The Blog all for Mom
Oct 31, 2019
Celebrate with Simplicity this Holiday Season
By Brooke Radloff, MA IWLC
If you are pregnant, postpartum or have small children at home this holiday season, then I have a message for you . . . Simplify. Be kind and easy with yourself. Lower your expectations—for yourself, your partner and the holidays themselves.
Don’t try to do everything. In fact, make it a goal to do less than ever. Practice saying no, exorcize your “shoulds,” give precedence to your well-being and prioritize your sleep and sanity over obligation. You won’t always be pregnant, or postpartum, or be a mom of small children. Give yourself a break. Give yourself a pass. Give yourself a pat on the back for doing all that you are already doing….because it’s a lot.
You are doing a lot. You hear that?! Growing, feeding and caring for small humans are big and decidedly important jobs. It will run you ragged if you try to do that well, take good enough care of yourself AND everything that is expected of you this holiday season. Not to mention whatever else you have on your plate with work and life.
Although not all of them will be, many of those expectations are put onto you by yourself, so that should be a gift you give yourself this year—A free pass to do the bare minimum. Celebrate simplifying your holiday season.
When my youngest daughter was born we were nigh on the holiday season. As I prepared for her birth I didn’t give much thought to how we would manage the holidays that year. And yet, there I suddenly was—new baby in arms, eyes glazed over, deep in the new baby haze, staring Thanksgiving right in the face.
We had a tradition of spending Thanksgiving with my family, a few hours drive away, which to my newly postpartum body might as well been on the other side of the planet.
There was no way we were getting in the car for that drive. So we decided to stay home. I may have managed a shower, but I doubt it. Luckily my husband was on the same page, as he was almost as tired as I was, and was entirely as spread thin. Things were already hard enough as we all made the transition to being a family of four. We didn’t invite anyone over or offer to host our families. I didn’t attempt a turkey or any of the traditional sides. We just let it all go, and we were fine with that. My family was disappointed but they were able to understand and supported the decision.
Oct 31, 2019
6 Tips for Thriving in the Holiday Season
by Brooke Radloff, MA IWLC
The holiday season is a time for magic, connection and family memory making at its best. Yet alongside the joy and excitement, the holiday season is also a uniquely stressful time of year. Emotions, hopes and pressures are high, and the little time we moms have for self-care can be even less than usual.
If we are pregnant, postpartum, or have small children at home, keeping up with the pace and demands of the holiday season while taking good care of ourselves and our little ones can become overwhelming and downright exhausting. Along with the sweetness and excitement in the air, we moms often face the pressure of a packed event schedule, travel, hosting houseguests, financial stress and navigating family dynamics.
Managing and reducing this stress has everything to do with maintaining your health and wellness during the holidays. As in any time of heightened stress, having a clear plan in place and practical tools at your disposal can work wonders to support and maintain your overall well-being. Here are six wellness tips for helping you and your loved ones to thrive this holiday season.
#1 Allow Yourself To Indulge
Yes, you read that right. Personally, I think a little indulgence is good for the soul, especially the pregnant and new mom’s soul. Take pleasure in the sweetness of the season! Enjoy an extra helping of your aunt’s famous gravy and eat the sugar cookies that you loved when you were a kid. Have a piece of your favorite pecan pie. Just don’t eat the whole thing! But be aware that rich foods, sweets and alcohol find a friend in holiday stress, so the trick is learning to cope with holiday pressures without self-medicating with fudge and wine. The goal is to manage your emotions so you can enjoy the sweetness of the holiday without eating and drinking as an impulsive coping reaction. Therefore, I recommend you serve yourself a gigantic helping of stress management and self care along with indulging in your holiday delight.
#2 Don't Skip Meals
It is a well-known fact that skipping meals, especially on the day of a party most often leads to overindulgence. Make sure you eat nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day so you can consciously choose what you want to eat instead of being led by desperate hunger and a blood sugar crash. This is especially important for breastfeeding and pumping moms, so make sure you eat normally and frequently this holiday season (ideally with a good source of protein) so you don’t slip and fall headfirst into the dessert table.
#3 Add an Extra Helping of Self Care
I’m a big proponent of encouraging expecting moms and moms of young children (and everyone for that matter!) to be gentle, kind and easy on themselves. Self-care is always paramount, and even more so during the holiday season. Yeah, yeah, I know you hear it all the time. You know you “need to take care of yourself in order to take good care of others.” But do you do it? Do you take time for yourself? Do you do what you need to do to refill you cup? Now, I am not suggesting that you take a spa day to break up the holiday chaos (ok, yes I am), but I am recommending that you periodically take a few moments to reset and recharge your batteries. Take a night off, go to a movie, get a massage, take some time to breathe and meditate, go for a walk or take a bath. No matter what it is that rejuvenates YOU, you need to sprinkle it throughout your holiday season so you can keep cultivating the holiday spirit and emotional health you need to thrive.
