Health · Uncategorized

4 Fast Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness and Slow Down In Your Hectic Life

At some point in our early to mid 20s, our lives become stressful. With jobs, school, children, family, businesses and the bills don’t pay themselves. Among all the chaos, it’s easy to get so wrapped up you forget to breathe. Self care is extremely important and living in the moment helps keep us in check. Over the years, I have learned a few ways to keep myself grounded. I’m not perfect at it, but it does help me settle down. I have been less stressed and less anxious since I started studying and trying to practice mindful meditation and here are four simple and fast tips for when you don’t have the time to go to Yoga or meditate.

pexels-photo-593172

1. Practice mindfulness in the car on your commute- don’t zone out to the radio, don’t let all your stress pile up in your brain and just watch the road- take in every sense. I read that most of us tend to kind of zone out on our commute- we enter a kind of daze and our minds wonder. Start practicing not letting your mind wonder- look at the car in front of you, really listen to the lyrics of the song on the radio or turn the radio off and listen to the sound of your car, the traffic and nature- whatever the sounds around you are.

Don’t let yourself think and just focus on feeling as calm and relaxed as you safely can.

I found that since trying this one, when I achieve it, I’m more patient and get less annoyed when I get cut off. I also no longer feel any anxiety when I have near hits (I’ve almost had 3 people wreck into me and I almost merged into someone)

None of those times made me react- I was able to quickly get away from the cars without reacting and without wrecking- and no anxiety.

pexels-photo-57627

2. Meditate yourself to sleep-

This is a major one for me. I try to focus on the sounds of my daughter or husband breathing, my breathing, the cat moving around downstairs and the sounds outside. Close your eyes, clear your mind and don’t allow any stressful thoughts to cross your mind. Anytime you fail (and there will be slip ups), don’t stress and just push it out of your mind. In the end, start counting and count as far as you can before you fall asleep. I almost always count myself to sleep every night and I never go further than 30 to 40.

shower-shower-head-water-drop-of-water-161502

3. Meditate in the shower

When you’re getting ready for work, try to take a shower mindfully- really feel the water splashing down your body. Feel the heat from the water as it steams (if you like your showers as hot as I do). Take time to smell the soap and shampoo you use. Notice the feel of the washcloth or loofah. Use all 5 senses and bring yourself to the moment. When you’re in the moment, you don’t have time to think about the stresses and to do list for today.

pexels-photo-390403

4. Practice mindful eating

This is one that can help you lose weight as well as helping destress.

Too often, we scarf down our food- we don’t savor it and we don’t enjoy it- and we eat more than we’re meaning to eat. Instead of fixing a huge breakfast and quickly eating it, take a bite. Take one bite and let it sit in your mouth for a bit. Notice the way it tastes, the texture, the thickness- make sure to smell it and use all your senses to really experience your meal. Do this with all meals and snacks- in time, it will come second nature and it’s not as time consuming as typing it out makes it sound. When you eat mindfully, you become aware of what you’re putting in your body- you get to know your hunger cues and you learn to slow down, eat less so you won’t feel as full and uncomfortable.

 

Once you start trying these, you’ll find that it will help you get in the moment. Instead of being stressed constantly and feeling sick and fatigued, it will help you feel more in the now and after a few weeks of deliberately getting in the moment, it will come second nature. You will no longer lay in bed wide awake stressed, you’ll start focusing on the feelings and counting down to sleep. Once you have made this your new habit, you’ll have less stressful commutes to work and you will be able to react easier. It is literally all in the mind.

 

*disclaimer: None of this should be taken as psychological/medical advice- these are things I found help me after reading several books and magazines and putting the practice into my own life.*

Health · Uncategorized

I’m so sick of feeling sick

Almost every day I feel run down.

No matter how much sleep I get, I can’t seem to feel rested. I feel drained all the time, my brain is so foggy I have officially quit joking about being an air head.

My mood swings from depressed to anxious- every time I start to think I have some mental illness, my labs come back.

The depression is deeper than I ever felt- as an outcast teenager, when I lost my grandma, lost my dog or lost my child- I had situational depression all those times- never this deep. This depression is unrelenting and feels like I’ll never be able to get up. It makes me feel like no one cares, that I have no one- my kids would be better off and so would my husband and my parents- it makes me feel like I just need to isolate myself. Every time I start to ask my doctor for help- I get my lab results.

I feel nauseated, my stomach bloats out, I have to run back and forth to the bathroom- or I get the opposite.

My palms start burning to the point I can feel the heat radiate, or the opposite and even at 90 degrees, I’m shivering.No amount of blankets can help me warm up and no stripping of layers helps me cool. Heat is worse- it makes me overheat to the point I’ll start to feel like i have heat exhaustion. I have got heat sick just from hot flashes.

