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:
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.
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.
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
I recently collaborated with Katya and Cait, the founders of The Fragile Club. One thing we have in common is our shared passion for raising mental health awareness. We recognize that in order to do that, we need to encourage the conversation around mental illness. The more people who are brave enough to speak up about what they are battling, the less stigmatized it will be.
On both our sites, those suffering from mental illness are invited to speak up and share their stories, no matter how scary it might be. The Fragile Club also offers a line of merchandise, with profits going towards mental health organizations around the world. These simple pieces, including clothing, hats and even an adorable fanny pack, are branded with a single word “fragile.”
I took the opportunity to interview these two incredible women and find out more about what it means to be part of The Fragile Club.
1. What is the Fragile Club?
Katya:The Fragile Club, first of all, is a community. The place where we share our stories and support each other.
Cait:The Fragile Club is a socially conscious brand created to bring awareness to mental health. For every item sold we donate the profits to one of our partnered Mental Health Organizations. We know that everyone has their own powerful story that can impact individuals and we encourage sharing as a core way to empower and support.
2. In what ways does the Fragile Club help raise awareness for mental health?
Katya:We are building a network of people with social influence (celebrities and social media influencers) who share their experiences dealing with mental health-related problems in order to show that it is okay to be open and talk about it. Also, we donate part of the profit from sold products to Mental Health organizations around the world.
Cait:Through our ambassadors, collaborators, partners and community we aim to bring mental health into normal conversation. And it’s through sharing our individual stories that we can raise impactful awareness.
3. How do you two know each other?
Katya:We both work remotely in the area of digital marketing and advertising. We met not too long ago through friends in common during our travels in South-East Asia and stayed in touch since then. We have a lot in common – modelling, that we both do, remote work, travel, etc. Cait helped me with the content for a few projects and during one of the brainstorming sessions, the idea of The Fragile Club was born.
Cait:As Katya explains, we both have lots of experience working remotely and we met via mutual friends during our travels in South-East Asia and have stayed in touch since then. The first time we worked together I was creating content for some of Katya’s projects and we really enjoyed working together.
4. Aside from the Fragile Club, what kinds of things are you interested in?
Katya:As a full-time job, I do digital marketing and advertising and I’m absolutely loving it! Besides that, I’m interested in fitness, art and travels.
Cait:Both Katya and myself have been in the modeling industry. I love fitness, health, personal growth and content creation.
5. What inspired you to start the Fragile Club?
Katya:As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to create something that would bring some value to society. As I personally have experience with depression and anxiety, I want to support people who deal with mental health-related problems.
Cait:Katya and I both are very passionate about creating positive change and our biggest conversation has been around mental health. We wanted to create something in the mental health space and the Fragile Club fell into place.
6. Tell us more about your personal experiences with mental illness.
Katya:I had depression, hypochondria and anxiety. After my first thought that suicide isn’t a really bad idea, I went to the psychiatrist on the same day. Had to go through the therapy and course of antidepressants to get to the point where I am now. I lived with it over 3 years without understanding what’s wrong with me (most of the time I was thinking that I have some kind of disease and I’m dying). I’m happy it’s over.
Cait:My sister’s story has had a huge impact on me and is a big reason why I care so much about Fragile. She grew up a middle child of 4 girls and always felt like the underdog in our religious family. Along with being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, this lead to her drinking and getting into drugs by the age of 12, pregnant by the time she was 16, and leaving home at 17. Years later, when she was 22, my family learned that she had become addicted to heroin two years earlier. This was devastating to my whole family. My mom has been amazing in helping her rehabilitate and she’s been safely on methadone for the past few years.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried over my little sister and how much I just want her to know she is loved and she doesn’t have to feel so alone and outcasted. I want anyone who’s felt the way she has to know that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and for the people around them to know how to help the people they love.
Personally, I’ve been through periods of depression, anxiety, self-hatred and multiple mental breakdowns. I’ve had anemia and endometriosis which both has fed periods of depression. And I know what it feels like to feel like no one supports you and you don’t know what to do.
7. What does being “fragile” mean to you?
Being fragile means that you are human. We want to highlight that everyone around us has gone through situations that we can’t understand, much less judge. Being fragile means that you accept your pain and become stronger by owning it. It also means that we need to remember that the person next to you has struggles and pain of their own, no matter who they are.
