Why Every Woman Needs a Day to Themselves: 6 Essential Self Care Tips

Women need to practice self care because they take on a lot. Whether it’s a mom juggling the kids’ school and activities or a college graduate in the thick of their thesis paper, life can be quite exhausting. All of this overthinking and overworking can have a real impact on our mental health.  That’s why every woman needs a day to themselves from time to time.

To get you started, here are six essential self care tips for that special day all to yourself!
Why Every Woman Needs a Day to Themselves: 6 Essential Self Care Tips
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Get Good Sleep

Sleep deprivation can have multiple compounding effects on the body. So without it, our bodies fail to repair damaged tissue, metabolize hormones, and even create memories or simply retain lessons learned. So, while women are stressed at work or worried about their kids in some way, it’s hard to shake it off before heading to bed.

To combat this, one essential self-care tip is to change your bedtime routine. Avoid foods with caffeine and sugar and, instead, drink some soothing chamomile tea. Another nasty habit women tend to have before bed? Checking their phone and watching television. For many reasons, it’s important to put these devices away or turn them off and on silent. Not only do they stimulate your brain when you should really be unwinding, but the blue lights screw with our melatonin hormone, which, in turn, confuses our circadian rhythms and disrupts proper REM. Instead, read a self-care book or write in a gratitude journal.

Other than your phone, keep bedroom lighting to a minimum to achieve proper sleep. Use blackout curtains and avoid using a nightlight, even in conjoining bathrooms. To get the best rest of your life, it should be perfectly pitch dark!

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
.

Be Mindful of What You Digest

This goes for food and everything that goes along with it—like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Food is such a crucial role in how we feel, mentally and physically, and it can be affected on a daily basis. Reach for high-nutrient foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and brassicas (think broccoli and Brussels sprouts). The best way to be more mindful of what you digest is to know precisely what your body is absorbing. When you eat fast foods or takeout on a hurried day, you rarely stop to question what’s in it or from where it came. Instead, make sure you get the proper nutrients by creating a healthy meal at home, for family dinners or to carry into work for lunch.

Even if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, you can have your local supermarket deliver weekly produce and ingredients straight to your doorstep. Not to mention, there is practically an endless variety of boxed meal delivery services from which to choose. Supplements can also improve our physical and mental health enormously. While it’s always best to first consult your physician or nutritionist, several supplements that could be beneficial are Vitamin D3, iron, omega-3, and even digestive enzymes.

Probiotics can especially enhance your gut health. Called the “second brain,” our gut plays a significant role in mental well-being, as our digestive tract is responsible for 90% of serotonin, which plays a major role in our mood and mental state.

Spend Time Outdoors

Fresh air does more good for your body than you realize. So, it’s essential to remember to take a step outside every now and then. Seasonal Affective Disorder rears its ugly head in the winter as we tend to stay indoors, plan for the stressful holidays, and experience nothing but a cloudy gray haze. But it’s still important to get some sun and nourishing Vitamin D, which can be a real mood-booster.

You don’t have to go for a run—just a leisurely stroll in the park is enough. And, in doing so, you will also be getting some physical exercise, which will help clear your head and allow you to sleep sounder and deeper.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
.

Organize Your Home and Thoughts

Sometimes, even the clutter we leave lying around can affect our mental state. It’s important to reassess the home every so often, declutter, and organize. Whether that means donating boxes to secondhand stores or gifting items to friends and family, tidying up your living space can leave you feeling refreshed. And that, in turn, can improve your mental clarity. Brightening up your space with new home treasures and décor can drastically change the look and feel of your home, bringing you a refreshing new outlook to your day to day!

When it comes to your thoughts, those need to be organized too, but in a different way. There are several ways to bring clarity to the mind. You can create lists as a way of “brain-dumping,” which can center or ground you, leaving you less overwhelmed about all the tiny menial tasks, and even big ones, too! Here’s a fantastic brain dump exercise to help guide you.

Slightly different than a brain dump, one essential self-care tip is to create a gratitude journal. It seems simple enough, but, by acknowledging the small moments and accomplishments you feel grateful for, you can let go of regrets and learn not to be so hard on yourself. You can start with morning affirmations and end with what you enjoyed about the day.

Meditate and Learn to Breathe Again

Chronic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and a whole range of mental and even physical health issues. However, according to some studies, meditation has been proven to alter our heart rate and blood pressure, reducing these stress-driven health issues.

And this lies in the relationship between our diaphragm and our sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response. Breathing exercises that accompany meditation engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which essentially tamps down the “fight or flight” response that chronic stress brings. And, by breathing through the diaphragm, women can trick the mind and body into this parasympathetic response. Here are some beginner tips for developing a meditation practice.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
.

Create a Self-Care Reminder

Every once in a while, a woman needs a day to themselves. And, with our hectic lives, it’s important to pencil it in, guard it, and cherish it. Make it a regimen and schedule it once a month, at least. But, until that day, also be sure to practice a little self-care in your everyday routine.


Author Bio: Carolyn Eberhart serves as the Digital Marketing Manager for Natural Life. Carolyn oversees all digital marketing efforts relating to Paid Social Media and Email Marketing remotely from Redwood City, CA. During the week she is passionate about her career, cooking, exercising and hanging out with her family and on Sundays you can find her cheering on the Buffalo Bills!

5 Activities That Will Get Rid of the Post Holiday Blues

We spend months preparing for the holidays, and then they’re over in a day or two, leaving us feeling sad and empty.

The post holiday blues is a common experience for many people.  Once the festivities of the holiday season are done, what else is there to look forward to?  If you live in a cold climate like me, the months of January and February are often the coldest and dreariest, making us want to stay in and hibernate.

