How to Put Your Mental Health First When Life Gets Unexpected

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

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

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

Relationship breakdowns

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

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

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

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

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


Loss

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

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

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

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

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


Unemployment and money worries

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Therapy Art Therapy

Art Therapy


Stress Release

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

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

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

Builds Confidence

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

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

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

Distracts the Mind

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

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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Opens up Emotions

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

Express Yourself Without Words

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

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

Intrusive Thoughts
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Taps into the Subconscious

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

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

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

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

Why All Moms Need To Spend A Day At Thermëa

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.
Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea
*This is a sponsored post meaning free passes were exchanged for an honest review. Please note that while this post does contain health and wellness information, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea


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.

Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature
Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature

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.

Hot.

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.

Thermea Finlandia Sauna
Finlandia Sauna

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!)

Thermea Infused Water
Pineapple Rosemary + Cucumber Mint Infused Water Station

Cold.

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.

Thermea Polarber
Polarbër Cold Plunge

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.

Thermea Temper Pool
Tempër Pool

Rest.

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.

Thermea Flam Outdoor Cottage
Fläm Outdoor Rest Area

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!)

Thermea Heated Hammocks
Heated Hammocks

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

Thermea Rellaxa
Relaxa Heated Benches

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.

Thermea Resto
Restö Upper Level

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!)

Thermea Resto Lounge
Restö Lounge

Repeat.

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.

Thermea Herbal Tea by Cornelia Bean
Herbal Tea Selection by Cornelia Bean

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.

Thermea Tellura
Tellura Meditation + Nap Room

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.

Thermea Front Desk
Get A Thermal Experience for less than $60 CAD.

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/


 

How To Reduce Mom Guilt By Embracing A Hygge Lifestyle

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.
Hygge Lifestyle
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

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.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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Hygge Essentials

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.

Indigo.ca
Candles

Candlelight is a cornerstone of hygge culture.  The soft, low lighting and irregular flickering of a candle is something that artificial lighting just can’t re-create.  Sitting around by candlelight in the winter is sure to inspire a feeling of coziness, warmth and togetherness, maybe even romance.  You can even take the mood lighting up a notch by plugging in a color changing diffuser filled with some relaxing essential oils like this one from Rocky Mountain Oils.

Cozy Blankets

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 & Wooly 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!

Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea
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Indulgent Foods & Hot Drinks

Another essential part of the hygge lifestyle is the indulgent, soul warming soups and stews, rich cakes and hot drinks like apple cider, hot chocolate or herbal teas. Normally, these are things saved only for special occasions, which is what makes them so indulgent.  Eating foods that remind us of holidays or our childhood can boost our moods as we reminisce on happy times.  And don’t worry about the calories, because we’ll need all that extra fat to keep us warm in the winter!

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!

Click here to download it now!

 

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!

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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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 everyday 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.

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Hygge Lifestyle Essentials How to Reduce Mom Guilt by Embracing a Hygge Lifestyle
Embrace a Hygge Lifestyle

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

January

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

Download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource LibraryClick here to subscribe for instant access!

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year, Download a Free Calendar!
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February

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge(pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

Hygge Lifestyle
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March

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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April

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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May

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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June

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
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July

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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September

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.  Get as much information as you can about mental illness because knowledge is power.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

Depression Infographic
The Recovery Village

November

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

The most expensive part of the year is upon us.  Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like.  Check out her website for more information.

How to Survive the Holidays with Postpartum Depression
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December

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.


Free Mental Health Calendar
Get this FREE printable 12 Month Mental Health Calendar in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Looking After Number One: Self Care Strategies for Moms

Moms tend to forget that they are number one.

When you’re a mom, it’s very easy to devote all your time and energy to parenting. Children have a lot of needs, especially when they’re younger.  And although their needs tend to be time sensitive and consuming, using the right self care strategies can ensure that you make yourself a priority.  It’s important to be selfless, but it’s also crucial that you find the time to look after number one.

Here are some helpful self-care strategies that moms should remember.

Self Care Strategies for Moms

*This is a collaborative post*
*This post contains affiliate/paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Managing stress

Stress is a very common problem faced by parents. Sleep deprivation, having to be on the go all the time and feeling like you never have enough hours in the day can all increase the risk of stress. Other factors, such as relationship worries, money problems and trying to balance work and parenthood may also play a part.

