Postpartum Support International’s 2016 Blog Hop–Invitation! Theme: “Full Circle”

 

2016 PSI Blog Hop: Invitation: "Full Circle" www.DrChristinaHibbert.comPostpartum Support International’s 2016
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
Blog Hop!

2016 THEME: FULL CIRCLE

I’m honored once again to be part of Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) annual Blog Hop! This is our fourth year doing the annual blog hop, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness month (and Mother’s Day) in May.

PSI is inviting one and all to submit a post about your experiences with postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, psychosis, or even the Baby Blues, using this year’s theme, “Full Circle”. I love this theme, because it can help us see where we have been and how far we truly have come.

 

To join us, read the invitation from PSI, below. Then, start writing and you can begin posting by linking up here or on the PSI website May 1 and throughout the month! Be sure to follow all the guidelines, below, and if you have questions, feel free to let us know.

I look forward to reading your experiences and sharing mine this month as we celebrate motherhood, all we go through, and how it helps us grow!

 

 

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
#MaternalMHMatters   #PSIBLOG

 


 

askher1

2016 Blog Hop Theme: FULL CIRCLE

The 2016 Theme is “Full Circle”. What does that inspire in you? Join the 2016 Maternal Mental Health Blog Hop, tell your own story about finding support and help, and help us increase awareness for perinatal mood disorders, recovery, and maternal mental health.  Please write to Dr. Christina Hibbert if you have any questions, and send your entry using the link up below. If you want to share you story but don’t have a blog, send your post to Dr. Christina Hibbert at christina@drchristinahibbert.com and we will share it for you.

 


Blog Hop Editorial Guidelines

Our PSI blog hop is meant to be inclusive and is also meant to promote emotional safety and comfort and hope for all contributors and readers. To that end, we welcome your participation but also please keep in mind some editorial guidelines meant to promote comfort and safety.

  • Name: Include your real name; we don’t promote people with online disguises. Anonymity can be arranged if you write in a pen name – Contact Christi Hibbert to discuss.
  • Length: 500 – 1000 words
  • This year’s theme: FULL CIRCLE

 

  • Potential Emotional Triggers: 

For the purpose of this blog hop and its focus on messages of support, we want you to do your best to avoid psychological triggers in your posts. Please do not write about detailed suicidal or homicidal thoughts, feelings, or plans. If you have any questions or concerns about that, please don’t hesitate to contact us atpsioffice@postpartum.net.

  • Inclusive: Editors will not tolerate any negativity directed towards individuals or groups
  • Commercial Interests: Please refrain from self-promotion of your website or sale items

Please post these notices:

  • If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • If you are looking for pregnancyor postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

 


How to Participate

  • Write your blog post and send a link or attachment topsioffice@postpartum.net. This will help us keep track of all of the posts, and contact you if we have questions or suggestions.
  • Link up your post using the Linky provided below in the blue section of this page, or on the Dr. Christina Hibbert blog.
  • Grab the PSI logo code provided at the bottom of this page.
  • Feel free to promote your blog and this blog hop on social media!

 


Social Media Links:

 

Submit your link:






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PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop
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My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Order on Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, Walmart, or at your local bookseller!

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of  “Motherhood” radio–on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

 

 

 

[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Anxiety and Women: Facts. 

[2] Hibbert, C. (2016). 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. W.W. Norton Publishing: New York, NY.

 

Today’s the Day! “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” Book Launch & Giveaways!

8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #mentalhealth

 

Today’s the day!

My brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” is finally here! Yes, today is the official book launch day, and you can now find it on NortonAmazonBarnes & Noble,  TargetWalmart, and all over the place! 

 

 

Even better? GIVEAWAYS!

I’m giving away 5 autographed copies of 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise throughout the month of May!

 

I am also giving away 2 book bundles with all three of my books (this new one, plus This is How We Grow & Who Am I Without You), and an essential oil giveaway worth over $160!

 

To enter to win, click here and fill out the registration form.

 

Share, share, share!

Please help me spread the word about this new book, especially to those who are looking for a safe, research-backed way to boost mental and physical health, to reduce stress, increase life satisfaction and happiness, and live the life they desire. (Hopefully this includes you!)

And once you’ve read the book, I would be grateful if you’d write an honest review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Goodreads. These reviews help tremendously to get the book to those who need it. 

 

Here’s what some of the advanced reviews have to say about it:

“[A] useful and supportive exercise guide . . . . As Hibbert makes clear, she has not written a workout regimen or weight-loss how-to, but a guide to using exercise to become both mentally and physically stronger. . . . [A]n enlightening and empowering instrument for people who have struggled with mental illness.” — Publishers Weekly

“Exercise is essential in maintaining good health—both physical and mental. . . . Hibbert’s book should help readers stick with a successful plan.” — Booklist

“These 8 keys hold the potential to change your life! In this wonderful book, Dr. Hibbert provides us with effective and easy-to-implement tools that allow the mind and the body to unite, change, and heal. A must-read for anyone seeking to change their bodies in a holistic way.” — Dr. Shefali Tsabary, clinical psychologist and New York Timesbestselling author of The Conscious Parent

 

 

Thank you for your continued support!

I hope you’ll come join me on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn,

View from this morning's jog. Quite a way to start a book launch day! www.ZionPonderosa.com

View from this morning’s jog. Quite a way to start a book launch day! www.ZionPonderosa.com

and Pinterest for more excerpts, inspiration, and motivation to make your life the very best it can be!

Oh, and be sure to watch for all my incredible posts this week from my journey at the Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort’s Women’s Adventure Retreat! (This morning’s pic is right–>)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

“Overcome, become, & flourish” with me by subscribing!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

Listen to “Motherhood” radio,and my latest episode, “How to boost Mental Health, Self-Esteem & Happiness Through Exercise!” for more tips on family and exercise!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Keys to Mental Health Book Launch! www.Exercise4MentalHealth.com #books #giveaways

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Exercise as a Family: 50 Ways to Make Activity Fun!

8 Keys to Stress Relief

Exercise as a Family to Strengthen Relationships, Mental & Physical Health! (Key 3) 

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Essential Oils 101: My favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

8 Keys to Stress Relief–#StressAwarenessMonth

8 Keys to Stress Relief www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #stress #stressawareness month #happiness

 

Happy Stress Awareness month!

When I learned there was such a thing as stress awareness month, I thought two things: first, “We need to be reminded to be aware of stress? Aren’t we already far too aware of it?” and then, “Oh, okay, I get it. We definitely need to be more aware of what stress actually does to us, and of what we can do to find relief.”

 

 

The Consequences of Stress

Stress is associated with a multitude of other physical and mental problems,

This is me, on our family vacation in 2013, finishing my second book proposal, due that day, while my 10 year-old daughter drove the boat (in my husband's lap) back to the dock so I could email it out! Talk about too busy.

This is me, on our family vacation in 2013, finishing my second book proposal, due that day, while my 10 year-old daughter drove the boat (in my husband’s lap) back to the dock so I could email it out! Talk about too busy.

including higher rates of heart disease, cancer, insomnia, headaches, illness, and poorer immune functioning. Stress releases stress hormones, like cortisol, which marinate your brain and body in chronic stress, leading to a breakdown of the body’s health systems, and a breakdown of mental health, too. Depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, and just plain old burnout are associated with chronic stress. So are marriage and family issues, as well as problems with emotional regulation, which leads to anger, yelling, crying, and unwanted outbursts that hurt not only us, but those we love.

And these are just a few. Eventually, chronic stress can kill. That’s the truth! Chronic stress will not only impair our health, happiness, and life satisfaction, but has the potential to eventually take our life if we don’t stop now and make a change.

 

8 Keys to Stress Relief

What are we to do? Stress is part of everyday life today, unfortunately, but it doesn’t have to be a full-time, chronic part of life. As we seek and implement simple strategies to relieve stress, daily, we can prevent the negative long-term consequences of chronic stress and find stress relief right now. Ahh… Who doesn’t want that?