8. What do you feel is the biggest barrier to proper mental health care?
There are many barriers, but the biggest we believe is the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is why we care so much about our mission to raise awareness and funds for mental health. We need both community and government to support each other as well as the funds to bring about proper treatment and research.
9. What do you hope to achieve in the future with the Fragile Club?
We want to bring this important issue to the forefront of conversation in society and culture. That is our biggest hope and dream.
10. How can others become involved in your mission?
Simply by making a single purchase donates funds to mental health organizations we’ve vetted and believe in their work. By someone wearing Fragile it helps to bring mental health to conversation in their daily life.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
By removing judgement, we have room support and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves, and that includes understanding and supporting each other in our darkest moments.
For more information about The Fragile Club, to share your story on their site or to make a purchase and support mental health initiatives around the world, please visit http://fragileclub.com.
Nine months of pregnancy goes by faster than we think.
These maternity photo shoot ideas submitted by Madison fromMILK Booksare a great way to help document your pregnancy. Whether you had a glowing nine months or were burdened with complications, the miracle of birth will always be beautiful.
In the early postpartum days while you’re battling the baby blues, you can look back at the incredible feat you’ve accomplished and feel proud of yourself. And as your children grow older, they may be curious to see how your body changed while you carried them.
Check out these adorable and creative maternity photo shoot ideas for inspiration.
Pregnancy is probably one of the most beautiful chapters in a woman’s life. The nine months of struggles and excitement is surely a collection of memories worth documenting, hoping that you’ll forever encapsulate the story of carrying the greatest blessing of your life through photos.
To celebrate the beautiful changes in your life and body during the odyssey of your pregnancy, here are 20 adorable maternity photo shoot ideas you must try!
1. Take the ocean (or lake) as your aquatic backdrop
Seeing the waves of the ocean or the flow of clear river water brings us a tide of peace and good vibes. No explanation needed. So if you’re looking for a relaxed maternity shoot idea, and you have this undying love for the beauty of aquatic nature, grab your flowing dresses and flower crowns, head on the nearest beach, and get posin’ with a body of water in the background.
Or you could pose in a dock near you, stand in the center, and let the wind blow away your dress while looking at a distance. Plus aesthetic points if you’re shooting when the sun is setting down to its slumber! If you want to be a little more creative, you can dive and pose underwater, or jump into the water until your bump is submerged deep.
2. Bring out the best of your humorous and punny side
This maternity shoot idea is the perfect opportunity to show you and your husband’s funny side.
For instance, you can find a “Bump Ahead” sign on the streets, pose with your husband, and show off your belly, looking confused as to which bump the sign is referring to. You can make fun of your weird cravings by posing with your those strange food combinations you find satisfying. You can also huff and puff some balloons, with hands on your bump and gum on the mouth, and hold a chalkboard that says “About to pop!” Like this one:
3. Get your husband to pretend as the pregnant one
Ah, guys and other adorable beer bellies. If you’re feeling a bit camera shy, or if you want an extension of idea #2, this one’s a good and fun idea to do.
Have your husband pose as the pregnant one, expose his round belly, and let your camera lens capture his proud moment of being a dad and his drinking accomplishment.
Or you could hide in a tree or wall with your bump exposed halfway, and have your husband pretend it’s his baby bump. Take a look at how this couple did just that:
4. Include the whole family in the shot
Let your family show their excitement with the new addition in the gang! This maternity photo could double as a family portrait too. You and your family can do a simple pose in front of the camera, wearing your beautiful smiles and matching outfits.
The older sibling/s can also be the subject of the photo, holding a chalkboard with a sign saying “I’m going to be a big brother/sister!” or holding your bump while smiling at you or at the camera.
You can also ask the women in your family – mom, sister, grandma, your daughter – and do a timeline photo, showing the different generations of your family.
5. Soak in a milk bath
Add that pure and innocent aesthetic to your maternity photos by soaking into a tub full of flowing milk. Just fill your bathtub 1/4 all the way, add milk and corn starch (for that thick texture) and soak in with your all-white lace dress. If you’re feeling a little daring, go au naturel. To complete the look, sprinkle some petals from your favorite flowers in the tub. The colorful, the better!
6. Silhouette photos for that intimate tone
Silhouette photos are not that complicated to take. You and your husband can do this by yourselves! Just grab your DSLRs and tripod, or your smartphones with good cameras, and do your best pose in front of the windows at home.
