wealthy, more compromising…its always more, and it’s too fucking much.

It’s no wonder we are frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious.

We have an insurmountable pressure to be all things to everyone AND be all the things listed above. It’s an impossible situation.

This is why I created the programs and tools I offer: to reclaim yourself.

Anxiety and stress are symptoms of a larger systemic problem within our culture. We have too many pressures (umm, did you see the list above? And it’s not even complete!), information overload, longer work days than every before (with constant contact), less free time, and have less face to face connection. And purpose, meaning? Who has time for that?

Our stress is a direct result of the tension between the expectations of others (perceived or real) which are in constant conflict with our inner compass.

We know, deep down that what we are being fed is bullshit.

But we are steeped in it, and then choking down more by the spoonful because we are also trained to be good girls from a very young age.

The tools I teach are universal that anyone can use and they are easy enough to implement for even the most time starved women because they are just simple lifestyle tweaks to make your life better, calmer, and more meaningful.  

It’s not easy to shed the expectations of being the perfect mom when everyone you know is volunteering at the school and you’re working 10 hour days.

Or the guilt that weighs on all women, because we can’t possible be and do all the things expected of us.

Or the insecurity of never feeling like we know enough, are prepared enough, or are good enough. And then that deep secret that so many of us carry: that really we’re a fraud.

So how do we change this?

It takes a brave decision: to be more conscious in how you live and work. Here’s how to start now:

  • Start questioning why you do the things you do and if they are really serving you on any tangible level.
  • Be more aware of the things that sap your energy and those that revive it.
  • Play more. Do things for the sake of enjoyment and don’t be afraid to get silly. Women start to lose this ability as adolescents and it is a crucial part of our well-being.
  • Be mindful of how much you use devices, set strong limits, and be committed to seeing people in person, or at least on the phone.
  • Decide that you time is non-negotiable, and stick to it.
  • Nourish your body and move it regularly.
  • Be in control of the media you consume. If it doesn’t lift you up, ditch it, life’s too short for that.
  • Love your dear ones fiercely. Undistracted focused time is the most valuable thing you can offer anyone and is essential for lasting loving relationships.
  • And lastly, give yourself a lot of slack. You are a woman navigating a challenging world with impossible expectations, learn to be your own best ally.

I’ve started a YouTube Channel and I’ve got the first two videos already up. They are all quick and easy things that you can use today to lower stress and anxiety and live more authentically.

Click here to watch them now.

If you like them, subscribe to my channel and share these videos so more people you care about can have access to this great content too.

Lastly, I’d love to hear from you now: what would you add to the “more” list? What pressures do you feel the most as a woman? Is it true that time flies faster when you have kids?

I can’t wait to read what you have to say in the comments below!

If this post spoke to you, please share it. Let’s help each other live better more honest lives together. <3

Love and Light,

t

I’m coming out of the mental health closet.

Hi Gorgeous,

We need to talk. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you may have noticed some changes going on around here. 

Yes, I got some new pictures done and am in the process of rebranding, but maybe you also noticed something else?

I’ve been talking an awful lot about stress and anxiety, and there’s a reason why:

I’m coming out of the mental health closet. 

Although I’m a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of woman, some things I don’t (or haven’t) let people see, and that’s some of the internal struggles I’ve experienced from the time I was 12.

And I want you to know something, it’s not that I’m ashamed or that I’m hiding anything. It’s because I don’t consider myself mentally ill, and I truly believe that’s part of my secret sauce (more on that another day). 

Okay, now I don’t want to leave you hanging, let me start at the beginning.

My first experience with mental illness was when I was 12 years old. 

My GP prescribed me sleeping pills after a 5 minute conversation (I only used them once because they gave me terrifying hallucinations of strange creatures hovering around my bed).

A few years later, from another 5 minute conversation, I left with a script for antidepressants which I took for the next 3 years. 

I finally went off of them after I was misdiagnosed with bi-polar and given Lithium…which was the WORST.

It was one of the darkest times of my life. Lithium made me feel nothing at all. I became a living zombie.

Although it was incredibly difficult, I am thankful. It woke me up to realize that no one could save me but me and forced me to make some serious changes in my life, and I’ve never looked back. 