Falling into the slump of the post holiday blues can be dangerous for our mental health.  It can cause seasonal affective disorder, a depression relapse or symptoms of rage and anxiety.

Instead, try one of these five activities to help get rid of the common post holiday blues.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues

Take a Vacation

Obviously one of the best ways to get away from the harsh winter is to escape somewhere hot.  January boasts some of the best deals on getaways, specifically targeted at those suffering from a case of the post holiday blues.  Spending a few days at an all inclusive resort can do wonders for your mental health.  

But a post holiday vacation is not practical nor affordable for everyone.  You can still take advantage of the benefits of a vacation, though.  Book a hotel room for a weekend or go on a road trip if the weather’s not too bad.  Visit a local ski hill or try an ice fishing expedition.  Having some weekend activities planned for January and February can help tackle the post holiday blues by giving you something else to look forward to.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
.

Plan a Hygge Weekend or Party

Or a stay-cation, if you will.  If going out in the winter just isn’t your thing, then consider planning a hygge weekend instead.  If you’re not familiar with hygge, it’s the Danish way of living that includes lots of warmth, coziness and indulgence (click here to read all about it).  

You can cuddle up by the fireplace with the family and drink hot chocolate.  Or if you’re up for it, plan a hygge party!  Invite all your family and friends over for a relaxing night of cake and laughter.  Everyone can wear their comfiest pajamas and cozy socks.  You can all sit around playing board games and binge eating sweets.  What better way for you and all your loved ones to recover from the holidays together?

Hygge Lifestyle
.

Try an Outdoor Spa Experience

Winter is the perfect time for an outdoor spa day.  Sitting in a hot tub can get really hot, really quickly… unless you’re sitting outside in the cold.  There are special thermotherapy spas popping up in colder climates now, inspired by the Scandinavian way of life.  These often include a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities and they are complete bliss on colder days.

Or look into visiting a hot spring resort. If you don’t live near one, check if any local gyms, clubs or hotels offer outdoor pools or spas.  Saunas are another great option for an outdoor spa experience and are quite popular in the winter.

If you can’t locate an outdoor spa near to you, then just head to your regular spa.  Any kind of pampering and self care will help you beat those post holiday blues and improve your overall mental health. 

.

Deep Clean Your Home

I know this one sounds more like a chore.  But staying distracted and keeping busy is a great way to avoid symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Over the holidays, you’ve likely acquired a whole bunch of new stuff. That makes the months after the holidays the perfect time to purge all of your old stuff.

Start with one room a day (or week) and go through all the junk that’s been shoved into closets and into drawers.  Donate or sell whatever you can and throw out the rest.  By the time spring comes around, you’ll have a nice clean home on the inside, so you can focus just on the outside. 

Minimizing your junk and living in a clean home is great for your mental health.  Plus, it will give you a real sense of purpose and discourage you from feeling lazy and unproductive all winter long. 

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
.

Make a Big Change

New year, new you right?  While I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, making a drastic change or trying something new in your life can definitely get rid of the post holiday blues.  Don’t focus on how sad you are that the holidays are over, look towards the future instead.

January is a great time for planning.  Print off our free 2020 calendar and start penciling in all your important dates.  See where you can make some changes to your routine or schedule.  Or perhaps the change could be something physical, like changing your hair color or style, makeup routine or getting into shape. 

Consider changing something in your environment as well.  You could paint your walls, change up your furniture or even get a new car.  Make some new friends, sign up for a class or start a new hobby.  Something new or different for the New Year will make you feel proud and excited for what’s ahead.


How to Cope With Parental Burnout: 5 Practical Ways to Recharge

How to Cope with Parental Burnout
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Parenting is a beautiful journey that we can pretty much compare to a roller coaster ride – filled with ups and downs that does not seem to end.  Unfortunately, there are times when parents can feel excessively tired, cranky, unproductive, useless, and not enough.  Have you felt the same way too?  Then this means that you are suffering from parental burnout.

What is Parental Burnout?

Parental burnout exists and is becoming more prevalent lately.  It is a term that describes resentment, physical and emotional fatigue, de-motivation, and even depression in some parents who are overly stressed with parenting and a pile of other obligations.

According to studies and research, the changes in our society and culture are huge contributing factors that brought about the rise of this syndrome.  So how do you know if you have parental burnout?  These are the signs that you need to watch out for:

    • Emotionally distancing from child
    • Lack of motivation to go on
    • Feeling useless as a parent
    • Easily angered by the child even for simplest and smallest reasons

The bad thing is that not only parents are affected by parental burnout.  This can take a toll on your child, too and the effects can last for a long time.  For this reason, moms and dads should partake in activities that allow them to “recharge” and prevent fatigue.

Having said that, I decided to ask other parents for practical solutions on how to cope with parental burnout.

How to Cope

If you feel like you can no longer take it all, here are some of the many suggestions from parents like you and I to avoid falling prey to parental burnout:

Shop

I shop for my son to de-stress.  I usually do this with a mom friend so I have a chance to talk to another adult (and keep my sanity lol).  This technique is like hitting two birds with one stone – shopping for things that my kid needs while socializing with other moms without feeling guilty of leaving my husband and kid behind.  I feel invigorated after doing this kind of errand.  You should try it, too.

Have a Vent Buddy

It is really frustrating for me every time my 3-year old son and I argue.  I always remind myself that I need to understand his context because he does not always get my point of view… and shouting at him does not help at all.