#4 Plan For Your Exercise Routine
As the pace quickens and your calendar fills up, it’s easy to start cutting out the things that keep you healthy and resourced on a normal basis. Exercise not only helps you stay fit and balance out those extra indulgences, just as importantly, it helps you blow off steam, stay more mentally and emotionally balanced and better equipped to cope with stress. Although time is short, you will be better off this year if you keep yourself physically active through the holidays. No matter which form of exercise works for you, I highly recommend that you make a clear plan and write it down. Whether it is walking around the block, taking a hike, practicing yoga or heading to the gym, research has shown that writing down a plan that says exactly when and where you intend to exercise will make it three times more likely that you’ll do it. So make exercise a priority this year and back it up with a clear plan that identifies where, when and how you plan to get moving, as this will keep you moving in the direction of your greatest well-being all the way through the holidays.
#5 Reach Out For Help
When the whole world is in celebration mode around you, yet you are struggling on the inside, it can make a challenging time feel that much more difficult. The fact is that sometimes the holidays don’t bring about feelings of joy and happiness, and instead leave us overwhelmed by sadness, loneliness and anger. If you know you have this tendency, then I recommend you reach out to a friend, family member or therapist who you can open up to and be supported by on a regular basis. Additionally, those suffering from postpartum anxiety or depression are often even more impacted by the stress, challenges and contrast to a joyful holiday spirit. If you are struggling in this way, please hear my words. You are not alone. In fact, 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression. Please reach out for help and get the support you need to help you through this challenging time. It will pass, but sometimes we need some extra help getting through it. A resource that I have found to be helpful is Postpartum Support International at www.postpartum.net
#6 Keep It Simple
If you truly enjoy cooking and crafting AND have the time, energy and support to create a magical feast and fest without collapsing on the other side, then by all means, do it. But if the list of holiday to-dos, events, and projects makes your heart race and blood pressure rise, then bringing out your inner Martha Stewart might not be worth it this year. You will have the capacity to do it all another year. Go easy on yourself. Go for “good enough.” This is not the time to be aiming for perfection. In fact, send the perfectionist on a holiday vacation. Let go of what you wish you could do and instead celebrate keeping it simple. Be extra kind to yourself and give yourself a break this year. Simplify, aim for less and be enjoy your perfectly imperfect holiday season.
Oct 31, 2019
4 Holiday Mocktail Recipes for Mom
The holidays are that time of the year when we’re encouraged to “Eat, Drink and be Merry”. Well, what if you’re pregnant? We’ve got some yummy holiday mocktails that are perfect for this special time of year and won’t have you as lit as the Christmas tree.
What You’ll Need: Basil Simple Syrup - (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup basil leaves) Stir for 15-20 minutes, Cool down for an hour.
• (3) 12 ounce can of Ginger Ale • Raspberry Sparkling Water
• Ice Cubes
Directions: Pour 1/4 Cup of Basil Simple Syrup in cocktail shaker (or cup).
• Then, pour (3) 12-ounce cans of Ginger Ale (or less, to your taste).
• Add ice, and shake!
• Pour mocktail mixture into your glass.
• Top off with a little Raspberry Sparkling Water.
• Add a little basil leaf to garnish
Red-Nosed Raspberry Martini
What You’ll Need: 1 tablespoon crushed Raspberries • 2 tablespoons fresh Lime Juice • 1/2 cup Raspberry Flavored Sparkling Water • Ice cubes • A martini glass Crush raspberries in a cocktail shaker (a wide cup works too).
Directions: Add the lime juice, the some ice cubes to chill. Shake up your mocktail mixture and pour into your martini glass. TIP: Add a little raspberry flavored sparking water for a little fizz.
Ho Ho Ho-Toddy
What You’ll Need: 1 - 2 Black Tea Bags (7 oz of tea) • A Lemon slice • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves and Nutmeg • 1 Cinnamon stick • 1 tablespoon Honey
Directions: Steep your tea bags in a separate cup. In your original mocktail mug, pour honey, lemon juice, ground cloves and nutmeg and mix. When your tea is ready, top it off and add your lemon stick and lemon slice. TIP: Add some whole cloves to your lemon slice for an extra holiday flare.
What You’ll Need: .5 oz Rosemary Simple Syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup rosemary) Stir for 15-20 minutes, Cool down for an hour • 1 oz of Chardonnay Vinegar • Sparkling Water
Directions: Pour Chardonnay Vinegar, Rosemary Simple Syrup, Sparking Water (to taste) over ice. TIP: Add a little Rosemary to garnish.