How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner

Take control of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Wellness Happy Planner.

how to use the wellness happy planner

Hey there, friend! Do you struggle to look after yourself? I know I did. As a mama of two, I was always on the back burner. But then I found the Wellness Happy Planner! I was already an avid Happy Planner, but finding this helped me schedule and prioritize, much needed “me time.” Today I’m going to show you how to use a Wellness Happy Planner ® to practice self-care.

To learn more about wellness and how to care for yourself, I encourage you to read my prior post 30 Day Wellness Challenge. In that post, I provide a FREE printable to help you get ideas for emotional, mental and physical wellness.

Also, in lieu of reading this post, you can watch a video on How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner.

What is a Wellness Planner

The question I get asked a lot is, “what is the difference between a fitness and a wellness Happy Planner?” The fitness Happy Planner is designed to track diet and exercise. The wellness planner can certainly track diet and fitness if desired, but it really offers a deeper health check of body, mind, and soul.

Available Sizes

The Wellness Happy Planner is available as an 18-month planner.

Layout

Right now the Wellness Happy Planner is a vertical format. Like the typical vertical layout, it has three boxes. However, the last box has a journal prompt with a a square grid space. You certainly don’t have to use this space for journaling. It is very easy to cover up with stickers.

how to use a wellness happy planner

The planner has monthly tabs as well as monthly spreads. The weekly side bar includes a exercise habit tracker, a small prompt and a “currently.” section. See my video below for a flip through of the new 2019-2020 Big Wellness Happy Planner.

How To Use the Wellness Happy Planner

There are endless ways to use the wellness Happy Planner. Personally, I use it as part journal, part planner and part memory planner. I use it to express thoughts and work through emotions like a journal. I also use it to actually plan and make time for self-care. Lastly, I use it retroactively to record good things that happen to me as well as gratitude. I think of it as my own authored book of inspiration. If you are struggling with what to record or plan in your planner, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Body

  • More water
  • Exercise routine
  • Taking walks
  • Food journaling
  • Accountability / Accountability partner
  • Sleep goals
  • Weight loss journey
  • Rest / relaxation goals
  • Spa time / Long baths
  • Skin care routines

Mind

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Being mindful
  • Play an instrument
  • Writing
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Taking a class
  • Decluttering
  • Play an instrument

Soul

  • Prayer / Meditation
  • Take a break from social media
  • Journaling
  • A date with your spouse of friends
  • Feed yourself positive thoughts
  • Listen to music
  • Quality time with friends or family
  • Bible study
  • A date with yourself
  • Work through forgiveness or grief
  • Be creative

I hope I’ve given you ideas on how to use your wellness planner!


Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more Happy Planner ideas!

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Gratitude Journal Prompts

Get your mind off your problems and on the good things happening in your life with these gratitude journal prompts.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog.

Why Gratitude

Gratitude can totally change your perspective on life. Being mindful about the good things in your life help you focus on happier things instead of problems. The truth is everyone has problems and we face one problem after another. If you’re waiting for your problems to go away before you can be happy, you’ll be waiting your whole life.

Choose to be happy where you are, right now. There is always something for which to be grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal has show in studies to directly impact our happiness.

If you’re interested in additional journaling ideas, see my post 50 Journal Prompts. Here are just some of the benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Brings a feeling of calm
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Takes the focus off your negative problems
  • Helps you find what matters most to you
  • Learn more about yourself
  • Aids with depression
  • Makes you more mindful
  • Notice that small good things really are happening in your life

Today, I’m providing a list of gratitude journal prompts to help get you started.

Gratitude Journal Prompts
Courtesy of Unsplash

Gratitude Journal Prompts

  1. What are you grateful for financially?
  2. List things that have helped you get through hard times.
  3. What are you glad your parents taught you?
  4. Name 3 things you’re glad you learned in school.
  5. Describe a time you thought something wouldn’t work out, but did.
  6. List 3 things you love most about each of your children.
  7. Name a physical feature you love about yourself.
  8. What do you love most about your job? (If you’re at home, what do you love most about it?)
  9. If you could go back and thank someone from your past, who would it be and why?
  10. What do you love most about your spouse?
  11. Name something hard that ended up being good for you.
  12. For what talents are you most grateful?
  13. What has been your best experience this year?
  14. Describe a time you were grateful to be forgiven.
  15. List 5 things you love most about your personality.
  16. What do you think friends love most about you?
  17. Name 10 people you are grateful for.
  18. What was the best part of your day today?
  19. Write the last compliment you remember receiving.
  20. List things that make you feel comforted.
  21. Why are you grateful for your freedom?
  22. Which of the 5 senses are you most grateful to have?
  23. Describe a memory from your childhood that makes you happy.
  24. List ten things you take for granted.
  25. Why are you grateful for your family?

