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

New Year, New YOU! Top 6 Strategies for Change & Personal Growth; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

There’s something about January and another new year that gets my personal growth juices flowing. I just love the meaning of this time of year—the idea of hope and renewal, of a second (or fiftieth) chance, of the unrealized potential just waiting to be tapped and developed.

 

Decembers are always trying for me. Though I love the message and meaning of Christmas and the feel of the holiday season, it seems that, for as long as I can remember, it’s been a time of particular challenge, a time of once again “overcoming.” These past two months have been exactly that– filled with family stressors that left me with physical and emotional challenges, it has been a time of winter both literally and figuratively. Once again, I’ve retreated into my home, into my family and faith, and focused only on the basics as a way to pull through and to grow. And I have. I’m feeling much better—renewed, and ready to emerge once again, as it works with the seasons of personal growth.

 

Now, I get to focus on a new year, a new theme, and hopefully a newer, improved me. As we each emerge from seasons of winter, or as we drift into fall, or blossom in spring, we feel the hope of summer and flourishing, and that’s what January is all about. In fact, the word “January” comes from the Roman god, Janus, god of gates and doorways. Janus is depicted as having two faces, one facing forward and the other back. Let this time of year be your chance to look back and forward at the same time, to learn from the past and move on through the doorway to a newer, brighter future (and you!).

 

 

My Top 6 Strategies for New Year’s Change & Personal Growth

The following are 6 of the best strategies I can offer to help you create a new you this year, based on many years of my own personal growth and of helping others “choose to grow,” too. Use these suggestions to inspire, motivate, direct, and guide you into this new year’s opportunity.

The past is gone, and the future is yet to be written. Today, the present, is a gift, a clean slate. So, grab a pen and begin to write–a new future, a new you!

 

 

  • Get clear on your mission and vision. After you know where you are, it’s important to envision Personal Growth Tools: "How to Create Your Life's Vision"; www.DrChristinaHibbert.comwhere you hope to be. Or rather, envision who you’d like to become. Creating a mission statement can help; it can give your life focus and purpose and remind you of what really matters, day to day. My free gift, “How to Create Your Mission Statement” is a great place to start (coming next week–subscribe, top right or below, for first dibs!). Once you know what you want for your life’s purpose, it helps to create your vision. This is the shorter term application of your life’s mission. Use your mission statement to see your future, and then keep that future in mind and apply it each day by living with vision. These posts, Personal Growth Tools: Creating Your Life’s Vision & Beyond Resolutions: Discovering your New Year’s Vision can help. (And join my “This is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group, season 2, for more on how to discover & fulfill your life’s mission & purpose!)

 

  • Push yourself, but not too much. Just enough. What if you could be just 5% more loving, or 5% better at a talent you’re developing, or at your work? Imagine how that 5% would add up, over time. Becoming the Butterfly-The Powerf of Personal Transformation www.DrChristinaHibbert.comAnd it’s not overwhelming, is it? 5%? It’s completely doable for all of us. We must push ourselves out of our comfort zones—that’s what personal growth is all about. But we don’t have to jump out of the nest before we’re ready to fly. Focus on believing in yourself. Actively develop a strong sense of self-worth, and remind yourself each day that you can, and will, continue to grow, if you choose to do so. Then, use the 5% rule to push your comfort zone and prepare to take flight! (Read “How to feel Self-Worth: The Pyramid of Self-Worth” and check out my book, “Who Am I Without You?” for a 52-week guide to developing self-worth.)

 

  • Set one, two, or a few achievable goals or, instead, try a yearly theme. One problem too many of us create for ourselves is trying to do too much at once or tackling something that’s too big or we’re not ready for. Change is a process—one that’s more like a spiral staircase we ascend and descend several times before we get to the top (read this to learn more about making lasting change). We have to be ready to make change in order for it to actually work, and we have to set goals that are realistic, achievable, and measurable. You might try what I do, instead, and select a yearly theme. This is a way to focus deeply on one important trait or quality you’d like to become, for an entire year. Then, you can set smaller goals to help you along the way. Whatever you do, however, don’t overdo it. One step at a time is all it takes. Trust me. (For help and ideas, read “New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps to Personal Growth Success.)