Whenever I feel like I am about to explode, I take a break from arguing with my son and call or text a friend.  I whine, and nag, and even swear if need be just to let everything out of my system.  After this, I feel a bit better and all my anger has simmered.  By the time I go back to my son, my head is already clear and I can better “hear” what he is saying.  This way, we can better communicate with each other.

If I can’t reach anyone, I simply send an email to myself – the same thing I want to tell my vent buddy during a phone call or text message.

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
.

Relax and Watch a Movie

I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities – imagine another human being is fully dependent on me for everything.  As a result, I worry almost every time even when I am near my kiddo.  This is where parental burnout comes creeping in.

When this happens, I watch a movie – more than once a month.  I choose movies that do not last for more than two hours.  As I am engrossed with the characters in the movie, I temporarily forget about my woes and worries.  This, honestly, feels like a mini-vacation for me.  As soon as I go out, I feel like a different person.

Go for a Run

This is the same thing as having a vent buddy as this helps keep my head clear.  Before I go to work, I run for 15 minutes to decompress and work on things that are stressing me out.   

This 15-minute run might not be much but it helps me work something out on my head while keeping my body healthy and active.  By the time I get home, I feel happier and, surprisingly, more patient.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
.

Let Your Partner Take Over

Parenting on your own is hard.  Plus, it makes you crazy as you incessantly want to control everything.  Sometimes, I decide to take a step back.  I tell myself to bail on some activities and let my husband handle it.

For instance, I let my husband take my son to the park so I can stay at home.  I can clean, read a book, catch on my favorite series, or just sit down and relax.  This rewards us both – my husband gets to bond with my son and I get some time to reboot.


Remember that parenting is not like a job wherein you can just resign anytime you want.  You cannot give up or quit on your kids.  But if you take note of the practical tips in this post that are proven effective by other parents, I am sure that you will feel happy.  You will never fall prey to parental burnout ever again.


Elkyra Park is a first-time mom who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake.  She discusses about the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at www.easyparentinghacks.com

How to Have Some Time for Yourself as a Busy Parent

If you are a parent then you might feel as though at times, your work is never done. You may find that you are being constantly torn between homework, dentist appointments, soccer practices and more. If you want to help yourself, then you need to practice self-care. This will help you to become way less stressed in the day and it will also help you to recharge too.

How to Have Some Time for Yourself As a Busy Parent
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links.

Find Ways to Recharge

As a parent, you may feel as though you need to put other people’s needs before your own. You need to start focusing on yourself more and you also need to set some money aside so that you can pamper yourself too. Of course, the way that you do this will depend on your circumstances and your budget. If you are stuck for ideas then get a manicure, buy yourself a new item of clothing or even go for that haircut you’ve been meaning to get. This will help you to stay focused and it will also give you the chance to truly unwind.

5 Reasons Why Self Care Does Not Make You Selfish
.

Children and their Bedtime

If your children have a bedtime, then don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. Children are often deprived of sleep, even if they don’t know it themselves. If you set an earlier bedtime, then you may have to face a bit of a battle but if you are able to push through, then it will benefit everyone involved. Your kids will be more alert, and they may even do better in school as a result. If finding your children a school that they can attend next year is on your agenda then you can find out information on Montessorri schools here.

The Trick to Sleep Training
.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice that helps you to be in the current moment. If you are able to do this then you will lower your stress levels and you may even find that you are able to enjoy your day to day tasks more. If you are driving, then don’t let your mind race ahead. Instead, just focus on your hands being on the wheel. Mindfulness will take time to master but if you are able to do it then you will soon find that you can reap the benefits far more than you realize.

Carve out Time for Yourself

Designate two or even three 15-minute intervals per day to focus on yourself. If you have a schedule or a planner then do this in a way that you would everything else. When you do, you will soon find that you are much more likely to stick to your plans and this can really work in your favor. You may be tempted to avoid doing anything in your alone time, and this is understandable, but you have to avoid it as much as possible.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download

Prioritize Partner Time

If you have a partner, then you need to do everything you can to spend time with them when you can. This could involve putting the kids to bed early or it may even mean trying to book the day off work from time to time. Either way, if you don’t make time for each other then you may find that you never have it, and this is the last thing that you need.

Keep in Touch

Keeping in touch with your friends or even your family can be a way for you to recharge your batteries. If you want to do this then try and hire a babysitter or even have a special afternoon out. You can also plan some afternoon activities at home if you want, either way, if they have kids then there’s a chance that they’ll need a break as well and the more you can give them this, the better you’ll all feel.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
.

Have a Good Diet

If you don’t have a good diet then this won’t work in your favor at all. You may feel that you are far more tired during the day and that you struggle to get through the day without having a nap. If you want to get around this then you need to try and make sure that you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and that you are also staying away from caffeine. After all, caffeine may give you a short-term fix, but it won’t do you any good in the long-term so do keep that in mind. If you don’t have time to have a good diet then making meals ahead of time is certainly the way to go, not to mention that you can get the kids involved too!


7 Signs You Need to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles (and the best way to do it!)

It’s normal for moms to experience weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Pregnancy, labor and delivery weaken our pelvic floor muscles and so it’s especially important to work at strengthening them during the postpartum period and afterwards.  The added weight of pregnancy wears down our pelvic floor muscles and the pressure of labor contractions overworks them.  And then there’s the big deal of pushing a human being right through them.  Women who experience a c-section are not exempt either, as we tend to tense our pelvic floor muscles whenever we feel pain or strain to move after surgery.

How do you know if you have weak pelvic floor muscles?  Check out some of these signs and find out how to strengthen them.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit
*This is a sponsored post for which I received compensation. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

You pee when you sneeze.

