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!

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#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
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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.”
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TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

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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!’

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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.

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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

 

 

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

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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

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

 

 

 

Let’s Connect! 

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

 

 

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

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Related Posts/Articles:

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

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

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

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

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Exercise As a Family: Before you get started…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

    the most baskets in one minute.

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

    “Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

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

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

    most things in each room.

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Whew!

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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

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

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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Related Posts/Articles:

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!

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Family, Mental Health, & Exercise 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

What are the Benefits of Exercising As A Family?

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

 

“The family who exercises together…

 

“…gets and stays healthy together–physically and mentally

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

“…has fun together.” 

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

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

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

 

“…remains active together, throughout life.”

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

 

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

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

 

Exercise as a Family

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

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

 

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

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

“Overcome, become, & flourish” by subscribing today!

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

 

 

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

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

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

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

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise as a Family to Build Strong Relationships, Mental & PHysical Health www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #exercise #family #mentalhealth

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

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

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

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

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“Which Comes First—Exercise or Self-esteem?

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

[ File # csp2089335, License # 2226530 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / val_th

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

“Exercise, Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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