If you want to achieve a darker silhouette, close the curtains and leave a little gap for the light to come through. Otherwise, open the curtains wide and let the sunshine flow through.
7. Embrace the beauty of nature
Are you living in an area with beautiful fields nearby? Or perhaps you and your husband are hardcore nature lovers who have visited different hiking trails, sanctuaries, and forests, and decided to take nature with your maternity photos?
In that case, get out there and find the best spots where you feel like one with nature. If you have a backyard with a few towering trees, lush greenery, and colorful flowers, you can do your photo shoot close to home! Or as mentioned, you can visit your favorite nature spot, a sanctuary for example, and pose and capture as many photos as you can.
8. Show the beauty of pregnancy with studio photos
Want to keep it simple and professional? Visit a photography studio near you and have your intimate black-and-white photos taken by a professional photographer. You can do simple poses with your husband here, like him hugging you and your baby bump, or an all-smile photo with both of you looking at the camera.
Or you can have a solo portrait-type photo where you’re clothed in a black dress that hugs your beautiful body and that precious bump. You can also pose with wearing only your underwear to showcase the natural, no-filter side of being a soon-to-be-mother.
9. Bring your pet friends along
Pets + babies = cuteness overload!
If you’re an animal lover, then it’s mandatory to include your fur babies or your favorite animals in your maternity photos. Play around with your pets and let your carefree side show naturally in the photo!
You can also have your dogs and/or cats play as the older siblings by dressing them up and have them carry a sign that says I’m waiting for my human brother/sister.
10. Make your hobbies as the focus theme
Got a passion for good melodies? Show them in your photos, with your beloved musical instruments as props. Are you a bookworm at heart? Pose with your favorite books. This is an easy photo idea to do, since you already have the props needed, and you can shoot whenever and wherever you like.
If your kid/s follow the same hobby in the future, you can bring out your photo books full of your maternity photos and share stories of how you pursue your passion.
11. Take the baby stuff out and use them as props
Have you shopped for the necessary items for your coming bundle of joy? Then you already have a perfect set of props to use for your maternity photos!
Borrow the new baby shoes for a while and use it as the main focus of your photos, with you and your husband sitting blurred in the background. Or get playful and have fun with the baby mobile.
12. Flaunt your sexy side
Don’t be afraid to flaunt your curves and show the world you’ve always had that alluring side to your personality.
Grab your sexy black dress and let it hug every inch of your curves in a high contrast photo! Or if you’re feeling a little bit daring, wear your sexiest underwear underneath a thin robe.
13. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn and embrace your vintage soul
If you’re an old soul at heart with a thing for vintage fashion and throwback aesthetics, this your chance to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn. Bring out those vintage display items hanging out in your shelves and cupboards for your props, hang a vintage floral cloth, and voila – DIY vintage studio! You can also keep it simple and wear your cutesy vintage dresses with a flower in your ears and holding a balloon in the street.
14. Have fun with a season-themed photo shoot
One good thing about seasons – no matter the weather is, there’s always a location and mood perfect for your photo shoot. Take the summer season for example. You can catch the natural sunshine glow in your photos during this season, which strikes the ocean waves and beach glow better than the other seasons.
15. Bumps and sonograms
Sonogram maternity photos are the perfect way to announce that you’re expecting and the gender of your baby.
You can pose whichever way you want, whether solo or with your husband (or your older kids), but the general idea here is to hold the sonogram closer to the camera, with you in the background.
16. Turn your body into a canvas
Showcase your artistic side and use your body as a canvas for a beautiful painting. You can paint a nature-themed image in your baby bump, some cartoons for the childish vibes, a group of cute animals, or maybe a cartoon depiction of your coming baby.
17. A before-and-after photo
This one here is the perfect idea to showcase the joy of being a mother, the thrill of carrying your bundle of joy for nine months and the excitement of finally having your child in your arms.
You can do side view poses here, and during the editing process, you can simply set the before and after photos side by side. Some photographers offer this package, so be sure to ask your hired photographer if they do this kind of shoot.
18. Pretend you’re shooting for a movie poster
Show your love for movies in this maternity shoot idea! The idea is simple: you and your husband will copy your favorite movie’s poster.
To make it more creative, you can put the pun in and create a “pregnant” version of the poster.
Take these witty movie posters for inspiration:
19. Don’t forget the candids
Sometimes, the best maternity photos just come out naturally. Candid photos are great because they show the real struggles and beauty of pregnancy. Those stolen shots of your smiles while the baby takes his/her first kick, the constant checking in the mirror for your growing bump – you’re bound to produce an album of priceless maternity photos with just these ideas.