Or cough or squat or bend over to put on your shoes.  Leaking pee (a.k.a. urinary incontinence) is one of the most common signs of weak pelvic floor muscles.  It’s almost become a right of passage for moms, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  

You need to pee all the time.

Another common sign is the urge to pee more frequently.  If you’re feeling the urge to pee and just can’t hold it in, it could be due to the weakened muscles supporting your bladder.  During pregnancy there is added weight on the bladder combined with additional fluid intake so it makes sense that you need to pee more often.  But in the postpartum period, you should be able to go longer periods between bathroom breaks, or at least hold it in until you can get to a bathroom.

You have trouble emptying your bladder or bowels completely.

The inability to empty your bladder or bowels completely is another warning sign to watch out for.  The muscles in your pelvic floor are used for pushing out pee or poop.  They might need strengthening if you really need to strain on the toilet.  If you’ve been using a stool softener but you’re still having trouble pooping, this could be the reason.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up About Chronic Pain .

Can’t control your farts.

(Oh this just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?)  Do you avoid yoga class because you’re worried about farting during downward dog?  Afraid to bend over in public or get up too quickly?  The uncontrollable passing of wind is yet another sign that your pelvic floor muscles are weak, as they should be tight enough to keep those in until you can release them privately. 

Tampons or menstrual cups don’t stay in place.

Inserting tampons or menstrual cups might be easy enough, but if you find that they slip out of place or feel uncomfortable when they’re in, it could be due to your pelvic floor muscles.  You shouldn’t need to try too hard to hold your menstrual products in, as your pelvic floor muscles should automatically keep them in place.  But when they’re weak, they don’t do a great job at that.  

Sex isn’t as enjoyable.

And finally let’s talk about the ways that weak pelvic floor muscles can affect sexual intercourse.  Many moms report that sex isn’t as enjoyable after giving birth and a lot of the time, it’s due to those weakened muscles.  Since these muscles control the vaginal opening, if they are weak then both partners will feel less sensation.  In addition to the uncontrollable peeing and farting, the entire experience may cause a woman to feel stressed out and not be able to enjoy it all.

Hysterectomy: A Chance at Freedom from Endometriosis .

There’s a bulge in your pelvic area.

This can be a sign of a pelvic organ prolapse.  Basically, it means that one or more of the organs located within your pelvis falls through the pelvic floor.  It can cause a whole bunch of uncomfortable symptoms, depending on which organs it is.  The most common sign is that you will notice a bulge near the vaginal opening.


How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

There are specific exercises we can do that target the pelvic floor muscles, including pelvic lifts, squats and perhaps the most famous… Kegels.  But similar to working out our other muscles, it’s hard to remember and/or find time to do them.  And the results are often less impressive than working out a bicep. 

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is helpful in that you get targeted exercises to work the right muscles.   Plus, there are ways for physiotherapists to test your pelvic floor strength and monitor your progress.  But it does have it’s downsides as well.  Besides the costs and time associated with seeing a professional, many women also feel embarrassed talking about it and would prefer a more private solution. 

Thankfully, there’s a third option. 

It’s called Perifit and it combines the power of pelvic floor exercises with the benefits of professional guidance. Perifit is a small, medical grade silicone device that connects to an app via Bluetooth.  Once inserted, you use your pelvic floor muscles to play games on your smartphone which actually help to strengthen them over time. 

Perifit device in box
Perifit – Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles at home
Yes, you heard me right… you get to play video games with your vagina. 

It sounds a little strange to stick a game controller up your hoo-hah but it’s the only way to test your pelvic floor strength.  Inserting it is similar to inserting a tampon and once it’s in, you don’t even really feel it.


All you do next is get comfy, grab your phone, download the Perifit app and follow the on-screen instructions.  Basically, all you need to do in each game is squeeze and release your pelvic floor muscles.  It feels similar to doing Kegels, but having a purpose for each one keeps you from getting bored and giving up.  Like other games, the levels get harder and harder, so they work to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles over time. 

Perifit app games
Perifit – play games in the app using your pelvic floor muscles

At the end of each session, you get to see how strong your muscles are and track how they have improved.  Perifit also keeps track of how often you are performing the exercises as it should become a regular habit.  Try to incorporate a few minutes into your daily self care routine and you can see results within as little as 2 weeks.  

Perifit app stats
Perifit – track your progress

The thing that surprised me the most while using Perifit was how hard I had to squeeze my pelvic floor muscles to complete some of the levels.  While doing Kegels, I never would have squeezed that hard, which is probably why they didn’t work well enough.  Having a real guideline for how hard to squeeze, and for how long, makes such a difference compared to winging it with Kegels. 


If you are struggling with symptoms of a weak pelvic floor,  Perifit is the best way to strengthen them.  You get the professional guidance of a physical therapist within the convenience and privacy of your own home.  Having weak pelvic floor muscles following pregnancy and childbirth is totally normal and never something you should be embarrassed about.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with it forever.

For more information about the benefits of Perifit, visit https://perifit.co/.


Don’t Forget to Enter our Instagram Giveaway!

You could win your very own Perifit pelvic floor exerciser!  Click here to enter.

Perifit Instagram Giveaway
Click here to enter our giveaway on Instagram!

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles with Perifit

15+ Self Care Ideas To Keep You Warm in the Winter

It can be tough to find the motivation for self care in the winter.

It’s in our nature to want to hibernate under the covers all winter long and avoid leaving the house.  But staying isolated and failing to take proper care of ourselves during the winter months can lead to bouts of seasonal depression.  Self care is important year round, so despite the miserable weather, we should always try to make time for it.

