The Goal of the Stroll

The house we grew up in backed onto this amazing park with a soccer field and my elementary school. We had this secret door through the big gate that would open up into a world of imagination, play and adventure. I have so many childhood memories that involve friends and cousins and running out through the gate to the park.

The parks and the mature trees and the friendly neighbours are what I love so much about living in my neck of the woods. I love asking my daughters about which park they want to go to and they yell “the purple park!”

What’s even better is that there are amazing health benefits from getting outside and connecting with your neighbours. As a naturopathic doctor who works with moms, babies and kids, I love sharing about all the great reasons why it’s great to get outside and chat with your neighbours.

Park Perks

Being outside in nature just makes us feel good and this is a huge area of new research because of how much time we spend indoors and in front of tech toys like iPads, phones and TV.

Being surrounded by trees, forests and outdoor spaces has numerous health benefits for you and your kids. These include:

  • Improved short-term memory
  • Restored mental energy
  • Stress-relief
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Better vision
  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper thinking and creativity
  • Immune system boosts
  • Improved mental health

So, just being outside among the trees of your neighbourhood can really make you feel good.

Neighbourhood Networking

The number of neighbours who we actually know has changed over the years. We spend more time indoors and the nightly news gives us lots of reasons why we should hide out at home.

However, being with others is extremely important to our health. Having a social network helps with longevity. There was a Harvard study of graduates throughout their lifespans and they found that strong relationships are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction.

A lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline as well as increased mortality. This increase in mortality risk is roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. So having strong relationships is really important!

Connecting with others relieves harmful levels of stress, which can negatively affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and your immune system.

So, let’s get outside more, let’s start talking to our neighbours and forming those relationships with each other, we’ll feel better for it.

Dr. Whitney Young, ND

Dr. Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Super Baby Coach who has a special focus on fertility, pregnancy and children’s health. She is the founder of Guiltless Grace – an online community for moms who want to ditch the Mommy Guilt!

Daddy Duties

Daddy Duties

The first time my windshield fluid went dry in my minivan, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Dread came over me. This was the first time in so many years that I was going to have to do this on my own.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an accomplished, feminist type of woman. I used to check my own oil, put air in my leaking tire and put windshield washer fluid in my car. You know, the relatively easy stuff.

But I hadn’t had to do that in years. Steve always took care of this for me and topped it up for me.

There are countless other mundane chores at home that he thoughtfully took care of and now it all falls to me.

That dread of oh…THIS…THIS is something I’m going to have to do ON MY OWN again. And it’s not a big deal, right? Buying a jug of fluid, opening my hood and pouring it in while trying not to spill the whole thing. Not a big deal.

But it was just another reminder that he’s not here. He’s not here to take care of me anymore.

Last week it was the propane tank. I used to buy propane in university for our BBQ that I shared with my friends. But that was almost 10 years ago.

So, here’s 3 steps to hating those Daddy Duties then Conquering Them. You can do it. I believe in you.

  1. Feel Sad. Feel sad for a moment. For what you lost. For him not being here any more.
  2. Be Thankful. Thank him for all the wonderful things he did for you. Count them. Say them out loud or just remember a couple.
  3. Be Bold and Conquer. Now, you can be powerful. You can amaze yourself and others with this tiny thing that now you can do! Wow! You are amazing. Gold star!

I know it’s tough. I’m with you. I get it. But you can do it. Try something small. If you can’t do it and it’s too hard, ask for help. Your family and friends want to help and they are just waiting for you to give them a specific job.

If you want to join me and a group of others who are mothering through loss, come on over to our Facebook group called Guiltless Grace. Click here to find us.

Hugs,

Whitney

Survival Guide Specialist

The Monopoly on Missing Him

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The Monopoly on Missing Him

I’ve been so focused on myself and my own grieving. I’ve come to believe that no one else can truly be suffering and missing Steve like I can. Like I get to win the prize of Best Griever. Yay me!

While there is some truth to that, Steve was my husband and we truly knew each other inside and out. He was my best friend in the whole wide world. We shared 10 wonderful years together.

