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3 Benefits of Estate Planning

By Debbie Stanley

Estate Planning

For a long time I put off my estate plan and any conversation that had to do with planning my legacy. If you had asked me, I would have preferred to go to the gym and awkwardly run on the treadmill while day dreaming about chocolate rather than discuss something so personal and scary. I had a will, my husband had a will…. this was enough of a plan, right?

Now I know you may be thinking, I am a qualified licensed professional who deals with Trusts and Estates every single day. Why would I have put this off? Well, to be honest it is a scary thing and even someone who dedicates their life to this subject is not immune to the fear. I found an excuse to do something else, change the subject, or work on my clients affairs instead of my own. Finally I decided that it was time to give myself some tough love and signed my husband and I up to walk through the process that I go through with my clients. We planned out all the details of our estate; starting with reviewing our wills, working on and organizing finances and lastly discussing our funeral wishes. After the exercise I reflected on some of the emotions I was feeling after such a deeply personal experience.

Estate Planning gives a sense of clarity. When we go through the motions of everyday life, we tend to get bogged down by all the daily details and tasks that call for our attention.  Stopping and making the time to speak with a professional (yes I know it was myself!) about my estate plan brought a sense of clarity to my wishes that I never knew I had. There are tough questions that are asked, and sometimes difficult decisions to be made and it forced me to admit things or look at things in a manner that I normally wouldn’t. While the subject matter is uncomfortable, gaining a better sense of understanding of all the moving pieces of my estate is a feeling that is pretty hard to describe. Continue reading 3 Benefits of Estate Planning

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5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

Expert advice from the team at The Womb (World of My Baby)

breastfeeding myths to debunk for women and mompreneurs going back to work

It would be so nice if we could continue to stay home with our little ones, but for most of us, going back to work is a reality. For many mothers in Canada, we are lucky to have one year of maternity leave before returning to work. But some need to go back sooner, and for those who do get the full year, they would like to continue their breastfeeding relationship. Many ask, “Do I need to wean just because I’m going back to work?”

The answer is no. It is hard enough to be separated from your baby, so being able to breastfeed when you are together benefits both of you emotionally and physically.

Here are my top 5 myths about breastfeeding and going back to work after the one-year maternity leave.

1. I need to stop breastfeeding when I go back to work.
Absolutely not! Yes, it may be a bit challenging at first to juggle getting back into the swing of things with working and continuing to breastfeed, but it is just an adjustment. Going back to work is an adjustment in itself anyway. The benefit of continuing to breastfeed, is that you can still renew that closeness and one-on-one time with your baby when you are home – which makes the adjustment of going back to work easier for both of you.

A side bonus is that many children who will go to a daycare setting when mom returns back to work, will come in contact with new and unexpected viruses and germs. When you breastfeed, you pass on valuable antibodies to your baby through your breastmilk. So, although it is inevitable that your little one may get sick, they will most likely recover sooner or not get as ill if you continue to breastfeed.

2. I will need to pump when you go back to work.
Many women have a love-hate relationship with their pump and many haven’t pumped for months. They often wonder “When will I find time in my day to pump? Where will I pump and where will I store the milk?” Of course, this is always an option and you can speak with your employer about setting up a room for you to pump and for you to store your milk (it’s their legal obligation to do so) but you don’t need to pump. Many mothers will simply hand express a bit while away if they feel too full and just breastfeed when they are with baby. Sure, the first few days when you go back to work may be tough and you may be a bit uncomfortable and leak a little. No problem, bring an extra shirt just in case, learn how to hand express and by the end of the week your body will adjust and you will be fine! Continue reading 5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

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Finding Your Anxiety Antidote

Expert advice from The Womb (World of My Baby)

anxiety

A lot of my work with women revolves around the powerless, and sometimes overwhelming experience of feeling anxious. My clients worry about making mistakes, they worry about being good moms, good employees, they worry about their health, they worry about missing out — they worry.

Women often feel robbed of the ability to enjoy the moment, despite a deep longing to feel joy.

There is a difference between worry and anxiety, and we can move back and forth between them. I want to tell you that you deserve to feel happy. You deserve to feel good enough. You deserve to be free of the debilitating anxiety that comes from constant second guessing, and self-criticism. Your children and family deserve to have a mother who doesn’t carry the world on her shoulders. You are so worthy, my loves…. so worthy.

