Category Archives: kids

    Categories ADHD, Advice, Anxiety, brain disorders, Empath, fatigue, Health, kids, Mommy

    Sensory Overload

    What is sensory overload? It occurs when input bombards your senses from all directions.  This is exactly what happens when you receive stimuli in all 5 senses simultaneously.  It can happen in loud parties, conferences, schools, public places, work, events, etc.  Many events and public venues create this feeling of increased stress due to the magnitude of sensory assaults that are emitted from equipment or people.  These constant and repetitive sensations trigger a reaction in the body.  It is the flight or flighty response.  You know the fear of the situation takes over, all your stress hormones turn on and you can fight back or run.  You can either be stuck in the moment and allow the stress to build until you explode.  Or you can step away and relax your senses.  We are all impacted by noises, visuals and sensory stimuli but some have a significantly more potent experience.  And for those that are anxious like me, sensory overload can be overpowering and exhausting.  That’s right.  It is exhaustingly depleting your energy every moment you stay stuck in that uncomfortable situation.  And if the stress left unaddressed it accumulates in the body creating a sense of panic.  That is why children and adults exhibit feelings of anger or frustration when sensitivities accumulate resulting in a reaction of some sort or a tantrum.  A child might have a tantrum or cry during fireworks.  A teen might get in a fight or scream at someone in a loud concert.  And an adult might have an argument during a music festival.   Of course there are unlimited possibilities and unlimited scenarios.   But I’m all about positive solutions for the life we live in the environment around us.  Helping others finding the mental wellness they desire through simple modifications in their daily lives.

    So let’s get back to overstimulation in public venus.  In public events there are often many groups of people talking, kids laughing, babies screaming, overhead lights, flashing lights, loud music, etc.  It feels like an overwhelming assault on your senses and it happens every second.  You might be engaged in a conversation but all the stimulation keeps distracting you.  Its difficult to speak or understand everything.  If you are trying to do something on your phone, its 10 times harder to concentrate.  Any task or action you need to perform becomes excruciatingly difficult.  Every second builds into minutes and hours of stimulation entering your 5 senses.  And after many hours your body is completely drained and devastated.  I bet you know someone who is highly sensitive.  They may have an official diagnosis or medical condition.  If you know someone you feel in your gut or body when you imagine them.  The diagnosis or condition doesn’t matter.  It is just a name given to a condition that is covered by an insurance.  Its a name for something that will helps you acquire treatments or services.  But this is simply about understanding your body and taking ACTION to help yourself relax.  I am talking recognizing the symptoms or pain your body send you.  It is about Recognizing the triggers that cause you to experience the stress in your body.  If you can picture a friend who is always sick or has a headache.  A friend who always has a stomach ache or pain.  Or maybe its you.  Maybe you always have this creeping pressure in your chest.  Or your stomach feels like you swallowed a basketball.   Take a moment to think about the last time you felt that way.  What where you doing?  Where were you?  What did you feel in your body?  How did you feel in that place?  What emotion comes to mind.

    Ok so now that you have a better idea if you are sensitive or you know someone who is sensitive let’s take a deeper look.  Highly sensitive individuals include but are not limited to those diagnosed with a conditions like Autism, Seizure Disorders, ADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Anxiety and Mental health issues.  It is prevalent in all ages (infants, children, teens and adults).

    Here are some possible examples:

    • A child that is very spacey and distracted.  They appear to be in another world many times a day.
    • A friend that keeps fidgeting and looking at their watch during your conversation.
    • A coworker that loses eye contact during conversation and is looking at everyone in the room instead.
    • An infant that is unconsolable and crying in her mother’s arms.
    • A friend that screams at you during a normal conversation for no apparent reason.
    • A child that hides in a tent during fireworks.
    • A person that is pacing back and forth.