Here are a few ideas for self care in the winter that are sure to keep you feeling warm and cozy. 
Self Care Ideas in the Winter
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Light a Fire in the Fireplace

There’s no better way to warm up in the winter than sitting by the fireplace.  You can read, write, listen to music, watch your favorite movie or even just sit quietly and enjoy the crackling sound of the flames.  Flickering light is said to have a meditative effect on the mind which helps to reduce stress.  In some parts of the world, firelight is essential to the practice of hygge during the winter.

2. Relax by Candlelight

In the same way, dancing candlelight can help you relax as well.  Stock up on candles over the winter and light them whenever you get the chance.  Light a few in the kitchen while you’re cooking or dine by candlelight.  Keep one on your bedside table while you relax in bed or beside the tub while you soak.  Just remember not to fall asleep while they’re lit or leave them unattended, of course. 

Hygge Lifestyle
.

3. Curl Up With a Cozy Blanket

Self care in the winter is all about wrapping yourself in warm, cozy blankets.  You may have several blankets in every room that you use, or maybe you have a favorite one that you practically live in.  The soft touch of a blanket wrapped around us helps us to feel safe and secure.  Being warm is also better for our blood circulation and improves our overall mood. 

4. Take a Hot Bath or Shower

Soaking in a hot bath or standing under a hot shower is a great way to warm up in the winter.  Try adding Epsom salts to the bath water for an added dose of magnesium.  Or throw in a few shower steamers filled with essential oils.  If you find that you prefer hot showers more frequently in the winter, make sure to use all natural products that will keep your hair and skin soft and moisturized without overloading on chemicals. 

5. Visit a Thermal Spa

If you haven’t already, check out a thermal spa in your area.  They are great places to visit in the colder months because you can access the full range of hot and cold.  Natural, mineral hot springs have healing waters that not only warm you up, but can provide relief from muscle and joint pains. 

Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature
Click here to read more.

6. Get a Hot Stone Massage

Obviously any kind of massage therapy is a great way to practice self care in the winter.  But if you’re not a fan of deep tissue massage, try opting for a hot stone massage instead.  The warm volcanic rocks strategically placed on your body can loosen up tight muscles and reduce inflammation, stress and tension.  P.S. don’t forget to put SpaFinder gift cards on your wish list to use for this! 

7. Warm Up Your Feet

You can warm up your entire body simply by starting with the feet.  Warm feet will help you sleep better but if you’re not comfortable wearing socks to bed, try plugging in a heated mattress pad or blanket just at the foot of your bed.  Invest in a pair of ultra cozy socks or slippers to wear in the winter.  For added benefits, roll some essential oil blends onto the soles of your feet before slipping them into socks to absorb all the goodness.  

8. Sip Some Herbal Tea

Don’t forget to keep warm from the inside too!  Sipping on herbal tea is a great self care activity to do daily.   There are many health benefits of drinking green tea or just plain hot water with lemon.  But you can find herbal teas for almost any ailment these days.  There’s a reason why it’s such an integral part of any ancient culture. 

Fall Collection of 3 Teas ORGANIC Small Batch Hand image 0
NewMoonTeaCo on Etsy

9. Visit a Steam Room

Many gyms or indoor pools give you access to a steam room so definitely take advantage of them in the winter.  Steam is a great way to detoxify the body, clean out the pores and help boost our immune systems.  It’s especially helpful to loosen things up when you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or chest congestion.  Just make sure to have a good shower and don’t forget to exfoliate and moisturize afterwards to get rid of all the toxins you’ve just sweat out. 

10. Go for a Run

Staying active is one of the most important self care practices in the winter.  It’s all too easy to neglect our bodies when they’re always covered up.  So bundle up and go for a run around the neighborhood.  You might start off feeling cold, but the longer you go, the warmer you’ll get.  Or run indoors on a treadmill.  It’s important to get your heart rate up at least once a day, which will improve your blood circulation to keep you warm all over. 

11. Do Some Yoga Stretches

Meditative yoga is another great form of self care in the winter.  Despite it’s slow and concentrated movements, you will work up quite a sweat holding those positions.  Stretching daily will help our bones and muscles from getting weak over the winter months, when we might not as be as active.  

Thermea Finlandia Sauna
Click here to read more.

12. Spend Time in a Sauna

Similar to steam rooms, saunas can be found at most gyms, indoor pool areas or spas.  The dry heat of a sauna focuses directly on helping you sweat out toxins in your body.  You can even find places that offer hot yoga, which is a yoga class done entirely in a sauna for added benefits.  Search SpaFinder to see locations near you that offer these specific type of services.  

13. Bake Something Warm and Delicious

Baking is a great winter activity, especially around the holidays.  But don’t do it out of necessity or you’ll just stress yourself out.  Bake just for the fun of it.  Having a warm oven on will heat up the whole house and the delicious smells coming from it are an entirely different form of aromatherapy.  And then go ahead and indulge.  Use the real chocolate and the full fat cream and don’t skimp on the sprinkles.

14. Make a Pot of Soup

Nothing warms you up faster in the winter than a delicious bowl of hot soup.  Soup days are perfect and easy for those dreary days when you’re stuck in the house.  Or have a pot ready to go for when you get in from being outside in the cold all day.  Try making a bone broth from scratch or get the kids to help you make an easy veggie soup.  Soup is a winter time staple but also light and healthy. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder
.

15. Knit a Scarf

The winter months are a great time to start a new project.  With all the extra time spent indoors, you’ll need something to keep you occupied or you’ll end up with a bad case of cabin fever.  Knitting a scarf, hat or mittens for yourself, your kids or a loved one is a great place to start.  Or work on some other form of art therapy.  Creating something will give you a sense of pride and boost your confidence.  Depending on how good your skills are, you can even give some away as handmade Christmas presents. 

