#046 How to influence our experience of life with Doña Bumgarner

Listen & Subscribe On:

You can listen to this podcast episode on iTunes or Spotify.

If you are enjoying the Good Things in Life Podcast, I would so love it if you would rate and leave a review. The more ratings and reviews the podcast gets, the more likely it will help other people who might be interested and might be looking for what Good Things in Life Podcast has to offer. Just click here to review.

There is a lot of conversation in the “special needs parenting” community about feeling really overextended, feeling like they can’t manage, feeling like there’s no time for themselves. And that nothing can be done to improve the situation.

To a degree, that’s a reality. But here’s one thing that I know to be true.

We have some agency around how we experience our lives.

Some things are strictly circumstances and we can’t always influence those.

But we can influence how we think about those things and we can influence how we feel about them.

And that makes a difference in how we experience our lives.


Sometimes we are standing so close to our situation that we can’t see any solution. We spin and spin and spin.

Take me for example. There are all kinds of things that I could be doing differently that would make my life easier and better. But do I? Well…

In this episode, I welcome Doña Bumgarner. Doña is a life coach for women who feel a lot of frustration in their lives, who feel that there isn’t time or energy for them to spend on themselves because they have so many pressures in their lives.

Can you relate?

This episode is kind of like a life coaching session. You will hear me talk about some of my struggles as a working mom and some of the things that are not going great for me (making choices, getting help, sleep!).

And Doña is challenging me to think about my life just a little bit differently. I hope that you enjoy.


Genia:            Welcome to the Good Things in Life Podcast. I’m Genia Stephen, the host. Today’s podcast episode is with Doña Bumgarner. Doña is a life coach. And the reason that I wanted to, um, to do this episode is because there is a lot of conversation in the, um, I guess what gets called the special needs parenting community. Although, um, by now you probably know, I don’t really love the special needs terminology. Um, but there’s a lot of conversation among parents about feeling really overextended, feeling like they can’t manage, feeling like there’s no time for themselves. And you know, as parents, we, you know, that’s a reality. That’s a reality whether you have kids with disabilities or kids without disabilities. But here’s one thing that I know to be true. We have some agency around how we experience our lives.

Genia:            Some things are strictly circumstances and we can’t always influence those, but we can influence how we think about those things and we can influence how we feel about them. And that makes a difference in how we experience our lives. You know, you hear people say things like, you can’t determine the cards you’re dealt, just how they’re played. And it’s kind of a cliche, but there’s a piece of that that’s true. So this episode is kind of like a life coaching session that Doña had with me and you will hear me talk about some of my struggles as a working mom, um, and some of the things that I, you know, are not going great for me and that I need to work on. And Doña is helping me think about how I could think about that just a little bit differently. I hope that you enjoy.

Genia:            Doña Bumgarner, thank you so much for joining me today. I wonder if you’d start by introducing yourself and telling us what it is that you do.

Doña:             Yeah. Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. I am a life coach for women who feel a lot of frustration in their lives, about the general sense that there just isn’t room for them in their lives. So they feel that there isn’t time or energy for them to spend on themselves because they have so many pressures in their lives, whether that’s family obligations or work and family obligations or … I have some clients who are stay-at-home moms, some clients who are work-away-from-home parents, the whole breadth of it. But the commonality is that they just feel crushed in their lives and they’re looking for more space and energy back. I’m also a podcaster and I run the Nurturing Habit Podcast.

Genia:            Excellent. And we’ll definitely make sure that we talk a little bit about that, and links to that will be in the show notes for people to check out. So Doña and I are talking today because Doña is going to coach me. I am a registered midwife and a lactation consultant. I’m in the middle of a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Health Care at the University of Oxford. I have, um, two children, two teenage boys, uh, one of whom has significant disabilities and medical complexities. I, uh, run Good Things in Life and, um, and that is, uh, you know, a full time job unto itself. I, um, am on the Association of Ontario Midwives, Board of Directors. I’m the chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee and sit on working groups. Um, and um, so I have all of these things going on and in the last, about a year ago, I decided that I needed to take a break from clinical care. I felt like I was getting a little bit of, um, caregiver fatigue and I was also recognizing that some of the things in my, in my family life, you know, my parents are getting older.

Genia:            I have a sister who has a disability and whose life is not in great shape right now. My 13 year old son is well, but requiring a lot more trips to our pediatric hospital, which is three hours away. Um, and so it just really felt like clinical care was, um, something I needed to take a step back from. So I took a year’s leave and I’ve been really focusing on other things. And now due to some unexpected changes in my midwifery practice, I’m being called back four months early. And so I’m at this sort of real, um, intersection in my professional and my personal life where I feel like it is, everything just keeps coming. And I don’t necessarily feel like I don’t have enough time for myself to be honest. I feel like I don’t use the time I have to myself, particularly to my benefit. Um, but I do feel like I’m never showing, I’m not showing up anywhere, including for myself the way I should. So everything is kind of suffering.