The following are my favorite 8 keys to stress relief, all backed up by research, and with my own strategies for how to actually make them happen and work!

 

Key 1: Daily Activity & Exercise–Get moving!

I can’t say it enough: daily activity is tops when it comes to physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. As we move our body, it quite literally

The benefits of hiking--incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point. www.ZionPonderosa.com

The benefits of hiking–incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point. www.ZionPonderosa.com

moves our mind, and spirit. It opens us up to greater peace, love, joy, and light. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, and other aerobic activity clears our mind, bringing greater focus, energy, creativity, inspiration, and yes, less stress. Lifting weights (even light ones) and doing muscle conditioning of any type (push-ups, sit-ups, etc) relieves the physical tension that builds up when we are stressed, and flexibility exercises like yoga, pilates, and simple stretching calm the body and the mind and reconnect us to what matters most.

And you can make it fun, too! I’m packing up right now for the Zion Pondersosa Women’s Adventure Retreat--a weeklong activity adventure of hiking, rappelling, horseback-riding, zip-lining, and more! (Watch for my post all about my adventures, and check out this post on “Key 1: Make Exercise fun” for more!) If you want stress relief, move your body. (More on all of these things, and the research behind it, in my new book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. Read some free excerpts herehere, and here,)

 

Key 2: Quality, Nightly Sleep!

Sleep and activity go hand in hand. A major study in Mental Health and Physical Activity (Cardinal et al, 2011) journal showed that those who Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comincorporate at least 150 minutes of activity into their week experience a 65% increase in sleep quality! And we all know that better sleep means more energy, which makes us more likely to keep moving throughout the day.

Sleep is crucial to stress relief. When we’re too tired, we simply can’t cope with the stressors that come our way. A small stressor can turn  into a chronic one because we’re just too tired to handle it well. 7-9 hours a night is recommended for most of us, but find what’s right for you. Then, clear your nightly schedule, develop a wind-down routine that’s calming and doesn’t include screen time (which stimulates the brain and interferes with relaxation and sleep), get in bed earlier, and work on quality, nightly sleep. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures, and Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do)

 

Key 3: Relaxation and Downtime

If you’re too busy or stressed for relaxation and downtime, then there’s a

Give yourself a little love with a break, relaxation, and downtime.

Give yourself a little love with a break, relaxation, and downtime.

problem, because downtime is a must for stress relief. In modern society, the norm is to “go, go, go” with no time for sleep, let alone time to relax! But to what end?

When we forego relaxation, we prevent ourselves from resting our mind and body, from giving ourselves that essential break from the stressors we face. Having time to just “be,” versus having to “do” all the time keeps us physically and mentally balanced. Relaxation can include resting, napping, spending time with loved ones, mindfulness practice (see below), watching a movie or tv show, or simply breathing. The important thing is to prioritize and make downtime in your stressful schedule, and then keep that appointment with yourself! A great place to start is to learn and practice deep breathing. Then, you can implement it throughout your day to help you relax. (For more on relaxation techniques and efficacy, visit NIH.)

 

Infographic created by Casper.com.

Infographic created by Casper.com.

4) Afternoon Power Naps!

I know not everyone is a napper, but perhaps we should be. I’m a huge fan of the power nap. Even 5-10 minutes gives me that much-needed downtime, relaxation, and rest I need to get back out there, refreshed and de-stressed.  The benefits of napping are numerous and the research is plentiful, as you can see from this beautiful “Napping 101” infographic, created by Casper, maker of the incredible Casper mattress. The research is all there, as well as the benefits. Just remember not to sleep too long. A short nap is powerful and energizing, but a longer one can zap your energy and be counterproductive in times of stress. Trust me, as a lifelong power napper, I know!

 

Key 5: Mindfulness & Meditation

I am also a huge believer in the power of mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress. Practicing mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment, taking it all in with our senses, breathing, and taking a time-out from everything else. As we practice mindfulness, we recognize all the good things we otherwise miss when we’re stressed. We calm our body and mind and open our spirit to the beautiful moments of life.

Meditation is another form of mindfulness that I highly recommend. When I practice meditation, I feel calmer, more focused and centered, and spiritually connected, which all leads to a less stressful life. Read Daily Mindfulness: 6 Ways to Put More Being into What You’re Doing, and Meditation for Mental Health, Wellness, & Spiritual Growth, and try my guided “Spirit Meditation” to get you started today.

 

6) Connect with those you Love.

We need each other, and connecting with others and building relationships is

My husband, OJ, and me at my 39th birthday/ "This is How We Grow" book release party! Such a fabulous, fun night with friends & family!

My husband, OJ, and me at my 39th birthday/ “This is How We Grow” book release party! Such a fabulous, fun night with friends & family!

associated with health, happiness, and yes, less stress. There is a multitude of research showing the powerful effects of social connection on increasing happiness, success, peace, family health, and so much more. As we focus on the relationships that matter to us, we find the support we need in times of stress. We can share the emotions we feel, and as we do so with the right person, find relief. We can also serve those we love, which is also linked with stress reduction, physical and mental health, and happiness.

Social connection not only helps us reduce stress; it strengthens all areas, leading to more meaning, purpose, and joy in life. Reach out to someone you love today. (More on strengthening families, and building stronger intimate relationships here, and here.)

 

7) Play!

Play researcher Stuart Brown describes play as “time spent without

Ziplining? Talk about play! All part of the Women's Adventure Retreat at www.ZionPonderosa.com!

Ziplining? Talk about play! All part of the Women’s Adventure Retreat at www.ZionPonderosa.com!

purpose.” How often are you involved in play? Probably not often enough. I am a big supporter of living life with meaning and purpose, of working hard; admittedly that’s what drives me in life. But I’ve come to recognize the crucial importance of play, and I’m working on putting more play into my life. In fact, tomorrow I head to Zion Ponderosa’s Women’s Adventure Retreat (see pic right), and I’ll be playing and making friends all week! (Watch for my post about it soon!)

Research shows that regular play–doing things for fun and no other reason–is essential to healthy human development. It’s not only great for kids; adults need play, too! Play is associated with greater creativity and intuition, can strengthen relationships when done with others (and we’ve already seen how important that is), and leads to greater happiness, and therefore less stress, overall. Play with your family. Play with your friends. Play on your own. Just get out there and play, today!

 

8) Laugh!8 Keys to Stress Relief www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Yes, laugh! A good belly laugh not only relieves tension and stress in the body, it’s associated with a healthier mind, and also better relationships. As we laugh, we remind ourselves that we don’t always have to take life so seriously. We connect with others, feel happiness, and release the stressful concerns that are bottled up inside. Watch a funny movie. Tell jokes with your friends. Try a laughter group! Laughter really is the best medicine for stress relief, so get laughing today!

 

 

For more tips, check out Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less & Smile More!

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

“Overcome, become, & flourish” with me by subscribing!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Listen to “Motherhood” radio for more tips on stress relief!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Keys to Stress Relief www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #stress #stressawareness month #happiness
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less & Smile More 

Exercise as a Family: 50 Fun Ways to Get (& Stay) Moving Together!

Exercise as a Family to Strengthen Relationships, Mental & Physical Health! (Key 3) 

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Essential Oils 101: My favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Becoming the Butterfly: The Power of Personal Transformation

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that Works!

6 Strategies for Mind-Body Wellness & Empowermen

Exercise as a Family: 50 Fun Ways to Get & Stay Moving Together! (Key 3)

Exercise as a Family-50 Fun Ways to Get & Stay Moving Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #family #mentalhealth #books from 8 Keys to Mental Health Through ExerciseIn my last post, I shared some of the incredible benefits of exercising as a family–including boosting family members’ physical and mental health and strengthening family relationships! Hopefully, learning about all those incredible benefits convinced you that family exercise is key if we want happy, healthy families.

