Why: Life coaching

The beginning of the year has a connotation of becoming your best self. With this feeling in mind, I want to share the reason I started this new chapter in my life; my personal experience with a life coach; and a special offer. 

Many have asked why I am becoming certified life coach. The explanation for this really goes back to what I’ve done my entire life – giving sound advice. This all started with my mom. She was the person who always gave advice to relatives and friends. My mom honestly still gives me really sound advice today.  This naturally rubbed off on my siblings and I. As a seasoned mom of five, I have experienced a gamut of child rearing and marital issues. I am nowhere near an expert in any subject but I can give you my testimony in hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes as I did.

In the past few years, I’ve had multiple conversations about what I will do with my time now that most of my kiddos are pretty self sufficient. One of the most common occupations brought up was a counselor or therapist. While I am honored that many people believe that I should be paid for helping people with their problems, I knew that would not be the best route for me. Helping others triggers my codependency which then become unhealthy. It would not be healthy for my own mental health, so I knew those honorable occupations would work for me. It would also require years of schooling and my mind is basically jello at this point as well as my time is still solely the domestic manager and I don’t want to take anymore time away from family right now. 

Soon after one of those conversations about the next chapter of my life, I stumbled upon life coaching on the interwebs. It intrigued me and I began my research of if this act of service was right for me. A year and some odd months of researching, talking to family, friends, and other life coaches, I decided to take a leap and get my certification in life coaching. The past few months have been quite stressful as I have learned that becoming a life coach also means doing intensive inner work so that I may help others become the best versions of themselves. 

What a life coach isn’t

Before I share my experience with a life coach, I wanted to explain what a life coach is NOT. Contrary to the current popularity of life coaching, this profession has been around since the 1980s.

Thomas Leonard, an American financial planner, is generally acknowledged as the first person to develop coaching as a profession in the 1980s and the history of life coaching today really starts with him. Leonard observed that his clients, though emotionally stable and hardly needing therapy, wanted more from him than just the usual tips on how to invest and safeguard their incomes. They wanted help in organising their lives better and planning and achieving their goals1.

A life coach is not

  • Life coaching is not the same as having a therapist. 

A therapist unpacks your past (and current situations) and helps you heal from them. A life coach focuses on your current abilities and believe that you can attain your goals, dreams, and aspirations with all that you currently possess.

  • A life coach is a consultant or mentor.

A life coach is not the person you go to for advice. The main goal of a life coach is to help individuals be their very best self without enabling or fixing the individual.

  • A life coach does not helps you solve your problems. 

A life coach communicates without judgement or preconceived notions that everyone is more than capable of finding their life’s purpose. They help you unpack current belief systems that no longer help the individual to grow into their best selves. They are here to help you take actions forward in your life without any personal agendas. 

  • A life coach shares your sessions with others. 

Coaching sessions are safe spaces where individuals can be transparent because the coach will hold their conversations with sacred confidentiality.  

  • Life coach judges the client and their life choices or behaviors.

A life coach is simply a person who will actively listen to you without judgement or evaluations. They are there to support you and offer encouragement to move forward towards the client’s life goals.

As life coach, Nicole Cruz, states a life coach is your own personal cheerleader that is solely focuses on your goals, aspirations and dreams. A life coach is there to help you put action in what is most important to you. I knew from this point on, I needed to attend a seminar in order to see if this was something I could do. After a full day at a local vocational college, learning the fundamentals of life coaching, I knew it would be the perfect way to help others find their own paths without having to trigger my own codependency. 

My life coaching experience

Let me just start by saying that meeting Nicole Cruz was absolutely by divine appointment. Similar vibrations attracting other similar vibrations. The universe listening. Whatever you want to call it. I cannot believe I met her when I did. I was on a journey to figure out what I was going to do with my life now that my kids are pretty self sufficient (not independent – those two things are to different things). I knew I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life but I didn’t want to go through years and years of schooling. 

I stumbled upon Nicole’s Life Coaching Instagram and was intrigued. Nicole was from San Diego and a fellow 1st gen Fil-Am, so I knew that we would relate on many levels. So I decided to reach out to her about her experience as a life coach. Guys, we really hit it off. Our energies vibed. I cried to her about my self esteem issues and mental illnesses. She held space for me and it was so comforting. She spoke at great lengths at what it took for her to become a life coach – mentally and physically – and her journey was so inspirational. She gave me some great advice on how to become a life coach and we kept in touch on Insta. A week later she launched her FREE one month of coaching giveaway and guess what – I WON. So I decided to take this insane perfect timing month of coaching seriously. 

