• Self Care During the Holidays

    The term “self care” is one of the latest catch phrases we’re hearing a lot of these days.  And it sounds like a really nice idea, but realistically, most of us have pretty full plates as it is.  Adding in more things ‘to-do’ even if they might be good for us, is overwhelming and defeats the whole purpose.

    I recommend not adding ANYTHING.  I know, that sounds radical.  But stick with me…

    Rather than adding more things to do, try turning what you are ALREADY DOING into a form of self care.

    Some examples:

    Your morning coffee.  You could turn it into self care, by turning off the tv and just sitting and enjoying a few sips without distraction.  Maybe enjoy the coffee without scrolling through your emails.  Switch it up and put on music in the morning instead of CNN.

    Ladies, if you wear makeup…slow down and tune in to how it feels to apply your makeup.  Again, just stopping the distractions can turn this daily action into loving, relaxing self care.

    We can even do this for our commutes.  (I know.  Now you think I’ve lost my mind completely…self care behind the wheel?!?  Bear with me just a little longer…)

    Let’s say you’ve just dropped the kids off at school and are off to Costco to get groceries.  That time in the car can be transformed with very little effort.  If you listen to the news, shut it off.  Silence can be a beautiful thing…drive in silence rather than distraction.  Maybe you always listen to podcasts…try a different genre or play music instead.  Or visa versa.  Maybe you can crank an “80’s” playlist and sing at the top of your lungs.  Whatever you decide, you’re still getting things done.  But, you just added some self care without it taking up any extra time.

    So, look at your daily life and the things that you do, daily.  Identify a few of those things as opportunities to slow down and be present with yourself.  You can absolutely create moments of genuine self care without adding anything to your ‘to-do’ list.  And then, the stress of holidays will be a little less intense.  You will have made yourself a priority despite your hectic schedule.

    I’d love to hear your self care ideas!

  • Mindful Holidays

    -excerpt from “Crafting a Better Life”

    They’re almost here, folks!

    Oh, the holidays.  Oh, family gatherings.  How does it usually go for you?   Raise your hand if you eat what feels like your entire body weight in holiday treats.  Raise your hand if within five minutes of Thanksgiving dinner, you’ve already lost your shit with your relatives.

    Okay, first of all, join the club.  In my opinion, there is WAY too much emphasis on holidays and ‘special occasions’, and WAY too much pressure for all of us to do things perfectly.

    The truth is, that’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.  Perfection is impossible.  So let’s accept that.  And instead of killing ourselves to get it right, let’s find a way to actually enjoy these times without shame, anger, exhaustion, and an extra 5 pounds to lose.

    This is a quick and easy way to interrupt your old patterns and instead become present and, yes, I’ll say it, ‘ be mindful’.  More importantly, you’ll feel much more in control and less reactive to your family’s nagging!  The goal with this is to switch out of our impulsive system (our behavioral habits and reasons for going unconscious…) and utilize our reflective system.  (which I will talk about in more detail in my next newsletter.)

    So, let’s do it!  The ‘Presence Practice’:

    Feel your feet.  How do they feel?  Are you in shoes? Socks? Barefoot? Are they cold?  Hot?  If you had to describe how they felt what would you say…in detail…?

    Okay, you just got present.  You practiced a ‘mindfulness’ technique.  Well done.

    Here is the thing about our bodies and the ‘presence practice’.  Our bodies are living in the here and now.  Second by second, breath by breath.  Our bodies couldn’t care less about what you did yesterday or, what you have to get done by the end of the week.  Our bodies know nothing about shame, regret, or worry.  Your critical parents?  Our bodies have no thoughts about that either.  They are simply here, right now.  

    So, when you are panicked about what to wear to the holiday party or worried about getting the table set in time for the guests, zone in on a part of your body and feel it fully. 

    By just staying present with your body, your stress level is instantly reduced.  And less stress means better thoughts.  And, the opportunity to choose a different action (versus scarfing down an extra piece of pie).  By practicing this, you are more likely to have control over your reactions to other people….even Uncle Pete.

    Practice this before the holidays arrive or the relatives come to visit.  Get in the habit of doing this a couple of times a day, at least.  And then, practice it incessantly when they’re in town! 

  • Shaking it Up

    I’m going live!  (Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do this years ago.)  

    As you may or may not know, I have been publishing newsletters every two weeks for almost 4 years now.  Whew!  That’s a lot.  

