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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Thrive This Holiday Season: Eat & Drink for a Healthy Mind & Body

 The busiest time of the year is here, yet again! Decorations, shopping, gifts, parties, and food. The month of abundance (overabundance, to some) has arrived and I’m going to share with you my tips for eating and drinking to survive it all with a healthy mind and body.

The holidays stir up a wide range of emotions for many people. Whether you’re happy or sad, excited or anxious, joyful or depressed…food can either help you feel your best or really drag you down. What you eat can, and does, affect how you feel. And with the season tempting us with more sweets and alcohol than we are usually faced with, this time of year becomes the most challenging time of year.

In my 10+ years as a personal trainer and dietitian, I’ve learned quite a bit about eating and drinking during the holidays.

This comes from life experience working with clients and patients as well as personal experience overcoming my personal food struggles. The tips I share here are a collection I’ve gathered from my studies and my experiences. And I know that if you apply one or more then you will walk through this holiday season with a healthy mind and body!

 

 

 

 

 Set limits to your alcohol

Alcohol, although fun and festive, is a depressant. It depresses not only your mood but also your energy, your liver function, and your body’s ability to metabolize fat. If you know you’re going to an event and will be enjoying a few cocktails or glass of wine, set your maximum to three drinks. Make it a priority to begin with a glass of water and then a glass between drinks. This helps with hydration but also slows your intake. Carbonated water with a splash of lime is refreshing and tasty!

 

Enjoy dessert but don’t overdo it

The holidays seem to spike our interest in desserts as if they are exotic treats from far off lands that we’ll never see again. Prepared with magical sugar and made by tiny fairies so, yes, we must enjoy as many and as much as we can. Now. And then they pop up everywhere so we snag more and more until we eventually don’t care that we’ve eaten an entire dessert spread over the course of a few weeks. So as tempting and delicious as so many sweets are, I encourage you to choose and few and savor them.

Excess sugar can take its toll on your mind (hello mood swings!) and body (blood sugar spikes and drops really play a number on your energy) and therefore should be avoided if you want to thrive. It took me years to realize that we are capable of obtaining sweets 365 days a year so there’s no need to shove them all into 30 days. And honestly, many sweets are store-bought and not that special. I say go for the homemade goodies and enjoy a few!

 

 

Hydrate your gorgeous body

Water should be the primary beverage you are drinking all day long. Excess caffeine from sodas and coffee leave our bodies feeling wired yet tired. Not only do they displace our water intake but they give us a burst of energy only to leave us with a crash hours later. Evaluate what your intake is now, and reduce it. Honestly, soda has zero benefits (even diet soda) so it’s in your best interest to wean yourself from it completely. Enjoy a cup or two of coffee and then indulge in water the rest of the day. Your skin, your eyes, your entire body will glow with hydration and you’ll notice your energy will be stabilized throughout the day.

 

 

 Get sleep and stay active

For some reason, December arrives and all of a sudden we are too busy to take care of ourselves because we are so busy doing all things HOLIDAYS! We stay up late, skip workouts, and we disrupt our sleep with alcohol. It’s far easier to go to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier than it is to add that time in the morning so cut off electronics early and snuggle up to get your rest. I guarantee that a rested body will allow you more energy for staying active and co tell your hunger hormones so you’re not diving into the cookie tray twelve times!

As for staying active—make a commitment to yourself to do something at least five days a week. That allows you room for travel and events that are planned or pop up. And you don’t have to hit the gym for every workout. A quick 20-30 minute high-intensity workout, yoga, or an hour walk are all excellent choices to keep your body moving. If you have time and love the gym, do that! I sure do! Do what you enjoy and will keep you moving.

 

These are just a few major ways you can help yourself sparkle and shine this holiday season. Incorporate them now and with practice, they will become part of your life throughout the year.

 

This was a guest post written by my dear friend, Amanda.

 

Amanda is a full-time stay-at-home-mother, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and former personal trainer. She loves the outdoors, spending time with her husband and daughter, and living a healthy lifestyle with room for croissants.

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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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7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues with Postpartum Depression

Hey there, mama. Chances are, it’s cold (or getting cold) wherever you may be in the world; perhaps you like the change of the season, or perhaps you don’t (I’ve always been partial to fall and winter). While the falling leaves and snow can be pretty, the novelity only lasts so long…because when we’re four months in and there’s no end in sight of gloomy days, it can put us in a slump.