Doña:             Yeah. So first of all, I just want to say I’m so honored to be asked to coach you live because coaching can be very vulnerable and personal. And so I applaud your bravery to record this episode and you know, let people see what’s gonna happen in with you. And also to let me practice my craft in a public way like this. It’s really fun.

Genia:            Well, thanks. You know, we are not, we’re not actually doing this live. It is prerecorded so if it’s too vulnerable.

Doña:             You can edit it any way you want.

Genia:            That’s right. I may, this may never see the light of day.

Doña:             Well thank you for the experiment. So what I’m most drawn to in that long list of things that you’ve got going on is this feeling that you are not showing up anywhere the way you want to be because that’s a achy feeling.

Genia:            It is.

Doña:             Right? So I want to dive into, first of all, I want to back up from that just a minute. We’ll come back around to that. But I want to, um, because prior to this, this recorded part of the conversation, one of the things you said to me was that your to-do list feels like a tsunami. Like everything’s just coming at you. So tell me a little bit about the actual things that are on your to-do list that feels like there, like that attack that’s happening.

Genia:            So, um, there are, well I’m having a bit of trouble with calendar management right now in so far that I’m just not doing it well. So I’m often double booking myself. You and I have scheduled and rescheduled this session a number of times. Um, but then there’s also the, the unexpected things that come up. And those unexpected things are not necessarily, um, bad and they are, they’re sort of the unexpected to be expected, you know? So if you’re, um, for example, I’m on the negotiations committee for the Association of Ontario Midwives, which means that I’m helping the association to prepare for contract negotiations with the government. And so I know that that process is going to mean that there are going to be a lot of meetings that they’re probably going to be rescheduled meetings and emergency meetings or not emergency but urgent things.

Genia:            Um, I’m uh, you know, coordinating podcast guests and so I’m corresponding back and forth and trying to schedule and reschedule and accommodate and shift. Um, I have my clinic schedule and so that changes depending on the needs of the clients and um, um, you know, and the availability of other things. And then there’s, you know, I find myself, I’ll be, um, you know, working from home or even when I’m out. And a family member will start talking to me or texting me and I’m feeling like “You are not on my to-do-list for this 15 minutes slot today.” You know? And that is not the way I want to be living my life. Um, and then on the reverse side of that, uh, you know, I need to, I need to, like, I don’t want to be living my life like that. Um, I don’t want to be not showing up. I don’t want to be interrupted when I’m with my family and I don’t want to be interrupted when I’m supposed to be showing up for clients or in other work or professional, um, obligations.

Doña:             Yeah. So it’s, what I hear in all of that is you want to have more control even of the things that are sort of movable, unexpected things. You want to have better edges, it sounds like. So like you want to be working when you’re working with your family, when you’re with your family, not have the bleed that seems to be happening right now.

Genia:            Yep.

Doña:             And I wonder if you want less. I’m just asking. No judgment here, but is, is there a part of you that’s like, this is too much, I’d like less or is it more like I want it to fit better?

Genia:              No, I want, I do want less. And I have been, part of me taking a year off from clinical care was me recognizing that there are only so many full time jobs you can have and that something had to go and I felt like clinical care as much as I love, you know, being a midwife and I, I love the time that I spend with clients. Um, and the, you know, I love catching babies and, and it’s deeply rewarding work, I felt like I really needed some time to kind of step away and recharge and not have to care about that many people, like not have to hold the consciousness for that many people for a period of time.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Um, and even so I probably like, I’m looking forward to the resolution of some of these other, like the culmination of some of these other responsibilities as well. So yeah, I definitely want less. The challenge that I see is, is not ,for me anyway, it’s not the, the, um, it’s not like a fear of missing out kind of thing or a not, not being comfortable letting some things go, but just feeling like I’m, I’m just not, the denouement has not happened yet. You know, like I need to wrap things up and finish things before I can close off some of these responsibilities.

Doña:             Yeah. So let’s talk more about this, like what you want to feel in your life because really understanding that can lead you to the actions that you need to take to get those feelings. So you talked about wanting to have family time when you’re with your family, be uninterrupted, focused work time when you’re working, be uninterrupted. So if I ask you to go deeper on those feelings, what, let’s talk about family first. So when you’re with your family, how do you want your family time to feel?

Genia:            Um, that’s really interesting. I don’t even know how to answer that question. I, I want to feel, I want to feel, I don’t have to, um, work on quality time because there’s sufficient time for the quality moments to just happen when they’re going to happen. Um, so for example, my older son, um, tends to be more talkative and, um, you know, want to engage like after 10:00 PM, which is not so great.

