Tag: sonja lewis

When Your Parent Starts Dating

Dating can be a bit tricky at its best–getting to know another person and discovering so much about yourself.  Imagine, if you will, what it is like to date after the breakdown of a longterm relationship or the loss of a partner. Though I don’t have first hand experience in the area, l know many people who do, and I can attest to what it is like to date someone in such circumstances.

Navigating a new landscape can be challenging unto self and when there are children on the scene, it can feel a bit like a trial for all parties involved.  But no one has to fail! Though it might feel that way particularly for the offspring.

In this snippet from Your Family Matters , Dr Lisa Doodson offers practical advice on how to express concerns and feelings, while giving consideration to your parent and the choice they have made. Watch here.

And if you haven’t already, listen to the full podcast, Your Family Matters, on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Happy listening and do feel free to contact me here for further information, questions, etc.

 

Three Steps to Coping With Bullying

I can’t tell you how many times I have said under my breath, I cannot believe that this is happening to me. And for a split second, I’m tempted to ignore the situation, not even entertain it. Fair enough since a key thing to do when dealing with bullying is not to let the brutal words in.

Still, it is important to acknowledge what is actually happening–call a spade, a spade, accept that it is unhealthy and then talk about it.

Check out this snippet from Your Wellbeing Matters, offering great advice on how to cope with bullying.  And do listen to the full podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and a host of other great podcast platforms. And when you are there leave a review to spread the word.

No matter how you look at it, bullying is unacceptable because the thing is, your wellbeing really matters.

Don’t Let It In

I love Cat Williams’ advice ‘Don’t Let It In’ in our latest podcast Your Wellbeing Matters. The UIO two-time guest, a seasoned rapid transformational therapist, is, of course, talking about the unhealthy words of a bully.

Shame I didn’t fully understand this as a teenage girl all those years ago but to be honest, I don’t remember any consistent episodes of being bullied. There were the people who picked me out to pick on me, sure, but I managed to shake them off rather quickly somehow.

I would be fully ensconced in business–well sort of, it was my first real job–before I experienced real bullying, which can be self-esteem eroding at the very least. And because I didn’t understand the important concept of not letting other people’s misconstrued perceptions get into my head, I fled as fast as I could.

This would mean a different career path for me. My hopes and dreams of becoming a seasoned journalist who would walk straight into a writing or publishing career took a rather crooked path and frankly never arrived at its originally intended destination.

To this end, I have come to understand that tremendous emotional and mental unrest comes with taking responsibility for someone else’s unhealthy behaviour or words, no matter how powerful that person is or seems. Don’t believe them.

In my case, the person held all power at the place where I worked so it wasn’t a bad idea to pack my bags and leave. My mistake was taking the unnecessary baggage with me.

No wonder I can’t get Cat’s advice out of my head. Of course, there will be missteps–that is part of personal growth. But lessons needn’t take years to grasp, thanks to varied  resources such as UIO podcast.  So, if you haven’t listened to Your Wellbeing Matters yet, now is the time to check it out.

And whether you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, or even stumbling into a place where you are the bully, share the podcast for more advice on how to cope with bullying and keep life moving in a forward-facing direction.

When all is said and done, remember the words that serve you and the rest, don’t let it in.

Seize The Moment: It Matters

I still carry my first grade ‘Straight A’ report card around mentally.  Really, I do and over the years have come to understand the indelible mark it has made on me about the importance of education.

Even if I wasn’t career prepping at age six/seven, and let’s hope I wasn’t, I was learning a lifelong lesson about education—it matters on so many levels.

But it would be a long time before I understood that not only does it matter for the future, but it also matters right where you are.

Fair enough! I have no regular use for the trigonometry that knocked me off my ‘A’ perch, but trig taught me a thing or two about myself–the importance of perseverance, for example, and learning to become who I wanted to be and not who others wanted me to be.

I must say there was something about seizing the moment, too. Ok, so I am not going to get an ‘A’ out if this, I remember thinking, though not verbatim, but I can get an ‘A’ out of that and that would be English and writing and anything akin to them.

You get the point, which counsellor Donna Morgan, makes beautifully in UIO’S Your Education Matters podcast, out tomorrow. She emphasises that there are more opportunities for girls now than ever before. If Math is your thing, go for it!

Although it truly was not mine but who’s to know how much the lack of opportunity and support influenced my disinterest in the subject.

Anyhow, Your Education Matters is the second podcast to be released in the U Matter Series, and also looks at the importance of finding a healthy balance to studying and avoiding burnout.  In addition, the podcast offers tips for parents and guardians on how to offer necessary support during the school years.

Your education matters on so many levels, both formally and informally, and has a huge impact on emotional and mental wellbeing.  The podcast is out September 13. Listen here and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.

Having Your Say In the Right Way

Not speaking up has a negative impact on your emotional and mental well-being—at least it does mine.  It’s a bit like carrying around dead weight, weight that pulls me down in the dumps but as soon as I have my say, I feel uplifted.

Let’s be clear about what having your say means and what it does not mean.  First, things first! It does not mean blowing off steam or telling someone off at the top of your voice or engaging in a futile argument with someone about politics, religion, or morality for that matter.

It’s more about saying and doing what is healthy and right for you. And how you say it matters too, according to bestselling author Cai Graham, guest on UIO’s podcast, Your Voice Matters.

In our chat the author of The Teen Toolbox and I agree that having your say is not always as easy as it sounds. It can be tricky when there is looming peer pressure, for example. That’s why it is important to understand the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence and use them both effectively to get your point across, particularly when it matters the most.