 

 

  • Do it your way. While these are my best suggestions, learned through years of focusing on change and growth, both personally and professionally, they may not encompass what you need to make change. There is no one way to fulfill your life’s purpose or to achieve your goals. The best advice I can give is to find what works for you and do that. Don’t compare to how others are doing things. Don’t turn to social media to see if you’re “measuring up.” Do it your way, and let it be good enough, because it most definitely is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Listen to my new episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “New Year, New You–How to “Cultivate the Good Life & Record It,” available Monday January 4, 2016, for more ideas! Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe to the show.

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Share your best strategies for New year’s resolutions, goals, change, and growth, by leaving a comment, below!

 

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How to Get Your Needs Met: 4 Tips on Asking & Receiving

Some time back in graduate school I realized that if I don’t ask for help when I need it, it might never come. Like so many women, I’d spent the first several years of my marriage expecting my husband, OJ (no, not Simpson), to just “see” what I needed, wanting him to “notice on his own,” feeling that if I had to actually tell him what was wrong then he obviously didn’t love me well enough. Sound familiar?

 

We’ve all seen this before, whether in a friend, on TV or in our own relationships. But friends, I hate to break it to you—if you don’t ask for what you need you can’t expect to receive it. It’s a lesson old as scripture, “Ask and ye shall receive” (John 16:24). Yet how often do we forget to ask, standing like fools waiting endlessly for a thing that will never come. Instead, try letting go of your expectations and pride and asking. Asking is, after all, the key to receiving.

 

How to Get Your Needs Met: 4 Tips

1) Before you can ask for what you need, you have to know what you need.

Often we don’t ask because we simply don’t know. Taking stock of our needs on a regular basis is a good idea for overall well-being in all realms: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. The sooner we recognize a need and fill it, the easier life becomes; we end up preventing the bigger problems that arise when needs pile up over  time. Thus, examining your needs is an important tool, and the first step of asking for them to be met.

 

2) Once you know what you need to ask for, state it clearly.

Too often we know what we need but fail in our attempt to communicate it. We beat around the bush, mince words, or hint at what we need, again hoping the other person will just “get it” and take care of things. But people are not mind readers, and most of the time others just aren’t good at filling in the blanks. Stating clearly what you need is crucial to actually getting it. The more specific you are, the better. Don’t just say, “Honey, I need a nap sometime, maybe.” Say, “Honey, I need a nap, so if I go in my room now for an hour would you please watch the kids and actually play with them and guard the door so they won’t wake me up?” with a smile of course. (Obviously I have personal experience with this one). Be clear. Be direct. Be willing to ask for exactly what you need.

 

3) Ask the right person.

Not everyone is equipped to give you exactly what you need. If you need help with childcare, ask someone who loves your child; if you need help with housework, ask someone who knows how to make a bed. If you need someone to just listen, ask someone who can let you be the focus of the conversation for a while. Just because one person isn’t able to provide what you need doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking. Keep asking until you find the one willing and able to serve you best. Also, don’t be afraid of “putting them out” or “burdening them”. Just as it is your responsibility to take care of what you need, they are responsible for their needs and can say no if they choose. As one of my favorite wise men once said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”[1] Allowing others to meet our needs blesses them with the opportunity to serve and grow too. It’s a win-win situation.

 

4) And finally: Don’t forget to ask your Higher Power.

Connecting to the Source that knows and understands your needs better than anyone is the surest way to receive what you need. Sometimes it comes as a change in how you feel or in a whisper that lets you know you’re not alone and that you are loved. Sometimes it’s a sudden knowing–that light-bulb moment of what you must do, or the motivation, perhaps, to actually do it. It may come in the form of a dream, a song, or a piece of art that speaks to your soul. Or it may be a feeling of peace that sweeps over you, a quiet sense that everything will be ok. The act of asking is an act of faith, and, faith is the beginning of all things that come into being.

