Overcoming Mom Shame: #StopMomShaming Solutions (Mom.Life Q & A)

 

If you’re a mom, you’ve experienced it–unwanted advice, criticism, or shaming about your parenting, choices, or lifestyle that leaves you feeling devastated. Why are we so hard on each other? And why are we so hard on ourselves?

 

Mom.Life Mom-Shaming Survey Results

Mom-shaming is unfortunately an everyday part of today’s world, and the consequences can be heavy.

Recently, the creators of the engaging and popular Mom.Life app conducted a survey of over 225 women on the topic of mom shaming, or unwanted criticism of their choices or appearance, to understand the far reaching effects. Here’s what they found:

  • Nearly 80% percent of the women surveyed report being shamed.
  • 53% say that shaming happens frequently or is rampant.
  • The leading focus of the shaming was feeding choice, followed by parenting style.
  • Other moms are most likely to be shamers (70%).
  • Dads were the least likely to shame moms.

Why are these numbers so high? And why are moms feeling the most shamed by other moms?

 

Understanding Mom-Shaming

You would think other moms would be the most compassionate, sympathetic, and understanding. After all, don’t we all “get” how difficult motherhood and parenting can be? Aren’t we all in the thick of hectic schedules, lack of sleep, and worry that we’re just not doing as well as every other mom?

The sad truth is mom-shaming is a rampant problem, and Mom.Life has taken up the charge to do something about it–a cause I heartily support.

I recently sat down with Mom.Life co-founders, Dee Anna McPherson and Charong Chow, to discuss solutions to #StopMomShaming (the title of their campaign), and also did a Q&A in the Mom.Life app (so fun!), both of which I’m happy to be sharing with you. Listen to or watch our entire conversation in this Motherhood Radio or Motherhood TV episode, and read my take on mom-shaming solutions, below.

 

Mom Shame Q & A with Mom.Life and Dr. Christina Hibbert

A short while ago, I was a featured expert for one of Mom.Life‘s incredible live events. These events are geared toward creating a safe, supportive environment in which moms can engage, live, with one another and discuss topics important and relevant to motherhood.

The topic for the event I was part of was #StopMomShaming, and there were excellent questions by app users and incredible feedback that created an enlightening conversation. Below are some of the most helpful questions and answers from this event. My hope is it will get you thinking about mom-shaming, and how you can be part of the solution, too. (Download the Mom.Life app now to follow me and join the #StopMomShaming movement, and leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!)

 

Question 1 (Mom.Life):

What is your take on mom shaming? We recently surveyed our moms, and the results were astounding. About 80% of mom have been shamed, mostly for parenting choices? And most shamers were moms themselves. Could you shed some light into this dynamic?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

It’s awful so many are still feeling shamed on a regular basis, but unfortunately it’s not surprising to me. It’s so easy for us to get stuck in “our way” and then to beleive it’s the “best” or “only” way. This leads to intentional or unintentional shaming about choices, when in reality, it’s CRUCIAL we each do this parenting thing our own way.

No one knows your specific situation. No one knows your specific children. And no one is the expert on your family’s needs but YOU. If we could hold our tongues, see the differences in our situations and what works, and just love one another, we’d all be so much happier and feel so much more loved and supported.

 

Question 2 (Mom.Life):

Love your response and insight! Mom shaming is so hurtful. Why do you think it affects us so much, especially our self-confidence?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

It’s the worst to feel “attacked” at the heart of what matters most to you, and that’s exactly what mom shaming does. We are all just trying to figure this motherhood thing out, and as I said before, we each have our own unique situations. Since we’re all doing this without a map, we don’t KNOW 100% what we’re doing, right? Even if I have 6 kids, I still don’t know what I’m doing with every one of them, because they’re all so unique and what worked for one doesn’t work for others. This makes us vulnerable from the start. When someone criticizes in that vulnerable area, it hits extra hard. It makes us question, “Am I a terrible mother?” when really, the criticism says so much more about the person who gave it. It’s called “projection,” and the things we criticize others for are usually the things WE most need to work on. That’s why they bother us in the first place and we feel the need to criticize.

 

Question 3 (Mom.Life):

So, it’s not really about us, then? I love that. Here’s a question from a mom in the app: It seems like no matter who we are we get mom shamed, I am a young mom (20) and get mom shamed by my own mom…how do I shut this down?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

Being shamed by our own parents/in-laws is the worst, and it’s unfortunately quite common. Often it’s unintentional and just your mother’s way of tell you how “she did it”. Other times, it’s on purpose. I think this comes from insecurity, as all shaming does. If we feel that sense of self-worth, we don’t need to shame others.

Perhaps your mother just doesn’t “get” what you’re trying to do as a mom. Perhaps she is jealous of how you are as a mom. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to just sit and take it. Boundaries are a wonderful tool for this. Boundaries are rules you set up to protect yourself and your family. It’s like a fence you construct and you decide if it’s a picket fence or a tall brick wall. You decide what is and is not okay for you as a mom with others, and then you talk with them about what you’ve decided, and if they’re ok with it, then great. If not, you’ll need to be tough and keep your boundaries nonetheless. You can still love someone and have strong boundaries. In fact, it’s healthy.

Question 4 (Mom.Life):

Any tips on not allowing mom shaming to bother you to begin with?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

I think it all comes down to a strong sense of self-worth, and I’ve learned that we moms struggle with this the very most. I believe there’s a difference between self-esteem (or what we think, feel, how we behave, look, and what others think about us–the “outward” things) and self-worth (who we truly are–the inner truth). I’ve developed a “pyramid of self-worth” to help people work on building this sense of self-worth, to FEEL that self-love and KNOW they’re truly valuable and worthy.

Almost all the issues I see clients for, at their core, have to deal with self-worth, and I started to see this pattern of women especially who’d say, “I know YOU say I’m worthy, and I can tell myself that, but I don’t FEEL it.” It made me wonder, “how to you help someone feel self-worth?” That’s when I developed the pyramid of self-worth, which is made up of 1) self-awareness, 2) self-acceptance, and 3) self-love practices. I write about this in both my books “Who am I without You” and “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” as well as on my YouTube channel!

 

Question 5 (Mom.Life):

Here’s a great question from the community: How do you make sure you’re sharing the love when you bring another baby home? How do you make sure you’re there for your partner and also for your other children?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

I used to worry so much about this when I was pregnant with my second! I’d wonder, “How could I ever love another baby like I love my first?” But you do. And it’s amazing how your love just grows and amplifies with other children and meaningful family relationships–as a mom of 6 I can say this for sure!

What IS truly challenging is making time so everyone feels they’re getting “enough” of you. It’s important to also get some of yourself, too, so I suggest writing down your priorities–what matters most, in order of most important to least. Then, write down how much time you’re willing to give to each thing each week (including work, relationships, the house cleaning, etc). Focus on getting your top three done everyday, and you will never feel like you’re lacking. The house can be messy, especially if it means you played with your toddler and spent time with your spouse. Let go of what’s not as important in favor of what IS.

