Swim around the Rocks

Swim around the Rocks

Habits can be helpful or they can be so automatic that we forget to reflect if we could improve or change a process to make it easier.

What makes us push through the toughest possible path because it is what we have always done?

What stops us from trying a different path to see if it might be easier?

I had a dream last night. I love swimming. It feels good, improves my mood and gives my brain a rest while my body gets a great workout.

In my dream the pool was full and in each lane people were just floating in small boats taking up all the space. If I attempted to swim with the boats, I would hit my head, have to stay underwater or just get pushed around by the boats. Even when I asked nicely, the people in the boats were not willing to move for me. So my dream self decided if I wanted to swim I would have to give up on the pool and just go swim in the air.

Dreams are magic. What I discovered was how fun and easy it was to swim in the air. Why had I not tried this before?

If you find yourself pushing through obstacles, consider how you might go around them. How could you avoid the obstacles and make life easier? Is there a path or new idea you could try? Play the “what if” game. What if this might work?

What if someone else has a good idea? How could I make this process easier?

What patterns do you have that might be improved by trying something completely different? In my dream I was free to explore unheard of possibilities. In real life you will benefit by thinking as if anything were possible. Surprise yourself by taking a different path and see what you learn.


How to make walking fun


Photo by João Cabral on Pexels.com

10 ways to add fun to your walk

Walking in your house or outside is the easy way to get some exercise these days

With social distancing in place, walking alone is the new pattern. Here are 10 ways to add fun to your walk.

  1. Vary your stride- take high steps, long steps or walk sideways
  2. Do arm circles as you walk
  3. Pick bird, plant or tree as a topic and try to identify as many as you can on your walk
  4. Add in random exercises: squats, toe raises, lunges, tree or fence push ups
  5. Whistle or hum random tunes 
  6. Stop and shake your whole body to release tension 
  7. Pump your arms like you are running fast
  8. Breath- long slow deep breaths
  9. Look for beauty in your surroundings
  10. Try walking mediation- focus your mind on your feet and how each step feels 


Get creative and add fun to your walking by looking around and enjoying the beauty around you

No matter what you do get outside when you can, exercise in fresh air is good for your mental health. Walk around your house or all of these ideas can be done walking in place to music of your choice. Self care is not optional, it is critical to your overall health.


Need more ideas: Schedule a coaching call

Contact  Coach Gwen for a complimentary life coaching strategy session

Suicide close to home


My cousin Frank committed suicide. At first it seemed unbelievable, a shock to all who knew him. How could this happen with no warning?

Then you start to talk to other family members, ex- wife, kids: none of them were surprised. Is this how  all families hide or ignore depression?  A few people knew he had struggles in the past, most of the family had no idea.  Were we looking?


I believe this question has no good answer. Those who are left behind after a suicide get to all ask why, Why now? Why didn’t he reach out? Why did I not stay in better touch?


In my immediate family we share information, not emotions. We share general ideas, not struggles. We support each other by action and deed. We are not good at asking for help.

I got a flight home to NJ to be with family for the service and to re connect with those that I love. What I learned is that families can evolve. My brother struggled to process how anyone could reach that point of despair where you cannot see ahead and get stuck in the dark recess of your mind. The answer here is my brother has the ability no matter how difficult the situation to see ahead and be certain that he will be OK.  Not everyone has that level of faith.  Suicide touches all of us. Supporting each other in seeing ahead to the future is what we can do now. The next generation is asking more questions and sharing more real emotions with each other.

Ask and Listen

I believe when you ask better questions of each other, you get better information and honest sharing.

Be open

Be honest

Share the whole messiness of your life with those you love.

Keep asking

Listen with your heart.

Schedule a coaching call

Mediate for Unconditional Friendship with Yourself


I thought meditation was about being calm and getting grounded.

 What I learned from listening to *Pema Chondron is more interesting. Her definition of meditation is that to mediate you are learning to develop unconditional friendship with yourself.

 That sitting and listening to your mind as it runs around all over the place takes patience and understanding. When you meditate you are seeking to just accept you wherever you are, however you are feeling right now. 

Meditate for unconditional friendship with yourself

What is unconditional friendship? 

An unconditional friend: listens and accepts me for who I am. A friend who doesn’t try to change, improve or fix me. If I meditate with the idea that I can be my own unconditional friend: this allows me to experience meditation as a journey of discovery. I am no longer trying so hard to do it right. What a relief.  

I have learned from experience within the Quaker tradition of Sunday Meeting, that sitting in silence with a group brings synergy and energy to the quiet space of reflection.

The challenge for me now is to have an individual practice of quiet meditation.

Mediation is becoming my quiet space in the morning. It is simply a way to set up my day. A place to breathe and be still is a way to feel grounded for the rest of the day.

Do I meditate every day? No. I am practicing on myself. I allow myself the freedom to sit quietly for 1 min or 10 min,  and let any choice be acceptable. I am striving to keep making those choices that support my needs. 