But he wasn’t only mine. He didn’t belong to me. He belonged to the world.

He shared his light, love and joy with everyone. He lived many years without me. Came from a loving family, made lifelong friends with his buddies and shared his joy with countless loved ones and strangers alike.

Steve had a way of making you feel like you were the only one in the room. That everything you said mattered, was important and was exciting! He was thrilled for you for every little success.

I’m just realizing bit by bit that the ripples he made in this world were not just in my world but everywhere.

I felt like I had the monopoly on missing him. But I’m not an island. We are all connected and he was and still is connected to us all. Even as you read this and if you’ve never met him, you are still affected by him.

Steve made every person feel important no matter what they were doing. Every server at a restaurant, teller at a bank, receptionist or service person. He learned their name, used it, and became a loyal fan.

So, can we still miss our loved ones and wallow in our grief? Sometimes.

But, we can remember we’re not alone. There are others who miss them too and are suffering too. And if we can focus on the joy, love and lessons, we will be so much happier.

I find great joy in sharing all I know about Steve with my daughters. They are still so young but I can tell them about Daddy’s favourite things, his values and how he appreciated life. This way he will still live on and I don’t have to be as sad.

Sharing with them and our family and friends helps me to feel more joy. In our culture it seems taboo to talk about someone who has died. No one wants to really talk about Steve probably for fear of making me sad. I can’t speak for everyone going through loss but for me I like talking about him and his life and our life together. It’s important, he matters and he will for a long time.

So my wish for you today is to:

  1. Remember your loved ones with joy
  2. Talk about them with others who loved them
  3. Remember that you are never alone

Love Whitney

 

 

Do I Live Happily Ever After?

Do I Live Happily Ever After?

Do I Live Happily Ever After?

I have always loved a happy ending. Growing up, I loved the Disney movies with the princesses who found their prince and lived happily ever after.

Who doesn’t want to “live happily ever after?”

But what does “happily ever after” mean? When is the after? To what point? The whole time? For the rest of their lives?

Dictionary.com defines it to “spend the rest of one’s life in happiness.”

Did Steve live “happily ever after?” Was he happy during his life? Yes. He was very happy. Were there bad times, sad times, stressed out times, and difficult times? Yes. Those too. But that’s normal.

The Urban Dictionary defines it as “to find your one and only and live happily with them for the rest of your life. To be constantly happy with no end.”

So, according to this definition did Steve live happily ever after? The first part yes. He found his one and only – me – and lived happily with me for the rest of his life.

But was he constantly happy with no end? No, that’s impossible. It’s not realistic for anyone. There are going to be crappy times. You are going to have bad moods. There are going to be really sad things that happen. It can’t be avoided. But can we live happily every after anyway?

What about me? Do I live “happily ever after?”

I found my one and only and lived happily with him but now he’s gone. But he will stay with me, in my heart and I will live happily ever after with him there.

To live happily ever after is a choice.

Am I heartbroken still? Yes. But I could choose to be unhappy all the time, but that wouldn’t honour him or be much fun at all.

In so many of the Disney movies, the princesses are orphans or have lost a parent. I suppose my girls are those princesses. They’ve been dealt a bad hand but they deserve to live happily ever after too.

Will I be “constantly happy with no end?” Nope. None of us will. There will be ups and downs, good times and bad times. Happiness will have endings and beginnings again.

To live happily every after is too long of a concept anyway. I can only focus on now and a short time from now. It’s all I can handle. For now, I choose to live happily in the moments that feel right and feel the all the other emotions in the moments that feel right for those. That’s all we can do.

Honour how you feel each moment and know that it’s ok but don’t stay in the darkness. You deserve to live happily ever after too, whatever that looks like for you.

Love and hugs

Whitney

 

 

 

I cried at the bar… Showing your Humanness is OK.

I Cried at the Bar

I cried at the bar…

Showing your Humanness is Ok

Have you ever cried at the bar? Showing your humanness? It used to happen to me in University once in awhile. Usually I had drunk too much and was upset about some boy.

That’s what happened this time only I’m a grown woman in her 30s. I showed my humanness again. It’s like getting naked in front of everyone – emotionally.

