New moms often find themselves in a vulnerable state – physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, many people don’t see the vulnerability of a new mom’s spirit and inadvertently do things to harm it. Offering unsolicited advice, judging a new mom’s parenting choices, or making her feel incapable in any way can all do damage to a mother’s mental and emotional health.
Jess shares some of her experiences as a new mom, feeling judged and made to second guess her choices. She talks about how dangerous it can be to do anything but support a new mom. New moms don’t need us to tell them what to do, because we all figure it out eventually. What they do need is a community of people who they trust and can go to for advice when they need it.
So the next time you see a new mom struggling, don’t give her unsolicited advice.
It really isn’t that hard to not judge other moms. Whatever your excuse might be, it does not matter. Whether you are from the older generation where you did things differently, or maybe it’s because the way you opted to do things worked for you, you assume it’s the only way.
But when you give unsolicited advice to a new mom, the only thing that she will take away from your statement is that she is not doing a good job.
When I had my first child, I felt so prepared. I was ready. I read the books. I went to the classes. My husband and I had talked endlessly on how we wanted to raise our children. We talked about what was important to us, our family values and the importance we placed on everything from Montessori toys to how we felt about screen time. I knew we were in for a huge adventure as we became parents, and as scary as it was, I felt like “yes, I can do this!”
And then you came along. Someone who obviously knew more than either my husband or I when it came to raising our own child. Everything I did received criticism or was questioned. Maybe you felt entitled to say it because you are older than me, or you had raised a child of your own.
I honestly don’t know what triggered it, but I started to hate you. I had a newborn baby and I was exhausted. Sure, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I 100% knew better than you did when it came to the well-being of MY baby.
This was not just one person, it was several people. Maybe I was just overly sensitive, but you don’t know how the words you said to me affected me. I would cry in the car on the drive home because your unsolicited advice made me feel inadequate. I cringed at the thought of seeing you and even avoided gatherings that I knew you would be at.
That unhelpful, toxic energy was not good for my soul.
I was so new into motherhood and I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice that was being thrown at me left and right. I did not know then, as I do now, how much I would have to protect my spirit so I would not be broken.
Motherhood is heavy, oh so heavy, and the weight of it can crush you.
People feel as if they have the right to give you unsolicited advice because you NEED it. I was fortunate that I never went through the darkness of postpartum depression. But having someone question or belittle me when it came to making decisions about this perfect little human that I shared a bond with, was one of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a mother.
As a practice of self-care, I developed a circle of support. I now surround myself with people I love and trust and can turn to at any minute of the day when I need my spirits lifted. I could also feel my “motherly intuition” grow stronger as my baby grew. I knew when she was hungry or tired. I could sense her emotions and I grew confident in my abilities.
Now, fast forward five years down the road and another baby later, I do not let what other people say get to me when it comes to parenting. Yes, I let my kids watch YouTube Kids and occasionally have a lollipop with their breakfast. But I know I am a good mom to my kids and I have stopped comparing myself, or my kids, to anyone else.
So while the same people might still make the same sly comments every now and then and offer their unsolicited advice, I have learned to just smile, nod and hum Backstreet Boys songs in my head until they stop talking.
Here is my advice to all the new moms out there.
No one knows how to take care of your baby better than you. It will be hard to remember at first, but eventually you will find that mama bear spirit lying deep within.
And to all the well meaning people out there who have so many words of wisdom or “helpful” comments, here is some advice for you: unless you are directly asked for advice about something, all you need to say is… repeat after me…
Mother’s Day is a holiday where we recognize moms for all the amazing things they do for others.
When we think about all the diapers changed, meals cooked, loads of laundry washed, books read and baths given, we wonder how a mom finds time to do it all in one day. And it becomes very clear that she’s given something up in order to achieve that. That “something” is usually self care.
Self care is so important, but in the struggle to reach perfect mom status, we spend more energy than we have. This leads to mental health issues, stress, anxiety, rage, insomnia and even physical pain. In other words, it IS a big deal. And there’s no better occasion than Mother’s Day to focus on mom’s needs for a change.
This year, consider these Mother’s Day gift ideas for the mom in your life who might need a little extra help getting in that self care time.
We’re gonna start this gift guide off right… with a giveaway!
In collaboration with SincerelySilver.co, we are excited to be giving away a free necklace to one lucky winner! The winner will be able to select one of five different styles in either silver, gold or rose gold. The contest runs from Monday, April 15th until Friday, April 19th, with plenty of time to have the necklace delivered before Mother’s Day!
*Please note: The giveaway is now closed! Thank you to all who entered! You can still find great gifts for Mother’s Day at Sincerely Silver and use the code SINCERELY15 for 15% off!
The ultra luxurious clothing line from Shine The Light On is perfect for lounging around the house, but also great for running errands, doing school pick ups or watching soccer practice. Bonus points for helping to spread mental health awareness! Use coupon code RUNINTRIANGLES15 for 15% off your purchase!
Self care is especially important for the over touched mom who has been climbed on by kids all day long. She’s going to need some way to reset each day and a weighted blanket can help. Using a weighted blanket has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress and insomnia.
One of the best (and only) ways for a mom to relax in a house full of children is by with some noise canceling headphones. A wireless, Bluetooth version will ensure she can go anywhere in peace and quiet. Make sure to create a playlist for her on Spotify and let her escape to a world away from snack making and diaper changing.
Let Her Pamper Herself
I will promote a spa day for every single holiday. It is, by far, one of the best gifts a woman could receive for Mother’s Day. If you want to change things up, look into thermotherapy spas instead of a traditional massage and pedicure. Try out a new place in town. Or get her a Spa Finder gift card and let her book the spa day of her dreams.
