Advice Column: Pre-natal Depression and Marital Struggles

 Dear Hailey,
 
I’ve been having a difficult time with my marriage. Mainly I’ve been feeling unhappy a lot and I had tied it to postpartum depression except that it had started a couple months prior to the delivery and had been a lot of ups and downs ever since. On the worst days I want out of the marriage but then I stress about our kid, almost kids plural. On the best days I feel like it’s going to be okay but I feel like I have lost so much emotion toward my husband and I don’t know how to get it back. Thank you for this opportunity!

Depressed

 
Dear Depressed,
 
Pre-natal depression, which is also known as antenatal depression, is a very real mental health condition. Its more common that most people think, but it’s not talked about very much, and there haven’t been many efforts to bring awareness to it.
 
One fact you need to know about depression (pre-natal depression as well as other types) is that it affects everyone differently. It can dull your emotions. It can also bring out unfamiliar emotions that you haven’t experienced before. It can make you sad, resentful, and angry. It turns everything upside down.
 
Unfortunately, those we love tend to get the worst of this. With the regular hormonal waves of pregnancy, the strain pregnancy puts on your body, exhaustion, and you have the recipe for some misery. It can be hard to feel affectionate towards anyone with all of that going on.
 
If you feel your marriage could use some work, seek counseling. A mental health professional or religious leader are both good options. However, if these feelings you are having toward your husband (or lack of feelings) feel incongruent with what is going on in your marriage and household, then consider what depression does to emotions. Know that your depression could be influencing how you feel about your husband.
 
An activity you can do at home is write down a list of strengths that you see in your husband. Have him do the same for you. Remember why you fell in love and got married in the first place. Reminisce on the good times you have had together. Make sure you are having regular time alone and have a chance to connect on a husband and wife level regularly. This is one way to bring those emotions and memories back to the surface.
 
I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor and talk to them about what you have been experiencing if you have not already. Talk to your husband, let him know what is going on as well.
 
In the mean time, know that this is temporary. Practice consistent self-care, don’t feel bad about asking those in your support system for help with your child or tasks around the house.
 
Some women find that their depression is exacerbated in winter time, (or only appears in winter) which is known as seasonal affective disorder. If you suspect that this may be contributing to your depression, make sure you are getting plenty of sunlight, and regular mild exercise (nothing strenuous unless you have been doing it your entire pregnancy).
 
You can get through this, and cut yourself some slack. You have so much going on in your life right now, its enough to make anyone feel a little off and flat. I wish you luck!
 

Hailey

Posted in Q&A

Surviving Snow Driving with Anxiety

I love the snow. It’s beautiful, romantic, and peaceful.  However, I do not like driving in it. It’s a relatively new experience for me, being somewhat recently transplanted to Idaho from California. It’s nerve wracking and used to stop me from going places that I really wanted to go. For me, having a baby in the car added a whole new layer of terrifying to snow driving with anxiety. It wasn’t something that I was super comfortable with before, and then being responsible for the life of a tiny, precious human just made it so much worse.

This is a list of tips help you cope with your anxiety while sliding down the road. This isn’t a list of specific driving tips for maneuvering through the snow, but a list of to help you survive snow driving with anxiety.

First…breathe

Most obvious advice ever, right? However, white knuckle driving while holding your breath is not going to help you feel better. Or drive better for that matter. So take a deep breath. Relax. You’ve got this! As someone who has gotten stuck in deep snow with a baby in the car (read about that here), know that even on the off chance that something does happen, you can survive this!

Practice

There are some things that simply take practice to get a handle on. Snow driving is one of them. Go to a parking lot, spin some donuts, and get used to sliding around. Understanding that there really isn’t anything mysterious and scary about sliding in a vehicle will go a long way to helping you panic less when it does happen.

If it will make you more comfortable, bring someone along who has more snow driving experience than you do! Also, know that the more you drive in the snow, the better you’ll get. Whether you were raised driving in the snow, or if this is a new experience for you (like for me!) you can totally do this.

Advice from others

Just like anything else, when people hear that you are looking for advice driving in the snow they will want to tell you their perspective on the “secret to snow driving”. They mean well, they really do. I mean, technically I’m giving you advice right now! But it can be super overwhelming to try to remember all of this advice when you are sliding down the road.

You don’t have to follow every tip you’re given. Just nod, smile, and try what you think is helpful and chuck the rest in the trash. Easy peasy.