Doña:             That seems like a teenage boy thing. You know, I’ve heard that from a couple of people.

Genia:            I think so. So, and it’s, you know, for, it’s not so great if you’re trying to make sure that you maximize your sleep and um, you know, when you are, uh, parents, um, who gets woken up through the night or you’re a midwife who also gets woken up through the night. But, but, um, so, so it feels like some conflict there. But what I want to be doing is, um, sitting on the couch, you know, reading a book. Um, so that when those moments happen, I’m available to put down my book as opposed to furiously still typing out emails and answering questions, you know?

Doña:             And then a feeling interrupted.

Genia:            At that time, I’m desperately feeling, in feeling interrupted and feeling anxious about getting enough sleep.

Doña:             Yeah. So if I could just put a name on that feeling that sounds like you want some spaciousness.

Genia:            yeah.

Doña:             These, do these words resonate to you?

Genia:            Yeah, I think that that’s, yeah.

Doña:             Okay. And then same question about your work time. How do you want that to feel?

Genia:            Well, there’s, it depends. I guess it depends on which work I’m doing. So, um, both in my midwifery work and the work that I do for Good Things in Life, what I really, I don’t, again, I’m not sure I can give you the name of a feeling, but I know what I, what I want.

Doña:             Yeah. Describe it. I can [inaudible]

Genia:            Yeah. What I really want is to be, um, what various other sort of productivity people have called either sort of your zone of genius or your, um, you know, your area of passion. So what I, what I want to be doing are the things that really matter that I’m doing them and not just things that that need to be done but probably could and should be done by somebody else who can do them better and for whom those things are actually in there, you know, zone of genius or their passion zone, you know. But I feel like in, in all of the work spheres of my life, I am spending an awful lot of time doing things I’m not particularly good at. And um, and that it takes away from how much time but how well I show up when I’m doing the things that I should, that only I can do. Um, and where I really am bringing, you know, the most value to the work.

Doña:             Yeah, it’s so interesting. And you know, when you mentioned the zone of genius, I think of Cal Newport in the book Deep Work and that whole theory has to do with choosing not to do a lot of things so that the things that you do are the things that you personally are best at. And like you said, that you know, nobody else could do this work as well as you because it’s just your work in the world. And that’s a really important thing to recognize that that’s what you’re drawn to. And also that that’s not what you have in your life right now because you can change that. So it’s just unwinding what’s happening now and what needs to shift to get to that place. And I’m not saying that’s an easy, easy answer, but it’s an obtainable answer.

Genia:            Right. So can I push back on that a little bit?

Doña:             Sure. Absolutely. I love being argued with.

Genia:            Great. Well then we will get along very, very well because I like to argu. Um, I don’t want to argue just so much as what’s coming up for me.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Um, there’s a couple of things coming up for me. On the, on the midwifery side of things, um, certainly in Ontario and I think really all over the place, um, midwifery is not organized to be midwife friendly. And so, um, and almost all midwives are really constrained by, um, the way governments or you know, insurance or you know, other, um, bodies, how they tell you they have to, that you have to work or how well you’re funded for some of those other pieces. And on the, on the parenting side, um, you know, we have the, I have the same constraints.

Genia:            So for example, we are very, very, very, um, lucky and blessed that we have, um, some support funds to help, uh, hire a supporter, um, for, for my son that helps him to, you know, be, um, to live a full life in community. But, um, very often, um, we will not have enough good supporters available, which means that, you know, I’m spending time doing things to support, um, to support my son, which is fine and great, but the funding is not flexible, so I can’t, um, use the funding to then pay for somebody to do something else. That frees up my time to be with my son. So those are both in some ways. Um, I guess when you boil those things down, those are both constraints that have to do with not having enough money to just pay people to do

Doña:             Right.

Genia:            the, the other things. And I can’t imagine I’m alone in not having, um, you know, endless funds to just pay people

Doña:             Yup.

Genia:            to fill in the gaps that would free up my time and make me feel like I’m living life, the life I want to live.

Doña:             Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And this is a very, very normal situation, even though your details are specific to you, but we all in some way have not enough of what feels like the resources we think we need. And I’m, I’m not saying we think we need, like we don’t actually need them, but it’s not presenting and you know, like I think I need someone to clean my house every week.

Doña:             I can’t afford that. Um, so this is what I think is interesting about that though. So I have a background as an artist. So I originally trained as a painter. And what I have learned as an artist is that if you give a painter, an artist of any kind, all of the options in the world, they will freeze. If you say you need to make a painting with blue paint and elephants in watercolor, they may not like any of those options, but they will come up with something creative as a result of it.