I hope these prompts help you realize you have reasons to be happy and content. In the comments below, I’d love to hear some of the things you are grateful for.

April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Overcome depression, sorrow, and grief with these powerful scriptures. Speak truth into your life with the Holy living word of God. Join me for April Scripture Reading: Depression and Grief

SCRIPTURE READING: depression and grief

A Season of Sadness

I live with depression. I know well the feeling of complete hopelessness. Depression and grief has a way of stopping time. The moment can feel endless. You may find it hard to believe that situations or feelings will ever change or improve. I promise you friend, it will. It’s a season – and seasons don’t last. Read what the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says:

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

A time to give birth and a time to die;
            A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to kill and a time to heal;
            A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to weep and a time to laugh;
            A time to mourn and a time to dance.

A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
            A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
            A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
            A time to be silent and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate;
            A time for war and a time for peace.

Depression, sorrow, grief is for an appointed time. We have seasons of abundance and seasons of loss. I love what the Psalmist says: “Weeping may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) The good news is this: this season of your life is temporary. One day, it won’t hurt like this. One day this will be over. God will bring you out of the pit (Psalm 103:4).

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A Time to Cry

When calamity strikes, it is our nature to wonder why. We want answers, no – we demand them. Our humanness wants explanations in order to process loss. But sometimes there are no answers. There are no reasons, at least not earthly ones.

In times like these, we must remember that all things that happen in our lives are designed to draw us closer to Him. And our trials? What about our hurt, pain and suffering? Yes, that too. He wants us to fervently seek Him. Secondly, our weakness, our tears, our hardships all exist to magnify His glory. In order to be our Savior, we must first need saving. See what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians:

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10

Not convinced? Read what the Psalmist writes in 50:15:

“Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”

Simply put, God uses our pain to show non-believers how He saves.

Death

Maybe you are struggling with a loved one who has passed on. I encourage you to comfort yourself with the living word of God. He has promised that we will be reunited with those we love. We will see them again. Therefore, death is not the end.

I have learned that grief comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean, grief subsides allowing you to catch your breath for a moment, then it seems to overcome you again all at once. One minute you think you’re doing better. Then a reminder or a memory will surface and the thought of having to live the rest of your life without them seems unbearable.

Perhaps it is not the physical death of a person you are grieving, but the death of something else. Your dream, health, a job, a friendship, a marriage. Maybe you are so overcome by disappointment you can’t see a happy future. There is one. He has promised it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

despair
Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Battling Feelings of Grief

Remember Who God Is

Compassionate

I count at least 20 times in scripture where God and Jesus are described as compassionate. Paul writes in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus understands our suffering. He empathizes with us. He is compassionate towards our troubles.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 145:8-9

Unchanging

The character of God is unchanging. “I am the Lord. I change not.” (Malachi 3:6). Everything is subject to change except for God. Read that again. God does not change. Therefore neither do His promises. I love an easily overlooked verse in Psalm 11. “When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). In other words, when the floor beneath you gives way, what should we do? The answer can be found in the next verse. “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord sits on his throne in Heaven.” This declaration reminds us: when all that is good falls apart, God is still in control. He is still on his throne. He is not shaken by our troubles. God does not change.

Put Your Hope In God

The Psalms are a wonderful comfort in times of trouble. The Psalms demonstrate the cry of someone in need of help and refuge. They echo our troubled hearts. They also model how we should pray (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). But Psalm 42 also describes what we should do when we are sorrowful and disturbed.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 42:5

The Psalmist tells us to put our hope in the Lord. Hope is the happy anticipation of good. It is the belief that God is a good God and He has good things in store for us (Jer 29:11) . We get hope by praising God in the midst of our sorrow and by comforting ourselves with His promises.

praying over him

Give Up Your Ashes

One of my favorite verses in the bible is Isaiah 61:3. It is the messianic prophesy of why Christ came and died for us. This lone scripture has brought me so much peace when I’ve been overcome with depression and grief. Here is the truth:

to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

Beauty instead of ashes. Ashes represent what is left over after something has burned away. The leftovers. The broken pieces. But here is the rub. An exchange has to take place. Note that scripture says, “instead of.” Some translations say “for.” You must give your ashes to God. Give Him the brokenness and remains. Give Him the ashes and He’ll give you restoration.

Remain Thankful

Another way to pull ourselves out of sadness is to try and get the focus off ourselves and on our creator. You can do this by praising God through thanksgiving. It is hard to be downtrodden when you are remembering all the good God has already done for you. This is why Paul says to “set your mind on the higher things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief

Thank you for joining me for April Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief. In the comments below, I’d love to hear how I can pray for you. In case you missed it, see also March Scripture Reading: Fear & Anxiety.