A couple weeks ago, I drank a little too much at a friend’s birthday party at a bar and cried over a boy. This boy is my husband to be exact.

It’s only been 4 months since he died but it feels like both yesterday and an eternity since I talked to him and saw his face.

I’ve always liked to show my best self. To try to be positive at all times. I like people to think I’m doing ok, that I’ve got things under control. And for the most part that’s true.

On Facebook I purposefully share things that will show others I’m ok and try to be positive. Like the post about “Hold onto the Love, not the Loss.” I believe in that.

But it’s not the whole truth.

I cried at the bar. Because I miss him like crazy. Because talking about our kids and our husbands with my friends isn’t the same. I can give examples of stories of him and the kids from this summer but after that? I’m out of stories. I won’t have stories of how he handled potty training or teaching them how to ride a bike or drive a car. I can try to imagine what it would be like since I knew him so well. But I won’t know for sure. And that’s devastating.

And I’m mad. Mad and sad.

I’m mad he left me. I’m mad he left our girls. I’m mad I have to do this without him. I’m mad about all the stuff he’s going to miss. And I’m sad for all those reasons.

And it’s ok. It’s ok for me to tell you this. It’s ok to feel sad. And for me to show my humanness. It’s ok for you to show yours too.

My guru word is Honour.

I am living honour moment to moment. I will honour my true feelings and who I really am. I will honour when I’m sad, mad, happy, or whatever, when it arrives. I will honour Steve. I will honour him by remembering and sharing him.

And I want you to honour you too. I want you to honour who you really are and embrace it. There’s no time for pretending. Spend time with the people who lift you up. Do things that fill you up with joy.

Writing this post? It’s also like getting naked in front of everyone. Thanks to my friend Jocelyn for pushing me to do it. Showing my humanness again.

Am I ok? Yes and no. But that’s ok too.

Talk soon,

Whitney

How breaking up with the scale helped my marriage

I started dieting officially in Grade 8. At 5′ 4″ I wanted to weight 120-125 lbs. My body thought otherwise. It thought that 130 was a better weight.

So my love/hate relationship with the scale began. When it was moving down, it was love. When it was moving up, it was hate.

In my desperation to get into the weight range that I wanted, my dieting attempts got more rigid. Trouble is, I was a terrible dieter. Restriction was never my strong suit. Overeating, binge eating, secret eating – that was what I did in response to restriction and body bashing. I loved myself better with food.

Fast forward into adulthood. Still wanting to weigh less. Still letting the scale be the ‘verification’ for if I was ‘on track’ or not.

What does this have to do with my marriage?

My husband thinks that I’m hot. He did when we met. He does now. Those two bodies are very different from one another. For one thing, 14 years have passed. I had a C section after carrying a 10lbs baby boy. And I’m not a size 8 anymore. I’m a 14.

One day, about 4 years ago, he was trying to get lucky and I was ‘off track’ and feeling anything but sexy. I screamed at him about how the weight was coming back, that I was fat and not sexy.

He looked at me with such anger. I don’t often see that side of him. He’s a joker and typically being silly.

“I am so sick and tired about how you talk about my wife” is all that he said. He walked away.

I cried. He was right. If anyone spoke about my friend or family that way I would be furious. By placing that kind of value on body size, it diminished all the other things that I am: playful, funny, a great Mom, caring doctor, supportive friend, bright and beautiful woman.

Why couldn’t I see what he sees?

I really started to understand that day what measuring my weight did to me. I gave my power away to a number. I told it that it could tell me if I could feel cute today. I started to see how what the scale said had no relevance on the other things in my life. I am an amazing friend at any size. My kid adores me at any size. That sweet man that I married wants to be with me at any size. But when I’m grumpy because my body doesn’t look like I want it to, that does impact my ability to be a great friend, an influential doctor, a supportive friend, and fun Mama.

So I chose my husband over my scale. I broke up with it that day and haven’t looked back.

What does your relationship with your scale provide you with? What does it cost you?

Not everybody has such a hard time with scales. If you are like me though, and need help with the break up, I’m here.

Kerri Fullerton XOXO