    Some symptoms of sensory overload: difficulty focusing, irritability, restlessness, urge to cover your ears, urge to shield your eyes from light,  feeling overly excited, feeling anxious (fearful or stressed) and feeling sensitive to things rubbing against your skin (textures, fabrics, clothing tags and nails).  Some symptoms may be even more confusing than you thought.  I experienced sensory overload after attending a child’s party.  The event was in a loud party venue (loud music, bright colors, kids, laughing, kids screaming, bright lights and tons of talking).  As the time passed I felt more tired and drained.  By the end of the event I was in such exhaustion that I needed a nap.  Napping is not my typical routine.  I usually have more than enough energy to complete my day.  I might need an afternoon meditation but a nap usually won’t happen.  Years ago I was exhausted like this every day.  I had chronic fatigue and realize now that sensory overload was a huge part of this.  So I returned home after the party tried a meditation but was still exhausted.  And I cuddled up into my sheets to sleep for 1.5 hours.  I woke up did another meditation and finally felt vibrant again.  Interestingly my son exhibits symptoms of sensory overload too.   But his energy was not impacted in the same way mine was.  He actually developed a headache.   After all the stimulation was over and it was time for bed, his head was pounding.  I’ve been learning his symptoms along with mine for several months now.  Becoming aware of your symptoms takes some effort.  And observing your child is important to understand their symptoms.  It is also important to ask them questions about their day and how they feel.  Its important to help your child deal with sensory overload.  It also helps you develop strategies to reduce sensory overload regularly.  And have a plan in place for full fledged sensory exhaustion.

    Our nervous system has two important parts that need to work together to establish balance: the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is involved in activities of wakefulness and alertness.  The sympathetic nervous system is involved in the fight or flight response.  This response helps us defend ourself during dangerous situations.  Dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system results in nervousness, stress, and anxiety.  The parasympathetic nervous system is involved  in our restful activities like sleep and digestion.   It promotes healing, regeneration, nourishment and elimination.  Activating this system in your body is essential to reduce stress, sensory overload, and anxiety.  Dysfunction of the parasympathetic system appears in symptoms of lethargy and fatigue.  If the body is unable to calm and rebalance in response to these changes causes oxidative stress in the body. A prolonged stress response leads to stress on the adrenal glands and immune system.  The prolonged stress response begins to exhibit symptoms and eventually illness in the body.

    As an empath, I realize there are many people that experience this deep inner sense of stress.  And these people experience it like me, every moment, in every second, in every activity.   But I hadn’t realized its impact on the body until recently.  It is so overwhelming that symptoms arise quickly.  The stress builds and symptoms accumulate over time.  I’ve noticed the prevalence of children exhibiting symptoms of pain or digestive issues is a growing trend.  I was the same as many of the patients coming through the hospitals regularly.  Children with inexplicable symptoms and negative lab results.  Test after test just leads to no answers or solution for your child.  So what if we decide to take a step back and observe.  Taking time to understand your child a little closer and observing the symptoms that arise.  Here are some common symptoms of sensory overload.  And I also have some relaxation techniques to help your child calm their senses.  But there are plenty more strategies that help calm the nervous system.   And everyone is different, so its imperative to create an individualized routine for yourself or your child.  The routine should be based on the individuals needs and preferences.

    Symptoms of a Child with Sensory overload:

    • Tantrum
    • Throwing things
    • Kicking
    • Screaming
    • Zoning out/Day dreaming
    • Cover their eyes or ears
    • Shift in mood

    And there are scientific methods of reducing this overload in yourself and your children.

    Strategies to avoid sensory overload:

    • Plan to leave events early from parties- have an exit strategy and take breaks
    • Shopping- Plan, write a list and prepare before you enter the store.  Being prepared will enable you to gather everything you need and exit the store quickly thus reducing the impact of sensory overload.
    • Learn your triggers and those of your child – It will help you plan for new events and have methods at hand to reduce symptoms.

    5 Ways to Calm your Child’s senses:

    • Guide your child to relax with visual imagery and story telling
    • Relax outside in Nature
    • Cuddle and watch a relaxing nature show
    • Blow bubbles
    • Noise cancelling headphones with peaceful nature sounds

    If you want to learn more ways to help your child with special needs.  Then stay tuned for events and webinars coming soon.  I will be presenting soon at Miami Family Friendly Hands in October.   I will be discussing sensory overload and its impact on children and adults with disabilities.