I love the saying, “Saying no to something is really saying ‘Yes’ to something better.” Write this on your wall if you need to, but remember that a little of your time and attention, especially if it’s full of love, goes a long, long way. One other suggestion for bringing another baby home: Give the older child a “gift” from the new baby. It’s a great way for big bro/sis to start feeling like and love for their new sibling!

Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

Question 6 (Mom.Life):

One mom writes: I can’t help but to keep blaming myself for my weight gain. It is my fault and I feel worse because I didn’t “bounce back” like everyone else. Any advice on how I can gain my confidence back and stop blaming myself so much?

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

Self-blame is a tough cycle to live in. It’s so easy to look at others and compare and think, “They are so much better than I am. I stink!” when really we don’t know their struggles, and they’re probably doing the same thing with us about something else. We compare our worst to others’ best, and that’s a vicious cycle. Our sense of self-worth is so tied up in this. If you don’t love yourself or if you can’t practice compassion with yourself–with who you are, your strengths, weakness, the “good, bad, ugly, and exceptional”– of course, you will blame yourself for every perceived “failure.”

The key is to work on building that sense of self-worth, as I mentioned above. Then, you will feel stronger and able to say, “I don’t like that I haven’t lost this weight, but I accept this is where I am right now.” Then, you have the option to change where you are, to improve. And you’ll be coming at it in such a healthier way. As far as weight loss, my newest book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” there’s a whole chapter on Self-worth, and I don’t even discuss setting up a fitness program until Key 7! That’s because, if we really want to set and achieve goals–like the goal to exercise or be healthy–we first need a LOT of mental preparation. We need to change how we view “success” and “failure,” we need to build our self-worth so we’ll stick with it, and we need to learn how to stay motivated. Working on these things is a great start to eventually loving all of who you are and achieving your dreams! (Join my “Exercise to Mental Health” course here!)

 

Question 7 (Mom.Life):

Here’s another good question from a mom: How can I feel less lonely as a new mom? How do I make sure I am my own person and not be known as JJ’s mommy? Is it selfish sometimes to be my own person? I don’t want to only be my son’s mommy.

Answer (Dr. Hibbert):

What a great question! First, let me say this clearly: IT IS NOT SELFISH FOR YOU TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON. I see so many mothers who are empty nesters and can’t even answer what they like to do because they’ve given ALL their time and energy to their children and lost themselves along the way. Our goal as mothers is to raise children who become healthy, productive, independent adults, so we do ourselves AND them no good by not remembering who WE are. In fact, I have seen in my own life and so many others’ the power of being YOU as a mom. As we develop our own talents and gifts and share them with others, we SHOW our children how to do the same. We give them permission to “go for it!” because we’ve done so, too. I took my 11 year old daughter with me to an event where I was speaking and doing a book signing, for parents who had all lost a child. She watched me speak and helped with the book signing and at the end of the day she said, “Wow, mom. You are important. You help so many people. I’m so proud of you!” This has helped her want to do the same. We can’t be selfish if we don’t have a SELF. And trust me, as mothers, we give our children so much more when we let that self shine boldly through!

 

 

Have you ever been shamed? By whom, and about what? Do you feel mom-shaming is a problem? Why or why not? What are the solutions to #StopMomShaming?

Join the conversation below by leaving a comment!

Join my “Exercise to Mental Health” 6-week online course! Visit www.ExercisetoMentalHealth.com for information!

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

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40 Physical & Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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

Exercise as a Family to Build Stronger Relationship, Mental & Physical Health

50 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

Exercise to Improve Self-Esteem

Exercise for Mental Health: Key 1, Make it Fun!

Meditation for Mental Health, Personal & Spiritual Growth: The Spirit Meditation

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
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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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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!)

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Family, Mental Health, & Exercise 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

What are the Benefits of Exercising As A Family?

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

 

“The family who exercises together…

 

“…gets and stays healthy together–physically and mentally

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

“…has fun together.” 

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

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

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

 

“…remains active together, throughout life.”

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

 

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

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

 

Exercise as a Family

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

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

 

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

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise

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

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

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.” Available now at
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! 

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Related Posts/Articles:

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

Improve your Self-Esteem with Exercise–Key 2!

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

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

40 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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

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

How to Get (& Stay) Motivated-Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 www.DrChristinahibbert.com #exercise #mentalhealth #motivation

It’s late January and there’s no better time to talk about motivation. We may have set goals, resolutions, and themes, but are we still going strong? Or is motivation starting to wane?

I’ve been counting the days ’til the release of my new book, “8 Keys To Mental Health Through Exercise,” but in the meantime, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak, sharing some of “Key 4: Get Motivated!” Though written for those trying to get and stay motivated to exercise, you will see you can apply these strategies to any goal you’re trying to achieve. Be sure to do the exercises at the end, too! It’s a sure way to start feeling more motivated today. And check out 8 Keys to Mental Health Through ExerciseSAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT, on Norton.com or find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

“What is Motivation?’

“We can all relate to feeling motivated by something, or unmotivated, can’t we? The first example that comes to mind is school and homework. I’m sure each of us can recall a time from school or college days when we needed to complete a paper, project, or studying, but we just didn’t feel motivated to do it. Perhaps we were able to make ourselves get up and do it anyway, but perhaps we procrastinated and paid the price later. Either way, we know what motivation, or lack of motivation, feels like. What we may not fully understand is what motivation really is and how it really works.’

“Motivation is a psychological construct used to explain behavior. It also helps us understand our desires, needs, wants, thoughts, and feelings. It’s what gets us up and doing what we know we could, should, or need to do. It’s what makes us want to change, grow, and improve. It explains why we want to repeat or to stop a behavior, and also helps us understand why we don’t act—why we avoid, reject, or even fear certain behaviors, feelings, and experiences. Motivation is a word that’s part of our daily thought processes and vocabulary, and it’s one of the most popular concepts that we’ve adapted from psychology into everyday life. Motivation is quite literally in everything we do (or don’t do).’

“Unfortunately, for the most part, we don’t understand or comprehend our own motivations. This is where so many of us get stuck. We know when we feel motivated. We know when we don’t feel motivated. But how regularly do we check in, evaluate, and try to understand our motivations—our motivations for how we treat people, why we do the things we do, what we avoid, and yes, our motivations for our daily behaviors, including exercise? For most of us, I’d say, it’s pretty infrequent. The truth is we don’t always know why we do what we do, and until we can understand our motivation, we’ll continually struggle to get to where we want to be. Let’s do an exercise to help illustrate what I mean. Please grab a pencil, find a quiet spot, and take a few moments to honestly ask yourself the following questions.’

“Reflection Questions: Self-Motivations”

“1. Why did I [decide to read this article] in the first place? What motivated me to [click on the link]?

2. Once I [clicked on the article,] what motivated me to [actually] start [and keep] reading?

3. …What do I hope to gain from reading this?

“Did you answer the reflection questions? If so, what motivated you to take the time to do this exercise? Was it because I asked nicely? (I did say, ‘please.’) If you did not answer the reflection questions, then what motivated you to skip it?’

“See? Motivation is in everything that we do (or don’t do), and when we begin to examine our motivations, we begin to find the key to initiative, drive, follow through, and ultimately, to achieving what we most desire.”

