PAP 083:

Strategies for Mama Wellness

with Kate Lynch

As moms, we think of self-care as selfish and frivolous. But self-care is so much more than a spa massage or a weekend away with your girlfriends. Self-care includes all eight dimensions of wellness: physical, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, financial, intellectual, and career. That’s true wellness, and it takes mindful awareness and some work. Remember, self-care isn’t selfish… you can only give your best to your kids and your family when you are feeling your best — feeling your best in all areas.  In this episode of the Parenting ADHD Podcast, I’m talking with Kate Lynch of Healthy Happy Yoga about mama wellness. Not only do we talk about the dimensions of wellness and your mama mindset and self-compassion, but we offer many insights and strategies on how to shift your mindset, make wellness a priority, and fit it into your life. And, we’re giving you permission to take care of you, Mama. 

Resources in this Episode

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My Guest

KATE LYNCH
Kate Lynch is a meditation coach and inclusive yoga teacher. She has been teaching and cultivating community since 2002. In her role as Ocean’s mama, she continues to learn about advocacy, emotional balance and neurodiversity. Kate specializes in supporting anxious parents of atypical kids with the mindfulness, resilience, and self care tools that help her get through the day.

Thanks for joining me!

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Penny Williams (00:02): Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. I am excited today to be talking to Kate Lynch of Healthy, Happy Yoga. We're going to talk all about mama wellness and don't stop this episode thinking that it's just about what you eat or exercise. This is about your whole being in your whole life and it's a super important conversation for you to hear. Thanks for being here, Kate. I so appreciate your sharing your time with us. Will you start by introducing yourself, who you are and what you do.

Kate Lynch (01:31): You're so welcome. I'm really happy to be here. I'm a meditation coach and an enclosed clusivity yoga teacher. I've been teaching since 2002 and my focus has been really lately on cultivating community and especially for parents of atypical kids. Since I have a kid myself with autism and ADHD. Yeah,

Penny Williams (01:57): I think we should start with the eight dimensions of wellness because this will define for everyone that wellness is more than just your nutrition and physical health, exercising and things like that. That's an important piece of core, but you know, for our overall wellness and life, it's more than that. Right? So for sure it was start with emotional coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships. I think this is a big one for us. Raising atypical kids.

Kate Lynch (02:34): Yeah. And this is probably the aspect that I am most tuned into and most and most passionate about, right. So, because I've sort of been through the drama myself of raising an atypical kid and a kid with challenges and a lot of high emotions. And I was already a yoga and teacher, but my practice really took a dive and I really felt there were times when I felt pretty hopeless. So through that it really helped me to develop or remember tools that are very, very applicable and very short, quick and easy to just pull up in the moment to shift and find more, find more steadiness and mindfulness and more of a connection, not only emotional balance but also kind of an awareness of where I'm at and where those emotions are really coming from. And then when I did that, when I found that I was more able to then model that for my son

Penny Williams (03:46): And really dealing with our emotions, not feeling guilty about them, not trying to stuff them down, you know, the the healthiest thing to do is to feel them and work through them instead of trying to avoid them.

Kate Lynch (04:02): Yeah. And shaming ourselves and judging ourselves actually doesn't help. Like some of us sometimes we think that like, Oh well if I stop judging myself I'll stop improving. But that is totally not something that I've found to be true at all. So the self compassion piece has really come in when I find that inner critic come up and the more that I can really understand that, okay, you're feeling this, everyone feels this kind of thing sometimes what would your best friend say to you? How would you treat someone else who you care about? Who's feeling this way right now? And it definitely shifted my perspective away from that self judging and self blaming.

Penny Williams (04:52): Yeah. And I think that's a really good measure of how we treat ourselves is to ask ourselves what we would say to a friend if they came to us with those thoughts and feelings, everything. Because we're going to be so much more compassionate to another person than we typically are with ourselves.

Kate Lynch (05:11): Yeah. And as far as like having this idea of self-improvement, like if we have self acceptance and kindness to ourselves, we're much more likely to do things that will help us kind of have that overall sense of wellness anyway. Right? Yeah. Then if we're blaming ourselves or thinking that somehow we're not worthy, then we're less likely to do things that are going to support our wellness.

Penny Williams (05:41): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think things like hope and optimism and gratitude practice also come into play here with the emotional wellness. Absolutely. You know, they make such a big difference and that then plays into like what your attitude and your mindset are when you're more positive and hopeful, you're much healthier. Yeah, just going to go better.

Kate Lynch (06:06): And one of my GoTo practices is just thinking of one thing that I'm grateful for and I don't go along the whole story. I just wait until I feel that sense of gratitude and sometimes it's just the feeling of my son's hand in mind. If he, you know, if he's recently held my hand, I'll just have that sense of what his hand felt like and I'll, I'll feel like I'll really feel the gratitude for someone else. That might obviously be something else, but once I have that sense of it in my body, then I just, I just go into what that sense is in my body and that's been shown to actually shift our hormones. Like it's pretty amazing how it can shift our physiological wellbeing is by shifting to, like you said, hopefulness or a sense of, of gratitude or, or even benevolence. Like if we've done something that's really kind for someone and it was not that hard for us to do, like not, not a martyr, that's something where they were grateful. It was easy and we just felt good about it. You know what I mean? Like have you ever had that sentence like, Oh, somebody asked me to do something. I did it. It was easy and I felt really good about it.

Penny Williams (07:15): Yeah. There's so many little things, you know, I think we discount those things, those small things, writing somebody a note. And these are the kinds of things I list as self care activities when we do for others, we feel good about ourselves and that self care. Right? Yeah. And I, I use the Grateful app. I don't know if you've seen it, but it will remind you every day at a particular time, whatever you set it for to record a piece of gratitude. And it even has prompts like questions that are, I'll ask you to try to prompt you name a time you were laughing today. What are you grateful for today? Things like that. And literally it takes less than a minute to open my phone, type up my gratitude for the day and put it away. Like it's really not a big deal to practice gratitude. It can be so simple and we even have tools that can remind us every day to do it. And there are many studies that show how impactful that practice of gratitude is. It keeps us more optimistic. It keeps us more hopeful, more positive. It, you know, physiologically helps us. It's,

Kate Lynch (08:33): Thank you. I hadn't heard of that one. So I'm writing it down.

Penny Williams (08:37): I love it. You can even attach pictures. Like one day I was driving home from leaving my daughter at college after winter break and in front of me, the whole sky was just all these colors. The sunset was absolutely amazing and it just made me feel good and it reminded me, you know that yeah I did a hard thing cause it was really hard for her to be left there. When you know hard for me but it, you know, there's hope. That's basically how that felt to me. And I was at a red light so I snapped a picture of it and then I put it in my gratitude for the day. Like I'm really happy to see this beautiful sunset today and you can scroll back through everything. So when you're having a really downtime, you can open this app and see all of it.

Penny Williams (09:27): Some people use a gratitude jar a tude wall. At one point we had a chalkboard wall when my kids were small and sometimes we would, you know, Hey go write a gratitude on there before you go to bed. My son when he let me talk him in, he does not know cause he's 17, but when he did I every night I would say I like the way you blank today. Something you might've been working on something small. It didn't have to be anything monumental, you know, could even be, I like how you were laughing with your friend today or like yeah but your friend pick what they were going to do first today. Or I like how you brushed your teeth and I only had to ask you once today, you know, whatever it is, the Dan are really positive note for him as he's going to sleep. But it's also a reminder for me today, you might've been heard, this might've been really challenging, but Hey, here's a bright spot. It was, I don't know how I started doing it, but it was so super helpful.

Kate Lynch (10:23): I love it. And the piece that I would, that I would maybe add to that is then notice how you feel in your body as you're experiencing that gratitude because that can shift something, you know internally as well. And that can actually shift us out of if we're, if we're having any kind of trauma response, it can, it can actually help us shift out of that.

