Friday, March 27, 2015

Herbs and plants for post-divorce emotional healing

There are a lot of places we can go to for emotional support -- and not all of them involve humans, or even beloved animals. 

One of the reasons so many of my clients feel absolutely desperate about finding a MAN is that they are terrified of accessing their own power.  In fact, they're not even sure that they have any power.  So, there's an unspoken belief that they have to get all of their love and support from someone else. 

Most of us think that we do have an idea of what self-love is, and many times women confuse self-love with self-respect.  How is self-love different?  It has a warm and nourishing quality of being happy to give yourself what you need, and to back away from situations that drain you without refilling you in any significant way. 

Because of being overly invested and involved in the lives of loved ones, it can be difficult to turn that same focus and caring toward ourselves.  Most women tell me it feels selfish to do so.  And, of course, they feel that selfishness is bad.  (Another topic for another blog post!)

By contrast, self-respect can be a cold comfort, and more of a self-protective defense mechanism than a quality that nurtures us. 

So many midlife divorcees don't believe that they really have any power or magnetism inside themselves.  They feel that the only way to feel desirable and deserving is to receive attention from someone else instead of from themselves.  When women look for this kind of attention from the wrong kind of man, they open themselves up to being hurt all over again -- before they've even begun to fully heal from divorce.

But, it's not wrong to reach out to get your needs met, and a baby step toward doing that in a safe way can be to make friends with healing plants.

Before you laugh and shake your head, I invite you to give this a try. It's wonderful.

Finding out which plants have a special relationship to you 
Plants have healing life force energy, and it's fun (and comforting) to experience various herbs to see which ones call you closer, and seem to want to have a relationship with you.  Just as you may have a favorite flower that makes you feel happy every time you encounter it, certain aromatic herbs can also have a profoundly healing effect on you.

Now is a wonderful time to visit a garden center and make friends with all of the varieties of herbs you can get to know.  Smell, gently touch, and see which ones draw you in.  Take a few home and, if this doesn't sound too far out to you, meditate with them and ask them to be your allies in the healing of your heart and spirit.  You can also look into their history and find out what healing and metaphysical uses these plants may have had for hundreds (or thousands) of years.

I bet you may already have a few favorite plants that you have loved since childhood.  For me, special plants that have called out to me over and over again in my life include lavender, rosemary, basil, lilacs, violets, lily of the valley, and sunflowers. 

Beloved plants give so much:  You can enjoy the beauty of having them grow in or outside your home, you can enjoy many of them in cooking and they assist your mood and strengthen your spirit at the same time.  Using them in essential oil form can keep them with you, supporting you, throughout the day and night.  You can turn to them when you need more energy, when you want to lift your mood, and even when you need a transformation from deep sorrow to the joy of simply being alive.

Not sure which plants are your special ones?  You'll find out when you take that drive to your nearest garden center and see which herbs draw you in. The ones that appeal to you most have something special to share with you -- they have just what you need most.

Here's something fun to do: 
  • Go to a garden center that will have many varieties of herbs on offer.
  • Look, sniff, and gently touch.  
  • After touching, sniff your hands.  
  • Which herbs give you a special feeling of attraction (by the way they look, their scent, or just something you can't quite explain)? 
  • Choose one or two that you like especially well and take them home with you. 
  • Search online for the medicinal uses of these plants. You'll probably be astounded to find that they are offering to you exactly what you need right now. 
  • Meditate with the plant, and ask its advice on areas of concern right now.  Sit quietly and see what comes into your mind.  Do you receive an inspiration that helps you? 

Let the plant queendom support you while you're sorting out the wayward humans in your life.  Enjoy their calming and supporting influence.

Let me know if you try this!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Making more time for you -- try the tomato!

This week, a friend introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique and a free timer app that has instantly changed my life.

This is a get-it-done-without-burnout life hack developed in the 1990s, and it uses any timer that you happen to have (kitchen timer, phone . . .), but I love the free Clockwork Tomato app that does all the math for you.  (There are many apps like this, but I love this one because it's pretty.)

The concept is so simple.  Each day, you write down the top 3 or 5 tasks you want most to accomplish.  Then you use the timer to keep you on track to do rounds of working 25 minutes on a task (without allowing any interruptions) followed by a 5-minute break.  After four 25-minute work/5-minute break segments, you take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

No multitasking of any kind is allowed while you're running the timer.  That means no answering the phone, checking email, looking at Facebook, or getting up from your task during the 25-minute segments (unless making phone calls *is* the task of your 25-minute segment).  Get up, get coffee, run to the bathroom, or whatever, during the 5-minute or 15-minute break.

