Tips for Self-Care while Home with Kids

Friends…we are in some turbulent times right now. COVID-19 information is everywhere and we’re at home with our kids all day, every day.

While self-care is essential to moms at all times, it is especially important that you’re taking care of yourself right now. Physically, mentally and emotionally.

BUT HOW?! How do you do that while stuck at home with kids?

Here are 10 tips to get you started.

1. Maximize the Time Kids are in Bed – get up 30 mins before kids do or use evening for self-care. The dishes, laundry, etc will still be there the next day. Important to take the quiet moments as they happen.

  • Have a coffee/Tea in the morning
  • Do a 5 minute meditation – so many awesome meditations available online/in apps for free. 
    •  Even just Five minutes spent practicing a guided meditation, unguided meditation or visualization imagery is proven to improve focus, self-compassion, mood, immune function and quality of sleep.
  • Use nighttime to connect with a friend or your partner – play a game, watch a show. Something that fills your cup.
  • Have a bath

2.Schedule in a little extra Screen Time

  • Allow kids a bit more screen time so you can have  afew quiet moments to yourself or to catch up on a couple things. Especially if you have a toddler, finding moments to get ANYTHING done can be a real challenge.

3. Stay in touch with friends and family – just because we’re isolating physically, doesn’t mean we have to isolate emotionally. You can video chat via IG, Messenger, Zoom, Skype. This is also an activity for the kids to engage with their friends.

4. Move your body – yes, going for walks with the kids is great but move daily FOR YOU. Have a private dance party, do some stretching or do an online workout. Make sure it’s something you like doing and will make you feel great.

5. Start/restart a hobby – Connecting to yourself is SO important during these times of turmoil. Painting, singing, play the piano, all things that are easy to do. If you don’t have the supplies, there’s probably an app for that!

6. Start a gratitude journal – now more than ever it’s important to focus on the good. Yes, it’s scary and yes, we have to stay informed. However, it is SO important to take stock of all the GOOD that is happening in your life right now. Can be simple like, today I’m grateful for cheese.

7. Social Media Detox – Our natural instinct right now is to consume all and as much of the information as we can. Truth is, it’s sending us into hyper overdrive and it’s causing more pain than good. Like your kids, set aside time in your day to check your phone and social media. Then, put it away. If it’s that important, someone is going to call you about it.

8. Breathe. JUSTTTT BREATHHHE (anyone else have that song in their head now). When you’re really feeling the overwhelm, take 10 deep calming breaths. Seems simple enough, but it’s hard to take the time to do. This allows the moment to pass.


9. Get dressed – Shower, put make-up on and some clothes you feel GOOD in. This isn’t for vanity. This is so you can feel like a human. When we’re forced to stay indoors, we often just stick to a sloppy shirt and stretchy pants. Even doing something as simple as putting on a fresh pair of jeans and some mascara can help elevate your mood

10. Connect with your partner – when the kids are in bed, have a date night with your partner. Make some food together, have a glass of wine and check-in with each other. Play cards, have sex. Whatever it is that brings you together.

Have any others? I’d love to hear them! As you suggest them, I’ll add them here so we have a fulsome and comprehensive list!

Tag me @spitupandsippycups on IG and let me know what you’re up to right now and how you’re taking care of yourself.

Want to talk about it? Let’s chat – you can book a session here.

GUEST POST: Kim C

Guest Post - Kim

Connecting with @kimcha2017 was definitely a highlight for me last year. She is kind, honest and so easy to chat to. We’ve talked quite a bit about mental health and she shared a bit of her story with me. I asked her to write a guest post for me so that we could continue the VERY important discussion around mental health.

Trigger Warnings: Post contains mention of suicide, sexual and physical abuse.

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve tried to, wanted to or thought about ending my life.
It began in my preteens, around 9 or 10 years old. That was the first time the incapacitating grip of depression took over my entire being. At the age of around 12 or 13, I overdosed on pills for the first time and spent a week in the adolescent psychiatric ward of my local hospital. Since then, until more recently, the ups and downs of this illness were something I thought I would just have to deal with for the rest of my life.

