Self-Care & Healing After Traumatic Events- What You Can Do

Self-Care and Healing After Traumatic Events- What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

The world is in turmoil. Each day, it seems, brings a new disaster, a new tragedy. Terrorism, hate, violence–these fill the news and social media, infecting not only adults but our children, our families.

Last year, my children’s schools had a series of lockdowns, week after week, because of phoned-in bomb threats throughout the school district. This was on the heels of the horrific school shootings that we all will never forget, and of course, everyone wanted to ensure the kids would be safe.

After a few months of investigation, it was discovered these were part of some online gaming scheme, where participants had to set up hard-to-trace bomb threats throughout the nation! My young children were traumatized by these lockdowns, so much so that I visited their schools to set up ways to help students feel safer and more comfortable, emotionally, during the lockdowns. And all this because some gamers thought it would be a thrill to set up innocuous bomb threats?

Vicarious Trauma from World Events

It is easy to feel traumatized by the events of the world. Whether we are directly impacted or not, these events have a ripple effect, leaking fear and anxiety and stress into all of our lives, in one way or another. We may vicariously experience trauma simply from hearing about or seeing images of these events. This trauma can be just as overwhelming as if we had actually been there, and it requires attention and treatment.

What are we to do?

There is no one magic solution for healing from trauma. We are each unique and experience traumatic events in our own unique ways. This means we will each need our own plan for healing from trauma.

The important thing to acknowledge, however, is we DO need a plan for healing, and that plan begins with self-care. How can we care for our needs during difficult times? Following are some answers for the questions you might have. Use these suggestions, in whatever combination feels most beneficial to you, to help you heal.

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What is the psychological (and physical) impact of exposing yourself to traumatic events via television, radio and social media? 

It is possible to be traumatized simply by watching or listening to details about violent and traumatic events. I refer to this as “second-hand, or vicarious, trauma.”

Exposing oneself to trauma and violence of any kind, even second-hand through TV, radio, or social media, can result in mental and physical trauma to one’s own psyche, brain, and body.

Trauma, by definition, is an emotional response to any event in which there is a real or perceived threat. This includes the threats of feeling like “the world is not safe,” “people are hurtful, hateful, and unsafe,” or “what is the world coming to?” all of which are common responses to the perpetual violence we witness through the news, especially these past years. 

Possible symptoms of this kind of vicarious trauma include:

  • extreme worry, fear, panic, anger, or anxiety
  • feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or depression
  • a negative view of the world, other people, and oneself that may impact self-esteem and self-worth
  • physical symptoms, like gastrointestinal problems, headaches, trouble sleeping, and vulnerability to illness

 

 

What are some coping strategies to help us deal with tragedies in healthy ways?

While it can be healthy to be informed of what’s going on in the world, overexposing yourself to traumatic events through media is not healthy. It is one thing to watch a news segment or read an article about these events; it is quite another to spend hours doing these things. 

1. Minimize and limit your interactions with videos, words, and images about traumatic events, first and foremost. Then, it is equally important that you process what you’re feeling in healthy ways, such as: talk about your feelings with a close friend or family member, write about what you’re experiencing, or seek help from a counselor or therapist who can help you discuss and seek understanding about what you feel, in healthy ways.

 

2. If you feel pulled to continually engage with the traumatic events, then set a time limit for yourself. “I will only watch this program for 15 minutes.” Or, “I will only look up facts about this for 30 minutes.” Set a timer, and then stop when it goes off, again giving yourself time to process what you feel afterword.

3. Don’t minimize what you feel. You may tell yourself you have no right to feel so traumatized or upset by violent acts, because you weren’t there, or it didn’t happen directly to you, but you do have a right to feel however you feel. When one soul is hurt, we all hurt, and violence on a grand scale is traumatic for one and all.

4. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes—sadness, heartache, disgust, anger, fear, distress. Whatever emotions arise, FEEL them. FEEL means “Freely Experience Emotions with Love” (“This is How We Grow,” 2013, Hibbert). Allow a feeling to come. Don’t fight or deny or push it away. Sit with it. Let it be there with you, and lovingly remind yourself the feeling is not you. Sit with it, breathe deeply, and over time, it will loosen and lighten. If the feeling feels  too powerful, set a timer for 5 minutes. FEEL until the timer goes off, and then allow yourself to put it out of your mind until tomorrow. Repeat each day, perhaps increasing the time, until the emotions are no longer overwhelming. Again, a therapist can be very helpful with this.

Why is self-care important in the face of tragedy and trauma? 

Self-care is always important, but especially in the face of tragedy and trauma, because without it, you will have nothing left to help you cope. You can’t expect to overcome intense feelings, thoughts, and experiences without caring for your brain, body, mind, and emotions, and that’s what self-care is all about.

 

Top Self-Care Practices for Overcoming Trauma

The top three self-care practices I recommend, especially in times of trauma are: 1) sleep/rest, 2) exercise, and 3) nutrition. These are the three main ways we create energy, and we need energy to navigate the emotional ups and downs that come with traumatic experiences. Keep in mind, these can also be used to help children and the entire family heal. (More on Children & Grief, and Family and Grief, here)

1. Sleep as much as you need, and you may need more sleep than usual during this time of healing. If insomnia is an issue for you, talk to your doctor about a mild, temporary sleep aid to help you back to better sleep. Also, be sure to avoid caffeine completely, if possible, or late in the day at the least, and turn off electronics at least an hour or two before bed. Set up a calming bedtime routine to help coax you to sleep. And nap! Naps, sleeping in on weekends, and any extra sleep you can get help pay back that sleep debt that seems to accompany difficult times of life.

2. Exercise is one of the very best things we can do for our brain, body, and mind. It is like medicine in the treatment of a host of medical and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, panic attacks, and other trauma-related issues. Exercise  increases the neurotransmitters in the brain, like Serotonin, that make you feel well. It helps you sleep better, increases energy and “good” feelings, improves self-esteem/self-worth, and can even improve relationships. Make exercise work for you by doing activities you enjoy and just seeking to move. Start small, like taking an easy walk around the block, make it fun by playing sports or doing trying something new, use exercise to relax, like doing yoga and stretching, and mostly, take it at your own pace. My book “8 Keys to mental Health Through Exercise” is packed with strategies, tools, and ideas to get, and keep, you moving.

