Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

The holiday season can be the most wonderful time of theeee year! And yet at the same time, it can be the most stressful. We try to enjoy the holiday season, but somehow, we also (feel like we need to) beat the rat race of catching up with all of our holiday tasks and we are left feeling tired (and stressed!) pssst, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed and maxed-out this year.

 

 

 

Do the holidays stress you out? How do you handle the hustle and bustle of the holiday season?

It may be hard, but you should still practice self-care during the holiday season. I know– it can be a bit hard to manage time for yourself when you are thinking about everyone else and possibly spending the month of December traveling– but making the time for yourself is easier once you make it a priority.

 

Let’s talk about how to make yourself a priority and how to incorporate self-care during the holiday season.

Can I ask you a question, mama? Does your routine go right out the window once the holiday season begins to approach? If you’re anything like me, well, my routine can get a bit lopsided with all the yummy foods and traveling that tend to occur around that special time of year.

I want you to live your best life this holiday season by incorporating more self-care into your daily life. It is possible!

 

 

Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

 

 

Hydrate

Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

Drink your h20… it’s crucial in feeling (and looking) your best. And it’s possibly the easiest thing you can do to incorporate self-care.

 

Work out

Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

Take a walk, go for a hike, practice some yoga, or stick to your gym regimen; whatever it is, you will be taking care of your body & mind, which may be the best self-care of all.

And perhaps a reason to eat one or two extra Christmas cookies.

 

Take a bath

Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

Perhaps one of my all-time favorite self-care things to do: taking a hot bath!

Soaking in a bath for just thirty-minutes is jam-packed with tons of health benefits…for your body and your mind.

 

Put on music and zone out

incorporating self-care during the holidays

Music makes me feel happy and it’s a good way to release stress. Crank up some of your fav tunes and zone out for a bit. Give your mind the needed break!

 

Meditate

Incorporating Self-Care During the Holidays

Meditiation may sound intimidating, but it’s amazing for the mind– for de-stressing, relaxing, and just being mindful, meditation is a great self-care tool.

I recently found an awesome meditation app called Headspace.

You guys, I think I’m hooked on this neat little app. I am super new to meditation (never could stick with it) but Headspace makes it easy to start off with short, three-mintue sessions

Put on hand lotion

Yesss…a little weird? Hear me out!

My hands are always so so dry in the winter (to the point where I start to pick at the dry skin by my fingers, ouch!) I need to make it a point to constantly smother my hands with lotion because let’s be honest, who really wants their hands to feel dry and scaly. Not this girl.

Pick up some hand lotion and get to pampering…preferably some lotion that smells nice and can leave your hands feeling super-soft.

 

Keep up with appointments

I know that this time of year is filled with so much craziness, but it’s not the time to skip out on appointments. Keeping up with your appointments is so important– whether for your mental health or physical health, make it a priority and just go.

 

Splurge on yourself

Whether it’s a new dress, a pair of earrings, or even a trip to paradise, splurge on yourself this year. Just do it! You’re worth it and you can use a spa-day, anyway.

 

Self-care is doable this holiday season, so mama, give yourself the BEST gift this year and make yourself a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facing your Family: Managing your Postpartum Anxiety

With the holiday season approaching, I realized how we can get triggered with our postpartum anxiety. Let’s talk about that for a minute now: Imagine that you are in a room full of people (some you may never have even met before…like Aunt Gerty’s BFF) for a family dinner. You have your adorable baby in tow and everyone and their mother wants to gobble her up; they want to hold her, feed her, maybe even kiss her (oh, boy..let’s save that for another post!) how does that make you feel?

Is your heart racing just thinking about that? It’s alright because I get that. Postpartum anxiety is a real (insert female dog word here) and it can make you want to run and hide indoors with your baby. Alone. Preferably with some Netflix and hot chocolate.

 

 

Now to get back to my scenario from before, what would YOU do in that predicament? Would you not say anything (even though your insides are as hot as lava and you are screaming obscenities)? Would you watch over every single person handling your baby like a worried Mother Goose? Would you kindly mention that your babe needs a diaper change and run away with her to the nearest bathroom to escape the infinity of hands laid upon her? Would you escape to the bathroom just to breathe…and cry?

Let’s talk about managing your postpartum anxiety this holiday season.

I want to help you manage your postpartum anxiety with some tips and words of encouragement (because I got you, mama!!!)

 

 

Decide if it’s the time to let it happen

Maybe this will be the first time taking your baby around so many new people and you don’t feel comfortable with it.