Through a teenage abusive relationship, rape, a failed marriage and the conditioning I received as a child, I had no idea who I was. I spent years on and off anti-depressants, feeling alone yet I resisted going to therapy.

I think people knew I was down, but no one knew how bad things actually were. I’m going to get really raw and vulnerable for a minute. The next part is an excerpt from my journal. This was from a few years ago when I was in a very low place and was contemplating suicide.
“Utter despair, helpless, useless, unloved, unwanted. If I do it, it’ll just be gone, the endless struggle. Failure, biggest loser, fat. I want to but I’m scared. Scared of the pain and scared for my kids.”

I can say wholeheartedly that the reason I’m still here is because of my children. I didn’t want them to grow up without a mom, to go through that kind of trauma. I wanted and needed to be here for them, as best I could.

Over the past year I’ve healed more than I ever thought possible. It took me learning that my depression was partly as a result of unhealthy co-dependant enmeshment with my family. I had no self worth and no identity. I always wanted to please everyone else to no avail. I wasn’t making anyone else happy though and I was definitely not happy pretending to be what others expected of me. It’s been a tough road waking up to these realizations and learning how to slowly heal them. I’ve spent a ton of alone time, meditation (something I never thought I would practice) and action to change my own behaviour as well as set new boundaries for myself. Learning to let go of situations and sometimes people has been the most difficult part for me. I think it’s the things that are the hardest, that propel us towards substantial growth.

What’s helped me most through all the self discovery, was having someone I trust, listen when I needed an ear. Thank you and I love you T! If you ever feel like the pain is too much, reach out to a friend, relative, therapist, help line or anyone you trust. Always remember that feelings are temporary, and a quick conversation can make a world of difference in your perspective.

FOLLOW KIM:
Find Kim on Instagram @kimcha2017 and @pureandnaturalskincare.ca

SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

About my Social Media Detox

OH HAI!!!!

As some of you may know, I took a bit of a “break” from Social Media in December. There were a WHOLE host of reasons but the main reason was how ingrained it had become in my every day life.

It was literally the first thing I checked when I woke up in the morning.

I checked my DMs OBSESSIVELY.

I tried to keep up with everyone and everything.Photo 2019-11-15, 6 29 12 PM

I kept telling myself it was ok, that lots of people do it, etc. etc.

But then a my husband and good friend helped me to see – it was becoming unhealthy. I was a mess. It had become an addiction.

Let me take a moment to explain how embarrassed I am about that. I know a LOT of people experience this, but man, I did not think I would be one of them.

In any case, I took a BIG step back.

Truthfully, it was the best gift I gave myself. The first couple of days I really saw just how often I reached for my phone (It was A LOT). At first I felt free…and then I felt sad…and then I felt frustrated.

I learned a lot though – here are just a few things that I wanted to share with you:

I barely took any photos. I used to tell myself that I always had my phone nearby because I loved to take photos. The truth? I loved to take photos for the ‘Gram.

I mindlessly reach for my phone. A. LOT. The day after I took off, I got out of the shower and mindlessly opened my phone and went straight for the IG app. It took me a minute before realizing what I was doing. It’s messed up you guys.

I actually have more time than I think. Yes, my schedule is hectic af. But I have plenty of quiet moments too. At first, it was jarring. I felt like I SHOULD be doing something. As often as I could, I tried to sit in that uncomfortable feeling and just be. Or I journaled.

I’m a happier person when I’m not on here all the time. So, despite the IG algorithms, I’m not going to be posting as often. I’m not going to be doing stories all the time. I’m going to be setting boundaries with this space.

How to tell when you need a break too:

  1. You check your phone, a lot. Even when you’re with friends and family.
  2. Your mood is dictated by the number of likes/comments/DMs you are getting.
  3. You’re documenting EVERYTHING you’re doing, to the point of it getting in the way of actually LIVING
  4. You’re agitated if something is interrupting you from being on your phone.
  5. You’re constantly comparing yourself to others.

Have you ever taken a break or needed one? Tell me about it below!

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Want to talk about it? Let’s chat – you can book a session here.