 

Ask and Receive

You’ll be amazed how easily your needs can be met if you simply ask. Get clear on what you need. Seek out the person to best help you fill that need. Seek the Divine. And ask. Then, stand, ready to receive.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/square-head-shot1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]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’s worked very hard over the years to ask for what she needs, and is finally feeling like she’s actually pretty good at it. And that, she sees, is good for everyone.[/author_info] [/author]

 

How to Get Your Needs Met-4 Tips on Asking & Receiving, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 
 

Have you ever struggled to identify and get your needs met? Do you ever feel like you don’t know how to do it, or like you might not even deserve it? Leave a comment, below, and let us know your thoughts and tips on asking and receiving.

 
 

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[1] Hinkley, G. (1979). The Abundant Life. Tambuli, June, vol. 3.

“Fear Does Not Prevent BAD; It Prevents GOOD.” How to Not Let Fear Get the Better of YOU!

Fear Does Not Prevent BAD; It Prevents GOOD. How to not let Fear get the Better of YOU, via www.drchristinahibbert.comFear prevents good. That’s what I’ve learned. It’s an inhibitor. It stops us in our tracks. It keeps us from doing the things that might be really good for us.

 

Fear Doesn’t Prevent the BAD; It Prevents the GOOD.

But most people have it backwards. They think, “Fear prevents bad things from happening.” They think fear is a signal, telling us something terrible is going to happen if we don’t stop in our tracks right now! It’s true, historically, that our ancestors relied upon fear to warn them of dangers that were very real and present. Fortunately, most of us no longer live in such a physically threatening world. Unfortunately, however, many of us still experience and react to fear, even though, most of the time, the danger is neither real nor present.

Much of the time the danger is in our minds. Fear of flying, speaking, losing, failing, not being enough, dying—the list goes on. And when we heed the voices of fear, we stop. We panic. We lose our focus, and we ultimately prevent ourselves from engaging in the very goals we so desire to achieve.

 

Removing Fear’s Power

How does fear show up in your life? It’s an important question, for if you can recognize fear for what it is, you can choose to stop letting fear have its way with you.

I, like you, know fear firsthand. I’ve seen it show up in many forms in my life. I may not be afraid of public speaking or flying (in fact, I love them both), but I’ve felt that familiar catch in my chest more times than I care to admit. I wish I could say I never feel fear, but I do. A few examples from my life over the past weeks include:

1)    Fear of going away alone for a few days to work on my book. With 6 kids, a husband, home, private practice, etc, I get to the point where I’m exhausted, and the only way to get this book done is with some solid time alone. Yet I feel fear every time I’m preparing to leave. Deep down, I know OJ and the kids will be fine (and so will I), but something always tells me not to go. It’s only after I’m on the road that I feel the exhale and know, “Yep. That was just fear talking again. Good thing I didn’t listen.”

2)    Fear of taking an incredible new opportunity. A few weeks ago, I was approached by a publisher to write a book on Self-Esteem for them. At first, I didn’t believe it. I kept telling myself it probably wasn’t real. (You know how we do that to “protect” ourselves!). But, after a week, several conversations, and free books from them had arrived, I had to accept the truth: it was real. And I had to make a choice—to take this opportunity and run with it, or to let it slip, out of fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough; it’s a familiar fear for me. In fact, four years ago, when I started writing my first book (This is How We Grow, coming 2013!), I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it for 2 whole years. When I finally told someone, it was like this: “I’m writing this memoir, probably just for my family, I don’t know if I’ll actually publish it or anything.” I couldn’t call myself a writer for another year, until one day I just did. “I’m a writer.” I can say it freely now. But taking the risk of trying something new—of really putting myself out there—is always fearful for me.

3)    Fear of failing as a parent. My oldest is taking his ACT in a couple of weeks. We’ve been looking at colleges. This came way too quickly for me, and I suddenly realize I’ve only got just over a year before they start flying the coop. Have I done all I set out to do as a parent? Not nearly. “What if I’ve failed them?” has been running through my mind constantly. Good thing I have a strong sense of self-worth and know I can always evaluate and re-think my parenting if needed. “Do you feel like you need to change something? If so, change it,” I remind myself. “Otherwise, let that fear take a hike!”