Now, the question is “How?” How can you get your family moving? And how can you keep them moving, for life? Find out in the following excerpts from my new book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!

 

 

Exercise As a Family: Before you get started…

When it comes to starting a habit of family exercise, there are a few things it’s important to know and to do:

Since I prioritize exercise, my kids have learned to, too! (In my "exercise room" in "the dungeon," early in the morning.)

Since I prioritize exercise, my kids have learned to, too! (In my “exercise room” in “the dungeon,” early in the morning.)

1) ” Focus on being active, not on ‘exercise.’  You don’t have to ever use the word ‘exercise’ if you don’t want to. Just encourage your family to move—as much and as often as possible.’

2) “Focus on healthmental and physical—not on weight loss. Your goal is to increase your family’s activity in order to increase their mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health, not encourage your family members to lose weight.’

3) “Prioritize physical activity for your own mental health and be the example. If you get moving, your kids and family are more likely to follow.’ (8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise can show you how.)

4) “Make it fun! There are dozens of great ideas for how to do this, below.”

 

 

Family Exercise: 50 Fun Ways to Get (& Keep) Your Family Moving!

  • “Play ultimate Frisbee. (This is a family favorite around our house.)
  • “Play family soccer, football, or baseball.
  • “Explore your neighborhood, looking for animals, flowers, plants, trees, and people that peak your interest.
  • “Play monkey-in-the-middle.
  • “Play tag or hide and seek.
  • “Play catch or toss a football around.
  • “Play basketball games like HORSE, “Knock-Out,” or see who can shoot
    Hiking at Lake Powell. Beautiful, and fun for the whole family!

    Hiking at Lake Powell. Beautiful, and fun for the whole family!

    the most baskets in one minute.

  • “Climb a hill, mountain, or tree.
  • “Do family relay or wheelbarrow races, or play tug of war.
  • “Have a family wrestling or arm-wrestling match. (Just don’t get too competitive!)
  • “Play Twister or Charades together.
  • “Go rollerblading, ice skating, skiing, or snowboarding.
  • “Take a family bike ride.
  • “Roll down a hill and then run back up.
  • “Go swimming, splash, and see who can swim the farthest underwater or tread water the longest.
  • “Have a water balloon fight or an egg toss contest with family teams.
  • “Play racquet sports like tennis, pickleball, Smashball, or racquetball together.
  • “Create an obstacle course, have a Hula-Hoop competition, or try double-dutch jump rope.”
  • Invite children of all ages to join you in your personal exercise. Let your toddler stretch while you do yoga, put young kids in the stroller or let them ride a bike while you go for a jog. Invite teenagers to lift weights with you at the gym or at home.
  • “Encourage your child to participate in and learn new sports, games, and activities. Teach them the skills they’ll need for these activities, to boost their confidence and sense of competency.
  • “Facilitate a safe walk to and from school a few times a week.
    • Exploring the caves and coast of Curacau with our two oldest! Exploring the caves and coast of Curacau with our two oldest!

    “Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  • “Walk around the block after a meal.
  • “Make a new house rule: no sitting still during television commercials.
  • “Find time to spend together doing a fun activity: family park, swim, or bike day.
  • “Volunteer to help with after school physical activity programs or sports teams.
  • “Go golfing, horseback riding, or snowshoeing together.”
  • “Go hiking, rock-climbing, or try an indoor climbing gym or rock wall.
  • “Dance! Sing, twirl, jump, spin, move, and groove together. Make up a dance routine or just turn on the music and let yourself go!
  • “Try family yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates.
  • “Do an exercise video together. Challenge each other to push harder and do better.
  • “In the winter, shovel snow from the driveway and build a snowman, have a snowball fight, go sledding together, or make snow angels.
  • “Clean the house to music, or make it a race to see who can pick up the
    Family water-skiing, wake-boarding, and getting thrown off the tube by dad is a favorite of ours!

    Family water-skiing, wake-boarding, and getting thrown off the tube by dad is a favorite of ours!

    most things in each room.

  • “Practice doing cartwheels, summersaults, or other gymnastics together.
  • “Play an active video game together like Wii Fit or a dancing game.
  • “On rainy days, try skating in socks on a wood floor.
  • “Make a goal to play at every park in your town.”
  • “Whenever possible, encourage your family to take the stairs. If you have stairs at home, make it a goal to go up and down at least 10 times a day.
  • “Train as a family for a charity walk, climb, or run.
  • “Celebrate special occasions—like birthdays or anniversaries—with something active, such as a hike, a volleyball or soccer game, or playing Frisbee at the park.
  • “Walk instead of driving whenever you can. If you have to drive, find a spot at the far end of the parking lot and walk to where you’re going. Race back to the car, being sure to look out for traffic.
  • “Turn yard work into fun (jump in the raked pile of leaves, or shoveled
    Sydney playing pickleball with her Bema. My mother-in-law loves pickleball, & brings her grandkids to play whenever she can!

    Sydney playing pickleball with her Bema. My mother-in-law loves pickleball, & brings her grandkids to play whenever she can!

    snow or turn on the music and sing as you work).

  • “Plan active family gatherings (hiking, rafting, tag, relay races, dance party, skating, family sports activity, sledding, skiing, and so on). When my husband’s family gets together, we have pickleball, basketball, whiffle ball, or trampoline trick competitions. It can get pretty intense.
  • “Make a game of chores. We like to move room-to-room as a family and set the timer for two minutes in each room. Then, we see who can pick up the most items as we get the whole house done in no time flat.
  • “Sneak activity into other activities, like shopping at the mall (take the stairs and walk quickly between stores).
  • “Turn TV commercials into fitness breaks. March, do jumping jacks, twist, or dance together until the show starts again.
  • “Have a weekly family sports night. Invite friends or neighbors to participate once in a while, too.
  • “Use pedometers to keep track of family members’ daily steps. Issue a challenge to see who can take the most steps each day/week.”
  • “Pick up kids on your bike after school, or on the weekends walk to the city bus stop, take a trip downtown, and explore (don’t forget to stop for a treat). “

 

 

Exercising as a family can be peaceful and relaxing, too--like paddle-boarding together on a still lake at dawn.

Exercising as a family can be peaceful and relaxing, too–like paddle-boarding together on a still lake at dawn.

Whew!

If this list doesn’t inspire you to get up and out with your family, then I don’t know what will! And it’s only the beginning. Use your creativity, ask your kids what they would love to do together, and for more tips, strategies, and ideas for family exercise, check out Key 3 of8 Keys to Mental Health Through ExerciseThen, get out and get moving as a family, today!

 

~The above quoted excerpts are from my newest book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. Available online or at your local bookseller (see links below)!

 

 

In case you missed it, check out Exercise as a Family to Strengthen Relationships, Mental & Physical Health! (Key 3) 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

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Listen to “Motherhood” radio, “Overcoming Roadblocks (& Excuses) to Exercise for Mental (& Physical) Health” for more tips on family and exercise!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

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Exercise as a Family-50 Fun Ways to Get & Stay Moving Together www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #family #mentalhealth #books from 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

 

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Exercise as a Family to Strengthen Relationships, Mental & Physical Health! (Key 3) 

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

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Exercise as a Family to Build Stronger Relationships, Mental & Physical Health (Key 3!)

Exercise as a Family to Build Strong Relationships, Mental & PHysical Health www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #family #mentalhealthRaising a healthy, happy family is a tall order, especially considering the many stressors, challenges and roadblocks children, parents, and well, everyone faces each day. How can we raise happy, healthy kids? How can we strengthen our family while building self-esteem and improving family relationships? Family exercise.

Now, I’m not talking about getting everyone in their spandex for a five-mile run or a high intensity step aerobics class. I’m talking about teaching our family to move–to be active, and to have fun while doing so.

“Exercise as a family” is Key 3 of my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” and you’re about to find out just why it’s so important.