Cards are great and all but what do you do with them once you’re done reading them? How about sending her a personalized message written in delicious milk or dark chocolate instead?! You can even upload a custom picture to be included on the box. This unique gift from SendABetterLetter on Etsy definitely beats a Hallmark card and box of chocolates from the grocery store!
Or how about a variety of candy delivered right to the door every month? She doesn’t have to share it with the kids either – she can hide in her closet and eat it like all moms do. Or stash it away for one of those really bad days when she needs a sugar rush to keep her going until bedtime. The Instacandy subscription box is the ultimate indulgent Mother’s Day gift.
Let Her Get Creative
A creative outlet can come in many forms and adult coloring books are great ones. The stress-relieving properties of coloring books combined with sarcastic quotes that only moms will understand make this one my favorite. But there are so many different ones to choose from, including fashion, tattoos and some designed specifically to reduce stress.
Journaling can also be a great outlet for creativity. Bullet journals are all the rage right now and combine writing with art for a wholesome experience. A One Line A Day journal can help a busy mom keep track of her moods, memories and document exciting changes as the kids grow. It’s a great gift that would be easy to incorporate into any mom’s lifestyle.
A main reason why moms neglect self care is because they feel guilty. So this Mother’s Day, make sure that she feels proud to take care of herself. Get her this mama bear necklace to remind her that she is like the mama bear, who stays strong in order to take care of her babies. And that taking care of herself is one of the best ways she can take care of her family.
Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is a Scandinavian-style spa in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Focused around the concept of “thermotherapy,”Thermëa is a secluded getaway located in the heart of the city of Winnipeg. Like many other spas, you can get massages, facials and other body treatments performed by licensed professionals. But there is one thing that sets Thermëa apart from your average day spa. It’s called The Thermal Experience.
Jess and I got the opportunity to check out Thermëa for ourselves and explore the unique benefits of this outdoor spa. Janis, Thermëa’s marketing director, gave us an exclusive tour of The Thermal Experience, as a crowd gathered outside waiting for the spa doors to open. Despite the spa being at maximum capacity that day, it wasn’t crowded and the mystical steam rising up over the outdoor pools provided a sense of separation from the other guests.
Read more about all the benefits of thermotherapy, and why it’s an awesome form of self care for moms.
What is Thermotherapy?
Thermotherapy is a type of physical and psychological therapy powered by temperature.Heat therapy is known to have many benefits, and has been used by medical professionals, physical therapists and athletes for decades. The process of alternating heat and cold is known to speed up recovery in cases of muscle injury. A rapid change in body temperature can also eliminate toxins from the body, increase blood circulation, relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
Thermëa offers a unique way to experience the benefits of thermotherapy. The outdoor spa is a beautiful maze of pools, saunas, steam rooms and various indoor and outdoor rest areas – all available for use with one daily pass. The Scandinavian style of the spa, with it’s minimalist wood and stone elements, fit perfectly against the backdrop of Winnipeg’s ever-changing weather. The bare trees and snow covered ground made it feel like a mountain-top retreat away from the noise of everyday life.
As breath-taking as the grounds of Thermëa are, they’re not just for show. The layout is actually designed to encourage guests to follow the 3 Step Thermal Cycle.
The first step in the thermal cycle is to heat things up. Exposing the body to heat helps to open up the pores and causes you to sweat out all the bad toxins in your body. There are two dry saunas and two steam rooms to choose from for the heat cycle.
The popular Finlandia dry sauna holds Aufguss rituals every hour, during which a staff member infuses the stones with ice and essential oils and then uses towels to circulate the hot air and steam around the room. These sessions do get crowded, so make sure you get there early to choose a spot. And keep in mind that the higher up you sit, the hotter it gets and the faster you’ll sweat it out.
The two steam rooms are located in the Vaporo building, one infused with eucalyptus, the other with orange essential oils. The steam in the rooms is incredibly dense and as soon as you walk in the door you can feel it take over your entire body. After a cycle in the steam room, there are scented exfoliating salts available to scrub all over your body and a shower to rinse them off. This helps to get rid of dry skin and wash away the layer of gunk that you’ve just sweat out.
Most importantly, remember to drink lots of water, especially after a hot cycle! You will need to replace a lot of the fluid you’ll be sweating out. Throughout Thermëa you will find delicious flavor infused waters, and you are encouraged to bring your own plastic refillable water bottle. (Jess and I thought we were drinking enough water, but we didn’t, and ended up with headaches at the end of the day – so drink twice as much as you think you need!)
Once you’ve completed a hot cycle, you now need to expose your body to a cold temperature. This will improve your blood circulation, close up your pores, speed up your heart rate and boost your adrenaline levels. If you’re brave enough, plunge through the Polarbër pool which is extremely cold and works really fast. Or you can stand underneath the Icebër waterfall for a few seconds.
As shocking as the icy water might feel, try your best not to scream. The main areas of Thermëa are silent, and if you missed one of the hundreds of signs that say “whisper” a staff member will gently remind you (Jess took the liberty of testing that theory out for herself).
If you’re not a fan of submerging yourself into icy cold water, the Tempër pool is comfortable but still cool. If it’s a colder day outside, you can simply walk around or sit by one of the many fire pits instead. The cold cycle only needs a few seconds to work, but you can literally feel your heart start pumping and the adrenaline rushing through your veins.
And finally, our favorite part of the thermal cycle – the rest cycle. Resting after exposure to heat and then cold will turn all that adrenaline into endorphins. Increasing our endorphin levels can help relieve stress, improve our mental health and create an overall sense of calm and happiness.