Penny Williams (10:46): Yeah. And I think is a really important thing to do with our kids. I didn't know to do it. My kids were little, but you know, especially kids with anxiety because it helps them separate these really uneasy feelings. Like it might be a medical emergency from, you know, the anxiety from something that actually is an emergency or not. When they're starting to notice, Oh, I'm anxious and my stomach hurts. That's connected, you know,

Kate Lynch (11:12): And I have anxiety. So that's actually been something that I've worked with a lot and I, I don't know if you, have you heard of Dr. Laura Markham? I have not. Okay. So she has this book, Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids. And I don't, I heard her before I read the book, I heard her talk somewhere and she said, write right on a post it, it's not an emergency and put those posters all over your house. And I tried it and my son at first was like, why are they suddenly all over our house? What do you mean it's not an emergency? What is that about? And I actually, and it was really for me, not for but our whole family from

Penny Williams (11:54): It actually. Because when I started to get freaked out, my son would say, mom, it's not an emergency. Yeah. And then I would say to my husband and you know it all, we all sort of took it on. That's a really cool idea. I'm gonna have to do that myself in my own house. It's just one of those, one of those little affirmations that I, that I now use is, you know, there, there are a couple of different, very simple affirmations like kindness counts that I say to my son or patients pays are like, we've got this, you know? Yeah, yeah, we've got, we're in this together. And the, it's not an emergency message. Also I think helps when with kids with big emotions or adults with big emotions, you know, know that very few things are actually an emergency. Very few are so dire, but sometimes many more things feel that way.

Penny Williams (12:47): Yeah. I can feel that way in our body. Yeah. And I think that's a good connection to go into the spiritual aspect of wellness, discovering a sense of purpose and meaning and life. It doesn't have to be religion. You know, we all think religion when we think spiritual, but it's really just finding some purpose for yourself and feeling fulfilled. Yeah. And finding something that feels greater than just our finite selves that we can maybe have a sense of resting back into that sense of trust or grace or whatever it is. For me, it's like nature really. Going for a walk gives me that, that sense of expansion and it's like I'm just this tiny piece in this vast universe and to have a sense of feeling held in that so everyone has their own personal connection to that for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Different places or different things that where you just feel at peace.

Penny Williams (13:54): I think that's a good way to describe it. And you feel at peace. Like I like to kayak, I get to do it as often. You know, just a couple of times a year. I've love to live on a Lake side and drop it in every morning and do it every day. But it's not realistic right now. But I just feel really at peace when I'm kayaking. I'm not a whitewater, you know, crazy just like floating down the little Lake or the river. Pretty mild exercise. But that rhythm of rowing in the water and hearing the water kind of lap against the boat is just really peaceful to me. It's really kind of my, my happy place. Just visualizing that I feel calmer. Yeah. Right. So, and I, I never do it on my own, but a lot of times we just go along quiet and it's, you know, it's a good time for self reflection.

Penny Williams (14:50): It's a good time for self compassion. Like that wasn't awesome, but look at what else there is in the world, right. And try to kind of heal from some things sometimes, but there's so many different things, you know, it could be for different people. Definitely, you know, there are studies that nature and green space and outdoors is helpful to our neurology and our emotional and mental health. So yeah. And just having a connection to your higher power, whatever that is. Yeah. Yeah. I'm really appreciating. Like, I, I am a big lover of trees and clouds. My kids think I'm insane as I'm always like, look how pretty the sky is today. Like that just makes me feel really good. And I, I just learned in the last few months that that's actually kind of practicing mindfulness and gratitude, just going is recreating those things. I was like, wow, I was doing it. Yeah.

Kate Lynch (15:52): You're looking around, you're establishing yourself in the present moment. You know, you're looking and appreciating, taking in through your senses what's happening in this moment. So that's, and you're doing it on purpose. So mindfulness is basically paying attention on purpose without judgment. So yes, you're doing, you're doing a mindfulness by looking at the clouds.

Penny Williams (16:16): Proud of myself. I was listening to an audio book from I'm going to butcher his name, but the Buddhist I'm taking off. Huh? Thank you. Oh, you're welcome. Yeah, sure. I've got it right. But I've heard a lot of people say it's pronounced, not how it looks. And that's my problem is I can't remember. But anyway, I was listening to one of his presentations or workshops or something and that's where he explained that and it was like, wow, I really was more tuned in than I thought I was. And I was already practicing mindfulness when I didn't think I really was doing very good with that at that time. So it's just so important to you to just find some appreciation and something, you know, that keeping your eye on the positive right there that's helping you to kind of shift your compass and your focus to something that's more beneficial.

Penny Williams (17:08): Yeah. And trusting yourself. Yeah, and for some people that could be yoga or going to the gym or going for a walk, like you said, but it doesn't even have to be physical. It could be sitting on the back deck and having a glass of wine at the end of the day or whatever. Just something where you can appreciate your surroundings and find a little piece. I think absolutely. So let's talk about, I'm just going to mention physical really quickly and because we are not doctors and nutritionists and that sort of sort of thing, but you know, we all know that our physical wellbeing affects our emotional wellbeing. It affects if we have the, or the physical capability to do things with and for our families. You know, we all know that it's very, very important and I think a lot of parents let it go because they're prioritizing others and you really have to keep yourself in good working order or to be able to do your best for others.

Kate Lynch (18:09): So I, I do have something to say. I mean, not just because of being a yoga teacher, but from listening to Kelly McGonigal's book, the upside of stress. She has this study that she talks about, about housekeepers in a hotel and they took all the housekeepers in the hotel and ask them how much exercise they do and told them how important exercise is. And a lot of the housekeepers kind of felt bad about themselves because they maybe didn't feel like they were measuring up. Then they took half those housekeepers and told them what you're doing every day in your job is physical and you're getting cardio, you're getting strength, you're getting all the benefits of regular exercise. You're getting all these steps. You're, you know, you're doing all these things that are good for your body already. And that's it. That's all they did is tell them that. And then they went back. I don't remember how much longer it might've been a year later and checked on the two groups. Can you imagine what happened?

Penny Williams (19:18): The mental knowing and being more positive about it was beneficial. Right?

Kate Lynch (19:24): The mindset was actually physically beneficial. So the housekeepers who had this knowledge that they already were doing all this physical exercise showed physical improvements, not just mental improvements, were also physical improvements over the group that was doing the exact same thing, but thought that they weren't measuring. Yeah. So you might just check, I mean my friend showed me my the, there's like a thing on our, on our phones where you can see how many steps you have even if you don't have a sip. And I had never known that that was there and I just, she just showed it to me and I looked at it and I was like, Oh my God, I had no idea I was taking this many steps every day. But having that mindset that like the things I'm doing in my life are actually, a lot of them are physical and even if I just do a little bit, you know, take the stairs once in a while or get up and walk around or even stretch and move and breathe a little bit too to have a sense that that is beneficial rather than it's not enough.

Penny Williams (20:31): Right. Seeing the glass half full instead of half empty basically. Totally realizing that you are doing some things for yourself. You know, I was having a conversation with my hairdresser yesterday actually when I was getting a haircut. She was saying her daughter who's in high school, I think a freshman maybe was on the track team and she hasn't done target before. She's done other athletics but never track. And she had her first track meet and she didn't win her race. She didn't come in first and she thought, well I'm done. If I can't then what's the point? You know, the whole point is winning. And we were talking about like, no, think of all the people who aren't even trying, cause you're already way ahead of those people. Even if you came in last, you're doing something

Kate Lynch (21:22): And she's probably beating her own time. You know, she has that opportunity to challenge herself.

Penny Williams (21:29): There's so many ways and, you can place more than just the winner if she would just keep up with that. You know, there's, there's a lot of good benefit, but she completely did not see that actually showing up and trying and doing it was something, you know, I didn't when I might as well not do it. Same kind of thinking and it's really, it can be hard to kind of in ourselves

Kate Lynch (21:58): And we can, we can model that growth mindset for our kids, right? By saying like, Oh, you know, this is the effort I made today. Not so much about this is the outcome I had today, but this is the effort I made today. This is what I, I put in what I tried to do. You know, this was not just the intention, but what effort I took towards that intention. Whether I succeeded or not, I want to tell my kid about it. Hey, I tried.

Penny Williams (22:25): Yeah. I mean, we need to point that out to them that we're not perfect and that we make mistakes too. We need to show them a realistic bar, realistic expectation, I think. So let's switch to intellectual. Let's talk a little bit about this one. Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills. I love that they put creativity in this bucket because there's lots of different types of analog trait. We even have emotional intelligence. We have common sense. We have all these different buckets that we can kind of lump into intelligence. So even people who don't have a high IQ, there's still some intellectual wellness that we can keep an eye on.

Kate Lynch (23:13): Yeah. And not everyone is going to feel intellectually stimulated by reading a book, but if you find something that stimulates your mind and keeps you kind of excited and like you said, like kind of juices up your creativity and keeps you enthusiastic about what you're doing. I feel like that can, that can be a very valuable aspect of wellness. I can't wait until I have time to read all the books that are sitting.

