How a Change in Mindset Made all the Difference for my CNTC Experience

A couple weekends ago, I was one of the 6000 Arbonne Consultants that went to Niagara Falls for our Canadian National Training Conference, or CNTC. This was an amazing weekend, full of inspiration, learning, connecting, and fun!

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View from our hotel window!

I had participated in the CNTC 2 years prior in Montreal, and while I learned a lot, I have to say it was a bit of a different experience. After coming home, I reflected on both conferences, and there were a lot of little things that were different after this one, then main thing is definitely my mindset.

Two years ago, I hadn’t quite admitted to myself that I had a problem. I figured the way that I was feeling was my fault. I had low self esteem and was always worrying. I worried about what people thought of me, and worried about failing. These are also things that really held me back in my Arbonne business. And while yes, that has nothing to do with Arbonne, or network marketing in general, it wasn’t entirely my fault either. But I still had control over the situation, I just didn’t know it.

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CNTC 2014 Montreal

With everyone I met 2 years ago at CNTC, I was always worried that they were judging me. “Already almost 2 years into the business and she’s still just a consultant?” “She doesn’t have anyone on her team still? She must be really bad at this, why is she even here?” I put these words into other consultants mouths, and that wasn’t right, for me or them.

Then, listening to the speakers, hearing about their success, I felt worse. This is supposed to be easy, so what’s wrong with me? The tips they gave were great, and helpful, but I told myself they wouldn’t work for me, or I wouldn’t be able to do them. (I don’t want to take anything away from the speakers at that conference, they were inspiring, and I still watch the youtube videos to this day. I just wasn’t receptive to them at the time)

Since then, I’ve admitted to myself that there was a problem. I spoke to my doctor, and was put on antidepressants, and also took part in a CBT program for anxiety. I’ve read a lot about CBT for depression as well. I started taking yoga classes, and eating better. I realized that just like a diabetic needs to do certain things and take medication to stay healthy, so do people with mental illness. It doesn’t seem fair, but no illness if fair.

Fast forward to this CNTC. I am now almost 4 years into the business, and still no team member, and I am still a Consultant. You’d think I would feel even worse right? Especially since the 2 weeks leading up to the conference, I had actually been going through a bad depressive episode. It was the first severe one in a long time, and that scared me a lot. Were my meds not working for me anymore? I haven’t been on them long and I’m still playing around with dosages. Is the conference going to be a waste of time because I’m in a bad headspace? UGH!

I was able to force myself to do a few of the things I know help me feel better a few days before I was going to Niagara. The things your brain tells you are a waste of time when you’re having one of these episodes. The things you have no energy for because the depression has sucked it all out of you. I have developed the skills to help pull myself out. (but that’s not to say I always can)

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When I got to Niagara, I arrived before the rest of the girls I would be staying with. My upline Stephanie and her team. I hung out in the hotel lobby for a bit and then went over to register for the conference. I spoke to a few of the other consultants, and later when the Arbonne Boutique opened up, I stood in line waiting to buy the Arbonne luggage I had been waiting for.

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When the other girls arrived, I was so excited, not nervous. I met some wonderful people, and not once did I feel like they were judging me. I instantly felt a click, like I belonged and I think I made some amazing lifelong friendships. That is the wonderful thing about these businesses, the friendships you make are incredible!

Something I’m doing, to try to get rid of the stigma, is be more open about the fact that I am on antidepressants, and the issues I have with anxiety and depression. Guess what I found out doing that this weekend? A lot of people have similar struggles. Who knew?! Ok yes, I knew that, but  I didn’t realize there were a lot of people in Arbonne. I’ve been told that network marketing isn’t a good idea if you have a mental illness, by people that don’t fully understand network marketing, but I still believed them on some level. This weekend shattered that!