Guest Post: Mélanie

Mélanie

WE’RE BACK, with another INCREDIBLE Guest Post. I met Mélanie at an event back in October. She was sweet, kind, loving and incredibly easy to talk to. She started telling me about her business, F.L.Y. Girl Dance and it gave me immediate goosebumps. I asked her to share a bit about it here because I think SO MANY GIRLS can benefit from this program. So have a read and if you have any questions, please reach out to her on IG @flygirlprogram

I see it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Girls who struggle with their identity, who face unrelenting social pressures, who do not know how to communicate the multitude of emotions they are feeling. Girls who are overwhelmed with all of the choices before them, who struggle in relationships with friends and family, who long for a sense of belonging. Girls who find it impossible to tackle their goals or who do not even know what it is that they want and let failure and disappointment dull their light.

I have been working with teens for 20 years as an educator, coach and mentor. I am a woman and mother of three beautiful daughters ages 9, 12 and 15 years. This treasury of work has given me an insight into the lives of young women and has been the driving force behind the development of my F.L.Y GIRL program. These experiences have also given me the opportunity to discover where my true strength lies: connecting with and mentoring young women.

I designed the F.L.Y GIRL program so that I could offer something truly unique to our community. By blending dance, mentorship, yoga and meditation practices, I have created a safe space for young women that addresses all facets of their development.

All of these elements have been proven to contribute to the development and growth of communication skills, confidence, positive body image, physical fitness and even the creation of new neural pathways in the brain!

My goal is to guide girls in:

– Understanding who they are and what is important to them.
– Learning strategies to use in difficult social situations.
– Identifying and communicating their feelings with love and understanding.
– Setting and achieving any goal that is in alignment with their values.
– Becoming resilient in the face of obstacles and challenges in their lives so that they may see these as opportunities for growth.

Imagine how powerful our daughters could be if they held all of this knowledge now, with their whole lives ahead of them! My desire is to play a role in creating an entire generation of empowered young women who will move through life with grace and confidence and influence the world around them in a positive way. This is my passion, my path and my purpose.

If you have ANY questions about this program, please reach out to Mélanie. I know she would be MORE than happy to talk to you and how a young girl in your life could benefit from this incredible program.

http://www.flygirl-dance.com/

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SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

Guest Post: AJ

I’m pretty pumped about this post. It’s a first here for a couple reasons.

1) It’s from a Dad

2) It’s from someone who is recovering from addiction.

I met AJ in Grade 9, WAYYYY back in the day. We were fast friends. He was one of the first guys I ever felt comfortable being around because he was funny and easy to talk to. We were in musicals together, he attempted to teach me how to skateboard, went to shows and was even there when I tried my first (and only) cigarette.

Over the last 10 months, AJ has been working on getting sober. I’ve been following his journey and am so freaking inspired by him and what he is doing. PLEASE have a read, this is one that will really get you in the feels.

Today is my daughters 3rd birthday. I’m sitting in my living room finishing up wrapping her gifts, enjoying a coffee and wondering why the hell they cant just package things normally, in a box with flat sides. Do you know how long it took me to wrap a firetruck in a box that, for some reason, comes in a freakin’ polygon? I’m all out of scotch tape and somehow I’m sweating but I’m nothing but grateful this morning. I’m grateful that I’m able to give my kid the love she deserves today.

I’m going to admit something, this time last year I would have been hungover and miserable. I’m an alcoholic and an addict, I’ve been clean and sober for nearly a year. I’m sure people will have their own judgments when they read this but I can only be honest now. Honesty is paramount to my sobriety. For a long time, I wasn’t honest. Not with my family, my friends and certainly not myself. It took a very long time to finally face down my demons, it was terrifying and the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, so far. I’m not cured by any means but I have tools and I have a support system of people who I love and trust and as long as I use those things, I can be the person I know I was meant to be. A loving father and good co-parent.