Penny Williams (23:41): Yeah. There's always more books to read isn't there? I was just thinking too, you like going to museum if that's what you like, art, right. You know, that can feed your intellectual wellness. You're learning something there. If we're having a great conversation. Yes. A debate with someone or, yeah. Even just an in depth conversation with someone is also in that bucket. I think there's a lot of things that we can do. You know, we always, we often really pigeonhole ourselves and we think about things very narrowly, but if you really kind of think outside the box, there's a lot of ways that you can feed each of these aspects. You know, it doesn't, we're not asking for perfection, you know, we're not striving for perfection. We're just looking at how do we live our best life, but still being authentic and intentional. Yeah.

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Penny Williams (26:04): Let's talk about environmental. Maintaining good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environment that supports wellbeing. This can be hard. Especially if you have a kid was zero executive functioning like I do because he doesn't even see how overwhelming and messy and totally just destroying his mother has his room. Is his environment. Okay. Right. So how his, how his actions impact you and yeah. The the environment you live in. Yeah, because we care about that. We care about, at least I do. I care about what his room looks like to, well, yeah, having a sense of knowing where everything is and not stepping on things and not having bugs, right? Yes. No to, we can't say, well, it has to be perfect. It has to be perfectly clean, perfectly tidy. Because for a lot of people that isn't an attainable expectation, but it has to be an environment that makes you feel good. What I like and we might need to ask for help in that. Yes. Oh, I love that you said that. You know, if you're really busy and you're really having a hard time keeping up with housework and you have the means to hire somebody to come in and clean every two weeks, like there's no shame in that.

Kate Lynch (27:27): No. I started teaching extra classes so that I could do that. Actually, I get up early on Saturday morning and I teach extra yoga class.

Penny Williams (27:37): Yes. It just makes more sense to me. Yes. Because you enjoy teaching yoga classes. Right.

Kate Lynch (27:43): But also, you know, I asked, I asked my husband for help. You know, I, I don't take it all on myself. You know, I expect him to, you know, within his ability pick up the Slack. Cause we're, you know, we're a, we're a team, we're a system and I also asked my son to be involved in that as much as he developmentally.

Penny Williams (28:08): Yeah. Yeah. I think it's, it's part of everyone's job because they're a part of the community that is the family. But a lot of times in many of our households, others expect that we'll do it because we always do. I think we train them that way to expect that we'll do it. Right, right. That can happen or help if laundry is like the bane of your existence, going to laundry service. Like, you know, a lot of this stuff is fairly affordable and a lot of it you, you could find things that you would be willing to give up in order to have someone else clean your house, for instance.

Kate Lynch (28:45): Yeah. And you could just do it for a little while if you're going through a rough patch and then take it on again when you feel more capable, you know. But if, if like you have a kid that's really, I mean I know there were years I had a kid who was, it was so challenging that getting through everything felt completely overwhelming and I wasn't at my best because I was trying to do everything and I don't think that serves any of us.

Penny Williams (29:08): Exactly. Yeah. And we, I think we make it so hard on ourselves again because we think we're supposed to be doing all of it and we think, Oh, if I have to hire somebody to do this, what does that say about me? Oh no, I'm so grateful to do it right.

Kate Lynch (29:26): And this idea that they won't do it right. It's like we have to let go of that just a little bit because if they don't do it right, it doesn't really matter that much. Like is it, is it life or death, is it an emergency or is it really an emergency? If they don't put that exactly where you wanted it,

Penny Williams (29:43): You know you can move it or you could let it go. Yes, I'm all for getting help asking for help, taking whatever help. I can definitely, definitely we have to, you know, a lot of people have to really work on being open to that. But I think it's something really important to work on. You know, we just can't do it all ourselves and we shouldn't have to. Nobody really expects us to, we think they do, but they really don't.

Kate Lynch (30:07): Now, the thing about environmental wellness and the next one, financial is, I mean, some of this is not within our control. Like there are systemic factors and there are, you know, there are economic factors that aren't within our control. So, you know, there's only so much, like for some of us, there's only so much we can do. We can make our environment and our financial life as manageable as possible.

Penny Williams (30:36): Right. And then we change our attitude about it, our mindset,

Kate Lynch (30:38): Right? Hopefully. Yeah. Yeah. But again, you know, not beating ourselves up, not blaming. There's no points

Penny Williams (30:46): In in shaming ourselves ever. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And to say, okay, this is my financial state now, for instance. But it's OK, you know, it could be worse and I am working on improving it or I'm making a point or the stock market will come back up before I needed my retirement, whatever it might be that stressing you out in that realm. Yeah. I mean one choice we can make that I've chosen is to live within my means. Yeah.

Kate Lynch (31:19): So that's how I define it. Me and my, and my partner define success financially is not that we have a certain financial goal in mind, but that we can live within our means. So that helps us to feel calmer.

Penny Williams (31:32): Yeah. That's a big one. And that made me think of the locus of control. There are some great worksheets to do to fill out your own locus of control, where you put the things that you can't control in that little center bubble and remind yourself, I have no control over this. And then you put the things that are meaningful to you or that you want to change or whatever into that bigger outer circle. And then you're able to really see it visually in order to help yourself focus more on the things you can control and to be able to say to yourself, okay, this is one of those things I cannot control in relation to it. Can I control, you know, there's the saying that you can't hand me the serenity to accept the things I can change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Penny Williams (32:26): Yeah. Or you can't change someone else's actions, but you can change how you respond to them. Yes. That sort of thing is what we're talking about. By doing a, I'll try to link up a locus of control worksheet in the show because I found it really helpful and I actually in my parenting bootcamp retreats too, it's part of the workbook that we work through and finding purpose in our parenting because especially when we're parenting challenging kid, there's so much for us to get hung up on that we can't necessarily change. Like my son's brain is super duper impulsive. Can I affect it a little bit? Yes. Can I change it completely? No. You know, and so really being able to say, which bucket does this go in?

Kate Lynch (33:13): That's wonderful. I love, I, I love that so much. And the idea of that sense of purpose when you're parenting just makes everything a little less mundane and less frustrating and more motivating.

Penny Williams (33:28): And I feel like when things start to get mundane, when you're just going through the motions of life, it's really bringing you down mentally and emotionally, you know? So the more we can really be honest and realistic with ourselves, our own expectations of ourselves, the better we're going to feel and the better our outlook cause it's going to be in general. Absolutely. I think we have two more. So occupational is just, findings has faction and an enrichment in your work. And for parents who maybe don't work, finding that in within whatever your purpose is. Yeah, that sense of purpose. When you're parenting your parent, maybe you do some volunteer work, you know, maybe you help out at your church or whatever it is. It doesn't have to necessarily be a job you get a paycheck for. But just finding that satisfaction and saying, Oh, I'm doing a good job. I'm really contributing here, isn't it? It's part of, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs in that pyramid. The very top is finding meaning and purpose in your life,

Kate Lynch (34:38): Meaning and purpose. Yeah. And then you have you have a life and a purpose outside of just how you're parenting. I know for me, when I'm parenting wasn't going well, it was easy to feel like I wasn't the best parent because I had a lot of challenges with my child. I don't really think it was my fault now, but at the time, you know, it felt like I wasn't a successful parent. So knowing that I was succeeding at other things helped me immeasurably.

Penny Williams (35:09): Yeah. Yeah. We do. We blame ourselves for so much with our kids. We feel like somehow we're supposed to be in control of all of their childhood and we're supposed to make it perfect. And you know, we just have these grand expectations that we get from society and the media and social media. You know, we're seeing now with all this technology, we're seeing more of the best of people and we're not seeing the rest. And then you feel like, well you're not measuring up or you know, so-and-so's can get straight A's, I must be doing something terrible. My kid has straight CS, you know, I'm not doing it right. Well and in my case that's not what it's about at all. It's about learning disabilities and factors and we just have to remind ourselves that no life is perfect. Even the life that looks so perfect on the surface is not, there's always some struggle for everyone.