    Categories Fear, Fulfillment, kids, motivation, self-actualization

    Rappel Adventure

    The best day in Hawaii was definitely our Rappel day in Maui.  It was our only alone time together during our family vacation.  We spent the day laughing and pushing our limits in the Forest.  It was a very peaceful day with the boys.  By far this quiet and adventurous day in Maui was a bonding experience for all of us.  It was just us and two other guests on the tour that day.  The Rappel venue was in a picturesque and peaceful landscape in Maui.  It was a an amazing picturesque drive through the windy two lane highway up the mountain coast towards Hana.  We enjoyed ourselves learning about the history of Maui during the car ride up to the venue.  The road was impressive with only two lanes following the twists and turns of the mountain side.  The views were spectacular with beautiful scenery all the way to the Rappel site.  We enjoyed the conversations and adventures with our tour guides and fellow guests.  This spectacular adventure with Rappel Maui was an enlightening experience.  It was a quiet day of bonding and adventure for our little family.  We enjoyed quiet time in the lush landscapes of Maui.  Kate and Chris were very knowledgeable and experienced tour guides.  We felt safe the entire time we walked through the forest and Rappel down the waterfalls.  Lucas is a rock climber here in Miami and the Rappel tour was an adventure aligned with his passion.  Gabriel enjoyed the experience too.  It wasn’t any easy task to maneuver.  It tests you physically and mentally to put all your trust your skills in such an intense environment.  I have never tried an adventure like this before.  I rock climb occasionally in Miami but it isn’t the easiest task for me.  It can be scary to trust the safety equipment and let go of your fears.  Standing at the top of the cliffs is an enlightening and scary experience.  Standing at the edge of the cliff looking down tests your mind and body.   Fear can easily set in if you allow it to take over.  Thankfully my sense of adventure and resilience kept me calm and relaxed.   I was excited to push my own limits because the old me never would have been able to accomplish this physically and mentally intense adventure.  The old me never would have attempted such a challenging tour because chronic pain and illness had left me with limited strength and physical abilities.  I knew this tour was a test of my physical and mental resilience from the moment I booked it.  I worked hard to regain my physical strength over the past 6 years to push my limits in Hawaii.  Before the first climb I was talking to Luis one of the guests about the significance of this tour for me.  I told him the old me 6 years ago would never have been able to physically deal with the challenges of this tour.  I worked hard to regain my mobility, flexibility and overcome my chronic pain.  It was a huge accomplishment in my life and this tour was truly going to tackle those last little fears I was holding.  Hawaii had a bunch of adventurous tours and my journey had brought me here to finally prove to my subconscious that I am strong, powerful and ready for anything. I was truly ready for it all.  Ready to tackle the physical and mental tasks the tour would bring.  The first fear was trusting the equipment and allowing myself to lean into it.  My first Rappel landed me on my stomach on a cushion as I mastered this little task.  But I got up quickly and climbed down ready to tackle the waterfalls.  The equipment was all set up and everyone was securely tied throughout our walk and Rappel through the forest.  When we arrived at the first waterfall things really started to get real.  It was a spectacular view of the forest and top of the waterfall.  We each took our turns slowly Rappelling down the cliff.  I was super calm and relaxed as I watched Gabriel begin his first waterfall.  I didn’t expect what happened next but I knew that he was safe.  I also knew that I was strong and capable of keeping calm and relaxed through it all.  Gabriel slipped at the top of the waterfall briefly.  He was tied up laying on top of the waterfall with his feet dangling of the cliffs edge.  I knew the equipment was safe and secure.  Chris was next to him the entire time talking and guiding him through it.  I trusted his expertise to get Gabriel (my baby) out of his predicament.  None the less it was still a scary experience watching Gabriel dangle at the edge of the waterfall.  I took a deep breath and focused on my inner calm as I watched Gabriel get back up and secure his stance again.  I continued to breath as he Rappelled down the waterfall.  My heart was racing as I watched Gabriel regain his footing and push his limits safely down the cliff.  I kept myself calm and centered through the experience but I’m sure the fear was evident in my face.  Once he was safely at the bottom it was time for Lucas to follow in his path.  My little Lucas had waited months for this little adventure.  I could see the excitement in his eyes as he began his descent down the waterfall.  He is a tiny little guy but strong and adventurous.  He enjoyed every moment of the tour to the fullest.  It was equally scary watching my little bundle of joy Rappel down the mountain but he did it effortlessly with a huge smile.  Then it was my turn.  It was time to test my physical and mental resilience to the fullest.  My first cliff Rappel experience wasn’t easy but I was determined to go down the waterfall safely and efficiently.  I used my own breathing and centering techniques while I pushed my physical limits.  I slowly and meticulously pushed my butt back secured my stance and climbed slowly down the watery rocks.  It was intense and I didn’t want to look down.  Looking up at the photographer was scary too but I rocked it!!! The tour guides actually told me that I smoothly Rappelled down the waterfalls better than the boys did.  Kate and Chris could hear my breathing and told me they liked it.  I was actually using self-hypnosis, positive self-talk and breath work throughout the whole descent down the cliff.  I’ve become comfortable with my weird breathing patterns and don’t worry what others think about it.  It didn’t matter to me if others were listening or thought I was weird.  The slow deep breaths kept me focused and calm during the adventurous tour.  I used different techniques throughout the day.  Sometimes people can notice and sometimes they can’t. I’ve learned to honor the way I feel and do what I need regardless of the views the world may have of me.  Honestly most of the time people don’t notice or care much about what you do.  We tend to worry about these things excessively for no reason.  It was a spectacular day immersed in the forest of Maui.  We enjoyed the peace and quiet as we watched each other Rappel.  We jumped into the cool spring water after each waterfall.  The boys saw crayfish and shrimp in the water pools.  It was by far the best day in Hawaii.  We experienced thrills and excitement while be bonded together.  It was amazing to spend a quiet day alone in nature with my boys.  I will remember Maui forever.

