Mom, I have TOO MUCH WORK to take a holiday!

I was talking to a Mom of two teen girls the other day, and she confessed that she was DREADING the holiday trip she had planned. It was supposed to be a great getaway for her and her husband and the kids, but now she realises that this is a HORRIBLE time of year for her kids because of their school work. Over the break they have projects to complete, and finals to write just a week after they get back home.
Are you in this situation?
Here’s the reality:
Everyone needs a break! We all need to learn how to switch gears so that we can rest and relax! This might seem like a luxury, but switching to low gear and learning to rest and relax is critical to our long-term health! 
We need to set our teens up for success, so that when they’re adults, they know how  to set aside their  work at the end of the day. As adults, we have to learn how to set aside our work so that we can go on a holiday (even when the day-to-day operations of our job might still be going on without us!)
It takes SKILL to set aside our work, and TRUST that we’ll be able to cope when we get back to it again!
Here’s a 4 point plan to setting aside the work to that you and your teens can RELAX, and then come back to your work and school life feeling refreshed!
  1. Make a plan: Estimate the time it will take to complete the work (the project, the studying, whatever it is). Schedule in the time BEFORE your holiday, or AFTER your holiday. Get creative with your planning! You may have to give up watching t.v. for two days, or skip a pre-trip holiday party, but when you can prioritise your work AND your holiday time, all the “extras” really come into focus.
  2. Put the work away- physically! Get a large plastic bin, or your backpack, and physically pack away the textbooks, the binders, etc. Put a copy of your post-holiday work schedule on the top. Put a “Do not open until…” sign on it. This might sound silly, but the physical putting away can be a really great way of creating a concrete boundary on your work.
  3. Visualise: As you travel to your destination, whether by car or plane, imagine the thoughts of your work as string that physically connect you to it. Imagine your thoughts of work as string connecting you to the bin of work, and watch them stretch the further you travel. When you’re ready, imagine yourself cutting the strings of thoughts of your work, and with each snip of the strings, allow your body to release the tension of the thought. By the time you reach your destination, allow your body and mind to be in relaxation (or excitement, whatever is restorative to you!)
  4. Follow the plan! When you get home, unpack the box, and follow through with your plan! There’s no better way of developing your self-trust by creating a plan for yourself and following through!
Teens are following OUR lead. If we’re setting aside the work, putting boundaries on when and where we’re checking our e-mails, and committing to our self-care, our teens will believe us when we tell them that resting and relaxing are important!
Wishing you a restorative holiday season to set you up for success in 2018!

It is better to give to that receive…OR IS IT?

When we teach our teens that it’s better to GIVE….then how are they supposed to handle all of what they’re given?
We need to teach our teens how to GIVE and how to RECEIVE.
I’d like to take the wise wisdom of Christine Arylo, who says “It’s better to give AND receive”.
Teens often have a bad reputation of being entitled, self-centered and want-want-wanting!
The truth is, teens (like all people) come in ALL VARIETIES! There are advantages and disadvantages to being a GIVER. There are advantages and disadvantages to being a RECEIVER.
No matter what kind of teen you’re working with…there IS a way to engage with your teen in a positive way, so that they can learn the art of being able to both give and receive in life.
 
GIVERS: Some teens are incredibly passionate about serving others. They are altruistic and compassionate, and they put all of their energy into making the world a better place! These teens volunteer in their community, and they are lit up by the difference they are making! As parents of givers, we encourage and applaud their efforts. They are amazing kids! Sometimes, though, the givers struggle to take care of themselves. They’re so busy taking care of others that they can neglect their own sleep, nutrition, and ability to have fun (which is SO restorative!). Givers often feel guilty for having all they need, and for having a good time. As parents, we need to applaud their self-care efforts; when they are resting, when they are laughing with friends, when they are taking time for renewal, we need to congratulate them for knowing that when they’re whole and healthy, they are better able to jump back in to serving others.
RECEIVERS: Some teens appear so SELF-CENTERED! They’re entitled, and want-want-want. This can be really aggravating because they believe that the entire world (and family budget) should revolve around them and their needs. Sometimes this intense wanting pushes our buttons because the wanting isn’t connected to understanding how to GET what they want. Another reason why our teen’s wanting gets aggravating is because we’ve suffered so much from wanting and NOT receiving, that we’ve given up on our own desires in life. Wanting can be a great indication of clarity in life, and can create a compelling future (think of the kid who wants a car and does EVERYTHING in their power to fund that vision)!
As parents, we can encourage these teens to keep wanting, AND to figure out a plan of how to GET what they want (like getting a job, setting up a savings plan, thinking long-term, etc.).
As parents, we can also help these teens to be grateful for what they have, and think of the needs of others.
Often these teens need an experience of walking in someone else’s shoes, or serving others  (more than just one time) to really understand that it’s important to give when you have so much.
Whether you have giver, receiver, or both, it’s important to recognise that there are gifts in every way of being, and there are opportunities for US as parents to really lean in to those places where our teens “push our buttons” as areas to commit to learning about ourselves and growing in wisdom alongside our teens.