It is amazing how productive you become without letting distractions get in the way.  And, guess what?  When you get work done faster, there's more time for fun -- which is the whole reason I wrote this post for you, my overworked divorcées!

But, wait!  You can use this for everything!
If you install the app on your phone rather than on your laptop, you can use the timer to be more productive with evening and weekend chores -- and get these exhausting tasks out of your way quickly.  Once again, amazing.  I can't wait for you to try this and see how quickly tasks are accomplished and how much time is freed up for self-care and fun.

When you're running your timer at home, you can be sure to fit in some exercise every day by making one 25-minute segment a physical activity.  Or how about a 25-minute relaxation period that you don't usually allow yourself?  When I'm swamped with more weekend work than I'd like, I schedule 25 minutes of chores followed by 25 minutes of fun in rotation until I'm finished with the annoying chores.   The bonus is that the chores are completed and out of the way (rather than hanging over my head and dreaded), and there's more free-and-clear evening and weekend time to enjoy.

I hear you saying:  What do you mean, without interruption?
Here's a suggestion on how to pleasantly handle interrupting colleagues, friends, or teenagers:
Let them know when you'll attend to them.  Deal with all of the interruptions in your next 5-minute rest period or 25-minute work segment and let them know how many minutes it will be until they have your undivided attention.

Undivided attention is much better than trying to handle their questions or concerns while simultaneously working on something else.

Other tips:
  • Turn your phone to silent or airplane mode.
  • If you have a door to the room in which you're working, close it.
  • Put a sign up, letting everyone know when you'll be free.
  • Don't have email, Facebook, or other enticing time-wasters open during Pomodoro time. 
  • Checking email just twice a day is a great practice to start now, if you'd like to start protecting more of your time for you.  You can get through email much more quickly when it piles up and you have to be more selective about what you choose to view.

Please let me know if you try this!  This system is already a miracle-worker for me, and I can't wait to start sharing it with my Dynamic Divorcée clients : )

Friday, March 13, 2015

Still feeling awful months (years) after the divorce? 10 reasons why it might be time to turn to a coach.

Feel the self-love and happiness every day.
It's easier than you think.
After the initial flush of relief when your divorce became final, did the frightening reality set in?  Are you still feeling shaken and off-balance many months (or years) later?

Maybe you've accepted this as the new normal for you:  Lonely, overwhelmed with responsibility, exhausted from giving more and more while receiving less and less in relationships.

Maybe you don't really believe that anyone has an answer for you.

But, wouldn't be worth it to check out the one thing you haven't tried yet?  Maybe you don't realize that someone out there has the key to living your dreams.  All you need is to know the steps to take and start on the path, step by step.

Here are a few reasons you might want to stop waiting and find out what it's like to work with a divorce recovery coach:
  1. The right coach has a proven step-by-step system to take you where you want to go in your life and in your relationships.  Over the years, I've moved from my original 4-step system to my current 7 Steps to Divorce Recovery, which is a complete path that will change your life in just four months.

  2. This means that coaching (or, at least my style of coaching) is results oriented (unlike open-ended talk therapy or mere commiseration with other divorced people in a group situation).  You can look forward to your life changing for the better -- and quickly -- if you do your part.

  3. The focus is entirely on you and your individual needs -- and your coach has the answers you need because she has stood in your shoes, has experienced divorce firsthand, and has overcome many many obstacles on her own.  If your coach is like me, she has developed a specific system that gets dramatic results for her clients in a short period of time.  You're not getting your advice from a therapist who hasn't been where you are, or a friend who's happily married, or a coworker who's still trying to heal from her own divorce (and making a lot of costly mistakes along the way). 

  4. You'll get the most efficient and practical steps to heal and reach a level of personal happiness and attractiveness that may be completely new to you.  It's so exciting that there are coaches who are uniquely qualified to help you get there quickly, and with just the support you need right now. 

  5. In a conversation with a coach -- I call it a virtual coffee date -- you can get to know your partner in recovery at no cost, to see if she is someone who can take you from where you are to where you want to be -- you'll feel it, if you know that working with her is something you want . . . and you'll also feel it if she's not the right fit for you.