     

    Categories Anxiety, Developmental Delays, Fear, hope, kids, motivation, positivity, Self-doubt, Speak your mind, Worry, young brain

    School of Stress

    School stress is a normal part of life, Right? I am not the only person that got anxious for tests or presentations. I am not the only person that developed an upset stomach during Final exams. Have you ever had to rush out of an exam to explode in the bathroom? Yep literally, my stress and anxiety caused severe IBS. It was always an issue since at least 8th grade. I bet if you are reading this now, at some point in your life you remember a time during your education where STRESS was on your mind and evident in your BODY. Maybe it was a teacher that spoke to you in a negative way or put you down. Maybe it was an obstacle you faced early on in your education that caused you to loose a little self-confidence or created a little self-doubt. Maybe, your parents were very strict and expected perfect grades adding extra pressure to an already stressful experience. The cause of the stress response is usually related to a deeply engrained emotional reaction in you subconscious mind. Trust me, I had no idea this was possible until almost a year ago. I thought anxiety was a perfectly normal part of life. I though that it was just my way of dealing with school. It was normal for me to study my butt off, know everything by heart and blank out on a test. It was normal for me to second guess myself and switch the answer on the test. Then I would spend nights worrying some more after the test was over. And then reviewing tests, I began to recognize a pattern over the years. My gut first answer was usually right but I always managed to second guess myself and change it.

