Categories
Cassandra McCoy Jessica Wilkerson Keli Kirwin Mental Health

Identity as a Mom: Finding Your Flow

Video by Jessica Wilkerson CPT, PN1; Keli Kirwin PICD; & Cassandra McCoy MS, ATC, LAT, RYT

In this Conversation, Cassandra McCoy chats with Jessica Wilkerson CPT, PN1 and Keli Kirwin PICD about the journey of finding your identity and flow as a mother. Each of our identities and “flows” are unique to us. Also, as we discuss in this conversation, it evolves over time. Join in the conversation below by telling us how your identity and flow has changed of challenged you over the past few months!

Categories
Amanda McKinney Intellectual Health Occupational Health

Tools to Go From “Busy” to Productive

By Amanda McKinney


“I’m so busy” 

Do you find yourself saying that phrase often? Or how about “I’m so tired”? 

I get it sister, we all feel that and that feeling is real. There’s no shortage of things on your to-do list and it’s constantly growing. Whether it’s the never ending battle with laundry or working your side-hustle so you can live your passion and be your own boss. You’re doing amazing things in this world but that comes at the expense of your sleep and sanity too often. 

So I want to share a few time management tips that I’ve seen work not only in my life but in my student’s lives too. I’ve coached many yoga teachers who are working hard to build their business while also being a wife, sister, mother, partner, friend and so many other things. 

As a wife, daughter, friend, step-mom and business owner myself I’ve learned the hard way on how to balance many things. And now I get asked on a weekly basis “Amanda, how in the world do you get it all done?”. Well friend, I’ve got you covered with these tips! Buckle up sister! 

Know Your MIT 

I’m not the first person to use this phrase but I’m not sure who to give credit to or else I would. But there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t know my MIT = Most Important Task. This is the thing that has to get done or *things* will hit the fan. You know that thing. Maybe it’s sending an email, paying a bill or picking up your kiddo from school. It’s the thing that needs to get done, TODAY. I like to look at this in a few ways: daily and weekly. So if you’re working your side hustle and you want to make constant progress in your business, you might have a weekly MIT but you might work on smaller chunks each day. Make this work for you but know your MIT at least weekly. 

Be Okay With The Minimum 

This goes hand in hand with your MIT because sometimes you will get the minimum done. Yes, you want to do all the things and rock your day but we can’t do that every day. You will burn out if you go this hard. So we need to know what that minimum is that we need to get done but we also have to be okay (for real) when we can only do the minimum. And if you’re like me, you have to be really, really with yourself on this one. Because in my head the “minimum” usually includes the kitchen being clean, I’m at inbox zero and I’m in bed by 8pm. Let me tell you how many days this happens — not many. That’s not the minimum, that’s my ideal situation. So we need to be realistic with what the minimum is and really be okay with it when it happens. Heck, I would love to say celebrate it just like you would an ideal day! 

Systems, Systems, Systems! 

The best businesses I know have rock-solid systems in place to help with order and efficiency. Let’s learn from these businesses and put some systems in place for your time management. 

First up…do you know how you’re truly spending your time? If you and I were talking and I asked you “how much time do you spend doing laundry?” or “how much time do you spend on your side hustle?” or “how much time do you spend on Facebook?”, would you know the answers? Be real now, would you really know? The answer for me was no for a while but I decided to change that and it made a BIG impact. I started tracking my time and it sure helped me waste less time. You can use an electronic time tracker (I use Toggl) or you can write this down on a piece of paper, it doesn’t need to be fancy. Track your time and it will tell you how to use it better, I promise. 

The other system I would encourage you to use is planning your day. Whether it’s a paper or digital planner, you do you! But you need a system that works for you. One that I’ve seen work really well for most people is the 15 Minute Planner from Steph Crowder. I’ve learned a ton from her and actually hired her as my business coach last year. Check her out and use this quick 15 minute method to plan your week. 

If you’re looking for a way to help you stay on track during your day, I would highly recommend an electronic task management system. I personally use Asana every work day (but I put my personal stuff on there too). There are other systems such as Trello, Monday and you can set up tasks in Google. Find what works for you and run with it, don’t worry about what other people are using. Use what works for you! 

