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.

GET TO KNOW 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.

Continue Reading

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~

 

 

 

Continue Reading

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.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

Okay mamas, let’s admit it: we all have suffered from mom guilt from one time or another. Maybe it’s because we bottle fed instead of breastfeed or let our kids eat Fruity Pebbles for dinner– whatever the case, the mom-guilt just happens. We are all human.

Mom-guilt hit me full-force when I was struggling with my postpartum depression.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

As moms, we not only want the absolute best for our babies, but we want to BE the best FOR our babies. Let me tell you right now, mama: that is NOT always going to be possible (or realistic!) If you’re struggling with postpartum depression right now, you already know what I mean by feeling the mom-guilt— it can be so debilitating and exhausting! But, I can promise you one thing: it will not last forever.

I’ve managed to learn a few things along my journey with PPD and I want to share them with you.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

Admit that you need help sooner than later

If you believe that you have PPD, let me tell you something mama– it’s way better to seek help now than later.

I will admit that I waited too long to seek help and it was a lot harder for me to get back to being my old-self.

I also learned that it’s perfectly fine to admit that you need help! It doesn’t make you a bad mom!

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

 

Stop falling into the traps

There are so many traps of motherhood– believing that we need to always be physically and emotionally present for our children may be ranked number one on that list. It’s very easy to get caught-up in these feelings, it’s even easier to guilt ourselves into thinking that we are a “bad mom.”

When we struggle with PPD, it’s incredibly difficult to feel like we are doing “our best” as a mom. The truth is, many days, we don’t even feel like getting out of bed and getting dressed, let alone plaster on a happy face to take care of tiny humans.

It took me over two years to realize something: I will never be the perfect mom. I will never be totally available for my kids 24/7– things may happen completely out of my control. I won’t always be able to make my kids happy. And all of that is perfectly okay.

You are struggling with PPD and in this moment of your life, it’s okay to not be totally available, it’s okay to not be happy all of the time. Remember: you are still human, and it’s okay to not be okay.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

Find your tribe

Postpartum depression can feel like you are the only one in the world going through it. I want to reassure you, that is the furthest from the truth.

It is possible to get through this, and finding your tribe makes postpartum depression so much more bearable to get through.

 

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

When you find your tribe, other women that you can connect and relate with, you will find so much support with your PPD– you will know that you are not alone. It’s also essential to get out and talk with other moms and to vent about how shitty motherhood can sometimes be (I won’t sugarcoat that, honey.)

I think it’s critical to have at least one mom-friend that you can call whenever the proverbial shit hits the fan. We need to know that we’re not the only mamas struggling in the trenches of motherhood.

 

Do it for your babies

You need to get into the mind-set that your babies need you and they need you to be a healthy mama.

Perhaps you feel guilty whenever you practice self-care (again, another pesky mom-trap) but you need to know that taking time for yourself isn’t only beneficial for you, but for your babies.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

The same goes with reaching out for help– it’s all part of that self-care love that you, as a mama, need to practice.

Remember: you need to be the best mama that you can be for your babies. They need you. They love you.

 

Know your worth

Mama, you have to know your worth in this world, and that is this– you’re an awesome, bad-ass mama that can get through anything. Now is the time to say, screw those people that want to judge you, they don’t know you.

How to Manage the Mom Guilt from Postpartum Depression

I want you to start to focus on you. I want you to start to eliminate all of the garbage from your life– whether it’s a toxic relationship, social media, or self-loathing, I want you to eliminate all of that and focus on yourself.

You are so much more than you give yourself credit for, and it’s time for you to start to acknowledge that!

 

Those are some of the ways that I stumbled through my mom-guilt while I was struggling with PPD. I have to say, that I’ve really come a long way– the mom-guilt is no where near as strong as it used to be. Maybe I needed to grow more as a women, or maybe I needed to grow more as a mother, but whatever the case may be, I know I was able to push through it thanks to close support and of course, this blog. <3 so thank you, my trusted readers! You have given me the outlet I needed.