    Looking back now, I realize that my insecurities were linked to my learning disabilities and family history of learning disabilities. I developed this fear of school that progressively got worse over time. I developed a sense of self-doubt and worry that impacted me throughout my career. I didn’t let it stop me though, I pushed through and managed to graduate High-School with honors. I pushed through it, over and over again. Two careers and Master’s education didn’t seem to stop me but deep down the insecurities blocked me from finding my true purpose. Some how, I managed to graduate with honors time after time but the impact on my body was pretty catastrophic over the years. The Negative thoughts impacted me during my Master’s degree to a point of absolute panic. I actually remember a day where my research paper completely vanished off my computer. The file vanished. AHHH! Seriously, it completely disappeared a few minutes before the submission deadline. My stress and anxiety hit me hard and fast. It felt like a kick in my chest. Fear overwhelmed me and worry made me feel helpless. I dropped down to the floor in a panic and cried uncontrollably until thankfully my husband found it. I had never experienced such an intense stress response before. It was the peak of my chronic illness, anxiety and stress. It was my worst panic to date and I thought I was doomed but everything worked out. Thankfully, as I mentioned before I was a great student and my paper was amazing. Somehow, I surpassed my own internal fears and worry to graduate with honors, once again. But these embedded childhood challenges continued to arise throughout my life. Self-doubt, fear and worry would impact me in all aspects of life. I finally decided something had to shift. I realized that these negative feelings were not aligned with my path in life. I had succeeded and overcome so much, it was time for my mind to catch up and wake up. It was time to shift this crazy negative mindset and leave the past in the past. It was time to believe in myself and release the past. No one deserves to live a life of self-doubt, worry and fear. Everyone deserves to THRIVE NATURALLY in their own skin. Everything fell into place at the right moment in time. I was READY. I was willing. And I was dedicated to finding my path. INVEST in YOURSELF. You deserve to THRIVE. You deserve to feel Healthy. You deserve to feel Prosperous too.

    Categories accomplishment, kids, Mommy, motivation, positivity

    The Baseball Shuffle…

    The Baseball Shuffle took my by surprise. Little did I know that this little trip would change my outlook completely. As a mom of active boys, sports is an essential part of life. But each child is unique in their interests and hobbies. My oldest, Gabriel has always loved baseball since little league. The sport has become a bigger part of our lives over the past few years. This year things shifted even more as he ventured to a new school with hope of joining the school baseball team. I could see the smile in his face and the glow in his eyes when he made it onto the Belen baseball team. I watched the games but I never really understood the game very well nor did it truly grasp my attention. The games were long and a little boring to be honest.

    This past week in Cooperstown the universe shifted and boom I was hooked on baseball. I’m not sure if it was finally getting to Cooperstown for the tournament or seeing him play. Gabriel had been dreaming of this for almost a year. Or maybe it was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. The movie about the History of Baseball definitely made me cry. And I wasn’t the only teary eyed person in the room. I say person because it was emotional for men too. Baseball is America’s favorite pastime. It united America and brought a sense of hope to the masses. It was amazing the see the smiles and sense of awe in all the boys eyes as they walked through the museum. I was awestruck by Babe Ruth’s memorabilia and other baseball icons. And remember, I really didn’t show much interest in baseball until this trip. It doesn’t really matter how my mind shifted but it did.

    Gabriel, Frankie and Christian were finally at Cooperstown. The smiles on their faces were priceless. I could see Gabriel’s dreams were at his fingertips. He was living his 12 year old dream. Something he had hoped and wished for but wasn’t sure it would manifest. Things worked out in the end and he joined his old baseball team Hardball to participate in the tournament. And he even invited a few friends from Belen too. They were all so excited to spend a week hanging with their friends and playing baseball. We were all ecstatic to watch them play. It was amazing to see how ALL the boys had improved over the past year. But the 3 peas brought a unique smile to our faces and glow in our hearts. Gabriel, Frankie and Christian had developed a unique bond over the past year. And they were ready to play BALL.

    It was a rainy week in Cooperstown Allstar Village. And games were cancelled so we headed to the Hall of Fame. I couldn’t help but smile when I looked at my son’s face hanging out with his team or playing baseball. All the parents were anxious when their kid was up to bat or catch the baseball. I had never really been paying such close attention to a game but his week was intense. I had seen my son work so hard over this past year. Playing baseball 4 to 5 times a week. Taking hitting and pitching lessons. Countless hours of working his butt off and playing for a team that consistently lost. It must have been the most frustrating thing for him and the other peas in the pod (Frankie and Christian). It was frustrating for all of us to watch. Maybe that was part of the detachment I had. Or maybe it was that the games dragged on until eternity. But either way all of us were frustrated and this tournament began to shift it all. My son had a goal and it was Cooperstown. He has more goals like playing on the 7th grade team at his Belen. And Cooperstown is like the Holy grail of baseball for an 11 or 12 year old baseball loving boy. If your child plays baseball or you love the sport then you completely understand. My son and husband love the sport. My little one (Lucas) has other sports dreams; baseball wasn’t his cup of tea. We knew that this week was our one and only chance at participating in Cooperstown. Gabriel is almost 13 and this was his last shot.