Penny Williams (36:12): Absolutely. It just, you know, can look different. It's like personally looking underneath the surface. I remember seeing this friend on Instagram and then meeting her for tea and you know, the, the difference between the two was so stark and I even, I even posted about it on Instagram and she like responded and she was like, I know, right? It was just so different from what we see. I do these bootcamps, like we get together in our pajamas with bedhead and no makeup and stuff in the mornings and like, okay, this is the actual meal, this is what I look like at home. It's not, you know, the pretty pictures on my website or whatever. Yeah. And I have had to learn to let go of some of that because I have social anxiety. I only want people to see me my absolute best because I'm certain in my worry brain that they're judging every aspect of me. Right. So it takes work for me to do that. And I, you know, sometimes I post no makeup pictures or a hard day pictures because I feel like it's so important that we're real with each other. Yeah. Because that lifts each other up. My picture with no makeup is going to make somebody else feel better. Right. Because they know they're not alone. And that is, that sense of belonging is so essential to our wellbeing. It's a relief for me.

Penny Williams (37:33): I, this is probably something I shouldn't admit in public, but a couple of years ago, one day I sat down and I said, I want to see what all of these celebrities in their forties and fifties look like without any makeup on. I want to see what they look like when they get out of bed. Right. Because it just seems so unfair that a 50 year old looks 20 years younger than my 45 yeah. But remember they also have personal trainers that dragged them out of bed and work out with them for two hours and then they have somebody who makes them perfect food. And that's why I looked for this because I would want to see the real person. I don't want to see what having an entourage and all the money in the world to take care of your skin and your physical physique and stuff is, I want to see what the actual real person looks like.

Penny Williams (38:22): And it, it helped me. And part of that is my social anxiety. But I just think, you know, we have to look for the recognition that nobody is perfect. Nobody is beautiful every moment of every day. Even people with tons of money have problems. These are the things that we tend to not allow ourselves to really think about, to give ourselves grace. But it's so crucial. Yep. So the last piece of our eight dimensions of wellness is social. And that one can be really hard when you have atypical kids. But developing a sense of connection, belonging, and support with others. You know, I hear all the time moms say, you know, my friends don't get it. When I tried to get together with my friends and my kids and their kids, it always ends badly. Or you know, my character is acting out and it's embarrassing. You know, they just don't understand what it's like to raise a kid with ADHD or autism or other challenges. And it can be really hard to find other people with a similar Parenthood because we tend to not just talk about it everywhere we go.

Kate Lynch (39:33): Yeah. I was really lucky in that because I happen to have friends whose kids were diagnosed before mine and they were all around the same age and they were, they were friends. And those, those friends of mine were like such a lifeline to me. And I know not everybody has that, but I also found online communities that were incredibly helpful, but still, even with all that, I still had times when I felt so isolated and so alone and I was sure that I was the only one having this particular problem. And you know what, that wasn't true. I was not the only one.

Penny Williams (40:19): Millions and millions and millions of people on this planet. We're never the only one in any aspect. Yeah. You know, you just have to remind yourself of that sometimes. But say online communities for parenting challenging kids are fantastic. Like I didn't know anybody in person for a really long time and I don't know where I would be without that online tribe. And we do the happy mama retreat every year too. And that's become a real like year long, lifelong friendships and community. And

Kate Lynch (40:54): Yeah, it's something to look forward to. That sounds wonderful. It sounds amazing.

Penny Williams (40:58): But we also have this private Facebook group for anybody who's ever gone to the retreat and it's active everyday. People are in there talking about what's going on. And even I like when something happens with my kid or my parenting, that's the first place I'll go and post about it because I know everybody there gets it and they're not going to judge because that's the whole premise of the retreat in the first place is that, you know, a kid with neurodevelopmental or neuro behavioral disabilities and the speech I give every year at the beginning is there's no judgment in this room. Well, if you're doing that here, it's so freeing really to that feeling. But you know, just developing even social connections with somebody who has a similar parenting journey is extremely helpful. It doesn't have to be someone in person. It can be an online friend or an online group.

Kate Lynch (41:53): Yeah. And if you, if in the moment I think, I mean this comes back to self compassion, but in the moment if you are feeling that way, just stopping and saying all beings experienced suffering, someone somewhere is experiencing the same feelings that I am right now.

Penny Williams (42:15): Yeah, it's really important. And we're going to link up in the show notes, one of Kate's self-compassion, mindfulness practices so everyone can take advantage of that. And then also they can discover the other great tools that you offer as well. And you know, I think we've covered most of what we wanted to talk about. Stress management was the only other thing on my list that I think is also important here. You've kind of turned that on its head for me and recommending the upside of stress. And I started reading that this week. And very interesting because yes, stress can be physically and emotionally and mentally damaging, but it's our attitude about it that determines whether it's going to be that impactful or not. And that, so, you know, it all just keeps circling back to mindset, mindset, mindset, mindset.

Kate Lynch (43:12): Yeah. So stress basically Kelly McGonigal says in this book, but basically it means where leading a meaningful life that we care about what it is, were stressed out about. If we didn't care, we wouldn't be stressed. Right. But you know, you can be, you can experience stress that is the fight or flight kind of stress. You can also see it as a challenge. Like if he were going to run a race or something, you wouldn't, you know, and you felt like you had a chance of winning. You would be like, this is a challenge. I, you know, the certain, the level of stress and the kinds of hormones that come in are not harmful in that context. So saying something like, we've got this, or, Oh wow, I'm excited about this challenge. I know this is going to be hard, but I've got the tools to deal with it.

Kate Lynch (44:02): And then the attendance of friends kind of stress where you ask for help where you say, we're in this together, let's figure this out. Let's, you know, can you help me figure this out? Or whatever. Like reaching out. So there are different kinds of stress and each one has its own profile of different hormones and they, the challenge response and the tendon befriend response are not nearly as harmful. They're not harmful for our physiology. So that totally turned it on its head for me too. And believing that stress is harmful is actually harmful.

Penny Williams (44:42): Oh self fulfilling prophecy. And so what mindset is where that negative thinking you're making that stuff happen because your, your mind is going down that path. And just yesterday I was doing a podcast interview with Jean Harville, who's actually a reading strategist, which will air after this episode that we're on now, but she was talking about the neural connections and how if you have enough positivity and gratitude and a sense of accomplishment, then you're rewiring the brain. Yeah. Into that more positive approach. We're just talking about, I can't, I'm no good at this. That's wiring the brain for more of that negativity. So it really is physiologically your mindset, your attitude about things changes your brain to go to go with the negativity or to go with the positivity

Kate Lynch (45:43): So that that circles right back around to what you were saying about gratitude and the more we can bask in these, in these good feelings and actually kind of soak them up, the more it is rewiring our brains. Yeah, and I guess I just, I wanted to say about your eight dimensions of wellness is this gives me a great kind of framework for understanding that there may be times when, I'm not say supporting every aspect of my wellness, but I might be able to look and find one aspect like think about it and find one aspect that I am being supportive. So in some way I am taking care of my wellness and looking at, you know, looking, flipping it over it, looking in a more positive, not what am I doing wrong, but what am I doing right and how can I grow that?

Penny Williams (46:38): Where am I and what do I have control over? Those are kind of the two guiding factors to keep you on that path I think. Sure. And how

Kate Lynch (46:48): Can I, can I feel nourished by this? Whatever it is that is going on in my life, how can I find ways to feel supported and nourished and that, yeah, I've got this. Okay, good.

Penny Williams (47:02): Yeah. This has been such an inspiring conversation I think to really kind of reenergize, you know, we tend to, we can get on that very narrow, narrow, negative path, easy to kind of fall into that pattern. And you know, we'll some conversations like this thing can help you just say, Oh yeah, I'd seen that. I'm really not where I need to be right now. I need to do the work to get back to a better place.

Kate Lynch (47:30): And if, yeah, if you're seeing that you're not where you need to be, remember, shaming ourselves isn't the answer. The antidote to shame really is compassion.

Penny Williams (47:38): Yup. Give yourself some grace. Lots of it. So the show notes, any ways, websites, podcasts to connect with Kate will be in the show notes and those are found for this episode at parenting, ADHD. And autism.com/zero eight three for episode 83 and I really, I thank you again, Kate for being here, offering your compassion and wisdom and helping our mama tribe to take good care of themselves and feel well and be well.

Kate Lynch (48:22): You're so welcome penny. And I wanted to also mention the, the freebie that I'm offering to your listeners, the Mindful Meltdown Cheat Sheet. These are all the little goats who in the moment tools that have been helpful for me will five of them that have been the most helpful for me when all hell breaks loose in the moment.

Penny Williams (48:43): Yeah. And it's a good cheat sheet. I've already seen it and we'll link it up so everyone can download that as well. Another super helpful list of strategies. We'll see everyone next time.

