"I aspire to inspire before I expire"
"I aspire to inspire before I expire"
Entry No. 42
Mindfulness teaches us to be present and non-judgmental. Here are 3 mindful habits you can try daily!
Entry No. 41
As helping professionals, we may not recognize that sometimes we justify our negative behaviours because of all the positive things we do. For example, lashing out at a loved one after a long day at work or saying "I deserve this" as we pour ourselves a drink following a heavy session. It is important that we are aware of our internal and external self while finding healthier ways to process. As Amy Cunningham so eloquently says, take 10-minutes for yourself - every day.
Amy Cunningham's TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsaorjIo1Yc
Entry No. 40
Thank you HardFeelingsTo for these goodies! I can't wait to use them with clients. 🤍
Entry No. 39
I’m so excited to share that I’m a Board of Director at New Leaf Foundation!
@newleaffoundationto has always had a special place in my heart over the years and I look forward to honouring wellness, connection, growth and resilience; core values of mine in this role.
#wellness #connection #growth #resilience #community #communitycare #selfcare #yoga #support #mindfulness #youth #youthleadership #traumainformed #strengthsbased 🤍
Entry No. 38
Transitioning into college life as an adolescent may come with a lot of uncertainty and overwhelming decisions. Some may be leaving their homes for the first time and do not know how to cope with day-to-day stressors or new environments. Anxiety, depression, chronic stress and poor sleep patterns can be symptoms of these experiences. Yoga, a mind-body practice, is known to have many psychological and physical benefits for health, illness prevention, memory, focus, self-esteem, reduction in anxiety and stress - which can support academic performance and classroom behaviour.
Entry No. 37
• Stick to a schedule ⏰ – Set a consistent bed time and wake time. Do not sleep in for more than 1-hour, even on your days off! Sleep is critical for the immune system, memory consolidation, neuronal development/connectivity.
• Ditch Naps 💤 – Napping during the day makes it harder to achieve quality and quantity sleep at night. This may lead to not getting enough of Rapid Eye Movement ("REM" sleep). REM sleep typically begins 90-minutes into the sleep cycle. REM sleep leads to cognitive and brain maturation. Loss of REM sleep tends to be made up in the next night, which leads the sleep cycle to move quickly - leading to irritability, lack of concentration and greater nightmares.
• Use your bed for sleeping 🛌 – The body learns to associate your bed with sleep. When individuals use their bed for waking purposes (i.e. work, school, TV), their bed can have the opposite effect...feeling alert not relaxed, making it difficult to fall asleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, slow reaction time, hallucinations, weight gain, and adverse health issues (i.e. heart, blood pressure, diabetes).
• Don't force yourself ✋ – If you haven't fallen asleep after a while, do something calming like listening to relaxing music or journaling. Avoid TV, phone screens or anything stimulating that could lead you to be more awake.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine ☕️ – Consumption can affect your quality of sleep. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12-hours! Even decaf has some caffeine.
Try it out! Insomnia and other sleep issues are common all over the world. Especially, among those with mental health issues and their correction can be a key part of recovery.
Entry No. 36
I am delighted to support new/future mental health professionals and entrepreneurs (including non-MH professionals) on their journey. Working during a pandemic has its challenges but you are not alone.
Inquire today, using my "CONNECT" page.
Entry No. 35
Re-defining "productivity" through Mindful eating/drinking. Mindful eating/drinking encourages us to focus on our food or drink, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgement. It is simply a practice to allow one to notice the sensual awareness we can have with food and drink. It has nothing to do with calories, carbs, fat or protein. When we are present, we can appreciate what is in front of us more.
Sometimes, I struggle with the concepts of "doing nothing" or “relaxing”. I think it is all about perception. Being "productive" can look different on me than on you. When one works towards shifting the way they perceive "productivity", they can challenge those feelings of guilt.
You are always doing something and your worth is not defined by how productive you are.
Small wins are important, too.