7 Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

Bipolar is a very misunderstood illness. It’s comes with a stigma. But here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

7 Things About Bipolar I Want People To Know
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Mental illness. It’s almost a dirty word. Okay, so it’s two words. But these days there is a lot of misinformation surrounding bipolar disorder.

So let’s start with the basics. First bipolar is a mood disorder. It creates high (mania) and low moods (depression) in a patient. Psychosis (being out of touch with reality) can also occur during severe episodes. It also affects circadian rhymes, thereby disrupting sleep and furthering the symptoms. The episodes can last weeks or months. It is not uncommon to rapidly cycle between them at the same time. It is created by an imbalance in neurochemicals. Lots of scientific studies suggest it is both hereditary and genetic. However, situational and environmental issues can increase or affect episodes. There are several types of bipolar but two are most prevalent. Type I patients who spend a great majority of time in manic moods and Type II patients who spend most of their time in a depressive state.

Depression

Depression can be characterized by hopelessness, specifically a lack of joy or the inability to enjoy things. You can be plagued with thoughts of suicide or self-harm. You can feel excessively guilty, have difficulty concentrating, and may gain or lose weight. In extreme episodes, it includes psychosis which manifests as delusions or hallucinations (both auditory and visual). It’s common for untreated patients to self-medicate through substance abuse.

Mania / Hypomania

Mania is odd because it can be like a euphoric “high” or it can be excessive anxiety. It can include obsessive, racing thoughts. It makes you impulsive and extremely irritable. You can become a thrill-seeker and even sexually promiscuous. It makes you have poor judgement and can result in spending excessive amounts of money. It can cause you to lash out at others and creates long bouts of insomnia.

Okay, now that we are through the scientific and more sterile descriptions, let me say, I was diagnosed with bipolar as a preteen after first being misdiagnosed as a child with major depression. That’s very common at that age.

Lastly, this post isn’t designed to scold anyone. It’s about educating people about an illness that is grossly misunderstood. Here are 7 things about bipolar I want people to know.

Things About Bipolar I Want People to Know

We Don’t Like Being Called Crazy

This should be a given. But I’m still shocked at how many times people use the word “crazy” to describe someone who has bipolar. It’s really hurtful. We aren’t “crazy.” You wouldn’t call an amputee “stumpy.” See? We feel the same being called “crazy.” We have an illness. It’s a physical illness that affects us mentally. It’s caused by the brain not producing neurochemicals like serotonin. Similarly, we don’t like being asked mockingly if we are “off our meds.”

We Aren’t Bipolar

Allow me to explain. There is such a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, but in particular bipolar and schizophrenia. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve heard people say, “she’s bipolar.” We aren’t bipolar. We HAVE bipolar. You’d never say, “she’s cancer.” It dehumanizes us. We’re aren’t our illness. It doesn’t define us and therefore not our identity. It’s just one aspect of our life.

You Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Us

Contrary to what the media and non-medical professionals would have you believe we aren’t going on a rampage. And no, psychotropic drugs don’t turn us all into mass shooters. Those people have all kinds of contributing factors, including circumstances completely unrelated to mental illness.

Not all bipolar patients are violent. In fact, that’s not as nearly common as you might think. For example, with Type II patients we are far more likely to hurt ourselves.

We Don’t Want to Disappoint You

We hate when we have to cancel on you because we’re sick. We’re just as disappointed. It’s embarrassing – especially if our caregiver (a spouse, parent, etc.) also has to cancel to take care of us. And please, don’t say we should “plan better.” No one plans to be sick. We have no way of predicting when our mood will change and no way of gauging how bad it will be. I don’t even have words to describe how hurtful and abhorrent that is.

Can you imagine saying that to someone who has cancer? Seriously. Imagine someone has cancer and is going through chemotherapy. They have an important function and can’t go to the event after a chemo treatment because they feel horrible. You would never say things like, “well you should have planned better. After all, you knew you had cancer. You knew you were going to have chemo. You should have planned better.” Yeah, it’s that disgusting and insensitive.

We Say Things We Don’t Mean

They say bipolar is the great melting pot of mental illness. It has anxiety, depression, irritability, OCD tendencies, hallucinations, insomnia, and sometimes what looks like ADHD. When we are in a manic stage, we are often impulsive and irritable.

Being impulsive can cause us to not think through the consequences of our actions. When you combine that with irritability, it makes for lots of unkind words. Oh we regret it afterwards, believe me. But in the moment, there is little self-control. We damage and lose relationships over it. It hurts us as much as it hurts you. When those feelings pass, we are embarrassed by the destruction we caused.

Suicide Is Always Knocking On Our Door

This is a really sensitive issue, but it needs to be discussed. We might seem okay. We might even seem thick-skinned. But we are always resisting the urge to kill ourselves. We have a hard time coping even with the simplest of life situations. If something upsets us deeply, we can despair very quickly.