How is worry and anxiety affecting your life?

What would your family notice if tomorrow morning, your worry brain took a rest. What would be different?

I help clients find their personal anxiety antidote. I don’t suggest that you just try some generic relaxation or meditation or even just “think positively”. There is a reason that anxiety is there. Anxiety happens when something inside of us is asking for attention. Something inside is asking to be heard, seen and addressed. Sometimes we think we know what it is, so we solve the first thing that comes to mind, but we still feel anxious. I call this the anxiety treadmill! How the heck do you get off without making yourself crazy?

I want to tell you my approach to anxiety. I treat it as a super power. We use this obsessive focus and intense drive to create good feelings!  Did you know that NASA often prefers to hire anxious people? They are great people, with lots of focus-power. But imagine if they could never turn off that ability? What a terribly stressful existence. Continue reading Finding Your Anxiety Antidote

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A Positive Attitude Can Make All the Difference

Written by Karen Bivand

having a positive attitude
We all face challenges in our lives, but the way that you interpret these challenges is what makes the difference between someone who is able to overcome them and someone who is crushed by them.  A positive outlook has the power to boost you up when you are down and to give you an extra boost when things are going your way.  It’s also important to note that optimists have a much better quality of life.  Even though the optimist and pessimist are headed to the same place, only the optimist enjoys the ride!  Here are some strategies that will help you hang on to your positive attitude even when things get tough:

Choose your lens.

How do you perceive the problems that you face?  Are they learning experiences or total disasters?  It is in your power to interpret these events.  Take control of your attitude and come up with concrete strategies to face your challenges.  Your outlook doesn’t emerge from your circumstances; it is a choice.

You are in control.

If something in your life isn’t working for you, then change it.  Don’t allow things to drag on.  Instead of worrying or complaining about your problems, take action and fix them.

Don’t let your thoughts take hold of you.

Think of your thoughts as a butterfly flitting from one flower to the next.  They can fly past you so quickly that you barely even see them, or they can perch on your shoulder and stay for a while.  Be selective of the thoughts that you decide to engage with.  If a particular thought pattern isn’t doing you any good, then just let it pass.  Resist the urge to grasp on to thoughts that are just going to sap your time and energy and bring you down.

Surround yourself with positivity.

Have you ever heard the expression ‘garbage in-garbage out’?  It holds true when you’re talking about positivity.  Pay attention to the shows you watch, the books you read and the people you spend time with.  If it’s all negative, there’s a good chance that it’s dragging you down.  Read inspirational material and biographies of people who are living their dreams.  Limit your exposure to negative media and stay away from whiners and complainers; they feel lousy themselves and don’t want anyone else to be happy.

Practice gratitude.

Even when we have amazing things happening in our lives, many of us are firmly focused on our problems.  Take the time to acknowledge what’s going well for you and don’t take things for granted.  Also, consider giving back to others; nothing gives you shift of perspective like seeing the struggles that other people face on a daily basis.

When you are running a business, everyone picks up on your attitude including your customers, potential customers, your staff, your suppliers, your investors and everyone else that you meet.  If you are giving off positive energy, people will want to do business with you and it will make the rest of your life better too.

 


featured image via shutterstock.com

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5 Tips For Stress-Free Back-to-School Mornings

Written by Elaine Tan Comeau

_DSC1518-easy-mornings

Breathe.  Inhale, exhale, and repeat. 
That’s right, the crazy hectic mornings of “Back to School” are just around the corner.  Local newspapers are full of Back To School shopping flyers and supermarkets have aisles stocked with bright displays of pencils, binders, crayons and markers! Whether your children are the ones who wake up early during the summer holidays, ready to play outside, or they sleep in late like time is irrelevant, studies show that the morning routine is the toughest one to get back on track, especially when school is back in session!

One in four school-aged children are dealing with issues of anxiety, as there is pressure and anticipation mounting on all levels; this so called “school stress” hits not only children, but parents as well. As much as we think having that first cup of coffee before the kids wake up will do the trick, we need to be more ready than that!

Surveys, articles and websites show that the most stressful time of day for moms is the morning routine. One website I found stated that 8:25AM was the most stressful time of day for moms.