3. Nourishment and nutrition. Put foods into your body that give you energy; you’re going to need it. Eat the rainbow, seeking vibrantly-colored foods, protein, and whole grains. Omega 3 fatty acids are another great brain and mental health booster, so if you’re not eating foods like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, add a supplement.

Additional Powerful Self-Care Practices

 4. Cry, talk, and grieve. Let it all out with a trusted friend or family member. It’s good to let your emotions flow, and to grieve the losses that come with traumatic events.

5. Spiritual connection. Whatever this means to you, it’s important to reinforce your connection with something Greater. This may come through prayer, meditation, nature, family, mindfulness, or other practices, but it’s important to work on keeping this connection strong.

6. Rest, relax, and breathe. Give yourself a break. Let yourself heal. Set aside time for you. Rest through naps, relax by doing things you enjoy like getting a massage, watching a movie, or spending time with those you love. Whatever helps you let go of all that troubles you and just “be” for a while, do that.

7. Practice mindfulness. Focus on the present moment. Breathe it in, deeply, and out, slowly. Notice the beauty around you as you walk around your neighborhood. Pay attention to your child’s laughter, and drink in your partner’s embrace. When we purposefully focus on what’s right in front of us, moment-by-moment, when we breathe and meditate and ponder on the good that’s sometimes hard to see, we will find greater peace, love, and healing.

Self-Care & Healing After Traumatic Events-What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Tips for overcoming the sense of helplessness, or feeling the world is a dangerous place

1. First, acknowledge your worries and fear. Yes, the world can be dangerous. But again, focus on right now. Are you in danger now? Probably not. Remind yourself that you are safe right now.

 

2. Then, you can tackle the fears. We have the wrong idea about fear. Fear is not there to prevent bad things from happening; it usually prevents good. It stops you in your track and prevents you from moving forward into life. Tackle the fear by FEELing it (see above), talking about, writing about, and moving it out of your body through exercise. If it comes again, re-acknowledge it, FEEL, and move through it again.

 

3. It is also helpful to talk with a counselor, who can give you the tools to hear and change your thoughts, which are often the source of feelings of helplessness. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a wonderful tool to help you do this. (More on CBT here) Keep searching until you find the right person to help you, and your family, heal.

 

More on Trauma, Loss, Grief, and Healing here and here.

 

Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio on  iTunes or here, or watch episodes on my NEW webpage, “Motherhood TV!.”

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

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

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

 

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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

 

 

Self-Care and Healing After Traumatic Events- What You Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
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Motherhood Radio & TV- Exciting News!

Motherhood Radio News! www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #radio #tv #momsIt’s been over a year since I started “Motherhood Radio“–one year, two months, to be exact–and what a ride it has been!

It’s been an absolute delight meeting fabulous guests, sharing incredible products and ideas, and imparting “mom wisdom” from in-the-trenches moms who are getting it done.

But the best part, by far, has been connecting with you–moms of all ages and stages around the globe who have become part of our “Motherhood” community.

 

Now, we’re taking it up a notch.

Today begins a new chapter for Motherhood Radio, as I venture into hosting the show on my own website, SoundCloud, and iTunes accounts!

What does this mean? Basically, it means I will have much more freedom with the show, and that I’ll be able to post it on several other podcast apps/sites, making it easier than ever to find, subscribe to, and access! This means the same fun, engaging, high quality shows will reach more listeners in an easier, more user-friendly way!

 

New episodes will continue to air each Monday morning…

So, be sure to check for new episodes regularly here on my Motherhood Radio page. Or, subscribe to have new episodes automatically delivered to your device through iTunes or SoundCloud or your favorite podcast site. (If you subscribed previously, you’ll need to resubscribe to this new platform.)

Yes, you can still access previous episodes through the WebTalkRadio website and iTunes platforms, and soon, you’ll also be able to access these episodes and subscribe to show updates through my website!

 

This week’s new NEW episode is right here and also on my Motherhood Radio page!

 

Finally, and this is VERY exciting…

Coming soon–Motherhood TV! Yes, I’ve been recording videos of the shows all along, but now we are working on forming an entire network of shows/videos all for YOU wonderful moms!

This is going to be a fun and fabulous way to engage, learn, and grow through motherhood together, and I can’t wait to share it with you! In the meantime, you can watch video of each radio episode on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to automatically receive new videos to your YouTube account, and you can also subscribe to my YouTube “Motherhood TV Playlist” and new episodes will pop up each week.

 

Let’s Grow Through Motherhood Together!

Many exciting things are ahead for our Motherhood community, so be sure to join our “Growing Through Motherhood” Facebook Group, if you haven’t already! Part educational, part support group, part community of moms who are in the thick of it with you, this is THE place for learning and growing as moms. It’s also the place where I post updates and where you can connect with my fabulous guests. Tell your friends, and be sure to share who you are, your questions, frustrations, and joys with us there!

I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you as we “grow through Motherhood” together each week on Motherhood Radio and TV!

 

 

Questions? Comments? Leave a comment, below!

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio here, on  iTunes or here, or watch episodes on YouTube or my NEW webpage, “Motherhood TV!.”

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Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Motherhood Radio News! www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #radio #tv #moms
Let’s Connect! 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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When Life Drops You on Your Head| 5 Post-Concussion Lessons I’m Still Learning

When Life Drops You On Your Head- 5 Post-Concussion Lessons I'm Still Learning www.DrChristinaHibbert.comA mom falls over a wall while trying to parkour…

It’s not the beginning to a joke. No, it’s been my reality for the past seven weeks.

Apparently, I was attempting to “parkour,” or do a fancy little jump up and off of a knee-tall, brick planter box wall, when my yoga pants caught on my foot, and instead of twirling and landing gracefully as I’d envisioned, my leg hit the wall and I flipped and fell, hard, headfirst onto the ground.