    I’m not sure why Baseball hadn’t caught my attention until Cooperstown. For some reason until this very surreal moment in time I hadn’t loved baseball. I wonder? Does my father love baseball? Of course he does, he talks about it all the time with Gabriel and Robert. But I can’t remember, Did he watch baseball? Did we watch it together? Was it a guy only tradition or were girls there too? I wish I knew. I guess I need to ask him. I’ll figure it out soon. But let’s get back to Cooperstown. Our entire family and small circle of friends were all looking forward to this tournament since early this year. The boys have been practicing like crazy to get to this tournament. They were a trio of buddies excited to visit Cooperstown together. They were like 3 peas in a pod. We hung out together every chance we got and this little adventure would bring us all closer together than ever before. Little did I know that Baseball was going to be my new favorite sport. The pressure was on for all of us. The kids and the parents felt the pressure. Each game was nerve racking and each parent had their own way of dealing with the stress. We also all had our own funny superstitious tricks up our sleeves. Some parents wouldn’t look at their kid when they were up to bat. To nervous to see it all unfold. But I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. Gabriel had worked so hard this year. He had made MVP on his school team, which he brushed off as no big deal but it is a huge deal. He had improved his pitching, catching and hitting so much since last year. For some reason he was nervous in Cooperstown and he wasn’t using his own bat. It was frustrating but you can’t push a pre-teen boy. You just have to let them try it out and come up with the decision on their own. Oh boy did I want to tell him something but he was frustrated enough on his own. I get it because I used to be the same way, I didn’t believe in myself and had to work through it on my own. So we patiently waited watching him play game after game with his frustration increasing.

    Then one day, Wednesday June 19th everything shifted for him. I was so nervous that I couldn’t sit. I was literally pacing back and forth as I watched the game unfold. He finally grabbed his own bat and I jumped and screamed like a school girl. He hit his first home run in Field #33. It didn’t stop there. He went on to have a Grand Slam in field #33. I jumped and screamed again. All the parents were so excited. They had been waiting for Gabriel to hit it out of the park. He was selected by his coach for the Home Run derby in the beginning of the tournament (Sunday) but for some reason he didn’t use his bat until Wednesday. I’m not sure what shifted but we all had our superstitions and little tricks. Before that game I prayed and sent him some blessings. I even blessed his gatorade before I handed it to him. I was wearing all Blue (Baseball shirt, yoga pants, undies and all). Even the face of my watch mysteriously changed to blue on its own. My shirt said, “There’s no crying in Baseball.” We honestly don’t know what shifted on that Wednesday but I do know that Wednesday’s have been a big transition day for me over the past few months. So, it could have been Wednesday, the clothes, the blessings or any other variable. The fact is that it was the most exhilarating experience to see MY son hit a baseball out of the park. To hear that ball hit the bat perfectly and zoom out of the park was amazing. I had jumped and screamed for Christian too but this was my boy and I screamed like crazy. He had finally fulfilled his dream and hit a home run in Cooperstown. He ended up hitting 3 home runs that day. We couldn’t be any prouder of him. He was so happy and the boys were all jumping up too. He did it. He finally fulfilled his dream and were were all ecstatic. Let’s just say Baseball has a new place in my heart. I never though the game could excite me so much, that I would scream at the top of my lungs and jump like a kid but I did. Cooperstown was an amazing experience for all of us. It was exhausting, stressful and exhilarating all at once. We enjoyed the bonding experience to the fullest and I’m thankful that Gabriel achieved his dream.

    P.S. One funny thing that happened in Cooperstown that any mommy can understand. LMAO. Embarrassing but true. When Christian got his first home run, I peed a little. LMAO. I screamed and jumped so much that a little pee came out. It happens to all of us at one point or another. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. I workout my pelvic floor often but I had been holding it in too long and oopsie happened.