How to silence your inner critic

We all have one. We all have an inner critic. You know, the one who tells we can't. The one who tells us "... that mom from gymnastic is judging me for ________". The one who tells us we aren't perfect enough. We aren't patient enough. We just plain aren't enough.

How do we silence it? How do we tell ourselves we are "good enough"? 

Three ways to silence your inner critic

  1. "Check-in" with your inner critic every once and a while. Reflect on how this inner voice effects your self-talk, your self worth & your interpersonal communications.
  2. Acknowledge that this inner voice is separate from your real world view. This voice and it's phrases are NOT REAL. This dialogue exists solely in your thoughts, and is not a reflection of who you are, how good of a mother you are or even what others actually think of you. This voice is something you have internalized based on early life-memories, dialogue & behaviours that you witnessed as a tiny person.
  3. Differentiate from your inner critic. Write your self-talk down, in "I" statements.
    "I am a bad mom. I don't have any patience"
    AND THEN FLIP IT
    "I am a good mom. I am patient."
    This will help you change the internal dialogue, and hopefully start to change this thought process and turn negative self-talk into positive self talk.

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Negative self-talk is connected to perfectionism, anxiety and can lead to depression.  I believe you have the bravery to change your internal dialogue.  In my private practice in Regina, SK where am passionate about women struggling with their transition to and through motherhood, I offer a free 30 minute in-person consultation to find out if I'm the right support person for you.

The real truth about postpartum depression (PPD)

It's no secret that moms don't want to or can't talk about the very real things that are happening to them (in real time, in real situations). 
Here is the very real truth about postpartum depression (PPD):

  • PPD can start minutes after delivery, with the highest risk being in the first 5 months
  • 20-25% of women will experience PPD (at some point within the first year)
  • Women with a history of depression are 35% more likely to experience PPD
  • Women who experienced depression during pregnancy are 50% more likely to experience PPD

How is it that we don't ask for more? How is it that we are not being asked "HOW are you"? How is it that when you give someone a real response, they tend to retreat and not know how to respond? How is it that we don't ask for more? More joy, more love, more support, more time, more sleep? How it is that in 2018 we are walking around numb?

I talk to moms every day, and in response to the "how are you" question, these are the standard responses:

"Fine."     "Busy"     "Getting by"     "Surviving"

I say BE BRAVE, BE HONEST. Tell the truth (even if its ugly, especially if its ugly). Say how you are really feeling. Seek help if you need it (even when you don't "need"). But how will you know when you need support? It's as simple as checking in with yourself every now & then. Ask yourself the following:

  • How often am I neglecting my own basic needs, or the needs of my child(ren)?
  • How often am I blaming myself for things gone wrong?
  • How often am I feeling anxious, panicky, worried and/or scared?
  • How often am I crying, for long periods of time, seemingly for no reason?
  • How often am I too exhausted to do anything (ie. leaving the house, doing things you used to love)?

When the truthful answer to these questions is "moderate to high frequencies", it's likely time to reach out to someone. Anyone, anyone safe and who will hold you with love and support. This could be your partner, family member or professional. It doesn't much matter, as long as you are truthful with someone safe, it will open up a supportive dialogue. 

If you have answered "moderate to high frequencies" for one or more of these questions and  feelings have lasted for more then 2 weeks, I highly recommend seeking professional support. This could be from your doctor, health nurse or therapist. Pay attention to that voice inside that says "something isn't right here". Trust that thought and yourself. Reach out for support. You deserve everything you need to feel content with motherhood.

Oh and when YOU ask someone how THEY are, be prepared for the real truth. And respond with something like "wow, that f-ing sucks". NOT "oh... what can I do to help" (sheepishly). You know what you can do to help, HEAR HER, SEE HER, listen and be present with her. That's all anyone needs, just to be heard.


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Shhhh.
Don't speak. Don't feel. Don't cry. 
Don't let people see. Don't let people in.
It's normal, right? To feel this way.
Everyone feels this way, right?
I am alone. 
Don't speak. Don't feel. Don't cry. 

Shhhh.


PS> I saw the picture above, while searching for an image for this blog post. This poem came to me spontaneously while thinking about all the moms, I see, who are walking around silently struggling.