I say “apparently,” because I still have no memory of the incident. I remember we were at my daughter’s choir concert and they’d just been singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I remember leaving early and hearing my husband say, “Hey, Christi! Parkour,” as he successfully jumped up and off the small wall. I remember thinking, “Totally! I’ve been working out hardcore, and I can parkour!” Apparently not.

 

Day 2 Post-concussion. The huge bump under my right side hairline has diminished and now my forehead and side of my face are swollen with fluid. I'm also getting the first bit of a shiner, which at this point, looks like pretty eyeliner. So, I've got that going for me.

Day 2 Post-concussion. The huge bump under my right side hairline has diminished and now my forehead and side of my face are swollen with fluid. I’m also getting the first bit of a shiner, which at this point, looks like pretty eyeliner. So, I’ve got that going for me.

The result was a concussion—my first, and boy was I clueless about what it means to get a “moderately severe” concussion. The next morning I was on Facebook and Instagram, dizzy and dazed, posting about my “concussion” from trying to “parkour,” laughing about it the whole time. “How ridiculous am I?” I joked. “Taking it easy and on the mend. I’ll be back to normal in no time!” Wrong. (Note: People should not be allowed on social media when they’ve had a concussion.)

Later that day, attempting to put the pieces of what happened back together, I listened to the recording my husband, OJ, made of me that night (you can hear a little of it, below). Oh. My. Goodness. I must have repeated the same ten phrases several dozen times. “Ow… Did I really hit my head? It feels like a dream–not real. Was I trying to parkour? Why would I do that? Should I go to the doctor? I hit my head? Oh, that is NOT good. I’m losing brain cells. Was I trying to parkour? Why would I DO that?” You get the picture.

OJ, being the “I can handle anything” guy he is, was carefully watching and tending to me. He figured he knew the signs of trouble for a concussion (he’s a dentist, after all–that’s pretty much like an ER doc, right?) and if he saw any, he’d take me to the hospital. I never blacked out. Good sign. Yes, I was nauseous, but even though I came close I did not lose my dinner at any point. My pupils weren’t dilated. Another good sign.

One week post-concussion. In a weird way, I appreciated the bruising. At least it was an injury people could SEE, and I didn't try to hide it for that very reason.

One week post-concussion. In a weird way, I appreciated the bruising. At least it was an injury people could SEE. I didn’t even try to cover it up, for that very reason.

There was a huge egg of a bump on my head, but there are ice and acetaminophen for that. And yeah, I couldn’t remember anything much, but I could remember a little–“I remember ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,'” I kept repeating. Very good. Still, even he had to admit he was a little worried when, two hours later, I was still repeating those same phrases. “I hit my head? Oh that is NOT good. I’m losing brain cells. Shouldn’t I go to the doctor?…”

“Uh… maybe,” he finally said.

Thankfully, I did start remembering things, and I did stop crying and start making some sense–at least a little. He faithfully monitored me through the night and I had no complications. Whew! I thought I was over the worst.

 

Sounds of a Concussion

Here’s a little sampling of what I sounded like, 2 hours post-concussion. OJ recorded me the whole time, and mostly I was sobbing and repeating myself over and over–not pretty. This part, however, I find humorous, knowing OJ had already heard me say these things dozens of times, and now here I was, trying to tell my son Colton what had happened. I do have some memory of this, but it’s still a bit hazy! (On a side note, below is the tweet Colton sent out the next day. Pretty funny!)

 

 

Lesson 1: A Concussion is a Big Deal–And So is Any Life Trauma

My Mom Got a Concussion www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

I’ve learned that, complications or no, a concussion is a big deal. Symptoms will vary but will most definitely impact your daily life, and it can take quite a long time to recover, depending on how severe and where on the brain the injury occurred.

My main symptoms were:

  • extreme dizziness, to the point I couldn’t walk without falling over for a couple of weeks
  • intense headaches
  • light and noise sensitivity at first
  • some memory loss, and cloudy thinking
  • a very sore neck, which had been twisted in the process of falling

I’d seen brain scans of concussions, but they were mostly from football or boxing injuries. Mine seemed so small by comparison that I minimized everything. But I was wrong. Any concussion is a big deal, and it must be treated like one. This is your brain we’re talking about! You’re going to need it, so you’d better take care of it.

The same goes for life traumas of all kinds. Though it may not directly change your brain functioning as drastically as a physical injury, emotional injuries do impact the brain, too. We feel “dizzy” or “broken” or overcome by the slightest thing, and we tell ourselves, “It’s not a big deal. Move on.” No. When life drops you, in any way, don’t minimize what you’re feeling, and don’t minimize what it will take to heal.

 

 

Lesson 2: When Life Drops You on your Head, You’d Best Learn Something

Going to my daughter's end-of-year presentation, pushed by my son, Tre, in a wheelchair. Even though it felt embarrassing, I asked for help and let it in. Yay, me!

Going to my daughter’s end-of-year presentation, pushed by my son, Tre, in a wheelchair. Even though it felt embarrassing, I asked for help and let it in. Yay, me!

I’m a big believer in growing through whatever trials may come. I’ve certainly had my share, and this one seemed small by comparison. Still, I knew I had some learning to do.

Immediately, I thought, “This is a sign I need to slow down, and so I will. I will just let myself recover.” I had no choice, really, because I was completely out—unable to do much of anything but recover. This was the end of the school year, though, and only a few weeks after my latest book came out. Summer was coming, meaning kids needing me all day, and I had things to do! Still, I stopped everything, believing I’d be back to normal within a week, or two, at least. Wrong once more.

I am re-learning patience. And I’m learning about gentleness. Being gentle with myself–not only with my recovering brain, but with my emotions, with my sense of self-worth, with who I feel like I am right now, and who I still hope to be.