Genia:            Yeah. [inaudible]

Doña:             So I see that, choices overwhelming. Yeah, exactly. So that’s what I think is interesting about the situation that you have here. So you have needs, you have constraints and, and I can already tell by all of the things you do in all the fingers, all the places you have fingers and pots that you are creative person.

Doña:             So there are creative ways to solve what you’re up against. But sometimes when you’re so up against it, you don’t see the options. So that’s why coaching is great because it allows you to kind of step back and get somebody else’s perspective. But also like I can push you back a little bit from your situation so that you can see different options. So let’s talk first about the work tasks, because another thing that you mentioned to me before we started recording as you were like, “I know the answer to this. The answer is I need to get an assistant.”

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             So tell me about that option and why you’re choosing not to do it right now.

Genia:            Um, I, I’m not choosing not to do it. I haven’t figured out how to do it. So I actually, I reached out to a company that specializes in providing virtual assistance. Um, it’s a, it’s a, um, well it’s a well known. Sorry, I was trying to think of my words. It was a, it’s a well known company in the United States and um, and I highly recommended. And I started in the process with them and then I, they said, “Well, this is how much the charges are.” And I said, “Wait a second, can I just confirm that your, that your fees are $41 an hour for, you know, for services.” I’m like, I don’t,

Doña:             That’s really high.

Genia:            That’s really high. And so I’m not going to break down, um, I’m not going to break it all down, but, but I don’t, you know, especially when you include all of the unpaid work I do, which is frankly, most of it. Um, yeah, not, not an option. So I’m kind of, I just haven’t figured out what’s next. Like what the next step is.

Doña:             Okay. So, all right, there’s a couple of ways we can go here. We could problem-solve that. Like how to get an assistant that feels like you’re not sure how to do it. You feel like you’re in stuck.

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             Um, we could pull apart what you’re spending time on and see if there are things that you could delegate differently, approach differently, make more efficient. So we could like do some strategy on that. Or we could dive a little bit more deeply into these feelings that you want in your life, the spaciousness that you want with your family life and the, I don’t know quite what the one word is, but the fulfillment maybe that you want in your work life. Um, and what you can do to get more of that. Because sometime, and the reason I say that that sort of separate from strategizing the to-do list problem is sometimes really focusing on where you want to go makes the solution much more apparent.

Doña:             Sometimes focusing on the solution more strategically is helpful. So what, which one of those sounds like.

Genia:            Let’s do, let’s do the latter. I mean I think that, I think that that, I think it is always valuable to start with a vision of where you want to end up and then work backwards. Um, because most of us, I think when we’re trying to brainstorm just solutions to problems that we have today, very often we are, um, like we’re just going to come up with more of the same ideas that we’ve been coming back with that got us here in the first place.

Doña:             Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So I feel like the vision for what you want with your family is super clear. So let’s start with that one. And then, um, as time allows, we’ll get into the one that’s a little bit murkier, but maybe, uh, I feel like if you, if you go down one path, you’ll have a little bit more like muscle to do the one that’s a little murkier.

Genia:            Sure.

Doña:             So the, that stood out to me about when you were talking about your family time, was this idea of you wanted to be sitting on the couch reading a book when your son comes home wanting to talk to you instead of working.

Genia:            Yup.

Doña:             So.

Genia:            Instead of working and instead of feeling anxious about getting to bed on time.

Doña:             and getting sleep,

Genia:            Those two things are

Doña:             Yeah, okay..

Genia:            those two things are connected.

Doña:             Okay. Okay. So tell me now how much sleep do you get?

Genia:            Well, I’ve been on a leave of absence.

Doña:             So you’ve been getting a lot.

Genia:            Not a lot. I haven’t been getting a lot. Um, I did, I did dedicate some time to where my, my biggest self care priority was, um, creating the space enough so that I had, um, I could sleep for nine hours. I never did. Um, very rarely did, but that was sort of my, and so, but generally I don’t, so, um, I, when I’m off, I try and make sure that I, or during this break I’ve tried to make sure that I consistently have space for seven hours of sleep. It’s often still broken because of my parenting responsibilities and it is minimally sufficient.

Doña:             Okay. And how do you manage your sleep when you’re working as a midwife?

Genia:            Terribly. Like, I think it’s one of, yeah, I don’t, um, sometimes I will take melatonin. Um, I, I have been trying to institute some healthier habits around, um, you know, making sure I’m not looking at a screen for a while before bed, um, not, um, to bringing my phone into my bedroom. Um, you know, using some essential oils. I found a, um, get-to-sleep audio track that seems to, to really be helpful for me. Um, and um, and those things are helpful, but also when I’m on call, um, they’re not always possible.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Right. So I can, I can just decide to stay off Facebook, but I can’t decide necessarily to not have my phone beside my bed when I’m on call and need to be able to be reached by clients in the hospital.