I wish I could say this was it, but the story doesn’t stop there because I’ve also experienced episodes of mental illness more recently.

Five years ago after being hit in 3 big car accidents in 3 years, I started getting panic attacks every time it snowed and I had to drive. 

As a yoga teacher who taught 18 classes a week all over the city driving was unavoidable and became unmanageable. I honestly believed, without a doubt, that if I got in another accident I would be dead. I felt I “knew” I was going to die in my car.

I remember one day, HOURS before I had to leave to teach a class it started snowing lightly. It was those big fat snowflakes that gently fall to the ground and leave fluffy white piles on everything.

It would have been beautiful if I wasn’t sitting on the couch looking out the window terrified. My brain was on overdrive, heart racing, and the dread was consuming. 

By the time I stepped into my silver Honda Civic I was having a full blown panic attack. My heart was now not only racing but also jumping at least a foot out of my chest and I could hardly breathe.

When I finally arrived at the studio to let my students in, I couldn’t hold it together anymore and started falling apart desperately fighting back tears. It was humiliating and terrifying all at the same time.

Then, after a difficult delivery of my son I not only got the gift of PPD, but PTSD all over again. 

Crazy flashbacks would haunt me relentlessly and I felt a depression which inspired my best friend to call my husband behind my back because she was so worried about me.

I was in total denial. I refused to believe that it could happen to me. As a coach, yogi, and all the tools I had, I should have been untouchable. 

It wasn’t until she called my husband that I snapped out of it and began making the changes required to get better.

With our society moving faster than ever, more demands on our time, and increased disconnection it’s inevitable that more and more of us are going to be touched by mental illness. 

Right now, 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with a mental illness by the time they are 40 (that’s diagnosed, imagine how many of us aren’t???).

You might be wondering, why am I shifting courses with my services or at least adding to them?

The first reason is because I’ve already been doing this for a decade. 

Almost all of my clients, whether diagnosed or not, needed support with stress and anxiety. It is so prevalent that I even added an entire module in my group coaching program the Soul Strategy Sessions.

Now, I’m simply putting together the proven tools I’ve been using for a decade to be more specific about helping women with anxiety.

The second, is that I wasn’t ready to talk about my own experiences with mental illness publicly, but now I am.

This is largely because I see so much bad, or overly complicated AND bad, advice out there that I want and NEED to do something about it.

There are simpler, better, and more effective tools out there and I want you to have them.

So what does this mean for you? 

Well, I’ve made a few things to start helping you with anxiety right now:

Fearless Facebook group
A community for professional women to reduce stress and rapidly reducing anxiety while skyrocketing your happiness, freedom, and ease!

Each Monday at 11:30am CST, I will be live in the group to share with you a new practice to support your well-being – a simple thing you can do to open up your awareness to new possibilities, to move through a tough moment, to restore your sense of balance when it gets lost.
Click here to join us now!

The Perfect Day Exercise
This is the starting place for overcoming stress and anxiety and it’s totally FREE!

Most people mistakenly focus solely how to get rid of anxiety without a clear direction of what they want instead. Unless you have a compass, you will continue to repeat the same patterns that got you here in the first place.

It’s a simple PDF combined with a powerful video visualization to help you get crystal clear on exactly what you want your life to look like anxiety free.

Click here to download instantly!

Fearless Course
Lastly, I am super excited to say that I led a successful pilot of Fearless: a 6 week online course to overcome anxiety and rapidly reduce stress while skyrocketing your happiness, freedom, and ease.

I knew that the tools I use in the course worked, but because I had never put them together in this way, I didn’t know exactly what the results would be…and they faaaaaar exceeded my expectations.

Here’s what one of the participants said after the course:
“I have said before that everyone would be able to benefit from this course. It should be offered to all women and young mothers in general, we try to be all to everyone, and do everything to the point that we have nothing left for ourselves.Truly an inspiration for me!! I now have renewed hope.” 

I’m in the process of getting a sales page up for you read more about it, but in the meantime, you get on the waitlist by clicking here.

Okay, that’s what’s been going on. Exhale…

In the meantime, if you are struggling with anxiety (or depression for that matter) I challenge you to take action now: join the Fearless Facebook groupdownload the Perfect Day Exercise, and share with the women you love.

Your happiness starts here, right now, take it.