Entry No. 34
Types of therapy that don't focus on talking:
- Animal-assisted Therapy - uses animals to support people with recovery or cope better
- Aromatherapy - uses plant extracts to improve well-being of mind, body and spirit
- Art Therapy - uses creative expression
- Dance Therapy - movement without words
- Music Therapy - listen, sing, play, write and/or compose music and/or poems
- Online Therapy - many providers offer sessions via online chat or texting
- Somatic Experiencing - focuses on body before the mind, the goal is to release stress from the body and foster connection between the body and internal experiences
Entry No. 33
Re: the Power of Self-Compassion and the Problem of Self-Criticism
"The power of self-compassion is not just an idea – it’s very real and actually manifests in our bodies. When we soothe our own pain we are tapping into the mammalian care-giving system. And one important way the care-giving system works is by triggering the release of oxytocin. Research indicates that increased levels of oxytocin strongly increase feelings of trust, calm, safety, generosity, and connectedness, and facilitates the ability to feel warmth and compassion for ourselves. Oxytocin is released in a variety of social situations, including when a mother breastfeeds her child, when parents interact with their young children, or when someone gives or receives a soft, tender caress. Because thoughts and emotions have the same effect on our bodies whether they’re directed to ourselves or to others, this research suggests that self-compassion may be a powerful trigger for the release of oxytocin."
"Self-criticism appears to have a very different effect on our body. The amygdala is the oldest part of the brain, and is designed to quickly detect threats in the environment. When we experience a threatening situation, the fight-or-flight response is triggered: The amygdala sends signals that increases blood pressure, adrenaline, and the hormone cortisol, mobilizing the strength and energy needed to confront or avoid a threat. Although this system was designed by evolution to deal with physical attacks, it is activated just as readily by emotional attacks by ourselves or others."
Entry No. 32
'Tis the season for Santa's Wellness Secrets!
Entry No. 31
Grounding techniques help control anxiety or uncomfortable symptoms by turning attention away from thoughts, memories, or worries, and refocusing on the present moment.
Sharing a grounding exercise with you on this beautiful November day. Pause, take a few breaths and bring your attention to the following:
Entry No. 30
Hi there, Ameena here. 👋🏽
There are some new beautiful people meeting my blog so I am writing for you to get to know me a little better. I found it tricky to write this but I do believe it is important to feel connected to people who access the material I post and glimpses of my life I share.
As you may learn -- I am bubbly, creative, affectionate, a little adventurous and very passionate about mental health/wellness. Most importantly, I am imperfect. I may not know you, but there are moments where I might feel the need to be perfect, stay in one 'box' or say and do all the right things. In these moments, I will remind myself how grateful I am for showing up to this space, sharing my journey, and the effort I make to send some light your way. There's enough love to go around.
Even though being ourselves can be vulnerable and risky, I understand that we can only grow as individuals when we get uncomfortable. So here I am, Ameena (she/her). A resilient woman, loved one, mentor, life-long student, teacher, therapist/psychotherapist, social worker, advocate, business owner, and friend.
If you would like to get to know me better or if I can support you in any way, submit an inquiry in my 'Connect' page today.
Peace and love, Ameena ❤️
Entry No. 29
A few areas of specialization:
- Divorce & Break Ups
Entry No. 28
It was a dream visiting Terre Blue Lavender Farm today! Beyond its beautiful blooms and divine scent, lavender offers many benefits such as: decrease stress and anxiety, aid sleep/sleep quality, as well as act as a natural antibacterial and antiseptic.
Entry No. 27
Working through grief and loss of clients during COVID-19:
You have a client you have been seeing for some time. It was an appointment or two on a weekly basis, then they felt ready to see you bi-weekly. The therapeutic relationship was beautiful. It felt exciting to see your client grow and overcome so much; becoming the person they wanted to be. Then they don’t show up to their virtual appointment and it seems odd. It is not like them. You email, call, and leave a voicemail. No response. You watch the case and death counts on the news rise but you are cautiously optimistic. Then you learn a former client dies and you start to worry. Before you have a minute to process this loss, you are informed that another client has passed. You start to stay up at night thinking about different scenarios - suicide risk, relapse, COVID...then your phone rings. The voice on the other end is trying to keep it together as they inform you that your client is no longer alive.
It could have been an overdose, completed suicide, an accident, cancer, or even COVID. What matters is that you have feelings and may not know where to put them. As therapists, we have faced so much loss over the past year and a half. We give so much love and effort towards our clients, we need to normalize doing the same for ourselves.
• If there is a virtual service or celebration, and you feel comfortable, attend. If not, think about how you would like to honour the memory of your client.
• Take some time off or schedule a few hours to process your thoughts and feelings. Don’t you dare forget that you deserve to take up space in this world too.
• Journaling may be a way for you to receive revelations as you write. We encourage our clients to do it all the time! Some suggestions taken out of an article by Jill Johnson-Young “When your client dies: What do you do? Our new world of COVID” -- What was left that is unfinished? Were there things you wish you could have said to your client? Were their goals or aspirations they had or you wished for them that are now never going to happen? Are you experiencing a response to how they died? Is it bringing up old stuff for you? Fears about death? Losses you never processed in your life?