Music

Does music make you more relaxed? Maybe a talk show in the morning? A podcast? Maybe just silence? What will make you the most comfortable, that you can leave playing with out messing with for the duration of your commute? Pick that!

Time

Give yourself PLENTY of time. That way you don’t feel rushed. This will make your experience snow driving with anxiety much less terrifying. There is no reason why you need to get to your destination quickly. If you’re running late, still drive slow. I guarantee that whomever is waiting on you to arrive can handle a little tardiness. Most people are pretty understanding, especially when the roads get terrible.

 

Aggressive Drivers

There will be some aggressive drivers. You might be lucky and avoid them, but if I were you I would plan on running into a few meanies because it’s a fact of life. If there is one tailgating you, just pull over or turn onto a side street, and let them ride someone else’s bumper. You don’t need that in your life! They can speed around you, and you no longer have to worry about them.

But where’s the road??

I can’t see the lanes?! I don’t know where I’m supposed to be driving! Eek! I am freaking out here!!! It can be a little nerve wracking for anyone, especially when you have multiple lanes. I’ll let you in on a little secret: No one else can see the lanes either, they are driving on the same road after all. Give your best guess, follow the traffic, and you’ll be ok.

How do you survive snow driving with anxiety?

Let me know in the comments below!

6 Ways to Stop the Cranky Pants Dance

We all know that one person. The person who could be on fire with a stick in their eye, and they would still tell you they were “living the dream”. The person that simultaneously aggravates and impresses us. We want to smack them and also be them. Their lives aren’t inherently better than anyone else’s, they simply know how to cope with life and it’s many adventures, wanted and unwanted. Here are some tips to help YOU be that aggravating person who is unfailing cheerful!

 

Validate your emotions

Emotions don’t go away suddenly when you decide you don’t want them. Sadness and anger can’t be exchanged for store credit. (I know, super disappointing!) But they are easier to cope with when you give them a name and recognize them. An example would be “I felt helpless when I couldn’t figure out why my son was crying. I felt overwhelmed when he had a blow out on the way out the door. And I felt embarrassed when I got to work and realized that my shirt was on inside out. And all of these things together made me feel incredibly stressed out”. It’s acceptable, normal even to feel this way.

 

Stop looking for evidence

Stop looking for reasons to be happy. Stop looking for reasons to be sad. You control your destiny, and your mood, so quit letting the world around you influence how you feel. Just stop it. Your day, your week, your whole year can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if you let it. If you look for good, you will find it. However, if you look for bad you will find it as well.

 

Fake it

Sometimes the only way to get over a grumpy mood is to pretend that you feel good. If you smile enough, you will start to believe that you are actually happy.

Please don’t misconstrue this to mean that you should ignore significant mental health issues. I don’t recommend pasting a smile on your face and pretending everything is fine through a deep depression, but a simple cranky mood is a completely different story.

 

Tell those around you that you are cranky

Tip off the people around you that you are grumpy. This allows you to do two things. One, it allows you to poke fun at yourself. Whenever I say out loud that I’m cranky, I have to laugh a little bit because it makes me sound like a toddler. I’m usually grumpy because I need a nap and snack, so it’s really not too far off base!

 

The second benefit is that it allows those around you to know not to push you until you have gotten through this funk. It’s not the time to tease, it’s not the time to ask you to do something super difficult. They won’t know that unless you tell them!

 

Treat yo self

First off, I won’t ever apologize for using parks and recreation quotes on the blog. And with treating “yo self”, It doesn’t have to be food, but it can. It is WAY different to treat yourself when you need a pick me up versus stress eating. The main difference is moderation, and mindfulness. Enjoy every bite. Savor the taste. Other options include a new outfit, a walk in the park, or a nap.

 

Prayer

Sometimes this is bigger than us. We need some help shouldering our burden, and there is someone who is always more than happy to listen and give us the strength we need. Don’t be afraid to go to your knees get through a bad mood.

 

 

How do you cope with being super cranky?

This is Your “Hard” (Lessons in Grieving)

“You just need to get over it.”

“Stop wallowing.”

“Snap out it.”

“It could always be worse.”

A few weeks ago, I was talking with someone who was experiencing some significant struggles in their life, and they told me that someone close to them told them they just needed to “get over it”.