The Gëser hot tub was, by far, the most popular resting spot on this cool spring day. There are also several outdoor areas, including Fläm, a little wooden cottage with a fire pit in the middle surrounded by Adirondack chairs and cozy blankets. One of the most unique features to relax in were the heated hammocks. You can zip yourself right into them and take a nap or just swing and relax in complete bliss. (In fact, some people were zipped up so snugly that it was hard to tell if there was anyone in there at all – the best way to tell is to look for empty flip flops on the ground!)
The Relaxa relaxation chalet consisted of two different areas. One had comfortable heated benches with tons of natural sunlight and was perfect for reading. It even had ropes to help you get comfortable in the seats without too much effort. The Tellura section was warm, dimly lit and stocked with heated mattresses, perfect for meditating or napping (which we totally did)! Just outside the room, you can help yourself to a variety of organic teas – supplied locally by Cornelia Bean.
The Restö on-site restaurant was another great place to relax while enjoying a gourmet meal made from locally sourced ingredients. If you’re visiting with friends, it’s one of the few places where you don’t need to whisper. There were several different places to sit but all the areas are heated and closed to the public so fine dining in a bathrobe was the ultimate luxury.
We choose to have our lunch in the newer lounge area and enjoyed the view through the floor to ceiling windows. These window panels actually open all the way up during the warmer months to provide a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience. Make sure to load up some money on your electronic bracelet when you check in so that you can dine at the restaurant wallet-free. (I highly recommend ordering a pitcher of the White Sangria!)
After you’ve had a sufficient rest period, you can begin the thermal cycle all over again. By completing the cycle three or more times, you can enjoy the maximum benefits of thermotherapy, as well as explore all the different features that Thermëa has to offer.
The facility is open from 9 am until 10 pm and guests are welcome to stay for the entire day. Interestingly enough, the atmosphere seemed to change constantly throughout the day. The early morning sunrise brought a sense of peace and serenity. By the early afternoon, it felt warm, sunny and uplifting. We ended our visit around 4 pm but would have loved to stay longer and see how beautiful the place is when it’s lit up at night.
There are no time limits, schedules or restrictions, which was a welcome change to our normally busy lives. You’re welcome to take a 2 hour nap in your favorite spot or hang out in the hot tub all day long if you want to. Everything is self-serve and you can wander throughout the grounds as you wish. It was clear that the staff worked hard to maintain the environment of peace and relaxation. They were constantly restocking, discreetly cleaning, tending to the fires and gently reminding everyone to keep their voices down.
Why is This So Good for Moms?
Thermëa is an amazing place for all adults, regardless of age, gender or physical limitations. But moms in particular can benefit greatly from using thermotherapy on a regular basis.
Both pregnant and postpartum moms can get relief from muscle aches and pains (obviously, check with your doctor first).
It tones the skin and increases elasticity, which will help restore post-pregnancy skin.
Encourages better sleep and helps ward off fatigue and exhaustion.
Reduces stress, anxiety and tension.
Increases mental clarity, concentration and memory.
Detoxifies the body which boosts the immune system. This is especially important for moms with school age kids who bring home all kinds of germs.
A spa day is the ultimate luxurious self care option for moms and a visit to Thermëa or one of Groupe Nordik’s other thermotherapy spas should be on every mom’s bucket list. After spending the day at Thermëa, including a hearty lunch and an afternoon nap, I felt completely renewed and refreshed. And as we drove away, I was simply counting down the days until I could return again.
For less than $60 CAD, you can spend an entire day enjoying The Thermal Experience, but make sure to arrive early, especially on weekends and holidays! To learn more about Thermëa, including accommodation packages and to purchase online gift certificates, visit their website https://www.thermea.ca/
Anxiety is a common condition among moms and not just in the postpartum period.
It can be difficult to recognize the symptoms of anxiety, especially for new moms. Once you become responsible for another life, it’s natural to worry about everything. So how do you truly know when your worries are a normal part of motherhood, or when they’re a condition that requires further treatment? You can read about the specific types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms, but what it comes down to is whether or not your constant state of worry is disrupting your life.
If they are, then check out some of these natural methods for coping with anxiety from mental health advocate Brandon Christensen of Modern Therapy.
Everyone faces anxiety daily, but some of us live with more persistent symptoms. Anxiety is actually the most common mental health issue, reportedly affecting more than 18% of US adults. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes are a great way to remedy some of these symptoms, but they are never meant to replace or stop any treatments you are currently receiving. If you are already getting treatment, check with your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist prior to implementing any changes.
Exercise helps anxiety by burning off anxious energy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there is evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than those who are sedentary. The reason that exercise may improve mental health is because it helps the brain cope better with stress. The study actually showed that those who exercised regularly had a 25% less chance of developing depression or anxiety over the preceding five years.
Meditation eases anxiety by slowing racing thoughts, which is a very common symptom. Once you are able to slow your thoughts down, you can manage your stress and other anxiety symptoms more effectively. Brain imaging has been used to show that meditation is associated with the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula. These areas of the brain are involved with executive function and the control of worrying. When meditation activates these three regions, it shows a relief linked to anxiety.
Journaling is simply writing down your thoughts and feelings with the intent of understanding them more clearly. Keeping a journal allows you to reflect on the way certain situations make you feel, which can help you regain control of your emotions. Sometimes even just expressing your anxious feelings makes them more manageable. As you sit and reflect on how you are feeling, you are going to gain a lot of insight to yourself.