    And no, I’m not intending to stop…but it’s time to shake it up!

    You will still receive newlsetters but more of them will be videos (as you’ve likely already noticed).  In addition to this, I will be going live on Facebook the 1st Weds of every month around 11:30 am…to answer questions. 

    This is a chance for you to get a little free coaching and support.   Of course, if you can’t make it to the live talk, you can still send me any questions you have.

    So, I’ll be live next week (Oct 2nd) at 11:30  

    Come say ‘hi’!

  • Detoxing your Media Feed

    …a step towards ending the comparison game

    Comparison is a normal human behavior.  We are pack animals by nature and we look to our peers to see if we are fitting in or not.  This is an old survival strategy that served us very well back in the caveman days.  However, as we’ve evolved, so has our internal critical voices which are often focussed on negative comparisons.  And social media is a hotbed for creating horrible self talk.

    Social media can be a wonderful way to reach people, celebrate our successes and share what’s going on in our lives.

    However, social media can also lead to anxiety, depression, and isolation.  This happens when we go online and compare our lives to the lives of others.  And often, we do this completely unconsciously.  We pick up our phone and scroll away without acknowledging the impact those images are having on us.

    I’ve suggested before that we all take a 24 hour break from our phones.  If you haven’t tried that yet, I highly recommend you pick a day this week, and disconnect from all technology for the whole day.  No facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, etc.  The benefit of this exercise is two fold.  First, you realize how addicted you are to ‘checkin in’.  And, you free up a LOT of energy to do others things.  And we ALL want more energy!

    Another action you can take right now, is to detox your feed.  Look at who you’re following and decide who lifts you up, celebrates you, and is in alignment with your beliefs and ideals.  

    Who are you following and why?  

    Are you following people that make you feel insecure, unattractive, or just leave you feeling bad about yourself?

    Even if you are following someone you are a fan of, how does it make you FEEL when you see their posts?  Do you feel envy?  Anger?  Guilt?  Do you compare how great they’re doing to how well you’re doing?  And if you’re like most people, you check your feed A LOT which means you are reinforcing over and over again these negative feelings.

    And let’s be honest about what we post…we share our best moments that have been filtered and photoshopped to look even better than they actually are!  There are not a lot of us out there sharing our bad hair days on instagram!

    So do yourself a huge act of self love and unfollow who is not serving you. 

    And if you want to follow me …I only post pics of my latest newsletters, beautiful vacations pics, crafting projects, and my cat!  Follow me at CollywobbleCounty/BrigittaD on instagram and Brigitta Dau on Facebook.

    And while you’re looking me up, repost, retweet and forward this to a friend.

  • Crafting a Better Life

    “Crafting a Better Life”…is a 4 week online course to create lasting change to help us more easily achieve our goals. 

    Over the period of 4 weeks, we’ll be investigating what is stopping us and why by examining our patterns of self sabotage and procrastination.  We will be busting our maladaptive belief systems and creating new empowering beliefs.  By utilizing trigger stacking, mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral exercises, and many other tools, we will create comfort in our “uncomfortable zone” and accelerate the change we desire.   

    There will be video classes, written material and group coaching calls to support you through this journey.  And, because this is an online course, you can do the work at home, at times that work for you, and at a pace that suits you best.

    Cost: $125. Space is limited. Early bird special $95 if you register by August 21st.

    Start date: September 9th

  • Giving our Power Away

    We are all guilty of this to some degree…giving our power away without even realizing we’re doing it.  If it’s a minor issue, we can usually catch it and course correct pretty quickly.

    But, if we are consistently disempowering ourselves (on a daily basis, for example), we need to take a closer look and see if there are some underlying stories going unquestioned.

    You will notice you have given your power away when you feel anxiety and the need to control every aspect of the situation.  The second you feel this energy shift, stop what you’re doing and take note of what you’re thinking.  

    Some examples of how we disempower ourselves daily:

    Having issues with your self image can make you feel you must control and dominate your body in some way.  Just looking in the mirror could disempower you instantly with an unconscious story… maybe the belief running in your head is about looking a certain way to please others, be accepted, etc.

    Your bank balance might cause you to obsess about money, shopping, or your debt.  Maybe that story is about your self worth equalling your net worth, or maybe your story is saying you need more money to even begin to own a high level of self worth.

    Or maybe you have a story about your boss or your partner and how they would react if you behaved a different way, stood up for yourself, or stopped bending over backwards to please them.