Her Time 2 Shine!

Meet Madison English, an incredible  22 year old Calgary woman with a BIG VISION!

Madison is the founder of hertime2shine.com where she is creating a community of teen women, right here in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta Canada. Madison knows that teens need a safe place to talk about what is REAL in their lives, with the support and wisdom of their peers and mentors.

Her Time 2 Shine holds space for teenage women to discover their powerful ability to embody a high level of self-worth.

 

I got to sit down with Madison and hear more about her incredible vision. Watch the video to discover:

  • Why Madison is so passionate about creating a community of teen women.
  • What teen women need that they’re not getting anywhere else.
  • A time in Madison’s life when she could have used a community like this?
  • What changes in the lives of  young women when they feel supported.

To find out more about Her Time 2 Shine events in Calgary, visit www.hertime2shine.com

The effect of 9/11 on today’s teens

16 years ago the world watched as two planes flew into New York’s World Trade Centre, and we heard the stories of the victims, heroes, and terrorists. We watched as communities coped with the unexpected, shared tragic loss, and suffered through weeks, months, and years of knowing that life for them would never be the same.

Our teens have grown up in an era of TERROR.

It’s easy to dismiss this idea and tell ourselves that our babies and toddlers weren’t affected, but the truth is that 16 years ago the “unthinkable” happened; each of us has had to re-calculate our world view after the events of 9/11, and that shift has had a profound effect on our children. TERROR has been a part of our culture in a real and tangible way.

As a resilience coach, I wonder,

How can we be resilient in the face of extreme fear?

Since the 1970’s, psychologists have agreed that resilient people believe that they can do something to manage their feelings.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CAN HELP YOU TO MANAGE YOUR FEELINGS!

Teens are reporting higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression every year.

We NEED to teach our teens how to manage their feelings.

We NEED to teach our teens to be present in the moment so that instead of numbing their emotions with food, Instagram, video games, homework and basketball practice, they can actually FEEL their emotions so that they can MOVE THROUGH THEM.

When we don’t process our emotions, when we don’t allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling, we’re not able to make the best decisions for ourselves, we’re not in touch with our divine gifts, and we’re at risk for developing disease.

So today, give yourself 5 minutes to just let your emotions flow. Get curious about what you’re feeling in the moment. Let that be enough.

I found a virtual waterfall for you! CLICK HERE to give yourself a quiet 5 minute retreat space, and just listen to the flowing water as you let your emotions flow.

If you find this exercise difficult, just tell yourself “Everything is OK right now”, because if you’re sitting in a safe plae listening to a waterfall, you are not in imminent danger.

Here’s to your wellness: body, mind, and spirit!

Deanne

Back to School Stress

Are you feeling the fall pressure?

Does your calendar ALREADY look completely packed?

Instead of falling into the old patterns of overwork and overwhelm from years past, take some time to make the bold commitment to

DO THIS YEAR DIFFERENTLY.

I’m challenging you to schedule time in your calendar for DOING NOTHING. Schedule in some time every day (10-20 minutes) and a larger chunk of time each week (1-3 hours) when you don’t have a “to-do” list to accomplish.

This is a time to do only what you WANT to do. Do what you’re inspired to do IN THE MOMENT. Sit down, drink a cup of tea, draw, stretch, lay on your bed and listen to music.

Stick to your commitment of allowing yourself this down time (this is for teens AND parents!)

Here’s why: when we give ourselves time to stop, breathe, decompress, rest, and listen to what we need in the moment, our rested mind and body is able to make clearer decisions the rest of the day (so we actually end up saving time!)

Can I tell you a quick story about doing things differently?

Last weekend I ran a 10 K race. There was a woman ahead of me who would run, then slow down to a walk, then run again. I had used this strategy in my training, but on race day I was committed to running at a strong pace for the entire race. I was SO FRUSTRATED that this woman was actually moving at the same pace as me!

Here’s the lesson: We fool ourselves into feeling like we need to push-push-push all day long to be productive and successful, when in fact, varying our pace allows us to use our energy more efficiently, and gives us some much needed VARIETY in our lives so we don’t get burned out from the push.

Give yourself the gift of taking a break EVERY DAY!

 

You are WORTH IT!

Deanne

Parenting for Resilience

The school year is wrapping up, and I’m curious….have you really had the impact on your teen that you’d like?

Are you worried about the choices that your teen is making, but feeling powerless to influence your teen?

Are you seeing your teen make the SAME MISTAKE over and over again?

Are you afraid that you’ll “say too much” and push your teen into hiding…again?