 

I don’t know what’s worse- the crying spells from the depression, the panic attacks from the anxiety that come on with 0 warning, the fatigue that NOTHING helps, the digestive symptoms, mood swings or the fact that people look at me like I’m faking it all. The fact that it’s an invisible illness that makes me feel all this.

It’s never going to go away but you can’t see it. You don’t see my mood swings- until the symptoms get severe- I’ve been learning to hide them.

You don’t see the cold or hot flashes- unless I start sweating

You don’t see the depression, anxiety or the nausea but it’s there. It’s real and I’m ready to give it up. I don’t want Hashimotos anymore. I don’t want to keep having to feel this way in between dosage adjustments. They started me at 25, I’m now up to 88 and my appointment is next week- I’m in full swing and can tell my levels are off. I was going to go to the ER, but there is no use- ERs can’t handle chronic- they treat temporary problems. I really wish I could figure out how to deal while I’m in between doses because this isn’t living.

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

When my seven year old came home from the NICU

She was 8 months old, development of a newborn and was still tiny. She was on oxygen, feeding tube and heart monitor.

I tried taking her out of the crib a few times but we had to switch at first from the major oxygen machine (plugged in to the wall) and switch to a small portable tank- that only lasted a few hours. There were a few times the cannula came out and she turned blue so fast it had us terrified. There was also a time we had an emergency situation and had to take her to the hospital- and all the tanks that were newly delivered to us read empty, except one that had one hour left. Luckily, they were able to switch her to a tank when she went into the room in the ER and kept her on it when they admitted her to the PICU (she got a cold and her lungs were too weak to handle it.)

For months, we were so afraid of her blue spells or something happening to her oxygen, we kept her in the crib for most of the day. I finally figured out where to put her big tank in the upstairs hallway that would allow the tube to stretch downstairs and to her bed- as soon as we figured that out, she was only in the crib when she was sleeping.

To this day, she has some strange attachment issues and I feel like her long stay in the NICU followed by our paranoia has something to do with it. I still feel somewhat guilty.

I’ve been thinking back to her babyhood. Aside from the oxygen, she and her sister looked almost identical- to the point my older daughter has gotten their baby pictures mixed up a few times. I still wonder if I had gotten her out of her crib more, would she still be so far behind? She’s playing catch up a lot more now since she has a very talkative sister. Her sister talking is improving her speech (she said the sentence “mommy has to go to work tomorrow” earlier today and she usually says shorter sentences- every sentence she says that has more than 2 or 3 words feels like progress since the condition she has typically comes with only being able to say 1 or 2 words period). She has the genetic disorder on top of being preemie, so I doubt that us keeping her in the crib for the first few weeks(if we weren’t cuddling her in the bedroom) had any affect on her.

I also remember the string of home health care nurses that came and went the first few months and the help my mom gave us because we were 20 and 22 and having a special needs child was overwhelming.

I remember her first cold- the night that landed her in the PICU and the first time she ended up with impacted bowels (she’s now on Miralax and has been hospitalized another time and had to be flushed 2 other times in the ER)

I remember struggling in the NICU to pump, the nicknames they gave me (they called me Bessie because at one point I had the deep freezer, 2 normal sized freezers, their fridge space and my fridge space filled totally to overflowing with pumped milk). I remember the frusteration near the end at pumping- getting a grand total of 2ozs over 30 minutes- then spilling it. I remember the day I finished pumping and dried up, the nurse went out and bought me an energy drink to “celebrate” having my body back.

I remember the nights going to bed alone after chatting with my husband online because I was staying in a Ronald McDonald House out of state while he was home working.

I remember meeting parents who would come in for a few weeks, then leave when their babies got released and it felt like our time would never come.

I remember the day- December 1, 2011- the day we strapped our daughter in her car seat and drove the 3 hours to finally take her home for the first time.

I remember cuddling with her when we finally got her oxygen cannula taken and could see her beautiful face

Now, she’s healthy but still has to see quite a few specialists. She’s reading on her own- even will grab cereal boxes and read those. She loves shopping, shopkins, pink and pretty much all things girly- just like her little sister. When I buy stuff for them- I get the pink for her sister and purple or blue for her. She has different favorite colors on a regular basis and she loves Pete the Cat books, she won a giant Maisey Mouse from a library program/contest last year and the giant mouse is sitting in her bedroom at grandma and grandpa’s house.