4. Time Management Strategies
Having too many commitments at once is a big cause of anxiety symptoms. Time commitments usually involve family, work, and health related activities. When you are able to manage your time effectively, you can focus on just one task at a time, while being sure to leave room for self-care. With online calendars, it is becoming even easier to plan your days and weeks out. This can help you avoid multitasking, which leads to anxiety symptoms.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils that are found in plants, which are used for their healing properties.Essential oils are great to smell, but can also be absorbed through the skin through massage or inhalation. It is widely used to reduce stress because certain scents, such as lavender, are known for their calming effects by reducing the heart rate in the short term. Behavioral psychologists will also tell you that if you associate a certain scent with being calm, you will naturally begin to feel those effects over time.
6. Herbal Teas
Chamomile tea is widely used as a natural remedy to decrease anxiety and treat insomnia. It is actually regarded as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. The calming effects can be attributed to an antioxidant call apigenin, which is found in chamomile tea. There is direct effect on the brain, including reduced anxiety. Some people also find the process of making and drinking tea soothing.
7. Time With Animals
Research confirms that pets can be beneficial to people with anxiety because they offer companionship, love, and support. Pets and therapy animals can help to alleviate stress and anxiety because they provide a sense of security and routine that provides emotional and social support. Pets are generally facilitators of getting to know people, friendship formation, and social support networks.
8. Talk Therapy
Research shows that talk therapy is usually the most effective way to treat anxiety disorders. Therapy will do more than just treat your symptoms, it will help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears, help you learn to relax, look at situations differently, and develop coping skills. When you engage in talk therapy, you get the tools to overcome anxiety. If you are ready to work with a talk therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment, click here!
Brandon Christensen is a passionate business leader and mental health advocate who is on a mission to leave the world a better place than he found it. Brandon is the co-founder of Modern Therapy, a mental healthcare company that provides talk therapy services in person or online through messaging, phone, and video sessions. Brandon has been featured as a keynote speaker on mental health topics at colleges like NYU, Skidmore College, and Columbia University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.
Fashion can be a great form of self care for moms.
The “uniform of motherhood” has been associated with frumpy mom fashion for far too long. Putting time and effort into functional, comfortable fashion is not a sign of vanity but actually a way that moms can practice self care. Not only does it allow a mother to focus on herself for a change, but it can encourage good self-esteem and boost a mom’s confidence, which is great for her mental health.
Check out some of these tips for avoiding frumpy mom fashion this spring.
Comfortable can still mean fashionable, there is no need to sport frumpy mom fashion this season. If you are looking for an easy way to spruce up your mom wardrobe here are a few things to try!
This look is my favorite new trend we are seeing everywhere and it’s already what most moms are wearing anyway.
Think workout clothes minus the actual working out.
It consists of super-soft, comfy, cozy, throw on and go pieces such as leggings and sweatshirts, hoodies and runners. (Awesome right?!)
But “athleisure” is not just for errands. These grown up play clothes can easily transition to casual dinners out, coffee with the girls, and perfect for travelling comfortably and still in style. It’s an easy way to replace the frumpy mom fashion, without losing any amount of comfort.
These super soft shirts from Shine the Light On are perfect for the athleisure style. And by wearing them, you’re helping to spread awareness about mental health! Get 15% off using the code RUNINTRIANGLES15.
To implement this look or update your current pieces, look for:
A windbreaker. (Yes, you read that right but these little extra layer is everywhere right now, and its such an easy piece to replace when you would wear a jean jacket.)
The fashion sneaker is still a great basic.(Choose either a fabric mix or a slip on.)
Switch From a Purse to a Backpack Bag
It’s been just over 6 months since I converted from a cross-body bag to my leather backpack and let me tell you, there is no going back! Since my youngest is still in diapers, my purse doubles as a diaper bag and endless snack sack. I love that I can throw everything I need in it and wear it comfortably while I chase my kids around. Backpacks are still very popular and I love the convenience.
Avoid frumpy mom fashion by choosing the right bag so that you can look trendy and still be functional. My recommendation would be to find one with good zippers and padded straps. Having an outside pocket is also handy to have easy access to keys and cellphone.
Jump in Puddles
The slushy season is about to start (fingers crossed our huge snow hills will actually melt) with that comes PUDDLES! There is almost nothing I hate quite as much as the feeling of wet socks! Our kids love tromping around in their bright colored rain boots, and what’s better than being able to join them? I find the taller, standard boots to be too bulky and can come off as frumpy mom fashion. So instead, I love the look of this sleek shorter rain boot as a transition shoe for the spring.
Sneakers Are fashionable
Tying back in the “athleisure” style, sneakers are perfect with any look. Pair them with, of course jeans or leggings, but don’t be scared to wear them with a dress for a total cool girl vibe (read: I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom). You can never go wrong with a classic pair of Vans.
Loafers Are The New Ballet Flat
Move over ballet flat, the loafer is going to be your new BFF. In place of ballet flats for a slightly dressier look, these comfortable shoes go great with a pair of skinny jeans!
Switch Up Your Jewelry
For a super long time I was strictly a stud girl when it came to earrings but lately I am addicted to hoops! I feel like they are the ultimate “lazy girl who wants to look put together” life hack.
Wearing leggings and a t-shirt but don’t want to look like you are going to the gym? Hoops.
Wearing a printed dress that feels a little too cutesy and you want to give it a little oomph? Hoops!
Small hoops, medium hoops or big ones, I think they look good on everyone. This is also a super easy way to look dressed up when your hair is tied back in that mom bun or ponytail. Throw on some hoops and lipstick and you are good to go!
I personally have never been a fan of traditional “mom” jewelry. You know which ones I mean, the hearts with MOM in the center or the rings with everyone’s birthstone. I feel like they fall into the frumpy mom fashion category.