Make sure to check in with these systems as you move forward. Put a reminder on your calendar for 3 months from now to check in and see how these systems have helped you. You can only make progress and changes if you have a plan for evaluating them because it will encourage you to actually implement them. 

Automate Everything You Can 

Let’s talk about how cool it is that we live in a world where we can have groceries delivered to our house! For real, this is a game changer. I’ve tracked our families spending since we signed up for Shipt and we’ve actually saved money – even with tipping the incredible people who do the grocery shopping for us. I cannot rave about this enough but it’s not the only thing you can automate in your life. I would love to encourage you to look for ways you can automate things in your life and the amazing news is that they don’t all cost you a fortune! Some are more pricey than others but do what you can sister! 

Automation Ideas:

  • Grocery shopping through Shipt 
  • Dinner ideas from Hello Fresh or Freshly or any of the other companies out there! There are seriously so many incredible options. 
  • Vacuuming using Roomba. Yes, I know it’s a pricey vacuum but how much time will it save you if it runs once a week or every other day? Think about it. 
  • Deposit checks using your banking app. You don’t need to drive to the bank my friend, save the time and download the app. 
  • Bundle your errands in one trip. I know this isn’t automating but it will save you so much time. And bonus points if you can think ahead for your trip to town and only make right turns, no joke this saves time. 
  • Set your coffee maker timer. There’s no reason for you to have to do this manually if you have a timer on your coffee maker. Use what you paid extra for! 
  • Order pet food to be automatically delivered. Check with your vet, they have services for you! If your vet doesn’t have one, use Chewy. Set it and forget it. 

Give Yourself Grace 

You’re doing amazing things in this world. If you’re reading this article then you’re a driven woman who’s changing the world for the better, I 100% believe this. So give yourself some grace in this process dear friend. Remember that you’re doing the best you can with all that you have. 

Stay connected with other women who are doing amazing things so you can be supported and you can support other women. Keep going sister, you got this! 

Your cheerleader, 

Amanda McKinney 

About Amanda McKinney Amanda McKinney is a Marketing Coach with a passion for empowering yoga teachers to earn more money doing what they love. She does this through her podcast: Marketing Yoga With Confidence and Online Offerings. All of which focuses on building confidence and community with an extra dose of encouragement every step of the way. You can learn more from her on her podcast: Marketing Yoga with Confidence or on her website: https://www.marketingyogawithconfidence.com/ But her favorite place to be is Instagram so follow her @amandamckinneyyoga

Categories
Andie M. Vasquez Mental Health Social Health

Positive Parenting: Part 2 The Principles

by Andie Vasquez

In Part 1, we discussed the 2 needs (if you haven’t read Part 1 check it out here: https://positivelybalancedllc.com/2020/02/25/positive-parenting-part-1-the-2-needs/)

Now let’s break down the principles. There are three main principles Positive Parenting follows that fall under the idea that kids are good and misbehave due to needs that aren’t met.

Principle #1

A child’s primary goal is to achieve Belonging and Significance. Belonging means they feel emotionally connected to the important people in their life. And Significance means they have a place and a purpose within their home. Both of these needs require more thought and attention from the parent.

A child’s sense of belonging is driven by how he fits into the family dynamic and how secure he is in that role. This means that huge dynamic changes can completely upset that security and trigger bad behaviors. Have you come across a child that just seemed to explode, become suddenly difficult, or defiant only to learn that their parents were separating or their life long pet had died? It may seem impossible, but if you recognize that this is just their lashing out at something massive they feel tiny and out of control in the face of, you can better resolve the issue.

In every day life though, how do you give your child this sense of Belonging? One of the suggestions of Positive Parenting proponents is to give each child in your home 10 minutes of exclusive one on one time. So if you have 3 children, each one gets 10 minutes, which total is 30 minutes of your day. Now what you do with that time is up to you and the child. Are you helping them build a house of Legos, or are they helping you bake? It can be anything that involves you, giving your child undivided attention, and filling their need for belonging. Another

thing that fills this need is to also be reassuring and confirming to your child that they are loved and play an important role in your family.