In a nutshell, self-esteem is about how you feel about yourself in a particular situation and self-confidence is believing in your ability to do something.

Makes a whole lot of sense to me, which takes me back to my first point. Often when I am feeling low about myself or a situation, upon review I will conclude that I didn’t have the confidence to have my say. Owning and understanding this gives me the confidence to put it right and it often gives me a segue to the right words.

For example, I might say, you know I was thinking about our recent conversation and, I prefer we agree to disagree about women’s rights, political beliefs, whatever it is that has caused the upset. I need you to respect my views but as and when this is not possible, let’s not talk about it. Otherwise, it is a strain on our friendship, whatever the relationship is, and because I value it, it is imperative that we avoid these explosive conversations.

Now that’s confidence.  No screaming, yelling and naming calling, just putting your point across, remembering that your voice matters.  The namesake podcast is out September 6. Listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

New Vlog Out: Breaking Bad Phone Habits

Since my February 17 blog on breaking bad phone habits, my eyes have popped wide open to my unhelpful routines, one in particular: I have just not been able to put the phone down at my cut off time at night–9.30 pm. For the past couple of nights, I have been sucked in to reading something or even listening to something at about 9.15. And though I know it is a risk, I’ve indulged myself and the result has been the same, a sleepless night.

Why? I’ve not yet embodied the experience of how it really makes me feel to engage with one of my devices fifteen minutes before I am supposed to be winding down. Frustrated and sleep deprived this morning, I am going to spend some time today dropping into the experience, reflecting on it, feeling it repeatedly. Looking forward to the the light bulb turning on and understanding that this  bad habit no longer serves me, if it ever did.

For more tips on breaking your own bad phone habits, check out my latest vlog.

And do see how ready you are to tackle the problem with our short quiz on the subject. Click launch button to play.

See you next time. Take care of you inside out and remember it is you I owe.

UIO Releases Podcast On Race and Racial Injustice

As a writer, I’ve always struggled with who has a right to tell a specific story.  Make no mistake about, I know that a darn good writer can serve up a good story whether it is her own or not.  Still, it is not always easy to write with compassion and empathy about something as controversial as racism or racial injustice.

Furthermore, this topic, in particular, conjures up deep emotions and can get real personal and so it should.  Getting personal sometimes is what it takes to get a point across.  Even so it is important to write responsibly and constructively. The same goes with talking.

That’s why I decided to use UIO’s platform to talk about race and to share some of my personal experiences in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.  How To Talk About Race Now examines why it is important to talk about race and offers tips on how to do so constructively.  Check out this timely and relevant resource on Itunes or where ever you listen to podcasts.  And by all means, join the conversation, leave your comments.  Let’s talk.

 

 

UIO Launches New Podcast Series

Kicking off UIO’s new podcast series, I have a fantastic conversation about identity with Rachita Saraogi and Rebecca Thomson, co-founders of Sisterhood, a social enterprise about turning girl’s self-doubt into self-confidence through creativity.

Out today, Series 2: Episode 1: Your Identity Inside Out delves into questions that often arise during adolescence. How to deal with gender stereotypes and so on. Also, the podcast offers lots of tips on how to tap into your girl cell and use it as your super power.

Intriguing stuff! And that’s not all. To listen, download a feed reader and sign up for my rss feed here. Also, listen on iTunes, Spotify, Tunein, Stitcher and Soundcloud and check out our Twitter, Instagram or Facebook page, all @uiopodcast.

In the meantime, not only do we have another exciting line-up of fabulous guests this season, we have also taken to the studio to improve the sound and overall production quality of the podcasts. Some of the episodes are taped in Maple Street Creative in Central London and others in the White City Place podcast hub in West London.  It’s all about making better podcasts for you.

On that note, coming up in two weeks is Episode 2: On Undiagnosed Mental Illness Inside Out with Eleanor Segall, writer and expert on mental illness. Stay tuned!

Tough Love: Easier Said Than Done

Some things are easier said than done, most of them have to do with kicking a bad habit, such as swearing, overeating, smoking or enabling. Yes enabling – contributing continuously to an unhealthy/dysfunctional situation in the name of love, religion, support, family secrecy, and so on.

Guilty as charged for enabling, that is. Never have I been guilty of any of the other vices – okay, so I might have indulged in at least one of them. Never mind.

Anyhow, since enabling can be as counterproductive as the addiction or dysfunction in question, it is time to toughen up and practise tough love. I know, I know. That’s easier said than done.

Read more in my September Huffington Post blog, Getting Tough On Enabling. And do have your say on the matter, too.

 

 

Reading Leads To Bigger Ponds

Even if I can’t remember the first book I read fully, I have enjoyed reading ever since I can remember.  There is something about entering another space, if you will, and imagining, if only for the duration of a novel, for example, what it’s like to be in another person or persons shoes.

Granted some of the characters, particularly tragic ones,  wear shoes that are a bit too tight. Still, all one has to do then is to turn the page and eventually the tightness loosens. There, everyone can breathe again.

Real life can be a bit like that too, all too often, which is why I advocate reading, not only as an escape route, but also as a good practice to keep the mind open to different ways of life, different perspectives, different options.

I write about this in my July Huffington Post blog: Reading Leads to Bigger Ponds.

You know what they say, ‘life doesn’t have to be a closed book.’

Who are they, anyhow?  Never mind, why not open a book, a magazine and gain a different perspective.