 

 

The Family, Mental Health, & Exercise 

At Yellowstone with my family, we went hiking, biking, and had a great time playing frisbee, "keep away" and enjoying the beautiful scenery!

At Yellowstone with my family, we went hiking, biking, and had a great time playing frisbee, “keep away” and enjoying the beautiful scenery! Great for family relationships AND mental health!

“Family plays one of the most critical roles in how we view ourselves—in how we think and feel about who we are, are perceived in this world, and our attitudes toward a host of things, not least of which includes physical activity. Family is also one of the biggest influencers of our mental health. Healthy family environments promote and strengthen mental health, while unhealthy family systems can provoke or contribute to mental illness.

 

“It’s therefore no surprise that exercising as a family is one of the best ‘keys’ for mental health and physical activity across the lifespan. When the family is able to create and foster a positive relationship with exercise and physical activity, the entire family benefits, both physically and mentally.”

 

 

What are the Benefits of Exercising As A Family?

The physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health benefits of exercise for individual adults and children are well-researched, but what can our family gain from being active together?

 

“The family who exercises together…

 

“…gets and stays healthy together–physically and mentally

One Saturday, after my kids had helped me get a little time alone, I took them for a family bike ride. I win. They win. We all win.

One Saturday, after my kids had helped me get a little time alone, I took them for a family bike ride. I win. They win. We all win.

“All of the physical health benefits of exercise [for individuals] can also apply to the children, adolescents, and adults (of any age) in your family. Exercise is important for families because it can control weight, lower heart risks, improve school performance, and increase life expectancy (Bhargava 2014). Additionally, all of the mental health benefits [of exercise] can apply to each of your family members. Family exercise can improve mental and emotional well being, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve happiness and overall life satisfaction for everyone, creating a happier, healthier family unit…”

 

“…grows in self-worth and confidence together.”

“In Key 2 we discussed how exercise makes us feel better about ourselves and can lead to a greater sense of self-worth… We first learn self-worth and confidence in the home. If we want our children and spouse/partner to develop a habit of exercise for mental health for life, we should also try to demonstrate self-worth and confidence. As we provide our family members with opportunities to be active and try new activities, encourage and guide one another in learning new exercise skills, work together, and yes, have fun, we will grow together in confidence and self-worth…”

 

“…has fun together.” 

With the fam, zip lining in Mexico, last spring break.

With the fam, zip lining in Mexico, last spring break.

“Exercise is not only good for our body and mind; it’s good for the soul—if we do it right. Exercise and activity can, and should, be fun. It should involve play, laughter, and memory making with family and friends. Kids are all about having fun, and games, sports, and activities like jumping rope, playing tag, and doing tricks on the trampoline are fun—and great exercise. But the fun isn’t just for the kids. Parents who make exercise fun for kids benefit by having a little fun, too…

 

“…remains active together, throughout life.”

“…Active parents tend to have active children. One study of 4- to 7-year-olds found that children with two active parents were nearly six times more likely to be active, too. Even more interestingly, they found that children with one active and one inactive parent were still more than three times more likely to be active than children with two inactive parents (Moore et al., 1991). Additional research has shown significant relationships between the physical activity levels of every possible family member combination (i.e. mother-father, father-son, mother-daughter, siblings, and so on) (Seabra et al., 2008), providing even greater evidence that families who are active together tend to stay active, together.”

 

“stays together.”Exercise as a Family, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #mentalhealth #health #family 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise #books

“Exercising as a family doesn’t just create physically and mentally healthy individuals, though that is a huge payoff. It creates a healthier family unit. Being active together doesn’t just help wear kids out so they’ll go to bed earlier and sleep longer (which, let’s face it parents, is a bonus). No. Exercise has the potential to bring families closer…”

 

Exercise as a Family

How can we build stronger family relationships, physical, and mental health? Exercise. Be active together. Have fun together. Live long and happy lives together. Strengthen your family–relationships, physically, and mentally–by seeking to build activity into your family’s life.

And for more ideas on how to do this, watch for “Exercise as a Family: 50 Fun Ways to Get (& Stay) Moving Together”–coming next–to get your family reaping the many benefits of exercise today!

 

~The above quoted excerpts are from my newest book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. Available online or at your local bookseller! 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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What benefits have you found from family exercise? How do you make it fun and get kids on board? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, below!

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.” Available now at
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Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

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Listen to “Motherhood” radio, “Overcoming Roadblocks (& Excuses) to Exercise for Mental (& Physical) Health” for more tips on family and exercise!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

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Related Posts/Articles:

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

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Essential Oils 101: My favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

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Improve Your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2 (Excerpt from “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!”)

 Improve Self-Esteem with Exercise!--Key 2, Free Excerpt from %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 #books #exercise #mentalhealth #selfesteem

Enjoy this Free Excerpt from my NEW book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!

 

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

 “Most experts see self-esteem as an important aspect of mental health. I agree: self-esteem seems to underlie almost every issue for which my clients come to therapy. They say they’re there because of depression, or anxiety, or relationship problems, but at its core, the real problem is almost always a struggle with self-esteem.

 

Self-esteem can be defined as the opinion we have of ourselves, or how we Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comfeel about ourselves. Healthy self-esteem means we have a positive outlook about ourselves, others, and life. The world calls this “high self-esteem,” and it is associated with healthier behavior, including greater independence, leadership, life adaptability, resilience to stress (Fox 2000), more sports involvement and exercise, healthier diet, less smoking, and lower suicide risk (Torres & Fernandez, ).

 

On the other hand, “low self-esteem” is correlated with the absence of wellness and is a frequent underlying aspect of depression, anxiety, low assertiveness, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and a poor sense of personal control (Fox 2000). Low self-esteem is also associated with higher self-criticism, negative thinking, an inability to cope effectively with life, and poorer overall mental health, including a greater chance of developing clinical depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, stress, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses (Mann et al., 2004).

 

In fact, self-esteem is one of the strongest predictors of subjective well-being. It is an essential aspect of mental wellness and quality of life (Diener 1984). Feeling good about who, and how, we are helps us feel good about life’s situations and other people, and helps us face challenges with confidence and compassion. Healthy self-esteem is also correlated with greater physical activity, and greater physical activity is correlated with higher self-esteem (Fox 2000). It’s therefore crucial we develop healthy self-esteem if we want a rich, healthy, and happy life. As we’ll discuss below, exercise can play a valuable role in helping us achieve this.”

 

“Which Comes First—Exercise or Self-esteem?

Researchers have long been asking, “Which comes first—self-esteem or

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exercise?” We know there is a high correlation between those who are physically active with healthy self-esteem. Common consensus is that this relationship goes both ways. Those who already have high self-esteem are more likely to exercise and participate in sports, especially those who feel confident in their physical abilities and appearance. On the flip side, those with lower self-esteem and physical self-perceptions, including those who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, are less likely to engage in regular physical activity. However, this group has the most to gain from exercise, and research shows that regular exercise increases positive self-feelings and evaluations, meaning they feel more confident, capable, and healthy through regular exercise and activity, leading to higher overall self-esteem (Fox 2000).

 

While research can’t exactly pinpoint, it appears there are several mechanisms that lead to improved self-esteem from exercise.

First, as we already know, exercise improves mood and enhances positive self-regard. This, in turn, seems to have a positive effect on self-esteem.

Second, exercise can improve body image, satisfaction, and acceptance for some, which increases overall self-esteem.

Third, exercise leads us to feel more physically competent, which may then improve how we feel about ourselves overall.

Fourth, exercise helps us feel more in control of our appearance, health, and bodily functioning, which can increase a sense of self-efficacy.

And finally, exercise, and especially group exercise, can improve relationships and increase a sense of belonging, which is important in the development of self-esteem (Fox 2000).

 

Overall, it’s likely that each of these factors interplay to create improvements in mind, body, and self-esteem. Since exercise helps us improve our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health, it makes sense that this would lead to a greater quality of life and improved sense of self-worth. When we stick with an exercise or fitness routine, we demonstrate motivation and dedication, both of which are associated with greater self-esteem and self-perceptions (Fox 2000). Bottom line: no matter how it works, exercise and self-esteem go hand in hand.