Thank you for being a part of my tribe and letting me be a part of yours. 

Sending you so much Love and Light,
t

How to stop overthinking…everything.

When I first started my coaching business over a decade ago, I spent hours and hours feverishly writing and creating systems for my non-existent clients.

I wrote content for pamphlets that were never printed, a website that didn’t exist, and information about coaching that never left my hard drive. I believed that I had to have all these little pieces in place before I could actually start coaching clients.

I also spent hours and hours planning what I would do, how I would do it, and the systems I’d need in place. It made me feel like I was being productive, proactive, and even responsible for thinking about all these moving pieces and how I would use them.

When I really dove into my business, I realized that all that writing I had done was a complete waste of time. I never used any of it.

And all my plans? Useless. It was all garbage.

I had spent so much time thinking about my business but almost no time doing the work that would get me paying clients.

My plans were a diversion and a big distraction that kept me busy with being unproductive.

It was clear that I was far more comfortable thinking about my business than doing the work to build it.

We can’t possibly plan or foresee things we haven’t yet experienced. In other words: we can’t know what we don’t know. We can only truly know what needs to come next once we’ve taken action.

I wish I could say that I stopped overthinking after that, but I’m a slow learner.

It’s taken me many years to teach myself to switch from:  think first (of allllllllll the possible scenarios repeatedly, just in case I missed something) and act later, to acting first and thinking later (which is so much better, btw!).

Some of my most popular offerings have come out of a split-second decision and a quick email invite. I’ve also saved myself a lot of time by learning quickly what offerings my tribe isn’t interested in before I invest too much developing them.

Learning how to fail fast is one of the best skills you can cultivate.

Essentially, it’s taking action and then seeing what to do next. It will give you insight you could only get by doing the work: how to proceed or maybe to scrap it.

Failing fast a huge time saver, but most importantly, its also a proven way to increase confidence. Since overthinking is a HUGE confidence killer, failing fast is definitely worth trying on.

I’ve broken it down into a simple 5 step method (that you can use with just about anything) to help you stop overthinking:

  • Be clear on what you want.

Most of us have no idea of what it is we really want. We might have an inkling, but no real clear picture. If you don’t have a clear “what” defined, it’s very difficult to create an effective “how” (which is where we get caught overthinking). Once you are clear on what you want, your how will be easier to see.

  • Decide what actions are going to get you there the fastest.

Rather than spending your time thinking about all the possible scenarios that might-never-happen-but-should-think-about-every-detail-of-each-scenario-anyways, cut the chase and figure out what might be the best actions that would get you there the fastest.

  • Ask yourself if spending time planning it is going to help you get there.

Make it a conscious decision to plan, instead of a diversion from what you actually need to do. Maybe there is some planning that needs to be involved, great, then be strategic in it. If you know that planning isn’t going to make a huge difference, other than your brain desperately wants to do it, then let that shit go.

  • If you need think about it write it all out and give it a deadline.

Do NOT think about planning, write that shit down. When we allow things to roll around in our heads they get cluttered, are hard to prioritize, and are impossible to sort out clearly. Once it’s on paper you free up valuable head space and have power over your thoughts. Give yourself a deadline of how much time you are willing to devote to planning, and then stick to it so you don’t continually get sucked in.

  • Take action before you’re ready.

This is the MOST important step (besides number 1). If you wait until you feel ready, you may be waiting a long time, even years maybe. Do not waste anymore of your life waiting for a feeling, decide, and then jump in. There are very few decisions in our lives that have the weight and power we give to most of them. You will never know the next steps until you take action, no matter how much planning you do. It is the only way to move forward.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned (very slowly, like I said) is to focus on progress rather than perfection…and progress requires doing something other than thinking about doing something.

(Otherwise we’d all be sitting on the couch eating chips thinking about eating better to get healthier, am I right? But, if you ever figure out how to do it though, tell me, I’d love to get in on it!)

I’d love to hear from you now: which step resonated with you, and why? Do you eat chips on the couch thinking about eating healthier too, or is it just me? Are you sick of overthinking everything? Then get on the list for Fearless, by clicking here to get early bird access.

Sending you so much love and light,

t

3 Simple steps to energizing your day (even when you’re overwhelmed)

As a small business owner, I have my hands in most things in my business.