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The talks were amazing. We heard from so many amazing men and women that have achieved great things in their business, despite many setbacks. I heard from someone at the top of our company that had a negative bank account balance when she started out. There was someone who was stuck at one level for years (I sure know what that feels like) One woman had one of the people she sponsored promote faster than her, which has been one of my worst nightmares when it comes to this business, and partly why I don’t think I’ve gotten anyone to join me yet. I want to be more consistently successful before I bring someone on in case they blast by me! But I realized, there’s nothing wrong with that if you are doing your best and working your business.

So basically, what I am trying to say here is that this kind of business can absolutely be fine for a person with a mental illness, in fact, I think this was really good for me, this business is really good for me! A lot of things that stigma says isn’t a good fit for a mentally ill person, are just fine. As long as the person is doing their part to keep themselves healthy, and know what they can and can’t personally handle. No matter where you are in your journey with mental illness, I want you to know, you can do this, you can do anything! You are stronger than you realize, and if you need medication or therapy to see it, that is just fine!

I can’t wait to see all my Arbonne sisters next year in Edmonton!

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My Experience with CBT

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have likely been told about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. It is a great tool to help you change your thinking and be more able to cope. However, even with my husbands benefits, there is no way I could afford it as an ongoing treatment. That is the problem for a lot of people that suffer from mental illness. Help is too pricey.

My doctor was able to refer me to a therapist at a hospital here in Toronto for the possibility of receiving free CBT therapy. I waited about a month to hear from them, and was brought in for an assessment in July last year(2015). I was told that private CBT would be the best fit for me, but the hospital was only offering group CBT sessions. I was put on a waiting list, and began my 12 week group sessions in Januray 2016.

This CBT group was for anxiety, however, the concepts can be used for depression as well. I could have gotten into a group for depression, but at the time it was my anxiety that was affecting my life the most.

Despite the fact that I would be better off with private sessions, and that is something I want to look into eventually, I found the group very helpful. There was something about hearing other people’s struggles that made me realize I was not as “crazy” as I thought.

As the sessions went on, I became more comfortable speaking to everyone else in the room about my issues. I also found myself offering advice to some of the others. You know how they say the best way to learn something is to teach it? That is so true. I found myself giving advice to another person that I then realized I should use too.With all of us having different things that cause anxiety, we were able to give logical advice about something we weren’t anxious about.

I was the only one who had specific phobias about medical stuff, and general anxiety about fainting whenever I feel overwhelmed. Most of the people in the group had anxieties around social situations, being the center of attention, being judged or making decisions. I have some anxiety with these things, but they weren’t why I needed help. Some had specific anxieties that I would think “why would they be anxious about that?” And I’m sure a lot of them thought the same thing about my anxieties. But it didn’t matter. We were all there for essentially the same thing, and we wanted to support each other.

I definitely recommend that if you are thinking about doing CBT, you should do it! Find a way, either join a group, read CBT books, or find a program online. Do a mixture. And don’t rule out the idea of going on medication. They say that medication along with CBT is the most effective way. But talk to your doctor and do what is best for you.

A book series I recommend is by Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar. They have books titled “This book Will Make you Calm” and “This Book Will Make you Happy” Along with others for confidence, sleeping, and mindfulness. They use CBT techniques and even have homework for you to do. They are easy to read, and not very long, which is perfect if you’re not much of a reader.

On top of that, I would love to offer you my own CBT lessons. I am going to post lessons that go along with what I did during my CBT program at the hospital, and even give you homework! This will be a great way for me to refresh my CBT knowledge and make sure I put it to practice on a regular basis again. I hope that anyone thinking about it will find value in my posts, and they can at least help you get through until you’re able to receive some professional help.

Keep checking back, I will be posting Lesson #1 soon!

 

 

 

 

The Many Uses for Arbonne’s Renewing Body Gelee

The Renewing Body Gelee is described in the catelogue as a refreshing gel that hydrates for soft, smooth-feeling skin. But it is so much more than that!

