I absolutely love the idea of choosing succulence and living juicy.
Choosing succulence in terms of “positivity” doesn't mean you're living life saccharine-sweet, it just means that you're making the choice to acknowledge that it's not always going to be rainbows and unicorns and that's okay.
This past month as I've been grieving the loss of my grandmother, I've been reading Elisabeth Kubler-Ross writings about grief. The quote that really stuck with me is, “I'm not okay, you're not okay, and that's okay.” Because it's okay that we're not all okay! And we don't need to be defined by our "not being ok."
It's too easy to succumb to the negativity and the complaints. Positivity doesn’t mean ignoring the issues. (and there are so many issues!)
Just means you're turning on the light in the darkness!
The vibrant author, SARK says it's a “personal revolution” to choose positivity.
A couple of years ago I met with my relationship and intimacy coach (and dear friend!), Maria Rider. At our first session when we inquired about my goals, I declared that I wanted to “be juicy!" and not just in my intimate world...I meant living life juicy!
Juicy for me is not being tethered by the darkness and the negativity.
Not being drawn into the black holes.
Not allowing my whole presence to be sucked in by the challenging things that were happening around me.
Not allowing the circumstances of my life to hold me back from joy.
Not allowing the challenges that my children were going through or financial situations or a loved one dying or being ill or any of those things that are just “LIFE” to stop me from moving forward in my own life goals.
Not letting myself live in fear.
Because safety is an illusion.
Anything can happen at any time, and you can't live life "waiting for the other shoe to drop."
What ways are you seduced by negativity?
In what ways are you so absorbed in the current global challenges that you're not seeing the joy in your life?
Today Facebook gave me a memory from 2 years ago. The picture is from Hanukkah and the pure joy in each of our faces is undeniable, the glow of the lights, even the dog is blissfully being snuggled... and yet I know that this was such a dark chapter in our family's life. I know that there was so much pain and sadness.
I chose the positivity.
I chose the joy.
I rose up to see the light in the darkness.
I turned the f****** lights on!
Waking to the deep loss of my Grandma Rosy and feeling the cruel cuffs of Covid detaining me from being physically present with my Florida family.
Rosy has physically left this plane, yet I know she will always be with me in my heart. Just like Zaydie.
I knew it was time. In time for their wedding anniversary on 11.15.
I’ve been wearing her pearl drop earrings since the last time we spoke over FaceTime. The last time she knew it was me and mumbled the words “Love You” incoherently. I have been grieving since that day. I’ve been deeply missing her. Missing our conversations.
She was a consistent light in my life, I began calling her when I was a little girl just figuring out how to use the phone and she was my go to for so much over the years no matter the distance.
As a child I was fortunate to have her live nearby and relish memories of cooking together, family gatherings, sitting in synagogue, learning to sew and knit. Some of the best memories were our adventures to the Bra and Girdle Factory where the old ladies with tape measures helped fit me and find me the most youthful of the boob scaffolding that I required at an early age. Then we would go next door to the Chinese restaurant for the lunch special. All her life she loved going out for Chinese food!
Everywhere we went she was a beacon of connection. She talked to anyone about everything and everyone loved her. There wasn’t much filter to Rosy- authentic and honest.
I began grieving her loss after that call. I made her mac + cheese and banana pudding recipes and I looked through pictures. I began listening to the many voice recordings I made over the last 3 years asking her questions about her life and some of the sweet phone messages. I watched and re-watched videos from her 99th birthday party last January.
Today I will wrap myself in one of the gazillion afghans she has made and know that I am wrapped in her love. I’ve begun to collect photos and videos from friends and family that have received handmade Rosy items to be woven together into a blanket of her legacy.
She was one of a kind. I’m so profoundly grateful for all the time we’ve been gifted by her presence. That my children could grow up with her and hear her stories, cook with her, swim with her and experience her joy.
Her memories will be a blessing and her Rosy spark will live on in my children. L’dor v’dor. (generation to generation)
Experiencing fear is a healthy survival mechanism that is fundamental to our existence...living in fear is unhealthy.
Our bodies hold onto that fear and has negative effects on our physically wellness (ie: crippling our immune systems, screwing with our sleep, eating disorders, muscular pain, etc.) and emotional wellness (ie: dissociation, anxiety, phobias, mood swings, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.)
And to my midlife mamas...fear raises our cortisol levels and messes with our hormones and we certainly don’t need anything else messing with our hormones!
Fear puts us in fight, flight freeze mode and shuts down our pre-frontal cortex which makes it difficult for us to engage in executive functioning!