    Whatever your story is, it’s worth examining to see if you are sapping your energy in the desire to live up to unconscious expectations…that you have placed upon yourself.  

    Another clue of when we are disempowering ourselves is when we use the phrase, “I can’t because…”  I’ve written about this in the past, as an excuse we all make sometimes.

    But, this phrase can have a deeper, more insidious meaning to it…because by blindly accepting that you ‘can’t’ have or do something throws you smack in the middle of victimhood.

    Now maybe it’s true that you are in serious debt, for example.  I’m not suggesting we cover our ears and say ‘la, la, la I can’t hear you…’.  You know I always favor being honest with ourselves rather than going into denial.

    But…being in debt doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself crazy obsessing about it and denying yourself the joys you could experience right now…for free!  Taking a walk in nature is free and absolutely stress relieving!  

    Maybe your skin is breaking out or your hair is thinning.  Rather than buying into the story that you have to look a certain way to be happy, see if there is something you can do lovingly, (right now!) maybe in the way of self care, to counter your disempowering feelings.

    Your stories are simply…beliefs you have about the way things ‘should’ be.  Rarely are they based on fact.  And if your stories leave you feeling anxious, depleted of energy, or cause you to shut down, then you are allowing that belief to disempower you.  Thus, leaving you the victim of your own thoughts.

    If it’s appropriate, write out what you’re saying to yourself when these feelings arise.  If the time isn’t right to stop and write out your thoughts, (maybe you are at work, etc.) then schedule a time to come back and revisit this situation.  See if you can gain some insight into how your mind is contributing to your lack of power.

    One more thing about standing in our power.  When we are empowered, we naturally look to empower other people.  Personal empowerment is inclusive, creative, supportive, and highly effective and energizing.  And we are at a time in history when we need all hands on deck…and owning our power, is how we create the world we want to live in.

    Life is hard enough without us putting the extra pressure of false stories on ourselves.  Examine your beliefs and get your power back. 

    This is an ongoing challenge for many of us.  Please, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are struggling with this.  Together we can get you on the path to true empowerment.

  • Holding the Space for others…

    …another aspect of Sovereignty and Setting Healthy Boundaries. (From my book, “Crafting a Better Life”)

    This has been a life long lesson for me.  Having grown up in a house with zero boundaries, I was never taught their importance.  Or, for that matter, how to effectively set healthy boundaries and then enforce them.  

    If this resonates for you, don’t worry.  You CAN learn to set healthy boundaries.  You CAN learn to enforce them.  Although it might be uncomfortable in the beginning, setting boundaries is crucial to supporting your personal power.  

    There is a misleading perception these days… “be open, be inclusive, don’t judge”, etc…no matter what.  Sure, we all agree that being nonjudgemental is a good thing.  But not if someone is taking advantage of you or spewing negativity all over you.  There is nothing spiritual or enlightened about being a doormat.

    The best way I have found to learn this skill is by modeling someone who is good at it.  Studying someone who has mastered a skill you desire is a great way to learn.  So, for example, if you want to learn how to be more comfortable with networking…you could find someone who’s already comfortable with it and join them for some networking events.  Then, watch their behavior and start behaving that way yourself.  It may feel awkward at first, but it works.  (Just like as children, we modeled our parents…there is a reason we sound just like our mothers sometimes!)

    This works for any behavior you want to learn.  

    I didn’t get really comfortable and capable with boundaries until I started working in a doctor’s office as a rehabilitative Pilates Instructor. 

    Dealing with people in pain is challenging.  Being in chronic pain is exhausting.  And, some patients have more difficult personalities than others.  So, setting boundaries became crucial for me in order to maintain my own personal sanity.  And let me add, many of these people tried to test my boundaries or ignore them altogether.  But I stayed firm…once I got comfortable enforcing them.

    Fortunately the office manager, was outstanding at setting boundaries.  He too had to learn this skill years ago, but he was clearly confident and capable now! 

    I studied him like a hawk.  And eventually, I became very clear about my boundaries, despite how uncomfortable it was at first.  

    By far, the most important boundary I learned to set was how to ‘hold space’ for people.  By that I mean, someone could be struggling physically or emotionally, and rather than hooking into their emotions, I quietly, compassionately, observed them.  I witnessed their pain…without getting personally involved with it.  (And I wouldn’t do any good as a life coach if every time a client got upset, I took on their pain…)

    I think this boundary, ‘holding space’ is an important one for everyone to learn.  Because, yes, people want to be seen, heard, and understood.  But we can offer people that compassion and simultaneously keep our own sovereignty by staying in our own emotions and not hooking into theirs.