Key ingredients include: Sea kelp extract, ivy leaf extract, and Japanese green tea extract.

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It is definitely one of my favourite of Arbonne’s products. You get a very large container of it, which is great for how often you can use it! Being from the SeaSource line, the botanical ingredients are mostly from the sea, and in case you haven’t noticed, people who live on or near the ocean have amazing skin!

So if you are thinking about ordering this product, or you have it in your bathroom right now, these are some uses you must know!

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Sunburns – We should all be wearing sunscreen when we are out in the sun, but of course we don’t always remember. (Like my husband this past weekend at a golf tournament) This cooling gel helps relieve the pain, as well as heal the burns faster. I would never go on a beach trip without it!

Other Burns – It shouldn’t be shocking that I would also recommend this for other burns as well. I work at a custom design boutique, and I’ve burnt my hand on the iron a few times. This stuff is a lifesaver for those incidents!

Mosquito Bites – Helps relieve the itch of mosquito bites. That being said, I personally recommend using the Seasource Mud Mask to heal them  faster.

Poison Ivy – Also helps to relieve the itch of poison ivy. Luckily I haven’t experienced this myself, but I have been told it works. Good to know in case I ever come across the poisonous plant!

Headaches – Putting a dab of this on the back of your neck, forehead or temples can help give temporary relief from headaches.

Hot Flashes – The cooling sensation from this gel is great for women experiencing hot flashes. I also found it useful one day that I was at a vendor event showcasing my Arbonne products and the air conditioning didn’t work. I periodically applied it to the back of my neck, and all over my arms and legs.

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This is me at the vendor event I mentioned above.

Bruises – Applying this to your bruises can help reduce swelling and speed up healing.

Sore Joints/Muscles – This stuff works wonders on sore joints and muscles. If you have any kind of soreness, this needs to be in your bathroom! Don’t just take my word for it, read this Instagram Post, or this blog post by a runner who wrote a review of the product.

So that is my list! Let me know if you have any other uses for the Gelee in the comments below!

*Disclaimer, this product was not tested or created for all of these uses, and therefore not guaranteed to work for them. But they are suggested by clients and consultants that have tested it out for themselves.

 

Giving up Pop

Pop or soda, whatever you call it, it’s delicious. Most people can agree on that, and for a lot of families, it ends up on the shopping list every month without much thought.

When I was a kid, I drank pop probably every day. I loved the fizzy-ness I loved the flavours, and of course, the sugar. And I had the cavities to prove it! I felt bad for my cousins, who’s mom would only allow them to have one pop a day. “How strict!” I thought.

As I got older, I started hearing about the health concerns with pop. But I kept thinking, “whatever, I’m still healthy and thin, and people have been drinking pop forever.” Yes, I was blessed with a great metabolism, and weight gain was not a concern I had when it came to pop, but I failed to think about all the other ways it could be affecting me. My teeth for instance, I had cavities almost every time I went in for my dental checkup. I can also just imagine the affect it was having on my stomach, intestines, kidneys, and heart. Not to mention the caffeine. I always said, “well, I don’t drink coffee, so this is my caffeine source” But I also love my chocolate, so I was getting plenty of caffeine.

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Image source and for more information: Huffingtonpost

I would say I was addicted to pop. I would crave it, I would be irritable if we didn’t have pop when I wanted one, and the relief I felt having that first sip was a great feeling. This was not good.

As I begun to be more aware of my anxiety and depression, and admitting to myself that this is a problem, I started looking into what I can do to help myself. Obviously living a healthy lifestyle is a biggie. I decided to get into yoga, and go for more walks. Little changes so it didn’t feel too overwhelming. I would walk to the subway station instead of taking the bus, and instead of my sugary cereal in the morning, I would make myself a protein shake with berries in the morning.

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But I also knew, cutting out caffeine and sugar would make a huge difference, and the best way to do that would be to stop drinking pop. AHH! This was a horrifying thought! There was no way I could see myself being able to do that.