If you ask most parents what the most important thing in their life is, they’ll undoubtedly tell you its their child. For me, I have to say its my recovery. If that sounds awful or selfish to you, I understand but just hear me out. If I don’t put my sobriety a little ahead of everything else in my life, then I fall apart. I wont be able to love her, i wont be able to provide for her and I further more I wont be around, because my disease will kill me dead. This isn’t just true for parents with addictions either. We all struggle on the inside right? Mental health issues run rampant in today’s society and its no joke. I need to get the help, I need to talk about it and I need to heal so I can teach my daughter how to heal. I can put on a brave face and go through the motions but then I’m not all there, I’m half a parent. The idea of a SuperMom or SuperDad is insane. We are human, BE HUMAN.

Most of all, ask for the help if you need it. I got sober in a 12 step program and Its worked wonders for me but there are TONS of options out there. If you feel stuck, believe me I’ve been there, but there is a way out, I promise. My daughter will be sitting in the front row next month when I recieve my 1 year medallion and I never thought in a million years that I’d be so blessed. So please, if addiction is something you struggle with, if you’re a parent or not, there is help and there is hope. You deserve to be the best version of yourself.

Follow AJ on Instagram at @ayjayayjayayjay

If you’re struggling with alcoholism or addiction, please reach out to your family doctor, a mental health professional or a local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. You don’t have to suffer alone. There is NO shame in seeking help.

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SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

Guest Post: Carianne

You Guys – I’m so honoured to be sharing this post with you. I met Carianne back in my Zumba days. We met at a class, started hanging out and haven’t looked back. Cari is one of the strongest, most resilient women I know. In the time I’ve known her, she has been through so much (including her story below) but she handles it all with amazing grace and clarity.

I asked her to share her story about infertility because I know there are so many women who experience this either publicly or in silence. So I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Enjoy.

1 in 6*.

I’ve seen statistics like these my entire life, and never connected with or thought much of them.

Until I was that 1.

Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a mom. Sure, I also wanted to be a ballerina, a lawyer, a zoologist and a whole list of other careers… but the only constant was a Mom. I had my whole life planned out. I was going to get married before I turned 25 (check!) and then have at least two babies before I turned 30. That’s where my plan came to a screeching halt.

My husband and I couldn’t wait to have kids, and started trying right after we got married in May of 2009. Fast forward one year later… still no babies. After many doctors visits and painful tests… came the even more painful news. We had less than a 1% chance of conceiving a baby naturally. Talk about a punch to the gut.

Our fertility specialist talked about our only option being IVF, with an additional protocol called ICSI, which stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. The main difference between standard IVF and ICSI is how the sperm fertilises the egg. With IVF, the eggs and sperm are put in a dish together and left to fertilise on their own. With ICSI, one sperm is directly injected into the egg. She went through all the details, costs associated, and next steps in great detail. My husband and I sat in silence, holding hands, and walked out of that appointment numb, and in complete shock. I saw the one thing I had dreamed of my entire life, being ripped away from me. The approximate cost of our IVF protocol would be nearly $25,000… how would we ever be able to afford that? The negative thoughts started to creep in. Why us? This is so unfair. What had I done to deserve this? Was I ever going to have a baby? Would I ever get to hear someone call me mommy?

A super long story, super short, my husband was diagnosed with Lyme disease shortly after we received that news, and all of our plans of going forward with IVF were put on hold… for 5 years. I watched many friends get pregnant in that time, and with each baby born, the knife in my heart cut deeper, and twisted harder. I was genuinely happy and excited for each person and celebrated their babies with a smile on my face, but inside I was dying. I would come home and weep in my husbands arms, and each time he would comfort me and say “they aren’t having a baby INSTEAD of us, our time will come”.

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. For nearly 7 years of our marriage, I questioned things on a daily basis. Why did he have to get sick? Why couldn’t I pregnant? Why, why, why?

In the winter of 2015/2016, the Ontario government announced that OHIP was now going to cover one full round of IVF per couple.

The dark clouds were starting to part, and I could our sunlight starting to shine through. With the clearance from my husbands Lyme doctor, we called our fertility specialist and began to make plans to proceed with IVF.