If you’re struggling with stress, the one of the best self care strategies is to try and work out exactly what is bothering you and causing you to feel on edge. Often, there are practical solutions.

Take the example of managing your money. If you’re finding it tough to get by from month to the next, or you’re trying to figure out ways to boost your credit score to get a mortgage, or you’re attempting to pay off debt, there are steps you can take. It’s useful to see a financial adviser, to start budgeting, and to use services like my fico to monitor your credit score.

There are myriad causes of stress, but if you let them take hold of you, even the most innocuous-seeming problem can spiral into something all-consuming. Learn to spot signs of stress, and try and manage it before it gets worse. Everyone is different, but popular self-care strategies include exercise, meditation, and creative activities.

Postpartum Depression Self Care
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Taking time out

It’s no lie that parenting is a full-time job. Even when kids are fast asleep, as a parent you’re still thinking about them and probably worrying about them too. Children do take up a lot of time, but there’s always room in the day for a bit of ‘me time’ too.

Make sure you take advantage of breaks.  Schedule in half an hour to do yoga, an hour to catch up with friends or a night off from time to time to go out with your partner. It’s so important to be able to have that time out to recharge your batteries, relax, and connect with others without the kids in tow.

We all love our children, but there’s no harm in having a breather now and again.  Scheduling some alone time is one of the most important self care strategies a mom can do.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Doing what makes you happy

When you become a parent, you tend to focus on what makes your kids happy, but try not to lose sight of what perks you up or brings a smile to your face.  None of these self care strategies even matter unless they’re bringing you joy.

It’s crucial to work on your mental health and to find time to pursue hobbies and interests, engage in social activities and enjoy time doing things you love. Whether you like reading, painting, writing, dancing, or running, give yourself time to do what makes you content.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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As a mom, you probably spend most of your time looking after your children.  While they may feel like your number one priority, remember that you are still responsible for taking care of yourself too.  And you will only be able to take care of them if you also take care of yourself.


My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
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5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Over Touched

A mother’s touch is known to have magical healing powers for a child.

The connection between a mother and their child is as physical as it is emotional.  They are a part of our bodies, we feed them from our bodies, and we comfort them with our bodies.  Our bodies are the go-to place for our children when they need to feel safe and secure. So at the end of a long day, mothers often end up feeling over touched or overstimulated.

The sensation of being over touched can have a big impact on our mental health.  With our skin being our largest organ, it’s no surprise that a large amount of extra stimulation can cause us to feel frazzled and overworked. We end up feeling irritable, annoyed, anxious or even angry.  It can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances.   And feeling over touched can have an effect on our relationships as well because it’s unlikely we’ll want to be intimate at the end of the day, either.

If you are feeling over touched after a constantly caring for and hugging babies, try these five techniques to help reset your nervous system.
5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched


1. Take a Time Out

It makes sense that if you’re feeling over touched, a quick fix would be to spend some time not being touched at all.  It’s easier said than done for a busy mom, however.  The sensation of feeling over touched on a regular basis can build up.  Eventually causing worse symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.  So it’s important to break that cycle of feeling over touched as regularly as possible.

Start by scheduling yourself some self-care time.  Pick a day when your spouse (or someone else) is available to watch the kids in the evening and take an hour or two to yourself.  Retreat to your bedroom or another comfortable space and focus just on yourself.  You don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to.

If you can make this a regular habit, whether daily, weekly or longer, then you can reset your sense of touch and feel refreshed and re-energized.  Having the kids crawl all over you may be unavoidable, but at least you’ll be better equipped to handle another round of it.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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2. Try Dry Brushing

Now, this one might sound like it makes a little less sense.  If you’re already feeling over touched, then wouldn’t brushing your skin just make it worse?

If you’re not familiar with dry brushing, it consists of brushing your skin with a dry, natural bristle bath brush to help stimulate blood flow and massage the lymphatic system.  It also has great skin exfoliation benefits, obviously.  You can read more about dry brushing in this detailed guide.

One of the benefits of dry brushing is that it stimulates the lymph system, which is the system that is designed to cleanse our body of toxins and waste.  Keeping this system moving throughout our bodies can actually boost our immune systems and keep us healthy.  Dry brushing can produce an almost instant energy boost just by helping to circulate our lymph.