I decided to start slow. I went by my aunt’s “strict” rule of just one pop a day. And with this rule, I found sometimes I would have a day here and there where I wouldn’t have a pop, because I would ask myself, “do you want this pop now, what if you want it later?” and then later I would either forget about it, or decide I may as well leave it for today.

I needed something to substitute the pop with though. I needed something refreshing that had flavour. So I tried drinking more juice. But for some reason that wasn’t enough. The 3 things that I found that helped the most was infusing water with fruit, iced tea (loose leaf tea, steeped, and iced, with no sugar added), and Arbonne’s Fizz Sticks.

The Fizz Sticks are great for giving me that fizzy-ness I miss from pop. They are very versatile as well. You can just mix them with water, or blend them with water and strawberries. There are many things you can mix them with. Maybe I will make a blog post about that one day….

So there I was, drinking a lot more water, and some juice, and a lot less pop. And you know what? I started feeling amazing! I felt like I had more energy, and generally felt healthier. And I eventually got to a point where I wasn’t having my daily pop. Now, I can have one every now and then, as a treat, without suddenly “needing” it again. But I will say, when I do treat myself, I can feel the effects almost right away since I am not used to it anymore. Boy does my stomach get bloated! And I feel the sugar crash, and generally less energetic.

Since quitting pop, I’ve had 3 dental checkups without cavities! (I went to the dentist last week and my record was broken unfortunately, but I wasn’t surprised, when I was home for a few weeks before my wedding, I had a bit more pop than usual, and a lot of sweets. Oops!)

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I want to challenge you. Try limiting your pop intake for a week or two. Drink no more than 1 a day, but try to not drink any at all. And see how you feel. Then ask yourself, if feeling this great and knowing what harmful stuff is NOT going into your body, is worth not having pop all the time?

Don’t think you can do it? Neither did I.

An Anxious Bride

“Oh my God, what if I faint at the altar”

That thought ran through my head on a daily basis for about a year leading up to the wedding. Along with many others, but that was the most prominent one.

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A wedding can make anyone anxious, but when you already have anxiety, planning a wedding can be extremely overwhelming. I was constantly battling with myself to try and stay calm and enjoy the process.

My issue, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is that I sometimes faint. It was explained to me once by a medical professional that the likely cause is, when my anxiety reaches an all time high, and then I start to calm down, my blood pressure drops so fast that I faint.

This has been something I’ve experienced many times, for a long time. Most of the time it is caused by “medical stuff” I always faint after a needle, and sometimes get light headed and anxious when someone is even talking about graphic medical things. The first time I remember fainting in public, I was 12 years old in grade 7. We were in health class and the teacher was describing in great detail the symptoms of an STI we were learning about. It happened so fast, before I knew it, I was on the floor with 2 teachers knelt over me and the rest of my class staring. So fun right!

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Now I’m sure you’re wondering, so why was she worried about fainting at a wedding? It makes very little sense even to me. But there have been many times that I felt like I was about to faint because I was just overwhelmed. It hadn’t actually happened yet, but I’ve come very close, and knowing my luck, the wedding would be the first time!

So I googled and googled and googled. “Tips for a bride with anxiety”, “anxious bride”, “how to cope with anxiety on your wedding day”..and so on. Brides were suggested to have a small ceremony, just a few people and then have a big reception with everyone later. But I didn’t want to do that, I had always dreamed of my wedding, and everyone watching me and my future husband say our vows. I wasn’t going to let down the little girl inside of me.

There were also a lot of calming techniques that I found, which I mostly heard before. I never found any advice specific to fainting, anxiety, and wedding days. I also voiced my fears to a few close friends, my fiance, and the people in a CBT group I was in for 12 weeks at the start if 2016. (I will talk more about that later in another post) mostly people kept trying to reassure me that it likely won’t happen, and if it does, it won’t be a big deal, and no wedding goes entirely perfect.