Penny Williams (49:00): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama retreats at parenting, ADHD and autism.com

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Penny Williams (00:02): Welcome back to the parenting ADHD podcast. I am excited today to be talking to Kate Lynch of Healthy, Happy Yoga. We're going to talk all about mama wellness and don't stop this episode thinking that it's just about what you eat or exercise. This is about your whole being in your whole life and it's a super important conversation for you to hear. Thanks for being here, Kate. I so appreciate your sharing your time with us. Will you start by introducing yourself, who you are and what you do.

Kate Lynch (01:31): You're so welcome. I'm really happy to be here. I'm a meditation coach and an enclosed clusivity yoga teacher. I've been teaching since 2002 and my focus has been really lately on cultivating community and especially for parents of atypical kids. Since I have a kid myself with autism and ADHD. Yeah,

Penny Williams (01:57): I think we should start with the eight dimensions of wellness because this will define for everyone that wellness is more than just your nutrition and physical health, exercising and things like that. That's an important piece of core, but you know, for our overall wellness and life, it's more than that. Right? So for sure it was start with emotional coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships. I think this is a big one for us. Raising atypical kids.

Kate Lynch (02:34): Yeah. And this is probably the aspect that I am most tuned into and most and most passionate about, right. So, because I've sort of been through the drama myself of raising an atypical kid and a kid with challenges and a lot of high emotions. And I was already a yoga and teacher, but my practice really took a dive and I really felt there were times when I felt pretty hopeless. So through that it really helped me to develop or remember tools that are very, very applicable and very short, quick and easy to just pull up in the moment to shift and find more, find more steadiness and mindfulness and more of a connection, not only emotional balance but also kind of an awareness of where I'm at and where those emotions are really coming from. And then when I did that, when I found that I was more able to then model that for my son

Penny Williams (03:46): And really dealing with our emotions, not feeling guilty about them, not trying to stuff them down, you know, the the healthiest thing to do is to feel them and work through them instead of trying to avoid them.

Kate Lynch (04:02): Yeah. And shaming ourselves and judging ourselves actually doesn't help. Like some of us sometimes we think that like, Oh well if I stop judging myself I'll stop improving. But that is totally not something that I've found to be true at all. So the self compassion piece has really come in when I find that inner critic come up and the more that I can really understand that, okay, you're feeling this, everyone feels this kind of thing sometimes what would your best friend say to you? How would you treat someone else who you care about? Who's feeling this way right now? And it definitely shifted my perspective away from that self judging and self blaming.

Penny Williams (04:52): Yeah. And I think that's a really good measure of how we treat ourselves is to ask ourselves what we would say to a friend if they came to us with those thoughts and feelings, everything. Because we're going to be so much more compassionate to another person than we typically are with ourselves.

Kate Lynch (05:11): Yeah. And as far as like having this idea of self-improvement, like if we have self acceptance and kindness to ourselves, we're much more likely to do things that will help us kind of have that overall sense of wellness anyway. Right? Yeah. Then if we're blaming ourselves or thinking that somehow we're not worthy, then we're less likely to do things that are going to support our wellness.

Penny Williams (05:41): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think things like hope and optimism and gratitude practice also come into play here with the emotional wellness. Absolutely. You know, they make such a big difference and that then plays into like what your attitude and your mindset are when you're more positive and hopeful, you're much healthier. Yeah, just going to go better.

Kate Lynch (06:06): And one of my GoTo practices is just thinking of one thing that I'm grateful for and I don't go along the whole story. I just wait until I feel that sense of gratitude and sometimes it's just the feeling of my son's hand in mind. If he, you know, if he's recently held my hand, I'll just have that sense of what his hand felt like and I'll, I'll feel like I'll really feel the gratitude for someone else. That might obviously be something else, but once I have that sense of it in my body, then I just, I just go into what that sense is in my body and that's been shown to actually shift our hormones. Like it's pretty amazing how it can shift our physiological wellbeing is by shifting to, like you said, hopefulness or a sense of, of gratitude or, or even benevolence. Like if we've done something that's really kind for someone and it was not that hard for us to do, like not, not a martyr, that's something where they were grateful. It was easy and we just felt good about it. You know what I mean? Like have you ever had that sentence like, Oh, somebody asked me to do something. I did it. It was easy and I felt really good about it.

Penny Williams (07:15): Yeah. There's so many little things, you know, I think we discount those things, those small things, writing somebody a note. And these are the kinds of things I list as self care activities when we do for others, we feel good about ourselves and that self care. Right? Yeah. And I, I use the Grateful app. I don't know if you've seen it, but it will remind you every day at a particular time, whatever you set it for to record a piece of gratitude. And it even has prompts like questions that are, I'll ask you to try to prompt you name a time you were laughing today. What are you grateful for today? Things like that. And literally it takes less than a minute to open my phone, type up my gratitude for the day and put it away. Like it's really not a big deal to practice gratitude. It can be so simple and we even have tools that can remind us every day to do it. And there are many studies that show how impactful that practice of gratitude is. It keeps us more optimistic. It keeps us more hopeful, more positive. It, you know, physiologically helps us. It's,

Kate Lynch (08:33): Thank you. I hadn't heard of that one. So I'm writing it down.

Penny Williams (08:37): I love it. You can even attach pictures. Like one day I was driving home from leaving my daughter at college after winter break and in front of me, the whole sky was just all these colors. The sunset was absolutely amazing and it just made me feel good and it reminded me, you know that yeah I did a hard thing cause it was really hard for her to be left there. When you know hard for me but it, you know, there's hope. That's basically how that felt to me. And I was at a red light so I snapped a picture of it and then I put it in my gratitude for the day. Like I'm really happy to see this beautiful sunset today and you can scroll back through everything. So when you're having a really downtime, you can open this app and see all of it.

Penny Williams (09:27): Some people use a gratitude jar a tude wall. At one point we had a chalkboard wall when my kids were small and sometimes we would, you know, Hey go write a gratitude on there before you go to bed. My son when he let me talk him in, he does not know cause he's 17, but when he did I every night I would say I like the way you blank today. Something you might've been working on something small. It didn't have to be anything monumental, you know, could even be, I like how you were laughing with your friend today or like yeah but your friend pick what they were going to do first today. Or I like how you brushed your teeth and I only had to ask you once today, you know, whatever it is, the Dan are really positive note for him as he's going to sleep. But it's also a reminder for me today, you might've been heard, this might've been really challenging, but Hey, here's a bright spot. It was, I don't know how I started doing it, but it was so super helpful.

Kate Lynch (10:23): I love it. And the piece that I would, that I would maybe add to that is then notice how you feel in your body as you're experiencing that gratitude because that can shift something, you know internally as well. And that can actually shift us out of if we're, if we're having any kind of trauma response, it can, it can actually help us shift out of that.

Penny Williams (10:46): Yeah. And I think is a really important thing to do with our kids. I didn't know to do it. My kids were little, but you know, especially kids with anxiety because it helps them separate these really uneasy feelings. Like it might be a medical emergency from, you know, the anxiety from something that actually is an emergency or not. When they're starting to notice, Oh, I'm anxious and my stomach hurts. That's connected, you know,

Kate Lynch (11:12): And I have anxiety. So that's actually been something that I've worked with a lot and I, I don't know if you, have you heard of Dr. Laura Markham? I have not. Okay. So she has this book, Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids. And I don't, I heard her before I read the book, I heard her talk somewhere and she said, write right on a post it, it's not an emergency and put those posters all over your house. And I tried it and my son at first was like, why are they suddenly all over our house? What do you mean it's not an emergency? What is that about? And I actually, and it was really for me, not for but our whole family from

Penny Williams (11:54): It actually. Because when I started to get freaked out, my son would say, mom, it's not an emergency. Yeah. And then I would say to my husband and you know it all, we all sort of took it on. That's a really cool idea. I'm gonna have to do that myself in my own house. It's just one of those, one of those little affirmations that I, that I now use is, you know, there, there are a couple of different, very simple affirmations like kindness counts that I say to my son or patients pays are like, we've got this, you know? Yeah, yeah, we've got, we're in this together. And the, it's not an emergency message. Also I think helps when with kids with big emotions or adults with big emotions, you know, know that very few things are actually an emergency. Very few are so dire, but sometimes many more things feel that way.