Now, I want to hear from you– have you experience the mom-guilt? What was it, and how did you deal with it? Leave me a comment or message me.

 

 

Continue Reading

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

It’s easy to put off getting treatment for postpartum depression or anxiety when your a busy mom but unfortunately, having no time isn’t the only reason for not seeking treatment. One huge reason may be that moms don’t know where to even go or to talk to for help. And if you do find someone to talk to, when will you go? Who will watch the kids?

 

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!)

Thankfully, thanks to modern technology, help has come a far way from sitting in your therapist’s office on a chaise lounge. Now, you can get help from the comfort of your own home. And in your PJs, if you please.

I’ve put together a few ways to get online help for postpartum depression

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Online therapy

Online therapy is a thing, and yes it is legit.

You can sign up for online therapy in the comfort of your own home and have the ability to speak with your therapist through a live chat or e-mail.  There is no waiting for a referral from your doctor or sitting in a stuffy waiting room.

Online therapy is great because:

you don’t have to leave your house, so you don’t have to worry about the stress of finding someone to watch your kids.

somedays we don’t feel like leaving the comfort of our home and interacting with people.

you don’t sit face-to-face with a therapist, so it appears a little less intimidating.

you get a therapist fitted to your needs.

you can arrange your sessions on your time.

you have a plethora of resources at your disposal– much more than a therapy session, you get workbooks, meditation, and much more– available to you whenever you need it.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Send a text

Sending a text message can literally save your life.

When your feeling overwhelmed, talking to someone on the phone may feel like an impossible task, but texting is a modern convenience that moms can take advantage of.

Here are numbers you can text for 24/7 help:

IN THE US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

CANADA:

Text HOME to 686868

 

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Make a phone call

There are numerous hotlines you can call when you need to reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

US:

1-800-273- TALK (8255)

CANADA:

1-833-456-4566

INTERNATIONALLY:

International Bipolar Foundation has a list of international phone numbers.

Join a Facebook support group

There are Facebook support groups out there for every mom that needs help and encouragement. I know how tough it may be to want to open up to someone about the feelings you are having and especially to people you don’t even know. But a Facebook support group is great because you can be as active (or inactive) as you’d like.

Here are some Facebook support groups for PPD and anxiety:

A New Day Peer Support Group for Moms with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group

PPD and anxiety: Moms Helping Moms

Life After Baby (PostPartum Depression/Anxiety Support)

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

 

Download an App

In this ever-so-growing-technology World, there is literally, an app for that. Busy moms can now download an app at to have for their own convenience and help.

Here are some apps you can download for PPD and PPA:

PPD ACT- The app will be a way for us to collect information for the study, which has two parts. You will be given feedback about your responses to the questions. We can point you toward doctors in your area who specialize in evaluating and treating women with postpartum depression.  Available on iOS devices in Australia, Canada and the US and on Android devices in Australia and US.

MGH Perinatal Depression Scale (MGHPDS)- a free iPhone application designed to refine how women around the world are screened for postpartum depression (PPD). The app includes questionnaires about mood, anxiety, sleep and stress at important time periods during and after pregnancy. The questionnaires will identify which specific symptoms are most critical in the diagnosis of PPD in women ages 18-45 who are pregnant or up to 12 weeks postpartum. 

Announcing the MGH Perinatal Depression Scale at the App Store- The MGHPDS smartphone app includes digital versions of perinatal depression screening tools including the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) as well as other instruments which measure relevant symptoms associated with peripartum psychiatric illness: sleep disturbance, anxiety and perceived stress.

 

How to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Message a Friend

It’s always nice to have an open support connection with a friend that can be your emergency contact in times of need. This friend should be someone you can absolutely trust and depend on to help you when you really need it.

With the vast array of information at your fingertips, it can be easy to find help for postpartum depression, but please always consult your doctor, especially if you believe your PPD is getting worse.

 

 

Continue Reading