Someone even said that if it happens, it would be a funny story about the wedding. Yes haha! The bride’s mental illness intervened on her wedding day. Hilarious! This is not something I wanted to be made fun of for later on. I already get enough of that from times I’ve fainted previously.

I don’t want it to sound like I am uptight and can’t laugh at myself. This is just something I don’t want to laugh about. It’s not funny. The day before the wedding, me and my bridesmaids were practicing walking in our shoes so we don’t trip going down the aisle. My sister asked me, “would you be mad if you tripped walking down the isle and I laughed? Because I don’t think I would be able to help it.” Nice eh? I told her I would probably laugh myself, so go for it, but hopefully that won’t be an issue. (It wasn’t)

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I am so glad we had a rehearsal. It helped a lot. One thing I was taught in CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) is that the more exposures you have to something that gives you anxiety, the easier it will get over time. So I treated the rehearsal as an exposure. And boy was the first run through hard! As the bride, walking down last, standing at the back waiting for your turn to go is so nerve wracking! For everyone, not just anxious brides. When we walked up the aisle, I rushed a bit, and then when we were standing at the altar, listening to the minister talk about what all we were doing, the thought hit me like a ton of bricks! “What if you fainted right now?” this question pops in my head at random times, usually inconvenient times. It actually popped up when I was trying on wedding dresses. When it happens, I get suddenly dizzy and panicky. My vision can get blurry and I feel lightheaded.

Usually when this happens, I can sit down, or if I’m with someone who knows about this stuff, I will tell them I need to sit down. Both when I tried on the first dress and when I was standing at the altar during rehearsal, I couldn’t do that. Not without letting everyone know I was having somewhat of a panic attack.

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I wish I could share with you some magical tip I have for getting those moments to pass. I was able to power through both times and just tried to breathe slower and focus on something to distract myself from the panic. At the rehearsal I started listening really hard and paying attention to Keegan. I grabbed his hands, and just felt more supported. The second time through, I was a lot more comfortable, still a little nervous at the back of the church waiting to walk, but once we started, I was fine. Another thing I learned in CBT, and kind of already knew, the anticipation almost always causes more anxiety than the actual event. Hence the nervousness all brides feel while they are waiting to walk down the aisle.

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The night before the wedding was a whole crazy ball of emotions. Excited, relieved that it would be over soon, panicked, anxious, happy, and nostalgic. I spent the night in my grandma’s house with 2 of my bridesmaids. I had had so many sleepovers in that house, and so many wonderful family occasions. Of course I couldn’t get to sleep. Who can fall asleep fast the night before their wedding? I began to think about all the possibilities that tomorrow would bring, everything that could go wrong, the major thunderstorm we were expecting for that day, and how tired I was going to be because I can’t sleep. And just like every Christmas morning, I woke up at 5 am full of adrenaline and no chance of going back to sleep for another hour or two. So I got up, and went downstairs to talk to my grandma. I always got up early with her when I would sleep over. It seemed like any other day, but I knew it wasn’t. This was going to be a long, amazing, stressful day. I couldn’t wait to get it started and over with, but also wanted to savour every second at the same time. Such a strange inner conflict.

After everyone else woke up and my mom and sister came over, we headed out to get our hair and makeup done. On the drive over, I had my first panic moment. I remembered the almost panic attack I had when I had done my makeup trial, and thought, “what if I faint at the salon?” UGH It begins! I started my slow breathing technique, and my mom asked if I was ok. “oh, yea I’m fine” is all I said. Once we got there, I started feeling better. I was probably distracted and had a great time chatting with my bridesmaids, mom, and the hair stylists at The Hair Professionals salon. My makeup was done by a fellow Arbonne Independent Consultant who I definitely had a lot to talk about with.