Then there are times when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s exhausting to fight this everyday. We just want it to stop. We want peace. Suicide is a very tempting option.

We Pretend to Be Okay

Most people have heard the old adage, “fake it ‘til you make it.” However, for us, it’s really true. I don’t want to make it seem like we are lying to you everyday. But the truth is we’re always trying to make it through the day. Similarly, it never goes away totally. I’d say we are either better or worse. Medications don’t cure it. They only make it more manageable. Bipolar is a chronic illness and therefore we live with it everyday. We just don’t always talk about it. We deal with it on our own as much as we can.

Those are the things I want people to know about bipolar. I hope I’ve provided some insight on bipolar. If you suffer from bipolar, I’d love for you to leave a comment below about what you would want people to know. If you’re looking for other wellness topics, check out Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage.

Dear Mama Who’s Struggling

Every mom has rough patches. You aren’t alone. I have some words of encouragement to the mama who’s struggling.

mama who's struggling

Dear Mama who’s struggling,

I know how bad, your day, week…heck, your year is going. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. I know you’re struggling. I see you. Yeah, you in that pile of diapers, tantrums and tears. I see you! With that tween who is discovering boys or that teen who is pushing you away. You may be pretending you’re okay, but that smile doesn’t fool me. I know the days feel long and endless. Hell, this whole stage feels endless.

I know that sounds awful, but you know it has nothing to do with how much we love our kids. Love isn’t the problem, right? We love them, there’s no question. Love is what gets us through the sleepless nights and the days of runny noses and stomach bugs. It’s what makes us sit down to a make believe tea party when we’ve got dishes stacked on every kitchen surface. Love is why we play “dinosaurs” for the tenth time today when we’ve got mounds of laundry piled up like a trash heap. Love isn’t the problem.

I get it. Most days it feels pointless. I mean does anyone else really care if the microwave gets clean or the furniture gets dusted? It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones stressing over the state of the house. And for what? We know as soon as we get it clean – as soon as every last goldfish crumb has been swept up and every last Minion, Dory and PJ Mask figurine has been put in its place, it will all be back on the floor tomorrow. I know it feels pointless.

But I promise you girlfriend, it isn’t pointless. I promise you it matters. You matter! You aren’t invisible. Even if no one praises you, even if there are no accolades. Hell, even if you think you are failing miserably, it matters. YOU MATTER. You matter to those little babies. You’re their whole world. They love you no matter what. I don’t care if you totally phoned dinner in tonight. Even if they are on their last pair of clean underwear, they love you and they’re proud of you.

It’s not endless either. That’s the saddest part. Over the years, your kids will slip away from you to live their own lives. In fact, the older they get, the less time there is to teach and shower them with that obsessive love you feel. Motherhood is the only career where you work yourself out of a job. If you’ve done a good job, they won’t need you. These are the good old days you’ll miss. You won’t ever regret loving your kids instead of doing chores or errands.

mama who's struggling

This motherhood thing is no joke. It ain’t for the weak! It ain’t for the fearless. The truth is – Motherhood can suck. It can also be amazingly wonderful and everything in between. That’s because it’s a journey. It’s a process. And once you’re a mother, you’ll always be one. I don’t care if you never even saw your baby. If you lost your baby in the womb or at the moment he or she should have taken their first breath. You’re a mama. Motherhood is hard…even on it’s best days.

And by the way, I don’t care if you give your kids Vegan snacks or candy for dinner. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool like me or if they are in public school. You’ve got my respect. Your version of motherhood doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Seriously, if there is anything moms do wrong, it’s judging other mamas. Let’s not do that. We’re all just winging it. We’re all just trying to survive. Trying to make it through this tough season. Mother Theresa said, “If you’re busy judging people, you have no time to love them.” Truth. Just love each other – we’re all learning this mom thing at different speeds, in different ways. There is no one “right” way to mom.

I know you feel guilty. You snapped at them yesterday. Thank God no one saw that. It’s amazing how quickly you can bottle that up if you’ve got a play date or someone you know unexpectedly drops in. I know. I’ve done it too. And if you think the women in your mom’s circle haven’t done the same at some point – they’re lying. Because here is what no one tells you: all moms lose their shit at some point. There…I said it. It’s true.

Even if you are an awesome mom, we’ve all locked ourselves in a room, or a car, or some quiet place alone and sobbed into our hands. Raise your hand if you’ve cried to a husband that doesn’t understand. We’ve all wondered if we’re completely failing at this. We wonder if anyone sees that our life is a mess.

Let me tell you something I’ve learned: motherhood is a lot of work and a lot of second guessing. You might think the moms you know have it all together. They don’t! They just use perfectionism as a masquerade. Trust me, I invented that! My life is a mess. Everyone’s is. They’re very own hot, lovely, perfect, beautiful mess.