4)    Fear of something bad happening. My husband and I just returned from a week in Belize–alone. It was wonderful. And, we Fear Does Not Prevent BAD; It Prevents GOOD. How to not let fear get the Better of YOU. www.drchristinahibbert.comdeserve it. It’s been two non-stop, packed with 6 kids’ activities and our careers and work and play, years since we went away, just the two of us. Yet, the day we were supposed to leave, all I could feel was anxiety. I’ve experienced tragedy before. I know it happens. And I know that voice that likes to remind me: “What if the plane crashes?” “What if we both die and leave all 6 kids alone?” I”ve become good at telling it to quiet down, but then starts: “It’s too hard to go away, you should just stay here.” “You’re going to fly all night? You’ll be a wreck! Why even bother?” The only way out for me is to remind myself that this is nothing new. This voice tries to stop me every time, and I don’t want to miss out on experiences like these because of a faulty voice in my head. Just look at these photos of us in Belize (yes, that’s me on the bike too! They’re a great reminder of what we might be missing out on when we give in to fear.

As I’ve worked on it, I’ve learned to hear that voice—the one that tries to stop me from doing the things that scare me but are good for me. I’ve become good at feeling the emotion and exposing that voice, calling it what it is, naming it: FEAR. And that’s what takes its  power away.

 

Fear vs. Warning

You may be thinking, “But people do die, and fail, and horrible things happen,” and you’d be right. Of course, you’re right. But giving in to fear doesn’t help a thing. Fear doesn’t prevent the bad things from happening. It just doesn’t.

See, there’s a difference between fear and a warning. Think about it. When we are in tune, we may experience warnings that will prevent us from harm. You’ve likely experienced this yourself, but if you haven’t, you’ve no doubt heard others tell their stories of receiving a warning that prevented them from driving a certain way or getting on a plane or allowing their kids to do a certain activity. And later they recognized they had unknowingly prevented a great tragedy or harm. These are remarkable experiences, and I have been fortunate to have had a few in my life too. But the thing to focus on here is how people describe these experiences. They say, “I just felt like I shouldn’t go” or “I had this overwhelming feeling I needed to turn around”. This has been my experience too—an overwhelming feeling telling me what I must do, a feeling I listen to because it feels right.

Now think of fear. Every one us has experienced moments of fear. Some moments may have existed mostly in our minds, such as the fear of public speaking or performing. Some may have been in physically threatening situations—almost falling, getting injured, or threatened with death even. Either way, the experience was likely the same—blood pressure goes up, the heart starts to race, sensation may be lost in the extremities, including dizziness or lightheadedness. It probably felt out of control, and you were probably literally unable to control certain aspects of your body. It did not feel good. It did not feel “right”. You did not, most likely, even want to be feeling what you felt. You wanted it to be over.  A different experience from those moments of warning, right?

 

How to Not Let Fear Get the Better of YOU.

So the next time you feel that panic, worry, anxiety, stop and ask yourself, “Is this a true warning? Or is this fear?” Name it for what it is. It can’t keep you afraid if you expose it. It can’t prevent you from doing something that feels scary but is probably really good for you if you stop, name it, and feel it.

Increase your attention to warnings. Listen and heed them. But, decrease your attention to fear. The only thing it’s good for is to notice the attempt it will make to prevent you from moving forward, to recognize you’re probably onto something really good, and then to thank it for that understanding and wish it well as you pass it on by.

 

 How does fear show up in your life? What do you think about it preventing good? What strategies help you stop fear from getting the better of you? Please leave a comment below

#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 Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
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Fear Does Not Prevent BAD; It Prevents GOOD. How to not let Fear get the Better of YOU, via www.drchristinahibbert.com

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Related Articles/Posts:

5 Skills of Overcoming: Depression, PPD, Grief, Stress, Hormones, etc.

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

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Good Reads on Fear:

FEAR: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Thich Nhat Hanh

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence, Gavin de Becker

 

Parenting Skills–Back-to-School Mental Health: 7 Strategies for School-Year Sanity

Parenting Skills--#BackToSchool #MentalHealth: 7 Strategies for School-Year Sanity; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Ok, I admit it–Last year I was so wiped out after the first day of school that I dropped my husband and kids off at a “back to school” party and checked myself into a hotel. I’m not proud of it, but it was necessary at the time.