I am responsible for the daily running of the business, and I also do all my own marketing, graphic design, product creation, social media, and strategic planning. Did I mention that I’m also the primary caregiver to my toddler?

Yes, things are full on, and there are days when I feel so overwhelmed it would be easy to get stuck from weight of so much to do.

So, I’ve started doing a few things differently which have transformed my work into being more focused, energized, and productive.

If you came into my office right now, you’d see organized chaos.

I have stacks of papers, files, and stickies all over the place. It may not look like the most calm and energizing place, but I have a secret weapon that helps me stay Zen despite the mess.

Here’s my routine to stay energized even when I’m totally overwhelmed…which can feel like most days!

  • Start the day with a few minutes of meditation. I cannot tell you how essential this is to get your mind in a productive mindset. It clears the clutter and will open you up to be a vessel for creativity, service, and focus.
  • Set your intention. Journal about 3 things you are grateful for and feeling the positive feelings associated with them, and then write down your goals for the day.
  • Conclude your work day by writing down all your successes for the day (work related or not) this will give you a feeling of completion and satisfaction. Follow that with your goals for the following day (this means you will be writing the same ones down twice. Once today, and then again tomorrow morning.).

This simple routine will help energize you by: clearing the internal clutter, establishing a grateful and focused mindset, and finishing your day with success and satisfaction.

I have been using this strategy for a while now, and I can’t imagine a day without it. I’d love to hear what your favorite routines are to stay energized, please share your best tips in the comments below.

Why you’re not happy (and what to do about it)

Not that long ago, I was getting up at 4:45am to teach 6am yoga classes.

I would throw on my clothes grab my coffee and smoothie, and run out the door and drive for 30 minutes to teach a full class of students while drinking my breakfast.

Then I would have a quick workout, teach another class, race home to scarf down an early lunch and rush to my next class and this was all before 11am (most days I taught until 9pm).

This was how my life was, sprinting from one place to the next and my routine was airtight with no room for mishaps or traffic jams.

My life was really busy, and truthfully, even though I was so busy, I was actually very happy, and here’s why:

My energy was focused on being relaxed and present.

When things are busy, it’s so easy to spin out, feel out of control, and desperately want a vacation to get some space from it all…not that I’m trashing vacations, I love a good beach too!

However, taking conscious moments throughout your day to relax, realign, and focus on the present will make you happier NOW.

And isn’t that what you really need? To be happier every day, instead of having to put it off for when you’re away from your life?

So here’s how you do it:

  • Relax – Relaxation slows our thoughts down, so they are no longer racing around in a cluttered space. A relaxed mind is a spacious mind and that’s what we want.
  • Realign – It’s almost impossible to connect what’s most important to us when our minds our racing because everything feels important and urgent. When there’s space, you can realign yourself with what’s important to you and proceed with focus.
  • Be Present – When you are present in the moment, you are accessing your natural state of happiness. There’s no worries, no doubt, you are safe, and happiness is what’s left. This is why mindfulness is so powerful, because the soul rests in the present moment.

One more thing, what I didn’t share with you about my day, was that I regularly took mini RR&P (Relax, Realign, and Present) breaks throughout my day to refresh.

My early morning commute was quiet and relaxed. At the start of every class I sat with them in mindfulness to reset, and afternoon classes I walked to listening to inspiring mindful podcasts.

Yes, my schedule was craaaazy, and I was really REALLY happy in spite of it.

Now, I am married with a toddler, and my life is a different kind of crazy.

I don’t teach 6am classes anymore, but my day starts at 6am to the sound of my little guy holding onto the crib rail jumping as hard as he can into the mattress, yelling, “MOM! DAD! MOM! DAD!”

This is followed by a full schedule between raising my son, working with clients, running my business, and teaching a few yoga classes.

The tools I used over 10 years ago, I still use today because they work. I am adept at taking “mini vacations” throughout my day where I relax, realign, and get present.

The hardest part of this simple exercise is to remember to do it.

So, to start, look at your current routine, and see where you can add this to something you’re already doing.

I used to add it onto my commutes, the beginning of classes, and after my workouts.

Now, I structure it into my day a different way: meditating before work, mindfulness during mealtimes, and gratitude and prayers before bed.