• Be true to yourself. Everyone has been touched by COVID some way. Find a support group or therapist. Yes, even helping professionals need help! Authors read books by other authors.
• Carve out time for self-care. How are you taking care of yourself mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually on this day?
This beautiful piece of art was made by a former late-client of mine. If you and/or a loved one are in need of support, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. There are so many resources available.
Stay safe. Love, Ameena.
Entry No. 26
You are worthy of slowing down to take care of yourself and you do not always have to use your downtime decisively.
Entry No. 25
Re-defining "productivity" through Mindful walking. A Mindfulness Walk is simply a walk while being aware of each breath and step we are taking. Mindful walking allows us to be present and aware. We can intentionally remain slow, calm, and relaxed. There is no need to rush.
In my opinion, I do not sit well with the concept of "doing nothing". I think it is all about perception. Being "productive" can look different on me than on you. When one works towards changing and clarifying the way they perceive "productivity", guilt can blur out. You are always doing something and your worth is not defined by how productive you are. Maybe today, I am struggling with negative self-talk and all I can do is eat a meal or take a shower...this is OK. Maybe tomorrow, I can sleep in without feeling lazy...this is OK, too. Whatever it is, you are always doing the best you can. Small wins are important, too.
Entry No. 24
On April 12th, 2020, I was working as I observed the impact of the novel coronavirus and a national quarantine had on individuals and their mental health. It was beyond any degree or professional training, but I desperately wanted to do more so I picked up my laptop and launched my business. Known just by my name, and eventually Ameena Therapy Services, I was able to create something really meaningful.
I was anxious but determined to invest in myself and a dream. I remember my partner shouting “more green!” as they looked over my website, I remember my loved ones and colleagues calling to say “me too!” as I mailed out business cards, and I remember many of you reaching out. I had the intention of connecting with individuals in my community, maybe province-wide. Little did I know that in a matter of months, my completely remote platform for mental health and wellness support would touch lives far and wide.
Looking back 365 days ago, it has been a ride but I am just getting started! I have been fuelled so much mentally, physically, and spiritually. This year has shown me the beauty in risks and how valuable time is.
Today I am celebrating the first year of my business while expressing my gratitude to you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this journey with me.
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds, will continue in others” – Rosa Parks
Entry No. 23
It is true, one of the best teachers in life turns out to be death. No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same. My favourite book, The Untethered Soul, teaches people to feel grateful to death for giving them another day, another experience, and for creating the scarcity that makes life so precious.
This photo was taken from the late and great, Jesse Benudiz. My friend, Jesse, was a ray of sunshine for so many in this world. Listen to his podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/show/6XTT6SJ88cZWZ526YP3vEH
Entry No. 22
Entry No. 22
Unwinding -- Thank you The Westin Harbour Castle for giving me the opporunity to have a relaxing Staycation. Location: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/yyzwi-the-westin-harbour-castle-toronto/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2&y_source=1_MTcxNDk4NS03MTUtbG9jYXRpb24uZ29vZ2xlX3dlYnNpdGVfb3ZlcnJpZGU%3D
Entry No. 21
Entry No. 21
Reading one of my favourite books again as I inhale 2021 and exhale 2020. Book: https://www.amazon.ca/Think-Like-Monk-Train-Purpose/dp/1982134488/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiA3NX_BRDQARIsALA3fIL-sj-LTTAaH1lxGkj3Gz8hDvsOLqgaeJ5WYLR0b-YYw9iZ4gIKtdEaAvXUEALw_wcB&hvadid=362655997119&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9000987&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=14322382849427427199&hvtargid=kwd-828732987341&hydadcr=23306_10308529&keywords=think+like+a+monk+jay+shetty&qid=1609964197&sr=8-1&tag=googcana-20
Entry No. 20
Entry No. 20
"Life is giving you a gift, and that gift is the flow of events that takes place between birth and your death. These events are exciting, challenging, and create tremendous growth". - The Untethered Soul
Entry No. 19
"How you learn to stay open is up to you. The ultimate trick is not to close. If you don't close, you will have learned to stay open. Do not let anything in that happens in life be important enough that you're willing to close your heart over it. When your heart starts to close, just say, "No. I'm not going to close. I'm going to relax. I'm going to let this situation take place and be there with it." Book: https://www.audible.ca/pd/The-Untethered-Soul-Audiobook/B071VMFNH9?source_code=GDGGBRF0814170006&ds_rl=1250324&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6LbPvqKm7AIVVtyGCh01BQLcEAAYASAAEgLzPPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
Entry No. 18
The Autumn season reminds me that good things fall apart so that better things can fall together. Apple pie recipe: https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/perfect-apple-pie/1fc2b60f-0a4f-441e-ad93-8bbd00fe5334
Entry No. 17
Burnout is real. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Burnout can happen anywhere, especially when you regularly feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. Here are some general tips to avoid burnout!