Doña:             Yeah. And sometimes just having the phone by your bed, even if no one is calling it, it keeps you awake or keeps you less deeply asleep.

Genia:            Yeah. Absolutely.

Doña:             You want to, you’re like listening for it all the time.

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             Yeah. So what I hear in that is that you actually have very good sleep habits and that’s great because that’s, yeah. Well I mean as much as you can around the work that you do. Right. Well aware of the things that keep you awake, you’re aware of the things that help you rest.

Genia:              Right. But when I’m working, um, it’ll be interesting to see when I go back, but when I’m working, I um, I very often have insomnia and um, so three o’clock in the morning is my classic time, like not being able to get to sleep. And then often three o’clock in the morning, I will wake up. And that is the end of my, that was the end of my sleep. And if sometimes I’ll get into a good sleep cycle, but then something will happen with my son or I will have, um, a birth or a string of bursts that really messed with my internal clock and then I’m back to square one. So, and, and, and I also know that like, I can sit here and tell you these are the things that I have been working on and I know because I’m a smart person that, and I’ve Googled it.

Genia:            Um, but that, but the more rundown and overwhelmed I am, the less, um, the less I show up and actually do the things that I know are gonna make a difference.

Doña:             Yeah. And you’re so not alone in that. I mean, it’s, it’s just a cycle that we get in. The more tired we are, the harder it is for us to get rest.

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             It’s, it’s common.

Genia:            Yeah. Yeah.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            And I feel like I feel like self, I also feel like I’m not alone in sort of the self sabotage, you know, like the uh, of like the, the more overwhelmed I get, the less, there is very little, um, it’s not hard, technically hard to not use Facebook for an hour before you go to bed or not be scrolling your Instagram feed. Do you know what I mean? Like it’s not like some Herculean task.

Doña:             Right.

Genia:            Um, but, but the, the, the worse off I am, the worst I am at, you know, just doing those basic little things that actually make a difference and I need to be,

Doña:             Yeah, because the converse is also true. It is so easy to just jump on Facebook.

Genia:            That’s true. It’s easy. It’s easy to not treat your body well.

Doña:             Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I want to offer you a, um, just a coaching idea that it’s, it sounds very simple but it takes some time and practice to sort of do. So I’m going to offer it to you and explain it and also with the understanding that like this is not going to change your life tomorrow, but it’s something you can work with over time. So there is, excuse me, there is a coaching model that’s taught by Brooke Castillo who runs the life coaching school, which is not where I was trained, but she is a fantastic coach and this model is very effective. And, have you heard of it? Are you familiar with it?

Genia:            I have, I am familiar with it and I, I think that um, uh, I am familiar with it and I think that while it is not, um, it’s not sort of like a magic solution, I think that it is a really, really powerful tool. So I’m glad [inaudible]

Doña:             That’s exactly how I, yeah, that’s exactly how I feel about it. It doesn’t solve everything, but it is a very powerful tool and it gives you a lot of information that you can use to take other places if it’s not getting you quite where you want to go. So, and this is why I think this is interesting in this particular case, especially when you’re in those situations where you feel like you know the right thing to do and you’re do, you see yourself, you’re doing something else.

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             This is a really good place to use this model. So the idea is that you start with the circumstance. So your circumstance and the situation you’re describing is you’re tired, it’s time to go to bed.

Genia:            Yup.

Doña:             And then you have a thought that happens. You know, and sometimes those thoughts go pass to so fast that we don’t even know, we don’t even notice them. So that’s why this model is helpful because it gets us to slow down and notice what we’re thinking. So if you were sitting, let’s take the situation where you know it’s time to go to bed and your phone’s in your hand suddenly and you’re on Facebook. So what is it that you might be thinking in that situation? Any idea of what those thoughts might be?

Genia:            Yeah, it’s usually something along the lines of, um, it’s something around like, “Okay, it’s time for bed. It’s finally me time. I’m going to like just sort of indulge. I deserve it. I haven’t had a second to myself all day.”

Doña:             Yep. And so what’s the feeling that that thought triggers in you?

Genia:            Um, well that’s interesting. What is the feeling that the thought triggers? I think it vary, I think honestly, there are many and they cycle around.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Um, and maybe the thought and the feeling, and then the thought and the feelings cycle around that. You can break it down for me.

Doña:             Yeah. It’s usually what happens. Yeah.

Genia:            But you know, there’s sort of a general sense of “Whew, I can finally turn my brain off.” Um, there’s often

Doña:             So like relief? A little bit of relief, yeah?