That ranks in my personal top 5 of worst advice to give someone. It’s not helpful, it’s not compassionate, and it does not portray understanding. Someone who really cares about you will allow you to grieve. They won’t force you to move quicker than is right for you. They probably mean well, they just want to see you happy again, but it’s simply not what you need.

Yes, it absolutely could be worse. It’s important to remember that things can almost always get worse. There will always be someone who has it tougher than you do. However, that understanding doesn’t magically vanish all of your complex negative emotions. You’re here now. You are experiencing something devastating, sad, and crappy. And it flat out sucks.

You’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to grieve your loss. And you’re allowed to be disappointed when life doesn’t go the way you expected. When life doesn’t seem to take into account how much work you have put into something. How the timing isn’t right. How you just weren’t ready.

Remember, we’re all living our own lives. Our own individual stories. This is yours, and only you determine what is hard for you. It won’t be the same as what is hard for your spouse, your sister, your mom, or your neighbor. There is no such thing as normal. “Normal” looks different for everyone. You know yourself, trust your gut and loved ones to tell you the difference between grieving and depression. (And don’t feel bad about only doing the basics for a while).

You can grieve, and you can be sad. You can allow yourself to experience that emotion. It doesn’t diminish your worth, your strength, or who you are as a person.

After you finish grieving, dry your puffy eyes. Throw the tissues away. Pick up, move on, and you put it behind you and learn from your experience. But do it when YOU ARE READY. Don’t let anyone but you dictate the “appropriate amount of time” for your respective set back, tragedy, or hardship.

What to Buy for a Baby Shower Gift (For any Budget!)

Before I had my son, I was super clueless on what to buy friends for baby showers. I would wander the baby aisle in the store for longer than I care to admit and eventually end up randomly choosing a few items and calling it good.

Sometimes the mom-to-be will have a registry, but if this is her first kid she might not have a clue of what to register for, and has left it up to you. Or maybe you got to the registry late, and only the really expensive items are left. You have to figure out what to get all on your own!

Then you have to decide on your budget. The current state of your bank account, your closeness to the mother-to-be, and any number of other factors affect how much you are willing to spend.

Guess what? Since you are reading this post, all you have to decide is how much you are willing to spend! Lucky you! I’ve broken down price points into 5 different categories, with multiple choices under each price point. All the items under each section are a similar price point, in increments of $10.

If you order on Amazon, you don’t even have to leave the house. And if you use the affiliate links below, I get a small commission at no cost to you. Everyone wins! Thanks for supporting my blog and allowing me to continue to provide free content. Each picture below will take you to a link to purchase the item.

Tiny Budget

If you are on a tight budget, one way to stretch your dollar is to buy a handful of inexpensive and practical gifts. Remmber, just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean your gift won’t be helpful.

Those small things add up in cost quickly for new parents, and the mom-to-be will be grateful for whatever you can give her!

Here are some of my picks for a small budget friendly baby shower gift. Diaper cream, binky, binky straps, socks and mittens, and baby wash.

 

 

 

Low Budget

Here are some baby shower gift ideas if you have a little more to spend. If you have a little more to spend, here are some ideas! Changing pad, portable changing pad, multi purpose nursing cover, bandana drool bibs, and a hooded towel.

 

 

 

 

Medium Budget

Baby bathtub, milestone chalkboard, jumbo teddy bear, car mirror (You can look back and see your little one, and it entertains them as well to look at their own cute face in the car), keepsake hand print kit, sound machine.

 

High(ish) budget

The person who buys her friend a diaper genie will be her hero. What a wonderful little gadget!  The bath kneeler, a diaper bag back pack (especially handy for moms with more than one kiddo) bottle warmer, and a play mat for the early days of their kiddos life.

 

 

High Budget

If you are close to the mom-to-be, and can afford to spend this much on a baby shower gift, here are some ideas of things that the mom to be will love and get lots of use out of! I love the baby k’tan wrap because it’s super easy to use (even for someone like myself who is folding and tying impaired). A measuring stick growth chart, a video baby monitor (below is the one that we have and we love it). Also a gift set of various baby essentials!

BONUS: A great add-on or stand alone gift:

Diapers/Wipes

Even if the mother is cloth diapering, there may come a time when they are all dirty and she needs a back up. Some mothers choose to cloth diaper during the day, and use disposables at night. It’s helpful to buy diapers and wipes so she has extras (because holy cow do those diapers go fast!) and it’s also not a bad idea to buy some size ones and twos so that when her kid is busting out of their newborn diapers, she has the next size up!