Dry brushing the entire body can help to reset the sensation of feeling over touched.  It is a controlled and intentional way of stimulating the nervous system and sense of touch.  Unlike being tugged at and climbed all over by our kids, we are in control of how our skin is being touched and stimulated.

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
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3. Have a Hot Shower or Bath

Water can do wonders to wash away the feeling of being over touched.  A hot shower, especially one with a massaging shower head, is another great way to provide full body stimulation to eliminate that feeling of being pulled and tugged at.

Try using thermotherapy, or alternating between hot and cool water, to encourage blood circulation and give you an energy boost.  You can enhance the experience by using essential oil shower steamers or luxury soaps and body washes.  A shower is especially wonderful after you’d tried dry brushing, as it helps to wash away all the exfoliated skin.

If you’d rather soak in the tub, then add a scoop of Epsom salts to the bath water or try some relaxing bath bombs.  The magnesium in the Epsom salts will relax tired muscles and soften the skin.  You can even brush your skin during or after the bath, just add a bit of coconut oil, or other essential oil to your brush.

And most importantly, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards.  In fact, you should use a good quality moisturizer as often as possible throughout the day.  Dry skin is much more sensitive to being touched.  Winter can be especially harsh on skin, and if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, feeling over touched can contribute to other symptoms as well.

Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea
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4. Lie Under a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket, like dry brushing, is another form of intentional touch. It might sound counterproductive to use deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) when we already feel so over touched.  But again, this is a different kind of touch that works like a giant reset button on our nervous system.

Think of a fussy baby being swaddled, or an anxious child being hugged tightly.  Steady pressure that consumes our entire body at once can make us feel calm and boost our serotonin levels.  But as an adult, it’s harder to find a way to create that sense of steady full body pressure.

Weighted blankets are an excellent solution. You can lie under a weighted blanket for anywhere from a few minutes to an entire night, depending on your preference.  You are in complete control of removing it, so you don’t need to worry about feeling trapped or suffocated.

Using a weighted blanket can be especially helpful if feeling over touched is causing insomnia or night time anxiety.  Over stimulation is a major cause of sleep disturbances.  Using a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.

The hardest part about using a weighted blanket is trying to choose which one is right for you.  There are so many options in weight, filling, covers and sizes so how do you even know where to begin?  Here are some tips about how to choose the right weighted blanket.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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5. Sensory Deprivation Tank

This is, perhaps, one of the more extreme forms of therapy for feeling over touched, but it’s a luxurious way to relax and reset.  Sensory deprivation tanks, or “float tanks” are popping up everywhere now.  While it’s actually an ancient form of healing, they’ve become popular in modern society for their known benefits of relaxation.

If you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically a tank filled with water that is as close to your body temperature as possible.  It also contains a high amount of Epsom salts so that your body easily floats and remains suspended in the water.  It is designed to mimic the feeling of floating in space.  Here is a detailed article that contains more information about sensory deprivation tanks and how they work.

In addition to the water, the tank is in complete isolation, which means that it’s dark and you’re cut off from outside sounds and smells.  You are basically floating in complete nothingness.  By depriving the body of all of it’s senses, you can be in a state of mindfulness and complete relaxation.


My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
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As a mother, you’re always ready and prepared to give the hugs and cuddles and be the rock for your children to climb on.  Even when you’re feeling over touched, you’d never want to deprive them of that.  But you can give better and stronger hugs when you’re feeling relaxed and rested.  This is why self-care is such an important task for moms.

If the thought of being touched makes you cringe, it doesn’t make you a bad mother.  While you may have to take a few additional steps to reset your senses each day, the feeling won’t last forever.  So take care of yourself, mama, and then hug those babies.  Because before you know it, you’ll have to chase them down just to get one.

5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched 5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched

7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

Creating a self care sanctuary in your own home is easier than you might think.

While the term “self care sanctuary” might sound fancy, it’s really just a place filled with things that make you feel comfortable and at ease.  Having a dedicated space to practice regular self care can make doing it seem like less of a chore.  For women battling postpartum depression and anxiety, it can be a place to get away from the everyday mess and chaos that’s associated with motherhood.