When life drops you on your head, what do you need to learn? Stop and listen until you know. I’m still listening…

 

Lesson 3: When You Get a Concussion (or ANY Life Trauma) it’s Eseential to Let Yourself Heal

My last year of grad school, I did a neuropsychology internship in a brain injury unit of a hospital. I’d seen the effects of TBI’s (Traumatic Brain Injuries), but it wasn’t until I started searching, “How to Recover from a Concussion” that I realized I had had one. A mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), but still, trauma is trauma, and it’s no good for the brain.

I knew this the night of my fall and even gave myself a mental status exam at one point to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind! “I need to see if I’m oriented to person, place, time and situation,” I told OJ. He asked me the questions, and I was. Whew again! Yes, a concussion is a brain injury, and once I got that through my thick skull, it seemed somehow easier to accept that it would take time to heal.

I’ve had to let myself heal from emotional trauma so many times, and I felt like I was good at it. But this time, I’ve been forced to completely stop and heal. It is CRUCIAL to let my brain heal properly for as long as it takes, and the same goes for healing from emotional wounds. I’m still working on this, one day at a time.

 

Lesson 4: Others May Not See or Understand Your Injury, but Don’t Let That Stand In Your Way

At first, I saw this as a much-needed, forced break. “Great,” I thought. “I could definitely use some rest.” I let myself sleep, nap, lie down, do nothing, and just heal. But after a couple weeks, the emotional symptoms set in. I was prepared by my internet researching; depression, anxiety and frustration are common with post-concussion syndrome.

Still, it hit me hard–sadness, feeling worthless, fearing I’d never be well again. I was down and out, for sure. After a few days of that, I was able to pull myself out, thank goodness, but the dizziness continued, and that made me doubt I’d ever be well again. (Yet another common symptom of post-concussion syndrome).

The hardest part has been that others see me as normal, though I don’t always feel normal. It reminds me of depression–how hard it is for others to see. Not that they don’t want to see I’m still struggling; just that it’s not easy to tell. When others respond toward you like you’re back to normal, the temptation is to act like it’s true.

But I’ve learned, for real this time, that it’s wrong to do so. We MUST let ourselves heal for as long as it takes, and even if no one else understands how hard recovery may be, it’s still important to stand strong and do what you must.

At four weeks, I went to the doctor and I believe his exact words were, “It will just take time and rest. It could be weeks or it could be months.”

My post-concussion armory. Earplugs, to help me sleep, water, sunglasses to block light, acetominaphin for the pain, and an army of essential oils to calm, soothe, and comfort my bruising, aching, and swelling.

My post-concussion armory. Earplugs, to help me sleep, water, sunglasses to block light, acetominaphin for the pain, and an army of essential oils to calm, soothe, and comfort my bruising, aching, and swelling.

I’d been eating “brain foods,” sleeping as much as possible, using essential oils, taking vitamins, avoiding physical activity and too much mental stimulation, trying to avoid any and all stress (good luck!), and stay down. Ironically, just after the release of my new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” I’d found the one thing exercise isn’t good for—a head injury!

When I asked the doctor what I should DO to heal quickly, I believe his exact words were: “Try to minimize screen time, especially phone and computers but also TV, physical activity, and social interaction. Oh, and thinking.”

What?! He’d just listed my daily routine!

What was I supposed to do? Lie on my bed and stare out the window? Yes. Or lie in a hammock and stare. Or close my eyes and just “be.” These have been my goal these past many weeks, and while it may sound dreamy to those who are overwhelmed by stress and kids and work and life (like I usually am!), trust me, it’s not dreamy when you literally can’t do what you normally could for weeks upon end.

 

Lesson 5: Learning…and Healing…Take Time

7 weeks later, I’m still dizzy off and on, I’m still slow to remember words (“What’s the word again? It’s not ‘fair’ or ‘parade’ or ‘carnival’…It’s…fireworks! Let’s go to the fireworks!”). I can’t work on a computer for more than an hour without getting cross-eyed and my head spinning.

What a Guy! www.DrchristinaHibbert.com

I can easily overdo it lately–and by overdoing it I mean answering emails, or helping someone with a problem, or reading a thought-provoking book, or writing; or going to the beach for vacation and playing in the waves with my kids. These are things I used to do easily, all in one day. Now, it’s hard to do just one or two without paying the price, and even harder to NOT do them at all, which is what I need to do and am trying to do as much as possible.

So, why has all this happened? That’s my big question, and I’m still listening for answers I know will eventually come. One thing I know is it’s forced me to stop. It’s forced me to reevaluate everything. It’s forced me to be different than I would usually be. It’s forced me to be still. And I believe we could all use a little more stillness, especially when we’ve been through something tough.

I know I need more stillness. It’s not easy for me, but it’s something I’ve known I needed for a while. Isn’t that always the way? When we don’t listen to those whispers, life steps in and forces us to listen.

There are certainly worse things than this, and I know I will recover in time. Again, I am re-learning patience. Always, learning patience. I am learning more of who I am and of what I am truly capable. I am learning what I need to learn. Isn’t that the benefit of being dropped on your head? The opportunity to once again grow.

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio on  iTunes or here, or watch episodes on my NEW webpage, “Motherhood TV!.”

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

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

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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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

When Life Drops You On Your Head- 5 Post-Concussion Lessons I'm Still Learning www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
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Making a Difference: Help for The Refugee Crisis-What You & Your Family Can Do

Making a Difference-Help for the Refugee Crisis, What You & Your Family Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.comI believe in trying to make a difference–in helping, serving, offering hope, and lifting others in need. Making a contribution is one of my top priorities, right under family and faith, and I know many of you feel the same–that contributing to the greater good is not only important in life, but essential.

 

There are many worthy causes, however, and it can be tough to know where to begin. How do we know who really needs us? What can we actually do? And how can we raise children who embody and will carry on the same values of service and love?

 

Help for the Refugee Crisis

Recently, I interviewed Hayley Smith, a young woman who had been asking herself some of these same questions. Hayley founded Lifting Hands International–a non-profit that serves refugees, here and overseas, getting these families “what they need, simple and politics-free.” She did so in response to witnessing first hand the dire needs of refugees in Greece. After spending time with many families who’d been displaced from house, home, and country. Hayley saw a need and acted, forming her 501c3 organization just in time for others to get involved.