Date night or girls night coming up and want to be a little extra fancy? Enter the jacket earring. These are easy and painless to wear but can give your look a little sparkle. They look especially great with your hair back or with short hair.
I hope that any of these tips or ideas inspire you to try something new this spring season.
Many of us spend time and money making sure our kids have the appropriate clothing and shoes for the new season, but it’s time to put ourselves on that list too. Download a free self care workbook to help you prioritize yourself!
Putting effort into our outward appearance is not a sign of vanity. It has a significant impact on how we feel inside.
Being happy means aiming to both look and feel good, but it’s not always easy to do. For mothers, how we look is not always representative of how we feel (and other times it is all too accurate).
We may feel young and sexy and full of life but we look tired, worn out and as though we’ve given up on ourselves. Or alternatively, we may feel like we’re dying on the inside, so we overcompensate by layering on makeup to give the appearance that “everything is fine.”
This spring, as the weather begins to warm up, we should challenge ourselves to match how we look with how we feel.
Start From The Inside
How we look on the outside all begins with how we feel on the inside.Self esteem comes from within and if we are happy with who we are, it shows in a physical way. If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or substance overuse, then the first place to start is therapy.
Working with a therapist, either in person or online, can help you manage everything that is creating self-doubt or a poor self image. Online therapy in particular, is extremely convenient, especially for moms.
Schedule your online or video therapy sessions over the winter, ensuring that you get the most out of spring and summer.
Focus on Health
Weight issues are some of the most common hurdles to looking and feeling good. As mothers, we’ve stretched and shrunk, been cut open, torn apart and pieced back together. Our bodies have changed in so many ways and it can be difficult to accept it as it is now.
One way to look and feel good is to forget about the extra skin on our stomachs or how much we weigh and just focus on being healthy. Exercising to stay healthy is different than exercising to lose weight or tone muscle. Don’t worry about counting calories or inches, just try to eat healthier food and incorporate vitamins and nutritional supplements to avoid deficiencies.
If our main focus is on being “healthy” rather than being “fit” there is less pressure on us to meet certain goals and we can learn to love our bodies again.
In addition to being healthy, we also need to feel strong. Strength comes in many different forms. We can train ourselves to be physically strong by joining a gym, lifting weights, swimming, or playing a sport. It’s important to find emotional and mental strength, as well. Try meditation, journaling, art or aromatherapy.
Being strong, both physically and mentally will inspire confidence and a sense of pride in ourselves.
Make a Statement
Your outward appearance tells the world about you, so what is it you want to say? Make a statement with your appearance by choosing clothing and accessories that speak to you. This “Be Kind” Necklace is a simple and elegant way to remind yourself and others of the power of kindness (get 15% off with code FRIENDS15).
Clothing lines like Shine The Light On create pieces that help raise awareness about mental health. Modern, minimalist messages imprinted on soft, luxurious fabrics make it simple to spread messages of hope and acceptance wherever you go.
In addition to looking good while making a statement, a portion of the proceeds from the Shine The Light On collection goes towards mental health initiatives – so you can also feel good knowing that you are helping to end the stigma of mental illness.
Click here to see the stunning clothing line from Shine The Light On and get 15% off with coupon code RUNINTRIANGLES15
Take Care of Your Skin
You don’t need to do your hair and makeup to look and feel good this spring, but you should always take care of your skin. Glowing, healthy skin looks good from the outside and can make a person feel good on the inside.
As mothers, when we feel over-cuddled and overstimulated after a long day, it’s our skin and sense of touch that suffers. This is why caring for our skin plays such an important role in how we look and feel. Plus, the act of massaging lotion onto our skin can stimulate our lymphatic system and help keep our bodies healthy from the inside.
So splurge on a good, all natural skin care line to make sure that you’re not coating your skin in chemicals. Soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts to help soften and relax your muscles. Use sunscreen all year round, especially when you plan to spend longer amounts of time outdoors.
Try a new look this spring. Cut or color your hair, try out a new clothing style or color that you would never normally wear. Get a piercing or tattoo, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup or micro-bladed eyebrows. You don’t need to go so far as getting plastic surgery, but if there are specific problem areas that have always bothered you, then consider booking an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist to discuss your options.
Don’t be afraid of change, though it might take some time to get used to. Only make changes that are truly something you want to do, and never in an effort to please anyone else or be someone other than yourself. Changing something about your outward appearance can make you feel mysterious, spontaneous and empowered.
Deciding to change something about your appearance should remind you that you are in control of your body and what happens to it.
Comfortable Is Beautiful
“The mom look” is normally one associated with comfort and function. But comfortable can also be beautiful so don’t feel like you need to trade one for the other. It is entirely possible to look good and feel comfortable at the same time, as long as you choose the right pieces.
If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, whether it’s shoes that pinch or a waistband that’s too tight, you will act uncomfortably. So just bite the bullet and get rid of anything that you hate wearing, no matter how expensive or “designer” it might be.
Being comfortable in your own skin is the best way to show the world your confidence and beauty.
Moms are hardworking and give all of themselves to their children and families… but at what cost?
While these are qualities that everyone admires about mothers, they often come at a cost. A mother who works endlessly to provide for the needs of her children can often forget to take care of herself. A mother’s mental health, in addition to her physical well being, is so important because moms definitely cannot afford to take sick days.
Many mothers don’t even realize some of the things they are doing to harm their mental health. It’s easy to fall into “survival mode” and not think about anything other than just making it through to the end of the day. Some of the things we do each day to survive, whether intentionally or not, can have a negative impact on our mental health.