 

 

“Exercise, Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Why, then, if exercise holds so many secret ingredients for our mental health and wellbeing, is it only weakly correlated with how we perceive our ourselves, especially our bodies? I have a theory. I believe this happens because too many of us still don’t feel our self-worth. Even when the outward evidence says, “You’re important! You’re valuable! You’re an amazing human being!” we don’t believe it. We believe our own “evidence” instead, evidence we’ve collected through our whole lives via true or untrue thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions of experiences. This “evidence” says, “I’m not good enough.”

 

One of the main problems with self-esteem is that it’s mostly based on external

Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.ZionPonderosa.com

Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat www.ZionPonderosa.com

sources. Research shows that basing our worth on external sources—like appearance, academic or physical performance, or approval from others—leads to greater anger, stress, relationship and academic problems, and higher alcohol and drug use and eating disorders (Crocker 2002).

 

In contrast, those who base their worth on internal, constant sources, such as being a virtuous person or sticking to moral standards, tend to have greater success in life, including higher grades and lower likelihood of eating disorders and drug/alcohol use. In fact, students in one study who based their self-worth on outward sources, like academic performance, were found to have poorer self-esteem, even when their grades were higher than others (Crocker ). This shows the power of having a true, deep sense of self-worth versus basing our worth on self-perceptions and self-esteem.

 

Understanding self-worth is crucial in exercise for mental health success; it helps us believe we can do it, stick with it, and reach our fullest mental and physical health potential. When we feel confident, we’re not only more likely to exercise; we’re more likely to let go of the self-perceptions and beliefs that hold us back and make us feel like a “failure.” We’re more likely to overcome the roadblocks, stop unhealthy thoughts and beliefs, and stay motivated and dedicated to exercise. As psychologist Nathaniel Branden writes, “The level of our [sense of self-worth] has profound consequences for every aspect of our existence: how we operate in the workplace, how we deal with people, how high we are likely to rise, how much we are likely to achieve—and in the personal realm, with whom we are likely to fall in love, how we interact with our spouse, children, and friends, what level of personal happiness we attain” (1995, p.4-5). Yes, we need self-worth.”

~Excerpt from 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise, Key 2

 

 

Read all of “Key 2: Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise,” in my NEW book, 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

And read more excerpts, like “How to Get (& Stay) Motivated!” and posts like “Mental Health  Through Exercise–Key 1: Make it fun!”

Learn more about building self-esteem and self-worth here.

 

How does exercise impact your sense of self-esteem and self-worth? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, below!

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “Overcoming Roadblocks (& Excuses) to Exercise for Mental (& Physical) Health” for more tips on self-esteem and exercise!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

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Related Posts/Articles:

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it fun! (My “8 Keys” Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Essential Oils 101: My favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

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New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

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Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

 

 

10 Ways I “Choose to Grow” Each Day

Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to True Happiness

Easter & the Principle of At-One-Ment

Easter and the Principle of At-One-Ment;  www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

It’s Easter Sunday, and though I don’t usually write here about religion, I am compelled to write today. I am thinking about Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, whether you celebrate Easter or not, whether you even believe in God or not, there is an important lesson here, for all of us.

 

Easter is about Jesus Christ’s life, His death, and His rising again. Christians call this masterful event the Atonement. The word “atonement” has long fascinated me, because it means, quite literally, “At-One-Ment.” It means that, as Christ died and three days later, rose again, He did something incomprehensible and miraculous–for every single one of us–enabling each us to live again, too. What comfort this brings to those, who, like me, who have lost dear loved ones, for those of us pondering, or facing, death. We, too, will live again!

 

The Meaning, and Power, of At-One-Ment

Yet, the At-one-ment is about so much more. It is literally a reminder that we choose to “at-one,” or to Easter and the principle of At-one-ment www.drchristinahibbert.com“become one,” with something, or some things, each and every minute of each and every day. With what are you at-one-ing right now?

 

We can choose to at-one with good and holy, pure and True thoughts, deeds, and emotions. Or, we can choose to at-one with those things that bring us down, that make us feel less than, destroy peace and happiness, and lead to bondage and misery. What is your choice today? 

 

The Atonement is about transformation–a reminder that we are more than meets the eye, and that we have greater Divine potential than we realize, if we will only let God–our Higher Power–lift us and help us reach it.

 

The Atonement is about hope–the hope that we truly are so much grander, kinder, full of love and potential, than meets the eye, and that there is so much more waiting for us if we will only act on that hope and, with faith, take that first step forward.

 

The Atonement is about peace–peace in life and peace in death. It’s about knowing there is life beyond this one, that we will be with our loved ones who’ve died again, and that we, too, can have peace. By letting go of the fears that hold us back, we can find peace, right here and right now.

 

The Atonement is about joy–joy in knowing there is more to life, and to us, than just surviving, day by day. We are actually made of joy, and as we dig down through the muck that life piles on top of it, we will find we are meant to be happy. It is our birthright, and with patience, hope, faith, and love, we can, and will become joy.

 

The Atonement is about personal growth. Truly, that’s what we can, and must, learn from this miracle–that we, too, can be changed, can learn, can grow, can become, can be transformed. It’s a reminder of our Divine potential. I see this potential in each and every soul I meet. Those I work with. Those I live with. Those I laugh with. Those I teach, and learn from. Those I meet on the street. Each and every one of us has a Divine potential beyond our wildest imaginings. We can, and with faith and a little work on our part, one day will, become who God sees us to be. Not the small vision we have for ourselves, though certainly that is a perfect place to start; but someone more beautiful, hopeful, joyful, full of peace and made of love, than we could have ever dreamed.

 

Above all, the Atonement is about love–the love of God for each and every one of us. It is a reminder that Easter and the At-One-Ment www.DrChristinaHIbbert.comwe are known, that we are loved, and that we are valued so much more than we realize. We have access to Divine help every moment, if we will but ask. This is the greatest love…”Greater love hath no man than this…” (Holy Bible, King James Version, John 15:13), and we, too, can seek, ask for, be filled with, and become this great Love.

We can kneel down and humbly “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love (Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Moroni 7: 48).” We can speak our heart’s greatest needs and desires and then get up and obey the whispers that lead us toward greater love and growth. We can reach out in love to others in need; we can “nurture with inspiration, and live Truth fearlessly” (Neill F. Marriott, Relief Society General Conference, March 26, 2016).

In so doing, we will find hope and joy and peace, personal growth, and transformation. As we embrace God’s love for us and love ourselves in like manner, we won’t be able to help but share that love with all around us. This is the power of the Atonement. This is personal transformation at its finest–unveiling our true potential.

 

With What Will We “At-One” Today?

Are we realizing that true potential today? Do we even believe it’s there? I know it’s there. I’ve witnessed it in myself, and in my children. In my husband, and in my friends. In my clients, and in my acquaintances. Friends, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe in the power of His Atonement. I know He lives, and that we, too, will live again. The question is, how will we live? Not only then, but now? How will we live today? With what will we choose to at-one right now?

 

I welcome your thoughts and comments, below. 

 

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it Fun! (My “8 Keys” book launch at Zion Ponderosa’s Women’s Adventure Retreat!)

Exercise for Mental Health-Key 1, Make it Fun! My %228 Keys%22 Book Launch at Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

When it comes to mental health, happiness, and life satisfaction, there’s one common denominator: exercise.

 

The research on exercise and mental health is clear and solid: exercise is like medicine in the treatment of mental issues and disorders. From greater creativity, insight, and spiritual connection, to higher energy, less stress, and better sleep; from calming the anxious mind to relieving the depressed spirit, exercise is key. I’ve long been an advocate of exercise for mental health, but after writing “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” I have a new, eye-opened appreciation for the power of physical activity in our lives.