No one could’ve prepared me for what that was going to look like. In short, painful! The endless medications, needles, daily trips to the clinic for blood work and ultra sounds, needles, extremely painful egg retrieval, more needles, the slightly less painful embryo transfer, then even more, even larger and even more painful needles. This was hardly how I had imagined conceiving my first child, but at least we were getting to try.

This is where I started to believe that maybe something would go right for us… that all the pain, tears, and hurt wouldn’t be for nothing.

I was right. We were blessed with 6 healthy embryos, and have had 2 successful IVF transfers. In the world of infertility, we hit the jackpot, and have been extremely blessed with two beautiful, healthy daughters… our little rays of sunshine through the dark clouds.

I am 1 in 6, but my heart is full, and I finally get to hear someone call me Mommy.

*1 in 6 couples in Canada experience infertility.

Follow Carianne on Instagram @mrssherriff

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SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

GUEST POST: When a mom needs her mom

I was talking to the below author about our experiences of motherhood and she shared with me a bit about her early days as a new mom. Her own mom had died when she was younger and felt like she was missing her own mom more than ever. Without her mom, and siblings living out of province, she didn’t have a strong support group when her babies were born. Truthfully, it was something I hadn’t really thought of. We were so fortunate to have family around us and I honestly don’t know if we would have survived without them.

So to those of you who didn’t have a mom who is present, or whose village was less supportive than you had hoped, this one is for you. She asked to remain anonymous, but if you would like to connect with her, send me a message on Instagram and I’ll put you in touch.

There’s that old saying we’ve all heard, it takes a village to raise a child. Well what if you don’t have a village?

Most people assume when you are at the age of starting your family that your mom is around, but for a lot of people she isn’t. In my case, my mom passed away when I was younger. I’ve always missed her so much, but when I had my babies, suddenly I was grieving all over again. Grieving for her. I had a new compassion for her as a mother and grandmother.

For others, the absence of their mother may be because of physical distance, age, addiction, mental capabilities, etc.

Maybe you don’t trust your mom with your children. Perhaps she just isn’t capable of caring for them. This can also apply to siblings, in-laws, extended family and friends. Some people live far from family and where they grew up and are quite literally alone.

When my babies were born I was surprised by the number of people that just came to visit. They would hold a baby, say “oh they are just so cute” and leave. I found some people weren’t interested in changing a diaper, sterilizing bottles, offering to take care of them while you get in a little rest, etc. while they visit. They literally just want to sit on the couch and hold a baby for an hour, which was totally fine because I chose to have my babies, not them. At the end of the day they are my responsibility and I’m not owed any help from anyone, but help is nice.

I also don’t remember people genuinely asking how I was doing. There was the casual “how you doing?” and of course the automated response is “fine” but not the sincere concern of “I know you must be overwhelmed, what you’re doing is not easy. You are doing an awesome job though. Are you Ok? How are you managing all this?”

I think one of the things I had the hardest time with was when we asked for help, family members would come up with a bunch of excuses not to, so we just stopped asking. It hurt. I remember feeling so low. I think a lot of us have a hard time asking for help and it was really hard to build up the courage to do it and be told no with some pretty lame excuses at times. I remember telling my husband that nobody cares about me. Those were days that I really missed my mom. I really needed her then. I needed somebody.

It also made me really look at my relationships and where I stood with people. It made me realize I had placed expectations on people. I just assumed that bringing home newborn babies people would want to help, knowing that my mom isn’t here and my sisters lived across the country. I remember after months of this and my husband being really upset I just told him “it’s going to be us, we’re the team”

Once I came to grip with my reality there was a real shift. I literally had no expectations of anyone anymore. If someone did help out, great! But I didn’t expect them to. It’s a bit of a lonely place and you really have to take it a day at a time. You have to rely on each other. But it can be done.

At a certain point I remember thinking “wow! I’m really doing this, and I’m actually doing pretty well. I’m kind of a bad ass. If I can do this I can do anything” I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities through this experience.

With this being said, when you need help, ask. Look for it. One way is to make a list and put one on the fridge, bathroom mirror and coffee table. List all the things that someone could do to help you out. Someone will be visiting, see it and go “hey, I can pick you up some groceries tomorrow!” For example:

Sterilize bottles
Buy diapers, wipes, formula
Pick up groceries
Clean bathroom
Vacuum
Do dishes
Fold laundry
Take baby for a walk
Take care of an older sibling
Watch kids while I nap
Take our car for service
List everything and anything.