Here are a few things many moms do that can actually harm their mental health.
Forget to Eat
This one is at the top of the list because it’s something all moms are guilty of. We get busy preparing meals for the kids and when we try to sit down to eat our own food, someone spills something, or wants seconds or needs ketchup. Moms may have every intention of eating a full meal while it’s still hot, but it rarely ever happens. And when it does, it probably consists of sandwich crusts with a side of half eaten fish sticks.
Good nutrition is important for maintaining our mental health. Many symptoms of depression and anxiety worsen when our bodies experience vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. By forgetting to eat throughout the day, it’s easy to fall into the unhealthy habit of binge-eating at night, which can cause feelings of guilt and contribute to depression.
Don’t let bad eating habits harm your mental health. Eat healthy and use supplements to make sure your body is getting enough energy.
Go to Bed Late
It’s no secret that moms are always tired. Raising kids is exhausting work, both physically and mentally, and it requires a good amount of sleep that we often don’t get. But even the most sleep deprived mom is sometimes guilty of staying up way past bedtime.
After the kids are in bed is sometimes the only chance a mother gets to herself all day. Whether it’s catching up on recorded TV shows, scrolling through social media or just enjoying the peace and quiet, we never want it to end. But staying up late is a habit that does a lot of harm to our mental health.
Actual phone calls are becoming more of a rare occurrence in this modern world. Plus, everyone knows that the kids think “mom’s on the phone” translates to “scream as loud as you can.” A text message is so much more convenient for a mother and it’s the preferred way of communicating. So when our phone rings, it’s instinctual that we silence our phone and ignore the call.
Of course, it all depends on who the call is from, but if it’s a friend, don’t ignore it. Talking to someone on the phone can be therapeutic and mean so much more than a simple text message. Mental illness works by isolating us from others, so being able to connect with someone on a real, human level is important for keeping us sane.
The next time someone calls you, just answer it.
Avoid Looking in Mirrors
This is kind of a weird one, and I bet you don’t even realize that you do it (or don’t do it). If you’re a stay at home mom, chances are you probably haven’t changed out of your sweat pants in three days. Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth this morning and you can’t even remember the last time you washed your hair. You may avoid looking at yourself in the mirror for fear of what you might see.
Avoiding a mirror means that we’ve created an idea of what we look like in our minds and it’s one that we feel unhappy with. This idea can lead us down a path to poor self-esteem and lowered confidence levels, an environment in which mental illness thrives.
All you have to do to maintain your mental health is look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day, and find something that you love about what you see.
Skip Doctor Appointments
The doctor, dentist, therapist, optometrist, chiropractor, etc. – we haul the kids around to regular appointments and yet procrastinate our own. Pregnancy means doctor appointments so frequently that we get to know the staff in our OB’s office on a personal basis. We cared about those because they were important for the well being of our child, which is one of our biggest priorities.
I’m sure we can all come up with a hundred excuses as to why we do this. It costs money we may not have and it’s hard to find time to attend these appointments without the kids. But this act of self-sacrifice is dangerous for both our mental and physical health.
Try booking all your checkups for the year in advance so that you can make whatever arrangements you need to in order to attend them.
Depend Too Much On Coffee/Wine/Advil
Addiction is not something that’s spoken about enough among mothers. We tend to think of addicts as people living on the streets, wasting their lives away. But addiction can happen to anyone, and at different levels of intensity.
Caffeine, alcohol and medications are common addictions among mothers. And while it may not be at a point where they are destroying our lives, we’re unsure how we would function without them. Relying too heavily on coffee or needing that glass of wine to help us relax at the end of the day are all forms of addiction. Addictive behaviors are something we should try to avoid for better mental health.
Try to limit how much you depend on stimulants to make it through the day and choose healthier options that are better for your mental health.
Pile Things in a Closet
You know which closet I’m talking about, everyone has one (or four) in their home that’s filled with junk. If you’re not sure where to put something, pile it in a closet until you get to it, right? But you’ll probably only get to it when that closet is so full that you can’t even open it anymore.
Clutter can weigh heavily on our minds, destroying our mental health in the long run. Knowing that we have a closet filled with junk, being unsure of what exactly is in there, and putting off cleaning it out can make us feel depressed and unproductive. You don’t need to go full minimalist, but avoiding hidden clutter is a good place to start.
Spring cleaning time is nearly upon us, so make those junk-filled closets a priority.
Shop Only For the Kids
Not only are kids fun to shop for, but they also need a LOT of stuff. They grow so fast that it’s hard to keep up with their sizes. And if you’re like me, then you live vicariously through them and buy things that you would have loved to have as a kid. But then what happens is that you have kids who look like children of celebrities and you get mistaken for their nanny.
So make a shopping trip alone and don’t you dare wander into the kids section!
Avoid the Outdoors
Whether it’s the cold weather or your greasy hair keeping you indoors, it’s doing harm to your mental health. Our bodies need fresh air and sunshine, they literally cannot function properly without it. If you think the trip from the house to the car and back again is enough, it’s not.
It’s not just about the fresh air, though, otherwise you could just open a window. You need to talk to people, make eye contact, feel their touch and smile at them. Find space to move your body – run, walk, swim, whatever makes you feel good. A change of scenery and some time outdoors is the easiest way to improve your mood.
So make it a habit to get outdoors at least once a day, and twice on weekends.
Put up with Negative People
You don’t need negative energy in your life, especially if your mental health is already suffering. However, cutting people out of your life is easier said than done. You don’t need to be rude to anyone, make a big deal out of it or even say anything at all. Just avoid spending time with people who cause you to feel stressed.