SO many parents have been asking me HOW TO PARENT TEENS so that they’re RESILIENT, so I’ve created this FREE MASTER CLASS, and you’re invited!

Parenting for Resilience: How to coach your teen into being a successful problem solver is happening LIVE on Saturday!

In this MASTERCLASS I’ll show you step-by-step how to:

  • Reduce stress by swapping worry for wisdom
  • Listen to your teen so they KNOW that you respect them
  • Ask simple questions that will empower your teen to solve their own problems
  • Build resilience skills over the summer as a family

Are you in? CLICK HERE to grab your spot for FREE!

Not only will you hear my BEST STRATEGIES for empowering your teen, you’ll also have a chance to ask me questions in our LIVE Q and A session at the end of the training.

Don’t miss out on this amazing FREE training! CLICK HERE to grab your spot!

See you there!

Deanne

P.S. We can only accommodate 100 participants, so act now to grab your seat! CLICK HERE to register now!

Resilient Teen

Let’s face it, teens are amazing explorers and life adventurers, and sometimes that gets them into trouble. The teenage brain thrives on new experiences to grow, and so teens are hardwired to experiment. But some experiments come with high risk, and current brain science is telling us that  teens are not great at assessing risk and anticipating the consequences of their actions.

As adults, we want to both encourage our teen’s adventurous spirit AND protect them from making damaging mistakes. Perhaps more importantly, when our teens inevitably find themselves in a difficult situation, we want them to learn how to work through it, so that they can build their own problem solving skills.

After all, didn’t YOU make some pretty big mistakes as a teen?

We all did.

The difference between our teenage mistakes and the mistakes of this generation, is the added impact of our children’s mistakes being broadcast far and wide on social media, with devastating consequences for both teens and their families. Our digital connections can be an amazing opportunity, and also a heavy burden. Teens also see the glossy, filtered, photo-shopped, perfect snapshot version of other’s lives on social media, and they are comparing how their life FEELS with how everyone else’s life LOOKS.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’ve spent 14 years as a High School teacher, and working with teens every day taught me that my students were under incredible stress and pressure to do, and be, and have it all. Under this intense pressure there was no room for failure, so some students took themselves out of the game completely by skipping school. Others attended school but had an attitude of “I don’t care”, “this is stupid”, or “It doesn’t matter”, or suffered silently with their own devastating inner thoughts and tried to be invisible.

Teens are reporting higher rates of anxiety each year, which is not surprising when we hear how teens feel overwhelmed by the amount of information at their disposal, compare themselves to countless others on social media, and feel like everything has already been said and done. All of these pressures ON TOP OF the usual ups and downs of being a teenager requires all of us to think differently about how we support teens today.

I’ve been wondering,

How can we support critical thinkers instead of direction followers?

How can we provide support to teens, while still allowing them to figure things out on their own?

How can we support RESILIENCE in youth?

To answer these questions, I’ve joined with over 21 thought leaders to bring you an online conference dedicated to supporting RESILIENT teens. The interviews are REAL, short, and to the point CONVERSATIONS with teens, parents, entrepreneurs, coaches, and mentors, who share their own story of resilience, and what they’re doing now to make things a little but easier for others to move through their own hardships. CLICK HERE to grab access!

It’s called Resilient Teen: Supporting independence, confidence, and resourcefulness in teens.

It is FREE for you to attend. You can grab access using THIS LINK

This event is FOR TEENS who want to know how to overcome the tough times, and FOR PARENTS who want to understand how to set teens up for success in school AND life.

You can watch each 30 minute video from your laptop or mobile device, so you will have STRATEGIES and INSPIRATION at your fingertips.

Here is what we’re talking about in the video interviews:

  • Developing a positive MINDSET to learn from past mistakes
  • How to walk through TEEN DEPRESSION with renewed purpose
  • How CONNECTING with their school community helps youth develop resilience
  • How teens can THRIVE even when they don’t complete high school
  • The KEY SKILLS of resilience and how to teach them to your teen
  • How PARENTS can be a supportive resource to their teens

CLICK HERE NOW to gain complimentary access to the experts starting on MAY 1, 2017

I’m excited to share these videos with you!

Deanne

P.S. Psychologists are telling us that one key to resilience for teens AND adults is being CONNECTED to a community who can support you through your difficult times.

You are invited to join us in  The Gratitude Lounge Facebook group. During the month of May, the lounge will be buzzing with conversation about the Resilient Teen interviews. Whether you’re a teen, parent, grandparent, teacher, if you’re interested in supporting teens, or learning about resilience, CLICK HERE TO JOIN us on Facebook.

 

 

The real reason why I started Gratitudeworks

I’ve spent 14 years working with teens EVERY DAY as a high school English Literature ( or as we say here in Calgary, English Language Arts) teacher.