Fulfilling a child’s need for significance may be a little more difficult in that in involves you stepping back and letting your kid do potentially difficult things on their own. Making them feel like they have a place and purpose in the home means you are giving them choices in their daily lives and responsibilities within the home.

This particular aspect aligns perfectly with the Montessori teaching method. Maria Montessori also believed children deserved to be treated with respect and dignity. In the book The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies, she details how she gets her kids engaged in the daily tasks. I think the biggest point to be made is that even small children are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. Montessori says that children learn by doing, so by washing the dishes and vacuuming, they are learning. She also said that the child should lead the learning by being able to choose what they learned. If they could choose, the knowledge they gained, would be more easily retained. In the Montessori Toddler, which brings the teaching method into home life, she expands this to allowing children to choose things in their daily lives. It is described as freedom within limits. Positive Parenting gives this same suggestion. The child will feel more significant when able to make decisions on their own. This also leads the child to be more confident in their decision making, teaches them to make a choice and how to handle the consequence of that choice.

An easy example of freedom within limits is with clothes. You, as the parent, put weather appropriate clothes in your child’s closet or dresser, and then from those weather appropriate clothes, your child can choose what they want to wear. 

An example of handling the consequences of their choices would be with meals. You give your child a choice for breakfast, either have cereal right now, or wait a minute for a fried egg and toast. One child chooses cereal, and they receive it. The other child chooses an egg and toast, but when they receive it, the first child changes his mind and wants his siblings food. You wouldn’t let him swap plates with his sibling, nor would you give in and fry up another egg for him. He chose to have cereal for breakfast, and so he got to eat cereal for breakfast.

Another way to give your child control over their lives would be a choice with the same outcome. For instance, at bedtime, you can let them choose whether they want to go to bed in their pink pajamas or their blue pajamas. Either way, they are going to bed, but they got to control how they went to bed.

Fulfilling the need for Significance can include giving your child age appropriate tasks to help around the house. Even if it doesn’t end up as perfectly clean as you may have been able to make it. This lets them learn all kinds of things such as how to be cautious, balance, or dexterity. It also makes them feel vital and important to the functionality of the family. This might sound insane for someone who has a stubborn teenager that hates doing chores, but giving them responsibilities is important for them. They probably don’t realize it just yet though. So you should let your 4 year old sweep the kitchen and feed the cat. Don’t stop giving your 14 year old responsibilities, but perhaps encourage them or do the chore with them for a few days and talk with them about it while you’re working. 

Another way to fill this significant need is to let your kids decide where you eat dinner. Handing them the reigns for the evening can fill up that bucket and remind them what a big part of the family they are. They need to feel important, and vital, they need to feel significant.

Humans all have a need for belonging and significance. As a parent, we are responsible for making sure our children’s needs are met, and if we do, our children’s behaviour will change and they will be learning. How those needs are met will be unique to each family, so you can tweak to the methods that fit your dynamic. 

Principle #2

All behavior is goal oriented, behaviors are NOT random. Misbehaviors are merely symptoms of a deeper root problem that needs to be addressed. Often we try to dampen the symptoms, but without finding the cause, the problem goes unresolved.

You may be scratching your head wondering where this new behavior came from, but it isn’t spontaneous, it has a cause. The challenge sometimes is figuring out what that is. Small kids especially, are more than likely not able to articulate why they are acting out. Even bigger kids have trouble with this, so don’t expect eloquence from your kids when discussing the reasons for their actions. Youth have big emotions and often don’t have the tools to process them. These emotions swell up and come out in sometimes shocking manners. You, as the adult though, have the ability to cultivate an environment for children to learn how to process these big emotions. For this, I highly suggest the book The Whole Brained Child by Tina Payne Bryson & Daniel J. Siegel. The authors are a neuroscientist and parenting expert that explain how the brain reacts and changes in different scenarios. What interested me the most was how they explained what happens to the brain during one of these bad behavior situations. They explained that different parts of the mind are responsible for different functions. You have one part responsible for logic, one for memories, a separate one for emotion, etc. When you are upset, your brain enters a panic state and locks off the logic and reason part of the brain. This is why you cant reason with a child mid tantrum. They literally can’t access that part of their mind at that moment. You have to first soothe the child until their brain unlocks the other parts of itself and after they are calm you can begin teaching them how to do that on their own. At this point you can also discuss what triggered the bad actions and more importantly, why that specific thing triggered bad actions. That way you are able to teach them a more healthy way to respond the next time that specific thing happens. Sometimes this will be something totally out of theirs, or your, control, like how they didn’t get to play soccer because it was raining and it made them angry. Its vital for them to learn how to safely and healthily manage these feelings. A child needs to know it’s good to have emotions, even angry or sad ones, but what you do with those emotions can be good or it can be bad. Teaching them from a young age good ways to channel their feelings will prepare them for a strong future. But they won’t always get it right, so be overly gracious with them. We, as adults don’t always get it right, and we need to give ourselves and others that graciousness as well.