  6. This initial conversation is very valuable in itself:  You'll learn more about yourself during the call -- you'll see clearly the changes you want to make and the future life you want to live, as you may never have verbalized it before.  You'll get so much focus from the call, that you'll wonder why you hesitated.

  7. During an initial conversation with a coach, the two of you will come to a meeting of the minds (and hearts) on what's possible for you, and how to get there.

  8. Your potential coach will give you several options for working together, so you'll be able to find an option that gives you the amount of support you need, and that you feel is just right for you.

  9. There's no pressure.  Many women are afraid to have this initial conversation because they think there will be some pushy sales aspect to it.  That's never the case (at least not with me).  But aren't you curious to learn what it's like to work with a divorce recovery coach whose entire focus is that you heal as quickly as possible and have a better life than ever before?  After you hear about your options, the decision is then yours, and, if it's a no, it's a no : ) .  No one should pressure you in any way -- I consider these virtual coffee dates is a way I can be of service to as many divorcees as possible.

  10. You can expect some insightful "extras" on the initial call:  Your coach may have some suggestions for you to help you get through a difficulty you're having right now (even before you become a client), and the coaching packages she'll offer you may include some very juicy free bonuses.  (My 5-hour Prepare to Be Loved program comes as a free bonus with one of the packages I offer, and every one of my packages has at least one special bonus attached to it.)
If you've tried everything else, or you just don't believe that there's anything out there that can make a difference for you, I invite you to find a divorce recovery coach whose blog and facebook page you like.  Contact her, and let her reach out to you.

If you'd like to schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me, here's how: 
Just click here to answer a very few questions (which will really get you clear on what you want to change and what has been standing in your way).  If I feel I'm the best person to assist, I'll email you with how to schedule our virtual coffee date at a time that's convenient for you.

Friday, March 6, 2015

spring cleaning: 24 hours without negative self-talk

You've probably read various challenges that encourage you to go without complaining for 21 days.  And, when you find yourself complaining, you have to go all the way back to day one and start over.

I want to suggest a special "spring cleaning" exercise of trying to go just 24 hours without complaining.

The point isn't to be a perfect little trooper, and get through the entire day as Pollyanna.  And the point isn't to beat yourself up when you inadvertently start thinking negative, angry thoughts.

The whole purpose of my spring cleaning exercise is to notice when you feel most down and negative.  By trying to live a full 24 hours in a "here's what's good about my life" frame of mind, you'll inevitably notice the times of day, events, and circumstances that tend to bring you down. 

This knowledge is priceless!

Times of Day
For me, it's first thing in the morning when I tend to feel the most down about things.  Knowing this, and knowing that in an hour or so I'll feel much more enthused about my day, I can just smile and give myself a hug when I start getting on some Eeyore-like jag.  It will be better as soon as I get going with my day.

It really helps to pinpoint when the most negative thoughts are occurring because it can help you spot patterns that you may not have noticed before.  For instance, I can replace the habit of worrying over things with a more positive early-morning routine, something that makes me feel good and supports me.

Events and Circumstances
During your 24-hour complaint-free day, make notice of the kinds of events that really get your growl-o-meter going.  For me, it's overwhelm.  It's times when my team isn't supporting me the way I'd like them to, and my workload doubles as a result.  It's when all kinds of "emergencies" push back my #1 goal for the day. 

Again, I can do something to change this -- when I recognize the pattern.  When I feel overwhelm starting to strike, I can do a pre-emptive strike of my own:  Shut down my email (the world won't really end).  Ignore the requests that are unknowingly sabotaging my day.  There's almost always something you can do.

Is it waiting in line that drives you crazy?   Your kids being lazy and creating more housework for you?  Is it a co-worker?  Identify the challenges to your peace of mind.  See how many of your stressors -- when you think about them dispassionately -- can be placated and soothed in some way before you get to the frustration point.

Complaining Makes It Worse
By the end of your 24 hours, you might also notice that complaining about something tends to make you feel even worse.  The more you focus your mind on what's going wrong, the bigger and more important it can seem.

Try It and Share Your Results
Try this little experiment tomorrow, and see what comes up during your day.  It's a great time of year to start clearing out the cobwebs of self-defeating self-talk before spring arrives!

Of course, I'd love it if you share your revelations and results in the comments below!