 

Exercise for Mental Health, Happiness & Life Satisfaction!

Exercise for Mental Health at ZionPonderosa Resort!

Rock wall climbing at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

When many of us think of exercise, however, we think of pain or suffering or misery! Just the other day, while visiting my mother-in-law, I was doing my “P90X, Kenpo X” workout. When she saw me breathing heavy and sweating like crazy, she said, “This is what makes me want to run from exercise. When I see you doing that, it looks so hard, and that’s what makes me feel like I just want to go to the beach and read a book instead.”

 

Now, let me tell you, my mother-in-law is highly active. She’s a wonderful example of keeping moving, no matter your age–playing pickleball almost every morning for several hours! But to her, what I was doing didn’t look like fun at all. And even though it’s not necessarily my idea of “fun” either, it is fun for me to do different activities to keep my body adapting and changing in new and healthy ways, and that’s exactly what I was doing.

 

Hear this: You don’t have to suffer through exercise. You can, and should make it fun for you! Do what you find enjoyable. My husband golfs and plays basketball. My mother-in-law plays pickleball. My sons lift heavy weights. My daughters run on the golf course with the dog, ride bikes, and play tag. I don’t do any of these things regularly, like they do. I do what I like to do–walking, jogging, hiking, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, bike-riding, weight-lifting, core training, and back in the day, I used to enjoy teaching step aerobics! (Yes, I was one of those up there with my leotard and tights calling out, “up, up, down, down, turn step, step kick….)

 

Times change, and so do our interests, but one thing remains the same: exercise can be, and should be fun!

 

 

Fun, Adventure, and Exercise for Mental Health: Zion Ponderosa Women’s Getaway!

Isn't this place gorgeous?! Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

Isn’t this place gorgeous?! Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort.

So, get this. My brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” officially comes out on April 26th (unofficially, you can pre-order through Norton.com with code HIBBERT, get 25% off, free shipping, and get it now!).

 

Guess where I will be on April 26th? At an incredible women’s adventure retreat at Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort! They’ve invited me, as a guest blogger, to experience this retreat with all kinds of amazing activities and natural beauty, and it just happens to be the same week as the release of my new book on exercise! Talk about meant-to-be!

 

8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise_978-0-393-71122-6 copy

Horseback riding is a great physical activity, too!

And talk about making exercise fun! For an entire week, I will be hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, zip-lining, ATV-riding, rapelling, and exploring the grandeur of Zion National Park. I will also get to go paint-balling, sand surfing in the sand dunes, swimming surrounded by the beauty of Utah, and on a helicopter tour! And the best part? I get to share it all with you through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, here on this blog, and even on my radio show, Motherhood!

 

Zion Ponderosa’s Retreat is a perfect example of making exercise fun, adventurous, and enjoyable. It’s a way to reap the mental and physical health benefits of exercise while touching nature in a grand fashion. (Just see the amazing pictures in this post!)

 

I cannot wait to get out, have some fun, and be adventurous at this getaway retreat, which has been called the “Best Active Women’s Getaway Experience.” (For more on Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, and their Women’s Getaway, click here.)

 

 

5 Ways to Make Exercise more Fun

I realize we can’t all go away on an adventure retreat. I was just lucky that they selected me to participate. And certainly, we can’t do big adventurous activities every day. But, we can apply the same idea of fun and adventure to our daily lives, and when we do so, we will reap all the incredible benefits exercise has to offer. Here are a few ways to get started today!

 

1) Pick activities that make you smile. It doesn’t have to be an exercise video, jogging, or going to the

The benefits of hiking--incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point.

The benefits of hiking–incredible views! Mark Wade, from Zion Ponderosa, at Observation Point.

gym. Exercise can include dancing, swimming, Zumba, playing with your kids, rollerblading, and so much more! Pick activities that get you moving while helping you have fun. Pick activities that you love!

 

2) Get outdoors! Exercising outside is not only beneficial because it gets you moving; it also gets you into the sun, which has been shown to improve mood, too. Nature is also an important element in boosting the mental health benefits of exercise.  The more you get outside to get moving, the happier you’ll feel!

 

3) Try something new. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, pick something you’ve always wanted to try and go for it. Perhaps you want to go kayaking or try paddle-boarding, or give skiing or snowboarding a try with some lessons. It’s good for us to break out of our rut by trying something new, and especially by trying something adventurous. You just might find a new favorite activity, and in the meantime, your brain and body will enjoy learning new skills.

 

4) Exercise with those you love. Friends, family, your partner–whomever you enjoy being around,

Ziplining--a new adventure at Zion Ponderosa Resort.

Ziplining–a new adventure at Zion Ponderosa Resort.

exercise with them. This not only improves your own mental and physical health; it will improve your family member’s health, and can also improve your relationships. That’s a win-win, and plus, it’s a lot more fun being adventurous and active together!

 

5) Let loose! Don’t hold yourself back for fear of looking or feeling silly. If you feel like dancing, crank up the music and dance! If you feel like riding your bike along the beach, go for it! If you want to try a new class at the gym, give it a shot! When we let go of our inhibitions, exercise becomes fun. When exercise is fun, we enjoy it, and stick with it, so much better.

 

 

 

For more on exercise and mental health, check out my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.”  

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
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Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

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Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “How to ‘Choose to Grow’ & Make Lasting Change,” for more tips on motivation!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

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Exercise for Mental Health-Key 1, Make it fun! My %228 Keys%22 Book Launch @ Zion Ponderosa Women's Adventure Retreat www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

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Related Posts/Articles:

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated: (Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”)

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Becoming the Butterfly: The Power of Personal Transformation

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

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Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to True Happiness

 

Essential Oils 101: My Favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families!

Essential Oils 101- My Favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids & Families www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #essentialoils #health #wellness #family #motherhood

 

The first time I heard of essential oils was about 8 years ago, from a dear friend of mine. Cooped up with a broken leg, she was telling me how challenging it was to be stuck in bed, unable to walk on her cast yet, and feeling so cramped and miserable. “I started using essential oils,” she said, “and they’ve been my lifeline!” She told me how these oils helped soothe her discomfort and lift her spirits, and she encouraged me to try them out, too.

 

I wasn’t so sure. I thought, “They might help you, but you’ve got a broken leg, and of course ANYTHING will probably help you. I don’t think they’d help me in any useful way.” So, I shelved the idea, for a couple more months, until that same friend brought it up again. This time, she was telling me how, now that she was up and moving around again, she’d started using oils to help in other ways, and how her kids had been using them, too. She’d tell me how “this oil is amazing for a scratchy throat,” or “this one is incredible at helping my kids’ respiratory issues,” and I admit, I was finally intrigued. Could they do the same for me and my family? I decided to give it a try.

 

 

Why I Started Using Essential Oils

I started with just a few “basics”–an immunity blend, peppermint, and lavender oils.  First, I tried the immunity blend, which I use whenever I start to get a scratchy throat or the sniffles, and especially during the winter, to boost my immune system (to find out more about my favorite oil brand and names, register to WIN, below!). I first tried it when my throat was getting hoarse and I was supposed to sing a solo a couple days later, at church. I was amazed at how well it worked for me! My throat felt immediately soothed, and after using this immunity blend, along with chamomile tea with lemon, rest, and taking it easy, I was in good enough shape, come Sunday, to sing, if not at my best, at least well enough. Now, I use this blend in a hand soap, I take a drop each day, and carry a bottle of beadlets of it around with me all winter long!

 

View from my morning jog today--isn't it gorgeous? I'm getting some R&R here in CA. Rest+ exercise + nutrition + essential oils = Wellness & happiness for me!

View from my morning jog–isn’t it gorgeous? I’m getting some R&R here in CA. Rest+ exercise + nutrition + essential oils = Wellness & happiness for me!

I started using lavender in a hot bath at night, to help me relax and have more restful sleep. I started using peppermint to pick me up when fatigued, and also when my nose would get stuffy–a little bit on my pinky rubbed in each nostril would open things up so I could breathe easier, especially at night.