20. Go for the traditional look
Embrace the beauty of ethnic culture with ethnic-inspired outfits with popping colors, big hoop earrings, a turban-like headwrap, and some quirky bracelets. A beautiful landscape in the background would complete the breathtaking photos!
Madison is a content creator for MILK Books. If she’s not perusing pregnancy or maternal related blogs or writing for MILK, she spends her time making sure her 2 little “offsprings” don’t get into trouble.
Whether you’re a brand new mom or a seasoned one, sleep is something we all crave. The months shortly after having a baby are the worst for sleep deprivation and there’s usually no avoiding it. But once you’ve got baby into a good routine and you’ve settled into motherhood a bit better, you can start to focus on how to reclaim all your lost hours of sleep.
Mom of two and freelance writer, Lisa Smalls, shares some tips on how to reclaim your sleep after having a baby.
Having a new baby will be one of the greatest feelings in your life, however, that thrill can be quickly replaced with the fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety and an increased temper all due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is acquiring fewer than the seven-plus recommended hours of sleep each night. While newborn babies can sleep 16 to 20 hours each day, those hours are stretched into bursts which are often inconveniently disturbed when the parent is trying to sleep.
On average, a mother in the first three months after having a baby can lose between one and two hours of sleep each night and for both parents they can experience sleep deprivation for up to six years after the birth. While some people can get an adequate amount of sleep at six hours, most need between seven and nine, so those critical couple hours of loss after childbirth can make a big impact on your quality of sleep, especially considering the hours you do get are broken up into two-hour segments dictated by the baby’s fits.
Your body requires not only that you receive seven hours, but also that those hours are subsequent to each other and they are quality sleep. Sleep is the way your body processes thoughts, emotions, memories and helps your body relax and repair. Without consistent sleep your body does not have the ability to process and file all of your information or process it correctly. This leads to a haze during the day resulting in fatigue, lack of focus, lack of motivation, mood swings and anxiety. In turn, these symptoms lead to additional insomnia. So, when your baby is sleeping at night, you may not be able to. It is a vicious cycle.
As your baby ages, additional challenges such as potty training, nightmares, and the concerns of your growing toddler and an active imagination result in sleep deprivation. Though the sleep deprivation you will likely experience as your child ages may not be as complicated as those first few months, it also provides the same symptoms.
So, what can a parent (especially a mother) do to reclaim sleep after giving birth? Here are five tips.
Create a routine for you and the baby
Okay, to be fair your baby is probably not going to pay attention to a routine in the beginning. But, with practice and commitment a routine can help your baby sleep in longer bouts and learn to sleep so that after four months your baby may actually sleep through the entire night. Routine is good and setting a sleep routine such as bath, reading, cuddling, and sleep will be a great payback for the future.
This is such an important factor in helping you sleep that you should keep a sign on your refrigerator as a reminder. After having a baby friends and family will practically tackle each other to offer help and cuddle with that little cutie. But, parents are often unwilling to accept the help. This may be from guilt or simply because it is difficult allowing someone else (including mom) to watch your baby without you there. But, whether someone offers to watch your baby a couple hours, help with the chores, or just hang out to give you a little break, it all pays off.
Keep the baby near you (but not in your bed)
A nursery is great, but it might be better after the six-month mark. In those first months your baby will wake up every couple hours and one way to miss out on sleep is that long walk to the nursery to feed. SIDS is a serious concern and one of the biggest no-no’s is letting your newborn sleep in bed with you. So, whether you have a crib or bassinet in the room keeping your baby close will help you feed without too much hassle.
Don’t worry about the dishes
Having a baby does not mean you have lost your old life, but it does mean you need to adjust going forward. That might mean that if you were emphatic about getting all the chores done and having a spotless house, those chores just might have to wait until you are having a nice relaxing day as the kids play with the grandparents. This does not mean you should live like a hoarder but prioritizing your sleep over missing a night of sweeping the floor, means you should really get your zzz’s.
Lisa is a mom of two and freelance writer from North Carolina. She regularly writes for the sleep health website Mattress Advisor, which has taught her so much about the importance of sleep (especially as a working mom). When she isn’t working on commissions, she loves connecting, encouraging and learning with other parents through her writing.
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!