“How Does Motivation Work: Theory and Understanding”

“In order to understand our own motivations to implement and continue an exercise for mental health How to Get (& Stay) Motivated; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comprogram, it’s helpful to learn a little more about motivational theory and how motivation really works. There are numerous motivation theories (I recall taking a “Theories of Motivation” class in college that was three hours per week and lasted four months). This is not a book about motivation, and so we will not examine all the motivational theories. Instead, we will focus on three theories that, according to research, and in my opinion, are the most helpful when it comes to motivation in physical activity and exercise, especially exercise for mental health.”

“Self-Determination Theory”

“One of the most well-studied and validated motivational theories, when it comes to exercise, is called self-determination theory (SDT). Originally developed after years of research by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, self-determination theory grew from a humanistic perspective, meaning that, similar to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (another, well-known theory of motivation) SDT focuses on the fulfillment of human needs, self-actualization, and how we can realize our potential as human beings (Teixeira et al., 2012). In short, self-determination theory posits that we are most motivated when our motivation comes from within—when we are self-motivated and self-determined.’

“Some of the key elements of self-determination include the following:’

“Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation”

“First, SDT differentiates between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation means doing something because we enjoy, are excited about, appreciate the challenge of, feel accomplished at, and/or like putting our skills to use in a given activity. Examples of intrinsic motivation include someone who swims because she is talented and accomplished at it, someone who dances because he just loves to dance, or someone who enjoys the satisfaction she feels after rising to the challenge of a difficult workout. Each of these intrinsic motivators makes the activity itself worth doing, for different reasons but all of them internal and related directly to the activity.’

“On the flip side, extrinsic motivation refers to doing an activity to gain some form of outside reward. It involves a separate gain from that achieved by doing the activity for the activity’s sake. For example, we may exercise to gain the approval or acceptance of others, earn a tangible reward like money or a treat when we’re done, or because, if we don’t participate, say, in a school physical education class, we’ll get a bad grade. Extrinsic motivation can also involve our values and goals, such as someone who is motivated to exercise because he values becoming more muscular to feel better about his physical appearance (Ryan & Deci, 2000;Teixeira et al., 2012).’

“The best motivators for short-term activity are extrinsic motivators, but for long-term commitment, intrinsic motivation is key. Thus, we need to develop both if we want the optimal motivation to exercise for mental health [or to accomplish any other goals we’ve set for ourselves].”

“Causality Orientations”

Another element of self-determination theory, which goes along with internal and external motivation, is called “causality orientations”—a fancy term for the idea that we each have specific dispositional tendencies

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when it comes to motivation. These tendencies can impact our motivation to exercise, and keep at it. Some of us are more internally oriented and more likely to follow our own thoughts, feelings, and courses of action. Others are more externally oriented, meaning they are more likely to follow external norms, advice, and directives. And some are generally “amotivated,” meaning they’re more likely to be unresponsive or passive to external or internal factors that might motivate their behavior (Teixeira et al., 2012). These differing orientations impact our beliefs, motivations, and practices of exercise for mental health (Markland, 2009). However, just because we have a tendency to act a certain way doesn’t mean that we’ll always act that way. Understanding our “causal orientation” simply provides an invitation to be more self-aware about what might, or might not, drive and motive us. Remember what we learned about practicing self-awareness [read this post]? It can help us become more self-accepting, self-loving, and ultimately, can increase our sense of self-worth. We can then use this awareness to find ways to overcome or improve our motivational tendencies when they don’t seem to be working well enough. (Review The Pyramid of Self-Worth…for more on how practicing self-awareness can improve self-worth, and thus internal motivation.)”

“Basic Psychological Needs”

“The third element of self-determination theory that’s useful when we’re talking about exercise motivation is the human need for: competence, relatedness, and autonomy (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Teixeira et al., 2012). We’ve already seen how feeling competent in activity is a huge predictor of sticking with an activity—for children, teens, and adults. Additionally, we’ve discussed how social interaction and connectedness are strong motivators for, as well as benefits of, exercise. When we talk about autonomy, we mean that people like doing what they like to do. When we enjoy the activity or feel some intrinsic reward for doing it, we’re more likely to feel motivated to start and stick with it. All three of these basic human needs combine to influence our exercise motivation, for better or worse. When we can identify our competence, relatedness, and autonomy needs concerning exercise for mental health, we can find ways to better meet those needs, thus improving our motivation.”

“Three Premises of Self-Determination Theory”

“Finally, self-determination theory is based on three premises, and these premises play an important role in exercise motivation. First is the premise that we humans are inherently proactive about seeking to master our internal world. This means we tend to work on developing and conquering our drives, thoughts, and emotions. This is a good thing when it comes to exercise for mental health, because if we want to master our internal world, then we’re more likely to prioritize our mental health, and consequently, the strategies needed to “master” it, including exercise. Second, we tend toward growth, development, and integration. This means our natural tendency as humans is to want to improve and be whole. Third, however, is the premise that, though we may seek to master our internal world and inherently tend toward optimal actions and development, they don’t happen automatically. We have to work at it (Ryan & Deci, 2000).’

“That’s what this book is all about—working on new ways to master your internal world, or mental health, and seek the optional actions, like exercise, that will get you to your optimal development. The activity below, and others in this book, can show you how…”

“Reflection Questions:”

“Self-Determination Theory and You”

“1. What is your “causal orientation,” or your natural dispositional tendency, when it comes to exercise [or whatever your current goals may be]? Are you more motivated by internal factors, like your own thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about exercise? Are you more motivated by external factors, like social interaction, accountability, and rewards? Or, are you more in the category of “amotivated”—more passive or unmoved by either internal or external rewards?

2. How does your orientation impact your desire, motivation, and actions to engage in physical activity [or to actively work on your goals, resolutions, or theme]?

3. How important are competence, enjoyment, and autonomy to you, in your life? How important are they in motivating you to exercise [or to achieve your goals]? Write about each of these.

4. What are your thoughts on the “three premises of self-determination theory,” above? Do you believe you’re “inherently proactive” when it comes to mastering your internal world—your mental health, emotions, drives, desires, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors? Why or why not?

5. Do you feel naturally drawn toward growth and integration or is this more of a struggle for you? Why or why not?

6. Do you agree that these things don’t just happen without hard work? Are you willing to do the work you need to do? Why or why not?”

-Excerpted and adapted from key 4 of my brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.” Coming April 2016, and available for pre-order TODAY on Norton.com (save 25% plus free shipping with code HIBBERT) on Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Watch for more sneak peak excerpts, coming soon!

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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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How to Get (& Stay) Motivated-Sneak Peak Excerpt from my new book, %228 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise%22 www.DrChristinahibbert.com #exercise #mentalhealth #motivation
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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!

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Holiday Stress Survival Guide: How to feel more Peace & Joy this Season

Holiday Stress Survival Guide-How to Feel More Peace & Joy this Season; www.DrchristinaHibbert.com #holidays #christmas #mentalhealth #stress It’s that time of year again—time for “getting it all done,” time for planning and parties and presents and…peace?

