3 Simple Ways to Help Raise Healthy & Happy People Who Want to Come Home for Thanksgiving

#3. Understand their development.

This will inform your interaction and communication with them. It will let you meet them where they are at and allow you to be more compassionate and present with them.

Not many parents know that children under 7 live predominantly in the theta brain wave state and learn by imitation and by doing. They think in pictures and are physical. Modelling what you want them to do speaks louder than explanations. When you do explain pair the words with actions.

Their brain is not developed to include the higher executive functions and abstract thought yet so talking to them about things will not foster the close connection we desire. Storytelling that brings in their picture consciousness does.

#2. Love them the way they want to be loved.

Take time to figure out what their love language is and schedule something regular – even just once/month - where you are especially conscious about honouring that. My 15 year old’s love language is quality time & words of appreciation (and food lol!) so I take him out to dinner once a month – just me and him and in our time I am mindful of letting him know what I appreciate about him.

3. Be well yourself.

Self-care and self-love is getting lots of air-time these days! (-: Let it not turn into a ‘have to’ on the to do list. Self-love can take time to develop - just like any relationship. Find little ways in your day to nourish you and be curious as to what truly sparks joy and uplifts you. I have a lift list that helps . A hot cuppa Chaga tea to support my adrenals, a walk in nature, time with girlfriends, Epsom salt bath ...

Think of it as nurturing a relationship of warmth and kindness with yourself.

Children love to see their parents thriving. If you think about your own parents you’ll notice this might be true even still for you!

As moms we teach by how we are and when a mom is well she teaches wellness.

Our adrenal health affects our mood, weight, energy and all our relationships so it’s worth keeping it healthy - I specialize in this in my practice if you would like support..

One of my favourite, yummy ways to support women’s wellness in my office is through the restorative practices of Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy. 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to 4 hours of sleep! Yoga Therapy is really about releasing tightness and softening, letting stuck emotions of anger, fear or shame move through and out. Flow is essential for wellness and these practices are decluttering us emotional and tension wise. (-:

Out of all the practices I do Yoga Therapy is the one that clients tell me helps them truly feel love for themselves. The first time I heard a client say that I didn’t associate that with Yoga Therapy itself but since then it’s not uncommon for clients to say that at the end of a session. I think any practice that supports someone to hold loving presence for the unmet/tender parts of their self will do this. I love how simple and easy it is and how obvious the shift is for clients!

Below is a Yoga Nidra meditation for you. It’s an easy, ‘can’t-do-it-wrong’ lying down guided mindfulness meditation that I’ve found so helpful in restoring adrenal wellness and capacity to parent in a loving, peaceful way (ie not losing your %$#@ as often and recovering connection faster when you do). (-:

Want to next-level-replenish yourself and live more present and centered with your family?

Getting away for a retreat and reconnecting to You (yes that’s a capital Y!) is a powerful gift to give yourself and those you love.

Consider our November 23-30, 2019 retreat where we will be heading south and sunny for a week of truly next-level-replenishment at Xinalani Eco-Yoga Centre. The theme of the retreat is of coming home to ourselves (in love, calm, clarity, confidence, simplicity, beauty and joy). Yoga Nidra and Yoga Therapy sessions will be part of our time together.

To learn more about She Shines 2019: Eat. Play. Love. Retreat click link below.

Early bird prices until June 21st!

Be well, (-: xo,

Dr. Monika Herwig ND is a Naturopathic Doctor, mother of 2, and a Trailblazer with Happy Healthy Women in Canmore, Alberta. She practices Mind-Body Medicine especially around Adrenal, Gut and Mental Health in her clinic and leads Wellness Workshops and Retreats locally and internationally. Dr. Monika supports heart centered women shine their light and share their gifts with the world without burning out. She is especially passionate about supporting moms and runs yearly Fairy Nature Camps for her clients’ children (and herself!).

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guidelines

Everyone is unique and there’ s not really one size fits all diets. This anti-inflammatory diet guideline summary is a standard one that is then modified depending on the individual’s needs, gut health, pain level, etc.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Guidelines

Try and eat only the following organically grown foods for the next 28 days. There is no restriction on the amount of food you can eat. The foods listed are only examples of foods to eat. Any food that is an allergen must also be avoided due to the inflammatory component of allergens.

 Steamed vegetables

Steaming veggies improves the utilization of the food substances and reduces the initiating residue in the gut, allowing the GI mucosa to restore itself. Use minimal raw vegetables except as a salad.
Eat a variety of any and all vegetables (except tomatoes, potatoes) that you tolerate. Yams, sweet potatoes, squash are allowed. Add your favorite spices to enhance the taste of these vegetables.
Do not use aluminum cookware.

Grains

Eat one to two cups of cooked grains per day of those you can tolerate.
Allowed grains are: millet, basmati or brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, rye, teff
Other grain foods that may be eaten are rice crisps and wasa crackers

Legumes

Eat a variety of any legumes that you are able to tolerate: split peas, lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, soy beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans, aduki and azuki beans.

