These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum.  read more →

Cathy Domoney shares her very personal journey through depression and anxiety.

I’m stubborn, really stubborn, I mean I hate being told what to do (as my poor long-suffering husband will happily verify). Some people say that this is my strength; some say it’s my weakness. I’d say it’s my motivation, my driving force, my rocket-fuel. When people tell me that I can’t, I go out of my way to prove them wrong. This has led me to overcome illness, have children, change careers, publish a book, move countries to mention a few things. This can have the opposite effect on the person hearing it however. Let me explain.

The Mistake

When I was a child I was affectionately described as a ‘mistake.’ (I prefer the term a wonderful surprise). My parents had their pigeon pair at the appropriate age and place in their lives, they were complete and content. But when they went from the UK to Australia for a holiday, they came back with a stowaway! Being the youngest sibling by ten and thirteen years, I got told what to do and think from a very young age, by multiple sources. Of course when your sister is ten years your senior and bullies and belittles you relentlessly, and frequently informs you that she resents the day you were born, it translates as pressure.

I lived with fear and was constantly the recipient of emotional abuse. I behaved the only way that brought me peace. I began to be the best possible person I could be and made sure not to make any mistakes that may be used as ammunition against me in my already powerless world. I would never be told what to do as I’d already done it, I never had arguments because I’d done nothing wrong and I pushed my voice way down where it couldn’t be heard and, therefore, couldn’t ‘rock the boat’. This was a short-term solution which got me through my childhood but was to have long term consequences anchored to years of depression and panic attacks in my adult life. It’s something I still struggle with today and it can be exhausting. These ridiculously high expectations that I placed upon my child-self, because of the actions of others, kept me in an emotional prison for decades.

It’s also had a huge impact on my health. I now have three auto-immune diseases. I’m the sort of person that believes that illness of the body has deep routed emotional triggers. I’ve taken pills prescribed by doctors, but until I investigated why I was feeling the way I was, my illness remained dominant. Wasn’t it Sigmund Fraud who introduced us to the term ‘sublimation’? Where we push down emotions but they later manifest somehow? Well, I believe that in me, it manifests in chronic illness. From the age of 18, I’ve danced with chronic illness. That’s when my journey into self-discovery and my thirst for knowledge of the human condition was born. read more →

To Those I Love,

A Letter from the Heart

If I cannot come to see you, or to see you if you come to see me, know that it’s not personal; it’s never you.

If I try and I fail, it is better to be happy for me that I tried than to be sad or frustrated that I failed. Every attempt, no matter how far I get, is a step I am taking back to you.

If I am able to reach you physically yet cannot meet your eyes, speak, stay or seem to be comfortable in your company, it’s not personal; it’s never you.

If I try and I fail to be there emotionally, please try to remember that it is because my demons are taking my attention away from you and making me uncomfortable.

If I seem selfish in my behaviour, it is because I am trying so hard not to be selfish. I am trying to find myself and reclaim my mind from my demons so that I can be there, in mind and body, for you.

If I become so uncomfortable to the point my behaviour screams that I want to get away, know that it’s not because of you. Sometimes I have to leave in order to redeem myself and to protect you from feeling uncomfortable or from worrying about me quite as much. Sometimes I have to say to myself, “I’ve done all I can for now. I will try again another day.” I will come back to you. If not that day, then another day. read more →

“For around one in seven women the stresses and emotional changes that accompany their postnatal experiences can be intense and include strong depressive mood swings, anxiety, social withdrawal, irritability and loss of enjoyment in usual activities.”

Black Dog Institute

I had dreams of being a mother since I was a young girl. I was going to tenderly brush my child’s hair, bake cookies with them, take long walks to the park and just be unexplainably joyful with them in my arms.

Reality hit when my first child was born. After a long list of complications and a week in special care we brought him home. I was unable to walk properly after dislocating my hip during labour and I struggled to feed him due to the pain. My dreams of the perfect home coming with my baby were clouded by screaming, pain and exhaustion.

After a diagnosis of postnatal depression I started seeing a specialist who helped me with a range of strategies to move through this stage. I didn’t realise how bad things were until I started seeing the light. My gorgeous baby was making amazing progress and he was growing so quickly. I was so motivated to get support and started researching natural therapies to help me.

These are the main strategies that helped and continue to help me after also having postnatal depression with my second child. read more →

SEL a must to reduce bullying.
I’ve heard it said too many times… that social and emotional learning shouldn’t be taught at school because that’s a job for parents.

Good in theory, but in reality, there are many children who lack supportive, loving and safe home environments that promote good values. Instead these children often experience an ugly side of life that can have a devastating effect on their character and development.

Research shows that children naturally and almost unconsciously learn by following examples set by others. And those in homes lacking warmth, caring, love and parental involvement, are likely to imitate the negative behaviour they learn to consider normal.

Regardless of their situation, schools expect all children to be respectful, caring and kind when interacting with teachers and peers. When their behaviour is deemed anti-social or nasty, they may be labeled a bully. read more →