16. Cuddle With Someone You Love

Finally, the best way to stay warm this winter is to spend lots of time cuddled up with the ones you love.  Whether you’re suffering from a mental illness like postpartum depression or just a case of the winter blues, nothing heals better than a hug.  You’ll stay warm simply by sharing body heat, and you’ll get a mood boost from spending time with others.  So this winter, if you plan to hibernate indoors, make sure you’ve got someone to spend it with and find ways to take care of yourself while still keeping warm.


5 Reasons Why Self Care Does Not Make You Selfish

Stop feeling guilty about taking time for yourself.

Self care does not make you selfish.  That way of thinking is one of the biggest reasons why moms don’t have a proper self care routine.  We are selfless people who live to serve others.  But taking some time for ourselves doesn’t mean that we are taking time away from others.  When it comes to self care, just like most things in life, it’s about trying to find the right balance.  

Here are a few of the many reasons why self care does not make you selfish.
5 Reasons Why Self Care Does Not Make You Selfish
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
5 Reasons Why Self Care Does Not Make You Selfish

You Deserve It

You’re not an unemployed slob living in your parents basement.  You’re a grown adult with real responsibilities.  And you take care of those responsibilities every single day, whether you want to or not.  Being a mother is a tough job and there are so many days you won’t want to do it at all. But you do.  And for that, you deserve a break every now and then.  Even well paid employees get a mandated set of breaks, so why not a hardworking mom? Self care does not make you selfish because you’ve earned it.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
.

You Need It

Self care isn’t always a spa day or a solo vacation.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  Self care can be as simple as taking a long, hot, undisturbed shower or an afternoon nap.  It can also be more long term such as taking a course or joining a gym.  But it’s not selfish because it’s something you need to do to improve yourself.  It’s especially necessary for healing from a physical or mental illnessSelf care does not make you selfish because you need it in order to survive. 

You Are Important

The way we treat ourselves says a lot about how we feel about ourselves.  If you want to be seen as important and respected, then you need to treat yourself that way.  Making yourself a priority tells everyone around you that you matter.  But it’s more than just your physical appearance.  Meditation, self help books and positive affirmations can help to boost your confidence and thought process.  Reading, writing, doing puzzles, painting, crafts or games improves brain functions, making you smarter. Self care does not make you selfish because you are worthy of just as much attention as everyone else.

You Are In Charge Of Yourself

A long time ago, you depended on someone else to take care of you.  As you grew older, that task was handed over to you.  You learned how to bathe, feed and dress yourself and you learned how to shop, cook and clean up after yourself.  You learned how to take care of you.  And then you became a mother and the task of having to take care of someone else came into the picture.  It’s hard to juggle taking care of kids and yourself at the same time.  You can find someone to help you take care of the kids, but you will always be responsible for taking care of yourself.  Self care does not make you selfish because you are the only person who can take care of you. 

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download

You Are An Example

Now that you are a mother, everything you do is an example to your children.  They learn by watching you.  So when you take time for yourself, they learn that you are important in your own right, and not just their snack slave.  They learn that it’s necessary to take care of yourself and to do things that make you happy.  This is an important lesson for your children to learn.  If they don’t appreciate it while they’re young, they’ll look back on their childhood when they are parents themselves and realize the importance of self care. Self care does not make you selfish so raise a generation of humans who understand that.


Everything You Need to Know About Self-Therapy
Source: TurboTenant.com (used with permission)

Athleisure: When You Need to Feel Comfortable But Look Fashionable

If you think about it, the “athleisure” fashion trend is not a new idea.

Athleisure is the fashion trend that supports wearing athletic clothing for purposes other than athletics.  And while the term might be new, it’s been around for a lot longer than you think.  In the 90’s for example, sporting a classic striped Adidas track suit was the hottest trend, whether or not you were a professional athlete. 

But wearing baggy track suits wasn’t the most fashionable option.  Athletic wear evolved over time and soon it was the famous Lululemon yoga pants that everyone was spotted in.  And it was moms, in particular, who got a bad rap for wearing yoga pants 24/7.

There’s a reason why athleisure is so popular, especially among moms.  We collaborated with Grit & Zest, a leader in athleisure style clothing for women, to find out more about this comfortable and fashionable style trend.

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
*This is a sponsored post for which I received compensation. This post may contain affiliate and/or paid links. As always, the opinions in this post are my own.
Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest

Motherhood is an Extreme Sport

When we talk about athletic wear for moms, it actually makes perfect sense because taking care of kids is not that different from a full body workout.  We get pulled and pushed in different directions, and there’s a lot of lifting and bending and squatting.  We need clothing that’s going to move with us and allow us to feel comfortable while we’re chasing after kids at the playground (or the grocery store).

The good news is that we don’t need to look like a frumpy hot mess in order to be comfortable.  Athleisure style clothing lines, like the one from Grit & Zest, give us the option to look fashionable and put together, while still being comfortable and able to move freely.

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
Grit & Zest Circle Tank, Valley Sports Bra, Black Leggings

The Little Black Legging

Black leggings or yoga pants are something that are a staple in every mom’s wardrobe.  They’re versatile, comfortable and can be styled so many different ways.  The black leggings from Grit & Zest are not like your average, every-day leggings.  They’re made with high-tech materials, so they’re durable and heavy duty.  Since they’re designed for athletics, they wick away sweat and dry fast, which comes in handy when your kid spills their drink on your lap. 