 

Hayley, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or LDS church, of which I’m also a member), says she felt compelled to form Lifting Hands a few months ago, though she didn’t fully understand why and knew it was a daunting task. She was simply listening to and following her intuition. Shortly after her non-profit was official, during the general conference of the LDS church–an event that reaches around the world to its 15 million members–the leaders of the church asked and urged members to get involved with the refugee crisis and do what each family is able to do to make a difference. Hayley’s organization was ready to go, and suddenly, countless individuals and families were contacting her to see how they might help, too.

 

That’s how I became involved with Lifting Hands, and Hayley. I was asking what I could do

Driving collected items from my home in Flagstaff down to Hayley, in Phoenix. It's so easy to get involved and make a difference!

Driving collected items from my home in Flagstaff down to Hayley, in Phoenix. It’s so easy to get involved and make a difference!

when a friend mentioned Lifting Hands. She said they were doing a drive of simple items, like shoes, underwear, maxi pads, and diapers, that the refugees need desperately. I became a donation site in my town. My kids and I collected whatever used items we had (like backpacks, hats, and gently worn sandals), purchased some new items, and added them to the collected donations from dozens of other families here in Flagstaff, who were ready and happy to help. It was wonderful seeing small children show up with their parents to drop items off, showing how easy it is to get our kids involved, too. Then, I drove them down to the main donation collection site, in Phoenix. It was a very small thing, but it was something I could do–something we could do.

 

Still, I wanted to do more. So, I invited Hayley onto “Motherhood,” and now I’m writing this post to encourage any of you who might like to be of service to get involved, too. I realize the refugee crisis is a charged political issue, but I urge you to step away from politics for a moment and see it for what it really is–a human issue. Already, in only a few weeks, this cause made a huge impact on my life–learning about the plight of these families, and their stories (watch Hayley’s interviews with refugees on her YouTube channel, here), and giving me a simple way to make a real difference in the lives of these families who have lost and been through so very much. It makes me want to continue to help these families, to do more, to use my talents and skills to make a broader difference; it makes me want to share this opportunity with all of you.

 

 

What Can You and Your Family Do?

Listen to Hayley’s experiences on this week’s powerful “Motherhood” episode. She not only explains what she’s witnessed, but she explains the bigger picture in a moving way that will hopefully inspire you to want to get involved and help.

 

Then, do what you can to make a difference–for the refugees, or whomever needs your help today. There are so many ways to serve–from caring for your own young children, to helping others with their children, to joining a local food drive, to becoming part of a worldwide relief effort for the millions of refugees in crisis. Truly, the best service is simply to look and see who is in need, and then, to love greatly. We all know that when we serve and help and lift and love others, we get so much more in return.

Making a Difference-Help for the Refugee Crisis, What You and Your Family Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

As we reach out in love and service to others, we can invite our children to help us, and as they grow older, we can encourage them to find their own causes where they can make a difference. We can show them our desire to lift and serve, and then pass it on–to our children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends. As we seek to serve and love others, we will make a difference in the lives of our loved ones, too, by being the example of one who is willing to stand up, serve, and make a difference in the world today.

 

 

How can you get involved in the refugee crisis?

First, listen to Hayley’s story and feel inspired. Then, check out the Lifting Hands International Website for ways to donate money, used items, and time. Other reputable organizations you may want to get involved with include:

Making a Difference-Lifting Hands International www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

International Rescue Committee

The Welcome to America Project

Listen to my episode of “Motherhood” radio on “Making a Difference: Help for the Refugee Crisis” and  “Choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  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

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

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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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Making a Difference-Help for the Refugee Crisis, What You & Your Family Can Do www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

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

 

 

 

 

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3 Steps to Enhancing & Trusting Your Intuition

3 Steps to Enhancing & Trusting Intuition www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I wanted to see if I really could hear and follow my “conscience,” my intuition, the Spirit, the whispers. So, I did an experiment. I decided that, for one week, I would listen extra carefully to that inner, guiding voice and obey whatever it told me to do. It changed my life.

 

I’ve always been a spiritually-focused person. I pray, meditate, and study scriptures each day. I’ve always felt the bigger, greater purpose in life and have sought to know more about it. Now, however, I was learning in a whole new way–not with my brain, mind, or even my heart, but from the depths of my spirit, my soul. The more I slowed down and paid attention, the more whispers I heard. The more I heard, the more I followed, and quickly I began to see the miracle of trusting my intuition–peace. Peace, because life became so much smoother. Not easier, exactly, but smoother–like following a trail of bread crumbs toward a desired result.

 

Yes, a few of the bigger things felt smoother. Things like big decisions I needed to make about school and family life, or changes in my schedule that led to greater balance in my school, family, and home life with my husband and two children. Even more so, however, it was the little things. “The baby’s crying after his nap, but I just got in the bath. Ugh! I guess I’ll get out,” I’d tell myself. Then, I’d hear, “Wait.” So, I would. And you know what? He’d fall back asleep for another half hour. Or I’d feel I should stop for gas now, even though I still had a quarter tank left and wanted to just get home. But, I would, and the next morning, leaving for a long drive I’d be running late and think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to stop for gas right now!” Life felt so much smoother.

 

These big and little things taught me a valuable lesson: We all have this inner voice–intuition, conscience, the Spirit (whatever you want to call it)–and when we work on enhancing our ability to listen to and trust it, the payoff can be great. As I wrote in This is How We Grow: “We spend so much time and energy trying to do it on our own, do it our way, that we miss the very voice whispering exactly what we need. By submitting, humbling ourselves, and actively listening to those whispers, we receive answers, and by obeying those promptings we receive an ease and certainty about life. As one author so aptly put it: ‘Knock, ask, listen, receive, obey.’ It really is the simplest and most fulfilling way to live.” (p.388-9)

Paddle-boarding on a still lake at dawn--peaceful, quiet, ready to listen.

Paddle-boarding on a still lake at dawn–peaceful, quiet, ready to listen.