Fish

Deep-sea fish (salmon, halibut, cod, sardines, tuna, mackerel) is preferred – no shellfish
The fish should be poached, baked, steamed, or broiled.

Chicken/Turkey

Eat only white meat and do not eat the skin.
The free-range or organically grown chicken/turkey should be baked, broiled, or steamed.

Fruit

Eat only 1 or 2 pieces of practically any fruit except citrus. If possible, it is preferred to eat the fruit baked (such as a baked apple or pear).

Sweeteners

Very small amounts of maple syrup, rice /barley syrup, honey or stevia(1/4tsp=1c.sugar).
Absolutely no sugar, NutraSweet, or any other sweetener is allowed.

Butter/Oils

    For butter, whip 1 pd butter and 1 cup extra virgin olive oil.
    Incorporate 2 Tbsp of Flaxseed oil / Udo’s oil into diet/day.

Herbal Teas & Good Water to Drink

    Minimum of 6-8 glasses of spring, bottled, filtered or reverse osmosis water/day
    Herbal teas – 2-4/day – best taken in evening and sipped slowly.
____________________________________________________________________________

For the time being, avoid the following inflammatory foods:

Milk, cheese, eggs
All wheat products, including breads
Citrus fruits
All caffeinated teas, coffee
Alcohol
Sugar, Nutrasweet
Tomatoes
Potatoes
Corn Products
Peanuts and peanut butter
Red meat – esp. pork
Fried and processed foods
 

 

Creative Discipline: Tips for Parents of Children 2 - 7 years old

Here's an article that some moms were curious about that I wrote when my kids were younger that I thought I'd repost.

Sometimes it is hard to maintain a sense of connection and warmth with our children when they are not doing what we want them to be doing. It is plain frustrating for us. Young children are by nature imaginative, messy, immature, unreasonable, in the moment, energetic and emotionally unregulated - their brain doesn’t have the capacities of an adult brain and won’t for some time …

Understanding where children are at developmentally and how they learn can help the loving AND guiding (disciplining) of your child to come from the SAME gentle place in your heart.

Here are some principles that take into account how they best learn to support you in this:

And remember it's about connection not perfection!

# 1. Use movement and redirection at the same time.  Since children are in an imitative stage of learning adding movement to a request helps them do what needs to be done. For example, instead of standing still and saying “let’s go”, walking a little as you reach your hand out and say “we’re heading out now” can work better. Kids like things that look fun so make it look inviting and engaging. I found sometimes that singing what we needed to do worked well to make it seem inviting and have them want to join along without so much resistance. (Using the tune "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush" to whatever we were doing seemed to work like magic in the younger years!)

# 2. Talk less. Try to get in the habit of stopping yourself with your speech when you are getting into a lot of explaining. Slow down and ask yourself, "Is it necessary?" and when you do speak to say what your child needs to do keep it simple with only one request at a time. In general, remember that your child lives in their imagination and so speak in this picture language really meets your child. They live in the dreamy theta brainwave state and think in pictures and story consciousness. “Let’s put the toys to bed now” and go around together cleaning up/”putting toys to bed’. Again, remember that they learn by imitation (copying) so work with this by simply modelling what you want them to do rather than a lot of explaining.

# 3. Stay close - "2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet". This was a mantra from one of my teachers reminding us of the importance of staying close when making requests. Their attention span isn’t like ours - again, they are in the theta brain wave state - so be ‘2 feet in front of them’, ‘2 feet high’ (basically a reminder to crouch down to their level) and lastly, with you ‘feeling your 2 feet on the ground’ to ground you and bring you fully here. (They feel this.) Get down to eye level and give simple guidance/directions from your heart from that place. Simple. Clear. Move. Follow through.

Staying close and sticking with requests is so key in the younger ages. I have found myself feeling quite ridiculous picking up half of a boot or toothbrush with my 4 year old at the other end in an effort to help her join in and learn how to put things away but sometimes this is what it takes to get the job done. When you emit the energy, “This is what is happening.” lovingly but with certainty (and make it kinda fun) our kids pick up on this. Use imagination to connect, stay close and help them follow through. 

# 4. Consider Nixing time-outs - Young children don't have the capacity yet to "reflect on their poor choices". The more I learn about child development - that they live in the theta brain wave state and their prefrontal cortex is not online yet - the less time-outs make any real sense. They do come in handy sometimes for me to give to myself though when I feel stretched to my max and need a moment or ten to breathe and regroup! (-:

# 5. Rhythm. This is a topic unto its own. It is an absolute game changer. When I work with moms with low energy/overwhelm to create rhythm in their days and weeks good things happen. Everyone can breathe easier and balls don’t get dropped as easily when what has to get done is on a schedule. Less stress for adults translates to less stress for kids, better health overall and more connection and joy.

When things are done in a certain way with regularity and children (whose relationship to time is very different than ours) know what is coming next they are also less resistant to doing what needs to be done as the rhythm (and repetition that is wired in the brain) eventually just carries them ... “it’s just the way things are done.” It builds a sense of trust in them as well.