Genia:            Yeah, a little bit of relief. Um, and then, um, I thought about, um, I thought about, there’s, I don’t, there’s nothing I, there’s nothing I actually resent and resentment, I think is the wrong, the wrong feeling. But some, a little bit of like, um, like justifying to myself why I’m doing this, right. Like that. And I’m feeling a little bit huffy about, I don’t have a better word than huffy. It’s not resentful, but like I feel huffy about, kind of okay, you know, so much to do and so many demands. And um, and then there’s usually also a little bit of um, you know, criticizing myself for not either getting things done in the day or making a good decision to just go to bed or you know, that sort of, um,

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Yeah. So it’s all, there’s a little bit of relief and indulgence and huffiness.

Doña:             Right. Yeah. And so like you described, that’s a lot of thought-feeling thought-feeling, it bounces back and forth. And so just to talk about the model for folks who are listening, the idea is you start with the circumstance, you identify one thought and then the feeling that it engenders in you, and then the result is the action. The next step is the action that you take to respond to that feeling. And that’s what’s so interesting here is that we always have an action that we take to respond to that feeling when we feel good. Just as we’re wired, as humans, when we feel good, we tend to want to do more of that. When we feel bad, then we tend to want to pull back or avoid that thing. Um, and then we take and then whatever the result of that action is. And what’s interesting about this model is you can kind of jump into it at any place so you can jump into it like, “How do I want to feel?”, “What thought do I need to feel that?”, “What action do I want to take?”, “What do I need to think in order to feel a way that will make me take that action?”, “What result do I want?” And then you work backwards of the model. So what you’re describing is you have a bunch of thoughts. You have the circumstance, which is it’s time to go to bed at the end of the day.

Doña:             And then you have a whole bunch of thoughts about it. One, one is, “It’s finally time for me.” One is, “I have terrible sleep habits.” One is, um, “I’ve had so much to do, I deserve this.” You know, so you could do the model on any one of those thoughts, but it sounds like the action that you’re taking as a result of a number of those thoughts, maybe not all of them is like pick up my phone, log into Facebook.

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             And sometimes people do that because they’re kind of like unlonely. Sometimes they pick that, you know, the feeling is loneliness. Sometimes the feeling is, um, sadness because Facebook is super distracting and really easy way to buffer sadness. Um, so there’s lots of things, lots of feelings that can trigger the very same action, which is pick up the phone, log into Facebook.

Genia:            That’s really interesting. You know what I think when you, when you’re talking, what I’m thinking about, um, or what I’m realizing is that the overarching, um, result of picking up the phone, which I know will happen, like what I’m looking for, is that I am not thinking about all the things that needed to get done. Didn’t done, we’ll need to get done tomorrow. What I’m worried about whether or not my future will go off, whether or not my son [inaudible], whether or not my 16 year old has done his homework.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            You know?

Doña:             Yeah. So you’re kind of

Genia:            Or I haven’t seen my parents in forever or I haven’t done my taxes or I haven’t.

Doña:             Right. You’re avoiding the list. You’re avoiding that feeling of overwhelm. Of overwhelm.

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             Yeah. So if the feeling you want to feel is not overwhelmed but something else, what would you like to feel that will help you lay down, feel rested, feel restful, fall asleep?

Genia:            Yeah. I dunno. I’m not, I’m, I’m, can you ask the question again?

Doña:             Yes. So if you could pick something that would trigger, if you could pick a feeling that would trigger the action of just going to bed and feeling great about rest, what would you need to feel to take that action?

Genia:            Um, hmm. I don’t know why this is such a hard question. I’m, I’m not, I’m not sure because I, I feel like, I’m trying to think about, I’m trying to think about the last time I just went to bed and felt good about that as opposed to either feeling like I’m muscling myself into bed because I know it’s the right thing to do or sort of falling into bed when I feel like I will fall asleep.

Doña:             So when you’re not so exhausted.

Genia:            Yeah. Like I know my body will go to sleep and so I’ll go to sleep. Um, so I don’t, I don’t know. I mean I kind of have, um, I feel like I have distant memories of days where I spent a lot of time outside and I was like physically tired, not in a, not in an uncomfortable way, but just, you know, I felt like –

Doña:             Worn out.

Genia:            Worn out in a kind of good kinda good way.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            Um, and um, and it felt like going to bed was going to be, um, kind of, kind of fantastic. Um, but it’s been a long time since I have felt like that. Um, most of the day, most of the time really I feel like bedtime is like a looming threat and unnecessary evil. And I know that’s not true. Like I, I know, I’m very aware that getting good sleep in fact will make me more productive. Will, you know, make me healthier. Will, like more sleep will help me achieve my goals. Sleep is not the enemy and the idea that, you know, “Oh, I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, is deeply, deeply faulty. I know all that, but I still feel like, um, I kind of feel like that around almost all aspects of self care, to be perfectly honest. The thing you’d have to do, you have to take time away from all your other demands in order to do, um, but certainly not something that I want to do.