 

Her birth and early life has given me a totally different perspective on raising kids and motherhood in general. She and I both almost died, so even when I’m mad or annoyed- when she is screaming or throwing a fit or in my face not letting me breathe on my own, I still am beyond thankful I have her in my life- that her condition has no actual affect on her lifespan and she’ll likely live the same amount of time a healthy person would.

When she was 15 months, off all the tubes and getting more and mroe stable, we decided to finish our family (only wanted two). I got pregnant fast but sadly, she had a different condition and it took her life at 3 hours. We gave up and decided she would be an only child. She started school and I stayed home for another year- then we decided that if I found a job, we were done and there would be no more kids. If I got pregnant, I’d continue staying home for a few more years. They happened almost at exactly the same time. I finally got my first job after staying home for four years and I got pregnant- found out about 2 weeks into the new job. This one was a happy, healthy baby- and our last. After she was born, I had my tubes tied.

I’ve been through it all- loss, complications and healthy and I am so grateful to have both my living girls in my life.

 

Uncategorized

As soon as the Fourth of July passes

I start to feel the spirit of Halloween, then the whole holiday season ending with Christmas.

Maybe it’s because I work in retail or because I do Etsy and most of my stuff revolves around holidays, but I’ve been thinking about Halloween for the past few weeks. (starting to prepare my shop)

Anyone else feel like they think from one holiday to the next? My husband and dad both have birthdays, my and my husband’s anniversary, my mom’s birthday, back to school, Halloween, Nano starts, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, my daughter’s birthday, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, my other daughter’s birthday, Easter, etc

Most of those involve fun decorations and I love the spirit from September through December- not to mention all the shopping, decorating and baking. (be prepared for tons of gluten/dairy free recipes around the holidays and I’ll be posting crafts.

I’m in the process of preparing my shop for the holidays and started Christmas shopping (since we have a birthday 3 weeks before Christmas) and that further got me in the mood.

What puts you in the holiday mood? Anyone else completely fine with seeing decorations and such come out in stores months in advance? I constantly hear people complain about how early stores start getting ready for Christmas, but since having kids I love it.

 

Health · Parenting · Uncategorized

These are a few of my favorite things

I’m wanting to step up my diet a bit more.

I have been strict gluten free for a year now, I’m almost fully dairy free but soy is my problem.

I think I’m going to fully take dairy out at home and out of home then work on soy.

Already- those homemade lattes I posted- just as good and cheaper than Starbucks doubleshots

Earth Balance instead of butter

20180702_2230432071125857565148264.jpg

Silk Almond milk for baking and for my kids (and me occasionally)

I use the nonflavored and unsweetened for cooking

Enjoy Life as a snack

 

It’s delicious and dairy, soy and gluten free- full winner

and you have to have salad dressings when you eat as much salad as I do

They aren’t perfect, they do have soy but I’ll phase soy out like I did dairy. I do use replacements for sour cream and cream cheese as well and I’m really liking Daiya cheese on sandwiches.

Other than that, I bake deserts from scratch- that way I can control what is in the cookies and cake and I try to always cook my lunch for work before I go. I’ll possibly do that for my younger daughter when she starts school since she’s restricted.

I’ll be posting more of my favorite gluten/dairy and/or soy free products as well as more recipe conversions and recipes as I make them.

Health · Uncategorized

Homemade Mocha Latte

I love mocha lattes from Starbucks and finally found a recipe for it a while back. It tastes just as good as the ones from there.I was able to make it Gluten/Dairy/Soy free

Fresh brewed coffee

Cocoa Powder

Sweetened Almond milk

Sugar

Brew your coffee then mix a spoon of cocoa powder, 2 spoons of sugar and add milk to your preference.

The alternative I found was to use chocolate almond milk and it works almost as well (not as good, but still good)

If you don’t need it to be dairy free, add some whipped cream on top and toss in a few df/gf/sf Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips on top.

Health · Uncategorized

Home made Pumpkin Spice Latte

I know this is early, but the coffee post made me think of it.

I found a great recipe for gf/df Pumpkin Spice that tasted as good as any you’d get professionally. I played with it and tweeked it til I found a great combo.

Ingredients-

Coffee

1 tsp Pumpkin (canned or pureed)

sprinkle cinnamon, ginger or the pumpkin pie mix

1 tsp sugar

add in as much sweetened almond milk as you want (or instead of cocoa powder and sugar, add sweetened almond milk)

Brew your coffee as normal

Mix the pumpkin, spices, and sugar together

Add the pumpkin mix to the coffee, add in milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

The pureed pumpkin doesn’t always mix in fully with the coffee (sometimes it does) so most of the time, it’ll be a weird texture but it tastes just as good- has a lot less calories and is allergy friendly.