If you or someone you know is struggling with PPD or PPA (postpartum anxiety), please reach out for support. I believe you have the strength to heal from both.  In my private practice in Regina, SK where am passionate about maternal mental health, I offer a free 30 minute in-person consultation to find out if I'm the right support person for you.

Taking time for the things you love

One of my new year's intentions is to not work so much... By this I don't mean to work less then that is needed. I mean taking time for me, when I need it. For example: Let's say on Thursday I work a 14 hour day. On Friday I would only work half the day, instead of coming in for my regular 9-4.

This week was one of those weeks, where I was planning on staying home (because I worked a 14 hour day the day before). My son woke-up at 6:30, we did the morning thing and got him off to daycare. I had the morning to myself. If I'd planned ahead, I would've known what I was going to do with my morning, but that didn't happen. On my way to the daycare, the thoughts started to creep in.

What am I going to do with this "me" time? I could... go home & sleep ... go home & clean ... take my dog for a walk ... have a bath ... go shopping ... journal.
On and on I went. I kept thinking, what is going to fill my cup? What can I do to produce the most joy? I couldn't make up my mind and in truth, I started to get panicky about it. Another truth, I haven't been sleeping much. My son is going through a growth spurt and is waking in the middle of the night, restless and challenging to get back to sleep. What I really wanted was a nap. I really wanted to sleep in my own bed. Alone (that hasn't happened in almost a year). Commence full-blown overwhelmed thought-train.

During this thought-train, I started to do "the thing". The thing we all do when we are undecided on how to spend our allotted "me" time. We give, give and give some more. When it comes time to be selfless, we don't know what to do. We so badly want to do something, anything, everything. We lose sight of the truth and authenticity of our decisions. We base them on impulse and want, instead of thought and need.

Enter taking a page from my own book. During the panic, I'm not sure when, but, I stopped to think. I stopped to take a moment. I took a deep breath and visualized what would bring me the most joy. The AH!HA moment came, right on que. I went home, got the dog, my camera, warm clothes and headed to White Butte Trails.

What I needed was nature, fresh air and a long walk.

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In my private practice in Regina, SK, I am passionate about helping women find their joy. I offer a free 30 minute in-person consultation to find out if I'm the right support person for you.

Annual Reflections & Intentions

This year has tested me in ways I never thought possible. I initiated two businesses. Went back to school. Balanced a shift-working husband, toddler, fur baby and household. I'm here and still going strong. I'm always re-learning how to be gentle with myself (and others), reassessing my expectations & boundaries and not trying to do everything all at once. 

Here are other random (and not so random) reflections about 2017.