Will it be the first time that other people will hold your baby? Will you let it happen?

Setting up a game plan can help you determine what you’re going to do (yes– Aunt Gerty’s BFF can hold my baby or not. I’m going to baby wear the whole evening) knowing your decision can help ease your anxiety.

 

Write your anxieties down

What triggers your PPA? Write it all down so you can (not only) get it off your chest, but to understand your PPA a little bit better. Knowing what triggers you may help you start to overcome your PPA.

 

Establish boundaries

If you don’t like it for other people to change your baby’s diaper or to kiss her on the face, then establishing boundaries is key and it’s okay to let people know this.

You are your baby’s advocate.

 

Bring along a moral support buddy

If you’re unsure whether or not you can make it through the dinners or parties this year, bring along a moral support buddy.

A great moral support buddy can be your significant other or a trusted friend. Ask them to stay by your side throughout the event; even talk about using a code-word in case things get too heavy and you need to leave.

 

Meditate before those big dinner parties

Try to meditate before heading out to a family function– Headspace is a great app for meditation (and even better, it’s free!)

Meditating can calm and relax you… just what you need before facing families and big crowds.

 

Sit this one out

If you’re not feeling ready to face your family this holiday season, consider to sit this one out.

Remember: you know yourself, and your baby, better than anyone else. Choose to put yourself in a healthy and happy environment!

 

 

 

How can I help you face your family this holiday season?

Do you have any…

questions, comments, concerns, or just need to talk? I’m here. Reply back to me or find me on facebook.

I’m wishing you a happy and healthy holiday. Keep smiling~

 

 

 

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Facing your Family: Talking About Postpartum Depression

With the holiday season approaching, it can be a joyous time– cozy fireplaces, yummy food, festive activities, and being with the ones you love. It’s also a time where families come together to share in the holiday spirit. Extended families near and far, travel to spend these precious days catching up; which can be extremely overwhelming for someone diagnosed with postpartum depression (the questions, the looks, the assumptions).

 

 

For the women that may be reading this that do have a stable and supportive family- that is fantastic and you are pretty dang lucky. However, I’m aware that not everyone can be so lucky as to have an understanding and supportive family when it comes to serious issues.

Case in point: Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum depression is now just getting recognized as a serious condition (finally!) and that’s because of our amazing generation of strong mamas that have been courageous enough to open up and talk about it.

Unfortunately, postpartum depression can still be viewed as a non-existent or easily brushed-off condition…which is why some mamas may have a hard time talking about it.

 

 

I’m here today to help you gain the confidence to face your family this holiday season if you have postpartum depression.

 

I don’t want to point fingers or anything, and I know it’s not their fault, but our mothers and grandmothers generations kind of screwed us over on this one.

Back in “the day” (yeah, I went there) women kept all their shit held deep inside. Motherhood was nothing short of amazing. Smiles, as well as spotless homes and home-made meals from scratch, were expected.

 We know that there is a HUGE difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression since the mothers before us came home from the hospital with their newborn babies.

 

 

Are you afraid to face your family this holiday season or you’re unsure how to talk to them about your postpartum depression? I have some tips that may help you.

 

 

 

Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself, or your condition

You should never have to feel like you have to explain why you’re feeling the way you feel. You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re depressed.

Also, don’t need to explain your condition– if someone doesn’t understand postpartum depression, then that is on them to research the condition. Not you. Please don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation for your mental health.

 

Be prepared to answer the questions

Some people are genuinely concerned with how you are doing, so be prepared for rapid-fire questions, such as:

“how are you doing?”

“are you feeling okay?”

“how have you been?”

“do you need to talk?”

“do you need any help?”

I assure you that these questions are not meant to hurt you, but to help you.

 

 

 

Remember that most people really just want to help (and accept that help)

It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help is actually a sign of being a pretty kickass mama…and not to just ask for that help, but to ACCEPT it. If you aren’t feeling okay, then accept that and talk about it. You will have bad days during your journey, and that is okay.

 

 

When it becomes too much, change the subject

When you become tired of the endless questions and worrisome stares, changing the subject can be a great way to steer the conversation to a lighter spot. Some conversation ideas can range from the weather, the food (because it’s the holidays and we are ALL eating), to which types of movies are playing in the theater.

 

Bring along a moral support buddy

If the thought of visiting family really skeeves you out and you’re unsure how to do it by yourself, bring along a moral support buddy. Tell your buddy to stick close by your side and even make up a code word that you can say to him/her when things get too much.