 

 

Back to School Mental Health (for Parents and Kids!)

I used to think summer was the toughest part of the year, but with the sudden shift back to early mornings, various schools, sports, activities, appointments, and homework, adjusting to the school year can be just as challenging (at least, for me). In fact, between trying to get kids to bed on time, mountains of paperwork, and  school supply shopping (see this year’s $350 “required” pile in the photo, left! And we’re not even done yet!), the first week (or day) alone can zap my sanity!

 

I know that, as the parent, I am responsible to keep us all sane (myself included), and I’ve learned the hard way that, in order for that to happen, I need a “back to school sanity plan.” Over the years, I’ve boiled it down to 7 strategies that, when followed, will ensure a successfully sane (and sweet) school-year for my family and me. I hope my 7 strategies will help make your school year a little more sane (and sweet) too!

 

 

7 Strategies for School-Year Sanity

1) Write down your top 5 priorities for the school year. Perhaps this year you need more family togetherness, or more focused study time with the kids. Perhaps you need to loosen up a bit, or maybe you need to tighten the reigns. What are your top 5 prioirities for the school year? For me, getting my family together for dinner, prayer, and family night is my main focus this year, whereas when they were younger, getting them out and entertained took top priority! Things certainly do change, so make it a habit to check in on what matters most at the start of (and throughout) each year. (Read “What Matters Most” for tips)

 

2)   Get organized. 1) Create an area to keep all school-related papers, homework, and projects. We have a desk in our kitchen with two cubbies where I keep papers and to-be-completed work. Completed homework goes in the child’s backpack, in our “mudroom,” where each kid has a cubby for backpacks, jackets, and shoes. Whatever your system, having one place for everything helps everyone stay on top of things. 2) Set up a calendar and write everything down. I know, I always hated “day-planners” and “calendars,” but with a large family, I need them. I have a personal calendar on my phone, and a corkboard calendar in the kitchen for the family. They not only help my kids and me stay on top of things (even when I’m not home), but writing it down clears my mind of clutter!

 

3)  Give kids age-appropriate responsibility and share the work! 1) Let them pick their own clothes, do their own hair, make their own lunches, or even walk or ride a bike to school! I know it’s tough to give wiggle room on this one, but giving kids age-appropriate choices and responsibility will not only make your life easier; it will empower your child too. 2) Then, Share the work. Let’s face it, we parents are all working 24/7 and we need help! I know kids are busy nowadays, but housework is important in building responsibility and keeping kids connected to the family. All 6 of our children have chores, according to their age and ability; at age 8 I even have my kids do their own laundry—it helps me out, but, more importantly, it’s teaching them to take care of themselves.

 

4)   Let go of the need to meet some parenting “ideal”. Not everyone’s cut out for homemade lunches, walking kids to school, and chaperoning field trips–that’s why we have school lunches, busses, and other parents! Instead, ask your children what matters most to them. It not only teaches them to prioritize, it will enable you to be present for the activities/events that they really care about and to let go of unrealistic and unnecessary expectations about being a “super parent.” Trust me, everyone will benefit if you learn to just let go! (For tips, read “Getting Good at The Let-Go’s”)

 

5)   Commit to the “Yes” and “No’s” of After School Time.   1) Say “yes” to being available after school. It’s hard, I know, but the fact is that the “second shift,” as I call it, is very important. When kids come home, they’re more likely to talk about their day, ask for advice on problems, and let you into their world. Often we parents have so much on our own schedules we end up frustrated by our children’s after school needs. Learn to accept that they need you after school and make it happen–it’s one of the most important things you can do! 2) Then, just say “no” to overscheduling! Spending all your time in activities wears everyone out and diminishes family time. With your top 5 priorities in mind, set limits on activities—it’s good for your children, you, and your family. Remember, saying “no” to an activity really means saying “yes” to something else–something that matters even more.