It could be the mother of your child’s friend who constantly tries to “one-up” you. Or maybe it’s that pessimistic family member who makes you worry about everything happening in the world. Don’t feel obligated to socialize with people who’s negative attitude affects your mental health.
Distance yourself from the negative people in your life, and surround yourself with those you love instead.
Compare Themselves to Others
You will never experience peace of mind if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. This is especially common among the parenting community, despite the fact that all children and parenting styles are different.
It can be difficult on our mental health to see others doing well when we are clearly struggling. But remember that people are more inclined to share their success stories, than they are their struggles. This explains the stigma surrounding mental illness and the reason why so many mothers don’t talk about it.
Speak openly about real motherhood and all the struggles that come with it. And encourage others to do the same.
Moms can never seem to relax without feeling guilty about it, so maybe it’s time we took a lesson from the Danish.
The Danish people are a happy people, despite the fact that their weather is very similar to that of my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (a.k.a. Winter-peg). How do the Danes manage to remain so happy despite the long hours of darkness and extreme cold temperatures, while we’re all miserably suffering from seasonal depression over here?
I believe that it has a little something to do with their lifestyle. Specifically, the hygge lifestyle. Learning more about the hygge lifestyle and incorporating it into our own lives can have a lot of benefits, especially for busy moms. It’s not just something that we can practice on the coldest of winter days, but something that we should be mindful of everyday.
Most importantly, embracing a hygge lifestyle can help moms to feel a little less guilty about slowing down and taking care of themselves.
What is Hygge?
Hygge(HOO-ga or HUE-ga) is a Danish word that does not have an exact translation in English. It is used to describe a particular mood or feeling but also to describe the many different ways a person can create this mood and feeling. And that mood and feeling is one of happiness, contentment, peace and warmth.
Hygge is a certain way of living life. It’s about being conscious of your every action and movement. It’s moving slowly and never feeling rushed or pressured to be anywhere or do anything. To live a hygge lifestyle is to focus on the things that make us feel happy and warm on the inside, despite the cold darkness and chaos that’s happening around us.
Similar to creating a self-care sanctuary, it’s important to surround yourself in the proper environment for practicing hygge. While hygge is most popular in the winter months when it’s cold and dreary, it can actually be practiced year round. All you need to create the perfect hygge environment are the right tools.
Being wrapped up in a blanket provides us with a sense of warmth and security. It’s like channeling the spirit of ancient Vikings wrapped in bear skins as we huddle by the fire. You may not have a spare bear skin lying around but a soft sherpa throw or weighted blanket can do the job.
A Quiet Sitting Place
A comfortable place to hang out is definitely a hygge essential. Whether it’s a couch, bed, comfy chair or cushions on the floor – you’ll want to make sure it’s your favorite place to spend some time. Maybe you already have a designated self-care space, or maybe you have to move some furniture around, but find that one perfect spot in your home that you can escape to.
Comfortable Clothing and Cozy Socks
I’m talking about that one pair of sweatpants that you would never wear out in public. They’re soft and warm and worn in (or worn out). Perhaps the waistband is stretched out or there’s a hole in the crotch from where your thighs rub together. But it doesn’t even matter because they are the comfiest pants in the world to you. And socks, you have to get the warmest, coziest socks you can find. Warm feet are the quickest way to feel cozy!
A Hygge Weekend
Adopting a hygge lifestyle everyday is not a practical solution for everyone. But scheduling a hygge weekend can be a great way to practice self care and unwind after a busy week. This is also an activity that can be done with the entire family, with benefits for everyone. So choose a weekend where you don’t have anything else going on and schedule it!
Next, make preparations ahead of time so that you don’t need to worry about a thing:
Stock up on candles and matches. (Or firewood if you have a wood burning fireplace!)
Get the ingredients to make a hearty beef stew, indulgent cake and soul warming drinks like coffee, tea, warm cocoa or hot apple cider.
When the weekend comes, get your Hygge on!
Stay in bed for as long as possible.
Wear your comfiest clothing, slip on cozy socks or slippers and wrap yourself in a warm blanket.
Light some candles or a fire in the fireplace.
And then… do whatever makes you happy. Play board games with the family, watch a movie, read a book or take a nap.
Don’t worry about phone calls, to-do lists, housework, or even check the clock.
Use up your cheat days and eat a hearty meal, load up on carbs and indulge in cake and coffee while sitting around the dinner table laughing with your family.
Remember, you’re not being lazy or unproductive – you are embracing the art of hygge. Doing all these things is good for the soul!
The Benefits of Hygge
Hygge encourages us to live with intention and focus on what’s important. Resting our bodies, spending time with loved ones and indulging are all important. Among all of the things that “need to be done” like laundry and dishes and cooking and cleaning, we should remember that these things are just as important.
Often, when we take time for ourselves, lounge around in sweatpants or eat cake – we feel a sense of guilt. As if we should be doing something else more productive. But choosing to live a hygge lifestyle gives us permission to do all of those things.
And while we can’t eat cake and wear sweatpants for the rest of our lives, we can remember to move a little slower and take in every moment of every day. We can choose to do the things that make us happiest and instead of feeling guilty, we can feel proud.This is the hygge lifestyle.
Financial stress is a common burden for many young families.
Growing a family is no small feat and finances have a lot to do with it. Children come with their own unique set of needs and financial obligations and the more children you have, the more of a financial burden it can be.
Choosing one parent to stay at home with the kids can also create a stressful scenario as the family moves down to one income. All of this added stress caused by finances can have a big impact on a person’s physical and mental health.
So what do you do when your finances are stressing you out?