Because it’s structured into my day, it leaks into other areas: I’m less reactive, being present is becoming my default, I’m more grateful, and of course I’m happier.

Remember, you don’t have to wait for happiness. You can have it right now.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What are your favourite tricks to happiness? Do you like beach vacations as much as I do? How do you incorporate mindfulness into your days?

3 questions you should ask yourself every morning

Like you, I have limited time and a lot of stuff to do.

My days start at 6am shuffling into my toddler’s room for snuggles and stories, followed by a day juggling work, childcare, and all the other things that come with managing a family and business.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome since having my son is how to get a lot more done on way less time.

Early on, I decided that I wanted a clear division between work and family time. I know that if I’m trying to “squeeze things in” or trying to multitask, nothing gets done and if it does, it’s definitely not going to be done well.

Not too long ago, I felt like I was running from one task to another and constantly putting out fires trying to stay on top of my life.

I’d drop my son of at the babysitters and eat in the car on my way to my next appointment. Then I’d run up the sitters driveway to pick him up on time to get him home for his nap. Once he was down, I’d quickly tidy up, then try to get some work done in the half our I’d have left while he slept. And on and on it went, running from one thing to another, and feeling like I was sucking at everything.

I was spread out, scattered, and overwhelmed with life.

I realized that what I wanted most was to be present with what’s most important to me. I had to shift my energy from trying to “fit it all in” to prioritizing what’s most important right now, and committing to being fully present with it.

So, I now choose to be present with my family when I’m with them so I can be the best wife and mother I can be. I choose to be focused on my work without distraction so I can fully devote myself to making women’s lives better. I choose to take care of myself because my well being is important for all the reasons.

But I’m also the primary caregiver to my son, which means I have way less time to work and just as much stuff to do.

I learned quickly that I needed to figure out a system to support my choices and my time, so I developed a simple but powerful strategy to help me get more done in less time without the guilt. These are the questions I began to ask myself daily:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What can I leverage to get there faster?
  • What do I need to let go of to make it happen?

These questions help me choose what to focus on to make the biggest impact, in less time, without adding more stuff to do.

Absolutely I use this for my business, but I ALSO use this strategy in all aspects of my life, whether it’s how I’m going to structure my day, how I want to feel, resolving conflicts (seriously, read the questions again, they really do work if your aim isn’t only to win), and taking care of myself.

I can’t control all the circumstances of my life, but I can control how I approach them. Using these 3 simple questions has allowed me to have more control, clarity, and freedom.

I have stopped treading water. As a result, I have time for the things that are most important to me: my family, my work, and what fills me up.

It started with asking myself a few simple questions to clarify my focus, leverage the time I have, and do the things I want, and do them well.

That time I wasn’t very nice, and how to sleep better.

Not long after my son Magnus was born started experiencing symptoms of PPD.

I didn’t talk about it because I felt it shouldn’t have happened to me. I mean, I’m a Life Coach for fuck’s sake, and I specialize in POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY!!

I should have been safe.

I cried A LOT. I’d burst into sobbing tears for no reason.

Singing to my baby. Reading him stories. Looking at his toes. Commercials. Or “just because” like a Hallmark card: waterworks.

I couldn’t seem to handle life. Everything seemed hard and overwhelming and that there was no end in sight.

I’d sit on the couch with glazed eyes watching endless reruns of “Friends” (or whatever mindless thing on Netflix that I didn’t have to concentrate too hard on), boob out in my hideous nursing bra with a tiny baby with tonnes of hair glued to my breast.

If you ask my husband, you could also add that I wasn’t very nice.

It took too much energy to add “please” and “thank you” to my requests in my exhausted state. I was just trying to make it through each hour.

And not surprisingly, I was extremely sleep deprived.

My beautiful Buddha baby who came into this world holding his own head up from birth and alert as could be, did NOT sleep.

He would be up for 9 hours straight during the day. He would maaaaybe fall asleep nursing for 20 minutes at a time. Sometimes he would fall asleep in the swing. He always fell asleep in the car.

Although he would sleep for 3 or 4 hour stretches at night, it would sometimes take me 2 and a half hours to get him back to sleep, and then I couldn’t fall asleep fast enough before I had to feed him again.