One month of coaching

Our initial session was about expectations, my belief systems, and my ultimate goal. Nicole walked me through an inner critic exercise and talked me through my belief systems with such compassion. She also gave me suggestions on how to start to change my belief systems and also gave me an action item (which I hated and dreaded) to push me forward. I remember leaving that session invigorated and ready to tackle the world. We met weekly via Zoom and the next three sessions were about my “wins” for the past week and specific exercise that would again propel me forward closer towards my goal. At the end of the four weeks of meeting, I felt like a different person. Nicole urged me to celebrate my victories from that month and it was the first time I really celebrated working on the inner parts of myself. Let’s face it, outward success is easy to identify but working on your belief systems and breaking them down is no easy feat. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I couldn’t have done any of that inner work without Nicole cheering me on and helped me take the actions I am taking today. Also I didn’t reach the goal I initially had for the session but I think I gained so much more than that particular goal. Truthfully, I’m not even mad that I didn’t reach it because I knew I learned so much more about myself.

As of today, I have helped co-create a group coaching program with Nicole as well as helped co-create content with all Asian company. What I have gained is even more perspective about my belief systems and have even passed that knowledge out to those around me. I am also halfway through my certification for life coaching and I am learning so much. What I didn’t realize when I started this was that I would also be doing some deep inner work as a life coach.

Special Offer

Are you still with me? Great! I need your help. I am in need of volunteer clients for my life coaching classes. My goal is to help 30 people in the next 30 days! This will allow me to practice what I’ve learned in my certification as well as help you move towards your best self – whatever that would be. If you would like to schedule a FREE 30 minute magnify session with me, please click on the link below to schedule your FREE session – HERE.  

Thank you for being here and continuing to support my blog. It means the world to me and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to help you on your journey.

Remember – it is ok to NOT be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!

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Darkness during the holidays

As we enter the holiday season and the end of year, I would like to talk about unpopular, heavy subjects – self harm, seasonal affective disorder, and triggered feelings. Before you think that I should talk about all the lovely beautiful things during this season, I want you to know that not everyone feels the same way.

**TRIGGER ALERT: If you are triggered by talks of self harm ideation, please skip the end of this post.**

Triggered Feelings

In the Filipino culture, we celebrate the holidays with the entire family, like eeeerrrbody. We will pack 50 people in the smallest space possible. Its the only way to spend the holidays, amirite? Seeing family you haven’t seen since the last “family party” or even the year prior is my favorite parts of the holidays. Its always a time when I love to catch up with cousins and eat all the delicious staples dishes of the holidays until an Auntie says, “come on, eat some more.”

This season also brings inappropriate comments, questions and unsolicited advice. Lord help me, this was the hardest part of theses get-togethers.

“Ay nako (OMG), you got fat/gained weight!”
“When are you having kids?”
“Are you going to try for a girl/boy?”
“When are you guys going to get married?”
“Anak (baby), tell Tita (Auntie) about your job?”
“How much did you buy your house/purse/car for?”
“Why are you breastfeeding? Bottle feeding is better.”

“Why aren’t you breastfeeding? It’s free milk.”
“Who made the [insert dish here]? Mine is better.”
“Why don’t you become a nurse? It’s a good job.”

“You put your kid(s) in daycare? Why?”
“When are you going back to work?”

While your Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents mean well, these statements can be internalized negatively especially for those of us who were not born in the Philippines. Contrary to western culture, where we would never bring up touchy subjects such as weight, socioeconomic status, and marital affairs, it is common practice to talk about when everyone comes together. I would like to offer you some help to enjoy the holidays despite the hurtful conversations.