  • Applied for Expressive Art Therapy Training through Prairie Expressive Arts Therapy Institute.
  • After months and months and months of logistics, numbers and business planning Kristin MacPherson and I saw our unicorn dream come to fruition, thanks to our landlord.
  • Collectively we own & operate Red Fox Creative Studio.
  • 2017 started with extensive business planning & implementation for Red Fox Creative Studio.
  • Moved into 300 - 1954 Angus St studio space FEB 1st.
  • Built an office in the studio space - ok we didn't actually build it - but we did white wash the walls.
  • The first Red Fox class ran on MAR 6th.
  • My boy turned two years old. Commence TERRIBLE scratch that "teaching twos".
  • In March my son had his first sleepover with his Grammie. Give yourself permission to know when you're ready for something like this. For me, it took two years and a lot of suggesting from family members. It is a lot of planning, packing and worry. You'll know when you're ready. Trust your heart.
  • In April I started the Expressive Arts Training in Calgry. It was heavy and light. Dark and sunny. Lovely and enriching. I met 11 amazing woman doing great things in their professions and lives. The first intensive week we covered: story-telling, narratives, drama therapy and music therapy.
  • Summary of the training: 2000 kms driven, 6 days of training, 1 day off, 1 personal expressive art therapy appt, 9 days without my son or husband, 1 tired and inspired self.
  • I got home from the training feeling thrilled about the applications of expressive therapies.
  • Through out the summer months (before going back in Sept) I was to complete 2 hours of creative studio work and one journal entry every week. Plus read all my materials, keep up with self-discovery and correspond with other participants in the training.
  • May: Soft launch of the therapy website. This was literally my blood sweat and tears.
  • Mother's Day was spent with my mom at Over the Hill Orchards.
  • I wrote a BLOG post about my grandmother. You can read it. This was one of the last conversations I has with her. She departed this world in NOV.
  • Designed, launched, promoted and facilitated the first Maternal Healing Group.
  • Red Fox attended the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.
  • My friend created a monarch butterfly habitat for us. We raised three butterflies and released them into nature.
  • There was a family of owls living in my neighbours yard.
  • My cousin revealed the finished touches on the vintage Camaro she is restoring on behalf of her dad. 
  • My favourite place is Cypress Hills, SK
  • Shameless self-promotion... We are having four events out at the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park this summer.
  • We had a wonderful visit from my family who lives in Vancouver. My husband and I hosted a family BBQ. There were lots of laughs, tears and reminiscing.
  • Took my son water sliding for the first time. At times like this I am happy I was "in the moment"... however, I would've loved to have a go-pro strapped to my head. The look of pure playfulness and joy on his face was amazing.
  • Completed my Expressive Arts Training. This was an amazing experience. I grew both personally & professionally as a person. Considering the stage of life I'm in, this was a HUGE accomplishment & sacrifice for my family.
  • For thanksgiving I reconnected with an old friend. We planned to drive to Saskatoon, attend a craft sale and stay the night at a hotel (all husbandless and kidless). It was amazing to get away, unplug and reconnect with myself and my oldest friend.
  • Hosted the YWCA Regina Girls Camp at the studio. They participated in a guided meditation about self love and then put that experience to canvas boards. See BLOG POST.
  • Summer Vacation this year was to Edmonton, Cold Lake and Calgary (Okotoks). We experienced Fort Edmonton, Edmonton Zoo, Calgary Zoo and a WHOLE lot of reconnecting with family. 
  • Feeling thankful for the media coverage we've had in our first year of business. Two spots in Global Regina and one live CTV Morning Show segment.
  • I am so very grateful for everyone who has supported this journey and I look forward to everything it may bring my way.
  • Facilitated three mom's groups. I always learn more from the mom's then they do from me. There are some pretty amazing women in this city!
  • Scheduled over 50 client appointments. Thank you for being vulnerable and showing up for yourself.
  • Hosted two Women's Empowerment Events. The first one in November SOLD OUT.
  • Another shameless self promotion: check out all the ways you can invest in yourself in 2018.

AND, to end this annual summary...

  • Start doing the things you love.
  • Take your mask off and embrace vulnerability.
  • Ask for what you need.
  • Speak your truth.
  • YOU matter and YOUR mental health matters too.
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KAYLA HUSZAR EXPRESSIVE ART TRAINING

How to stay grounded in the winter

Expressive arts, is at its core, about the process. While this may look like a simple collage to some. To the women who made them they hold strength and meaning. This is a visual representation of a grounding meditation (essential for winter months when we can no longer walk bare feet outside), the celebration of the end of one of the moms groups and the continued desire to be open to self-discovery. 


 “The planted roots stretching into her body. Spreading their wings into her heart and mind. She gains strength from introspection, plants, books and  creation. She knows who she is, she knows how to stay grounded, it’s all inside her.”

“The planted roots stretching into her body. Spreading their wings into her heart and mind. She gains strength from introspection, plants, books and  creation. She knows who she is, she knows how to stay grounded, it’s all inside her.”

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 "I am strong. Steady. Grounding comes from within. I can access that energy and power whenever I want to need to. I am apart of that energy and power. I am made of stardust and will return to stardust. I don't need to be afraid of anyone or anything because I am connected to it all and it's all connected to me. I am part of power greater than myself. I am unique and strong. Capable and intelligent. I can access this strength everyday just by pausing and remembering that its here, with me at every moment"

"I am strong. Steady. Grounding comes from within. I can access that energy and power whenever I want to need to. I am apart of that energy and power. I am made of stardust and will return to stardust. I don't need to be afraid of anyone or anything because I am connected to it all and it's all connected to me. I am part of power greater than myself. I am unique and strong. Capable and intelligent. I can access this strength everyday just by pausing and remembering that its here, with me at every moment"


Step ONE: Earth & Belly Breathing Meditation Script from Sara Avant-Stover's The Book of SHE OR another grounding scripts you may find on the web. 