 

Yes, following our intuition is the simplest and most fulfilling way to live. It can not only protect us and keep us safe, through warnings and promptings that we heed; it can also lead us down that path of prosperity, peace, and personal power. It can lead us to the life we are meant to live, the work we are meant to do, the person we are destined to become. We will feel the power of following our intuition as we seek to enhance our ability to trust and obey the whispers. (For more, listen to my episode of “Motherhood” on Trusting your Intuition, and hear about a revolutionary home security system, SimpliSafe, too! For safety tips, follow SimpliSafe on Twitter!)

Watch the YouTube video of “Trusting and Following Your Intuition” here.

 

 

3 Steps to Enhancing and Trusting Intuition

The big question, as always, though, is how? How can we enhance our ability to hear, trust, and follow our intuition–in the small and big things of life? I have three simple steps I have found useful. I hope they will do the same for you!

 

1) Decide. First, we must decide we want to live this way–we want to follow our intuition and see where it leads us. That’s what author Gail Harris encouraged in our recent “Motherhood” radio episode on trusting our intuition, and I agree. Until we decide to live by our intuition–to trust and obey those whispers–we simply won’t be committed enough to actually hear and follow them. We must choose to trust that inner voice in order to then practice trusting and following it.

 

2) Experiment and practice. Just like I did years ago, it’s important to experiment and practice hearing and trusting your inner voice. If you’ve already decided this is how you want to live, then you’re well on your way. Next, you can choose to put that desire into daily, hourly, and really, moment-ly practice. It will take time to learn to hear the whispers of the Spirit, your conscience, or your intuition. Give yourself that time. It will take practice, trial and error, to know when it’s trying to tell you something, to stop and pay attention, and to follow. When you don’t listen and follow your intuition, you’ll know, because you’ll come to a block or a challenge or a realization that “I should’ve listened…” We practice, and we learn, and we practice again, and practice makes progress. Practice will eventually enhance our ability to trust, follow, and obey our intuition.

3 Steps to Enhancing and Trusting Intuition www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

3) Listen and obey. This is part of experimenting and practicing, but deserves its own step, because it’s really “the way” we learn to trust and follow our intuition. Moment by moment, listen for the whispers. Hear what they’re telling you. It may not actually sound like words but might be more of a feeling of what to do or not do. Pay attention to this feeling. Remember, intuition is soft and quiet. It’s not a loud shouting voice or feeling; it’s most often gentle but direct guidance. If you’re not still and quiet enough to listen, you will miss many of those promptings. Make stillness a part of your intuition practice. Meditate, pray, ponder, or just sit still and “be” for a while. Journal about what you hear or feel or sense within. All of these can help you develop that ability to more easily hear or feel those whispers as you grow.

 

Many people ask, “How do I know if it’s my intuition or just my brain, telling me what to do?” Here’s what I tell them: Your conscience won’t argue or reason about things; it will simply tell it like it is. “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” If you’re hearing things like, “Maybe I should…,” “I wonder if…” or “But what if…” it’s more likely your mind or brain reasoning things out. While it’s important to use our brains to reason things out sometimes, intuition works in a different way. It says it like it is. No “should’s” or “what if’s,” just direct, simple, soft guidance. Following our intuition is about learning to hear and trust those direct whispers that will lead us to Truth and Love and Joy and Peace–to our ultimate life’s purpose and the fulfillment of it.

 

 

Final Step…Repeat, and Learn

Repeat this process as many times as it takes to trust yourself and the guidance you continually receive. This is a skill, just like learning to play a musical instrument, and it must be practiced daily in order to feel proficient at it. In fact, for most of us I’d say our practice will most likely be life-long.

 

What’s the payoff? You’ll have to discover that for yourself, but from my experience, overall, the payoff of living by trusting and following your intuition is living with greater peace. Peace with knowing you’re doing what is “right” for you at every step, peace with feeling the power of a life of intuition that leads you to who you’re destined to be, and peace with yourself, for letting yourself be led where you ultimately need to go.

 

Listen to my episode of “Motherhood” radio on “Trusting and Following Your Intuition,” and learn about SimpliSafe, too! “Choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  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“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

3 Steps to Enhancing & Trusting Intuition www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

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

 

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day: The One Thing ALL Moms Need

Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

There’s a lot of talk this time of year about what to get Mom for Mother’s Day, of what we moms want, what we deserve, and what we truly desire. While all of these are undoubtedly important, I want to talk for a few minutes about what moms actually need for Mother’s Day.

 

If I asked, “What do you need right now?” the answers would vary. “A nap.” “A shower.” “To go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door!” “A couple hours just to myself.” “To get out of the house and have some fun.” “A hug.” “Encouragement.” “Support.” “Help.” “Love.” Our needs are important; as moms, I’d even say they’re crucial. When we fail to address our needs, we, and those around us (especially our children, spouses and families), suffer. We become worn out, burned out, depressed, and ill. As I often say, “It’s called a need because you need it.” (More on How to Get Your Needs Met, here.)

 

 

The One Thing ALL Moms Need

It’s one thing to be told we’re great. From familyMother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need www.DrChristinaHibbert.com, friends, at church or even on TV on Mother’s Day, we hear praise for mothers. Our children’s poems, gifts, and cards tell us we’re wonderful. The question is, “Do we believe it?” Do we feel it, deep inside? Do we let ourselves feel good about the good job we’re doing as moms?

 

I’ve had many Mother’s Days when I didn’t believe this. Mother’s Days when all that praise backfired drastically, leaving me feeling lower than low, guilty for all I wasn’t doing, unable to see all I was. I believed there was no way I could ever be as good as other moms, or even as good of a mom as I wanted to be. All I could see were my faults, how I didn’t measure up. It’s easy to do–to question, resist, and twist the praise into fuel for self-doubt and self-loathing.

 

It’s a miserable place to be, and yet as a psychologist working with countless moms over the years, I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way on Mother’s Day. It’s tragic–the one day we’re meant to be built up can put such pressure on us, we end up feeling deflated.