Being a mom of three, a School Teacher, Canadian Mompreneur of the Year (2014), and Founder of Easy Daysies Visual Routines for Kids, as well as a Parent/Educational Speaker, and Podcaster on the Elaine’s Kitchen Table Podcast, I often get asked what my secrets are.

So, here are my “5 Must-Know Tips for Stress Free S.U.P.E.R. Back To School Mornings!” Continue reading 5 Tips For Stress-Free Back-to-School Mornings

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How to Have a Nice Day

tips from mompreneur Heba Ahmed Malki tips from SendOutCards on making others days better

We all like surprises, and kind gestures can make all the difference in whether you or someone you know has a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ day. Whether it is an unexpected gift or getting an extra carton of fries in your bag at the drive-thru window, a surprise just makes you feel better.

Elite+ Mompreneur member Heba Ahmed Malki, Marketing Distributor with SendOutCards, suggests challenging yourself on a daily basis to spring a nice surprise on someone else. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some great ways to make someone’s day:

  • Let someone out in traffic during rush hour.
  • Let the person behind you at the checkout stand go before you, no matter how big their order is.
  • Visit a nursing home and spend time with those who have no family.
  • Pay for the meal of the person behind you at lunch.
  • Leave some sweet treats with inspirational messages on the break-room table at work.
  • Volunteer at the local elementary school.
  • Give an encouraging smile to a random stranger.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the school pick-up line, and SMILE while doing so!
  • Wave at strangers that you pass on the road.
  • Buy an extra box of candy at the movie theatre and offer it to the family next to you.
  • Mow your neighbour’s lawn.
  • Leave an encouraging note on someone’s windshield.

Continue reading How to Have a Nice Day

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When It’s Time to Focus on Your Needs

Women are notorious for putting everyone else’s needs before their own; this can ring especially true for moms, as it’s part of the job. However, it can become a problem if your own needs are never being met. While you have to put your heart and soul into your family and your business, you can’t give so much that it hurts.

when it's time to focus on your own need as a mompreneur or female entrepreneur

Here are some indications that you need to draw a line:

You have nothing left to give

You would love to go outside and play with your child, or take time to do some research for that new client. The problem is that you can’t seem to will your body to get up off the couch. As difficult as this may be for you, either get someone else to do it or let it wait. You need to rest.

You’re feeling resentful

You spend so much of your day looking after everyone else that you never do anything for yourself. That would make anyone feel resentful. Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s, and it’s important for you to feel cared for and respected.

Nobody considers your needs

Have you started to notice that nobody seems to even recognize that you have needs? Don’t be too hard on them; others around you have become so used to depending on you, that it probably doesn’t even occur to them that you’re just as worthy of attention as they are.

Picking up on the signals that you are in need of some important self-care time, and helping those around you to understand how you are feeling, is not necessarily an instantaneous revelation – old habits die hard, as they say. It may take some strategic planning, focused conversations, and honest open-mindedness to not only share your thoughts, but also have those in your circle understand and appreciate them.

Once you have identified that it’s time to start drawing boundaries, you need to find a way to do it without hurting the people around you: Continue reading When It’s Time to Focus on Your Needs

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5 Tips That Will Give You More Energy

Written by Karen Bivand

5 tips for more energy - mompreneurs

It’s 6:30am – time to wake up!  How do you feel?  Do you jump out of bed eager to take on whatever challenges today has in store for you?  Or do you stagger around like a zombie until your third coffee?  If you are chronically exhausted, here are a few tips that will help you get that spring back in your step:

Analyze your sleep habits.
How much sleep are you getting each night?  It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours.  However, just devoting the time to your sleep isn’t enough; you also need to pay attention to the quality of sleep that you are getting.  Other people, noise, light, stress, and caffeine can all interfere with your quality of sleep.  If you are sacrificing sleep time to get more work done, it may actually be counterproductive.  You are more efficient and effective in your work when you are well rested.

Accept a challenge.
Your low energy could be as simple as a lack of motivation.  Could it be that you just aren’t feeling enthusiastic about what you are doing?  There’s a quick fix for that; try to find a challenge that makes you feel excited.  Aim for something that’s a little outside of your comfort zone.  You may find that getting out of your monotonous routine is all you need to do to get your blood flowing.