Help may also be in places you don’t expect. I belong to a bunch of mom facebook groups for the city I live in, specialized groups, etc. Go to mom playgroups, especially age specific because those moms are at the same stage as you with their kids. I think a lot of what I needed was emotional support and encouragement that I was doing fine and that feeling overwhelmed is quite normal.

I still really miss my mom. Having children has also made me connect with her on a different level. I understand now how much she loved me. I couldn’t know that before I became a mom. Now my heart aches for her when she knew she was terminal and was limited with a very short time left with her children. I just can’t imagine. So I live my life to honour her. I relish in the moments, the chaos, the mess, the joys.

You’ve got this.

Lisa note: If you need support – you can reach out to me on IG and I’d be happy to help you out. Or, a simple Facebook or Google search for your area is sure to bring up a ton of different play groups or support groups.

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SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

GUEST POST: Gillian

unnamedI’m very happy to introduce you all to Gillian. We connected back in June and I was immediately drawn to her beautiful, honest and loving spirit.

When Gill sent me this post, I got immediate goosebumps. Honestly, it wasn’t even something I had really considered as a sign of my PPD but looking back – I was angry A LOT. I never talked about it because like Gill says below “I also think the idea of angry mothers is incredibly frightening.” We assume anger is anger and that it’s wrong.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.

Did you know that depression can manifest as anger?

Because I sure didn’t.

After my son, William, was born four years ago, I remember going through all of the postpartum screenings. Will was gaining weight as he should and thankfully was hitting the appropriate milestones after putting us through a bit of a scare during his labour. When it came time for the family doctor to ask about my mood, I would shrug it off. I knew I didn’t have postpartum depression: I didn’t feel like hurting myself or my baby. I was showering regularly. I made it out to every mom and baby group I could sign us up to. I went back to work full time after four months, and I was back to my pre-baby weight.

I knew I was rocking this whole motherhood thing. If grades were being given out, I was confident I’d be getting an A.

But under the surface, I was constantly on edge. The smallest thing would set me off and the only people who would see it were those closest to me. I would blow up at my husband for not washing the baby’s bottles properly. I’d send passive aggressive texts to my mom. I’d get so angry that my body would shake… and then I’d blow up and weep from shame.

But I, of course, didn’t have postpartum depression.

When my daughter was born two years after my son, I also had a postpartum depression screening: “You don’t have postpartum, do you?” a nurse asked me as I was leaving the mom and baby unit. “Don’t think so, no,” I replied. I would know if I had postpartum depression, right?

At our two-month checkup, my family doctor took me through the now-very-familiar mood questionnaire, and, as usual, I said no to the whole list. But then, as almost a throw away, he mentioned to be aware of anger. He told me that with new mothers, he sees postpartum depression show up as anger more than sadness.

For the next two weeks I rolled that thought over and over in my head. Finally, one morning, it all clicked. This anger that felt uncontrollable? The rage that sat like a load of bricks on my chest? This was postpartum depression. And once I started on mood medication, I felt a whole lot better.

I don’t blame my family or my health care providers for not identifying my mood disorder sooner—I did a really good job of masking it. That being said, I think that anger and depression is something that often slides under the radar.

Anger and motherhood is something that we don’t talk about a lot. And why is that? Well, first off, it’s a lot easier to feel sympathy for someone who is sad rather than someone who will tell you to mind your own business. I also think the idea of angry mothers is incredibly frightening. Mothers are the givers of snuggles, the preparers of snacks, the keepers of schedules. Our moms are home and safety: how scary is it to think about there being a volcano about to erupt who is making dinner in the kitchen?

All around me, on social media, among my mom friends, in my kids’ schools, I see hints of my struggle with anger and postpartum depression. I can feel the electricity of rage and anger and that, ultimately, they are masking deep sadness.