Are ya hearing all the chatter about not being able to focus, zoning out, stress eating, stress baking, drinking, scrolling endlessly on social media?
So let’s talk straight about fear…
Zig Ziglar said FEAR had 2 meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise
Running from our lives is an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Believe me, I tried, years of emotionally eating my fears instead of facing them has added up!
I now choose to be resilientAF and rise to face my fears.
I get it. This shit is hard. Facing fear head on is intense.
Choices in life are sometimes gut wrenching.
Parenting taught me much of what I know about fear- we as parents hold fears for our children’s safety and well being.
The fears in my head were often way worse than the realities and when we hit the deepest darkest moments and real life scary shit was happening- the fear was overpowered by love- a love so intense that fear couldn’t continue to paralyze me.
I now fully realize “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Action absorbs anxiety and fear- we free ourselves up to live more fully and present to love and gratitude. Self care is love in action.
Radical Self Care that I turn to when fear is present:
- workout -especially with the boxing gloves on!
- take a walk, bonus points if the sun is shining
- dance! sing!
- gratitude journaling
- Aroma Freedom session
- connection with loved ones
- Kava Stress Relief tea
- Stress Away and Peace & Calming essential oil blends
- nurturing whole foods
- hugs...lots of hugs
Impulsivity is a HOT TOPIC!
Inhibition is the executive function skill that allows one to stop their behavior, actions, and/or thoughts at the appropriate time. Impulsivity is the lack of inhibition.
That's all it means! So what does this look like?
not following directions
inconsistent performance on tasks
touching things... other people's things.. other people
restlessness or other active behaviors
difficulty turn-taking and waiting
Let’s talk strategy!
Teach them to take a breath, pause, process- even just a few seconds before responding.
Process time is so important for building this skill.
This is for those that are raising their hands before the question has been asked, or responding before communication is completed.
I love this traffic light graphic for teaching this concept.
Taking the time to verbalize the questions and create a plan is incredibly powerful.
For teens, impulsivity can have significant consequences, learning this skill to apply everywhere in their lives is critical.
Provide visual options such as a text, a note, posting on the wall, or writing on the board. Visually processing can slow down the impulsivity. Provide clear expectations and reminders.
It also helps support working memory, planning and organization.
As parents (and/or teachers) we don’t want to hover!
That said, for some students it's helpful to have someone nearby. For example, with remote schooling right now, I hear many parents concerned about limited focus and attention, which leads to impulsive behaviors.
Co-working can be highly supportive. The student is on the computer doing their classes and the parent is in the same room on the computer doing their work.
In a classroom students can be strategically placed in the front row and/or they may have an aide or a resource room teacher in the classroom.
Monitoring isn’t about squashing the behaviors, it’s about redirecting the energy.
When my kids were younger I learned about the importance of focusing on their positive behaviors. Admittedly, this has been one of my biggest struggles. This is where my impulsivity appeared...the negative behaviors always seemed to be illuminated and right in front of my face.
When we seek, focus and acknowledge the positive behaviors we are also helping build inhibition.
Emotional regulation is a sensitive topic for me.
As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I knew about executive function. I worked with younger kids so I wasn’t as tuned into it for the older kids. I also didn’t fully understand the emotional regulation behavioral component.
While in the thick of raising my kids I didn’t acknowledge and comprehend how our nervous systems co-regulate.
Lots of stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know!
I’ve done the emotional work to release myself from the guilt of not knowing, of not doing better or different. I chose to educate myself and share with others, so other families might escape the trauma.
Emotional regulation is when it's difficult to redirect and refocus when there's a lack of emotional control. This is when we see meltdowns, tantrums, cursing, extreme crying or extreme laughter. Typically unpredictable emotional responses that are out of sync with the situation at hand.
Emotional regulation also involves co-regulation so if a parent is struggling with their own emotional regulation then they feed off of each other. For example, if Mom is really stressed out then the kid gets really stressed out. These kids are not able to not take in what is happening in their environment. Basically our nervous systems are bouncing off of each other and it's a chicken and egg thing.
One way to explain the emotional regulation is polyvagal theory as shown in this image:
Another take on it is the “window of tolerance” as in this image:
Five strategies that can be used to support teens at home and at school:
Supporting them in being aware of their outbursts and the consequences of having them on their surroundings.
Being aware of stressful situations at home and/or in school.
Clarifying expectations to reduce their feelings of overwhelm.
Creating a safe and supportive environment that fosters empathy.
Using scales to help them monitor where they are emotionally or may be heading as things escalate.
We can all widen our window of tolerance by practicing mindfulness, increasing happiness, and building resilience.
**so much more on this topic coming soon!