Your self care sanctuary can be anywhere you choose.  It doesn’t need to be a separate room in your house – it can be your bedroom, bathroom, or even an outdoor space in your backyard.  You should be able to access it easily and on a regular basis.  Most importantly, it should be a place that you enjoy being and where you feel like you can focus on yourself, regardless of how much time you have.

Here are some tips on how to turn your space into a self care sanctuary.
7 Ways to Create a Self Care Sanctuary
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

How to Create a Space Designed for Self Care 7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar


Detoxify the Environment

The first thing you need to do to create your self care sanctuary is detoxify the space.  Clean the area thoroughly using non-toxic cleaning products and get rid of any clutter or unnecessary items.  A minimally styled space opens the door to peace and healing and will allow you to focus on yourself without being distracted (and let’s face it, who can relax in a dirty room?).

Once you have a clean, clutter-free space, you can start to incorporate different things to purify the air.
  • Burn some dried sage. The ritual of sage burning can remove the negative energy from within the room (also called smudging).
  • Light candles or incense to promote a healing environment. Try a Himalayan salt candle holder for extra purifying benefits!
  • Use essential oils in a diffuser. Here’s an all in one kit.
  • Adopt a houseplant.  Choose one of several plants that clean and purify the air in a room.  Outdoor spaces filled with flowers and greenery are also perfect locations for a self care sanctuary.
16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
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Your self care sanctuary is a place where you can go to detoxify from the inside out. 

This is why it’s so important for it to be free of toxins and negative energy.  The environment should never feel sterile, but it should feel fresh, clean and pure.  Every mom should have a place where they can avoid dishes, dirty diapers and scattered toys – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.


Select Comfort Items

When it comes to self care, comfort is essential.  It’s almost impossible to relax when you feel too hot or too cold or if your clothes are restricting and uncomfortable.  Escaping to your self care sanctuary means you get some time away from being climbed on like a jungle gym, or constantly being needed and pulled in different directions.

Consider all the different aspects that make you feel comfortable.
  • Choose furniture that you truly love to curl up in.  It can be a bed, sofa, lounger, hammock, swing or something else.  Try to think outside the conventional idea of comfort.
  • Dress comfortably, whatever that means to youYou can put on pajamas, a robe or even relax completely naked!  Slip on some wooly socks, house shoes or try some toe spreaders.
  • Invest in a weighted blanket.  Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to help ease stress and anxiety.
Hygge Lifestyle
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Your self care sanctuary is the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation.

This means different things to different people.  For example, I prefer to be warmer rather than cool and so I love my cozy blankets and fireplace.  But someone living somewhere hot may need a fan or open window to feel comfortable instead.  Try out different things until you find the right combination of comfort.


Surround Yourself in Beauty

Stimulate your brain visually and create a feast for the eyes.  Even if you plan to keep your eyes closed the entire time, your self care sanctuary should still be filled with beautiful views.  The things we look at each day, whether we focus on them or not, form part of our subconscious.

Use positive imagery to help retrain the subconscious mind.
  • Look out the window.  If you have a naturally beautiful view through your window, then make it your focal point.  If you don’t have a great view, install beautiful window coverings or hang plants or sun catchers instead.
  • Cover the walls. Cover the walls in artwork, favorite photos or motivational posters.  Paint the walls a soothing color or make a chalkboard wall where you can write your own inspirational messages.
  • Decorate with intention.  Lighting fixtures, decor, plants and furniture all contribute to the overall feel of your self care sanctuary.  Try to choose pieces that you love or that have special meaning to you.
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get this from btdesignco on etsy
Your self care sanctuary is a visually stimulating place that inspires you.

If your self care sanctuary is normally a communal space, then you can still keep it in line with the design of the rest of the house.  Print and frame quotes that inspire you and hang them up in the rest of the house too (Etsy is a great place to find some). Even if you don’t read them everyday, your mind will soak up the beauty, inspiration and positive vibes.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide.  Click here to subscribe.


Soothe the Skin

Our skin has a lot to put up with on a daily basis, and yet, it’s one of our most neglected organs.  We can end up feeling really over touched at the end of a long day of caring for children.  Treating the exterior of our bodies is a great way to feel refreshed and should be an essential part of any self care routine.  As mothers, we tend to keep things low maintenance on a daily basis, sticking to the bare necessities of skin care.