Entry No. 16
One of the best known uses for essential oils is their ability to assist you in unwinding after a tough day. Oils such as chamomile, lavender and sage in a diffuser can give you a much needed break from the stress of the day and help you sleep. My favourite diffuser blends are Liquid Sunshine and Deep Breath from Saje. Check out the website here: https://www.saje.com/ca/home/?redirect=false&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_Y2dj7b16gIVjY3ICh2OtQTdEAAYASAAEgLvzfD_BwE
Entry No. 15
Entry No. 15
"Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace". Today I spent the day laying in this beautiful lavender field and reflecting on what inspires me - change. Change can be as complex as turning your life around for the better, or as simple as how the leaves change colours in Autumn. I love change because it fuels the willingness to grow. This is why I love my line of work! I love helping people change and grow into better versions of themselves. Location: https://kelsolavender.com/
Entry No. 14
Entry No. 14
What if 2020 isn't 'cancelled'? What if 2020 is the year we needed? Thinking about all the time and effort I've spent in the recent months just sitting with myself. I'm learning how to take care of me, and actually making time for things I love. Reading takes up most of my time! Any suggestions? Send me a message. Book: https://www.amazon.ca/Empty-Bottles-Full-Stories-r-h/dp/1449496474
Entry No. 13
Entry No. 13
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared" - Buddha. When I need some light on a rainy day, I tune into a Jay Shetty podcast to lift my spirits. Check him out here: https://jayshetty.me/
Entry No. 12
Entry No. 12
My heart aches for you...famine, child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, mental health crisis...as neighbours, we are on the frontlines too. We've got to look out for eachother.
Entry No. 11
Entry No. 11
We need to do better, and demand better.
Entry No. 10
Entry No. 10
Missing my RWC family a lot. The Rexdale Women’s Centre is an independent, non-for-profit, voluntary agency that serves high-need women and their family members residing in the Greater Toronto Area. They also support immigrant, refugee and newcomer women and their families to become fully participating members in Canadian society. As a leader in the sector, they enhance their clients’ self- sufficiency and competence by providing essential services and facilitating access to community resources. Website: http://www.rexdalewomen.org/index.php?content=programs-and-services
Entry No. 9
Entry No. 9
Happy Social Work Week!
Entry No. 8
Entry No. 8
I was eager to experience my graduation. Due to circumstances beyond my control, this may not happen soon. I have this picture to remind me that I am the first woman in my lineage with freedom of choice to craft a future whichever way I choose and say what's on my mind when I want to without the whip of lash. There are hundreds of firsts I am thankful for, that my mother and her mother and her mother did not have the privilege of feeling. What an honour to be the first woman in the family who gets to taste her desires. No wonder I am starving to fill up on this life, I have generations of bellies to eat for! It must be insane for my ancestors to see one of their own living so boldly. ❤️ (excerpts from R. Kaur, 2017)
Entry No. 7
Entry No. 7
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Today marks two years since I joined the fight with Love Justice International. Project Beautiful trains and place monitors at borders and transit points to identify and stop human trafficking as it is occurring, before BEAUTIFUL lives are exploited and sold into slavery. Check out the website here: https://www.lovejustice.ngo/
Entry No. 6
Entry No. 6
Stopped by a rehab and shelter close to home and read 'Twas the Night before Christmas to a few folks. Thinking about all the individuals away from their loved ones this Christmas and wanted to their spirits. Happy Holidays!
Entry No. 3
Entry No. 3
Missing the days spent working with New Leaf Yoga Toronto. 💚 New Leaf is a yoga and mindfulness practice for youth in under-served communities. I spent years alongside women who highlighted the importance of physical, mental, and emotional well-being – while advocating for safer and more peaceful communities. There needs to be more programs like this today.
Entry No. 2
Entry No. 2
#SuicidePreventionMonth 🌻 We desperately need to tackle the idea that someone has to hit "rock bottom" in order to receive mental health support. I cannot reiterate enough how vital early intervention is! You wouldn't wait for every bone in a persons body to break before you treated their broken arm. Book: https://www.amazon.ca/Sun-Her-Flowers-Rupi-Kaur/dp/1501175262