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Anxious Thoughts and Things That Go Bump in the Night

Kelly Bos

HOW TO MANAGE THOSE LATE NIGHT WORRIES

How does it happen? The sudden switch from peacefully sound asleep to wide awake... and worried. Maybe a child called out for water or the dog wanted to be let out and your wander back to bed got you thinking about a conflict at work or sixteen time sensitive errands. You binged watched Game of Thrones, dreamed you finally ruled Dragonstone and you awoke ruminating/obsessing about a betrayal in your own life. Or maybe it was one of those times when you simply awoke, seemingly out of nowhere, sweaty and anxious because that subconscious went bump in the night.

Now worrying in the daytime is usually time sucking, unhealthy and provides little help to the actual problem, but night worrying is anxiety on speed with so much less reason is available to you. Cognitive distortions at their most distorted.

Many times when I have had this night anxiety I finally get back to sleep and awake the next morning only to discover that what was plaguing me at 2 am, is not even an actual worry for me. I don't really care and/or see things much more clearly in the light of day. This is that 20/20 you are unable to grasp when you are tired and pumped with worry adrenaline. 

The night is full of terrors -Melisandre, Game of Thrones

But does it have to be? There are things you can do. The sword in the darkness? Reality!

1. First ask yourself, is this a problem?

The answer might be no. If you can recognize it IS a non issue and just your brain is searching for something to worry about then nighty night you are good to call time of death on that worry. Challenge it, stay in the moment of being in bed with your only task and focus to be on going back to sleep. Try the 5-5-5 method to get present. 

2. If it is a problem, ask yourself what can I do about it? Chances are there is nothing you can do about it at 2 am. Nothing. Nightwatch called off!

3. If it is a problem that has a solution, and you feel there is something you can do, write down the solution. I keep a pen and paper right beside my bed for moments just like these. I can write down the ideas around addressing that misunderstanding with my partner; I can jot a note to pick up the always forgotten dry cleaning. Whatever I am afraid I will forget is now taken care of.You see once it is written down, you can let it out of your head and end the swirling repetition. Also keep in mind that another billion circles in the head is not likely to produce too many more angles, ideas or cautionary tales for you, just write it down and be done. Worry rarely produces new amazing results that you had never thought of.

 

These simple tips should keep those cognitively distorted “ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night” at bay.  

You're Busy; We Know. Here's How to "Practice Presence" Sometimes Instead

Kelly Bos

NOW IS THE PERFECT IMPERFECT MOMENT

It was sports day at my daughter's school. I had forgotten, and it was a particularly difficult day to find the time to go. It proved to be more difficult to tell my daughter that I wouldn't attend, so I decided to make it work despite many to-dos and too little time in the day. I arrived at sports day distracted and a bit stressed.

Have you attended events without really being present? At high risk of attending in body only – my thoughts, plans and feelings of urgency took any joy or presence out of the moment – it was necessary for me to regroup.

I needed to acknowledge that although the day wasn't going as planned, I could still be there for her and for myself. Practicing presence in the busy-ness of life isn't easy.

Being mindful is a constant battle for many of us. As a parent, we must manage competing schedules and meet varying needs. Despite this we can find presence, even in the chaos, if we are intentional and practice it. Those times when we are so in the moment that the contrast is remarkable and often rare. You think, “Hey, I am here! I am really here!” and it is special, but often fleeting.

Practicing being in the present moment means letting go.

We struggle with yesterday (Why didn't I respond in a lovingly to my child's behaviour?) and tomorrow (How will I handle the co-op meeting tension?). We are missing out on the right now by looking forward or back with our should've, could've, would’ve or the conjured-up outcomes that simply could happen.

Your child is resilient...

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You and Fun: Why You Should Prioritize It and How to Add Some In

Kelly Bos

YOU AREN'T THE "PLAYING" PARENT. BUT YOU SHOULD BE.

I know, I know, you aren't the playing parent. You might get anxious even thinking about playing for any extended periods with dinosaurs or baby dolls. Perhaps your other half is the more fun parent, the one that gets out there and gets dirty. My husband is always helping construct forts, sand castles or toboggan runs. But someone has to get dinner ready, am I right?

I get it. I am kind of that parent too, except I am not. I am fun. I like fun. I just don't allow myself to prioritize it enough.

How do you make the time with competing demands? First, try and ignore that voice that reminds you you are drowning in deadlines or alerts you to feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable about getting silly as an adult. Live in the moment. What can you let go of now? What “should's” aren't that important in this minute?

Second, remind yourself of the benefits you will experience. Think of the last time you had a silly and rewarding time. Remember your child's smile as you agreed to get down on the carpet to play. Think Merry Go Round's you had to assist your child onto and ended up enjoying yourself. Reflect on the board game nights that had the whole family laughing. That time your partner's silly antics made you cry with laughter. These are the memory makers. We often play on vacation, why only then? Play connects us to ourselves and to others. We need more of this, don't we?