I hope this list of baby shower gift ideas was helpful. What are your favorite gifts to buy new moms?

Be sure to stop by my advice column here and leave me a question!

Are You New Here?

“Are you new? I don’t know you.”

There I was, sitting waiting for the last hour of church to start, and I look up to see a woman that I knew by name. Two of her kids were in the Sunday school class that I taught every Sunday. I had spoken to her at least 3 separate times. I did my best to keep my reply polite, even though I was hurt. “I moved in about 2 years ago”.

It would have been much less hurtful if it had been the first time it had happened.

I left early shortly after that interaction because I felt discouraged, hurt, and alone. I wasn’t able to focus on what was being taught anyway. On my way down the hall out of the building I ran into someone, who greeted me…by the wrong name.

I felt alone, unnoticed, and unimportant.

I love people. Both of my degrees are in social work for goodness sake. But as an introvert, people wear me out. Interactions like that leave me puzzled, and my brain reeling on what I had done wrong, why people hadn’t remembered me, if I hadn’t done enough to make myself known, and what on earth was going on.

It’s been at least 2 years since anyone has mistaken me for new at church. However, it happened to my husband this past Sunday. How long have we lived in our current home and attended with this particular congregation, you might ask? Oh we just barely moved in…just a little over 4 years ago. He’s much tougher than I am, but it still rubbed him the wrong way.

Look, I get that we can’t avoid offending everyone all the time. And we shouldn’t try. That’s impossible, and unnecessary. And I’m not in the business of telling people what they shouldn’t say. It’s also important to note that our main purpose in attending church isn’t to socialize. The people we attend with isn’t what church is about. But when someone is already feeling unnoticed and alone, it can really drag them down to feel like no one has even taken note of their existence. It might even discourage them enough to stay home next Sunday.

So what am I proposing? Please still reach out to people that you don’t recognize. Just avoid the dreaded “are you new?” question.

Some alternatives when you see an unfamiliar face at church:

“I don’t think I’ve met you yet”

“I’m still pretty new, and working on getting to know everyone’s name, what’s yours?”

“I’ve forgotten your name, remind me?”

“How long have you lived in this area?”

There are endless possibilities, but you get the idea.

The bottom line is: You don’t know what someone is going through. You don’t know if they have lived in the area for a long time, but haven’t been consistent in their church attendance due to some life complication. Some examples could be health problems, family issues, or work schedules. It’s even possible that their faith has been shaken and that has kept them from attending. They might be self-conscious about their lack of attendance, so there is no need to call them out on it. The overall message we should be communicating to others is love and acceptance.

How to Survive Your First Week Back From Maternity Leave

Heading back to work after being home with your beautiful new baby is scary, exciting, and…busy. You have just barely figured out how to make life work with a baby. It’s hard to even imagine ever coming back from maternity leave (If you haven’t chosen a daycare yet, read my post here about things to consider).

But when you come back…you get to have adult conversations! You get to pee by yourself! You get to sit in a chair by yourself for more than two seconds at a time! 

However…you’re away from your child, and you miss them. You might be packing around your breast pump. You might be falling asleep at your desk.

But even with all of this going on, you also still need to make sure your family (and you!) are taken care of. You need to have meals prepared. You have to wear something other than yoga pants. Spit up is no longer an appropriate accessory. It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to take care of. It can feel overwhelming.

Here are some tips to survive your first week back from maternity leave! (This article contains affiliate links. This allows me to continue to provide awesome free content. Thanks for supporting my blog!).

 

 

Extra outfits

You’re on your way out the door, and it happens. Your beautiful angel spits up, all the way down your back. But…you don’t have any spare work clothes so you have to quickly scrub your clothes and you smell absolutely… lovely all day.

As the parent of little one, you need to have extra clean work clothes on hand. You are absolutely tempting fate if you only have one clean work appropriate outfit.

Dry Shampoo

If you somehow find the time to wash your hair, you might choose to take a nap instead. Or binge on your favorite Netflix show. No judgement here. Do what you need to! That’s where dry shampoo comes in. Sometimes you’ll find yourself short on time and you can’t wash your hair, but never fear! It can still look clean! What a time to be alive! Am I right? Before I bought dry shampoo, I did some research, and this one comes very highly rated.