 

It’s not you, it’s them

If anybody seems standoffish since they found out you’ve been diagnosed with postpartum depression, remember: it’s not you, it’s them.

They don’t understand what you’re going through and chances are, they don’t even know what to say to you. I think it’s still important to engage with these people, however, if your effort is more than they are willing to give back, it’s okay to take a step away from this relationship. Perhaps they will understand your struggle someday, or perhaps they won’t, either way, it’s not you, it’s them.

Try to stay out of uncomfortable situations

If you know that going over to Aunt Gerty’s house will be emotionally and mentally exhausting, perhaps it’s best to sit this one out. You don’t need to worry about whose feelings you may be hurting if you don’t go to the big dinner– because your mental health is the most important.

 

 

Place yourself in comfortable situations

When we are in our own environment, we can feel less threatened by our worries and fears. Perhaps having the holiday get-together at your home (where you feel most comfortable) is an idea.

If the thought of having a house full of people overwhelms you to the point of hiding under the covers, you don’t have to plan it alone! Call up a trusted family member or pal to help you coordinate the party or dinner.

How does the holiday season affect your postpartum depression? What would you like me to talk about in my next Holiday survival post? I would love to hear about it in a comment or through e-mail. I’m always here to listen, and I know how important that is this time of the year.

I hope you have a fantastic holiday this year and remember~ keep smiling.

 

 

 

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Oh-So Yummy {And Toddler-Approved!} Elderberry Gummies

Goodbye Summer! The end of summer, for me, is a bit bittersweet– I’m always said to see the warm, sunny days go away, but on the other hand, I love the cool, crisp autumn days and seeing the beautiful fall foliage around me. (And do I need to mention, pumpkin spice lattes?!)  Yes, I’m a sucker for everything fall.

 

 

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

But what I’m not a sucker for is my kids getting sick. The cooler weather always brings on those seasonal ickies– Mother Nature’s reminder that it’s officially time to put the swimsuits away–the dreaded cold and flu season.

During this time of the year, I would rather stay in my house every single day then to risk exposing my kids to a potential germ. However, that is not possible and since nobody has invented a human bubble yet, my plan has been to load my kids up with vitamin goodness.

Which brings me the reason for my post: Elderberry gummies.

I will tell you how to make them…keep reading!

Last winter, I discovered the amazing benefits of Elderberry syrup. Holy moly. I swear by this stuff now. I really do. My I’m a believer story is when I was feeling a sickness coming on, so I took a tablespoon every 2 hours– I kid you not when I say that I felt better the next day. No Advil, Day or NyQuil needed! Elderberry syrup has since been stocked in my fridge ever since.

 

all that yummy goodness!!

 

With the cold/flu season approaching, I wanted the syrup in full-stock for my family, but I also needed an easier way to make sure my two toddlers were getting the goodness into their tiny bellies. Because if you have toddlers, you know how, *ahem* difficult, they can be.

It’s when elderberry gummies came into my mind– so I began to research how to make them. It turns out, making your own elderberry gummies is INSANELY easy. I mean, really, really, stinkin’ easy. And wayyy cheaper than buying them already made.

Before you make your gummies…

You will need elderberry syurp. I make my own because again, it’s so insanely cheap and easy.

Here is my favorite (and I’m tried quite a few) recipe that is tasty and equally easy to make!

courtesy of Wellness Mama

2/3 cup dried elderberries, or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen

  • 3½ cups water
  • 2 TBSP fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (local honey is best)

Instructions

  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
  4. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
  5. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  6. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  7. When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
  8. When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a quart sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  9. Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.

Notes

Standard dose is ½ tsp – 1 tsp for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

 

Now, what you have all been waiting for…..

 

recipe adapted by Coconut Mama

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons gelatin
  • 1/4 Cup Homemade Elderberry Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 Cup water

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of elderberry syrup with gelatin.
  2. Let the gelatin sit in the water for a minute or until it gels up.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan on low heat. You want the water to be hot but not boiling.
  4. Pour the hot water over the gelatin mixture.
  5. Use a whisk and mix the ingredients together.
  6. Add the honey and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Pour mixture into molds.
  8. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until set.
  9. Store fruit snacks in a closed container in the refrigerator.

Take 2-3 gummies a day for optimal well-being!

 

toddler approved by my picky three-year old (:

 

 

I’m happy that I could share with you my trusted and well-loved recipe for elderberry gummy bears. These gummy bear vitamins will help keep your little ones healthy this cold/flu season.

Did you make these? I want to hear what you think in the comments, please!