I gain value with meditation as a practice. Practice is not about perfection, just experience. That small difference is very important. Practice to learn. Unconditional friendship starts within.

*Living with Vulnerability. Pema Chondron. Sounds True.

Schedule a coaching call

Compassion Fatigue from a Coaching perspective: Build Emotional Muscles


 I am taking a coach approach to compassion fatigue today . So instead of quoting you statistics and all the studies that demonstrate why you are at risk . I want to ask you to look into your behaviors and actions that you can manage while you work in a high risk environment. In coaching our studies demonstrate that your personal beliefs drive your actions and your choices on a daily basis. Some of these beliefs were taught or handed down from our families, some we get from messages from society , our peers or our friends, Not all of these beliefs are helpful or useful,   Compassion fatigue from a coaching perspective involves helping you building your own emotional muscles by reflecting on on your current patterns and actions.

Veterinary professionals are known for their love and passion for pets and animals. This passion, coupled with positive and negative outcomes of the work they do, puts veterinary professionals in a position to face compassion fatigue in their lives. Health care professionals are at risk due to the high cost of caring for others in emotional and physical pain. This is a complex issue, so please remember this post is just a starting point to increase your awareness of what you can do for yourself in a high risk profession.

How to lower your risk of compassion fatigue?

Building up your emotional muscles or gaining skills that help you to adapt to stressful situations will build up your emotional resilience.

What do resistant people do? Can you learn these skills? Yes

Who are your support systems? 

Friends, family, co- workers- having a social network who supports you and each other will boast your resilience level and lower your  stress level.

Self care is critical, not optional

Self care- develop a self care system that supports you in your personal. emotional, mental and physical health. Learn to say no to request for your time. Strong reasonable boundaries will help reduce the impact of compassion fatigue

Pause here and write down 3 things you know help you recharge your battery

Develop a positive outlook

Appreciate and give yourself credit along the way- 

Celebrate the small steps of progress – random acts of kindness- all these small things add up to give us a sense of satisfaction and purpose for each day- if we look for them

What we focus on grows

 What do you do to recognize your success or daily positive events? What could you do to pay more attention to them?

Accept the fact that change is constant

 Things, people and situations around you will change on a regular basis you will need to change along with it.

One thing we seek as humans is certainty- knowing what will happen, gathering information -understanding the future and making plans- having certainty is reassuring- it makes us comfortable

Yet life is full of uncertainty- so being able to deal with a level of uncertainly is part of building up our emotional muscles.

 I hope that I have  given you ideas on how resilient people deal with stress- skills and behaviors that are learned

 I have asked you to reflect on how your beliefs impact your choices and asked you to consider how actions can support your or hinder you with your own goals.

Finally I would like to stress the value of self -care

Is what you are currently doing enough to sustain you in this profession?

 What are your barriers? What gets in the way? What steps would you need to take to start making changes that would impact you in a positive way

Please write down one step you will commit to taking next week that will support your personal self care goals.

Start talking to your peers or friends, you do not have to walk this path alone.

Coaching is one support system that can help you deal with compassion fatigue .

 It is easy to say, just take better care of yourself. It is not that easy to implement in a high stress, busy health care profession.

 You deserve and need an advocate and support system to create changes that will build up your emotional muscles and reduce the risk of compassion fatigue in your daily life.

 Contact Coach Gwen for a personal complimentary strategy session.

Schedule a coaching call

As  healthcare professional for over 30 years, I am fluent in the language of secondary trauma from caring for others. 

Why we need connections to thrive


“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brené Brown

I love this definition of connections by Brene Brown. The essence of connections is based on the value that they bring to our lives.  Not just how many friends or relatives do you have. Not just how many people know you. Who do you value in life? How do you add value to their lives?

As we go into this Thanksgiving weekend, it is a good time to reflect on the people in our lives.

How can I show my gratitude to those important connections in my life?

What am I doing to sustain those connections?

Am I accepting of my friends and family, just as they are?

A good week to reflect on our valuable connections and how we can support each other with positive energy and strength.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.


When you get Stuck: Slow down to Speed up


When I get stuck, it is usually I have too many things in my brain at one time. I cannot pick what to do or where to start.  I have too much information. Too many choices create stress and anxiety. I have to slow down to speed up.


What does slow down to speed up mean?


Slow down means to stop and think. Sit and plan before you act. Set up your day by thinking first. Getting a list on paper to capture what is important right now. Consider what things can be passed to others, done later or not at all.  Once you have a plan that makes sense: you then can speed up because you have the priority of your actions set up.


Urgency and stress start in our brains


Everything is not urgent. Very few things are actually urgent.


What one thing is the most important thing to accomplish today?

That one question can save you time and stress.


Think before you act.

Plan ahead.

Slow down to speed up.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.

Is Mindful Eating Stressful for Busy People?

Mindful eating as a practice is great.  Mindful eating can reduce stress by slowing down to pay attention to what you eat. Is mindful eating stressful for busy people?

