Mindful Living: Say Whaaaat?

Katie Wright, CPCC

We hear it a lot. Be mindful. Honour yourself mindfully. What a minute... back it up... what does mindful mean? How do I add that to my list when I’ve already got a bunch of stuff to do!

For starters, mindful living is not an actionable item – you can’t cross it off a to-do list. Instead, it’s a way of going about your action items. Here’s how I see it...

Being mindful is about 1) stopping your actions to check-in with your WHOLE self (that means your body, mind, and spirit), 2) aligning with your heart (what your heart wants), and 3) using this check-in and alignment as an arrow to point you forward.

That was a lot of words. Let me share an example.

How do you stay mindful in the hustle of your job? Feelings of overwhelm and anxiety can creep in – there’s so much to do! Mindful living is stopping the bustle and checking-in with your whole self. Acknowledge that your mind is distraught, your body is tight, your spirit is edgy. And then, and here’s the rich stuff, you anchor to your beloved heart and consciously (aka mindfully) choose what’s important to you. Connect with what your heart and soul crave, and determine what you will do next. Follow?  

Let’s further explore...

How do we stay “present” with a big list of things to do, demands, actions to move our life forward, mouths to feed, children to pay attention to, partners to tune into, meals to plan, etc. etc.

Well.... Pause.

Pause some more.

Breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Breathe some more.

This is good for you. How am I feeling right now? Anchor to your heart, and ask yourself this very important question:

Try this on. Right now. I want you to actually stop and reflect on this.

Pause and breathe. What is important to you? Check-in with yourself.

Once your pause is over, and you are ready to return from reflection, answer this: what did you discover?

1. Do you want to move again, and tackle what you were doing? Will it be with a fresh perspective? OR

2. Did it become clear you aren’t supposed to be moving right now? Maybe you’re supposed to tune into something you love – your partner, your kids, and your own self-care practice.

Either option is a fine one because you’ve taken a moment to acknowledge your now, and are consciously moving forward with intentional purpose that came from your heart. Did you catch that? You got present and are moving forward with intention from the heart.

If you choose the latter (#2), then bask in this area of love. Breathe it all in. This is a beautiful opportunity to connect to something you love. This allows you to sink into some resonance that your heart is craving. Honouring what is important to you. This place breeds satisfaction, fulfillment, joy ... all those good things. It also breeds the law of attraction. Your thoughts become your experiences. What you put out into the world comes right back to you. You put out love; you get love back. Boomerang! Ex. if you choose to tune love to your partner, your partner is likely to show love right back to you. Maybe this comes in the form of an acknowledgement or affection. Try it on… play with it. Nothing to lose.  

So, what about staying mindful when you’re a small business owner and the demands of everyday life exist? This one is a personal one for me, but again, it’s about connecting to your heart. What do you want? What is important? Define a plan on how you can accomplish both work and personal. Set goals, set boundaries. For me I choose to focus really hard on work for a period of time, and then outside of that time I give myself permission to focus on what I love, whether that be my family, exercise, or making time for myself.

Try this on, and enjoy with deep gratification.   Live rich.

With love,

Katie

Try on coaching with a 30-minute sample session. Your riches await. Send an email to schedule your date: katie@katiewrightcoaching.com

Katie Wright, Professional Coach

There is a strong need across the planet for human beings to live a life aligned with their values and purpose – a space to quiet the busy mind, and self-sabotaging voice so they may courageously speak their authentic voice and share their talent. I got into coaching because I had a voice to share.  Though immersed in the business world for over a decade, I started my journey into coaching in 2013 with the Coaches Training Institute, an internationally acclaimed training platform, and became a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach in 2015. I did this while caring for my own small babe.  As a mom of two healthy young boys, I know it takes a lot of strength and courage to step outside the ordinary and into the life of desire. Both motherhood & entrepreneurship call on this strength and courage daily. 

Aside from helping to create a heart-centred, resonant population, fully experiencing my two boys and setting aside time to nourish ‘me’ is where I am supposed to be right now. This allows me to show-up as a healthy mix of knowing what’s right, combined with the stamina to get things done. I promise to push you toward your vision, hold you accountable to your desire, give you the space to figure it out, challenge your limits, and honour your inner leader. Live in harmony – fulfilled, at peace, confident, and strong. 