Doña:             Yeah. Yeah. That’s so interesting. So I’m watching the time and I want to make sure we don’t go over too far over time here, but and this is sometimes what happens in coaching, which is so interesting doing it live is that you get to the thing that’s like the most juicy little nugget right at the end.

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             Which is why I work with people in a long term setting.

Genia:            Yeah, it’s too bad. We don’t have like a um, you know, uh, psych, psychiatrist or psychologist chaise lounge, right now.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            And a clock on the office wall and you could be like, “That will be $300 and our time is up for today.”

Doña:             And we’ll start there again next week.

Genia:            That’s right. Just so everybody knows, I set the time limit here. Don’t you cut, just cut me off when we get to the juicy stuff.

Doña:             Yeah. And also, I also have to say that I often work for an hour so like this 15 minutes that I don’t have in this window is like, that’s usually where the best work comes in. So I’m just observing that. So I just want to make sure that we get you to a place where you feel somewhat resolved though, before we close this off. So what I wonder is if you could take this as a practice as like take this back into your life and explore this idea of what do I need to feel in order to move toward rest so that it doesn’t feel like a threat. And that’s going to take some time to uncover, you know, I mean we could talk it out and it’ll go a little faster. But in your life, like that’s something to explore. I’m sorry, what were you gonna say? Genia: No, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but so what do I need to feel, um, and in order to get that feeling, what thought do I need to purposely

Doña:             Exactly. Yeah, that’s the second question. So the first question is what do I need to feel in order to move toward rest in it so that it feels inviting instead of like a threat? And then what do I need to think in order to trigger that feeling?

Genia:            Right. And the idea with the model, sorry, Doña.

Doña:             No, go ahead. Go ahead.

Genia:            And the idea with this model is that even, even in situations, like we’re talking about me going to bed and honestly this is like talk about low hanging fruit as far as difficult life situations. Right? So I’m just imagining listeners thinking about, yeah. But the biggest thing that is, like biggest struggle is that, you know, I, I don’t want to be around my kids cause they’re so hard to be around. Or my biggest struggle is that, you know, my pager has just gone off for the third night in a row and I have to like a real.

Doña:             Yeah.

Genia:            You know, but the, the idea with the model is that, that, that ultimately you can choose to not just let your brain go to a default thought.

Doña:             Exactly.

Doña:             But that you can choose to think a thought and practice habitually thinking thoughts that will in fact downstream affect your feelings. So even if you have to continue to deal with these very real demands and stressors, they may feel less worse.

Doña:             Exactly.

Genia:            If you manage your thoughts about them.

Doña:             Right. And what’s really interesting here, because some people when they’re introduced to this work, they’re like, “Oh great, I’ll come up with an affirmation”, “That’s going to be my new thought”, “I’m going to get rich.” You know, like my struggle is, “I don’t have enough to pay my rent.” My situation is. “I don’t have enough to pay my rent.” So my thought is, “I’m a loser and my action is I, you know, go online shopping.”

Genia:            Right?

Doña:             Like that’s a really bad scenario. But the, the way to get out of that is not, you know, “I don’t have enough money to pay my rent.” I’m going to use this affirmation thought which is, “I have money flowing to me.” I’m sort of, I’m hearkening back to you, you are a badass making money. Like she has the, all these awesome affirmations. Money’s flowing to me at this very moment like, that’s great. But a more useful thought for you in that moment might be, “I can figure this out.”

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             And then your feeling is instead of feeling like a loser, your feeling is like, “I have some power here.” And then your action might be, “What do I need to do to get some money together?” And it’s definitely not hopping on Amazon.

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             So you can see how even just a subtle shift in thought can really change an action and have a totally different outcome. And that’s what’s so interesting about this model and why I think it’s so powerful.

Genia:            Yeah. Yeah. I think that that’s, I think that that’s really important. You know, I, for me the, the sort of third night in a row when I get paged and called to a birth, I have over the years become fairly, um, fairly good, not perfect, but fairly good at stopping my thoughts and thinking, um, “This birth will not last forever. I am going to sleep again and I’m not always going to feel like this.”

Doña:             Right.

Genia:            You know, like just reminding myself that this is a moment in a moment in time. And, um, and you know, I know some parents that have practiced this model whose kids have really, really difficult behaviors. Some of the, some of the thoughts that they have practiced are things like, um, “My child is having a really, really hard time right now. This is not about me.” And, um, and, and variations on that theme, but then, you know, it’s really, it takes, it, it, it takes it a sort of externalizes it just a little bit, um, in such a way that they can show up with just a little bit more compassion as opposed to, you know, um, extreme frustration. Nobody does this perfectly either, which I think is an important [inaudible]

Doña:             Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So some thoughts and feelings that you may want to explore in this space for you is you might want to think, um, and, and I often try out these like intentional thoughts as like, like I brainstorm a bunch of things. And I’m like, “How does that land?”, “Does that feel true?”, “Does that feel made up?” You know?

