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Happy Mother’s Day!

070Happy Mother’s Day!

Today, of course, is the perfect day to raise a toast to the leading ladies of our lives: those we call “mom”. (That’s my mom in the picture above on our recent trip to Disney for my first marathon!).

So today is short and sweet: Let’s talk about how mom’s help us be our best!

I’ve come to notice in my practice that often times, mothers can be taken for granted. They work hard both inside the home & out, and more often than not, family stress gets displaced on to momma dearest. What do I mean by that? Kid has a bad day at school, comes home, and snaps at Mom for not having the right snack prepared. Kid isn’t truly mad at mom, right? But she’s a safe place to throw his displaced angst. Why? Because kid knows that if he snaps at Mom, she’ll still love him. She’ll still tuck him into bed at night and read a story. Mom is predictable, steady, and safe. Kid can’t go to school and freak out on the peers who teased him, right? But he can vent and be stressed to mom. This makes mom’s job VERY HARD because she has to spend each day being the ‘family rock’ so-to-speak. I’m hopeful all the mom’s out there reading this can relate!

Let’s rest assured in something, though, that I’ve also come to find in my practice. Despite Kid getting mad and snapping at mom, there’s one thing that’s certain: He trusts and loves Mom. In a weird, twisted way, kid being able to displace stress to Mom is kind of healthy because he’s saying “I can trust that you’ll be okay with this and love me for me, even in my ugly moments”. I think that’s pretty cool, and often times something parents have trouble seeing among the behaviors or seemingly unhealthy emotions. It means Mom is doing something RIGHT!

Kid isn’t hiding in his room, kid isn’t turning to negative peers… Nope, kid is just having a rough day, and trusting you with his feelings. So, thank you Mom, for always being there, loving us at our ugliest, and providing us with the safety and assurance that a Mom can. A message to all the moms out there: you are so important in your families, so thank you for putting up with all our displaced stressors and continuing to rock as the ‘family rock’!

I love ya, Mom! 🙂

Happy Mom’s Day, everyone!

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When The Blues Seem Hard to Beat….

Moment of honest transparency, readers… I’ve been pretty stressed out the past two weeks (Yes, even us therapists sometimes get disregulated, at times!) You know what I noticed in the midst of all that stress? I just COULDN’T do right by myself. I felt lousy at most things I did, and even on happy, good days, was able to pick out a flaw or two. That whole “you are your own worst critic” feeling was just so loud that it was hard to receive any positive feedback or “don’t be so hard on yourself”-s. Not to mention, I found myself easily prone to irritability, fatigue, crying, and seeking comfort in foods you’d never catch me eating on a good day.

And you know what? I’m not alone. One of the biggest trends I see in my clients is attempts at self-sabotage: “It’s my fault I ended up like this” or “I’ll never be able to do that” are common themes. Remember my post on the importance of support in fitness success? (here) Well, sometimes even the loudest cheerleaders don’t help you make the play (…hopefully that makes sense, sports fans). And when that happens, we have to look inward to pull ourselves back up. That’s usually much easier said than done.

I didn’t write the book on the power of positive thinking (actually, this guy did), but, I came up with some things I’ve noticed have really helped:

1.) Exercise! (No surprise there). Usually, when we get stressed, our motivation to run, jump, and lift things goes right out the door. But even just a peaceful walk outside can do wonders (if you prefer that to slamming heavy barbells around like I do). The scientific reason behind this is that exercise produces serotonin, the neurotransmitter in our brain that makes us feel happy. Exercise clears the mental cobwebs out of our heads because during exercise our minds are focusing on the movements as opposed to what’s the matter. Without it, I think I’d be a lot worse off.

2.) Friends, family, and LAUGHTER: Another thing people tend to do when over-stressed is isolate, isolate, isolate. (Insert image of me here wagging my finger back and forth). Again, I’m guilty of this at times, myself. But it’s so important than when things get tough that you seek out the people in your life who make you feel good (and hey, truly good friends recognize that you’ve become a hermit and will do whatever they can to pull you out, anyways!) I’m really blessed to have a wonderful group of friends and family that keep me laughing every day. Getting all science-y, again, there have been studies that the act of laughter actually releases that happy-transmitter serotonin, just like exercise. Maybe they should start putting treadmills in comedy clubs??

3.) Healthy, quality food!: Just because you’re sad doesn’t mean you need to down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. This is not a Bridget Jones chick-flick movie. (In fact, don’t watch chick flick movies when you’re feeling negatively, at all) In all seriousness, though, a lot of those yummy, comfort foods are loaded with chemicals that end up giving us a “false food high” only to have us crash and burn later. I’ve watched youth clients actually get increasingly agitated when their diets consisted of soft drinks, fried foods, candy, or chips. So please, remember that just because your brain is sad, your body doesn’t need to get sad, too.

4.) A little faith: (Ah, my Mom would be so proud of me putting this in here!). Something that I often share with clients that I forget to abide by myself is that we are never given anything we can’t handle. So, have a little faith, in whatever sense faith means to you, that things will be okay and you’re tough enough to ride out the storm. April showers turn to may flowers, sunshine after the rain… all that good stuff. Just know that you’ll be okay. And, when you don’t feel like things will go okay, do me a favor and think back to the items listed above: Go for a long run to a friend’s house and eat a salad… you’ll feel better in no time 🙂

Happy thinking, everyone!


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