Penny Williams (12:47): Yeah. I can feel that way in our body. Yeah. And I think that's a good connection to go into the spiritual aspect of wellness, discovering a sense of purpose and meaning and life. It doesn't have to be religion. You know, we all think religion when we think spiritual, but it's really just finding some purpose for yourself and feeling fulfilled. Yeah. And finding something that feels greater than just our finite selves that we can maybe have a sense of resting back into that sense of trust or grace or whatever it is. For me, it's like nature really. Going for a walk gives me that, that sense of expansion and it's like I'm just this tiny piece in this vast universe and to have a sense of feeling held in that so everyone has their own personal connection to that for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Different places or different things that where you just feel at peace.

Penny Williams (13:54): I think that's a good way to describe it. And you feel at peace. Like I like to kayak, I get to do it as often. You know, just a couple of times a year. I've love to live on a Lake side and drop it in every morning and do it every day. But it's not realistic right now. But I just feel really at peace when I'm kayaking. I'm not a whitewater, you know, crazy just like floating down the little Lake or the river. Pretty mild exercise. But that rhythm of rowing in the water and hearing the water kind of lap against the boat is just really peaceful to me. It's really kind of my, my happy place. Just visualizing that I feel calmer. Yeah. Right. So, and I, I never do it on my own, but a lot of times we just go along quiet and it's, you know, it's a good time for self reflection.

Penny Williams (14:50): It's a good time for self compassion. Like that wasn't awesome, but look at what else there is in the world, right. And try to kind of heal from some things sometimes, but there's so many different things, you know, it could be for different people. Definitely, you know, there are studies that nature and green space and outdoors is helpful to our neurology and our emotional and mental health. So yeah. And just having a connection to your higher power, whatever that is. Yeah. Yeah. I'm really appreciating. Like, I, I am a big lover of trees and clouds. My kids think I'm insane as I'm always like, look how pretty the sky is today. Like that just makes me feel really good. And I, I just learned in the last few months that that's actually kind of practicing mindfulness and gratitude, just going is recreating those things. I was like, wow, I was doing it. Yeah.

Kate Lynch (15:52): You're looking around, you're establishing yourself in the present moment. You know, you're looking and appreciating, taking in through your senses what's happening in this moment. So that's, and you're doing it on purpose. So mindfulness is basically paying attention on purpose without judgment. So yes, you're doing, you're doing a mindfulness by looking at the clouds.

Penny Williams (16:16): Proud of myself. I was listening to an audio book from I'm going to butcher his name, but the Buddhist I'm taking off. Huh? Thank you. Oh, you're welcome. Yeah, sure. I've got it right. But I've heard a lot of people say it's pronounced, not how it looks. And that's my problem is I can't remember. But anyway, I was listening to one of his presentations or workshops or something and that's where he explained that and it was like, wow, I really was more tuned in than I thought I was. And I was already practicing mindfulness when I didn't think I really was doing very good with that at that time. So it's just so important to you to just find some appreciation and something, you know, that keeping your eye on the positive right there that's helping you to kind of shift your compass and your focus to something that's more beneficial.

Penny Williams (17:08): Yeah. And trusting yourself. Yeah, and for some people that could be yoga or going to the gym or going for a walk, like you said, but it doesn't even have to be physical. It could be sitting on the back deck and having a glass of wine at the end of the day or whatever. Just something where you can appreciate your surroundings and find a little piece. I think absolutely. So let's talk about, I'm just going to mention physical really quickly and because we are not doctors and nutritionists and that sort of sort of thing, but you know, we all know that our physical wellbeing affects our emotional wellbeing. It affects if we have the, or the physical capability to do things with and for our families. You know, we all know that it's very, very important and I think a lot of parents let it go because they're prioritizing others and you really have to keep yourself in good working order or to be able to do your best for others.

Kate Lynch (18:09): So I, I do have something to say. I mean, not just because of being a yoga teacher, but from listening to Kelly McGonigal's book, the upside of stress. She has this study that she talks about, about housekeepers in a hotel and they took all the housekeepers in the hotel and ask them how much exercise they do and told them how important exercise is. And a lot of the housekeepers kind of felt bad about themselves because they maybe didn't feel like they were measuring up. Then they took half those housekeepers and told them what you're doing every day in your job is physical and you're getting cardio, you're getting strength, you're getting all the benefits of regular exercise. You're getting all these steps. You're, you know, you're doing all these things that are good for your body already. And that's it. That's all they did is tell them that. And then they went back. I don't remember how much longer it might've been a year later and checked on the two groups. Can you imagine what happened?

Penny Williams (19:18): The mental knowing and being more positive about it was beneficial. Right?

Kate Lynch (19:24): The mindset was actually physically beneficial. So the housekeepers who had this knowledge that they already were doing all this physical exercise showed physical improvements, not just mental improvements, were also physical improvements over the group that was doing the exact same thing, but thought that they weren't measuring. Yeah. So you might just check, I mean my friend showed me my the, there's like a thing on our, on our phones where you can see how many steps you have even if you don't have a sip. And I had never known that that was there and I just, she just showed it to me and I looked at it and I was like, Oh my God, I had no idea I was taking this many steps every day. But having that mindset that like the things I'm doing in my life are actually, a lot of them are physical and even if I just do a little bit, you know, take the stairs once in a while or get up and walk around or even stretch and move and breathe a little bit too to have a sense that that is beneficial rather than it's not enough.

Penny Williams (20:31): Right. Seeing the glass half full instead of half empty basically. Totally realizing that you are doing some things for yourself. You know, I was having a conversation with my hairdresser yesterday actually when I was getting a haircut. She was saying her daughter who's in high school, I think a freshman maybe was on the track team and she hasn't done target before. She's done other athletics but never track. And she had her first track meet and she didn't win her race. She didn't come in first and she thought, well I'm done. If I can't then what's the point? You know, the whole point is winning. And we were talking about like, no, think of all the people who aren't even trying, cause you're already way ahead of those people. Even if you came in last, you're doing something

Kate Lynch (21:22): And she's probably beating her own time. You know, she has that opportunity to challenge herself.

Penny Williams (21:29): There's so many ways and, you can place more than just the winner if she would just keep up with that. You know, there's, there's a lot of good benefit, but she completely did not see that actually showing up and trying and doing it was something, you know, I didn't when I might as well not do it. Same kind of thinking and it's really, it can be hard to kind of in ourselves

Kate Lynch (21:58): And we can, we can model that growth mindset for our kids, right? By saying like, Oh, you know, this is the effort I made today. Not so much about this is the outcome I had today, but this is the effort I made today. This is what I, I put in what I tried to do. You know, this was not just the intention, but what effort I took towards that intention. Whether I succeeded or not, I want to tell my kid about it. Hey, I tried.

Penny Williams (22:25): Yeah. I mean, we need to point that out to them that we're not perfect and that we make mistakes too. We need to show them a realistic bar, realistic expectation, I think. So let's switch to intellectual. Let's talk a little bit about this one. Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills. I love that they put creativity in this bucket because there's lots of different types of analog trait. We even have emotional intelligence. We have common sense. We have all these different buckets that we can kind of lump into intelligence. So even people who don't have a high IQ, there's still some intellectual wellness that we can keep an eye on.

Kate Lynch (23:13): Yeah. And not everyone is going to feel intellectually stimulated by reading a book, but if you find something that stimulates your mind and keeps you kind of excited and like you said, like kind of juices up your creativity and keeps you enthusiastic about what you're doing. I feel like that can, that can be a very valuable aspect of wellness. I can't wait until I have time to read all the books that are sitting.

Penny Williams (23:41): Yeah. There's always more books to read isn't there? I was just thinking too, you like going to museum if that's what you like, art, right. You know, that can feed your intellectual wellness. You're learning something there. If we're having a great conversation. Yes. A debate with someone or, yeah. Even just an in depth conversation with someone is also in that bucket. I think there's a lot of things that we can do. You know, we always, we often really pigeonhole ourselves and we think about things very narrowly, but if you really kind of think outside the box, there's a lot of ways that you can feed each of these aspects. You know, it doesn't, we're not asking for perfection, you know, we're not striving for perfection. We're just looking at how do we live our best life, but still being authentic and intentional. Yeah.