The Top 5 Foods to Make More Milk

Isn't it amazing how quickly the boob obsession can take over your life as a new parent? Am I making enough? Did they drink enough? Is the milk good enough? Are they getting the hind milk? What is hind milk?….? Thats the thing about breast/chest-feeding, it’s a little unnerving not knowing how much your baby is drinking. But here's the thing about that thing (too many things?), you don't need to measure the volume of breastmilk your baby is drinking to know if they are getting enough. The key is to look and listen to what your baby is telling you.

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Revolutionary thinking, I know.

When you are able to look and listen to your baby, and decode what it is that they are telling you, you learn so much.  If you are struggling to decode the mysterious signals your baby is sending in relation to hunger, drinking and satiety then let's chat in person. Once you have someone guide you to see the simple cues baby sends, it can change how you feel!

Also, I have a confession.  I have you here under a ruse...I've mislead you to believe that we are going to talk about how to increase your milk supply through food. And we WILL get to that...but first let me say this: the NUMBER ONE way to increase milk supply is to have a great latch, with baby draining the breast well.

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If your baby is latching well (big wide mouth, asymmetric on the breast, full tongue mobility), and able to drain the breast well, this will be the absolute *best* way to continue to produce the milk that your baby needs. It is supply and demand, if your body gets a strong signal to make more milk, it will!

Sometimes the stars don’t alight for this process to run smoothly right from the beginning, and that is ok-and completely normal. But getting you back on track is without a doubt the best way to make more milk. Sometimes other factors, like mood, sleep and breast-chest feeding parent nutrient, come into play as well. Please, if you are struggling reach out, use your community, we want to support you.

So, if you are reading this because you are struggling to produce enough milk for your babe, or your babe is gaining "slowly" then the number one way to boost that milk production is to consult a lactation consultant or breastfeeding professional. If you have and are still struggling, then see someone else.  The guidance you get can be invaluable for your breast/chest-feeding journey. There are so many ways that we can adjust latch and change breastmilk intake to help your baby and our body communicate effectively to get those mammary glands Rockin' and Rollin'.

Milk Boosting Foods

If the number one way to increase milk is to have a great latch, then what's the deal with milk boosting foods and teas?

Milk boosting foods are foods that will slightly increase the amount of water that is circulated to the mammary tissue.  When these foods do this it provides more water for your body to use to make milk. Being well hydrated is important for the galactogenisis process. These foods are high in protein, iron and B-vitamins, which provides some of the important building blocks for galactogenesis to occur, as well as supporting recovery in the post part period, and supporting overall wellness. Increased food intake and milk production go hand in hand. It is important to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty.

Having said all this, if you are looking for the top 5 foods to *support* the milk making process then here they are:

Adding these foods into your diet as a part of a healthy diet can help support the milk making process. And thereby slightly increase the amount of milk you make. Some breast/chest-feeding parents respond incredibly well and drastically increase production, others not so much. A simple way to add these to your diet is to start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, a handful of almonds, a spoonful of flax meal and Brewers yeast sprinkled on top, and a big glass of water.  For a more involved recipe here is my favourite Lactation smoothie recipe.

If you give it a try let me know what you think, or if you have any other questions send them my way. And as always, Nurse on!

~Rebecca

References: Compr Physiol. 2015 Jan;5(1):255-91.

Rebecca Robertson

I am a birth advocate, a breastfeeding educator, and especially an advocate for mothers and the choices they make. As a doula my main role is to support mothers and partners to ensure a satisfying and positive birth experience. I am trained in providing emotional and spiritual support, as well as physical comfort during labor. I completed a DONA training course in 2009 and it sparked my love for supporting laboring women. Since then I have been inspired to continue my learning to provide the best support I can with additional studies in lactation and natural medicine. Some of the things in my tool kit include massage, acupressure, and items to help with visualization and relaxation.  I am trained in different stretches and birthing positions to improve pain tolerance and pushing efficacy, as well I give lots of encouragement! In 2012 I enrolled in a Lactation Medicine Program at the Centre for Breastfeeding Education. There I was instilled with this goal "To enable the mother to manage her own breastfeeding experience, so she will be empowered to achieve her own breastfeeding goals." I accumulated over 90 hours in lactation specific education, as well as hours in observation at their breastfeeding clinic. Since that time I have been supporting new moms as they transition to motherhood and begin the breastfeeding relationship. During my time studying Naturopathic medicine, I was fortunate to expand on my knowledge on lactation medicine as well as how naturopathic medicine can play a role in the perinatal care of women and their new babes. I am passionate about my job, and I bring lots of enthusiasm and love for what I do.  