Why All Moms Need to Spend the Day at Thermea
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Escaping to a self care sanctuary is the perfect time for a little bit of pampering.
5 Things to Do When You're Feeling Over Touched
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Your self care sanctuary is where you go to feel renewed and refreshed.

Keep a basket of your favorite skin care products in your self care sanctuary.  This way, you’ll be able to pamper yourself any chance you get.  You don’t need to go all out on skin care every day, but remember to take care of yourself on the outside as well as on the inside.


Cleanse the Body

As important as it is to take care of the outside of our bodies, we also need to remember to take care of what’s inside as well.  Leave any thoughts of  dieting or weight loss outside the self-care sanctuary.  Eating healthy food is something we should be doing all day long and not just during our self care time.

There are still things we can do routinely while in our self care sanctuary that help to cleanse the entire body.
  • Drink lemon water.  This simple combination has many health benefits, especially for those suffering from depression and anxiety. 
  • Indulge in healthy drinks.  Sip on smoothies, green tea or naturally flavored water.
  • Practice deep breathing.  Take long, slow breaths to help clear the lungs and feel energized. 
  • Meditate.  Try using a guided meditation app or simply spend some time being mindful.
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Your self care sanctuary is where you can reset your mind and body.

Create a routine for yourself that includes daily trips to your self care sanctuary.  Then incorporate all the things you should be doing on a daily basis, such as taking vitamins and checking in on your overall health and well being.  Eventually, it will become second nature.


Make Room for Physical Movement

While your self-care sanctuary doesn’t need to be fully stocked with gym equipment, it should have enough space for some physical movement.  You should never feel obligated to “work out” during your self care time, because that can cause added pressure and might make you avoid it altogether.  But physical movement releases happiness-inducing endorphins, which are definitely a good thing.

There are several different ways to incorporate physical movement within your self care sanctuary.
  • Stretch.  Simple stretching can loosen up a stiff neck or back, a common side effect of stress. 
  • Run.  Running on a treadmill can help to burn off extra pent up frustration or anxiety. 
  • Yoga.  This popular option has several benefits for treating depression and anxiety. 
  • Dance. Turn on your favorite music and let it move you.  You can literally dance like no one is watching.
  • Punch.  If you find that you suffer from anger management problems or postpartum rage, install a punching bag.
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Your self care sanctuary is an outlet for releasing emotions in a physical way.

The point is not to burn calories or build muscles.  The point is to connect with your body, get your heart beating and find an outlet to express any negativity.  And if you just don’t feel like doing anything physical that day, it’s perfectly fine. Don’t ever feel pressured to have to do anything at all during your self-care time.


Embrace Your Creative Side

A self care sanctuary should be a safe place for you to express yourself.  Often, it’s hard to communicate what we feel using words alone.  Art is a different outlet for expressing the stress and feelings that often get built up inside of us.

Artistic expression comes in a variety of different forms.

Journaling, drawing, coloring or painting.  You don’t need to be a professional artist, and it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Try one of these deluxe paint by numbers kits from Winnie’s Picks.

Crafting, knitting, sewing or macrame. Don’t try to copy something you saw on Pinterest.  Instead, use it as a way to express yourself and only do it if it makes you happy.  Check out some of these DIY craft kits on Etsy.

Woodworking.  This one is a little more extreme but many people use woodworking as a form of therapy.  The art of working with your hands to create something out of nothing can be so rewarding.

Singing or playing a musical instrument. Don’t feel like you need to be a good musician, sing along to your favorite songs or teach yourself how to play a new instrument without any judgement.

Blogging.  This can be a job, but it can also be a hobby that helps you express yourself through writing and graphic design.

Art Therapy
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Your self care sanctuary is a place for self-discovery.

It might take some time to find the right creative outlet and it may change regularly.  If there’s something new you wanted to learn how to do, then the serenity of your self care sanctuary could be the perfect place to start.  You never know what you are capable of until you give it a try.  Having some time and space to work on what’s important to you is a great way to practice self-care.


Once you’ve created the ultimate self care sanctuary, schedule some time to use it!

Download this free PDF workbook designed to help you establish a working self care routine, even as a busy mother.

My Self Care Workbook - A Free Printable PDF
Click Here to Download
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuar 7 Ways to Make your Space a Self Care Sanctuary
7 Ways to Make Your Space a Self Care Sanctuary

Self-Care Tips for Battling Postpartum Depression

Taking time for themselves is something that all moms need to do but practicing a self-care routine is essential to treating postpartum depression.

Self-care doesn’t always need to consist of spa days or alone time.  While different things appeal to different women and personalities – there are some simple, basic, everyday tasks that can make a huge difference to one’s mood and patience level.

Keeping postpartum depression symptoms under control means having to stay one step ahead of them, otherwise it’s very easy to drown in the shuffle of everyday motherhood.

Here are some self care tips for mothers battling postpartum depression.
Self Care Tips for Moms With Postpartum Depression
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
Self Care Tips for Moms With Postpartum Depression

What is self-care?

It’s all the things you need to do to take care of YOU.  It’s not being selfish and only focusing on yourself.  It’s adding your needs to the list, at the same priority level as everything else.

Self-care is a huge topic among parents, especially stay at home moms.  And the biggest question it raises is how the heck are you supposed to take care of yourself AND the tiny humans who demand so much of your attention?

The nature of a mother is to put their children first and therefore, self-care often gets bumped to the bottom of the to-do list.  I’m quite guilty of it myself and sometimes life gets SO busy that I don’t even realize how long it’s been since I showered or blow-dried my hair.


When to do self-care

Trying to fit a self-care routine into an already packed day is impossible, I know.  There are never, nor will there ever be, enough minutes in the day to get everything accomplished.

This means you’re going to have to sacrifice something.  It could be sleep (sleep? what’s that?), it could be that extra time with your kids before bed, it could be the gourmet dinner you cook every night.

Or perhaps there is a way to work your self-care routine into your existing routine with the kids.  There’s no rule that says self-care must equal alone time so feel free to involve your kids or partner.

Whatever you need to do, do it and make time for you.
Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
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Why to do self-care

During my own battle with postpartum depression – I could never look at myself in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of the pile of muck I had become.

I had a ghastly image of myself in my head and I feared that if I looked at myself in the mirror I would realize it had come true.  The few times I did make eye contact with myself, I immediately broke into tears because I absolutely hated myself and standing in front of the mirror meant coming face to face with my worst enemy.

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But I wasn’t afraid to look at myself when I had a little makeup on.  When I was showered and my hair was done and I was in decent clothes – for a moment, I forgot about that pile of muck.  This was someone else I was looking at, talking to, admiring in the mirror.  That pile of muck was still there but I didn’t have to look at her.  I didn’t have to face her and all the sadness she brought with her.

So while some might consider self-care a type of vanity, I felt that it was the only way for me to escape the rut I was in.

Developing a good self-care routine is extremely important both during your battle with postpartum depression after you’ve started treatments to reduce the chance of a relapse.

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How to Do Self Care

Begin with the bare minimum.  It’s sad that we have to remind ourselves to do these things each day, but over time they become less and less of a priority.  For a new mom, it’s hard to figure out how to take care of two people instead of one.  Or for a mom with a mental illness, these are some things that don’t seem worth the trouble.  But they are worth it – and it is possible to do them, every single day.

Brush your teeth

So simple right?  Not when you’re awoken by the loud screams of children at 6 am.  You rush out of bed to see what’s happening and deal with whatever new fiasco they’ve created.  And then coffee is the first thought on your mind.  You’ll brush after coffee – that makes sense, right?  Then you won’t have coffee breath!  Smart woman!

Except you never, ever, finish that cup of coffee… 

It sits there getting cold.  Maybe you walk by once or twice and stick it in the microwave to heat it up and then forget about it there.  Before you know it the hubby is home from work and for some reason he’s not going in for that smooch…

Take the shower!

There are so many days when this feels like an impossible feat.  It takes more than a few minutes and we all know what kind of trouble kids can get into in that time.  If it means letting them have some extra screen time while you shower, then it’s worth it.  If all else fails – take them in with you!

But putting it off means you’re putting yourself off, and self-care is all about putting yourself FIRST!  So take the shower!

A nice, hot shower before bed is a great way to help you sleep at night, so if you can’t fit one in during the day – try to squeeze it in after the kids are down for the night.  If the thought of taking a shower feels like the last thing you want to do after an extremely long day, then it’s what you need most.  Trust me and just TAKE THE SHOWER!!!