Take care of the basics.
There are many reasons that you could be lacking energy and your physical health is a big one.  When you are running a business and taking care of your family, it is easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own health.  Make it a priority to eat healthy food on a regular basis, drink plenty of water, and try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.  It may also be a good idea to visit your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be making you tired.

Plan a vacation.
When was the last time that you did something just because you wanted to?  When we overextend ourselves for a long period of time, we all burn out.  Re-charge your batteries by planning something fun.  If possible, book a trip somewhere exciting.  If that’s not feasible, a day at the spa or even a shopping and lunch date with a good friend may do the trick.

Take care of your appearance.
Nobody is suggesting that a bright shade of lipstick can make up for three nights without sleep.  However, if you invest some time and energy into making yourself look gorgeous, you may feel a little more capable of conquering the world!    

 

 

featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com

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How to Stop Overextending Yourself

tips to stop overextending, for women entrepreneursDo you often feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew? Do you find yourself rushing from project to project with barely enough time in between to eat or shower? If you are like many entrepreneurs, you may have a tendency to over-commit yourself.  People overextend themselves for various reasons; perhaps you just get caught up in the moment and agree to something before you check your schedule, or maybe you find it difficult to say no to people.

Whatever your motivation, it leaves you feeling frustrated and frazzled, and it could potentially damage your reputation if you’re not able to honour all of the commitments that you’ve made. Here are some tips to help you take control and stop over-committing:

  • Acknowledge that it’s a problem: While it’s normal to be busy, if your hectic pace causes you to be stressed out most of the time, then it is something that you need to address. Being constantly on the run is bad for your health, puts a strain on your relationships with your friends and family, and can cause you to lose focus of your goals. You can work on your business for twenty hours a day and still find that success slips through your fingers. Being busy is productive; frantically scrambling around is not. If you think that you may currently be overextended, then it is time to step back and re-evaluate.
  • Listen to your body: Your body is great at telling you when you’re going too fast, provided that you take the time to listen. How do you feel? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you tired all of the time? Do you suffer from headaches? Are you having digestive problems? Do you have acne or eczema or any other skin conditions that flare up when you’re stressed? If your body is displaying symptoms of stress then it means that your activities are physically straining you. Don’t take these symptoms lightly; while you may only be able to detect a headache and a rash, that same stress could be causing much more serious damage to your body.

Continue reading How to Stop Overextending Yourself

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Important Sleep Facts

The key aspects to a healthy lifestyle, as most of us know, include a healthy diet, daily exercise, and getting enough sleep so that your body is able to recover and restore itself effectively. Sleep is one of those things that many of us use as a crutch or even as an excuse, especially when it comes to our lives as entrepreneurs and/or as parents.

Having a late start to your day because you stayed up until 2am to complete some work on your desk? Taking the day off of work because your toddler had a nightmare and you didn’t get enough sleep? We’ve all been there, but it’s important to make sure that you consider your sleep habits to be as important as your positive eating, working, and healthy living habits.

sleep tips for mompreneurs and women in business

Thanks to Elite Mompreneur member Madelaine Golec of ECO Physio, we’re happy to share these 10 things you need to know about sleep:

No one’s sleep is broken. Unless you have a tumour in a very specific spot in the brain, everyone has the potential to improve their sleep

Treating sleep apnea is of utmost importance. If left untreated, it can result in an enlarged heart. When the airways close during the night, this causes your heart rate to slow down to conserve oxygen. The brain eventually detects a decrease in oxygen and causes your heart rate to increase. It is this increasing and decreasing of heart rate over time that causes the heart to enlarge. Why is this bad? Because it can cause irregular heartbeats resulting in heart attack, stroke or death.

How much sleep do we really need? About 7-9 hours daily. Each person can accumulate a certain amount of sleep debt, meaning the amount of sleep you can lose while remaining functional at the level you want. The amount of debt will depend on age, gender, genetics and medical conditions. It is important to note here that debts must be paid in order to maintain that optimal function.

What are the consequences of not sleeping? Decreased decision making, decreased memory, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased stress, increased pain, slow reaction time, decreased sexual function, weight gain and more. All of this can be reversed by improving sleep. Continue reading Important Sleep Facts