A Healthy Period: What You Need to Know

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Fertility, women's health

A thorough history of woman's menstrual cycle is something I always ask my patients in practice: whether they are tracking it for fertility, just getting it back post partum, or slowly losing it during menopause. Understanding our periods can tell us so much about our bodies and yet all too often I get woman who are unaware of the signs of irregular hormone imbalance and claim that everything is... well, fine I guess.  When I start digging deeper, some admit to having such bad cramps they need to take time off work, some bleed between periods or have such a heavy flow they change a pad every hour. A period shouldn't be a time of suffering. Neither should the weeks leading up to it. Now I have to admit, there is no one fits all perfect period. Every woman will have a different cycle length and experience different symptoms. What is consistent for each woman though is important to evaluate because it's a window into what's going on with her hormones and the state of her general body.  

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Cycle Length

The average length between periods should fall between 21-35 days and be consistent each month. A day or two difference isn't much to worry about, but if you're noticing that your cycle was 21 days one month, then 40 days the next, and then possibly one month skipped, this is a sign of irregular hormone balance and can either be caused by stress, dieting, or PCOS.

Length of Bleed

Anywhere from 2-7 days of bleeding is typical for woman. A period will start on the first day of a true bleed, as in the need for a liner or tampon. Some woman may experience bleeding between periods, after intercourse, for only 1 day or for over 1 week. These again are signs of hormone irregularities and possible issues with the endometrial lining.

Quantity and Quality of Blood

The amount of blood can be a large predictor of just how much lining is being shed during a period. Often woman who have very heavy flows and need to change even a super absorbent pad every hour will need to rule out estrogen dominance and conditions like endometriosis or iron deficiency as a possible cause.  Heavy dark clots are also something that should be investigated. If on the other hand there is very little blood, this could be a sign of estrogen deficiency, often caused by menopause, smoking, dieting, and stress.  

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PMS/Pain

This may come as a surprise, but women should not be experiencing irritability before their period and intense pain during it! Excess pain during a period is another hallmark sign of endometriosis, fibroids, or inflammation and should be evaluated by your health care provider. Mild twitching and aches can be felt on the first few days, as blood loss is often that highest, but the pain itself should never be severe or debilitating. Some woman are so used to heavy painful periods that they assume it's the norm. I often ask patients if they require medication, such as Tylenol or Advil, and how many of them. If it's 8 a day to get by, it's too much. It is, however, common to feel a slight cramp in the middle of a cycle during ovulation, this can actually be a good sign that ovulation is occurring.

Cervical Mucous

This isn't specific to a period per se, but to the overall health of a full hormonal cycle. In the first two weeks after day 1 of your period, estrogen is rising. This should be a state of happiness as estrogen is linked with serotonin and rising libido towards ovulation. Often you'll notice cervical mucous will be white and creamy. As ovulation approached, your body prepares to thin out this mucous in order for sperm to enter. Leading up to ovulation, you should notice that your cervical fluid increases and becomes thinner, clear, and more slippery - somewhat like egg whites. After ovulation, it will return to a thicker consistency.

Temperature

This is again an indicator of ovulation. Temperature will fluctuate throughout the cycle, with it being the lowest before ovulation, spiking during ovulation, and then slightly higher after ovulation. If you track your temperature daily (best to be done first thing upon rising before eating or even brushing your teeth) and notice there is no spike or a very erratic fluctuation, this should be evaluated as well. This could indicate an issue with ovulation or even thyroid imbalance.

What if my period isn’t “normal”?

All too often birth control is used to try and "regulate" cycles. Unfortunately, birth control simply stops your body from producing these wonderful hormones and instead causes what is known as a fake bleed. Often times, woman will be on birth control for 10 years or more and then once stopping, their cycles can become irregular and conceiving may even be difficult. If you think your period pain and overall cycle could be improved, talk to your naturopathic doctor about safe, gentle, and effective ways to optimize your period health!

Dr. Natalia Ytsma

From a young age, I knew that a career in health and medicine was in my future. Having spent time in doctor's offices and hospitals to correct a congenital heart defect, the idea of providing care to families in need and educating them on their health was something that I knew I had to do. It motivated me to always be cautious of how I treat my body and I grew to really appreciate what being healthy was all about, a lifestyle that ensures you take care of yourself from the inside out. I focused my education on science and business and gained experience in teaching, which allowed me to help others empower themselves with the knowledge they acquire. Having also traveled throughout the world, I gained work experience in North America, Europe, and Asia, which allowed me to learn from different work ethics and cultures. I grew a passion to learn about natural medicine and how to help others use it to achieve optimal health. I learned to understand that there's almost always a root cause to a health issue and that you can use safe, gentle, and effective treatment to address it. Ultimately, naturopathic medicine was my calling.
 