Let's Get Checked (24:42): I've been talking a lot about self care and wellness on this podcast. As I navigate my own, I talk about it because it's essential to not only your wellbeing, but the health and happiness of your kids. There are a lot of factors that go into wellness, including making sure your body is performing optimally. I love, let's get checked because you can order a testing kit online and check many different things without needing to even find time to go to the doctor. I ordered the cortisol test to check the effect stress is having on my body. It was quick and easy and thankfully my cortisol level was normal. You can test thyroid, liver, folly, iron, Omega, vitamin D, cholesterol and more. And let's get checked as available in the us, Canada, and many European countries. Go to Bitly slash let's get checked. Test to learn more and order your home testing kit. Use code ADHD 20 and get 20% off. That's bit dot Lee B I T. Dot. L Y. Slash. Let's get checked test or you can use the link in the episode. Show notes and use code ADHD 20 to get 20% off your at home testing kit.

Penny Williams (26:04): Let's talk about environmental. Maintaining good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environment that supports wellbeing. This can be hard. Especially if you have a kid was zero executive functioning like I do because he doesn't even see how overwhelming and messy and totally just destroying his mother has his room. Is his environment. Okay. Right. So how his, how his actions impact you and yeah. The the environment you live in. Yeah, because we care about that. We care about, at least I do. I care about what his room looks like to, well, yeah, having a sense of knowing where everything is and not stepping on things and not having bugs, right? Yes. No to, we can't say, well, it has to be perfect. It has to be perfectly clean, perfectly tidy. Because for a lot of people that isn't an attainable expectation, but it has to be an environment that makes you feel good. What I like and we might need to ask for help in that. Yes. Oh, I love that you said that. You know, if you're really busy and you're really having a hard time keeping up with housework and you have the means to hire somebody to come in and clean every two weeks, like there's no shame in that.

Kate Lynch (27:27): No. I started teaching extra classes so that I could do that. Actually, I get up early on Saturday morning and I teach extra yoga class.

Penny Williams (27:37): Yes. It just makes more sense to me. Yes. Because you enjoy teaching yoga classes. Right.

Kate Lynch (27:43): But also, you know, I asked, I asked my husband for help. You know, I, I don't take it all on myself. You know, I expect him to, you know, within his ability pick up the Slack. Cause we're, you know, we're a, we're a team, we're a system and I also asked my son to be involved in that as much as he developmentally.

Penny Williams (28:08): Yeah. Yeah. I think it's, it's part of everyone's job because they're a part of the community that is the family. But a lot of times in many of our households, others expect that we'll do it because we always do. I think we train them that way to expect that we'll do it. Right, right. That can happen or help if laundry is like the bane of your existence, going to laundry service. Like, you know, a lot of this stuff is fairly affordable and a lot of it you, you could find things that you would be willing to give up in order to have someone else clean your house, for instance.

Kate Lynch (28:45): Yeah. And you could just do it for a little while if you're going through a rough patch and then take it on again when you feel more capable, you know. But if, if like you have a kid that's really, I mean I know there were years I had a kid who was, it was so challenging that getting through everything felt completely overwhelming and I wasn't at my best because I was trying to do everything and I don't think that serves any of us.

Penny Williams (29:08): Exactly. Yeah. And we, I think we make it so hard on ourselves again because we think we're supposed to be doing all of it and we think, Oh, if I have to hire somebody to do this, what does that say about me? Oh no, I'm so grateful to do it right.

Kate Lynch (29:26): And this idea that they won't do it right. It's like we have to let go of that just a little bit because if they don't do it right, it doesn't really matter that much. Like is it, is it life or death, is it an emergency or is it really an emergency? If they don't put that exactly where you wanted it,

Penny Williams (29:43): You know you can move it or you could let it go. Yes, I'm all for getting help asking for help, taking whatever help. I can definitely, definitely we have to, you know, a lot of people have to really work on being open to that. But I think it's something really important to work on. You know, we just can't do it all ourselves and we shouldn't have to. Nobody really expects us to, we think they do, but they really don't.

Kate Lynch (30:07): Now, the thing about environmental wellness and the next one, financial is, I mean, some of this is not within our control. Like there are systemic factors and there are, you know, there are economic factors that aren't within our control. So, you know, there's only so much, like for some of us, there's only so much we can do. We can make our environment and our financial life as manageable as possible.

Penny Williams (30:36): Right. And then we change our attitude about it, our mindset,

Kate Lynch (30:38): Right? Hopefully. Yeah. Yeah. But again, you know, not beating ourselves up, not blaming. There's no points

Penny Williams (30:46): In in shaming ourselves ever. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And to say, okay, this is my financial state now, for instance. But it's OK, you know, it could be worse and I am working on improving it or I'm making a point or the stock market will come back up before I needed my retirement, whatever it might be that stressing you out in that realm. Yeah. I mean one choice we can make that I've chosen is to live within my means. Yeah.

Kate Lynch (31:19): So that's how I define it. Me and my, and my partner define success financially is not that we have a certain financial goal in mind, but that we can live within our means. So that helps us to feel calmer.

Penny Williams (31:32): Yeah. That's a big one. And that made me think of the locus of control. There are some great worksheets to do to fill out your own locus of control, where you put the things that you can't control in that little center bubble and remind yourself, I have no control over this. And then you put the things that are meaningful to you or that you want to change or whatever into that bigger outer circle. And then you're able to really see it visually in order to help yourself focus more on the things you can control and to be able to say to yourself, okay, this is one of those things I cannot control in relation to it. Can I control, you know, there's the saying that you can't hand me the serenity to accept the things I can change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Penny Williams (32:26): Yeah. Or you can't change someone else's actions, but you can change how you respond to them. Yes. That sort of thing is what we're talking about. By doing a, I'll try to link up a locus of control worksheet in the show because I found it really helpful and I actually in my parenting bootcamp retreats too, it's part of the workbook that we work through and finding purpose in our parenting because especially when we're parenting challenging kid, there's so much for us to get hung up on that we can't necessarily change. Like my son's brain is super duper impulsive. Can I affect it a little bit? Yes. Can I change it completely? No. You know, and so really being able to say, which bucket does this go in?

Kate Lynch (33:13): That's wonderful. I love, I, I love that so much. And the idea of that sense of purpose when you're parenting just makes everything a little less mundane and less frustrating and more motivating.

Penny Williams (33:28): And I feel like when things start to get mundane, when you're just going through the motions of life, it's really bringing you down mentally and emotionally, you know? So the more we can really be honest and realistic with ourselves, our own expectations of ourselves, the better we're going to feel and the better our outlook cause it's going to be in general. Absolutely. I think we have two more. So occupational is just, findings has faction and an enrichment in your work. And for parents who maybe don't work, finding that in within whatever your purpose is. Yeah, that sense of purpose. When you're parenting your parent, maybe you do some volunteer work, you know, maybe you help out at your church or whatever it is. It doesn't have to necessarily be a job you get a paycheck for. But just finding that satisfaction and saying, Oh, I'm doing a good job. I'm really contributing here, isn't it? It's part of, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs in that pyramid. The very top is finding meaning and purpose in your life,

Kate Lynch (34:38): Meaning and purpose. Yeah. And then you have you have a life and a purpose outside of just how you're parenting. I know for me, when I'm parenting wasn't going well, it was easy to feel like I wasn't the best parent because I had a lot of challenges with my child. I don't really think it was my fault now, but at the time, you know, it felt like I wasn't a successful parent. So knowing that I was succeeding at other things helped me immeasurably.

Penny Williams (35:09): Yeah. Yeah. We do. We blame ourselves for so much with our kids. We feel like somehow we're supposed to be in control of all of their childhood and we're supposed to make it perfect. And you know, we just have these grand expectations that we get from society and the media and social media. You know, we're seeing now with all this technology, we're seeing more of the best of people and we're not seeing the rest. And then you feel like, well you're not measuring up or you know, so-and-so's can get straight A's, I must be doing something terrible. My kid has straight CS, you know, I'm not doing it right. Well and in my case that's not what it's about at all. It's about learning disabilities and factors and we just have to remind ourselves that no life is perfect. Even the life that looks so perfect on the surface is not, there's always some struggle for everyone.