This is something I still have to work on. Knowing how to process and handle powerful emotions and difficult situations is a strong life skill kids will need well past childhood. Teaching them when they are young gives them an advantage in life. 

Principle #3

A misbehaving child is a discouraged child.

“Discouraged” implies that the child’s needs for Belonging and Significance are not being met. Because of this, Positive Parenting encourages you to see a misbehaving child as crying for help.

A misbehaving child is NOT a bad child

A misbehaving child is NOT a defiant child

A misbehaving child is NOT an uncontrollable child

A child that is being defiant may not feel like they have any control over anything that is happening to them but isn’t able to articulate his feelings or process them and acting out is the only way to show how he feels. In some instances fixing this may be simple by giving the kid more control over their lives. You could accomplish this by giving them a when then scenario. Give them a situation such as, when you pick up your room, then we can go outside. They are given a clear goal and the power to do it at their own pace. You aren’t breathing down their necks demanding they pick up, you are giving them more freedom, but also expecting them to get the job done. In others, it may not be so simple if the thing the kid is fighting against is also out of your control. This is a time that learning to properly channel your emotions in a healthy way is important. In this kind of situation, they may need more of that connection and loving than anything. Instead of just telling them to pick up, get down on the floor with them and help them pick up their room. Taking the time together to chat about what he is feeling, why he is feeling it, and how to manage that feeling.

This reiterates that children are not bad, and when they act poorly, there is a reason we need to address. By resolving the root problem, we also resolve the poor actions. This can be a challenge sometimes, and leave you frustrated and  bewildered when you aren’t sure what to do. But I hope I’ve given you some helpful ideas to use. 

These are the main principles of Positive Parenting to give you an idea of what this whole style of child rearing is about. Even in explaining this though, I’ve also included some additional resources and styles I also use in our home. No one source of information will give you everything you need. Neither will one school of thought fit every aspect of your life. This is why I very strongly advise anyone to read many different books and articles on different parenting types, even the ones you don’t think you’ll like. Read as much as you can and ask for advice from those who have experienced parenting already.

If there was one thing every parent should be mindful of, that every parenting expert would probably agree on is to remember you are being watched. One of the things I’ve seen in children, particularly in my own, is that kids are big imitators. Montessori noticed this as well, in encouraging you to allow the child to do what you are doing. Seigel & Bryson made a point of this in their books The Whole Brained Child and No Drama Discipline as well. This is why I say these aren’t lazy parenting forms. Whether you think so or not, your kid is watching you and soaking up every moment of it. Your kid will mimic your behaviors no matter what you try to say to them. The best way to teach your kid to manage their anger is by modeling for them how you manage your anger. If you want your kids to love reading, let them see you reading and read with them. Your child will learn how to do household chores by watching you do household

chores. Especially the ones you don’t necessarily enjoy doing. These are wonderful opportunities for them to learn what to do when they are faced with a task they have to do but don’t want to. Keeping this in mind will motivate you to properly manage your own emotions and tone of voice. First you must face your own problems in order to teach your children how to face theirs. It’s less what you allow and more what you display. For instance, you may not allow your kids to yell at you, but are you displaying a calm voice to them? The old adage is “actions speak louder than words” and it is certainly true in parenting.