Step TWO: Art Response to capture the essence of the mediation and what it meant for you

Step THREE: Name your art piece and write to it. The writing could be the essence of your art piece, what the meditation meant to you or how you're going to take it's lessons forward into your life.

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It's ok, that it's not ok - YQR women's postpartum group

You can feel it, can't you? That unrest, that quiver of unease, that sense of despair. If you decide to show your bravery and walk among the wilderness while showing vulnerability, I will hold space for you. I will hear you. I will see you. We all will.

I've been told that I say this (a lot) "Its ok, that its not ok right now" and when working with mothers I think this an essential message. We are all creative people. Trusting in our bodies is part of the process. Trusting ourselves is even more important. Every week begins by not knowing what the art will bring froward.

Here are ten things (no, eleven) that you are likely to experience in the Maternal Healing Group:

  • The realization that inner work always starts with yourself
  • Acceptance of what you cannot control (aka. other people)
  • Moving towards living a more intentional and authentic life
  • The ability to move past distractions and scattered thoughts
  • Accessibility to unconscious thoughts - and your ability to alter them (aka. cognitive distortions, the stories we tell ourselves)
  • Realizing the "part you play" in your life & interpersonal communications
  • Sitting with your feelings, beginning to know them, learning from them
  • Permission to go into the deepest parts of yourself
  • Something new comes into being - enhancing your desire for self expression (and to be seen & heard)
  • Increased blood flow while creating
  • Improvements in immune system, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration
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You deserve joy

I was told once, that if you go back to doing the things you loved when you were 12 years old, that is where your true passion really lies.

Whether you're a parent, working professional or a retiree it can feel daunting to discover the thing(s) that bring you joy. I would suggest starting with the things you loved doing when you were 12. Whether that was sewing pillows for your friends, making friendship bracelets, journaling, sports, going for walks or spending time with animals. Start there and work your way through your 12-year old self's hobby list.

When you're feeling mundane and down in the dumps, when your life is lacking enrichment and joy, that is the time to start making your list.

This can be done by sitting quietly and visualizing your 12 year old self. Close your eyes and give yourself time to reflect. Ask yourself: What did she enjoy? What did she surround herself with? Who did she enjoy spending time with? What brought her happiness?

What's next after reflecting? Seek and experience them one by one. Maybe they'll bring you joy maybe they won't, but it's a place to start.

You have the time. Live your authentic life. You deserve it. Because you really do. Seriously, close your eyes say "You deserve joy".

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Show up with Love - Women's Empowerment Event

Do you find yourself flitting from one thing to another, not really able to focus on one thing? We can drive ourselves crazy with to-do lists, thoughts, desires, and attachments. Perhaps meditation will give you super powers, perhaps it will help you rein in your egos and emotions…. perhaps not. It looks different for each person.

This intention for this event was to introduce participants to the idea of fusing ART and guided mediation. This process increased self-awareness and gave time for reflection on how they show up in their life, how others show up for them and most importantly how they can show up for themselves. 

Together we embarked on a journey of reflection, art and introspection. 

CLICK to See the next Women's Empowerment Event

PRESENTED BY: KAYLA HUSZAR CREATIVE SERVICES & ELISHA GUEST PHOTOGRAPHY

Take a breather, Gord said it as ok

Gord Downie is a Canadian legend. He brought people together, he sang the truth and spoke words like poetry.

When diagnosed with caner, he didn't retreat. He continued to give all of himself to his fans & music. He continued to live his life as the true artist he was. No one will really know what those final moments were like for him, but I imagine they were filled with tears, music, strength and true self expression.