Rhythms in Waldorf Schools are based on a concept called ‘breathing in and breathing out’ and in the lower grades especially this concept is woven into the day where activities are put in an order that alternates a ‘breathing in’ activity with a ‘breathing out’ activity. One example of this is: Circle time followed by Free play. In the homes of families I have worked with even being aware of this ‘in breath’- ‘out breath’ and the different nature of activities has helped. They would play with creating a flow that felt balanced - such as getting kids outside after sitting for a craft and then coming back in for lunch and out for a walk after.You get a feel for this wants you are tuned into it. This helps us adults too for example when we balance focus time with movement, inside with out, doing with free time, quiet time with social … it teaches balance and is a pretty cool non-burnout way to flow through our days.

#6. Have realistic expectations. They are learning so much during this time! From social engagement to talking to moving their body with coordination to being safe, etc . The way they learn and create new neural pathways for the things we’d like them to do is in part through good ol’ repetition. We have to repeatedly model what we’re trying to teach them.

Our children in these ages are ‘in learning’. The centers of the brain responsible for impulse control, empathy and decision making are not even close to maturity (25 years of age and upwards is the latest neuroscience update on this!). This ‘upstairs brain’ as Dr. Daniel Siegel calls it is just being constructed so it will be messy being in relationship with children as they find their way to these upper brain functions. And for now they are learning their upper brain functions/capabilities through watching you and through stories!

It takes time for them to learn all these things we want them to learn. This is where the next point comes in. It helps keep our patience more or less replenished …

#7. Self-care. Prioritizing it. Children pick up all the non-verbals. As we know they are watching us more than listening as as I’ve been sharing that is the way they are set up to learn in the younger years. Imitation.

Who we are being and how we are being as we are doing things is what our children are taking in the most. Self-care is not selfish. It is essential. When we are resourced we are more patient, creative, clear, calm, playful, kind and have energy.

We may not have grown up seeing self-care modelled so it may not come natural but we can model it for our children and give them the gift of its importance so they have it and can then model it to their children … (-:

Lastly, here’s a little mantra that came to me this year that might help you. “You’re not in trouble, you’re in learning.” I use it with my kids and other kids and actually I’ve used it with myself too! Many of us grew up in the paradigm of punishing and shaming and control over and this mantra helps rewire our brains to the new understanding that we are all actually ‘in learning’ and growing and doing the best we can.

The growth and learning we desire for our children or ourselves can come with kindness.

Hope you found something in there to help you enjoy parenting more and to help you be a loving nourished leader for your bambinos!

Warmly, Dr. Monika xo (-:

If you are interested in some self-care and supportive learning, Dr. Monika has Yoga & Learn weekly classes, series and retreats around Conscious Parenting, Simplicity Parenting and Mothering from Your Centre. Email courses@opentowellness.ca to get the next class times and/or join Mindful Mama Connection FB to see updates there.

PS - Kim John Payne - author of Simplicity Parenting and The Soul of Discipline has some great insight on this topic of Creative Discipline..
 

Well Brain Support Just Got Better : Neurotransmitter Testing Now Available!

I have been interested in the mind-body connection for as long as I can remember. On my personal health journey as well as my role as an observer/space holder of other people's transformations I have been impressed by the impact of the brain and whole nervous system on every aspect of health. Through practices that work at changing mindsets (and "heartsets") like meditation, heart math, psych-k, counselling, mindfulness, yoga nidra, forgiveness practice, NVC, gratitude practices, breath work, and movement arts people can change their body's physiology to favour aging and living well and feeling good.

Often patients come to see me who would like to feel better on all fronts - physically as well as mentally and emotionally. They may feel in a funk, or are overwhelmed, say they're stressed out, maybe having trouble sleeping or feeling more anxious than usual or just don't feel like themselves.  Sometimes it's clear from symptoms that the neurotransmitters may not all be in optimal ranges. There are many effective mood supportive and specifically neurotransmitter specific nutritional and herbal supplements out there but just as with  anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds they don't support all of the neurotransmitter pathways in the body and it can be a wait and see game to determine which of the neurotransmitters is/are imbalanced.

Labrix is a lab we have started to work with at Open to Wellness in the last year. My colleagues who have worked in brain/mood health for years have introduced us to this and I'm thrilled with the information we are getting.  The test kits are straightforward and assess neurotransmitter levels - serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, gaba and glutamate. Their analysis lets  us know where a pathway may be short on nutrients and helps fast track the process of feeling like yourself again and help you access the clarity and energy to make the lifestyle changes that will create health for you. Everyone is so different this helps customize treatment early on.

The panel that has been most popular  is the Neuroadrenal panel which includes a saliva adrenal panel (assessing phases of adrenal wellness) as well as the urine neurotransmitter panel. Naturopathically speaking stress often is buffered by healthy adrenal glands and assessing the adrenal's vitality is a key piece of this picture of moving from surviving/getting by to thriving again! Thanks Dr. Heidi and Dr. Chris for sharing this gem of a test. (-:

Here's a glimpse at our amazing body's chemistry lab where she uses different ingredients to support different enzyme pathways.  It's a screen shot so not as clear. I like how it offers us a sense of the connection between the neurotransmitters too.