In my parenting journey, the books that have influenced me the most, I’ve already mentioned; Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide by Rebecca Eanes, The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies, The Whole Brained Child and No Drama Discipline By Daniel J. Seigel & Tina Payne Bryson.

I chose to adopt positive parenting into my parenting strategy because it was good for my mental health, good for my children’s mental health, cultivates a strong parent child bond, is effective, and is sustainable in the long term of raising strong adults. By acting up front to cultivate good in my children, I’m not presented with as many unnerving unbearable kid situations that would send my heart pounding. Even when they do happen, because no matter what you do, you will end up in stressful kid related situations, I’m much better equipped to handle them. By teaching my children to manage their emotions and minds, I’ve also been learning how to better manage mine. By employing the Montessori method in my home, I’m confident I’m giving my kids a strong platform of learning to stand on. By employing No Drama Discipline, I’m certain I’m not inhibiting my children’s brain development. With Positive Parenting, I am not training the bad out of my kids, I’m building the good in them. I’m raising them to be smart, strong, good adults, and Positive Parenting is the style I have chosen to accomplish that. 

Categories
Cassandra McCoy Financial Health Intellectual Health Mental Health Occupational Health Physical Health Sexual Health Social Health Spiritual Health

The Origin Story

by Cassandra McCoy MS, ATC, LAT

Everyone loves a good origin story, right? From superheroes, world leaders, actors, and to all the influencers of old, we can always trace their history back. So, here’s a Positively Balanced Origin Story:  Why we are here today, and how we are bridging the gap in women’s health. 

Positively Balanced was founded right when I graduated from undergraduate school.  I knew I wanted to create something that meant we aren’t going to be positive all the time, but we can be hopeful for better days.   I also wanted a statement that highlighted the aspect of balance in our lives that isn’t always perfectly balanced. 

So Positively Balanced was born.  For 3 years it was a way for me to share my position of health, fitness, education, class schedule and events. However, I knew Positively Balanced would be something bigger, I just didn’t know quite what it was yet. 

A few events started to cause a shift in the direction of Positively Balanced.  A friend came to me in search of information on infertility, another with questions about menopause, and then another about postpartum exercise and lifestyle. Each time, I had the same answer: “I’m not sure, but let me do some research on who might know and also how I can help. So my love for women’s health began. I enrolled in and attended courses and seminars.  I read books and did the research. 

As I did my deep dive into the works of women’s health, I began to notice a significant lack of knowledge, education, and resources for women.

There were some resources and some research; however there are still huge gaps in so many areas and aspects.  

Then, I found out I was going to be having a baby and it took my love to new heights. I began to experience first hand the lack of support, lack of resources and knowledge and the consequences of such.   It was like adding fuel to a fire. 

This past year, I became so passionate, I shut my business down for 6 months just to focus on what it was I could actually do to make a difference.  I graduated with my master’s degree and began working as a women’s health athletic trainer specializing in pre and postpartum health, as well as rehab performance exercise. I saw all types of patients, but my focus and study took me into the women’s health realm.

I realized that women’s  health was the evolution that Positively Balanced was meant for, the work had to be done.  I remember telling my good friend about these crazy ideas I had during one of our walks. After I babbled for a good while, she looked at me and said “Well then, why don’t you do it?!”

The Be HEaRd Women’s Health Platform was formed. I only remember posting about searching for contributors twice on social media.   Within a week, I had so much interest I knew we were destined for greatness.

Starting in January 2020, you will have over 20 founding contributors (we call ourselves HEaRd), writing to you along with a few special guests popping in here and there. We will provide you with honest, current, and relevant articles that cover a variety of dimensions of health.

Our goal is to “Bridge the Gap” in Women’s Health. The gap between generations, research and application,  The gap between the phases of life, and so much more.

Women’s health platform is starting the conversations, empowering women with knowledge and supporting you with a wonderful community! 

(The dimensions of health is something we will discuss in the Founder’s Note each month, and if you are interested in learning more sign up to be placed on a preorder list of my short ebook coming out soon.)

PS: Stay tuned for more information on and WHY we are HEaRd!

Thanks for joining us on this adventure,

Cassandra McCoy MS, ATC, LAT
Founder of Positively Balanced LLC