 

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How to Feel Better When You’re a Sleep-Deprived Mom

If I were to ask you, what is the number one thing that you miss pre-children, what would it be? I can guarantee that half of my moms out there would tell me the number one thing they desperately miss is sleep.

Are you shaking your head right now? Can you totally relate? I’m not surprised!

*disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

My boys are 3 and 18 months and I’m still exhausted so I get you, mama. The truth is, the sleep-deprivation doesn’t go away when your baby hits toddler hood.

I know how tough it is in the beginning of motherhood– you’re experiencing so many new changes, (with your body and your new baby) you’re juggling this new normal, (whatever that may be) all while battling barely any sleep.

I’ve always heard people say that moms need to rest when they can, but in reality, that is just not happening– even when we know how crucial sleep is for our overall health.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

Getting enough sleep isn’t just crucial but  it turns out, when we are sleep-deprived, it can drastically affect postpartum issues such as postpartum depression and anxiety and intensify the symptoms. Sleep-deprivation also leads to these other health issues:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • affects mood
  • problems with relationships

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

I will share with you how to feel better when you’re a sleep-deprived mom.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

 

1. Sign up for a sleep program

 

Do you need help with getting your baby on a good sleep schedule? Is your 6 month-old still waking up several times during the night? Is your toddler waking up or taking short naps? Are you just about at your wit’s end because of exhaustion?

I may be able to help with that!

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you feel drained, overly emotional & irritable on a daily basis?
  • Are you anxious at bedtime, worrying about how much you’ll be up at night?
  • Is your marriage strained, because you have no energy for each other?
  • Do you get frustrated or impatient with your baby because you feel like you never get a break?

Signing up for a sleep program for your baby may be your answer to getting more Zzz’s at night time. I have teamed up with Jilly Blackenship from Baby Sleep Made Simple— a Mom as well as a Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Registered Nurse to give tired mamas everywhere a chance to get a better night’s rest.

21 Days to Peace & Quiet may be for you!
for more information:

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

2. Take an epsom salt bath

A simple self-care love can do wonders when you feel down and out! My favorite go-to is to soak in a nice epsom salt bath.  I looooove Dr Teal’s epsom salt soaks, like these ones from Amazon.

These are my favorite epsom salts because essential oils {like lavender and eucalyptus} are already mixed in for an extra soothing experience.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

 

3. Call a friend

It’s crucial to have a mom tribe– we all need a helping hand now and then– to call upon a trusted girlfriend and just say hey, I’m exhausted, Timmy has been running me ragged… send help {and wine!}

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

It’s the best when you can just unload on someone to help you out in times of need!

 

4. Eliminate the toxins from your life

When your already exhausted, even the littlest things can set you off– try to eliminate the toxins from your life so you can focus on yourself and your family.

Some small ways to eliminate toxins from your life are:

  • limiting social media
  • improving diet
  • cutting ties with non-supportive people
  • limiting alcohol/drugs/etc.

 

5. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating a well-balanced diet can drastically improve the way you feel. This means…

  • cut out sugars/processed foods
  • cut out soda/sugary drinks
  • cut down on coffee/other caffeinated beverages
  • eating more veggies
  • getting enough protein and good fats
  • drinking at least 8 oz. of water a day

Not only will you begin to feel better, but you will gain more energy to keep up with your tiny human(s)!

 

6. Exercise

It may sound a little counterproductive, but fitting in at least thirty minutes of exercise per day can have you feeling energetic and just plain great. I realize how hard it can be to fit in a daily workout, but I’ve made it a priority to squeeze in some form of physical fitness 3-4 times per week.

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

Daily Burn offers amazing workouts that you can do {right in your home} and there are various fitness channels available on YouTube. Involve your baby. Get creative with it. You will feel better!

 

 

7. Meditate

Get out of your head for a little bit and meditate to feel better. In case you are totally new to meditation, Headspace is a cool app that offers guided meditation and psst, I heard meditation helps with insomnia.

 

 

How to Feel Better When You're a Sleep-Deprived Mom

 

8. Know your limits

Forget about all of those dirty dishes waiting in the sink or the mountain of laundry scattered on your sofa. It’s okay to not get it all done right now and it’s important to know your limits and rest.

Remember: your house will never be spotless again and that’s okay. Take care of your baby and yourself. Rest when you can and know that you are doing an awesome job!

 

I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to feel better when you’re a sleep-deprived mom and that you will use these tools to help yourself. What did you think of them? If you have any tips of your own, please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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