Pro tip: Spray it on your roots in the evening before bed, and then when you wake up it will have worked its way through and you don’t have to do anything to it!

 

Headbands

I’ll be honest, I’m majorly headband obsessed. Want to magically look put together? Headband, boom. Magic.

And when you’ve stretched your unwashed hair to the limit but still haven’t had a chance to wash it…headband to the rescue! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my hair in a messy bun (because it’s all I had time for) with a headband and I’ve gotten compliments on my “cute hair”. Hey I’ll take it! Headbands are definitely a working mothers staple! Head back from maternity leave in style!

Freezer Meals

Six sisters stuff is awesome for recipes, and especially for freezer meal recipes. It is absolutely excellent to just wake up in the morning, dump your freezer meal in the crock pot, and head on your way. And then when you get home, dinner is ready! Check out their free freezer meal recipes here.

Hello Fresh

Half of the energy of cooking is deciding what to make, and with Hello Fresh it is decided for you. It breaks up our monotony of usual recipes and adds variety.

You don’t have to continue getting them forever either, unlike many subscription services. You can stop and start easily. They send coupons pretty frequently as well. The recipes are all under 30 minutes, and I have tried some really awesome meals that I never would have thought to make on my own. It is pretty great. Use the link below to get $30 off!


 

Overnight oats

I love these since they are super quick, easy, and delicious. In the following order pour in a mason jar: ½ cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, some Greek yogurt, some fruit and ½ cup of milk poured over it and BOOM. You have yourself breakfast to grab on the way out the door in the morning. If you’re feeling generous you can make some for your kids or spouse as well. It’s pretty easy to add some variation as well, and if you want it a little sweeter you can add some honey.

Picture frames

There’s no doubt about it, it’s hard to be away from your little one(s). Even though it’s nice to get out of the house, all parents miss their kids when they are away from them. I bought a few picture frames for photos from my sons newborn photo session in my office. He’s not with me while I’m at work, but the pictures are a visual reminder that he is always in my heart.

 

You can’t “do it all”

It’s hard to try to balance a family as a working mom. It’s hard to feel like you are succeeding at your job and also giving your kiddos and husband the attention that they need. Give it some time, you’ll find a balance and a system that works for you!

 

How did you survive your first week back from maternity leave? Let me know in the comments below!

To the Mom with Young Kids at Church: It’s Worth it

I see you. Carrying a baby in one arm, and a heavy diaper bag in the other. Maybe a toddler running around too, pulling on your skirt. It took a lot of work to get here, but you still have a tough few hours ahead of you.

You get everyone dressed, put socks on everyone (bonus points if they match), and somehow find shoes for everybody. Maybe one last minute diaper change. You put shoes back on at least one kid who managed to pull them off in the 5 minutes it took you to get the diaper bag put together.

It doesn’t feel worth it to go to church. You feel like you are a distraction, like your kids are annoying everyone and taking away from what is being taught. And if your tights or skirt get out of place, good luck having a free hand to adjust your clothes or even have the opportunity to sneak off to the bathroom to fix them.

You used to leave church feeling fulfilled, happy, and ready for a nap but in a nice and peaceful way.

Now you leave church absolutely exhausted and drained, and also ready for a nap, but more like a samurai does after fighting for 3 straight days with no rest. (Which is pretty comparable to wrangling children at church. Except it’s harder because you are keeping them alive. And quiet).

Know that I see you. I know what you are going through.

Lately Sundays have been SO INCREDIBLY EXHAUSTING for me. My hubby is a nurse, and so he is gone every other Sunday. So every other Sunday it’s just me and my cute little chunk monster. He is currently 15 months old. Super mobile, super loud, and seems to know exactly what he shouldn’t be doing at church and does exactly that. There’s a beautiful lace table cloth? Let’s pull on it! There’s a dangerous metal music stand? Let’s go play with it! He wants to do everything except for what we are there to do, which is sit and listen.

I can’t fault him for that, he’s just a toddler after all, but the point is that trying to go to church feels pointless. So why on earth do we even bother going?

We go because it’s important. It is essential.

It is important, even if you only soak in one or two insights to take home with you in between taking a screaming kid into the hall. That one insight might be what you need to make it through the week. We want our kids to know that church is important. That it doesn’t become any less important because it’s inconvenient.

We want them to learn about Christ, to learn primary songs that they can have ready when evils of the world try to infiltrate their minds.

