Protecting What is Important to You

The Big Rocks story is a great metaphor for Steven Covey’s priority matrix. That is, making sure all the Important but not yet Urgent ( #2) activities are in your calendar first.

I’ve used this strategy with many clients, and they have discovered that we, (yes including me) typically spend most of our time focusing on those things that are Urgent and Important (#1) instead. Usually, this results from a lack of planning and the inability to say no and/or manage interruptions. Sound familiar? (more…)

How Exercise & Sleep Supports Mental Health

By Allison Smith, Guest Blogger, Certified Personal Trainer and Yoga Enthusiast

Depression runs in my family. Both my mothers’ parents took their own lives when she was a teen, and died herself by suicide recently. As difficult as it was, I was motivated more than ever to help others in pain. And so I was honoured when Leslie asked me to speak to her group Professionals Working Well about the importance of exercise and sleep for our mental health. (more…)

Peer Support for Professionals – Mental Health, Toronto

Is it possible to experience a mental health challenge and be effective and succeed at work?

Many wonder if it is indeed possible for a person living with a mental health challenge to work effectively, accomplish goals, reconnect with self and others, and recapture meaning and purpose in life.

 Peer Support for Professionals builds local community and connections among working professionals who have experience with a mental health challenge. (more…)

Mental wellness; it’s all how you look at it!

Lately, I’ve been bummed out – really bummed out. I could speculate on why but I don’t think it’s that helpful to go over the reasons. When I get into a one of these bummed out moods, my mind is like a war zone of negativity, Much of how I view things is based on what happens in my day and what I make of it:

  • I apply for a job, get an interview and am told I don’t have what they are looking for.
  • I ask for help from a friend and am ignored.
  • I’m short on cash to pay my visa bill at the end of the month, and it’s a reminder that I don’t have a consistent group of clients paying me for the work I love to do.
  • I continue to work out and don’t see any results in how my body looks.
  • I view job boards, get interested in a position, only to realize I don’t have the qualifications to be considered for an interview.
  • I’m taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course and have failed to keep up with the homework.
  • I’ve continued to share my vision of finding a grant for my Unleash Your Mental Wellness coaching program and have not come close to securing one.

(more…)

4 Steps to Achieving Your Goals

Course corrections can only come from deliberate reflections!

June is the halfway mark in the year. Six months have passed, and we have six months still to go. I’ve often wanted to review my goals at this time and have either forgotten, or it was too late when I remembered. This year is different. Looking at what we have done in the 1st half year will give new insights into what needs to be focused on for the remainder of the year. This is all in service of achieving our goals and outcomes.

Use these three simple questions:

  • What has worked?
  • What has not worked?
  • What do you need to have in place for those things that didn’t work to work?

I believe reviewing the last six months might just be the piece that has been missing for me. There is research that shows the link between how often reflection is done and the ability to lead more effectively. Those who engage in reflection are said to be more grounded, able to handle a crisis effectively, are empathic with their peers and more successful in their stated personal and business goals. I believe this can be used in our own lives. We are all leaders of something, our lives, our family, our mental health, and our physical health. (more…)

It feels like my brain doesn’t work

Sometimes it feels like my brain doesn’t work. And I can’t articulate the words or thoughts that I want to. Sometimes I think that I’m just not smart enough to be writing a blog.

I think I’ve been experiencing writer’s block.

But that thought just keeps getting pushed out of my mind. How can I have writers block if I’m writing emails or blogs for other sources?

Maybe it’s that I just don’t think I have anything interesting to say about mental health anymore.

After spending weeks of trying to get inspired to write by reading articles, profiles, and websites, I’m no farther ahead today in being inspired to write. (more…)

Compromise for the sake of what?

Sleep

I won’t compromise my sleep for anything else. Sleep is the most important activity I can do for my health. Some say you can sleep when you are dead – I say you are going to be dead sooner if you don’t sleep.

Fitting in with the crowd

I no longer compromise my true self in order to be like the crowd, doing the same as the rest. Even if I know it would help the situation in the moment, I know it won’t in the long run. This lesson took longer to learn than I would have liked. I no longer try to fit in, even when that voice in my head erodes my confidence in the moment nudging me, asking me to conform, I won’t budge. (more…)

A Lesson from Mother Nature

I love metaphors. Especially when I’m trying to sort something out that doesn’t feel so good. Living and speaking about mental health doesn’t always feel so good to me. The constant background conversation in my head says over and over again that ”they are going to judge you and think less of you if you let them know you have Bipolar Disorder” over and over again.

Frustrating,  so back to my metaphors. Today I was completing my patio garden and I began to think about how this year it’s has been very different for the deck and flowers, even my attitude. (more…)

Unleash Your Mental Wellness!

Unleash Your Mental Wellness!

If you have a been living with a mood disorder you might be feeling like you are alone, you might be afraid of asking for help or disclosing you have a mood disorder, you might even be frustrated with the lack of strategies and tools available to support you making real progress with your mental wellness goals. I know this because I’ve been there, I’ve felt alone, frustrated and afraid of anyone finding out my secret. (more…)

Success in Business When You Have a Mood Disorder

This post is about courage, fear and being responsible for your physical and mental health. As any entrepreneur will tell you there are challenges and fears that come with owning your own business, but there are additional challenges and fears for someone with a mood disorder. I have found that by following a few guidelines and using tools to help direct you, there is no reason why someone with a mood disorder cannot become a successful entrepreneur. In 1997 when I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, I never would have thought that it was even possible to own my own business. You can learn more about my business here: Open Spaces Learning

It has certainly been a journey with many failures and successes. With almost a decade of experience, there are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.  (more…)