    I repeat…We can be unrelenting in minding our own energy and emotions, and still compassionately observe the pain of others. 

    This is especially important now due to our current events.  We are bombarded daily with all the terrible things happening in our world.  If we allow ourselves to get sucked up into it, we’ll burn out, break down, or self destruct.

    Now more than ever we must set healthy boundaries and enforce them vigilantly.  Especially when it comes to holding space and witnessing others.

  • From my book: “Crafting a Better Life”

    Reclaiming our Sovereignty to let go of envy

    Sovereignty is a word being tossed all around the self development world these days.  And that’s a good thing.  Our world, our communities, and our relationships need to evolve away from the guru mentality and more towards taking responsibility for ourselves and our choices.

    As we gain more wisdom, the old model of us being the dutiful student at the feet of our masters has to dissolve.  Our new relationship to leadership, in all of its forms, should feel more like we are standing shoulder to shoulder with those that we admire.

    The old model breeds disempowerment and often leads to envy.  We become envious of our role models, friends, and public figures.  And in my opinion, envy is one of the causes of the high levels of anxiety many of us struggle with daily. 

    When we envy or overly admire someone, we are subconsciously deciding we can’t have what they’ve got.  We often have elaborate stories as to why “poor me isn’t as successful, attractive, wealthy (fill in the blank) as they are.”   As a result, we play small in the shadow of our worship of these ‘successful’ people or ideals.  

    Anything that puts you at the bottom of a pedestal creates the opportunity for envy…which always leads to disempowerment.

    I’m not saying we have nothing left to learn from other people.  I believe the opposite is true.  But, I am saying our approach needs to change to a more equal playing field.  How we handle ourselves and our own power is what will create change in those relationships.  And, it will also change how we learn from others.

    What if, instead of looking at someone and thinking “oh, she’s so in touch with her inner power…I wish I were more like her,” we looked at that person and thought “Oh, she’s showing me how I too can be in touch with my inner power.  She’s reflecting something I’m not yet seeing in myself.”

    Isn’t that thought more accurate?

    If you are hooked into envying people, then obviously they are triggering something in you that is either dormant or undernourished.  After all, you’re not preoccupied with people you don’t like.  You envy people for something they have that you want.  

    For example, if you are envious of your friend who just dropped 10 pounds, ask yourself what she’s revealing to you that you are yet to accept about yourself.  Maybe she made her health a priority and you are still struggling with your bad eating habits.  Maybe she’s showing you that, if you choose to, you too have the capacity to set a clear goal and stick to it.

    Maybe you are admiring an inspirational speaker yet feeling bad about your personal progress on your own healing path. What might they be revealing to you?  That you have the power to step up your game or to be more disciplined with your practices?  Maybe they are illuminating your need to take more responsibility for your actions.

    Because when you see those qualities as something you could cultivate in yourself, you claim your power back.  You own your whole being without being at the mercy of someone else’s success or wisdom.  You stop being envious and become proactive in the creation of your life.

    And when you can claim and own all of your power, even where you may still be struggling…THAT is the definition of sovereignty.  And the more you live from that energy, the more you instinctively help others to live in their sovereignty.  You will start to become aware when others are “looking up to you” rather than just taking a cue from your actions.  You can more easily discern what is “their stuff” and what is “your stuff.”  And in owning “your stuff” you automatically empower them with an opportunity to do the same.  It gives both of you the freedom and space to communicate openly.  

    So, take a look at the relationships in your life.  Where are you putting your power at the base of a pedestal?  Who are you envious of and why?  Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with that person…what are they showing you about what’s possible for you?  Where are you giving your power away?  Where, in you, could you cultivate that which you are envious of?

    Making this shift will absolutely change your life.  It might change your thoughts about why you eat what you eat.  It might change your thoughts about your wardrobe, how to approach your next conversation with someone, what books you read and who you get advice from.  It will change your personal relationships as well as your global ones….in a good way.  You will be reclaiming your power, reclaiming your sovereignty and simultaneously you’ll be creating a world where others can claim their’s too.