Most importantly, they have a high waist which all moms know is important for added support after growing babies.  The seams don’t rub or irritate in annoying sensitive spots so they’d be great to wear postpartum or after abdominal surgery.  Make sure to pack a pair in your hospital bag! 

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
Grit & Zest Black Leggings paired with denim shirt, white tee and white sneakers

A Fashionable Sports Bra

Sports bras aren’t just designed for function anymore, they’re fashionable too.  You can feel confident wearing just a sports bra as a top on those hot summer days.  Paired with the high-waisted black legging, you’ll look trendy and fashionable while still feeling cool and comfy.  If you’re not comfortable wearing the sports bra alone, wear a button up shirt over top but leave the bra visible because there’s no sense in hiding that cute style. 

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
Grit & Zest Valley Sports Bra worn under a low cut romper

A Versatile Tank Top

A mom’s wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without a comfortable tank top.  Black is the most versatile but different colors can make you stand out without too much effort.  The Grit & Zest Circle Tanks come in a variety of colors and are also made with quality materials.  The mesh panel is completely on trend right now and gives you a chance to show off a little bit of that fancy sports bra, while still offering full coverage.

This tank top is longer in length but it has slits on both sides so that you can move around easily and not feel restricted.  It’s also a loose fitting tank which is rare to find in athletic wear.  But it still has all the stretch and moisture-wicking properties of any other athletic tank top. 

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
Grit & Zest Circle Tank with trousers and heels

Mix it Up

My favorite thing about athleisure style is the versatility of it.  You don’t have to wear a full athletic outfit, instead try to mix and match certain pieces.  Leggings with a blouse, a sports bra under a low cut dress or an athletic tank top with jeans can take your outfit to the next level. 

No matter what combination you can come up with, I can guarantee that you’ll feel more comfortable.  And being comfortable will make you feel more confident.  And confidence is beautiful and so important for your mental health.   Head over to Grit & Zest and check out their full line of athleisure wear and the incredible reasons they do what they do.

Athleisure featuring Grit & Zest
Athleisure is perfect for busy moms

 

How to Put Your Mental Health First When Life Gets Unexpected

Life has a habit of surprising us and even when things are floating along nicely, there’s always a chance of a bolt from the blue upsetting our mental health. The unpredictability of life is what makes our existence precious and exciting, but not knowing what the future holds can also trigger anxiety. When a curveball does come out of nowhere, how do you react?

Many of us switch to autopilot, but our responses and instincts aren’t always beneficial for our mental health and well being. If you’re going through a tough time, here’s a guide to some of the most common causes of stress and distress and some tips to help you put your mental health first.

Put Your Mental Health First
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links.

Relationship breakdowns

The relationships we have with other people can make or break us. Being with a single person or having a group of friends can make us feel ecstatically happy, but there’s also a risk of coming into contact with people who don’t have a positive influence. At some point, the majority of people will decide to break up with a partner or let a friendship slip away because that relationship isn’t making them happy.

Spending time with friends and your partner should lift you up, make you feel safe, secure, content and give you hope for the future. If you question your own worth at any point, feel like you can’t be yourself around another person or wake up every morning wondering if you’re making the right decision, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationships.

If you’ve been with a partner for a long time, you’re married or you have children together, it can be incredibly tough to make the decision to separate. You probably envisioned spending the rest of your lives together and the thought of being alone is scary.

11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them
.

If you have decided to break up with a long-term partner, and there are legalities involved, make sure you get the advice and support you need from a legal firm that specializes in family law. It’s very common to have questions about the processes that are involved.  An experienced legal team will fight in your corner and give you the information you need to understand what the next few months will entail and what rights you have.

In addition to seeking professional advice, it’s also critical to take advantage of emotional support. At this time, you might be hurting and feeling very low. Reach out to close friends and family members, talk to a therapist or a charity helpline if you’d rather speak to somebody you don’t know.  Remember to take good care of yourself. Spend time with people you trust that make you feel good about yourself. There is no universal guide to healing after a breakup, so don’t put pressure on yourself or compare yourself to others.


Loss

The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult hurdles human beings have to overcome. We spend our lives building families and groups of friends and to lose somebody that you love can cause immeasurable pain. One important thing to remember when you’re dealing with bereavement is that everyone is different. People cope with grief in very different ways and there is no cookie-cutter mold that you have to fit into.

In the early days, it’s common to feel numb and to try and fill your time, often doing tasks that really don’t need to be done. Most of us like to try and keep busy purely so that our minds aren’t occupied by thoughts of that person and feelings of sadness and despair.

When you feel able to open up, talking is hugely beneficial. It can be dangerous to keep your emotions bottled up. Don’t be afraid to cry and don’t feel that you have to be strong for others. You might not want to sob in front of your kids, but make sure you have an outlet for your feelings. If this means going to the bathroom for 5 minutes to take time out or making a call to a friend so that you can let it all out, this is what you should do.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
.

They say that time is a healer and to some extent, it is. The problem is that time can also make others forget. When you first lose a loved one, you may find that you’re inundated with flowers, cards, and messages. As time passes, the texts and calls to see how you are dry up as people get on with their lives. This can be very difficult to take.

To help you cope and to make the grieving process more tolerable, don’t be afraid to lean on others and to seek advice. Many people find it helpful to go to group support sessions and to talk to a counselor about their feelings. You might also find that creative activities enable you to express your emotions.  Exercise, especially activities that are designed to clear your mind and promote relaxation like yoga, help you sleep if you’re struggling with insomnia.


Unemployment and money worries

If you lose your job or you’re worried about debt, money problems can consume you and contribute to intense anxiety. If you’re trying to raise kids, run a household and keep a roof over your head, it can be very difficult to tackle debt, especially if you’ve lost your job. If money worries are getting you down, and you’re facing an uncertain future, for which you weren’t prepared, there is help out there.