In my local school district, students have been reporting increasing levels of anxiety and depression each year. In my last semester of full time classroom teaching, two of my students were hospitalised for their mental health. It was then that I realised that my purpose was no longer to be a classroom teacher, but to teach teens, parents and teachers how to incorporate strategies into their lives that would support their mental health.

We’re all so busy, worried, frustrated, and overwhelmed and

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

I’m on a mission to transform the lives of teens and parents LIKE YOU through

SIMPLE

DOABLE

SUSTAINABLE practices to improve the quality of YOUR LIFE.

Mindfulness is one of those practices.

I know that going to a concrete building swarming with teens can wear you down! Mindfulness practices, whether that is quietly drinking a cup of tea, or sitting for meditation for 5 minutes, or 20 minutes,  are what have sustained me in the busyness of school for years. Research has shown that mindfulness practice is effective in improving sleep, lowering stress, and improving self-compassion. No only do our thought about ourselves improve, but our perspective about life shifts to be more positive with mindfulness.

In October 2016, I interviewed Dr. Dzung Vo, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at British Columbia Children’s Hospital, and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Vancouver, Canada. Dr Vo  has created a mindfulness based stress reduction program for TEENS as a response to the stress and depression that he is seeing in his teenage patients in Vancouver, Canada.

If you’ve got 3 minutes, I invite you to CLICK HERE and watch the video on Dr Vo’s mindfulness for teens website, the video is called “Youth Voices” where you’ll hear from REAL TEENS about how mindfulness has transformed their lives.

On his website, Dr. Vo also shares REE DOWNLOADABLE GUIDED MEDITATIONS

If you don’t have time to try some of these meditations right now, just pull out your calendar and schedule in 15 minutes later today to check them out.

You deserve a life that FEELS GOOD!

Be well,

Deanne

 

 

TIME magazine’s got Mindfulness covered!

MINDFULNESS: The new science of health and happiness is the title of TIME magazine’s most recent special edition.

If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of tuning in to the power of the present moment, just flip through the mag and you’ll read about how mindfulness can help to:

Save yourself from stress

Help students “get an edge” in the classroom with sharper thinking and more self-control

Boost kindness

Rest your brain from multitasking

Improve sleep

Release happy chemicals(endorphins) in the brain

Help your digestion

Reduce pain symptoms and migraines

WOW!

Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation are also being embraced by hospitals to help patients heal and manage pain, as well as major corporations such as Nike and Google to help with employee productivity (a happy employee is a productive, creative, and engaged employee).

It’s true that paying attention to the present moment, using all of your senses is SO SIMPLE. But it’s also so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of life that we overlook the power of SLOWING DOWN, and FOCUSING IN on just ONE THING

One breath

One sound

One beautiful sunrise.

I hope you’ll find at least 5 minutes today to savour the present moment and focus in on just ONE THING.

“Mindfulness is about putting down our juggling balls for a little bit. It’s about embracing the beauty of monotasking” – Mary Elizabeth Williams

 

Be well,

Deanne

Teens choose electric shock over spending time alone!

I was just reading Growing Up Mindful by Clinical Psychologist Christopher Willard,  and I was SHOCKED (forgive the pun) when I read that, “A recent study found that young men would rather receive ten minutes of low-level electric shocks than spend ten minutes alone with their thoughts, without electronics” (pg 3, Growing Up Mindful)

This is the heartbreaking truth for many of our teens today: They would rather CHECK OUT with social media, shopping, eating, drugs, etc, than CHECK IN with their own thoughts and emotions.

WHY? Because they have never been TAUGHT how to CHECK IN, and SHIFT their thoughts and emotions.

Checking in with your own thoughts and emotions is a CRITICAL SKILL for life which generates:

  • Authentic CONFIDENCE
  • Healthy BOUNDARIES
  • Healthy DECISION MAKING
  • EMPOWERMENT

If you are a TEEN, or the parent of a TEEN, It’s time to learn how to

CHECK IN to your authentic confidence (this doesn’t mean taking over the room, it means knowing what you stand for and not second-guessing yourself)

CHECK IN to your POWER and WISDOM

You’re invited to CHECK IN to Power Centers: Unlock the power of your LEGENDARY SELF by learning to CHECK IN not CHECK OUT

This 8 week program will guide you step-by-step through a process of CHECKING IN with yourself

CLICK HERE to register

In this 8 week series, you’ll learn how to

  1. Accept yourself
  2. Balance Creativity and Discipline
  3. Develop Authentic Confidence
  4. Love yourself
  5. Speak UP
  6. Trust yourself
  7. Connect to your Purpose
  8. Set Healthy Boundaries

I’m SO excited to share this with you!

CLICK HERE to grab your spot!

With gratitude for YOU!

Deanne

P.S. We start on Tuesday, February 21st, so don’t delay! CLICK HERE to register