The post, Dear Mama Who’s Struggling first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression

Before motherhood, I just assumed that Postpartum Depression was simply feeling down after giving birth. I had no idea just what it caused you to think, feel, and believe about yourself and your child. Today, I want to share with you what no one tells you about postpartum depression.

What no one tells you about postpartum depression

I’ve suffered depression my entire life. As a bi-polar patient, I was at special risk for postpartum depression. When I was pregnant, doctors talked to me about weepiness and sadness after giving birth. But I never realized just what postpartum depression caused me to think and feel. Early in my motherhood journey, I was surprised to learn what no one tells you about postpartum depression… that it rears it’s head in feelings of irritation, frustration, inadequacy, futility, and loneliness.

You May Not Feel Love or Bond With Your Child

When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent hours daydreaming of his little face. I couldn’t wait to hold him, kiss him and love on him. I’m sure there are women who instantly bond with their child. But I didn’t and post partum depression had a lot to do with that. About 3 weeks after giving birth, I felt like I was holding a stranger. I didn’t know what his cries meant.

I just assumed everything was instinctual – that you just magically know and understand your newborn as soon as they come out. Maybe I was naive. However, I never expected to feel completely overwhelmed, flustered, and frustrated. Who knew depression would increase those feelings exponentially?

Depression maybe a mental condition, but it distresses the heart. It directly interfered with my ability to fall in love with my little boy. It took a while for me to truly feel that loving warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for him. Logically, I loved him, but I didn’t feel the crazy, obsessive kind of love I feel now. If you’re struggling to dote and love your newborn, you may have postpartum depression. The cure? The more you hug and hold your baby the closer you’ll feel…sooner.

You’ll Cry Over Nothing and Everything

With my first son, I was determined to breastfeed. My son was born prematurely and it took 6-7 days for my colostrum to come in. I was so sad that my little guy was having to take a bottle until my boobies got their act together. My weak little boy was burning too many calories trying to nurse and was quickly losing weight. Therefore, doctors suggested I pump for the first month and supplement with formula. I was heartbroken.

There is a saying, “there is no use crying over spilt milk.” I don’t know what the etymology is, but I’m willing to wager it had to do with breastmilk. This stuff is liquid gold! At about two weeks postpartum, I had spent the entire day pumping frequently. I squeezed out 2 oz making a total of 5 oz for the day. While I was taking the flanges off the pump, I accidentally hit and spilt all the milk. Every. Last. Drop.

I shrieked so loudly, my husband came racing down the stairs. My mother came running in. “No! No!” I wailed in a blood curdling cry, like when someone gets word someone has died. That’s what my husband thought had happened. That someone had died. My whole body shook as I sobbed and clutched that pathetic empty bottle to my chest. When I finally calmed down, I explained to them what had happened. They didn’t understand. They stared in confusion, surprised by my dramatics.

No one told me postpartum depression would cause every set back or failure to seem futile. Small problems yielded big reactions. You might think depression makes you quiet and despondent, but depression actually unbalances all your emotions. My reactions were excessive, dramatic, and desperate. In those long eight months of depression, I cried over anything, everything, and nothing.

You May Wish You’d Never Become A Mom

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. It makes me cringe just knowing I had these kind of thoughts. It’s surprising to learn other moms have this thought too. As a new mom, you can feel so inadequate. The first night I brought my son home from the hospital, I had this thought. He cried for three strait hours and when I couldn’t comfort him, I felt as if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe, I’m not cut out for this. He deserved someone better. Someone who knew what she was doing.

Learning your newborn can be incredibly frustrating. Don’t listen to the hype. Food, sleep, burping, or a clean diaper are just a few things your child wants. They can cry for thousands of reasons and when you can’t soothe them, you can feel like you have no business being a mom. I was very grateful to have my mom after delivery. But when she’d swoop in and take over, it left me feeling even more useless and incompetent.

Depression can make you have all kinds of hopeless thoughts. I had a few miscarriages before I gave birth to my oldest son. So when this thought crept in, it made me feel even more guilty. After all, I wanted this. Now I know, depression causes these thoughts.

You May Feel Isolated and Lonely

Having a child changes your life. A child ties you down. If you’re a new mom, you may even feel anxious about leaving the house with your baby. Routine can be helpful, but monotony can add to depression. Be aware of how much you shut yourself inside.

I remember posting pictures of my first son on social media. You would’ve never guessed how sad and isolated I felt. I was so lonely. The days seemed long waiting for my husband to return home. If you are not returning to work, you may even feel more alone. Work friends move on and suddenly your spouse becomes the sole provider for your social life. That’s not healthy!

Challenge yourself to get out of the house. The more cooped up you are at home, the more isolated you’ll feel. I share the things that helped me in the post How To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom.