Obviously, the first step is to figure out what your financial situation is. If you want to reduce the amount of stress you’re under, you need to make sure that you’re living within your means. This normally requires making a list of all of your income sources and then another list of your mandatory payments and purchases and figuring out what’s left over.
You should review your budget at least every few months, and definitely when there is any kind of big change. A new baby, moving, purchasing a mini van or even a family vacation can all have an impact on the budget.
Knowing exactly how much you have to spend each month can give you a sense of control and direction, which will help to reduce stress.
Family priorities are different from those of a young bachelor or single woman. If you haven’t already discussed and ranked your family’s priorities, then now is the time to do that. Spend your money on the things that are most important first, and leave the things you could do without until last, and only if there is anything left over afterwards.
This can be a tough decision but it all comes down to what is most important to yourfamily. Life insurance, for example, can be a huge priority for some, and not nearly nearly as important to others. If this is the case for you, then you could consider selling your life insurance policy for cash.
While it may be hard to decide, knowing that every cent is going towards something important can make you feel confident in your financial situation.
Finding balance can be like searching for the Holy Grail for many young families. Balancing a budget is just as hard as trying to balance time between work and family. But when things are out of balance, it can leave us feeling frazzled, lost and stressed out.
In order to achieve the right balance, you may have to cut some things out of your life, like subscriptions, memberships or dining out. Or look into options for earning more money, such as babysitting, selling something you own or starting a blog.
If the budget doesn’t balance, then it can cause a great deal of debt. And the only way to truly reduce the amount of stress caused by your finances, is to make sure that you are only spending what you have.
Valentine’s Day is not just for new couples and first loves, it’s a great day to show the woman you love how beautiful and special you still find her, now that she’s a mother.
It’s easy for postpartum moms to feel unattractive and vulnerable since the focus has shifted to the baby and she has little time for self care. She likely doesn’t feel “in the mood” for anything, and if she’s experiencing the baby blues, postpartum depression or anxiety, her mental state may also be suffering.
Valentine’s Day can be a great excuse to go all out and remind her of how much you love her. Boost her self-confidence and mood with one of these awesome valentine’s day gift ideas.
Jewelry is perhaps the most popular Valentine’s Day gift. For a postpartum mom, you can put a twist on it by getting her a piece engraved with her child’s birth date, like this roman numeral bar necklace from Sincerely Silver.
Not only is it a classic and unique way to display the date that her life changed forever, but also, a piece that can be handed down to that child when they grow up. Available in rose gold or sterling silver, this personalized gift could easily become a family heirloom and would be cherished for years to come. Check out the entire line of personalized jewelry from Sincerely Silver.
Turning the bedroom into a sleep sanctuary is a grand Valentine’s Day gift idea. If you’ve been considering a new mattress, there’s no better time to splurge on one than now. Try the Nectar mattress, which guarantees it’s comfort so strongly, that they give you a free trial for an entire year.
For a postpartum mom, a spa day is exactly what she needs. After the trauma on her body from pregnancy, labor and delivery, it needs some pampering.
Many spas offer deals and discounts on couple massages around Valentine’s Day. Or make it simple and get her a Spafinder gift card so that she can book the spa day of her dreams.
Click here for more spa day gift ideas, including local promotions and travel deals from SpaFinder Wellness 365. Plus get 20% Valentine’s Day Gift Card purchases with code 20BEMINE.
Framed Family Photos
The addition of a new baby means your family dynamic has changed forever. It’s time to get a family photo done, or even just a candid shot of mom and baby. It’s one thing to have a million and one photos on your phone or computer, but printing them out, framing them and hanging them up on the walls is a great way to make those memories last.
A meaningful Valentine’s Day gift idea would be to get a favorite photo printed on canvas or framed. Babies grow so quickly, so being able to look back at this time is a great way to remember the love and joy from these early days.
Makeup and beauty products will slowly fall to the bottom of the shopping list, following diapers and baby food. It’s a natural progression and many mothers are happy to do it without complaint. So what better time than Valentine’s Day to restock her makeup bag and let her pamper herself for once?
Lotions, lipsticks, nail polish and perfume are all simple gifts that are easy to buy for anyone. Even this microblading eyebrow pen is a quick and easy gift that will help her get perfect eyebrows will little effort.
Gift cards are always a welcome option, so pick one up for Sephora, Nars, her favorite nail salon or even the local drugstore. Whatever option you choose, top it off with an extra $10 by using a cashback program like Ebates or earn points with Swagbucks.
A Romantic Getaway
A trip to Mexico might not be practical for a newly postpartum mom, but a romantic getaway can come in many forms. The postpartum period is tough on relationships, so spending some time together can help you connect.
Whether it’s a night at a hotel, a weekend at a resort or a drive out to the country – take the time to be with each other and concentrate on something other than feedings and diapers. Check out all kinds of different getaway ideas for great deals on Tripnado.
A Subscription Box
The Mommy Mailbox– a box full of things designed specifically to brighten up a mom’s day! You can choose a subscription up to 6 months to help get her through the difficult postpartum period.
Blume– This is the ultimate self-care subscription box! Postpartum moms can dread the return of “that time of the month” because they haven’t had to deal with it during their pregnancy (and possibly longer if they were breastfeeding) so it becomes just one more thing they need to worry about. Take the stress out of it with this monthly subscription box that includes organic pads and tampons, specially formulated cramp oil, acne and face washes and more!
InstaCandy– Take the box of Valentine’s Day chocolate up a notch with a regular monthly delivery of candy.
Like the idea of a delivered box full of goodies but not ready to commit to a monthly subscription? Check out the Pampered Mommy Box! Their “Best of” Box is full of surprise goodies valued over $100!