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I've had some time to myself, too. How can I ever doubt my worth as their mother when we love each other so?

I love spending quality time with my kids, but I love it even more when I’ve had some time to myself, too. How can I ever doubt my worth as their mother when we love each other so?

 

Through these experiences, I’ve learned it’s not the holiday itself or the words of others that takes what’s meant to be good and makes it something miserable. It’s something going on inside of me. It’s only when I’ve been focusing too much on my weaknesses, or in a period of anxiety or depression or postpartum depression, or intense grief, trauma or heartache; when I’ve been overcome by a wayward child or struggling with my true worth–these are the times when I couldn’t believe the kind words said. And no amount of reiterating would help. The issue needed to be resolved at a deeper level.

 

My 8 year-old daughter gave me this today. I'm believing what she says--that I'm good at loving, caring, & making them happy!

My 8 year-old daughter gave me this today. I’m believing what she says–that I’m good at loving, caring, & making them happy!

 

How can we believe we’re doing great, good, or even good enough as a mother, when we just don’t?

By focusing on building ourselves and our self-worth as moms. We can:

 

1. Identify the thoughts and feeling that hold us down, telling us we’re not good enough. We can challenge and learn to change them, and as we do, we can progress to tackling the unwanted beliefs we hold, too. (Learn how to tackle unwanted thoughts and beliefs in this post and video.)

 

2. We can let ourselves FEEL (Freely Experience Emotions with Love) what Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comcomes, so it doesn’t get all stuck inside, causing blockages to our mind, heart, and soul. (Learn how to FEEL in this post and video and in my memoir, This is How We Grow.)

 

3. We can seek Divine help and guidance, remembering the honor of being a mother, no matter how hard it is. We can remind ourselves that we are being led and cheered on by those on High. As we seek, listen, and obey the whispers, we will find a peace and joy in our role as “Mom,” knowing we are doing an important work, and that we truly are not alone.

 

4. We can actively work to build self-worth, not only for our own benefit, but so we can show our children how to do the same. (Learn how to build self-worth using my “Pyramid of Self-Worth” here and in my books Who Am I Without You and 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. Listen to How to Teach Your Daughters Self-Esteem & Self-Worth.)

 

5. Finally, we can choose, just for this moment, to believe. “You are good enough.” “You are a good mother.” “You are actually a great mother!” What if you chose to believe any or all of these things, moment by moment this Mother’s Day? How might that change you for the better? 

 

 

This Mother’s Day, Believe…

Mothers, trust me, you are doing better than you think you are. You are loving, Mother's Day--The One Thing ALL Moms Need, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comserving, getting up and trying again and again, and again. You are sacrificing, weeping, rejoicing, and seeking self-improvement through it all. If one of these things feels lacking in your life right now, guess what? It’s okay. It’s an opportunity to open yourself up and become even “better than better”–to eventually flourish!

 

Motherhood is truly the best soil for personal growth. Plant yourself. You’ll be amazed by how vast and high and far you will grow. Choose to believe it this Mother’s Day. Help other mothers believe it: You’re better than you think you are. You’re worthy, you’re remarkable, you’re doing the most important work. Let yourself feel the honor of bearing the name, “Mom.”

 

 

 

“You are good enough.” “You are a good mother.” “You are actually a great mother!” What if you chose to believe any or all of these things, moment by moment this Mother’s Day? How might that change you for the better? Share your thoughts below, by leaving a comment. 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio and “choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  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“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 Mother's Day-The One Thing ALL Moms Need; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

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

 

 

 

 

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Who Am I – in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood? Identity, Full Circle (#PSIBlog Hop 2016)

"Who Am I" in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood?- Identity, Full Circle. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016 #ppd #pregnancy #postpartum #motherhood #identity

“Who am I, now that you are here?” It’s the title of a song I wrote about my experience with postpartum depression, after my first son was born. For me, PPD was about so much more than feeling sad or anxious or depressed. It was about who I thought I’d been, who I was now, and who I would become.

Identity is at the core of becoming a mother. It’s an essential part of this experience, from pre-conception until the end, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that our identity—as individuals, women, and mothers—will ever evolve through our mothering journey.

 

 

Pre-Motherhood Identity
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. I envisioned my little "Who Am I?" Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood #PSIBlog Hop 2016; www.DrchristinaHibbert.comfamily (“definitely not six kids,” I’d told my mom. Having been the oldest of 6 , I would never be up for that kind of responsibility. Never say never.). I believed I knew myself well, and I could see the kind of mother I would be. I would play with my children, making memories with smiles, showing them the world, staying home full-time and loving it. They would be my life, I would be theirs, and life would be good. How little I understood of what lay ahead–of how this vision would be tested, of how I would be tested, pushed, pulled and often shoved–pruned, uprooted, and planted again, and again.

 

Before that tiny being is laid in our arms, do we have any idea of what will be?

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Can we comprehend how much love will flood our heart? Do we sense the tiniest hint of the pain and struggle we will endure—physically, yes, but emotionally, even more so? Are we in any way prepared for the journey for which we are unknowingly enlisting–a journey of self-doubt, self-discovery, and self-transformation like no other?

 

 

Pregnancy Identity

The joy and misery of pregnancy hint at what’s coming, but we don’t realize it, do we? All I knew was my body was changing, my sense of attractiveness lost; I had to pee far too often and slept propped on 5 strategically-placed pillows to avoid acid reflux.

With my first and second pregnancies, I had pains no doctor could explain.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

They’d wipe me out for days. Two years later, they could finally tell me what it was–gallstones–and I finally found relief through surgery.

Near the end of my first pregnancy, I couldn’t wait for the baby to finally be out! All we can think of is how uncomfortable, exhausted, and “done” we are. Little do we know what’s just around the bend. A breach delivery should have tipped me off. He came out bottom first, and as I say, “He’s been giving me trouble ever since”—haha! But the trouble was just beginning. And so was the growth.