You May Feel Anxious or Angry

Postpartum depression includes anxiety. Who knew? Well, technically it would be postpartum anxiety, but doctors don’t really discuss it and most moms I know, experienced it alongside depression. Anxiety often includes unrealistic fears. One mom I know said she was terrified to be left alone with her baby – like her baby was safe with anyone except her. There is a “what if something happens I can’t handle” sort of sensation. 

But here is the real shocker: irritability, anger, frustration are components of anxiety. I couldn’t believe I had feelings of anger when my baby cried. I was short with my husband and my other child. Furthermore, I snapped at friends and made snarky comments over the stupidest things. I was irritated all the time and it actually took me losing a friend to grasp how badly out of control I was.

You May Need Therapy or Medication

Postpartum depression is both chemical and situational. It’s a fact, chemical and hormonal changes occur in the body after childbirth. Your body undergoes amazing, but drastic changes to give life to another person. If you choose to nurse, your body suddenly belongs to another person to sustain their life. You may need medication to help supplement or balance those changes. THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATION. You’ll be shocked to learn just how many women take them and it’s a shame they feel they must do it in secret.

Your situation changes after childbirth. You don’t have time for yourself. You don’t sleep. The weight of the responsibility may burden you. Your sex life becomes non-existent. You may be staying home by yourself with baby. Lastly, expectation versus reality may be shocking to you once baby arrives. There are lot of life changes and you have little time to process what that means. Therapy can help you work through those changes. If you are struggling, seek medical attention. Seriously – babies get shaken when you don’t seek help.

You May Struggle To Do Basic Tasks

I was unprepared for this. To clarify, I didn’t realize this was happening for while. I remember when my son was three months and he had a blow out in the middle of Target. It suddenly became a monumental task to change his diaper in a public place. I struggled to work a coffee pot and to get chores done. I felt confusion and perpetually overwhelmed, even clumsy.

Some women refer to it as “mom brain” but honestly, I think it has to do with postpartum depression. Difficulty functioning or being overwhelmed by small tasks might be a sign you are struggling with postpartum depression. No one told me that. Don’t feel ashamed asking for help – ever.

The post, What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression, first appeared on The Unsanity Blog

Learn more about 10 Sanity Saving Products for Your Reflux Baby

30 Day Facebook Detox

30 Day Facebook Detox

(Photo Courtesy of Unsplash)

 

Recently, I parted ways with Facebook. It was time for a social media detox. I’m sure I’ll be back at some point, but I needed to take a break from it and reclaim my time. Therefore, I decided to quickly amputate myself from the negativity that seemed to fester there. You can read more about my departure and why I left in my post Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook

If you’re not sure if you want to take the plunge, you don’t have to deactivate your profile. You can simply delete the app from your phone and other devices and log out of your account so that you will have to manually sign in. It seriously reduced temptation to check it all the time.

I’ll be very honest, the first few weeks I quit were hard. I wasn’t sure how to replace social media in my life. For that reason, I created a list of activities to help pass the boredom. Whether you want to break up permanently or just have a trial separation, here are 30 ideas you can do instead of logging onto your profile. I did one every day until I finally broke free of the addiction. I’ve included the free printable 30 Day Social Media Detox to help you offline. Good luck!

 

Take the Challenge:

Day 1: Write a letter to a friend

Day 2: Take a walk or hike

Day 3: Exercise

Day 4: Start a journal and share your thoughts there 

Day 5: Create a photobook with your photos

Day 6: Declutter your email

Day 7: Call a friend 

Day 8: Send some happy mail

Day 9: Do a craft project

Day 10: Listen to music

Day 11: Read a book

Day 12: Meditate or pray

Day 13: Make a gratitude list

Day 14: Complete a DIY project around the house

Day 15: Do a jigsaw puzzle

Day 16: Learn a new hobby or skill

Day 17: Declutter an area of your home

Day 18: Create a household budget

Day 19: Write a short story

Day 20: Create a goals list

Day 21: Declutter photos on your phone

Day 22: Try a new recipe

Day 23: Organize a closet

Day 24: Meal plan / write a grocery list

Day 25: Clean out a pantry or cupboard

Day 26: Write a thank you note

Day 27: Plant something in your garden

Day 28: Play with your pet

Day 29: Do a random act of kindness for someone

Day 30: Bake a dessert

 

 

30 Day Facebook Detox first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

 

 

Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook

Living without likes facebook break up

 

Many of us have considered breaking up with Facebook, but it’s hard to live without likes. I fully recall the day I decided to create a Facebook profile. It was still in its public infancy. I admit I was part of a mass migration from MySpace, another social networking site that was slowly dying. I had friends abroad who had also joined and this seemed like a great way to bypass expensive phone bills and massive time differences. I was also involved in modeling and local theater and its a great way to connect with others in the industry.