The average day for me was 3 to 5 hours of sleep total (not consecutive) in 24 hours.

I was a zombie, and I was spiralling.

There are 3 pillars to health: exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

The funny thing is that many people don’t like eating healthy and exercise, but really LIKE sleeping.

So why aren’t we getting enough sleep and what does it have to do with my experience with PPD?

On Saturday I was driving to Saskatoon listening to CBC and on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks part of the episode was on sleep.

They mentioned a study that showed that even one night of sleep deprivation led to forgetting about half of the positive information learned, half of the neutral, and remembering ALL of the negative.

Imagine if you couldn’t remember the positive events of your life and only remembered the negative for extended periods of time.

You’d have a strong negativity bias where all you could see is what’s wrong, instead of all the amazing things that are right in your life.

This is how the brain functions with depression.

Also, because the amygdala isn’t inhibited properly when we are sleep deprived, our emotions can’t be toned down to a reasonable level.

This affects our ability to deal with life and it’s setbacks. Even small things seem like a really big deal.

I knew sleep deprivation was a huge contributor to PPD, but more than likely it was what CAUSED it.

As Dr. Robert Stickgold said: “…If you don’t get enough sleep you could end up fat, sick, depressed, and stupid.”

That pretty much sums up how I felt during those first few months.

Like many of us, I have had a long history with shitty sleeps and this was not the only time I struggled with it.

I struggled with insomnia for years in my late twenties. I often pulled all nighters in school. Stress kept me up at night, and racing thoughts often kept me from falling asleep and then I’d wake up unable to fall back asleep.

A big part of our struggle with sleep is related to how little down time we have because we work more hours, and then it even follows us home through our phones.

Something has to give to have at least a bit of downtime, and it can feel like the easiest thing to do is go to bed later. But by then our minds are racing, stressful thoughts burrow their way in, and the little bit of sleep we’ve allowed ourselves gets highjacked again.

Now, I’m lucky to have an arsenal of tools to get back on track when I’m having a hard time. Here’s a few of my best ones:

  • Move daily – Our bodies are meant to move. They need movement not just for weight management, bone density, and strength, but also for it to function properly internally. It helps with regulating sleep, mood, and even digestion.
  • Have a regular bedtime and wake time – Not everyone is a morning person or a night person, but knowing where to make YOUR appropriate bedtime and wake time is key to getting enough sleep. The average person needs 7 to 9 hours.
  • No screens 2 hours before bed – Screens emit a blue light which is similar to sunlight and tricks the brain to want to stay awake rather than sleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine – Routines prep us for what’s coming next. Just like my son knows that bath time means bedtime, our routines help us subconsciously wind down.
  • Meditate – Mindfulness meditation helps lower stress, manage racing thoughts, and improves the quality and duration of sleep.

Guess what dragged my ass out of my PPD and transformed me into the bright ray of yellow sunshine streaming through the clouds like an inspiring Facebook quote that you see now?

Well, the biggest thing was working with a sleep consultant to teach my baby how to sleep, so I could sleep.

But aside from that, it was: daily exercise and naps, and short mindfulness meditations so I could deal with life again.

Mindfulness Meditation is what keeps me calm, relaxed, happy, and emotionally resilient…and that translates into falling asleep easier, longer, and better.

PS If you’re sick of feeling like an exhausted grumpy pants, or sucking at life (you’re not, btw!) I’ve got something for that: The 6 week online Mindfulness Meditation Class starts this week, click here to check it out.

I’d love to hear from you now: Have you ever been so tired “please” and “thank you” were too much to ask? What are your best sleep tips? Please share in the comments, or email me, I love hearing from you.

Also, if you want a fun, easy, meditation class led by me that will make YOU a sunshiny Facebook quote, click here.

And here’s one more reason why:

“I loved learning more about meditation with Tina. Her ability to assist me to visualize and feel is amazing. After each meditation I would feel like I’d have maximum clarity in my mind, I felt calmer and was able to tackle even the most daunting tasks. I would strongly recommend taking anything Tina has to offer, she has a very special way of getting through to people.”

-Allison Gartner, Administrator, Adair’s Demolition and Yoga Instructor at Yoga Ally, Southey, SK

Yeah, what she said. J

Love and Light,

t