How to survive hurtful conversations

  • This is how they show their support.
    • I will create an entire post – in the near future – about how I internalized comments/statements/questions from relatives. For now, I want you to understand that theses statements are how our family members show their support. While this doesn’t erase the hurt you receive, know that this is their way of showing they care about you. I promise, it is true.
      • My husband is a great at doing this! He has heard many times that he has “gained weight” or “you got fat”. He just politely says “thank you” gives them a kiss on the cheek or a hug and makes his way towards the food.
  • If a conversation becomes too much, it is ok to politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
    • Setting boundaries is important especially when the conversation becomes uncomfortable. While you cannot change the relatives’ words towards you, you can control your reactions and responses towards them. If you are not able to continue in a constructive way, excuses yourself as politely and as quickly as possible. Even better, have another person be your scapegoat for excusing yourself from the conversation – your partner, sibling, or cousin. In this way, you will be able to have support while setting a boundary.
      • I’ve done this by excusing myself to tend to my kids and it works like a charm. It is one of the perks of being a mom since kids always need something. I have also been the person to “rescue” a relative from an uncomfortable conversation by asking them to help me with something.
  • NO. – Is a complete sentence.
    • As I stated in the last bullet point, you are allowed to set boundaries around conversations and ‘no’ or any form of it is an acceptable answer. You are not required to explain your life decisions. While I absolutely understand that Auntie wants to know why you are [insert life decision here], she does needs to agree with how you are living your life right now. Again, this is their way of showing they care but an explanation is not warranted.
      • When the husband and I decided to move to Arizona, we were grilled by almost every relative imaginable. In fact it was probably a daily occurrence once our house was on the market. “Don’t you want to stay in California?” “No.” Over time, the husband and I became very good at just saying no or a version of it. It wasn’t easy but it was a great way to practice boundaries.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I only learned about this mental disorder when a relative reached out and talked to me about their symptoms. While I am familiar with depression, I never knew that individuals would experience this disorder during certain seasons. Here is some great information from the Mayo clinic:

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fall and winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Spring and summer SAD

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

Seasonal changes in bipolar disorder

In some people with bipolar disorder, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of mania (hypomania), and fall and winter can be a time of depression.

When to see a doctor

It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed, you turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation, or you feel hopeless or think about suicide.

Treatment

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder may include light therapy, medications and psychotherapy. If you have bipolar disorder, tell your doctor — this is critical to know when prescribing light therapy or an antidepressant. Both treatments can potentially trigger a manic episode.

**TRIGGER ALERT: If you are triggered by talks of self harm or suicidal ideation, please skip the rest of this post.**

Self Harm

While the CDC reports that suicidal attempts are lower during the holiday season, I have experienced first hand that these ideations increase in frequency during this season. Last year, sadly a relative took their own life days after Thanksgiving. This year, I had a friend reach out after one of their relative’s attempted to take their own life. So while this is a very difficult conversation to have, please know that self harm is prevalent and needs to be talked about.

If you or someone you know needs help getting to a more positive mental space, please reach out immediately.

  • Call your local law enforcement or dial 911
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255, press 1
  • Lifeline Chat
  • Hospital Emergency Room
  • Mental health facility

I also talk about tools and resources on a previous series, Asking for help. Please feel free to read through that series on all the ways you can help yourself or others.

There is hope

This post was quite heavy and may have triggered negative feelings or past hurtful experiences. For those who are triggered, I offer you a virtual hug and the notion that you are still here to help others who are in need or immediate crisis. Know that you are not alone during the holiday season even if it feels that way. Please reach out of you are in an unsafe mental space. You can even reach out to me, I am more than happy to be a supportive person for you. I am thankful for you and appreciate your support of this blog and most importantly, bringing awareness to mental health. Together we are stronger.

And remember… it is ok to not be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!


Series: Parenting a child with mental illness – Conclusion

This is the final part of a five part series on parenting kids with mental illness. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here. Thank you for being here and reading about my and Jennifer’s journey these past few weeks.

Originally, I wanted to end this series with Jennifer because she is seriously so inspiring and I believe her work is God’s work. However, the Holy Spirit has been tugging on my heart for the past few weeks, telling me this story isn’t complete. So I am here to give some words of encouragement and final thoughts.

I’m not sure how or why but I have spoken to at least a half a dozen moms about their child’s mental illness or special needs. I am not searching for them, they just to happen to be people I interact with on a regular basis in my local community. Most conversations begin with hesitation and by the end we are hugging it out with a few tears shed.

Trust your gut

Parents, you know your kids. Trust your gut. Push your pride and ego aside and help your child learn to cope. Even if its hard. Even if it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

Were you aware of the current statistic — 1 in 3 people in the US suffer from a mental illness. That’s basically anyone and everyone you see. So your child is not the only one struggling. I have spoken to at least a half a dozen parents in the past few weeks about their child’s mental illness or special needs. Every time I do, my eyes well up in tears because I feel their heartache. All we want as parents is for our kids to be healthy and reasonably happy.

I would like to help you take the first step in helping your child by providing mental health screenings created by Mental Health America. If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, you know this information is from the “Something is wrong with me” post. These screening are very similar to those I have taken in the past. You can click on whichever screening(s) you like and you do not have to provide any information to the site. You can also explore the resources and tools as the website is easy to navigate. I don’t have any access to the screening results. Everything is 100% confidential.