Let Her Be Comfortable
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.
With the variety of different online resources available to moms with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, how do you know which one is the right choice for you?
Thanks to the internet, moms suffering from a postpartum mood disorder can find help from the comfort of their own homes. From their cell phone or computer they can quickly and easily get in touch with someone who understands their situation and can offer advice and counseling. It might be a game changer for the mental health community but is online therapy the right choice for moms with postpartum depression or anxiety?
One company, eVideo Counselor, is looking to make sure of it. Their success in helping veterans with PTSD and substance abuse patients find hope again, has led them to reach out to the maternal mental health community. I had an opportunity to check out their services for myself and discovered just how beneficial their services can be for moms with postpartum depression.
Here are some tips to help you figure out if this is the right choice for you.
Finding The Right Therapist
Moms are nothing if not thorough. When we got pregnant, we made sure to find the right doctor to deliver our baby and the right pediatrician to take care of them. And by “right” I mean someone that we trusted, were comfortable with and could talk openly to. So it’s a no-brainer that we look for the same qualities in a therapist.
One of the biggest hesitations that moms have when it comes to online therapy is who their therapist will be. How can we trust this person on the other end of the screen who could be who-knows-where? Will it be awkward? Do they have real credentials? Is this all a scam?
Thankfully, eVideo Counselor has taken away that uncertainty by guaranteeing that their counselors are all well trained and licensed, undergo thorough background checks and are consistently monitored to ensure high-performance.
Most importantly, their video conferencing sessions make sure that you get the personalized face to face contact that a mom with postpartum depression so desperately needs. Your therapist will be able to read your body language and facial expressions in order to understand all the things that you want to say but just don’t know how to. At first, it might feel a little bit awkward. But eventually, video conferencing with your therapist will feel no different than meeting with them in person.
All eVideo Counselor sessions are also HIPAA compliant, which means you can speak freely and openly with your therapist and know that everything you say is private and confidential.
What If It Doesn’t Work?
Therapy does not work for everyone.And sometimes it does work, without you even realizing it. At my very first therapy session nearly 7 years ago, all I did was cry for the entire hour. I felt like I had wasted everyone’s time. Little did I know, having a safe place to let all my emotions go was exactly what I needed. It was part of the healing process and put me on the path to recovery.
One of the best things that eVideo Counselor offers is a system for measuring whether or not online therapy is working for you.
Prior to beginning online therapy with an eVideo Counselor, you’ll be given a short online questionnaire. This is similar to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) that is normally used by doctors and care providers in the first few weeks postpartum, but more detailed. You will also be asked the same questionnaire halfway through your therapy sessions and at the end, to see how your answers have changed.
There are additional and more extensive tests offered as well, but this system of metrics offers something that mothers with a postpartum mood disorder desperately need – validation.
The tests can determine whether you are suffering from clinical postpartum depression or anxiety, or a combination of the two. For mothers who aren’t 100% certain of their diagnosis, or who might still be in denial about what they’re feeling, this is a huge benefit and step in the right direction.
Your therapist will also go over your test results with you in detail. This additional step is unlike anything offered by a doctor’s office. Explaining why and how you answered the questions the way you did will give your therapist a better idea of how to care for you. They will also explain the significance of the questions and provide you with a plan on how to manage your symptoms.
Getting Your Doctor Involved
A legitimate company that wants to help you find healing and success will want to involve all aspects of your healthcare. Mental illness can cause a combination of physical and psychological symptoms. It’s important to have a team of medical professionals working together to provide you with the best care possible.
eVideo Counselor has already thought of that and makes it possible for your therapist to coordinate with your healthcare provider. This additional service means there won’t be any surprises when you go into your doctor’s office, and you won’t have to repeat everything over and over again.
This care co-ordination service is something that can help put an end to stories like Jessica Porten’s (a.k.a. the mom who had the cops called on her when she went to the hospital seeking help for postpartum depression). Having a licensed therapist vouch for your symptoms, plus have the test results to show for it, can make a difference in how you will be treated by the medical system.
In addition to the more common benefits of online therapy, such as convenient scheduling, anonymity and cost, eVideo Counselor offers extra perks that make therapy sessions more well-rounded. Because of this, they have lower no-show rates and higher success rates.
But the truth is, if you really want to know if online therapy is the right choice for you, you need to try it out yourself.
All it takes is a few short steps to get started with an eVideo Counselor right now. Click here to begin.
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.