Fast forward to 2018. My friend’s list had ballooned 5,000 friends and over the last year, I’ve been chipping away at removing all the people I barely know. You know the type, the person I met once at a party, the friend of a friend I haven’t seen in five years. There is the co-worker I had lunch with ten years ago and the other members of a long-ago wedding party. I fully admit, I was not selective when I added them.

Over the years, Facebook has changed dramatically. Maybe I was naive, but I thought Facebook was a way to connect with others, but that’s not what it became. Facebook has become a cesspool of negativity. I don’t think I even realized just how it had been affecting me. Here are a few things I noticed about how Facebook affects us negatively and how I solved it by breaking up with Facebook (at least temporarily).

It Dehumanizes Us

You wouldn’t think that would be the case, do you? After all, it’s supposed to connect us. But what I have found is that I speak to my friends less regularly. I don’t pick up the phone and call them. I see pictures they post and so I feel connected in the moment, but really, I’m not. I found that after 10 years on Facebook and nearly 5,000 friends (at one point), I only had a couple of friends that I actually checked up on or that bothered to check up on me. We aren’t meant to interact with people from behind a monitor. You can’t expect to build lasting relationships by yourself with a keyboard. Get out and see your friends. Quitting Facebook has caused me to be more intentional about my friendships.

It’s a Time Burglar

We all know social media can be a time waster. Sometimes that’s exactly why we use it. Scrolling your news feed is an easy way to pass time while you’re waiting in a doctor’s office or waiting for your kids to get out of school and in the car. I admit that it was the first thing I’d do after waking up. I’d grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and scroll. But there are far more productive things you can do with your time. I was shocked to discover how much time I spent on social media. I felt like I had so little time to get things done and it was true. I wasted a lot of time being unproductive on Facebook. Now I utilize that time with prayer, chores, working on my blog, and most importantly, spending time with my kids.

It Can Set the Tone for How You Feel

As I mentioned above, I looked at Facebook when I first woke up. Because of that, I noticed recently that it often set the tone for how I felt. The day I broke up with Facebook, the first few posts I saw were deflating. The first link was about a five-year old who had been beaten and burned by his mother. The second was the beating of a black man. Five posts were about the Kavanagh hearing and seven others were political themed rants (from both sides of the aisle). Two posts were venting over some negative issue in someone’s life and two posts were about a friend or family member that died. The first twenty posts or so were all negative. It completely obliterated my happy mood.

Maybe you think I’m overly sensitive. How many times have you seen a post and been offended by it? We should be slow to offend and I certainly am not suggesting that we bury our head in the sand and ignore bad things. But what we view, what we read, what we put in our minds affects us and we should be both vigilant and selective with what we surround ourselves. Negativity is infectious and toxic.

It Affects Our Empathy and Sensitivity

The one thing I hate most about Facebook is that it has become a political platform. I’m as opinionated as the next person, but I hate that nearly half the posts in my news feed are politically charged. It is very easy to argue with someone when you don’t have to face them. People get down right nasty to each other. They say things to each other on Facebook they would probably never say to each other face to face. I admit, I am guilty of this – and I don’t like it. It’s disappointing, but I became a cocky, self-righteous, little jerk on Facebook when I disagreed with something. I actually lost friendships over it. There is a time and place to have those kinds of discussions, but I’ve become convinced Facebook isn’t the place for it.

You Can Become Addicted to Virtual Validation

Honestly, this is a tough one. It’s tough because I never realized that this actually affected me until I left Facebook. My first week or two away, I had the constant urge to post when I did something fun or something awesome happened to me. You see, as much as I hate to admit it, I am addicted to validation from friends online. The acceptance of others made me feel good about myself. I cringe just writing that. I didn’t know it, but Facebook became an emotional crutch for my insecurities. Leaving Facebook, has caused me to explore the root of insecurities and deal with them in a healthy way. The problem with using virtual likes for self-esteem is that it is never enough. You’ll need constant validation and not receiving it throws you into a depression. Likes don’t define your value. Learn to live without likes.

It Creates Unrealistic Expectations

Some people use Facebook like a diary, vomiting every emotional thought they have and while that is exhausting, there is something more dangerous. There are some people, myself included, who use Facebook to post only the good and exciting things that happen. I did it intentionally, not because I was hiding anything, but because I wanted my page to stay positive. But there is a problem there too. Comparison. I’m not an envious person, but I surprised myself when a good friend of mine built a dream house. I have a nice house and yet seeing his, left me feeling…well…dissatisfied.