EDUCATION
•            Bachelor of Science and Business: McMaster University, Hamilton 2009
•            Holistic Health and Skincare: CNM, London UK 2013
•            Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine: CCNM, Toronto 2015

With 8 years of post-secondary school complete, I completed my clinical internship at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic - with a full year rotation on the paediatric focus shift- and the LAMP Community Health Centre both in Toronto, Ontario. 
 
After graduation, I moved to Beijing where my husband was working at the time. While there, I designed pregnancy and fertility workshops for a local spa and ran a health elective for local teens to educate them on proper nutrition, mental health, and fitness. While abroad, we got pregnant with our son and decided to return back to Canada to begin raising our family close to home. Currently we reside in London, Ontario and I am practicing at Rebirth Wellness Centre, a thriving place dedicated to empowering woman into motherhood and providing family based health care at its best.

Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting

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This past August, my family and I spent a week together in Huntsville, Ontario.  We swam, paddled, fished, golfed, rock climbed, played at the beach, visited with friends and roasted marshmallows.  All in all, a terrific summer getaway… until the very unfortunate bout of gastroenteritis we came down with at the end of our week. 

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Today I want to share about something that is very dear to me:  Pain.  I sustained a pretty serious injury in 2013 which altered the course of my life in ways I could not have anticipated.  It was at this point that the experience of profound physical pain entered my life and seemed to set up camp as a permanent resident.  It was a demoralizing and deeply discouraging time.

It was a slow climb out of that dark pit of physical pain.  I slowly began physical therapy and other body work in order to try to heal.  What I didn’t realize at the time was, I wasn’t interested in healing:  I was interested in “fixing”.  I would “fix” my pain.  I would “fix” my body and then it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.

 

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What is Pelvic Health Physiotherapy?

Pelvic Health Physiotherapy is the assessment and treatment of a wide variety of issues pertaining primarily to the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles.  While pelvic health is largely concerned with this area of the body, it is by no means the only thing we care about.  Many other areas of the body, from head to toe, can influence how well the pelvic floor works and/or how well the pelvis moves and contributes to movement.

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Hello there!  My name is Jaclyn and I’m a certified pelvic health physiotherapist. Many people don't know my job exists. I can’t say that I blame them. A few years ago, I didn't know either. Then I had babies…3 to be exact and now pelvic health is one of my biggest passions.

Usually people avoid talking about the pelvic area because bodily functions here are considered personal and private.  Functions such as going to the bathroom aren’t talked about when they are working properly, let alone when they’re not.  Thank God for girlfriends though!  Girlfriends don't mind talking about personal things.  They’ll get that conversation started!  And it’s a good thing too or none of us would ever know that other people also have issues.

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“Should I be giving my baby water?” and“How can I help Baby stay cool and hydrated?”

When it comes to the breastfed baby, there is no need to worry too much about water. Breast milk has got you covered! It has all the hydrating, nourishing, and body regulating components needed to keep your baby safe and well hydrated.

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Living someone else’s dream? Holding back on something big because there’s fear? Tending to everyone else but you? Got bigger things in mind? Don’t know what the future looks like? Want to show up better? Need to slow down to figure it all out?

Yes, yes, yes! You answered yes, because there’s a hell of a lot more potential inside of you waiting to shine on.

All of us can relate to the questions above. Sometimes we cop it up to, “that’s just life”, or, “I guess this is what life has in store for me.” Here’s another one, “I don’t have the resources, both time or money, to spend on me right now.” 

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Lights, snow, food, and fun are all indicative of the festive holiday season; but, for some of us they are joined by stress, anxiety, and frenzy.  How can we keep our cool and share in the joy of the holidays?  A key step is recognizing what concerns us, and then identifying whether it can be changed or simply let go.  Then, we have room to focus on what truly matters.  
Using the following guided meditation, I encourage you to take a well-earned rest from hurried holiday preparations and set your intentions on a holiday filled with all that warms your heart.
 

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Question: “What is the best type of pillow or mattress?”

Answer:

This is a question that comes up a lot in my practice. In my opinion, there isn’t one best brand or style. You have to find the one that suits you best and that can be a challenge. There are certainly a huge variety of options out there on the market and picking out just the right one can be quite overwhelming, not to mention expensive.

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