We want them to gain positive role models, and to be involved in wholesome activities.

There will always be a reason not to go, but there will always be even more reasons to go. So to you, the mom with young kids at church, know that I see you and I admire what you are doing for your children. I understand that it’s hard, and we can do this.

How I Lost 20 Pounds (and Counting!)

I’m super excited because I have finally reached a pretty exciting milestone! I lost 20 pounds! In honor of my recent weight loss, I wanted to talk about how I got here. It’s a little different than my usual posts, but I wish someone had told me what I had to find out the hard way. I’m so excited about this, and excited to share it with you!

No crazy secrets, just healthy life style changes!

Please note that that I am not a medical professional, and this post does contain some affiliate links! This means that if you click the link and purchase something, I get a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog and allowing me to continue to provide FREE content!

Define your goals

We all know how to lose weight. Eat healthy, practice portion control, exercise…blah blah blah. How many times have we heard that stale advice? Knowing how to lose weight and actually succeeding are very different things. The important aspect of goal setting to lose weight is to be as specific as possible.

What are your fitness goals? Be specific about what you want, and how you are going to get there. “I want to be healthier” or “I’m going to go the gym more” are not specific enough. Think more in the neighborhood of “I’m going to track my food intake and limit my calories to X amount daily”, and your specific plan for exactly what you will do for exercise and for how long. Write them down, because a very wise anonymous individual said, “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.”

Find some sort of program

You know yourself. You know what will automatically spell failure for you. If you hate the gym, and know it won’t work for you then don’t sign up for a membership. If you need the structure of the gym, then go ahead and sign up. But there are tons of options other than the gym! We live in an amazing world of technology, and there are tons of apps available to give you structure. There are also YouTube fitness channels, and fitness DVDs…the options are endless. Find one that works for you (and that you enjoy as much as possible for exercise) and stick with it!

Work out at the same time everyday

It’s way easier to maintain a habit than it is to have a mental struggle with yourself every day to go exercise. Pick a time, and stick with it. And after a little while, you won’t even think twice about exercising. I am definitely not an early bird, but I exercise before work every morning. I’m not in the mood to go after work, and any later than that I’m not going to have energy, plus I want to spend time with my family in the evening. It works for me, and it’s part of my daily routine.

Buy a Fitbit

I love my Fitbit. It helps me to be aware of how active I am, and gives me reminders to move throughout the day. I have a Fitbit Alta and it’s awesome. Before that I had the charge HR, and I loved it too. Getting 10,000 steps a day is a great guideline for physical activity, and a great way to work towards weight loss. Get your own below!
Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker, Silver/Black, Small (US Version)

Track your food intake

Even more important than exercising is diet. You absolutely cannot exercise away a bad diet. Think of your eating habits as a life style instead of a quick fix. Choose sustainable habits. There are tons of apps of that’s your thing, and I use a free app called “Lose it!” (Not an affiliate, just really like it!).

Work out clothes

I’m generally more motivated to work out knowing that I have cute work out clothes waiting for me. I live in yoga pants and leggings generally, and here are some affordable ones! Baleaf Women’s Tummy Control Workout Printed Yoga Capri Pants Hidden Pocket Ink Purple Size M

Laying out your work out clothes the night before, or packing your gym bag the night before can make it easier to get up and go in the morning, or go after work. I won’t blow off the gym if I have a bag packed, because I hate for it to sit packed for a whole day.

Cheat (responsibly)

You need to give yourself breaks. However, there need to be limits. I love sugary treats, and that’s where I get into trouble with healthy eating, and a big part of why I gained so much weight in the first place. I let myself have two treats a week that I don’t have to count toward my daily calorie allotment. I also let myself have one cheat meal a week.

Do it your own way. Maybe you need to cut out almost all of your sugar intake? Maybe you just need to say goodbye to soda? Find what works for you so you don’t find yourself deprived or starving and totally binge on junk food.

Find healthy ways to deal with stress

I am a major emotion eater. Big time. My picture could be next to the definition of stress eating in the dictionary. Eating was one the main ways I coped with my depression, and it resulted in me gaining 30 pounds in 6 months. Even with my education and experience with helping other people find healthy ways to deal with stress, I absolutely sucked at dealing with my own.

Writing, yoga, and running are how I currently deal with stress. Think of an activity that makes you feel AWESOME. Implement it into your daily routine.