There are many ways Gord sang of truth and authenticity in life. Here are 4 of my favourite lyrics that speak to this:

  1. "We can take a bit of a breather. We can skip to the practical part. We can skip to the time of neither" - Lake Fever, 2000
  2. "First thing we'd climb a tree and maybe then we'd talk or sit silently and listen to our thoughts. With illusions of someday casting a golden light. No dress rehearsal, this is our life" - Ahead by a Century, 1996
  3. "Armed with will and determination, and grace, too" - Grace, Too, 1994
  4. “For a good life we just might have to weaken and find somewhere to go. Go somewhere we’re needed. Find somewhere to grow. Grow somewhere we’re needed” - It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken, 2002

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Road-Trip Therapy {Intentional Music}

You know when you're driving and the music is on shuffle and a song comes on. A little tear leaks from your eye and you start listening a little more intentionally. After listening a while you realize, that this song was perfectly placed, perfectly timed. This song takes you to a place.  A place that you can't even really even describe to other people. It's this place where everything makes sense and you're ready for change and you're ready to move forward. You realize in that split second, that everything in your life is a choice. A choice to be heard. A choice to react. A choice to move forward. Oh I’m not saying the choices are always easy ones, most likely these kinds of decisions are hard. They require honest communication and integrity. They might be the hardest choices you've ever made in your life. These choices might include setting up boundaries for people who are unhealthy. Deciding who you get to be. Getting up each day and facing what comes. Living your dreams. Becoming the author of your own story, and putting a stop to everyone writing all over your pages. Deciding when and where and how you want to live your life. Deciding what makes you feel whole.

Yes, one song can provoke all of that. If you really feel it and invite that song in your body.

Its time to ask yourself: What is it that you want? What is it that you want to accomplish? What is that thing, that voice in the back of your mind, what is it saying?

I encourage you to let these ideas breathe, let them live outside of you, because your life is worth living.

You deserve it.

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Creativity is about process not product {Art Journaling}

My journey with Art Journaling started with Anne Penniston Gray. We would gather at her office, she would serve tea and we would create the morning away. When I left those sessions I felt uplifted and whole again. Like most things in life I had great intentions of keeping up with my art journal. I had dreams of finding prompts on Pinterest and I would continue with it... I never did.

Then I became a mother & business owner, then LIFE really got in the WAY. Between feedings, sleeplessness and general life upkeep... When was I to find the time? I lost myself for a time - and creativity found me again, and I found myself.

This past April I went to Calgary for a whole week. ALL BY MYSELF (yes CAPS are required for that... let me say it again... ALL MY MYSELF). I attended Level One Expressive Art Training with Prairie Institute for Expressive Art Therapy. Our instructor Carmen was reciting a poem one morning and this phrase just stuck with me "...show up with love". Over the next few days, I was reflecting on how I show up with love... for my family... for my business... for myself. I wasn't entirely convinced I was intentionally showing up, in any capacity. 

This phrase, this week and this clarity prompted me to start doing things for myself again. I felt inspired, in ways I haven't been for years. And now, I need it. I need it like I need to eat, breathe and hydrate! I dream about collaging and my Pinterest is overloaded with new techniques I want to try. I look forward to that 45 min window in the evenings when I can take over my entire kitchen and create.

I encourage you to ask yourself, how am I showing up with love?

What you need to start your own art journal:
- Jar of water
- Paper Towel
- Spray Bottle (filled with water)
- Notebook (could be from the dollar store, glue two or three pages together)
- A variety of acrylic paints
- Paint brushes
- Magazines
- Paper bits (could be scrapbook paper, or any patterned paper you can find)
- Embellishments (quotes, floral bits, butterflies, etc)
- White glue

DIRECTIONS
This is about process not product
It may be easier to use a guide for the journal page, you can find all sorts of journal prompts on Pinterest.
1. Start by making your color palette and layering the paint on your page. Using stencils with total randomness, get a base layer of paint on your paper.
2. Keep stencilling until you feel ready to add your embellishments.
3. Mess up and cover with more paint.
4. Place your embellishments onto the page with white glue.
5. Blend with more layering of paint. 
6. You can drop paint by mixing with a little water. Or smear paint with a spatula.
7. BREATHE
7. Does the page feel finished?
9. If yes, then let dry. If no, keep going till it feels finished.
10. Reflect on your creative journey and how it's helping you reflect on your values.

 
 

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Have questions about intentional art journaling and how it can help you? Contact me
In my private practice in Regina, SK, I am passionate about helping women find their joy. I offer a free 30 minute in-person consultation to find out if I'm the right support person for you.