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Change your clothes

Changing from flannel pajama pants into black leggings counts.  Don’t stay in your pajamas all day even if they’re the comfiest thing on earth and you’re not going anywhere anyway.  I’ve gone so far as to use the excuse that I don’t want to make more laundry for myself.  But even if you wear the same “daytime” clothes for a week – change out of your pajamas. 

The act of changing your clothes – even if they are from one pair of sweatpants to another, is enough to trick your brain into thinking you’ve done something productive.

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Do your hair & makeup

This one is more important to some than others.  I’ve never been a “full face makeup” type of person, but some women absolutely love the process of experimenting with makeup.  I got a chance to try the Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer and Mascara for free and it was like putting on false lashes without the fuss! Join Influenster and you can start getting free products to try, too!

If you have a particular problem area that makes you self-conscious then take care of that so you can feel confident enough to face the world.  It might sound superficial or vain, but it’s amazing how much more confident you feel when you know that you look good.  And keep in mind that the only person you’re trying to impress… is yourself. 

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Give yourself a pep talk

Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, a little “you can do this” under my breath reminds me that I need to stay positive.  It is SO easy to lose that motivation when you are battling postpartum depression because you are in a constant state of darkness.  Find some way to remind yourself to stay in the light.

Download these 4 FREE 8 x 10 Inspirational Prints in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.

Take your vitamins

Sufferers of postpartum depression are infamous for their terrible eating habits – either not enough or too much.  And because of that, we often end up with all kinds of vitamin deficiencies which can have a huge effect on our mental health.  So if you’re not able to eat as healthy as you should, you should be taking supplements in order to get your levels back up to where they should be.

  • Magnesium is what worked wonders for me.  Magnesium deficiencies are known to cause symptoms of depression, so make sure that you take a regular magnesium supplement to keep symptoms at bay.
  • Vitamin Dget outside in the sun!  Not only does 20 minutes in the sunshine top up your Vitamin D levels but the fresh air does wonders for your soul.
  • Vitamin B Complex to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrition despite your messed up appetite.

Here’s an article on www.livestrong.com that has more details on the best herbal and vitamin supplements to treat postpartum depression.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy and essential oils have huge mood-boosting benefits. An easy way to fit aromatherapy into your postpartum depression self care routine is by using an essential oil diffuser.  Have your favorite, calming, essential oils and blends fill your entire home all day long to make sure that you’re surrounded by positive energy.  (Not sure where to start? Check out the mood collection by Rocky Mountain Oils)

Try Yoga and Meditation

Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that can help to get rid of some of the physical aches and pains associated with postpartum depression.  You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment, so it’s very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.  It also helps you to clear your mind of distractions and intrusive thoughts, which is important if you want to try to remain positive on a daily basis.  Deep breathing can help greatly to reduce stress and it’s something that you can do anytime throughout the day.

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Find ONE thing

And it doesn’t have to be a BIG thing.  A spa day is great but so is binge watching Netflix.  A beach vacation may not be in the budget, but relaxing outside in a hammock or inflatable couch is. [I like the ones from Pouch Couch]

Focus on ONE extra activity that makes you feel happy and relaxed and ONE thing only.  As moms we spend most of our days multi-tasking, and there is so much pressure to become a mom who can bake and sew and do crafts and plan parties (thanks a lot, Pinterest) and it becomes overwhelming and exhausting.

Your self-care routine should consist of something that makes you feel happy and relaxed afterwards.  It doesn’t have to be productive and you don’t need to justify it.  You just need to do it.

It can be difficult to fit in time for self-care, especially as a busy mom.  Check out my post How to Create a Self-Care Routine as a SAHM for more tips plus download a free workbook to help you create a schedule that works!

Write about it

Keeping a journal of your thoughts can be hugely therapeutic for postpartum depression survivors in many different ways.  Not only is the act of writing out your thoughts and feelings a way to release them, but it also helps you keep track of whether they are getting better or worse.

[If you need more reasons, check out this post from Happy Mom Brain: Why You Need to Write About Mental Health]

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Whatever self-care routine you end up carving out for yourself, make sure that you stick to it in order to prevent relapses.  Communicate with your partner about how important these things are for your mental health so that they can support you.  And don’t ever feel guilty about putting yourself first because if mom is happy, then the entire household is happy. 

Click here to download a FREE Self Care Workbook to help you create a routine that works for your busy schedule!

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