Mamas get angry…and it’s okay to be angry. Let’s talk about it and give it voice. Let’s remove the shame and stigma. Let’s remember that those who act unloveable sometimes need the most love of all.

Follow Gill on Instagram @GillianBuckleyYoga

Learn more about Gill on her website GillianBuckley.ca

If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of Post Partum Depression or Post Partum Anxiety, please reach out to your family doctor or a mental health professional. You don’t have to suffer alone. There is NO shame in seeking help.

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SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

Guest Post: Mystie

Our next guest post is from Mystie. I met Mystie through Hot Momma’s Hip Hop in the summer (this girl can DANCE!). So while I was completely intimidated by her moves, I was also blown away to find out she’s a TWIN MOM (#hero).

She recently posted on her IG about her struggles with Anxiety and I really wanted to share that with you here. So please read her post, giver her a follow and let us know your thoughts below!

SIDE NOTE: I would love to hear from YOU (yes you!) and share your story on my blog or Instagram. Send me an email or shoot me a DM on Instagram.

There’s been a lot of talk around stress and anxiety and it’s had me thinking and pondering how I could share my in-depth story, the stuff that some of my closest friends don’t even know, but I’ve been stuck. Stuck wondering how I could put my wacky world into words and make it relatable for all of those who suffer with anxiety.

I decided that sharing MY anxiety details and going from there would be best. I say MY anxiety with emphasis because EVERYONES anxiety presents differently, happens for a different reason, lasts a different length of time, causes different personal issues, thoughts and ways of coping in life.

So, here’s my story. I was in grade 8, sitting on my friends bathtub ledge while she did her hair and got ready to go meet the boys we had crushes on, when out of nowhere I felt slightly dizzy (vertigo – but I didn’t know it at the time) and then I blinked, shot up to standing and it was gone. However, that small, millisecond of dizziness threw me into a panic. I didn’t understand why it happened and so I started to freak out. I was then in full panic mode. My mom picked me up from my friends house and tried to tell me that I was okay, but I continued to feel extremely anxious and stressed for some time.

A few months later and I was in the kitchen washing my hands at the sink when I spun around to grab the T-towel to dry my hands and it happened again. This time the panic made my left arm numb and tingly and I actually gave myself a legit fever. I stayed home from school the next day and just tried to calm my racing thoughts and anxious heart beat.

Fast forward to many years later – my anxiety presented itself in new ways- I struggled to be in crowds, malls, class, grocery stores, out for dinner, far from home, the movies, basically everywhere I went I was having anxiety. Sometimes extreme anxiety and sometimes just slight moments of anxiousness. It took me a long time to come to the conclusion that my anxiety was now a fear of getting anxiety. I didn’t fear the produce in the grocery store (lol) or the clothing stores in the mall, I feared being out somewhere and having a panic attack.

So, just like that, it started to happen. It happened in line at the grocery store (because I felt like if it happened I couldn’t just leave my stuff on the conveyer belt so I started to panic just as I set my stuff down).

It happened on a bus driving in Moncton for Argos cheer events, it happened on the train going to the many concerts I later enjoyed (thanks to liquid confidence – more about that another time – and no don’t drink to solve your anxiety issues but if it’s a night out and it helps that’s not so bad) and it happened laying in bed while at the many sleep overs I took part in.

See, it’s important to note that when I wasn’t anxious I was having so much fun, so I didn’t stop doing fun things entirely but the more I ran into anxiety during these times the less I wanted to go to things.

Fast forward to meeting Andrew, I hid this from him for a long time. I would avoid all meals with his family, all events that involved crowds (blue jays games etc) and I would go incredibly quiet and awkward during things we’d try to do together (ie. taking the train to go out down town) I left him at a bar while I ran out to cab home because I was anxious, I went home early from many dates due to anxiety and I wasn’t myself with him because anxiety was a huge part of who I was (and still is).

I was prescribed Ativan, now let me get something straight – I am not pro nor anti anxiety medications, I just personally work to avoid them. With my Ativan in the 12 years I’ve had it, I have taken it a total of 5 times. I call my Ativan my security blanket. Just knowing I COULD take one if needed would ease my anxiety enough to function. I used to not be able to go anywhere or do anything without carrying Ativan. I even made Andrew put Ativan in his pocket for me on our wedding day and I carried it in my bouquet at EVERY wedding I’ve been a bridesmaid in (those friends may not even know this).