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The Tao of Toddlers

Kelly Bos

THERE IS SOME SEUSS-LIKE TRUTHS BURIED IN THE BIZARRE

Parenting toddlers has a bit of a bad rap, but I love this age and stage! For all its frustrations dealing with a pint-sized dictator, it can be a fun and hilarious time. The headshaking moments of trying to decipher what on earth is going in that little head or what compelled that action makes life interesting. I think, despite the nonsensical presentations, there is some Seuss-like truths buried in the bizarre.

There are lessons to be learned from the Tao of Toddlers:

THEY LIVE IN THE MOMENT. 

Our toddlers teach us not to rush. They stop and smell the roses... or lick the snow... or roll in the sand, but they do practice a lovely “presence” with their surroundings that we all could learn from.

THEY TAKE THEIR TIME. 

Time does not matter to a toddler, and if we truly lived the way of the toddler, we would still only have one boot on halfway through the day. But, there is something nice to be taken from this. It slows us down (and then some), but this is often needed. Our lives need a reflective pause button now and then.

THEY LIKE THEMSELVES. 

They like the sounds they can make, the songs they can sing, the chatter they chat especially at bedtime.

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I'm Bringing Silly Back Into My Life

Kelly Bos

PLAY, FUN, AND BEING SILLY IS IMPORTANT TO OUR WELLNESS AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS

Being the adultier adult has some pretty un-fun bits to it, and it is important to find the fun. When the negative outweighs the positive in your life, something has to change. Perhaps your interactions with your husband are at an unfortunate ratio of 40 negative interactions to 15 positive ones; this is not a happy balance. I can feel it when my ratio is off with my husband, children, or even life in general. These are times when there is too much work and too little play.

John Gottman says that balance theory of relationships can predict the likelihood of divorce. This is done with the magic ratio - a stable relationship has 5 times as many positive interactions between partners as negative ones. If you want to increase the positive, consider increasing the fun.

There is something magical when I truly pursue silly fun, like when I jump on the back of the toboggan with my kids, sing in the car, laugh at nothing with my toddler, and dance in the living room with abandon. In these times, I let myself relax and get lost in the moment. It's rejuvenating for the soul...

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Are You On Track for Your 2017 Goals?

Kelly Bos

A GREAT TIME TO CHECK IN

January is past the half way mark and it is a great time to check in with our goals. Due to the annual tradition of New Year resolutions, this part of the year becomes a time of reflection and a time to focus on self-improvement. The statistics aren't great on the whole process, but reflection and goal setting are always useful practices especially when done with some grace. To do this, hold onto your goals, the dates and the journey a little loosely, accepting that change takes time and just commit to learning and striving to move forward. If you feeling in a slump because you have been rigid in your goals and the outcome, consider changing this with the tips below. And hey, it is only mid January and we can definitely make a come back, the whole year is still ahead of us! 

Here are some ways to get back on track with your goals:

Reality Check : First, make sure that your goals are realistic. Maybe you haven't been consistently achieving the daily hour planned for learning spanish. That is okay, it might just be that the hour is not realistic with your schedule and current work demands. This is information gained that you can use to make some adjustments.

Goal Gear: Whether your goals are for your career, fitness or general wellness, there are gadgets, planners, books, and apps that can help. What are you reading to inspire? What scheduling app have you been meaning to download? Would a fitness tracker help your progress? I know that my Garmin Vivofit Christmas gift is still waiting for me to program it (tomorrow, I swear). Here is a useful list of items from yoga teacher and plant based recipe guru Nicole MacPherson to help with your fitness goals. Also, grab a planner to help with all things goal related. I am really enjoying my Passion Planner this year but there are so many styles out there, here are a few great ones I found for last year. Find a fit and invest in some simple gadgets that can help you succeed.

 

 

Make it Enjoyable: If you aren't enjoying the steps planned to acheive your targets, change it up. If that exercise class is more groan than gain, find another one. Get your goals met in a new and fun way. Nutritionist and health nut Jason Spilberg says that "An easy and effective way to get all the good foods that may not taste great into your diet is to throw them into a smoothie.” And if it doesn't taste good, he finds a pineapple makes anything taste good. So find the proverbial pineapple for your plan!

Who is in Your Corner: It is so hard to meet challenges alone. Find some support by bringing someone else in for accountability or guidance to meet your targets. It could be a friend or family member but consider getting a counsellor, a coach or a trainer if you are finding it difficult to stick to your resolutions. Business Coach Ross Blaine states that “everyone needs someone to give them a new perspective on issues both business and personal. Successful people will be the first to recognize that they need feedback that is practical and applicable.” 

Evaluate your Practices: A good routine is going to help you reach goals. Start with the basics making wellness and health a priority. You will be better able to reach goals when you have your sleep, nutrition and fitness on track. A great morning routine can also be useful. I often suggest clients try morning pages, a great way to process and plan.

 

As you evaluate your goals for this year, remember to be kind to yourself. Getting to your goals might only require a little tweak here and there and a good amount of grace. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Life is a journey, not a destination". We can always evaluate, adjust and find new and more beneficial ways to journey towards these aims.