Parent Test (based on child’s symptoms)

Youth Symptom Screening

Depression Screening

Anxiety Screening

Support is out there

It may seem like you are all alone in this situation but you are not. There are so many people out there with similar struggles and the only way you are going to be able to find them is to reach out. That is how I learned about Wild, Jennifer’s daughter. If you haven’t read about their story, you can catch up here. I shared with Jennifer that I was struggling with my teens with mental illness and once she shared Wild’s special needs, I felt like I wasn’t alone and understood.

I highly encourage you to find a support group in your area that is geared towards your child’s struggles. Other ways to find support are call a local mental health professional or your pediatrician if they have any recommendations; email your church if they have any resources available; talk to a person you trust or you can even contact me. I am very opening about how I am learning to help my kids manage their mental health and would love to support you in anyway I can. Friends, we need to be ok with being vulnerable and asking for help. It is the only way we will be able to survive this thing called life especially when your child is struggling.

It’s going to be ok

In hard times, sometimes its difficult to see the light when you are buried in hopelessness and overwhelmed with the unknown. Please know that there is a solution to what is going on in your and your child’s lives. Sometimes it takes time to find the solution but once it is found, life will seem a little easier.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my kids would have mental illnesses but you know what, it is ok. It is ok because they now have the tools and knowledge to help manage their mental illness and can help those around them understand how they can help as well. I am confident that they will be thrive in spite of the obstacles they will face.

Please know that I am praying for you and your family. Life is so consuming sometimes and its so much easier with support. If you need extra prayers or support, do reach out to your family, friends, community or even me. We can get through this together.

Remember — it is ok to not be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!


Reflecting on 17 years of motherhood

My legacy as a mother will extend far beyond my life here on Earth. I have learned through the years and from my own mom that what you teach your children stay with them for the rest of their lives. Please take this reflection post with a grain of salt. I have only just begun this journey but I feel the need to encourage those who feel as though their work — yes, Jesus it is work — as a mother doesn’t seem to matter.

Four kids under six

I was a young Mom with four kids under the age of six with no sense of purpose. At my lowest point – my relationship with my husband was extremely rocky, we were at the brink of divorce, and I wanted out. It was not until we decided to do Christian counseling and a recovery bible study group that things slowly got better. I would like to say that our relationship continued to  get better through the years but that would be a complete and utter lie. It would take over 10 years of multiple relapses, codependency work, refocusing our relationship with Christ and setting clear boundaries that our marriage began to get better. While we are still working on ourselves daily, I will say we are in the best place we have ever been. If you knew my husband and I at the beginning of our relationship, you would say we are now the most boring couple ever and I would agree with you. We have worked hard to be boring. I like boring and mundane because that means that we truly understand each other.

The invisible woman

There were many times when I was knee deep in diapers, tantrums, and sleepless nights that I felt as if none of it mattered. I resented the fact that my husband could drive to/from work alone without having to listen to The Wheels on the Bus for the umpteenth time. I resented that he could eat lunch by himself and look at his phone in peace. I resented that I did not have adult interaction until my husband came home from work and even then it was a recap of how exhausted I was. I felt invisible. It wasn’t that I wanted praise for what I was doing, I just wanted to be acknowledged and understood.

Looking back I also see the symptoms of depression and anxiety that I never acknowledged or didn’t want to acknowledge. My first reaction was always anger. Compassion and empathy were never a response I gave to my kids. I wish I had known the signs of mental illness back then. I may had been able to truly be present instead of resentful. I have learned through therapy that anger is the secondary reaction that masks my true feelings of sadness, guilt, and shame.

I mean who wouldn’t be ashamed especially when you were the center of the tsismis (gossip) — yes Titas (Aunts) and pinsans (cousins) I heard all of it. It would take me years to find my self worth through my relationship with Christ and not listen to the tsismis. Now a days, when I hear the latest tsismis, I will go to the source and ask a directly question. To me, this is my way of ending the tsismis and not allowing negative energy into my life and the person being talked about.

Motherhood today

My perspective on motherhood had change when I gave birth to my son. I am slightly more patient and slower to anger. My girls will say that I spoil my youngest and I would say that I am trying to rewrite my motherhood story. Parenting is definitely a learn as you go job and I am thankful for my past experiences to help me parent all of my kids today. I could list all of the ways I should have parented my older kids but I don’t think that would be productive. I am learning to be more self-compassionate and accept that I am doing the best I can with the abilities at the time.

I would like to leave you with a You tube video that was shared in a MOPS Mom’s Night In. It seriously brought me to tears because most days I do feel invisible but I have learned over time that my job as a mother is so important. This role is more important than being seen because I want my kids to know they are accepted, loved and seen just as they are – at home. Keep pushing forward Mamas! You’re doing amazing!!!

Invisible Woman