A growing body and soon-to-be growing family hopefully grow our mind and spirit, too. Pregnancy is the true beginning, the reality, the point of no return when we start to question who we once were, who we are becoming, and who we will be. As our baby grows inside, we hopefully grow internally, too, allowing questions as they naturally arise: “What will this baby be like?” “What will our family be like?” “What will I be like as a mother?” We hope for the best and expect it–at least, the first time. Perhaps in later pregnancies, we still hope for the best, yet we know all too well the challenges we may face once our little one is finally here.

 

 

Postpartum Identity

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood: Full Circle #PSIBlog Hop 2016 www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

With baby #2, I thought I was better, and I was. But I still ended up with postpartum depression. (My 2 year old is being a dinosaur here.)

I had four very different childbirth experiences; you’d think they’d yield four very different postpartum experiences. No such luck: postpartum depression every time.

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016

Beautiful baby girl was so loved! I only wish the depression and anxiety could have stayed away.

The first time, I penned the words, “Who am I now that you are here?” and put them to music. I’d purposefully dream of my beautiful boy at night, like I used to when I was dating my husband. But I no longer felt like a “me;” instead, I was a perpetual “we.” He was colicky, and I was not sleeping. We moved in with my parents and lived for 3 months on their living room floor because I had no clue what else to do. The first time I left to the store for a pacifier, alone, I felt like I’d broken out of jail.

With my second beautiful boy, I convinced myself I was better. I knew what postpartum depression was. I had my plan and support team. I was ready. My journals betray me, however, with the words “I want to run away. Not forever. Just for a while, so I can feel like me again.”

With the third–a beautiful baby girl–postpartum anxiety was thrown in the mix, just for kicks. And the fourth? That’s a long story. I wrote an entire book about it, but the Cliff Notes version is that after inheriting our two nephews

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

when my sister and brother-in law died, giving birth three weeks later, and going from three to six kids, needless to say, this postpartum experience was so much more than depression or anxiety. It was grief and trauma and desperation to help my family heal–to be strong enough to bear it all and to do it well. This postpartum experience was giving it all I had so I could be there for my children ages 11, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 0, even though my world and identity had been ripped to shreds. I was re-building my family, but really, I was re-building myself. “I’ll never fulfill my dream of being an author or speaker. How could I? I have six children! I am not made to handle this like other mothers are.” The things I told myself! Talk about self-doubt; at times, it was more like self-loathing—a sure sign of depression, once more.

Our postpartum experiences are so varied between us, and they also vary within

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

us. Though the common denominator–a periantal mood or anxiety disorder–is there, the manifestation of that denominator is never exactly the same. As we struggle and overcome and heal and move forward, we change. We grow. We become. And we find it’s the challenges we’ve faced—like PPD—that have made us who we are becoming.

 

 

Mom of Young Children, Teens, Young Adults Identity

Currently, I’m in the midst of all three of these mothering phases. With two in

After visiting my sisters' & other family members' gravesites, at the funeral of OJ's grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

After visiting my sisters’ & other family members’ gravesites, at the funeral of OJ’s grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

college, two in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up most of the time. The busyness, the activities, the emotional needs, the school projects! So much to do, so little time, and still, so many opportunities for personal growth.

I have faced non-postpartum depression and anxiety. I have overcome new traumas, losses, and grief. I have experienced so many trials and lows, and yet I have experienced so many joys, and so much love. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The very things that break us down ends up being the stimulus for unfathomable new growth.

As our little ones become not-so-little anymore, our identity changes again, especially as they begin to form their own identities as teenagers and young adults. It’s a new version of postpartum–watching them individuate and leave the nest, and it can pull at our heartstrings, especially when we see them flail or fail. It’s a time of wondering, “Who am I as a mother now—especially if they don’t seem to need me like they once did?”

Questioning brings answers, however, and if we are brave enough to face those answers, we will find our role as a mother isn’t so much fading as shifting once again. The opportunity for a new identity–one of the supporter, advisor, and simply lover of our children presents itself, and we begin to see ourselves evolve as our children do the same. In doing so, we just might find a new sense of freedom we haven’t had since our journey began—knowing our children are their own beings, and we are merely here to support and love them.

 

 

Mothering Identity is Ever-evolving

As mothers, our identity is ever-changing and, if we are willing to continually

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity--especially our marriage and relationships.

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity–especially our marriage and relationships.

examine ourselves, will be every evolving in positive, joyful ways. Our postpartum journey continues as we become grandmothers, as we nurture our own daughters and sons through their pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting journeys, as we share the wisdom we wish we’d known, and provide the support we wish we’d had. The gift of these new postpartum experiences is that we get to watch our grandchildren grow without the responsibility of being the parent, without the self-doubt that too often accompanies our own parenting journeys. We get to re-experience life through young, fresh eyes, and hopefully, find the joy we might have missed the first time around simply because we were too busy trying to figure it all out to stop and notice.

 

 

Full circle Back to “Me.”

And so we’ve come full circle. As we grow through motherhood, purposefully

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

seeking our truest self, pushing, learning, and taking our lessons in stride, we find we come back to the beginning, at the end. That’s what full circle means to me—coming back around to myself, and feeling more “me” than I ever have before.

 

 

What have your mothering identity changes been like? What’s been challenging for you? What lessons have you learned? How have you seen your experiences come “full circle?” Please leave a comment, below, and join the conversation!

 

 

  • 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:

 

 

2016 PSI Blog Hop: Invitation: "Full Circle" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Join the 4th annual Postpartum Support International Blog Hop! Read the guidelines here, write your “full circle” story, and then link up, below or here. Help raise awareness, support and hope, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month!

 

 

Join me at the Postpartum Support International Annual Conference, June 2016 in San Diego, where I’ll be speaking about postpartum identity, self-esteem, and tools for healing!

More information/to register, click here.

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio and “choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  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“ is here!

“…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!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

"Who Am I" in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood?- Identity, Full Circle. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016 #ppd #pregnancy #postpartum #motherhood #identity
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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

 

 

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:

 

 

Use the code below to embed the PSI Blog Hop logo on your site

PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.postpartum.net/join-us/psi-blog-hop-2015-maternal-

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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