If mindful eating just another goal that you are too busy to attempt it can create more stress.  How you approach mindful eating makes it simple or stressful.

Why is it so difficult to slow down and pay attention to your food?

Grab and go has become the standard when you run out of time. Fast food has drive through windows for the busy person who can eat while driving to the next appointment. Schedules are hectic, so you are busy doing other things while you eat. Feeling bad about what and how you eat just creates another stress factor.

What is Mindful eating?

Mindful eating is simply paying attention to the food that you eat. Treating your meals as a specific activity that requires your full attention.  Paying attention to how you feel, how food tastes and how you react to specific food choices.

What are the benefits of Mindful eating?

You slow down your eating time. That allows your brain to catch up and signal you when you are full. You give yourself a break by avoiding multitasking for a short period of time each day.

  • You learn to eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel full
  • You learn to appreciate the taste of food, which leads to thoughtful choices about what you eat.
  • You pay attention to how you feel based on the types of food you just ate.

Consider taking just one small step towards mindful eating. Pick a meal or time that you can commit to paying attention to your food. Be consistent even if you only choose one meal a week. This will lead to success instead of stress.

  •  Eat only when you are actually hungry
  • Listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full
  • Give eating your full attention: Avoid eating in front of the TV

Mindful eating can help you make better choices for healthy options. Pick one aspect of mindful eating to focus on at a time. Be consistent so that you develop the habit of  food awareness. Keep it simple. Enjoy what you eat.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.




Use your brain instead of willpower to lose weight


Use your brain instead of willpower  to lose weight. Your brain is the secret key to eating healthy and losing weight. It is not a lack of will power, motivation  or being lazy that stops your from losing weight. Your subconscious mind makes 90-95 % of your decisions for you. Which means most of your food choices are based on your habits and past patterns. You make those choices because it is easy, not because you lack motivation or willpower.

The secret key to eating healthy is to use your brain to create a system with a step by step plan that makes it easier for you to choose the heathy options.  Set up all of your food choices early in the day.  Avoid making decisions about food at the end of the day when you are tired and hungry.

Plan ahead.

Plan out menus, have a list before you go to the store. Make your lunch the day before. Prep for dinners ahead of time. Anything you do that creates a system for making the healthy choice simple. Ask for help from family or friends to support your new system.

Motivation for eating healthy is reinforced by hanging out with other people who eat healthy.  Encourage others who want to be healthy. Make social plans around walks instead of pizza and beer.

 You have a limited amount of willpower

Willpower lags over the day based on how many decisions you have to make. If you look at a doughnut 5 times, you are more likely to eat that doughnut. So keep food that is not part of your plan, out of sight. I have never understood the rationale for keeping a dish of candy on your desk. I even consider it a bit mean to other people around you, because you are asking them to use energy to avoid or make a food choice every time they walk by your desk. Why would you encourage others to eat candy, if you are committed to cutting back on candy yourself?

Set small goals

Pick one food type to eliminate or pick one meal to make healthy. Make your goal easy enough that you can be consistent in achieving it. That consistent behavior creates the system that makes your brain automatically support that habit. Keep it simple. Simple builds success.

Why is making a change so difficult? It is easy to fall back on your past habits. It requires a focused effort to create a new habit.

Need more help setting up your brain for success?  Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.

First strategy coach call is free.

Contact Coach Gwen   Schedule a coaching call




Join the 10-day Healthy Eating Challenge







What is a 10 day Healthy Eating Challenge? It is a 10-day commitment to be mindful of your eating habits and focus on healthy eating. It forces you to read labels and be mindful of your daily choices. The value of evaluating what you are eating on a regular basis supports making a few changes that will improve your habits as a lifestyle change. This is not a diet. Diets don’t work. This is a wake up call to pay attention to how you fuel your body.


Why take this 10-day Healthy Eating challenge?

Joining a group effort gives you motivation to make changes. 10 Days is long enough to increase your awareness and let you feel a difference in energy levels, sleep patterns and how you feel overall.

The rules are simple. For 10 days you only eat real food. Eat nothing that has added sugar in it. Drink lots of water. Fruit has natural sugar, fruit juice has added sugar, so eat the real fruit. Fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, anything that you can buy in it’s natural state. That means, nothing that is processed or comes out of a box. No drinks that have added sugar. Start by reading labels. You will be surprised how many of your normal food choices have added sugar in them. You will have to plan ahead. Many of our choices are based on time, so grab and go makes life easy.

Why am I doing this? I am doing this because I need to reset my habits. Life has been hectic and stressful lately and I feel like I am off track. I feel better, my skin is looks better and I sleep better when I stick to real food. Pick a date to start, plan ahead with your menu and food choices. If you need some help, reply below and I will send you meal plan for ideas.

So join me this April in a 10-day Healthy Eating Challenge. You will reap the benefits from this simple challenge that creates mindful eating as a lifestyle change.

Got questions?  Contact Coach Gwen below.

1 2 3 8