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When we arrived back to my grandma’s house to get dressed, the photographers from BiancoNero Photography were already there (they took all of these awesome pictures!), and so was the rest of my mom’s side of my family. One full house! We had a quick lunch and got dressed and started taking pictures out front.

My next moment of panic was the one that would stay with me right up until the ceremony. We got into the limo to head over to the church. Our driver asked if we would like to stop at Tim Horton’s on the way since we still had a lot of time. (Yes, how Canadian of us) I got a peppermint tea to help calm my stomach, even though it was a thousand degrees out. Even just waiting in the limo for my matron of honour to run in, was nerve wracking! The whole way there I was just breathing deeply, knowing the ceremony was about to happen, and trying to stay calm for it. I think part of my issue was knowing that I would want to be present for the ceremony and enjoy it, rather than trying to stay calm.

When we arrived, we went down to the basement of the church to our waiting room. Still feeling panicky and being more vocal about it. My bridesmaids all know I struggle with anxiety, so I felt comfortable letting it out with them. I don’t think I could have managed without them. I made sure to use the washroom before the ceremony start time, as I was trying to keep myself super hydrated to avoid fainting, but I was also concerned about needing to use the washroom in the middle of the ceremony. There are just so many things to think about!

When the minister came down to let us know that everything is ready, my heart sunk. OMG this is it! And what I call a “wave of anxiety” pulsed through my body. I kept saying, “it’s the anticipation” over and over again to myself as we walked to the stairs to come up into the back of the church. When waiting at the back with my dad, I just kept breathing, and once my musical cue was about to happen, I took one last deep breath and told myself, you are going to do this, just power through! And you know what? The moment I turned the corner and saw all the faces staring at me, I suddenly forgot my anxiety! Of course it didn’t last, but that walk down the aisle was amazing. I was looking left to right at all of these people that were there to celebrate Keegan and my day. I felt so much love! Then I thought, “oh I better look at my future husband up there at the front” Seeing his face made it all worth it. I made him cry! And throughout the ceremony, I had a few “holy crap I’m getting married” moments, and a few anxious moments, but standing up there next the love of my life gave me the strength I needed to get through.

The rest of the day was just awesome. It was so hot out, and taking pictures in that big puffy dress of mine wasn’t the most comfortable, but I was just so happy it didn’t end up storming. We took so many great pictures, the reception was a blast, the food was awesome, and I had a cute little white dress for dancing, later in the evening.

Our wedding had a few slips and falls, but fortunately for me, I wasn’t one of them. My mom tripped on her way out of the church after the ceremony, one of our groomsmen fell out of his chair and hit his head on a speaker, and there were a few bodies on the dance floor.

Even with the struggles I have with anxiety and depression, having my husband and my friends by my side, supporting me, I know I can get through anything. It wasn’t a perfect wedding, but it was definitely the best day of my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing!

 

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The First One

Hello everyone. I am so excited to be starting this new adventure of running a blog! Let me tell you a little about myself….

My name is Tara, and I am many things. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a wife. I am a mom of 2 wonderful rescue cats. I am a Fashion Design Assistant at MF Couture, an Arbonne Independent Consultant, and a Toronto Humane Society Volunteer.

I was recently married on June 11th 2016 to the most amazing and supportive man I have ever met, surrounded by our awesome bridal party, friends, and family.

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I decided to start this blog in hopes to inspire others, and share information. I love being able to help others in my business with Arbonne and my work at the Toronto Humane Society.

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I will be blogging about my life, and things that I learn along the way. I will share tips and advice for a healthy lifestyle. I also want to touch on how I am able to manage my mental illness (depression and anxiety) while running a business and basically going through life. I will share my insights that hopefully you will be able to relate to or be inspired by. You can also expect some fun posts about other topics as well.

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My hope is that everyone who reads my blog will enjoy it, be inspired, educated, and motivated. You are welcome to leave feedback in the comments section under any post. I would also love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments or would love to connect! Just fill out the contact form.