Often, when bad news comes out of the blue, the easiest path to take is to bury your head in the sand and hope that everything blows over. In reality, the longer you ignore debt, the more serious the situation becomes. If you’re unemployed, money issues may be temporary, and finding another job could provide a solution.

If the scenario is more grave, the sooner you seek professional advice, the better. You don’t want to be panicking every time your phone rings or there’s a knock at the door. If you’re chasing your tail and can’t pay your bills, a financial adviser or a debt charity can help you out. There are paths you can take and there may be simple solutions that could save you a huge amount of stress.

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
.

Anxiety can really take its toll on your physical health, as well as your mental wellbeing. If you are anxious all the time, and you’re finding it tough to relax and stay calm, there are self-help techniques you can try. It’s also beneficial to talk about how you feel and to ask for help. Often, we make assumptions that people won’t want to be burdened by our issues but that’s usually not the case. You might find that your family and friends are more than willing to support you.

Life is never plain sailing, and most of us have to deal with challenges and obstacles that seem to come from nowhere. If you’re going through a tough time your health might suffer, and this is why it’s crucial to try and look after yourself as best you can. Focus on getting through each day, maintain a positive mindset and accept that some days will be harder than others.


6 Reasons Art Therapy is One of the Best Forms of Self Care

Art therapy is something entirely different than craft time with the kids.

If you’re like me, then supervising a craft with the kids normally consists of a lot of mess and frustration.  But ultimately, they LOVE doing it, and that’s why we put up with it.  Kids are happiest when they have a chance to be creative, get messy and use their imaginations.  And it’s time that moms take a lesson from the kids.

Art therapy is a form of therapy which incorporates the visual arts such as painting, drawing, sculpting and so much more.  Formal art therapy is done with a licensed therapist who would guide you through the process and help you to open up suppressed feelings and emotions.

But you don’t need a professional to reap the benefits of art therapy.  Simply picking up a paintbrush and letting your imagination go wild can be one of the best forms of self care.

Here are some of the benefits of art therapy.
6 Reasons Art Therapy Is One of the Best Forms of Self Care
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Art Therapy Art Therapy

Art Therapy


Stress Release

Putting a paintbrush to canvas is a great way to relieve stress and tension.  Create something abstract by using big, bold strokes and don’t worry about making a mess or staying in the lines.  You can even go so far as to use your fingers, hands or even your feet to create art.  Involve your entire body in your movements and let the stress melt away.

Meticulous movements also have a way of releasing stress and tension.  When life feels hectic and out of control, keeping within the fine lines of a paint by numbers canvas or detailed coloring book can give us a sense of empowerment and control. 

Winnie's Picks Paint by Numbers
Winnie’s Picks Paint by Numbers

Builds Confidence

The ability to create something beautiful gives us a confidence boost like no other.  Plus, successfully completing a project does wonders for our mental health.  It makes us feel capable and proud and as though we can tackle anything.

While some art forms take years of practice to master, beginners can still create masterpieces.  A paint by numbers canvas is a great option for the beginner artist who wants to create something that looks professional but lacks the skills.  The fine details are a great way to relieve stress and taking some time each day to work on it can easily be fit into your self care routine.  

Winnie's Picks Paint by Numbers
To make it even easier, you can get a paint by numbers set from Winnie’s Picks which comes with everything you need.

Distracts the Mind

Activities that distract the mind are great for those who are suffering from anxiety or depression.  Similar to watching television, playing a video game or listening to music, art therapy focuses our minds on something other than negative or intrusive thoughts.  This is a welcome distraction before bedtime if you’re battling insomnia or on especially bad mental health days. 

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
.

Opens up Emotions

Formal art therapy is used to help patients open up suppressed emotions or memories that they need to deal with.  So it’s no surprise that allowing ourselves to open up our creative side also lets out a flood of emotions.  When you feel sad or angry, worried or stressed, try expressing those emotions using an art form such as painting or drawing.  Doing something creative can actually increase our dopamine levels, which makes us feel happier.  

Express Yourself Without Words

Unless you’re an accomplished writer, words are often a difficult medium for expressing yourself.  When we feel something, we picture it in our heads and then try to describe that picture to someone else.  Instead of simply describing it, draw or paint it out.   Close your eyes and imagine it.  If it was in a dream, then do it as soon as you wake up so you don’t forget. 

This is a great art therapy practice for those suffering from scary and intrusive thoughts who might be too afraid to explain them out loud.  It’s up to you whether or not you want to show it to someone, but getting it out of your head and onto paper or canvas can help you release them and feel better.

Intrusive Thoughts
.

Taps into the Subconscious

The thoughts and images in our subconscious have a strong effect on our conscious minds.  Most people seek therapy in order to tap into that subconscious mind to find out what is hidden in there.  Art therapy can work in the same way.  

Try splattering some paint on canvas or scribbling something with a pencil and then imagining what you see in it.  Create something without thinking too hard about what it is and watch what happens.  Our subconscious minds can leave us clues through another medium such as art.

Winnie's Picks Paint by Numbers
Winnie’s Picks Paint by Numbers

Art therapy is not for everyone, but those looking for an outlet for stress or anger should definitely give it a try.  Find a peaceful location and allow yourself enough time to access your creative side.  You can even try a group art therapy class which will encourage you to socialize with others.  A family or friends paint night can have a similar effect.  And most importantly, whatever you create, show it off.  Hang it up in your home, sell it on Etsy or share pictures online.  Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and who knows, it might be worth something one day…