Penny Williams (36:12): Absolutely. It just, you know, can look different. It's like personally looking underneath the surface. I remember seeing this friend on Instagram and then meeting her for tea and you know, the, the difference between the two was so stark and I even, I even posted about it on Instagram and she like responded and she was like, I know, right? It was just so different from what we see. I do these bootcamps, like we get together in our pajamas with bedhead and no makeup and stuff in the mornings and like, okay, this is the actual meal, this is what I look like at home. It's not, you know, the pretty pictures on my website or whatever. Yeah. And I have had to learn to let go of some of that because I have social anxiety. I only want people to see me my absolute best because I'm certain in my worry brain that they're judging every aspect of me. Right. So it takes work for me to do that. And I, you know, sometimes I post no makeup pictures or a hard day pictures because I feel like it's so important that we're real with each other. Yeah. Because that lifts each other up. My picture with no makeup is going to make somebody else feel better. Right. Because they know they're not alone. And that is, that sense of belonging is so essential to our wellbeing. It's a relief for me.

Penny Williams (37:33): I, this is probably something I shouldn't admit in public, but a couple of years ago, one day I sat down and I said, I want to see what all of these celebrities in their forties and fifties look like without any makeup on. I want to see what they look like when they get out of bed. Right. Because it just seems so unfair that a 50 year old looks 20 years younger than my 45 yeah. But remember they also have personal trainers that dragged them out of bed and work out with them for two hours and then they have somebody who makes them perfect food. And that's why I looked for this because I would want to see the real person. I don't want to see what having an entourage and all the money in the world to take care of your skin and your physical physique and stuff is, I want to see what the actual real person looks like.

Penny Williams (38:22): And it, it helped me. And part of that is my social anxiety. But I just think, you know, we have to look for the recognition that nobody is perfect. Nobody is beautiful every moment of every day. Even people with tons of money have problems. These are the things that we tend to not allow ourselves to really think about, to give ourselves grace. But it's so crucial. Yep. So the last piece of our eight dimensions of wellness is social. And that one can be really hard when you have atypical kids. But developing a sense of connection, belonging, and support with others. You know, I hear all the time moms say, you know, my friends don't get it. When I tried to get together with my friends and my kids and their kids, it always ends badly. Or you know, my character is acting out and it's embarrassing. You know, they just don't understand what it's like to raise a kid with ADHD or autism or other challenges. And it can be really hard to find other people with a similar Parenthood because we tend to not just talk about it everywhere we go.

Kate Lynch (39:33): Yeah. I was really lucky in that because I happen to have friends whose kids were diagnosed before mine and they were all around the same age and they were, they were friends. And those, those friends of mine were like such a lifeline to me. And I know not everybody has that, but I also found online communities that were incredibly helpful, but still, even with all that, I still had times when I felt so isolated and so alone and I was sure that I was the only one having this particular problem. And you know what, that wasn't true. I was not the only one.

Penny Williams (40:19): Millions and millions and millions of people on this planet. We're never the only one in any aspect. Yeah. You know, you just have to remind yourself of that sometimes. But say online communities for parenting challenging kids are fantastic. Like I didn't know anybody in person for a really long time and I don't know where I would be without that online tribe. And we do the happy mama retreat every year too. And that's become a real like year long, lifelong friendships and community. And

Kate Lynch (40:54): Yeah, it's something to look forward to. That sounds wonderful. It sounds amazing.

Penny Williams (40:58): But we also have this private Facebook group for anybody who's ever gone to the retreat and it's active everyday. People are in there talking about what's going on. And even I like when something happens with my kid or my parenting, that's the first place I'll go and post about it because I know everybody there gets it and they're not going to judge because that's the whole premise of the retreat in the first place is that, you know, a kid with neurodevelopmental or neuro behavioral disabilities and the speech I give every year at the beginning is there's no judgment in this room. Well, if you're doing that here, it's so freeing really to that feeling. But you know, just developing even social connections with somebody who has a similar parenting journey is extremely helpful. It doesn't have to be someone in person. It can be an online friend or an online group.

Kate Lynch (41:53): Yeah. And if you, if in the moment I think, I mean this comes back to self compassion, but in the moment if you are feeling that way, just stopping and saying all beings experienced suffering, someone somewhere is experiencing the same feelings that I am right now.

Penny Williams (42:15): Yeah, it's really important. And we're going to link up in the show notes, one of Kate's self-compassion, mindfulness practices so everyone can take advantage of that. And then also they can discover the other great tools that you offer as well. And you know, I think we've covered most of what we wanted to talk about. Stress management was the only other thing on my list that I think is also important here. You've kind of turned that on its head for me and recommending the upside of stress. And I started reading that this week. And very interesting because yes, stress can be physically and emotionally and mentally damaging, but it's our attitude about it that determines whether it's going to be that impactful or not. And that, so, you know, it all just keeps circling back to mindset, mindset, mindset, mindset.

Kate Lynch (43:12): Yeah. So stress basically Kelly McGonigal says in this book, but basically it means where leading a meaningful life that we care about what it is, were stressed out about. If we didn't care, we wouldn't be stressed. Right. But you know, you can be, you can experience stress that is the fight or flight kind of stress. You can also see it as a challenge. Like if he were going to run a race or something, you wouldn't, you know, and you felt like you had a chance of winning. You would be like, this is a challenge. I, you know, the certain, the level of stress and the kinds of hormones that come in are not harmful in that context. So saying something like, we've got this, or, Oh wow, I'm excited about this challenge. I know this is going to be hard, but I've got the tools to deal with it.

Kate Lynch (44:02): And then the attendance of friends kind of stress where you ask for help where you say, we're in this together, let's figure this out. Let's, you know, can you help me figure this out? Or whatever. Like reaching out. So there are different kinds of stress and each one has its own profile of different hormones and they, the challenge response and the tendon befriend response are not nearly as harmful. They're not harmful for our physiology. So that totally turned it on its head for me too. And believing that stress is harmful is actually harmful.

Penny Williams (44:42): Oh self fulfilling prophecy. And so what mindset is where that negative thinking you're making that stuff happen because your, your mind is going down that path. And just yesterday I was doing a podcast interview with Jean Harville, who's actually a reading strategist, which will air after this episode that we're on now, but she was talking about the neural connections and how if you have enough positivity and gratitude and a sense of accomplishment, then you're rewiring the brain. Yeah. Into that more positive approach. We're just talking about, I can't, I'm no good at this. That's wiring the brain for more of that negativity. So it really is physiologically your mindset, your attitude about things changes your brain to go to go with the negativity or to go with the positivity

Kate Lynch (45:43): So that that circles right back around to what you were saying about gratitude and the more we can bask in these, in these good feelings and actually kind of soak them up, the more it is rewiring our brains. Yeah, and I guess I just, I wanted to say about your eight dimensions of wellness is this gives me a great kind of framework for understanding that there may be times when, I'm not say supporting every aspect of my wellness, but I might be able to look and find one aspect like think about it and find one aspect that I am being supportive. So in some way I am taking care of my wellness and looking at, you know, looking, flipping it over it, looking in a more positive, not what am I doing wrong, but what am I doing right and how can I grow that?

Penny Williams (46:38): Where am I and what do I have control over? Those are kind of the two guiding factors to keep you on that path I think. Sure. And how

Kate Lynch (46:48): Can I, can I feel nourished by this? Whatever it is that is going on in my life, how can I find ways to feel supported and nourished and that, yeah, I've got this. Okay, good.

Penny Williams (47:02): Yeah. This has been such an inspiring conversation I think to really kind of reenergize, you know, we tend to, we can get on that very narrow, narrow, negative path, easy to kind of fall into that pattern. And you know, we'll some conversations like this thing can help you just say, Oh yeah, I'd seen that. I'm really not where I need to be right now. I need to do the work to get back to a better place.

Kate Lynch (47:30): And if, yeah, if you're seeing that you're not where you need to be, remember, shaming ourselves isn't the answer. The antidote to shame really is compassion.

Penny Williams (47:38): Yup. Give yourself some grace. Lots of it. So the show notes, any ways, websites, podcasts to connect with Kate will be in the show notes and those are found for this episode at parenting, ADHD. And autism.com/zero eight three for episode 83 and I really, I thank you again, Kate for being here, offering your compassion and wisdom and helping our mama tribe to take good care of themselves and feel well and be well.

Kate Lynch (48:22): You're so welcome penny. And I wanted to also mention the, the freebie that I'm offering to your listeners, the Mindful Meltdown Cheat Sheet. These are all the little goats who in the moment tools that have been helpful for me will five of them that have been the most helpful for me when all hell breaks loose in the moment.

Penny Williams (48:43): Yeah. And it's a good cheat sheet. I've already seen it and we'll link it up so everyone can download that as well. Another super helpful list of strategies. We'll see everyone next time.

Penny Williams (49:00): Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share and don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and mama retreats at parenting, ADHD and autism.com

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