Find replacements

We are always more successful when we trade out a bad habit for a good one instead of just kicking a bad habit to the curb with no replacement. Do always you have an afternoon candy bar? Trade up for an apple or granola bar, instead of skipping the snack. Think of your own bad habits, and what you can trade them out for.

Some low calorie treats can be helpful too, to give you what you crave with out derailing your progress.

And I LOVE this stuff. So good and super low calorie!

Halo Top Ice Cream Pint, Birthday Cake, 16 Ounce (Pack of 8)

 

Find someone to be accountable to

Choose someone to stay accountable to. Pick someone who is in your corner, who wants you to succeed, but isn’t afraid to nag you if you start sliding away from your goal. Some possible choices are your spouse, a friend, or a coworker.

Don’t be hard on yourself

You might mess up. You probably will mess up. But tomorrow is a new day, your next meal is an opportunity to try again, and unless you are reading this at 10:00 at night you have time to hit the gym and try again today! Even though I probably don’t know you I’m rooting for you to succeed. It gets easier as you start to get into better shape, once you aren’t eating junk all the time you won’t crave it constantly. I am so excited to have lost 20 pounds, and if this is something that you want to do, I’m excited for your personal journey!

How have you been successful at losing weight? Let me know in the comments below!

A Guide to Surviving a Sick Baby

You did everything right, washed your hands, washed their hands, didn’t let them near sick kids….but they still got that nasty bug that was floating around. You now have a sick baby on your hands!

As you know if you follow the blog, my son attends daycare. Most of the year it is fine, but in the winter it means he picks up all kinds of sickness bugs…and shares them. Lovely, I know. I’m hoping that this means that he will have an immune system of steel as he gets older. A mama can dream, right? Here are my tips for surviving when you have a sick baby on your hands!

Set up a Command Center

Most babies get really snuggly and clingy when they don’t feel good. They are also super restless and less likely to sleep well on their own. That means you get experience cuddle overload! And that you will likely be stuck in a chair for long periods of time.

Your command center should include everything you need near you so that if the baby finally falls asleep, or finally gets comfortable you don’t have to get up and risk disturbing them.

In our house, the command center is the big comfy recliner right next to the end table. Comfy enough to sit in for a long time, enough room to change positions, enough space for supplies for our little sickling, and you can recline or rock. It’s perfect!

You want to have remotes, snacks (for both of you), and water. Have a bulb syringe and wipes handy as well. Books for them and for you, phone or tablet as well. Netflix or any other digital streaming service is an awesome choice because you can put on cartoons for the little one, and then when they fall asleep you can switch something for you without having to decide between waking up the baby or watching “Trolls” for the 8000th time. Because that’s a tough call. Disclosure: Below are affiliate links, if you click the link and buy something I get a small commission at no cost to you. This allows me to continue to provide awesome free content!

Medicine

Super young kids can’t have cough medicine, and it can break your heart to see them miserable and know that there isn’t anything to give them. Never fear, there is a solution! We like to give our little guy this naturopathic medicine when he gets a cough. It’s mostly agave syrup, and can help soothe their poor little throat. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not a substitute for medical advice! 

 

What have you been putting off?

Since you’re house bound (and maybe comfy-chair bound) for the time being, what have you been putting off? An email to grandma? Reading a long article that you saved to read some other time? A journal entry? Catching up on “The Walking Dead”? (Oh yeah!) Whatever it is, get it done!

 

Prepare to get sick

Unfortunately, with all the cuddles and care that sick babies require, you will likely fall ill with whatever your kiddo has. I honestly expect to get whatever bug the baby has, and when I don’t it’s just a pleasant surprise. That might be a pessimistic perspective, but I can live with that. As I have mentioned in many different posts, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You might need a nap, or a warm bath. Ask your spouse, parents, in laws, friends, anyone nearby that you love and trust.

If you are sick, then you need to add supplies for you to your command center. Cough drops, tissues, etc. Whatever supplies that will be helpful to your current sickness, stick it right there next to you!

These cough drops make it almost worth it to be sick. (Not really but they taste way better than regular cough drops).

Remember… this is temporary

Having a sick baby sucks. They’re miserable, you feel bad that they are miserable, and it’s easy to get caught up and feel like it’s going to last forever. But good news! It’s only temporary. Enjoy the cuddles, and rest up. In a few days things will be looking up, and both of you can be running around like normal. How do you survive a sick baby? Share in the comments below!