Mental Health and Wellness · Pregnancy and Motherhood

It’s Cool to be Kind

I haven’t written anything in a while because I’ve been through quite a lot in the last few months. I will address my struggles on another post, but to summarize I was dealing with extreme workplace bullying from my boss. Something I never thought would happen to me, and something that almost broke me. I wasn’t the only victim though, and after almost 20 years at the organization, this bully was finally let go this week.

I work for a prominent “top 5 in America” healthcare facility, and after many incidents, I am currently on a weird leave from my position, where I’m not even sure when or how I’m going to return. I say this to illustrate how you can encounter bullies just about anywhere and at any point in your life.

Daily I think about the way my director treated me and how she influenced people around her to do the same. It didn’t matter how nice I was, how hardworking, or funny. They decided to target me and nothing I said or did would change that. I learned a hard lesson these past few months, sometimes people just don’t like you, sometimes people will be mean to you, no matter how good you are, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

As a mom though, I feel like I owe it to the world to not raise another bully, another person who makes others question their existence on this earth. I’m quite aware that ultimately it is not up to me, the type of person my daughter decides to be when she grows up. But I will sure as hell make a conscious effort to show her (and any future siblings) how it’s so much cooler to be kind.

Kindness starts with us, as parents, so yes, I’m going to ensure that please, and thank you is a part of my kid’s vocabularies. I’m going to lead by example and show them how kindness goes beyond human interactions, but extends to the planet. I won’t be the overbearing parent who overtly pushes an agenda, but I will ask them to not litter, and to not add to the trash and pollution in an unnecessary manner.

I will ask them to be gentle with animals, and to share their toys, the importance of charity, actually listening to others and saying kind words.

Above all though, I’m gonna ask my children to put themselves in the shoes of others. Before you say something, before you react, think about what you’re about to say and how it would affect the other person. How would you feel if this was said to you? And if they say it anyway, and their words or actions bring pain, please be big enough to apologize. We all make mistakes, we all react negatively to situations, we retaliate when hurt, because we’re human, but never be afraid to say I’m sorry.

Of course I also need to help my kids to navigate the thin lines between kindness and having the strength and courage to not be pushovers, but there’s so many people who successfully strike this balance everyday so I have hope for the future.

If you’re reading this, I beg you to think hard about how your words and behavior affects others, what you say can literally be the difference between someone choosing life or death. This is the reality of the world we live in today, so please, be kind.

xo

Nic

Mental Health and Wellness · Pregnancy and Motherhood

BEATING THE BURNOUT: SELF-CARE IDEAS FOR NEW MOMS

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This past week my daughter was in the middle of a developmental leap, characterized by mood swings, sleep disturbances and extreme mommy obsession. On the worst days, she breastfeeds constantly, and gets upset when I put her down for any stretch of time, she’s happy one minute, then she’s sad, it’s a total emotional roller coaster. It’s now the end of the week and I am beyond drained, both physically and mentally. So self-care has been at the forefront of my mind. I feel pretty burned out, and i’m not gonna lie, it shows. As moms, especially when you’re new to to it all, we sometimes have a hard time finding balance. Everything can get a little overwhelming, and most times, we just keep going. You can’t pour from an empty cup and if we want to continue to be the best caregivers to our children, we must first care for ourselves, so I created a list of things that I do to help me to regroup, relax and get myself back on track.

Get some sleep

I’ve been running on very little sleep daily, so much so that before motherhood, I would not have believed it was possible for a human to function this sleep deprived. While it is possible, your body really does need proper sleep to give it a chance to repair and rejuvenate. Ask for help, from your significant other, a friend, your mom, someone you trust basically. Have them sit with your kid or kids and get some sleep.

Do a simple at home facial

I love Korean sheet masks. They’re cheap, they’re moisturizing, cool and soothing. I buy a bunch and slap one on when my skin looks dull and in need of a quick pick me up. If you’re interested, these are the ones I use. Your face feels so nice afterwards and it only takes a few minutes.