 

Then, I started using essential oils with my children. I loved that they are made from plants and fruits, and that they are safe for all ages when used in the correct ways. I loved that my kids could use some of the oils themselves, and I especially loved how empowered essential oils made me feel as a mother. I still love all these things about essential oils, and over the years, I’ve branched out into using all varieties of essential oils to help me, my kids, and my family. I truly can’t say enough about how wonderful they have been for us!

 

 

What do I love Most about Essential Oils?

So, why am I telling you all this? Because when I find a solution as good as this one, I want to share it. What can essential oils do for you? Well, that’s for you to answer, but let me tell you a little more about what essential oils have done for me, and for my family.

 

The three things I love most about essential oils are:

1)  They are safe for my whole family to use. Essential oils are extracted from plants and fruits, which have been used since the dawn of man to improve health and wellness. Because I use the best quality oils (CPTG certified–see below to learn about my favorite oil brand), I know they are safe for me, my kids, and my entire family, when used correctly. There are three ways to use essential oils (see #2)– Each oil is recommended for one or more of these ways, and when used in the proper way, all are considered safe. Some oils, like lemon, you can use everywhere. I love it in my water or I use it as the secret ingredient in chicken noodle soup and chicken salad. Others, like oregano, require more care; it can be hot on the skin, so it’s important to use it wisely, according to recommended directions. Bottom line, however, is that essential oils are safe for my whole family, and that I love.

 

I never thought I'd be a "make a shake for breakfast" kinda gal, but here I am! This mix, coupled w/ daily vitamins, helps me feel so much more energized each day. I use my single-serving Farberware blender (my FAV!), mix, grab, and go! (For more on my fav "Green Drink" blend & vitamins, sign up, below!)

I never thought I’d be a “make a shake for breakfast” kinda gal, but here I am! This mix, coupled w/ daily vitamins, helps me feel so much more energized each day. I use my single-serving Farberware blender (my FAV!), mix, grab, and go! (For more on my fav “Green Drink” blend & vitamins, sign up, below!)

2) They’re easy to use. As mentioned just above, there are three main ways to use essential oils–topically, internally, and diffused in the air. In our home, we diffuse our favorite oils, like orange, citrus, and “happy blends” as pick-me-ups; or, when the kids are fighting, I put some of my favorite calming blend in the diffuser to help settle things down. I use lemon and lime daily in my water, and even use a green drink blend of essential oils and greens in my breakfast shake each day, along with taking multivitamins that also contain essential oils. I can’t tell you how much more energized I have felt since adding these things into my daily routine! Once you have an oil and know a few of the many ways to use it, the possibilities are endless! (To learn about my favorite oil blends, vitamins, and green drink mix, register to WIN, below!)

 

3) Essential oils empower me as a mom, and empower my family, too. Now that I have so many oils on hand, I have a wealth of wellness at my fingertips. In the middle of the night, I can turn to my favorite respiratory blend, which helps support my children’s respiratory system. In the mornings, when my kids wake up with a scratchy throat, I make them a “cocktail,” as they now call it–with a drop each of the immunity blend, oregano, peppermint, and lemon, in a tiny bit of water. “Make me a cocktail, mom,” they say, and I do, and then they gulp it down. No, they don’t do this because of its wonderful taste (it’s a strong blend, but you can definitely feel it working!). They do this because they know, like I do, how it makes them feel–better. And I love that they can use the oils themselves. My 12 year-old daughter keeps a diffuser by her bed and uses it when feeling stressed, down, or when she really needs to relax (so do I!). My teenagers (and I) use oils, like melaleuca (tea tree oil) for skin blemishes and irritations, lavender to soothe bug bites, and my college boys even took an essential oil kit with them away to college. Now, they are teaching their friends how to use them, and sharing the wisdom!

 

What can Essential Oils Do for YOU?

This is the question. It doesn’t matter what essential oils have done for me. The question is, “What can they do for YOU?” You won’t know until you try, but I hope I’ve at least given you something to think about. Essential oils can be a valuable addition to a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and other wellness practices. I know they have been for me, and I can’t imagine giving them up at this point.

 

Listen to my “Motherhood” radio episode on “Essential Oils 101: The Many Uses & Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families” to hear two of my favorite essential oil “gurus” and I share education and inspiration on how and why to use essential oils. Then, ENTER TO WIN a FREE “Family Physician” kitwith 10 of the most-used essential oils–a value of over $160! Register below to win, and to learn more about essential oils! I hope they will improve your family’s wellness as much as they have done for mine.

 

Enter to WIN a FREE Family Physician Kit–10 Essential Oils, and worth over $160!

Register by completing the form, just below, to win!

Deadline to enter is midnight March 31, 2016. Winner will be drawn on or about April 1, 2016!

Good luck!

 

 

 

Listen Now to “Essential Oils 101: The Many Uses & Benefits for Moms, Kids & Families” on  “Motherhood” radio!
Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

My new book is here!

“8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” will get and keep you up, moving, and reaping the benefits of exercise your whole life long!

Pre-order SALE on Norton.com: Enter code HIBBERT and receive 25% off, FREE shipping, AND get the before anyone else does!

Official book release date, April 25–

Order today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local bookseller!

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

“Dr…Hibbert (Who Am I Without You?) has created a useful and supportive exercise guide aimed at helping readers with mental health problems…An enlightening and empowering instrument for people who have struggled with mental illness!” ~Publisher’s Weekly (read full review here)

 

 

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

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Join my FREE “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan

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Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

 

 

Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do

Anxiety & Women-Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #anxiety #women #hormones #sleepIt’s 3:30 a.m. I was simply rolling over to fall back asleep, when my brain switched on like a 100-watt light bulb, and now I’m flooded with stress, worries, and thoughts of what I “need to get done” or about “my overwhelming life,” when I thought I’d put those thoughts to bed hours ago. I know I won’t fall back asleep. Still, I try. I try belly-breathing, then progressive muscle relaxation, then letting myself think for a while, to tire me out. Then, I pray. I pray for sleep. I pray that this knot of tension inside me will leave, that the fatigue my body is feeling will overpower the thoughts that hold me hostage. Finally, at 5 a.m., I get up and begin to type. It helps to get these thoughts out of me and maybe do some good for others in the process. Finally, I sneak down to the basement and exercise; I know it’s one of the best things I can do to not only distract my mind, but to provide much-needed energy for the day and hopefully later, the ability to finally rest.

 

This is anxiety, and trust me, it’s miserable. I don’t know why I haven’t written more about it before. That’s one thought that was spinning through my mind while I wasn’t sleeping this morning—Why haven’t I written about anxiety, when it’s the predominant symptom with which I struggle? When it’s one of the most common issues for all women, for all people? (Read “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Overcoming the Stigma”)

 

 

Anxiety & Women

It’s not only my predominant symptom: “Anxiety disorders include phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, and separation anxiety disorder, and are considered the most commonly occurring class of mental disorders (CDC 2015)” [2].”

 

Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in women. Yes, more common than depression. Anxiety will affect one in three women throughout their lifetime [2], and often, depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Women are also twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder, and symptoms tend to appear earlier in life for women [1].

 

 

What is Anxiety?

So, what, exactly, is anxiety? Clients have described it to me as, “I’m on edge all the time.” “My mind won’t shut off.” “I can’t stop thinking about everything I need to do” or “worrying about everything that could Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What you Can Do; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comhappen.” “I can’t relax;” “I’m on edge all the time.” Or, I described it, above, “I can’t sleep even though I’m exhausted: My mind is holding me prisoner.”

 

Anxiety is, first and foremost, a feeling. We need anxiety to warn us of danger or to make us to take action when something needs to get done. If something is wrong and we feel worried, stressed, or afraid, anxiety helps set off the sympathetic nervous system, raising our heart rate and blood pressure and setting off stress hormones, like cortisol, in the brain, preparing us for action, telling us, “You need to do something about this!” When we take action, or when we are able to relieve the stressor or resolve the situation, our mind is supposed to shut off, our parasympathetic nervous system returning our body to a calmer state, heart rate slowing to normal, stress hormones subsiding.