  • Self Injurious Thoughts

    Renaming the Critical Voice:  Our self  “Injurious” thoughts

    We all have a critical voice.  For us to achieve success in any area of our lives, we have to learn how to manage it.  Which means, knowing when to listen to it, when to ignore it, and when to unpack the real meaning behind what it’s saying to you.

    The last, the unpacking the meaning is important because when our critical voice is being vicious, it’s not only freaking us out but it’s actually doing damage to our psyches and…our health.

    Every cell in our body knows what’s happening at all times.  Every system, (immune system, respiratory system, lymphatic system, digestive system, etc, etc,) communicates with each other continuously.

    And they hear what you’re saying inside your head.  They hear that critical voice, too.  Which is why self loathing thoughts are dangerous to our health.  These thoughts literally do damage to us and are therefor ‘injurious’ by nature.

    So…how do we determine when to listen to those thoughts and what to listen for?

    When dealing with survival thoughts, our critical voice is an excellent advisor.  ‘Yes, look both ways before crossing the street’,  ‘Don’t stick your finger in the electric socket’, etc.

    But when our critical voices start telling us we are useless, a failure, too fat, or too old…we need to take a look at those thoughts and see what’s really the driving force behind them.

    “I’m useless”…What is the point your critical voice is trying to make.  Said another way, what is it trying to stop you from doing?  Is it protecting you from something by stopping you before you even try?

    And, more importantly, when in the past have you ignored it and succeeded despite its claims that you are doomed to fail?

    I always suggest writing our thoughts down.  So, pull out a pen and a piece of paper and write out your critical voice’s story.  We’ve all got a bunch of them but for now, pick one story and write it out completely.

    Then, reread it and ask, “what is this really about?”  Usually it’s about fear of something but knowing what that fear is about will help you understand yourself better.  And you can actually approach your critical voice from a different perspective. 

    Because, that voice will never go away.  It WILL change it’s stories from time to time (i.e. “I’m too young” could become “I’m too old”).  But knowing its main purpose or drive will help you to discern if this is a self injurious thought, or something to truly consider.

    So again, write your thoughts and ask what they’re really saying.  What is the real truth behind the vicious, tyrannical critical voice.  And then decide if these thoughts are helpful, or self injurious.

    The more you practice this, the easier it gets!  And I’d love to hear from you on this!

    And, if you want extra support with this, get in touch and we’ll unpack it together.

  • What is Behind our Fears?

    By now, most of us are pretty aware that the reason we self sabotage is because of our fears.  And, we can rattle off those fears fairly easily.  They usually fall along the lines of: fear of  embarrassment, rejection, being vulnerable, getting hurt, etc.

    But those are just the generic labels.  Those words give us no deeper knowledge or understanding of what’s really stopping us from taking risks.

    The real question is, what’s behind your fear?  Said another way, what do your fears mean to you?

    Let’s say you’re afraid of embarrassing yourself.  We ALL are afraid of that!  But my reasons for fearing embarrassment and your reasons could be completely different.

    Maybe, in my family, embarrassment led to endless teasing and criticism.  Then fearing being embarrassed would actually mean fearing feeling bullied or ostracized.  Those feelings carry much more pain than the label ‘embarrassment’.

    Maybe in your family embarrassment led to punishment or harsh feedback.  Then embarrassment to you could mean feeling worthless, stupid, or like a total failure.  Again, a very painful outcome and worth avoiding.

    So we have to ask ourselves, what does our fear mean to US?

    Be gentle when you ask yourself this question.  I suggest sitting down with your journal (writing this out might help you get more specific) and taking a moment to put your hand over your heart.  And then, ask your heart…what is it afraid of, really?  What do those fears MEAN? 

    When you were a child and you felt embarrassed or vulnerable or rejected, etc…what was said to you and how were you treated?  What meanings did you derive from your family’s reactions?

    The more specific you can be about what’s behind your fear, the more easily you’ll recognize it when it’s being triggered. 

    To take any risk you have to manage your fear.  The best way to do that is to get underneath it and see the real reasons for your fears.  

    Knowing your truth is where you find your courage.  

    “Clarity is the most potent form of power available to us.”  – Daniel LaPorte

    So, when your fear gets triggered, take a moment and ask your heart:

    What is this really about?  What does this fear mean to ME?  Think back to your childhood and get specific about the meaning behind your fears.

    And I’m here to support you with this if you need help.  Get in touch and we’ll set up a time to dig deep together.

    And as always, retweet, repost, and share with your friends.