Get some exercise 

Exercise is great because of the endorphins it releases. Structurally, endorphins are similar to morphine and act as natural painkillers. They bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being. If you’re like me and you hate structured workouts because you’re really freakin’ tired and unmotivated, put on your favorite playlist and dance in the most carefree and uninhibited way for a few minutes, stretch, bend and just go crazy.

Spend a little time outdoors

Go for a walk. Spending time outdoors is all about the fresh air and change in scenery. It makes you happier, improves blood pressure, regulates your heart rate and helps to clear your mind a little. Even if you take your kids with you, it will do wonders for your mood.

Connect with friends

Connecting with friends doesn’t even have to mean that you go out. A nice chat on the phone helps. It’ll take your mind off of the stressful things for a little while. When I talk to my friends, I definitely like to steer the conversation away from things that are too heavy and focus on lighthearted humor because laughing makes me feel good. I mean who doesn’t like a good laugh?

Hydrate

Drink water! Hydration helps your body to perform at optimal levels. And we need to be healthy to take care of our kids. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy.

Eat a nourishing meal

I often see moms complaining about missed meals, but like a car, our brains need fuel to run efficiently. In the earliest days of motherhood, despite being a huge foodie, It would be hard to find the time to eat, and it definitely made me feel like crap which left me feeling super unfocused and hangry! So now I prioritize eating and I’m a much happier person for it.

Take some deep breaths

Close your eyes. Now, take a deep breath in, pause, and think about something that makes you happy, then, slowly breathe out. Feel any better? Breathing is a powerful stress reliever that’s supposed to help you feel less anxious. There’s tons of articles online about the benefits of breathing and different methods to make it more effective. It can be done anywhere, and doesn’t cost a dime. I recently received an Apple Watch as a gift and it makes me do breathing exercises several times a day. I gotta admit that at first I thought it was total nonsense but it does indeed help.

Take a hot shower or bubble bath

Even if you’re beyond overwhelmed, getting in the shower or the bath seems to wash the stress away, even if temporary. Hot water gets your blood moving and helps to loosen up tight muscles. If you really want to take your bath to the next level, there are these awesome bath-bombs that I use, they come in a variety of scents and the best part is, they make you feel super relaxed and they don’t stain your tub.

Give yourself a manicure or pedicure

This one actually takes some time, so I don’t get to do it as often as I like which is sad, because my hands and feet do look a little scary right now. When I do have the chance however, it really has a positive impact on my mood. You really don’t need to be a master nail painter or anything to give yourself a mani/pedi. Just wash your hands or feet, put on a nice moisturizing lotion and give them a little massage. Then file your nails, put on a clear coat of nail polish if you don’t have time to do color and voila! You’re done.

Diffuse essential oils

Essential oils are an all natural way to unwind and relieve stress. They’re the perfect pick me up after a stressful day and best of all, they work in your sleep. Put a few drops into a cool mist humidifier before bed and let them work their magic. The cool mist, helps to keep the air around you moist which has tons of benefits for your skin and hair. And adding oils just makes it even better. My personal favs are lavender and eucalyptus. Lavender not only smells divine, but it reduces stress, enhances mental concentration and calms feelings of anxiety. Eucalyptus has similar effects but also has the added benefit of fighting congestion and helping you to breathe better.

Find a creative outlet (if creativity is your thing)

For me, I write. Writing has really helped me over the last few months to overcome some of my anxiety and has given me an avenue to express myself. It’s freeing and really makes me feel like I’m doing something just for me. Putting the words in my head onto paper quite literally clears my mind and if creating is your thing, start working on something, anything. Your poetry, a painting, sew, knit, whatever you want to.

Express gratitude 

There have been many studies, including one from Harvard University that have found links between expressing gratitude and overall happiness. It can help you to have a more positive and hopeful mindset, improved relationships and even help you to get better sleep. Just grab a pen and paper and write a list of things you’re grateful for each day and actively practice saying thank you to the people in your life. It really puts things into perspective, makes you feel good and gives you a greater appreciation for the good things in your life.

What are some things you do to practice self-care? I’m always open to new ideas so definitely share your feedback and ideas with me.

xo

-Nic