The winter blues (and for some it can be seasonal depression) can literally be the pits. Seriously. When the clocks turn back and it’s dark outside for more hours than the sun is up, that is freaking depressing. I hate it. And having postpartum depression sure doesn’t make it any better.

It’s proven that when fall time rolls around, people can get into major slumps. And that’s expected. The days are shorter, the weather gets a lot cooler, and with the holiday season approaching, it can make depression deepen.

 

 

I can remember last winter: when I was at the worst of my postpartum depression. I felt so lonely and isolated. The days were so gloomy here in Germany…where spotting the sun was such a rare occurrence. I wondered how I would survive the winter with feeling so depressed.

Somehow, I got through that ever gloomy fall, winter, and spring (it was a very rainy year) and since the winter time will be approaching, I want to share some of the things that helped me battle the winter blues last year.

 

 

*disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

 

 

 

1. Stay on a routine.

Staying on a routine can keep you busy and focused on life. This rings so true for me– if my routine is out of whack, my mood can be severely affected.

A few ways I like to incorporate a routine into my lifestyle is:

*create monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists to keep you organized,

*set monthly goals to keep you focused,

*wake up a little earlier (before the kids) and have some time for yourself– workout, coffee, shower,

*invest in a kick-ass planner to help keep your life on track– this planner is perfect for every mom.

 

 

 

2. Take daily vitamins and supplements.

Not just in the winter time (but every season) is it important to consume daily vitamins and supplements. When the weather begins to change– hello cold and flu season— it’s crucial to supply your body with the proper vitamins. Not only can vitamins help keep your body healthy, but also your mind.

A few recommended vitamins and supplements to have on-hand during the winter:

Vitamin D

A lack of Vitamin D can result in: depression, fatigue, muscle pain, and getting sick often. During the winter months, include 1 dose of Vitamin D with every meal.

 

Elderberry syrup

A daily dose of elderberry syrup can prevent sickness and promote a healthy well-being during the winter months.

Check out my past blog post on elderberry gummies (syrup recipe also included).

 

SAMe

SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) is a naturally occurring chemical component present in all cells of the body. SAMe appears to be an effective treatment for depression and may be used in conjunction with antidepressants.

 

Natrol 5-HTP mood and stress

Helps promotes a positive mood and can be used in conjunction with antidepressants.

 

 

3. Get outside

Yes, even when it’s cold and drab outside, you should still get outdoors; bundle up in layers and go for a walk! The fresh air can really do wonders.

I make it a daily habit to get outside with my kids– we dress up in the warmest clothes and just get out. It can be a simple walk to the park or even sitting in the backyard for a couple of mintues. It helps so much.

 

 

4. Invest in a hobby

Investing in a hobby can make the winter slumps a bit bearable while giving your mind something to stay on track with. Need some ideas? Here are a few… you can:

*take up knitting

*scrapbooking

*writing (my personal favorite)

*refurbish old furniture

*learn to play an instrument

*start a new workout regimen

*sew

*arts and crafts

 

 

 

5. Stay busy with friends

Another great way to help beat off the winter blues is to make plans with a friend. Go out for coffee. Meet for brunch. Go shopping or to see a movie. Have a game night with some wine. Just talking to a friend can make you feel so much better!

 

 

 

6. Soak in an epsom salt bath

If you know me, you know how I love my epsom salt baths. No joke, I take an epsom salt bath at least once a week…and I try to take more during the winter months.

It turns out that soaking in a warm, epsom salt bath has sooooo many benefits (and yes, I am going to list them right now)

*relaxes the body and mind

*soothes sore muscles

*detoxifies the body

*uplifts your mood

*improves circulation

*promotes a restful sleep

I always reccomend the Dr. Teal’s brand of epsom salt- looooove it!

 

7. Exercise

Of course, I can’t leve out exercise on this list. Why? Because exercise is really so good for your mind…I exercise mainly for my mental health (and I get rather cranky when I skip a couple of days.)

When it’s too cold to leave the house for a run and gym fees are a thing you can’t afford, Daily Burn and YouTube offer at-home workouts that can be done right in the comfort of your home.

 

 

 

How do you beat the winter blues? I would love to hear about it. Reply back with a comment!

 

 

 

 

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