 

What is an “Anxiety Disorder?”

Chronic anxiety, like an anxiety disorder, however, comes from an overactive stress response. Instead of resuming a calmer state once the threat has been overcome, the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t kick in for those with an anxiety disorder. Instead, the mind stays on, keeping the body on high alert, even when there is no actual present threat. This keeps cortisol coursing through the body, blood pressure high, and heart rate working over time. This, understandably, makes it very difficult to relax, for the brain to shut off, to sleep. In turn, poor sleep and little relaxation contribute to anxiety and depression, among other things, and the cycle continues. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

 

Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several forms of anxiety disorder, including: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (intense, pervasive anxiety), Panic Disorder (including panic attacks), Specific Phobias (or extreme fears), Social Phobia (or fear of social situations), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD, consisting of obsessive, stress-filled thoughts and compulsions to alleviate the stress), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, with a traumatic trigger, followed by re-experiencing the event, like in nightmares of flashbacks, numbing/avoidance of things associated with the event, and heightened state of arousal).

 

Additionally, as mentioned above, anxiety may co-occur with major depression or other mental illnesses.

 

Anxiety & Hormones

In women, anxiety is also a common component of hormonal shifts, like those in pregnancy, postpartum, with PMS, PMDD, or in perimenopause. In fact, many women experience the most anxiety during the years leading up to menopause; and many of these women have never experienced anxiety before!

 

In pregnancy and postpartum, anxiety is common, as well, with approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women experiencing a perinatal anxiety disorder. Approximately 10% will experience pregnancy or postpartum panic disorder (with associated panic attacks), 3-5% will experience pregnancy or postpartum OCD, and 9% will experience postpartum PTSD, usually following a traumatic childbirth.

 

Unfortunately, thanks to society’s “myths of motherhood,” many believe it’s “normal” for moms to feel anxious or worried, so too many mothers live with unnecessary anxiety that can make life miserable. The truth is constant anxiety is not normal, and it’s important for women to recognize their symptoms so they can seek and receive treatment to overcome the anxiety and to heal.

 

 

Anxiety, Hormones & Sleep

Anxiety is often associated with insomnia or other sleep issues. Again, this is a vicious cycle, as lack of sleep continues the cortisol and adrenaline in the body that only make anxiety worse, and vice Anxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comversa.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are much more likely report sleep issues than men, one reason being the many hormonal shifts women experience premenstrually, in pregnancy and postpartum, and during perimenopause. A few days or a week before a woman’s period starts, she may find she can’t fall asleep or, more commonly, can’t stay asleep, as I described above. As I’ve studied the link between sleep, anxiety, and hormones it’s become clear: women are much more vulnerable to sleep disturbance during times of shifting hormones, and each month those hormones shift twice! First, there’s a drop in Estrogen around day 14, or around ovulation, and then the bigger drop in Estrogen and Progesterone occurs a few days to a week before her period starts. This can make sleep feel impossible for women who are sensitive to these shifts, with terrible sleep one or more weeks every month. (For more on this, read myWomen’s Emotions blog series, parts 1, 2, and 3.)

 

What can You Do for Anxiety?

You don’t have to suffer, living with anxiety. Treatments are available and highly successful.

 

  • The “gold standard” for anxiety treatment is a combination of anti-anxiety medication (including antidepressants, which also reduce anxiety) and psychotherapy. The medication works to correct the overactive brain chemistry while therapy teaches techniques and skills for how to manage daily symptoms. Either one of these treatments on their own will likely be beneficial, as well, research shows. (More on “Antidepressant or Not?” here.)

 

 

  • Learning relaxation skills, like mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation are also beneficial in treating anxiety. Research shows these self-help techniques allow you to train your brain and body to let go and relax. Additionally, anything that helps relieve tension and stress can help–like massage, naps, quiet time, a hot bath, reading, watching a television program (not a scary one!), or time with friends and family.

 

  • Exercise is another helpful treatmenteither alone or as an addition to these other options. The benefits of exercise are proven and extensive, and for anxiety, exercise can not only work out the tension and give the mind a way to let go; it also helps the body become tired, so you’re more likely to sleep better. Though some who struggle with anxiety find cardiovascular exercise difficult, because it may mimic the feeling of anxiety (heart rate up, shortness of breath), lifting weights, doing yoga or Pilates, or very mild walking have shown incredible benefits in rAnxiety & Women: Hormones, Sleep & What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comeducing symptoms of anxiety. (Read more about this, as well as strategies to make exercise work for you, in my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise!” [See Coupon to save 25%, below!])

 

  • Realize anxiety is not you! Then, FEEL the anxiety. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the years is that I am not the anxiety. It is a feeling in my body, not me. Too often, anxiety takes over like it’s running the show—the show being your life! And too often, we let it run the show. We feel like we are the anxiety. We fight feeling it because it’s so uncomfortable and we don’t know how to handle it. Or, at least, we think we don’t. One thing you can try is to sit and FEEL the anxiety. Notice where it is in your body. Breathe as you feel it and recognize it is not you. I find it helpful to imagine the anxiety is slightly in front of me as I lean my body away from it. It reminds me I am in charge of my life; my emotions are not. As we FEEL powerful emotions, like anxiety, they truly lose their power. (Read How to FEEL Powerful Emotions & watch the related 3-Minute Therapy video, here.)

 

  • Treat the sleep issues to treat the anxiety. If your sleep is severely affected by anxiety, it may be better to start by treating the sleep. Temporary sleep aids, including melatonin supplements, can help you finally get some rest, and just getting some sleep can help the anxiety begin to decrease. CBT can also help in treat the thoughts associated with sleep disturbances. Sometimes, there may be another sleep disorder, mental illness, or physical illness in play that’s causing your symptoms, so it’s always best to get a full physical evaluation first and talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. (Read Sleep Better, Cope Better: 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures, here.)

 

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is worth looking into for perimenopausal/ menopausal-related anxiety, and some women benefit from hormone therapies for perinatal anxiety disorders, PMS and PMDD. It can be tricky getting hormone therapies right, however, and many women are sensitive to hormone-based treatments, which may make symptoms worse, at least at first. It is therefore important that you work with a knowledgeable doctor about the best therapies for you. S/he can help monitor your mind and body’s response to hormone treatments as well as your progress. It may take some time to get it right, but when you find a treatment that works, it’s well worth it.

 

  • Avoid/limit caffeine and other stimulants. If it’s your routine to wake up with a heavy dose of caffeine and/or to keep it pumping throughout the day, you may need to tackle that habit first. Caffeine and other stimulants only exacerbate anxiety. If you want the anxiety to diminish, first the caffeine has to vanish.

 

 

 

You can beat Anxiety!

Bottom line: you don’t have to live with constant anxiety. Yes, it will take work. Yes, it will take time. Yes, it will take patience–with yourself, and with others. But anxiety is not a normal part of life—for women, for moms, for men, for dads, for kids, for anyone.

 

If you’re suffering from any form of anxiety, please seek help. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider and ask what treatments might be best for you. And if you’re not finding the right answers, keep searching and asking until you do.

 

Don’t let anxiety get the better of you. Start right now. Breathe. Deeply. In and out. And again–in and out. Then, repeat after me, “This anxiety is not me. If I seek help and let it in, I can, and will overcome this anxiety, one breath, one moment, one step at a time.”

 

 

Do you struggle with anxiety? What is most helpful for you in treating symptoms of anxiety? What lessons have you learned that you can share with others experiencing the same thing? Please leave a comment, below, and let us know.

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[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Anxiety and Women: Facts. 

[2] Hibbert, C. (2016). 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. W.W. Norton Publishing: New York, NY.

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