Genia:            Right, right. Does it feel [inaudible] or just

Doña:             Yeah. Exactly.

Genia:            bullshitting.

Doña:             Or is that like too far out? Not real. So some things that you might try on or things like, “I love how I feel when I’m rested”, “I love my bed. It feels super cozy. I can’t wait to get there.”

Genia:            Yeah.

Doña:             Um, “I’m excited for how I will feel tomorrow after having slept well.”

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             And then see what feelings those bring up for you and if those will trigger the action of not turning to social media but actually going to bed.

Genia:            Right.

Doña:             You know, so experiment.

Genia:            Excellent.

Doña:             Yeah. So how, how are you feeling now?

Genia:            Ah, good. I think that, um, I think I like the idea of, I’m excited about how I’m going to feel in the morning because that’s part of that cycle for me is I wake up feeling terrible in the morning when I don’t have enough sleep.

Doña:             Right.

Genia:            So, um, and then kicking myself for not making, you know, wise self care decisions.

Doña:             So. Right.

Genia:            Uh, so I liked that one. So, um, don’t you have to tell us a little bit more about your practice and your podcast and where people can find you and connect with you?

Doña:             Yeah. Um, okay. So I, my practice is built around my daughter’s school schedule. So I’m a very part time coach and as a result I work very customized with people. I don’t have a bunch of big packages for sale. I don’t have a bunch of group programs that I’m running. What I love to do is work one on one with people. And so I really prioritize my time around that. So, um, you know, if folks are interested in hearing more about how I work or how to work with me, I, what I generally do is I just hop on the phone and have a chat about what people, what someone’s struggling with. And if I think I can help then we talk about how long that’s going to take and what it’s going to cost. And you know, like work through it all like that. Um, the ways that people can connect with me are definitely through my podcast.

Doña:             I run a podcast called Nurturing Habit. It comes out every other week. It’s both interviews and solo episodes, talking about the kinds of habits that women can build in their lives to feel more in control of their lives. So it’s about time, it’s about energy, it’s about thoughts. Um, and I have really interesting people on, I had a woman on recently who is a sexual communication coach. I’ve had people on who are like money coaches and creativity coaches and all kinds of things. Um, I love interviewing people so I get a real kick out of that. Um, I’m really active on Instagram. That’s another great way to connect with me. I do, um, semi-regular Facebook live, so if you want to find my Facebook page, um, I think it’s under Nurtured Mama Blog on Facebook. So I do at least weekly Facebook lives about a bunch of different topics and I love answering questions. So if anyone listening to this has had something come up, then you know, reach out and tell me your question and I’d love to respond to that.

Genia:            Wonderful. Thanks very much. And I’ll make sure that the link to your website, which has links to all of the other ways of reaching you

Doña:             Yes, all those places.

Genia:            Yup. Are in the show notes.

Doña:             Great.

Genia:            Links in the show notes. Thank you so, so much. Doña. I really appreciate your time today. And, um, and uh, thanks for some insights into how I can maybe, manage just a little bit better.

Doña:             Awesome. That was really fun to do. Thank you.

Genia:            Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope that this episode was of interest. I hope it was thought provoking around some of the things that you might be struggling with and how changing our thoughts and changing the way we approach some of those challenges might actually make it easier for us to move through this particular stage in our lives. If you are enjoying the Good Things in Life Podcast, if you think that it’s valuable, I would so love it if you would rate and review the podcast. The more ratings and reviews the podcast gets, the more likely that it is that podcast platforms like iTunes will put the content in front of other people who might be interested and might be looking for what the Good Things in Life Podcast has to offer. I will leave a link in the show notes below this episode so that it’s super convenient for you to rate and review. Thank you so much and I hope you have a fantastic week.

Thanks for Listening!

Resources & Links Mentioned:

To get an email about new podcasts so that you never miss an episode sign up here.

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask me a question by email.
  • Share this show on Facebook.
  • Talk about this show in your Instagram Stories.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.

Special thanks to Doña Bumgarner for joining me this week. Until next time!

To get an email about new podcasts so that you never miss an episode sign up here.

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask me a question by email.
  • Share this show on Facebook.
  • Talk about this show in your Instagram Stories.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.

Genia Stephen
Genia Stephen

Sister, mother, midwife, writer, speaker and perpetually curious. Dedicated to bringing you the voices, ideas and conversations of world class mentors and thought leaders in the field of disability.