Whether we care to admit it, we compare ourselves to other people. Seeing other people’s vacations, homes, new cars… all those status symbols can cause you to feel cheated and dissatisfied. Life feels unfair because you don’t have as much fun or have nice things. It might make you feel like a bad mother because you don’t buy organic produce, cook from scratch, do crafts with your kids or breastfeed. Maybe it makes you feel like your marriage is lackluster or that your spouse isn’t attentive enough. Comparison causes us to have unrealistic expectations about how our life should be. It kills gratitude and robs you of joy. Facebook is often a highlight reel, carefully editing out problems, failures and setbacks. Don’t believe it. It isn’t real.

It Stops Us From Being Present

When I was younger, I left home with nothing more than a suitcase and lived abroad in Europe. It was the best experience. This is back in the 90s before cell phones! In my youthful ignorance, I never even thought to bring a camera. That’s right. I backpacked all throughout Europe without ever taking a single picture – and I survived! I have amazing memories and stories from my years abroad all perfectly captured in my mind.

Fast forward to 2018, where I can barely eat a meal without taking picture. I went back to Italy for my honeymoon in 2013 and I spent nearly the entire trip behind a lens. I seriously regret that. Being present is way more fun. Taking in every detail with your eyes and mind is so much better. I was happier before we experienced it behind a cell phone camera lens. Enjoy the moment. You miss things otherwise.

What I Learned

It’s been a while since I broke up with Facebook. I didn’t deactivate my account. Instead, I deleted it from my devices and I logged out so it requires effort check it. I learned I can survive without friends knowing what I’m doing every day. I now fill the hours with much more fun and productive things. I don’t need likes to feel worthy and secure. I have everything I need and I’m grateful for what I have. If you’re looking to take a break from social media either temporarily or permanently, take a look at my 30 Day Social Media Detox Challenge coming this Saturday!

 

Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook first appeared on www.mybeautifulmess.net

 

30 Day Wellness Challenge

It’s easy to get so wrapped in our busyness, that we forget or neglect to take care of ourselves. Self-care is a vital part of maintaining balance in our life. Stop giving yourselves crumbs and make yourself a priority. Take the 30-day Wellness challenge!

30 day wellness challenge
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

In 2009, I was going through a really rough time. I was overworked and completely burnt out. I basically had a full-on nervous breakdown, which sadly was witnessed by some co-workers. The result, was a sabbatical from work and re-examining my work/life balance.

I sat there in my therapist’s office and complained. Complained about my responsibilities and workload. I talked about pressure, stress, and deadlines. It was the rude customers and domineering bosses who kept piling on demands. It was crushing my soul. I was joyless. “Whose fault is that,” he asked. ” My employer, of course,” I retorted. “No,” he continued. “That is your fault because you don’t set boundaries. You are joyless, because you don’t do things that bring you joy.” I’m pretty sure I stared at him for five strait minutes. My fault?

Set Boundaries

He was right. Boundaries are crucial in life. They are, for all intents and purposes, imaginary lines in the sand of what you will and will not accept. Most people avoid setting boundaries for one simple reason: it means saying “no” and saying “no” risks disappointing someone. If you’re a people pleaser, this can be exceptionally hard. But if you’re a “giver”, you must set limits because “takers” never do.

Today, I’m inviting you to take the 30 Day Wellness Challenge. This means putting yourself first. For 30 days, try practicing some self-care. It doesn’t matter if it’s aimed at your body, mind, or soul. The point is to be deliberate and consistent in “being kind to yourself.” This was something with which I’ve always struggled. Sometimes self-care is simply saying “no” to activities, things, or people that bring stress, strife, or anxiety.

What Self-care Looks Like

I’d like you to try a quick exercise. Write down things that bring you peace, balance, and joy. Perhaps it is being outside in nature or maybe it’s a fun night out. Discovering what actually makes you happy is crucial. What restores you? Write down as many things as you can think of. Then spread the activities out over a month. Start with just one thing a day. If you need help, I’ve provided the free printable 30 Day Wellness Challenge to get you started. It’s packed with self-care ideas.

Self-care can include a lot of things, butI suggest trying to satisfy the replenishing of body, mind, and soul. For example, things that might be good for your soul are:

  • Unplugging from social media
  • Prayer / meditation
  • Working through forgiveness
  • Journaling
  • Gratitude
  • Listen to music
  • Feed yourself positive thoughts
  • Do something creative

Make You A Priority

It’s not just about practicing self-care. It’s about prioritizing it. This means not saving it until the end of the day when you’re depleted. Rather, it’s about making it one of the most important things you do today. For example, one of the things that brings me restoration is prayer and meditation. I almost never had time for it with kids. I would save it until the end of the day when I couldn’t focus on a single thought. Although sleep is important to me, I started getting up just 30 minutes before the children. I’d have a cup of coffee while it was actually still hot and spend 20 mins in prayer. It brought me so much peace starting off the day that way. Don’t give yourself the crumbs. You deserve better.

Looking for other tips on Wellness? Learn more and take the 30 Day Facebook Detox