 

6)    Make bedtime and sleep a priority. When you or your children are suddenly feeling stressed, when grades drop, or performance suffers, it can almost always be traced back to being too tired.We live in a sleep-deprived world, and too many of us underestimate the damage of too little sleep. Help your children sleep better by helping them wind down at night, getting them to bed on time, and getting yourself to bed on time too. A good night’s sleep will improve attention, focus, performance, and mood (and will also make the mornings much smoother)! (For sleep ideas, read: “Sleep Better, Cope Better”: 6 Insomnia Causes & Cures)

 

7)   Take a break each day. If your kids are in school, make sure you take some time for you in the middle of the day. If you have little ones at home, set up “quiet time”. Even 15-30 minutes to do something you love–to take a short nap, a bath, to read, or to call a friend–can be just what you need to dive back in when that “second shift” rolls around. (For help, read Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time & Mom Mental Health: HOW To Get Alone Time [25+ Strategies!])

 

 

What are your tricks for a back-to-school mental health? Share your school-year sanity tips with us by leaving me a comment, below!

 

#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 Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com.

 
 
 

     
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 Parenting Skills--#BackToSchool #MentalHealth: 7 Strategies for School-Year Sanity; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 
 

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Parenting Practice: 7 Strategies for Summer Sanity

Parenting Practice:
7 Strategies for Summer Sanity

Summer is upon us once again with its longer days and warmer weather. Yet for we parents of school-aged children, summer break can be anything but relaxing. I admit, my past few summer breaks have started with a mental breakdown on my part. But this year is different. I have looked back, taken notes, and learned from my mistakes; with only four days of school left, my summer sanity plan is firmly in place. So, allow me to share my 7 strategies for summer sanity in hopes it will bring a little sanity your way this summer too!

1) Evaluate & adjust expectations. This is a biggie. As I’ve written before, “All frustration comes from expectations” (Dr. John Lund); expecting your schedule to remain the same in the summer is simply not possible and your sanity will pay the price if you don’t make some changes. For example, I’ve learned that I need to cut back on my own “projects” during the summer. The less I expect to get done, the less interrupted and frustrated I feel. Instead, I now try to read, relax, and play a little more in the summer, reminding myself that, even though I’m not getting much of my “to do list” done, I am doing some very important things (like strengthening my relationships and resting up for the fall). Expecting a little less in the summer can bring a whole lot more peace of mind. (For tips on altering expectations, read this).

2) Set up summer rules. What are your policies for summer sleepovers, playdates, chauffeur services, and chores? Call a family meeting, discuss, and write them down; then, post them in plain sight. Having written “rules” takes the guess work out of summer days, providing structure and helping children (and parents) know what to expect. One of our rules involves “Summer Kitchen Hours”. These hours are posted next to the other rules, telling the kids when the kitchen is “open” and when it is not. This helps prevent constant grazing and entices my hungry teens out of bed a little earlier, but mostly it helps me feel like I’m not constantly cooking and cleaning. What policies might help your summer run a little more smoothly?

3) Don’t over- or under- schedule. While it certainly helps to have some scheduled activities each week, resist the temptation to sign up for too many. Let’s face it—we live in an overscheduled world, and overscheduling wears parents and kids out. Instead, let summer be a time to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the school year. Planning one activity a day is plenty; and it’s ok to have days with nothing planned at all. It’s actually good for kids to have “nothing to do” sometimes—it allows them to hear their own thoughts and invokes creativity; it also helps them appreciate all they get to do at other times. When my kids start in with “I’m bored,” I tell them, “Great! I’m happy you’re bored—it’s good for you! Go sit and be bored for a while!” This gets plenty of eye-rolling, of course, but usually does the trick. (If they continue complaining, I say, “Oh, good! I need someone to help me get this work done”–they sure run away quickly after that one!). So, be careful with your scheduling–keeping kids (and you) entertained but not drained is a fine line to walk!

4) Do activities that you enjoy. Hiking? Reading? Drawing? Gardening?—whatever you love, look for opportunities to share it Parenting Practice: 7 Strategies for Summer Sanity; via www.DrChristinaHibbert.comwith your children; it’s a great way to teach them about the things you love. I love travelling, and now that I no longer have babies in tow taking my kids on trips is something I adore. (The photo to the right, is from when I decided [the week before] to take the fam to Utah. Once there, I took all the kids to Sundance for the day, to hike, bike, ride the lifts, and play frisbee [while my husband played golf]!) I also love music, so writing songs and playing instruments together is another great activity for us. The point is to find what you love and do it—you’ll be so much more engaged in what you’re doing, and your kids will be so much the better for it!

5) Set up some summer help. To avoid breaking down you need some breaks, and summer camps, babysitters, family, or friends can be a big help. You might set up a childcare co-op and swap “free time” with a friend; you might enlist grandparents to take the kids for a while; or, you might ask your partner or spouse to take over for a night or day each week. Whatever your situation, look for opportunities to get some help and then take them! Your sanity will thank you for it, I guarantee.

6) Create daily quiet time. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a work-at-home parent, a work-at work parent (oh, let’s face it—we’re all working parents!), you need some time and space that is just for you. Being “on” all the time is a sure way to burn out. To prevent burn out, set up daily “quiet time”. In our home we have 1 hour of “quiet time” each afternoon. I help the little ones settle down with books, a movie, or coloring, put a sign on my door (“Mom’s Quiet Time—Please Do Not Enter”) and hit my bed for reading, a nap, and usually some dark chocolate. The older kids entertain themselves and they all know not to interrupt or else “mean mom” might make an appearance. It’s good for everyone to have a break from activities and from each other. What can you do to establish some quiet time each day?

7) Be flexible. All this being said, summer really is a test of flexibility. Just because you have a summer “plan” doesn’t mean it won’t change–it will. Just count on it. Remembering strategy #1, if you can expect things to change, you will handle those changes much more smoothly. Just roll with it—that’s what summer is all about. (For more on flexibility, read here).

So, here’s to the summer of sanity! My hope is that, by using these 7 strategies, your summer will not only be more a little more sane, but perhaps even a little (or a lot) more satisfying too!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/square-head-shot1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]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’s also always looking for ways to stay just this side of sane![/author_info] [/author]

Parenting Practice: 7 Strategies for Summer Sanity; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

What are your summer survival tips? What gets you frustrated? What have you found to make things easier? Help us all out by leaving a comment below!

 

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Parenting Practice: Getting Good at “The Let-Go’s”

Parenting Practice:

Getting Good at “The Let-Go’s”

Welcome to my new series, “Parenting Practice”. I may have learned a lot about parenting in my psychology practice, but my true expertise has come through the practice of raising my own family. In order to survive as a mom of 6, I’ve had to learn a few tricks. In this series I will share some of my best tips and tricks with you in hopes that “practice” really does “make perfect” (or at least “better”)!

Today we explore one of my favorite (and most used) tips–getting good at “the let-go’s”. “The let-go’s” is my name for the many things I must let go of each day in order to ensure a greater measure of sanity for myself and my family.

For example, most days I let go of my need for a clean house. I let go of tidying up while the kids are at school in exchange for using my limited time more constructively, which also allows the kids the chance to help with chores when they get home. Matching socks and ironing are easy let-go’s for me, along with sheet folding and using fancy dinnerware. I let go of having all the beds made (though I do make my own) in lieu of letting us all get a few more minutes of much-needed sleep in the morning. Not only do I benefit from my let-go’s; you can see the great benefits I’m giving my family—opportunities to learn the value of hard work, to sleep more, and to iron their own clothes (yea for that)!

I’ve also learned to let go of my wants in order to get more of what I needMost of the time I let go of my want for more sleep in order to meet my need for an “hour of power” each morning, but sometimes I let go of my want for an “hour of power” in favor of getting a little more sleep. I let go of my want for high expectations in my work when I’m home with my kids all day in favor of my need for less frustration when they interrupt me. It’s gotten easier not to run every time I hear someone arguing or someone starting to cry in order to fill my need (and theirs) of teaching them how to handle things on their own. During preschool time this morning, I let go of my want to write, answer phone calls, and return emails, opting instead for a much-needed nap in the couple of hours of while my kids were all (miraculously) away!

And there are so many other “let-go’s” that come each and every day. Today, in between driving kids to and from doctor’s appointments, scouts, music, sports, picking up prescriptions and such, I had to let go. For one, I had to let go of being on time to everything.;I was 5 minutes late for music class, 10 minutes early for boy scouts, and 15 minutes late for pick ups! I let go of my 11 year-old actually wearing his scout shirt to scouts, for one, because we couldn’t find it, and two, because I’ve yet to sew on any of the patches he’s earned. I let go of giving my freshman and sophomore sons a ride home from sports, allowing them the opportunity to enjoy the warm day and melting snow instead. I let go of a healthy dinner in exchange for a “fun” and quick trip to Sonic for Chili Cheese Coneys and tots. I let go of working on my 8 year-old’s school project, opting to use the vanishing night time to cuddle her and my 4 year-old and read to them instead. I did give everyone hugs and kisses goodnight after we said our family prayers; some things are too important to let go.

I’m not always good at the let-go’s; it’s something I have to practice every single day. But I do know that the more I practice, the more I am able to let go, and the more I let go, the greater the peace for my family and me. So get out there and practice getting good at “the let-go’s”. It may be tough at first, but believe me, you will quickly become amazed at just how many things you can “let-go” of each and every day!

What are some of your let-go’s? Leave a comment below and share with us!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ChristinaHibbert_150.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]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. Learn and Grow with Dr. Hibbert and her community of really great people![/author_info] [/author]

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Frustration & Expectations

4 Simple Steps for Lowering Expectations & Obliterating Frustration

“All frustration comes from expectations.” I learned this listening to a talk by Dr. John Lund years ago and it changed my world. Think about it. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated it’s because there was an expectation somewhere in my mind that was never met. If I have no expectations of a person or situation, I can’t be disappointed.

Birthdays are a great example; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be singing, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.” We build up in our mind the way things “should be” until we can actually see the decorations, taste the perfect birthday cake, and hear the praise our guests will shower upon us. The same goes for relationships. We continually set up expectations for how the people we love should behave: what they should say, do, and not do. And we’re continually disappointed because they don’t live up to our ideals. But how can they live up to our ideals when we’ve never communicated to them what we expect?

This is the trouble with expectations: we don’t have a clear view of what we expect and even when we do, we rarely communicate it. Then we blame others for our frustration, crying, “You should have known!” But under the banner of “All frustration comes from expectations,” we find that we must surrender, for the blame lies only with ourselves.

So what are we to do? Allow me to suggest “4 Simple Steps for Lowering Expectations and Obliterating Frustration”:

1) Identify your expectations. Ask, “What do I expect from this person or situation?” Then listen honestly.

2) Identify the reality of the current situation. “What is really happening here?” is a good question to ask. Then listen honestly.

3) Compare the expectation with reality. Ask yourself, “Is my expectation realistic in this situation?” Sometimes the answer is “yes” but most often you’ll find the answer is “No.” Accept either answer.

4) Either alter your expectation to match reality or alter reality to match your expectation. (One little hint: It’s usually much easier to alter expectations than reality).

Simple, right? Identifying expectations gives us the opportunity to challenge, alter, and communicate them to others. I can tell my friends what I expect for my birthday and they can choose to make that expectation come true or not. I can tell my husband I expect flowers on our anniversary and then he has a choice. Of course we all know the consequences if he makes the wrong choice, but at least I know I am doing the right thing. I am taking responsibility for my own frustrations, and in doing so, I am much more likely to find that my realistic, communicated expectations are, more often than not, happily met.

 

What are your thoughts on  overcoming frustration? Leave a comment and share with us!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/ChristinaHibbert_150.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]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. Learn and Grow with Dr. Hibbert and her community of really great people![/author_info] [/author]

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