 

Are you feeling peaceful this season? Are you feeling joyful? For many, the answer is, “no.” In a season when the reason for the holidays is supposed to be focused on the peace, joy, and hope of the birth of Christ, or on the miracle of the Hannukah oil, or on the unity, purpose, and faith associated with Kwanzaa, the truth is the real meaning is often lost in the hustle and bustle.

 

Our physical and mental health can also be lost in the holiday bustle, thanks to too-full calendars, shopping, decorating, wrapping, less sleep, relationship stress, poor eating, less exercise, and the mental and emotional toll all of this can take. I know, because I end up seeing more clients just before and right after the holidays, due to holiday-related stress, than any other time of year. They often show up right after Thanksgiving, then disappear during the middle of December, and reappear after the new year, exhausted and in need of succor.

 

I also know, because I’m not much better than my clients. I try to be, but I feel it every year—the push to “get it all done,” the high expectations I put on myself to make this “the best Christmas ever,” or to make handmade gifts for my family, or to host a party for friends, or to attend too many events, or to keep adding “to do’s” on to my already-full family schedule when all we really want is “to be.

 

That’s what I’m seeking this holiday season—a little less “doing,” and a little more “being.” I’m seeking to not only talk about but to feel the true meaning of Christmas. I’m seeking to give gifts that matter, that mean something, that last far longer than those that come in a box. I’m seeking greater peace, and joy, and meaning, and love.

 

 

How to Feel More Peace & Joy This Season

How can we make the holidays less stressful and more peaceful? How can we feel the joy this season is meant to restore? The following guide is here to help you not only survive, but to truly thrive this holiday season. Read it well, then get out there and do even one thing to make this year the most meaningful, peace-filled holiday of all.

 

  • Slow down and see. Before you can understand what you really need and desire, you have to stop Slow Down and See: How to Appreciate LIfe's Richness, via www.drchristinahibbert.comall the doing. Even 10-30 minutes of stillness can allow your brain and body to slow down and allow you to get in tune with what’s really going on. Ask yourself, “How am I really doing?” Then, ask, “What wonderful things am I missing in my life because I just haven’t been paying attention?” Too often, we miss the best parts of life because we’re moving too fast, but when we stop and pay attention, we begin to see and feel the true richness life has to offer. Finally, ask honestly,  “What do I need?” Only once you see what’s really going on can you choose to make a change. For more help on this, try this exercise in Slow Down & See: How to Appreciate the Richness of Life or read Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less & Smile More.

 

  • Simplify. It seems like an oxymoron, but the holidays are when we need simplicity the most. 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life- www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWhatever you can cut out of your schedule, do it. For instance, I recently took a few months off of seeing clients and a month 1/2 off of blogging so I could focus more on family and self-care. Say a polite “no” to extra events you just don’t need or even to sending Christmas cards. Opt for a movie night with your kids, in PJs, instead of throwing a party or having a night on the town. Let go of the need to make everything look perfect and instead do the bare minimum decorations. And when it comes to presents, try “The 4-Gift Christmas.” It’s made a world of difference in my family, and it could just do the same for you.

 

 

  • Give gifts of meaning. I decided this year to give my family the gift of a more loving me. So, on "The 5 Gifts of Meaning," via www.drchristinahibbert.comDecember 1, I put myself to work on being more loving. Each day, I’ve been looking for ways to actively put more love into my family’s life. When I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed by my kids (which happens often!),I stop myself so I can instead seek the more loving alternative. I move to a quiet area and pray for help to change how I feel and show me a better way to be. I sit and feel the frustration or worry or whatever it may be. And when I’m ready, I go back and approach my family in a more loving way. I’m still learning, and I’ve got the rest of this month to practice (and all of next year–“Loving” is my new yearly theme!). So, I know I will improve, and that’s what counts. The best gifts don’t come in a box. This season, create a more meaningful holiday by giving gifts of meaning. For more ideas how to do this, check out “Create a More Meaningful Christmas with The 5 Gifts of Meaning” and “Give the Gift of Hope.”

 

  • Focus on relationships. How much more meaningful can we get than to improve relationships Love Greatly, "Mental Illness, Stigma & Suicide: Finding Hope in the Darkest Times"; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comthat need improving, connect with those with whom we need to connect, and spending time with those we love most? Make your holiday activities about strengthening relationships this year. My example, above, of seeking to be more loving is one way to focus on and improve relationships. It’s also a time to look for ways to spend quality time with those who mean the most to you. And if you’re struggling with family relationships, use my Holiday Relationship Stress Survival Guide to get you back on the right track.

 

  • Create joy. Don’t wait around to feel joyful. Instead, try acting cheerfully. No matter how you feel, you can choose to be of good cheer, and when you do, you’ll find you begin to feel more joyful as a result. If you want more joy this season, seek to create it. Smile on purpose. Seek ways to laugh more. Look for the good, and put more positivity into your vocabulary and emotions. Isn’t this what the holidays are all about? Joy, love, peace, hope, cheer? Let the good stuff begin with you. For some great ideas on how to be more cheerful, read Be of Good Cheer: 12 Ways to Become More Cheerful!

 

 How are you surviving and thriving this holiday season? Share your tips, thoughts, and ideas, by leaving a comment, below!

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10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life

10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comSimplify. Don’t you love that word? That concept? I sure do. I love the idea of a simpler life.

 

Simpler doesn’t mean simple or boring. No. For most of us, life will always be anything but that. To me, simplifying means to move from a “busy, overwhelming, or stressful” life to a “full, rich, and meaningful life.”

 

Ask yourself, “Is my life busy? Too busy? Overwhelming? Stressful?” “Is my life full? Rich? Meaningful?” Where do you fit in this spectrum? Do you need to make some changes in your life? Simplifying your busy life is all about time—first and foremost, it’s about taking the time to implement strategies that lead to a simpler life. Then, it’s about using your time efficiently and effectively so the end result is a healthier, happier you.

 

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with international time management expert and host of “Getting a Grip on Time: Do More With Less,” Robyn Pearce. Boy was she full of excellent, practical tips for making the most of your time! Our discussion not only produced a great radio show, it inspired me to want to share a few things I’ve learned about simplifying life, too.

Listen to “Simplify Your Busy Life” on Motherhood Radio, or watch the “Simplify Your Busy Life” interview on my YouTube channel.

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10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life
Here are ten of my favorite ways to simplify life, to get out of the “busy,” “overwhelmed,” and “stressful” life and into the “good,” “happy,” and “abundant” life!

 

1) Slow down and get still.

This is my number one. If we don’t make time to slow down and be still, we won’t know the truth—the truth about where we currently are, the truth about where we desire to be, and the truth about what we really need from life right now. We miss life when we fail to slow down. We miss opportunities for spiritual connection, opportunities to hear and follow the whispers that lead to a more meaningful life.

 

Make stillness a priority. Start with 5 minutes. Then, build up to 10, 15, 30, or more. Use your time to ponder life, to pray, to study inspiring books and scriptures, to meditate, and to get in touch with what matters most to you.

 

 

2) Decide what matters most.

If you want to simplify, you simply must know your priorities. What’s most important in your life?

10 Ways to Simplify your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHIbbert.com

My family is one of my top priorities, but I have to make a concerted effort to create quality time with each child and with my husband.

What are your values? What are your top five things that matter most? You may value family, faith, work, play, relationships, fun, cleanliness, or a host of other things. Getting still can help you get honest and remember what matters most to you.

 

First, list all the things that are important to you. Then, narrow your list to your top five. List them on a sheet of paper, in a journal, or on your smartphone.

 

 

3) Prune by priorities.

Now, are you spending your time according to what matters most to you? For instance, if you really value family time, do you spend the most time with your family? If not, then why not? If we want to simplify life, we need to live according to our priorities. Stress, overwhelm, busyness, and emptiness come from living out of line with our priorities–from living a life of distraction, trying to keep up with others, chasing fame or fortune, or perfectionism.

 

Write down how you’ve spent your time over the past week. Be honest, and write down all the different kinds of things you did. Now, compare this list to your list of what matters most, from above. Do the two lists compare? If not, then start pruning. Start to look for the things that don’t measure up to your priorities and prepare to let them go.

 

 

4) Plan ahead, and schedule your time.

We schedule work, appointments, and activities with other people, but what about your top priorities? Are they on your “to do” list? Are they in your schedule? If you value exercise, sleep, and good health, are these things on your daily schedule? If you know you need stillness in your life, is it a part of your daily routine and plan? The truth is that if we don’t plan and schedule the most important things, then we probably won’t get to them.

 

Plan ahead to make sure you are focusing on the most important things in your life. Schedule time for you. Schedule time for relationships. Schedule time for exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. Schedule time for play. Oh, and remember to keep your appointments with yourself just as you would with someone else!

 

 

5) Do the most important things first.

This is so important when it comes to simplifying life. When you do the most important things first, then the rest just falls into place. You start to feel more balance in your life, and you find you no longer waste as much time and energy on distractions and unimportant things.

 

When you make your daily “to do” list, be sure to put your “things that matter most” on your list. Then, write an “A,” “B,” or “C” next to each item on your list. Make your priorities “A” items, along with the most important family, home, faith, work, and personal activities. “B’s” are the things you need to get to, but aren’t essential today. “C’s” are “would be nice to do” items. Then, cross off the “C” items. You’re not going to have time for them, and they aren’t important today! Then, cross off your “B” items. You’re probably not going to have time for these either, so just simplify your list and get rid of them. IF you happen to get to a few “B” items after your “A’s” are complete, then yay for you! But in the meantime, you’re taking the pressure off and simplifying your day.

 

 

6) Manage your time and your energy

“Time management is really energy management.” This was one of my favorite tips Robyn gave in our radio interview, because she is so right! It’s really about making sure we have enough energy to not only fulfill our responsibilities, but to live the life we desire. As Robyn writes, “Around the world I’m hearing the phrase ‘energy management’ more and more. Think of your energy levels as your filter or indicator as to whether you’re doing the right things. Sluggish energy is a powerful clue – if something isn’t flowing smoothly there are almost always ways to either change activity or improve things. A good filter question: ‘What’s blocking my energy here? What can I do about it?’” (Read more in “Eight Top Time Management Tips”.)

 

One thing to keep in mind is how much time you’re spending on social media, the internet, TV, etc. It’s so easy to hop on Facebook in the morning or to check email, but how often does that suck you into a time warp and before you know it, it’s been an hour, or longer? These things, though “fun” or entertaining in the short term, can actually be energy drains, distracting your precious energy away from the most important things. Be on the lookout for things that take your time and energy away from your top priorities and push them off until later. Or, set a timer for yourself and then, mind it! Also, seek to do the hardest or most important tasks when you are most energized. For example, I’m a morning person, so I know that if I write or tackle chores in the morning, I’m much more efficient and far less stressed!

 

 

7) Learn to say a loving “no.”

Saying no is not a horrible, mean thing. In fact, it may be one of the most loving things you can do—for yourself and for others. Years ago, I learned that saying no to something is really saying “yes” to 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life- www.DrChristinaHibbert.comsomething better. Instead of focusing on saying “no” to helping a friend, think of saying “yes” to being there when your child needs you. Perhaps saying “no” to a night out with coworkers is really saying “yes” to building your relationship with your spouse.

 

A good tip is to only say “yes” to things that energize you—if you really have time and space in your life to do those things. Be honest with yourself about that! Sometimes, even the things that energize us need to wait until a better time. Then, be sure to say “no” to things that zap energy. You can say “no” in a kind, loving way. And saying no helps others, too, by setting healthy boundaries and helping them have realistic expectations.

 

 

8) Eliminate physical clutter.

We all know the concept of “a clean house is a sign of a clean mind.” While I’m not advocating for spending unnecessary time on housekeeping, it definitely helps to reduce the clutter at home.

 

Clear out one closet, cupboard, or room a couple times each week until things feel more organized. Develop a system that helps you stay clutter free. As Robyn suggests, “Instead of saying ‘I’ll just put it here while I think about it’, get into the habit of letting go. The reality is, even if you do think about it again, why would you want to?”

 

 

9) Eliminate mental/emotional clutter by practicing letting go.

Just like the physical clutter, we often hold on to mental clutter that weighs us down. Past hurts, 10 Ways to SIMPLIFY Your Busy Life; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #WhoAmIWithoutYou #quotesheartache, depression, grief, sorrow, fear, worry, anger, anxiety—the list goes on, and it only makes life more complicated, heavy, and miserable. Simplifying your busy life means dealing with your mental and emotional “baggage” so you can stop carrying it around all the time.

 

This article, “5 Steps to a Clutter Free Mind (& Life), is a great place to start. Then, practice letting go. FEEL the emotions that come, and then let go of them a little piece at a time. If you’re feeling grief over the loss of a friend, for instance, you might first let go of the sadness of not being able to see them at work anymore. Then, let go of not being able to go out on the weekends together. Eventually, you can let go of the pain of not having them to be there for you, and so on.

 

 

10) Build in “sanity gaps.” Robyn mentioned the concept of “Sanity Gaps” in our interview, and I love it. It’s a great way to reinforce the fact that we need time for fun, for relaxation, for rest, and replenishment. “Think of taking regular time off as a defrag of your brain,” Robyn says. “You’ll come back fresher and you’ll also produce better results (just like the computer!)”

 

Be sure to schedule “sanity gaps” into your days and weeks, and to keep your “sanity appointments!” They are just as important as any other important, in fact, perhaps, more so. They are the little things that keep you sane. What could be more important than that? (Read Robyn’s “Eight Top Time Management Tips” here.)

 

 

Learn more about Robyn Pearce, and get her FREE “How to Master Time” Report and FREE Time Resources Pack, on her website, www.GettingAGrip.com.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out my New show, “Motherhood,” on WebTalkRadio.net!

Link for this episode: Simplify Your Busy Life

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“8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” Book

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

“[A] useful and supportive exercise guide…enlightening and empowering…”

-Publisher’s Weekly

Order on AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, Walmart.com, or find it at your favorite bookseller!

 

My new book!

Advance Praise for “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”

“[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

“The 8 Keys books series provides clear, concise, empirically supported evidence for anyone from beginners to experts; 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise is certainly no exception to this mantra. . . . Dr. Hibbert works through the process of change with an array of exercises and reflection questions that ease even the most ambivalent reader into the process. . . . [A]n eye-opening read not only for those searching for the motivation to commit to adding exercise to their routine, but for anyone striving towards self-empowerment. Dr. Hibbert synthesizes a large body of research into a captivating argument for how and why exercise serves as an immensely powerful mechanism for improving mental wellbeing.” — Somatic Psychotherapy Today

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

“As a therapist, I’m a big proponent of exercise for its positive effects on mood. I frequently talk to my clients about the positive effect of exercise on the body and mind. But even when you know all the positives, you don’t always fully utilize exercise as a way to get or stay mentally well. This is why 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise is such a useful tool. . . . [I]t’s full of reflection questions, writing prompts, and action items. . . . [G]reat for those of us who want to experience more of the benefits of exercise, but need a bit of help creating a plan and overcoming the mental blocks to doing so.” —PsychCentral

“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 Times bestselling author of The Conscious Parent

“Exercise is a magic pill for mental well-being; it clears your mind, calms your body, and makes you feel good about YOU and what you have accomplished. Dr. Hibbert has captured this mind-body connection, and why we must all move toward improved mental health through exercise.” — Kathy Kaehler, celebrity health, fitness, and nutrition expert and bestselling author

“A delightful synopsis of why exercise is so essential to our mental health. With a narrative that is both a pleasure to read and superbly sensitive to the common barriers that get in our way, Dr. Hibbert shows the reader how to harness the motivation for self-care and well-being. Hibbert’s clinical skills and down-to-earth guidance can make a believer out of the most resistant exerciser!” — Karen Kleiman, Founder and Director of The Postpartum Stress Center, author of Therapy and the Postpartum Woman

“I love this book because it combines solid research with practical, easy-to-follow steps to achieve the motivation and skills to exercise for better mental health. Being at your ‘personal best’ and, for parents, being a great role model to your children, means taking care of yourself first. If you’re serious about getting fit mentally and physically, this book will help you to flourish!” — Dr. Rosina McAlpine, parenting expert and author of Inspired Children; winwinparenting.com

“An incredible, accessible, and useful tool for ANYONE hoping to get exercising. Dr. Hibbert offers guidance, support, and tangible solutions to assist the reader through physical or mental roadblocks in order to strive to be their best self. I can’t imagine anyone finishing the book without finding themself an improved individual. I’m grateful it has been written so that more people can benefit from exercise and tackle it through these carefully designed steps.” — Dana Pieper, creator of EveryBody Fitness

 

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8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise 

Supplemental Materials

 

Worksheets

Earthquake Assessment Chart, p. 37

Exercise Motivation Self-Evaluation, p. 94-5

Exercise 4 Mental Health SMART Goal-Setting Worksheet, p. 111-116

Thought Record, Part 1, p. 134

Thought Record, Part 1, Example, p. 137

Thought Record, part 2, p. 139

Thought Record, part 2, Example, p. 141

Exercise 4 Mental Health SMART Goal-Setting Worksheet, p. 111-116

My “Exercise 4 Mental Health Plan” Worksheet, p. 202-7

 

Videos

How to FEEL Powerful Emotions

Change Your Thoughts Using a Thought Record

Using Thought Record, Part 2

 

 

 

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With exercise for mental health, it should be a long, healthy, happy life!

 

 

 

 

#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 now 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!

 

 

 

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

Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (PSI Blog Hop 2015)

Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (#PSIBlog Hop 2015)  www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #mothersday #moms #ppd #postpartum #pregnancy #children #familyIt’s that time of year again–May, or as my friends and I call it, “May-hem!” The end of the school year, commitments galore, graduations, the summer-shift approaching, and all month long, what do we celebrate? Motherhood. How fitting! Between mother’s day, Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month (May) & day (May 7th), I’m in the mood to speak a little truth about good old motherhood!

 

I’ve been at it for over 18 years, and with six kids, now ages 7, 11, 14, 16, 18, and 18 1/2, well let’s just say, I know the reality and I’ve learned a few lessons. As a psychologist, I’ve learned some important lessons, too–the first being that we need to talk about the realities of motherhood, and that we need to open ourselves up to the lessons motherhood has to offer.

 

So, hold on tight and grab a notebook! It’s time for “Motherhood 101.”

 

(And be sure to join me for my new radio show, “Motherhood!” Starting May 18th on WebTalkRadio.net! And don’t miss my exclusive offer–FREE Postpartum Couples DVD!

 

 

MOTHERHOOD 101

Reality #1: It’s hard!

No matter what “season of motherhood” you’re in, it’s the hardest work in the world. It’s a 24/7, 365-day job, and a highly demanding one at that. Up early, no sleep, go-go-go all day long, keep going all night too, worrying yourself awake in the

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids! Talk about motherhood being hard! Some days, I didn't think I could do it. (Read about it in "This is How We Grow.")

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids! Talk about motherhood being hard! Some days, I didn’t think I could do it. (Read about it in “This is How We Grow.”)

early hours, exhausting yourself, giving your all. But we do it because we love our children, right? As I wrote in a song about motherhood a few years ago, “It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done, but somehow, it’s the easiest to do.”

When I ran a postpartum support group a few years ago, the moms struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety would desperately ask, “It gets easier, doesn’t it?” To which, I’d reply, “Yes… And then, it doesn’t. And then, it does…” We are happy to leave behind the sleepless nights of having an infant only to find our house is destroyed by an energetic toddler. We finally leave behind “the terrible twos” only to find the “threes” might be even more terrible as they develop greater independence. Not to mention the teen years! (I have 4 teenaged sons right now! Aye-yi-yi!). But, it’s all worth it. They grow, and hopefully, so do we.

 

Lesson #1: Recognize that it’s hard.

Even if it looks easy on TV or on a friend’s Facebook page, trust me, it’s not. You’re not alone in this crazy thing called motherhood–it’s hard for all of us, and some times are harder than others. Discover which phases and seasons of mothering are easiest and most rewarding for you and which are not, and then, give yourself a break in the harder times and recognize your strengths and put them to good use in the easier times. Oh, and hang in there! It does get easier. And then it doesn’t…

 

 

 

Reality #2: Hormones, brain chemistry, and life experiences can make it even harder.

Women’s mental health is made up of a unique blend of our hormones, brain chemistry, and life experiences. Monthly hormonal shifts, pregnancy,

Me, during my most recent hormonal quarantine, watching Project Runway and eating chocolate with the door bolted shut! Thank you, hormones!

Me, during my most recent hormonal quarantine, watching Project Runway and eating chocolate with the door bolted shut! Thank you, hormones!

postpartum, and perimenoupause can all significantly affect our coping abilities. Hormones also directly impact the neurotransmitters that make our brain feel well, and life experiences do the same. Trauma and loss change our brain chemistry and, over time, can leave us feeling depressed, anxious, or worse.

 

Lesson #2: Understand all you can about your emotional health and take care of yourself.

Learn about Women’s Emotional Health and what it means for you. Then, take care of your body and brain through good nutrition, sleep, exercise, regular health exams, emotional processing and support, and spiritual self-care.

 

 

 

Reality #3: You won’t love every moment, and you won’t feel happy all the time.

As I wrote in This is How We Grow, “I love every moment of being a mother. I even love the moments I don’t love.” Yes, if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that we won’t love every moment. But, joy in motherhood is found in the small moments, and joyful moments are everywhere in motherhood, if you’ll open your heart and seek them out.

 

Lesson #3: Look for joy in the moments.

Happiness in motherhood is found in the small moments—in the laugh, the love, the play, the hug. As we seek out these moments we see them more clearly, we’re more present, and we soak them up. As we connect these moments we find that motherhood really is joy-filled, or it can be if we look for the joy in the moments.

 

 

 

Reality #4: During some seasons of motherhood, it may a struggle to feel happy at all.

Pregnancy or postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis together affect one in five moms and can make it rough to feel happiness or joy; it can also crush your sense of self-worth. Maternal depression is also common and can last for years if untreated.

 

Lesson #4: It’s not “normal” or “okay” to live with depression, anxiety, or even with no self-worth, and it’s definitely not good for our families either, so SEEK HELP.

With help, you can and will be well, which is not only good for you; it’s good for your children, spouse/partner, and family, too. And if you keep working, you can be even “better than better!” Acknowledge your needs and seek help. Then, let that help in. There are fabulous support groups, counselors, doctors, and resources for pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Postpartum Support International is a wonderful resource, with support coordinators in every state and around the world. Your church or faith community, friends, and family are another good place to start for help, support, and referrals.

 

 

 

Reality #5: We can’t do motherhood alone.

We need each other in motherhood more than perhaps any other time. Support is crucial in motherhood—support for us, support for our children, support for our husbands/partners—we cannot survive without it. We may feel like we don’t know where to turn, or like

My family with my friend's family, sending balloons to her in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

My family with my friend’s family, sending balloons to her in heaven to remember her one year death anniversary. We need each other.

we don’t have anyone to rely upon, but we must prioritize building our support system.

 

Lesson #5: Build your support system.

Make a list of everyone who supports you and what they can do. Include your family, including family, friends, faith/community members/resources, support groups, online support, professional support like counselors, doctors, etc. One person might be great at helping with childcare, while another is the one you can talk to when times are tough. If you feel your support system is lacking, then start building a better one. It takes time, but support is out there if you’re patient and willing to work.

 

 

 

Reality #6: Loss is a big part of motherhood.

Whether struggles with postpartum depression or anxiety, relationship changes and challenges, wayward children, death, job/career loss, or sending them off to preschool, kindergarten, college, or beyond, motherhood carries with it a lot of loss. These losses, if not dealt with, can build up and create more trouble for our emotional and physical health over time.

 

Lesson #6: Recognize your losses, then grieve them.

Here’s how.

 

 

 

Reality #7: Motherhood is not just a “job”; it’s a calling.

I’ve long reminded myself that though I don’t really love the “job” of mothering—the late nights, early mornings,

Motherhood isn't just a "job;" it's a calling. My forever family, April 2015.

Motherhood isn’t just a “job;” it’s a calling. My forever family, April 2015.

cooking, cleaning, diaper-changing, problem-solving constant-ness of it all—I do love being a mother. Motherhood is a high and holy calling: I believe that, 100%, though it doesn’t always feel that way. It’s a forever kind of deal, so it’s important to work it out, to believe in that calling, to find our gratitude for our role as a mother.

 

Lesson #7: Motherhood really isn’t about the “job” at all; it’s about love.

The house, dinner, bathtime—that can all come or go. What matters is how we love.  What matters is how we value our role as a mother. Do we recognize the gift it truly is? Do we remind ourselves in the hardest times how grateful we really are to be called, “Mom?”

 

 

 

Reality #8: Motherhood isn’t about how our kids turn out.

So many moms I know focus on the choices their kids make as a measure of how well they’re doing as moms. I’ve been there before, too, and trust me, it’s not pleasant! The truth is, we have no real control over our children’s lives when they get to a certain point. That’s not the way it works, and really it’s what we’re striving for as we parent them over the year—independence and self-reliance.

 

Lesson #8: The “fruit” of motherhood is how we turn out. It’s about how motherhood changes us. It’s about how motherhood transforms us.

 

 

 

Reality #9: It really does fly by.

As I was dropping my oldest son off at college last fall, I hugged him, got in the car and forced myself to drive away, watching him excitedly return to his dorm in my review mirror. All I could think was, “They were right. It really does fly by. We have them for such a short time and then, they’re gone.” I bawled the entire four hour drive home! When I called my husband, he thought I was crazy, and to be truthful, so did I. But it really hit me—it goes so, so fast.

 

Lesson #9: Pay attention and be grateful now.

Years ago, when I’d have those stressed-out, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted mothering days (and there have been plenty!), my older friends who were missing their little ones would say, “Enjoy it while you can; it goes so fast.” I knew they were right, but I couldn’t feel it in those moments when I just wanted to get through the day and crash to sleep. Then one day, I really did get it. I decided I didn’t want to miss those precious years when they were young because I was stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, or tired. And so, I made a goal to stop and stand still in the chaos. I’d briefly close my eyes and imagine my kids grown and gone and my house quiet and still. Though a luxury in the busy mothering days, I’d let myself feel how a quiet house may feel lonely when it’s permanent. I’d say a little prayer, ask for help to be grateful for this very moment, and take a snapshot of it. Then, I’d breathe deeply, smile or sometimes even chuckle to myself and just say it like it is, “Motherhood is a crazy ride!” And back to business. Truthfully, years later, the chaotic moments are some of the most memorable.

 

 

 

Reality #10: We mothers need to be a little (or a lot) kinder, more compassionate, more forgiving, and more loving toward ourselves.

We’re harder on ourselves than any other group on the planet! It’s such a shame, because I’m convinced no one works or loves harder than mothers.

 

Lesson #10: Practice self-love.

Self-love involves: 1) Self-care—take care of your physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, social and spiritual needs. It’s not selfish Motherhood 101-12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasons Psychologist & Mom of 6 www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #motherhood #ppd #postpartum #ThisIsHowWeGrow #books to practice self-care. In fact, it’s the only real way to be healthy and strong as a mom, and it teaches your kids to do the same. 2) Self-compassion—forgive yourself, accept your weaknesses, be gentle when you make a mistake. 3) Self-kindness—do nice things for yourself. Time alone or with friends, a bath, a nap, a walk, a “girls’ night”—whatever feeds your soul, do that. 4) Let others love you. Let your children’s love in. Let your husband’s/partner’s love in. Let your support system’s love in. Let God’s love in. Open your heart and let it receive love. Then, give and open again and again and again. (more on Self-Love here or in my new book, Who Am I Without You?)

 

 

 

Reality #11: At its core, motherhood is really about love.

That’s what it’s really all about–growing in love. Receiving love. Giving great love. Motherhood is truly all about a beautiful cycle of giving and receiving love.

 

Lesson #11: Love greatly.

When hard times hit, love. When great times are rolling, love. When you’re fearful, worried, overwhelmed, at your limit, love greatly. It is love that overcomes the pain and stress of motherhood. It’s really all about love. Again, love greatly.

 

 

 

Reality #12: Motherhood is a crazy ride.

Trust me, I know! In fact, if you google, “My Kids are Driving Me Crazy,” my blog posts come up on page 1, so it’s really no secret. But oh how exhilarating! It’s the up, and down, and spinning around, upside-down ride of your life! And it doesn’t end there. Motherhood is forever. So, learn your lessons, buckle up, and hold tight!

 

Lesson #12: Enjoy it while it’s here.

Don’t take motherhood for granted. Don’t wish away your moments or your days. Identify your challenges. Seek help. Let help in. Choose to grow through motherhood. Then, sit back, buckle up, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. It’s the greatest ride of your life!

 

 

What are some of your motherhood “realities” and “lessons?”

Leave a comment, below, and join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

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Related Posts/Articles:

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop 2013)

Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–the 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time

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Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

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Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

Loss, Love & A NEW Way to do Valentine’s Day: 10 Ways to GROW in Love

Loss, Love, & a NEW Way to do #ValentinesDay: 10 Ways to GROW in #Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAs I write, it’s a few days before Valentine’s Day. The world seems to be covered in pink and red, candy hearts, and flowers; it’s beautiful. I, however, am thinking of those who don’t have a Valentine this year.

 

Love, Loss, & Valentine’s Day

Perhaps it’s because I’m about to release my new book on self-esteem after a breakup or divorce. Perhaps it’s because I’m thinking of my dear friend who died last April and of her husband, facing this Valentine’s Day alone for the first time. Perhaps, it’s because I know all too well that most love stories have sudden drops and falls, and I know there are so many who are feeling this now.

 

I can’t help but think of my parents, who always send us Valentine’s cards and who are missing their two departed daughters, and son-in-law, again this year. I think of my grandmothers, who have been living without their beloved husbands for years, or my mother-in-law, a widow of almost six years. I think of my own losses. And, I remember how much I have loved, and been loved.

 

Those who have lost a loved one—a parent, a child, a partner, a spouse, a friend—know what I mean. These simple holidays can bring up a great deal of pain, or at least, a great deal of memories.

 

 

A NEW Way to do Valentine’s Day: GROW in Love

Valentine’s Day can put such pressure on us to be in love and to show it through gifts and grand romantic gestures. But what if, instead, Valentine’s Day could serve as a beautiful, vivid reminder that we have loved, and that we may continue to love? What if it could serve as a tribute to our loss and continued love? What if this Valentine’s Day could be our opportunity to grow in love?

 

Growing in love means choosing to open our hearts, to receive love when it comes, and to give love freely. It means choosing to become more full of love for everyone we meet, and especially for those who need it most. As we grow in love, we become more at peace, full of joy, and the best part? We feel loved in return. Isn’t life really about growing in love, rather than falling in love, anyway? Falling may be an important start, but growing in love is deeper, more lasting, and crucial to healing and personal growth.

 

 

10 Ways to Grow in Love: On Valentine’s Day, and Every Day

Here are 10 ways to get you started growing in love. Pick one, or two, or all, and give them a try. By discovering a new way to do Valentine’s Day you just might discover something of great value: hope, healing, self-worth, and yes, greater love.

 

  • Practice opening your heart. This is a simple, important way to start. If our heart isn’t open, it’s hard to grow in love. Try this: Sit in a quiet place and breathe deeply. Focus on your heart as you continue to breathe. Does it feel open, relaxed, and ready to give and receive love? Or, does it feel closed and guarded? Just notice it, but don’t judge, as you breathe. Think of someone you love dearly. Picture them vividly in your mind. What do you love about them? How do they make you feel? Purposefully open your heart to that love. Continue to breathe as you focus on feeling greater love for them and keeping your heart open. Practice opening your heart for five minutes, and then, continue to open your heart throughout the day. When you feel your heart closing, take a deep breath and open again. It may be difficult at first, but if you practice each day, you will become more open to the gift of love.

 

  • Practice self-love. It’s true we cannot give what we do not possess. If we don’t love ourselves, it’s
    Give yourself a little love, or help someone else get a loving break.

    Give yourself a little love, or help someone else get a loving break.

    very hard to love others and grow in love. Start practicing self-love. Do something kind for yourself today. Nothing too fancy or extravagant, but something that helps you feel self-love. It could be a hot bath, a walk with a friend, a trip to the mall, a movie night, or anything you need. Whatever you’d do to show someone else kindness, do that for yourself today. (More on how to practice self-love here.)

 

  • Serve. It doesn’t matter whom. It doesn’t matter how. Service is healing to the grieving heart, and to us all. Listen to a friend in need, volunteer at a food bank, or visit someone who’s in the hospital. Just serve. In your own way. Your heart will soar in love as a result.

 

  • Do an anonymous act of kindness today. Pay for someone else’s meal, pick up trash in someone’s yard, drop cookies on someone’s doorstep. Look for opportunities to do an act of kindness, and take it.

 

  • Send a card or note to someone who’s lost love recently—on Valentine’s Day, or on any day. Let them know you’re thinking of them and that you remember their loved one, too. When my youngest sister, Miki, died at age 8, her best friend continued to bring my mom flowers every year on Miki’s birthday. We will never forget that act of love. Gestures such as this can mean the world to the grieving, and healing, heart. (More on Helping Others Through Grief & Loss, here)

 

  • Offer to watch someone’s children while they go for an evening out. Help a mother, father, or couple to get time together or an evening out with friends, to give them a break from the job of parenting and refresh them.

 

  • Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Tell them, “I was just thinking about you and want to hear all about your life.” It’s not only giving love, it’s helping you receive greater friendship and love in return.

 

  • Give a big smile and say “Hello!” to strangers. You never know who needs that smile and acknowledgement. You could make someone’s day or even be a turning point in their life. And, when you put love out, you get so much more in return.

 

  • Receive love. When someone offers you a compliment, a kind word, a loving gesture—say, “Thank you,” and mean it. Don’t push love away. Breathe, and let it in. It will fill and grow you, and you’ll have so much more love to give.

 

  • Hug as many people as you can. I am a hugger. I know the power of a love-filled hug. You’d be surprised how many people are craving for that little bit of love through a hug. Especially those who’ve lost a spouse or partner; give them a hug. Don’t worry about what they will think. If you’re doing it out of genuine love, it will always be well-received. Hug as often as others let you; it will heal you both and help you grow in love.

 

 

What are your thoughts on this new way to do Valentine’s Day? What suggestions do you have to help you, and others, grow in love? Leave a comment, below!

 

 

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

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Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
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Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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 Loss, Love, & a NEW Way to do #ValentinesDay: 10 Ways to GROW in #Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
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Related Posts/Articles:

“This is How We Grow:” Understanding the Seasons of Personal Growth

10 Ways I Choose to Grow Each Day 

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization: What Will Your Choice Be?

About Dr. Christina Hibbert
Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She really hopes you’ll join the Personal Growth Group and choose to grow together!

Comments

  1. Thank you, Christi, for this wonderful meditation! I just did it after a long and stressful day, and it completely relaxed me and renewed my spirit! You are a wonderful guide. Thank you for all you share. I learn and grow so much with you! Keep the meditations coming!!

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