Then, after going through many panic attacks, missing many events with friends and developing a heart condition directly related to the stress and anxiety, I became pregnant. I did puzzles during pregnancy to try to shut my brain off and be as relaxed as possible. I faced many days with anxiety – a mix of your standard hormonal anxiety, my typical anxiety and holy shit I’m going to be a mom anxiety, but I knew at this point that Ativan was not an option. I was not willing to take it pregnant (even though I didn’t take it anyway, I couldn’t convince myself all was good by just carrying Ativan) so I stopped carrying it altogether.

Now, today, I still have anxiety on and off, depending on many factors – my stress levels, situations I’m in, my monthly cycle and many others. But for the most part I have fought those fears and put it behind me.

Anxiety is a HUGE part of who I am and how I got to where I am today, I’m proud of that, but now my sole focus is my boys and when I start to feel my typical anxiety I remind myself to be strong because I have to be strong for my boys, and that works for me (most of the time anyway)!

Ultimately for me to tell you every detail this would be a novel, so in short, I hope to help those with anxiety, especially those who really don’t know the trigger of their anxiety and don’t understand it. It’s ok. Keep your head up. Fight through it, you ARE stronger than the silly things your mind is making you think.

I’ve always been a social butterfly so not many would know how many times I’ve been in a conversation thinking about how I couldn’t breathe and having a panic attack in my mind.

So my anxiety never made sense to me, and it probably never will. But I know it makes me, me and for that I am thankful! I’m a firm believer of fighting your anxious fears and counting all the times you get through a fear successfully.

What does that look like? For me it was going into the grocery store and buying one item, it was going to the mall and going to one store… I went little by little and promised myself to be proud of all the things I was accomplishing and not dwelling on the moments that my anxiety crept in. Anxiety can tackle you down but you have the strength to get back up and show it what you’re made of. Deep breathing, and soothing distractions of interest (ie. reading, puzzles). Lots of water. Healthy eating. Exercise.

And believing in yourself. Heal your anxiety don’t dwell on it. ❤


 

Lisa’s Note – if you’re struggling from anxiety/depression, there are so many places you can go to seek help. Please don’t suffer alone.

Resources:

Anxiety Canada – https://anxietycanada.com/

Depression Hurts – http://depressionhurts.ca/en/information/resources.aspx

The Lifeline Canada Foundation – https://thelifelinecanada.ca/resources/anxiety/

 

 

 

How to help a loved one in therapy

With more and more people openly going to therapy, I think that often people don’t know how to act when someone is talking about it and regularly going.

I get it. You worry about saying the right thing, you’re not sure what to do, so here are some things that have been helpful from the people in my life.

How can you help a loved one going through therapy:

1. Be Supportive. Just telling them that you think it’s great that they’re taking care of themselves is huge. Tell them that you’re there if they need you.

2. Recognize, it’s not personal. I think if it’s your partner going to therapy, your first instinct is to assume you’ve done something wrong and assume the blame. However, if you’re assuming this, chances are, it’s not about you.

3. Have no expectations. I like to say “What happens in therapy, stays in therapy” Often, what people talk about in their sessions are things that they don’t want to discuss out in the world. Give them that space. If they want to talk about it, they will.

4. Be Patient. I’ve been in therapy/counselling/seeing a life coach for 10+ years. My mom has been in it for 30+ years. Both of us still learn new things in each session. It takes time to develop a raport with your therapist. Or testing a few different ones. It’s not a “one and done” type thing. You learn different things from different counsellors. Have patience.

5. Financially. Therapy/counselling/life coach – it’s expensive. A lot of plans don’t cover these services (and if they do, it’s not much). Yes, you can get government support, but you’re often put on a list a year long and not everyone can wait that long. So if you can, offer to help contribute to a session. It will make a world of difference.

Hope this helped.

Anything else you can think of? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram.