10 Ways To Cope With A Loss Over The Holidays

I lost my dad almost 3 years ago to liver cancer and it’s still hard everyday. I’ve had to learn a few tricks over the years to not spend Christmas in the bathroom crying.

My dad loved Christmas, we both liked looking at the Christmas tree lights. It was calming in a way. I never imaged he’d be taken away so soon and so fast. Within 3 months of the discovery of his cancer he passed away. It’s so hard to talk about.

I’ve got a few things I do to help me cope with the loss of him and other loved ones during the holidays though. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it does help to remember a time when they were here.

10 ways to cope with a loss over the holidays

What is grief?

“Grief is the response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical”. 

Why is it important to deal with the loss of a loved one?

There is no wrong or right way to deal with grief, some grieve differently than others. Grief is a natural emotion so it’s important to let yourself feel it, often times the pain of a loss can be overwhelming. Remember the grieving process will take some time. 

How to cope with loss over the holiday season:

  1. Acknowledge the holidays will be different without the person around.
  2. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
  3. Decide if you’re going to have the holiday in the same place. The place you’ve been celebrating may be too much for you to handle while still coping with the loss.
  4. Keep in mind not everyone grieves in the same way, so just because someone isn’t in the same boat as you doesn’t mean they’re not hurting too.
  5. Include a favorite dish your loved one liked, this will keep the memory light.
  6. Buy a gift you would’ve bought a loved one and donate it to a charity of your choice or of one in which your loved one passed away. I do this with the liver cancer foundation.
  7. Be honest with family and tell then exactly what you do and don’t want to do for the holiday, if it’s just too much I’m sure they will not fault you for your absents.
  8. Send a holiday card to the loved one who passed away if not one of your parents. I do this with my best friend who lost her dad too.
  9. Pull out some old photos with family and friends and listen to the stories that pour out of their memories.
  10. Find a grief group if you need a little extra help and you feel you can’t talk to family or friends. There is no shame in seeking outside help.

I hope these tips will help you get through the holidays while grieving the loss of a loved one. Remember to just take it one day at a time no matter how long it has been.

How do you spend time with your family during the holidays?

Self Care during the holidays: 2020 edition

Congratulations! You made it through Thanksgiving. Your turkey was beautifully cooked and the sweet potato casserole was a hit with the kids.  Now it’s  time to sit back, relax and… oh wait. The holiday season is just getting started. 

If you are anything like me, the stretch between the holidays usually feels like a whirl of last minute preparations. As an elementary school teacher, I find these 3 weeks to be some of the hardest to navigate. The “Santa is coming” vibe hits my students the moment they leave for Thanksgiving break. For adults, this block of time can be more stressful than it is exciting. Is my shopping done? What do our travel plans look like? Do I really want to get into another debate about current events with my cousin over dinner if they come?

With all that in mind, let’s talk about some ways you can practice self-care this year during the holidays. 

1) Pace Yourself 

Unfortunately, our normal to-do list does evaporate during November and December. Looking at everything you want to get accomplished by a certain date in one shot can be overwhelming.  Grab your calendar and divide your to-do list up to no more than 3 or 4 holiday-related tasks per day. Managing your tasks this way will also help you prioritize the things that will need to get done sooner than others (e.g., taking family photos for the yearly Christmas card or sending gifts through the mail). 

2) Don’t completely neglect your routine

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, our routines can quickly be swept to the side. Try your best to keep to your routine as much as you can. Keep up with your yoga when possible or take your afternoon strolls through the local park. This sense of normalcy will help to keep you in the right state of mind, which brings us to our next tip. 

3) Make your mental and physical health a priority

This is imperative during these trying times of the  COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s ok to not see your family in person this year for the holidays to exercise an abundance of caution. Both my husband and I are at high risk of complications if we were to contract the virus and thankfully our circle of loved ones understands this. Virtual family meet ups are still a great way to connect with your loved ones this year while keeping yourself safe and well. 

Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of  lengthy – and possibly heated- conversations with relatives whose views do not align with our own. 2020 will likely be no different it comes to uncomfortable dinner table talk.  If you know your Uncle Jim just won’t be able to contain himself, you are not obligated to engage with them. It is alright to give yourself the space that you need to be mentally secure. Prioritizing your health is not a luxury; it is a part of being a thriving human being. 

Here is one if the most important tips I can give:

4) Don’t forget to have fun!

 Even though this year will most likely not be a typical Christmas, there is still plenty you can do to get into the holiday spirit. If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere where it snows, please make a snowman in honor of all those who cannot (a small request from an incredibly envious Floridian). Put on a cheesy Hallmark movie while you are wrapping presents to send through the mail or doing your online shopping. Make plans to drive through a neighborhood you know goes all out with Christmas lights and wave to the residents. Plan a virtual Christmas movie night with the friends and family you won’t  be able to physically see this year. 

Stay safe this year and God bless!

Clari Maldonado runs the blog The Married Spoonie. Her blog is a place to share about her life living with chronic illness not only as a patient but as a caregiver to her husband, Anthony. Follow their journey on Instagram and their website. 

Refreshing Night Time Routine

I loooove night time! Day time is a time to get things done but night time is my absolute favorite because it’s my “me” time.

It’s a time I can retreat into my bedroom, turn on my diffuser, and light up my Himalayan salt lamp.

Before I hop into my cozy sheets for some Facebook scrolling, Pinterest pursuing, and Netflix binge I take a shower and wash my face.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

It’s strange to say but washing my face at night makes my day feel complete. I can only use Lush products because they don’t break out my super sensitive skin.

I couldn’t take bubble baths until I discovered their bubble bars (Bewitched & French Kiss are my two favorites).

Why A Night Time Routine?

For me it’s a time to help me wind down from the day. To let go of all the stress I’ve been carrying around for the day. A time to be myself, listen to my thoughts and sort them out, have a cup of lemon tea and rewatch an episode of Gilmore Girls for the 1000th time.

These three products are my go to’s for my nightly skin care routine. They make my face feel so fresh, soft, and clean.

Angels on bare skin – is a gently-exfoliating cleanser with a light herbal-lavender scent that balances both oil and dryness to leave your skin feeling soft, supple and comfortably clean.

Breathe of fresh air – gives dry skin a little pick me up with soothing aloe vera and rose spritzer with hints of cleansing rosemary and mineral-rich sea water.

Cosmetic lad – not only for the lads, but it works well to combat the irritation and redness that can follow regular shaving. Soothing ingredients make it ideal for all sensitive skin types.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

 

By the way, none of these links are affiliated. I’m not an affiliate of Lush, I just love their products and wanted you to check them out for yourself if you’re interested.

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

**Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form a doctor. I am giving help on what has worked and what does work for me.**

Have you ever had one of those days where you are just stressed out to the max? It feels as though you can’t get away from it or do anything right.

A lot of people feel this way a lot of the time. Today’s world doesn’t make this any easier to deal with either.

Although I am more than sure you know what stress is let’s dig a little deeper into it and figure out a few ways to give you a little break from it all.

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

What is stress?

Stress is a feeling of emotional and psychical tension. It can come from any feels or thoughts that makes you angry, sad, or that frustrates you. Stress is your body’s way of dealing with demand or a challenge.

Where does stress show up in your body?

When felt threatened your body sends out a ton of stress hormones that include cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones rouse your body for an emergency action.

What are the symptoms or stress?

There are a lot of symptoms that can come along with stress and you can have one or more of these symptoms at once. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings, tight muscles, unmotivation, restlessness, and trouble making decisions. These are just to name of few of the symptoms and are not limited to.

15 Ways You Can Deal With Stress

Try these ways to help reduce the stressors in your life:

  1. Turn off your phone
  2. Take a long hot bath with replacing music and a facial mask
  3. Turn off the tv, preferably the news
  4. Take a little time to yourself
  5. Grab a book you’ve already read and knock out a few chapters
  6. Play with your pet, animals are always great therapy
  7. Take a nap , if all else fails take a small nap (I say small but my naps usually consist of a few hours)
  8. Watch a good movie. Break out Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu and find a comedy or a romantic comedy to watch ( whatever your genre just to keep your mind off what is stressing you out)
  9. Gets a manicure or pedicure (I love having a pedicure because I love having my feet rubbed and they look so pretty afterwards)
  10. Do deep breathing
  11. Do a hobby or better yet try a new hobby (I’ve recently started loom knitting. I’m only on my first scarf but things are going pretty well. I recommend it as it’s easy, time consuming, and makes you focus)
  12. Talk about your problems you don’t have to go through life alone. If you’re a private person find that one friend that you trust completely, that’s honest, and will listen)
  13. Go easy on yourself (everyone has stressors, that’s just a part of life so don’t be so hard on yourself)
  14. Start a blog (it’s a great way to blog your way to mental health
  15. Do yoga (try these poses for your anxieties over stress and you’ll feel your muscle tension has melted away)

Remember, this too shall pass. I know it’s hard to see it right now but there is always a silver lining even if it seems so far away. Keep up with these ways everyday as a new routine if that helps too.

 

You can subscribe to receive 12 journal prompts and 30 ways to become a better person. This is a newsletter but is only sent out monthly. I will not spam you (I hate that) I promise (cross my heart).

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Every week for the last few months I’ve been making the guy I’m seeing a high protein meal plan, as he’d like to gain a little weight.

I like finding easy recipes but ones that’ll help him add protein and try to get as many calories as I can find.

I came across this recipe and decided to try my hand at it.

Why use protein powder?

By replacing the all the flour In this recipe with protein powder and the recipe still works nicely.

However, when replacing flour for protein powder, start with replacing 1/3 cup of protein powder for every 1 cup of flour in the recipe.

What did he think?

Peanut butter protein bars for the win! He loved them and let a few people at his work sample the extra one I sent with him everyday just for them.

I used a vanilla birthday cake protein powder as something a little different.

It may sound weird but these almost didn’t make it through the week with the rest of his lunch.
Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups large flake oats use gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used vanilla birthday cake)
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or a little more if the mixture still seems dry. You want it to be slightly sticky so that it all binds together
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and vanilla protein powder. Next, add the peanut butter, almond milk, and maple syrup, if desired. Stir until well combined and slightly sticky. The mixture should bind together but not be gooey.
  2. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan with a spatula until equally distributed. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from freezer and cut the mixture into 8 equal-sized bars using a sharp knife. You may need to allow mixture to thaw out for a few minutes before you can cut through the bars.
    Peanut butter protein bars
  4. Place each bar in a little Ziploc bag or saran wrap and store in fridge or freezer.

These freeze great and they aren’t gooey or dry at all. They’re the perfect consistency to stay in a bag or lunch box all day.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and decide to make them yourselves.

 

They might be good with a few other add ins like chocolate chips, cranberries, or raisins if you’re not one for protein powders.

He says they are a great snack in the way to work, as he works an hour away. He wakes up at 5:30 and who wants to cook breakfast then? Ugh, not me! Hah.

you just feel better with a little something in your stomach in the morning, these are a great alternative to something heavy.

Chocolate Strawberry Boxes

Over the weekend on Sunday it was raining but I was craving something sweet. Strawberry and chocolate sweet!

I’d saved a recipe (I can’t remember what website it was on because I’d saved the ingredients and “how-to” in my phone notes) and wanted to give it a try for a few months now.

I love the combination of strawberries and chocolate.

I dipped the left over strawberries in chocolate to save as an extra treat.

The boxes held up well, we’re tasty, and worked out perfect in the fridge.

Chocolate

I like that this recipe is so verities because you can add any kind of add in you’d like, some suggestions are peanuts, almonds, strawberry jam, caramel, you name it! Whatever you like in your chocolate will be tasty.

The recipe was a hit as the guy I’m seeing has taken one to work with him to work this week and has asked to take the others for the rest of the week.

I did learn a few tricks. I used a huge ice tray for this one. It was tricky because i had to make sure the sides were coated enough which left a lot of chocolate at the top.

The thick chocolate on top makes these yummies a little hard to crack open but not impossible. My tip is to make sure the bottom is lightly coated.

Another thing is with the ice tray and with the chocolate hardened I couldn’t really “twist” the chocolates loose.

I used a butter knife to loose the edges that were back to back and popped them out of the silicon tray.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Melted chocolate Your choice of dark, milk or white
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries

Chocolate strawberry boxes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments and use a paintbrush to paint chocolate in each cavity of an ice cube tray. Freeze this tray for 20 minutes.
    Chocolate strawberry boxes
  2. Remove the tray from the freezer and fill it with your choice of add-ins.

Chocolate strawberry boxes

  1. Pour spoonfuls of chocolate on top of your add-ins and freeze this tray again for another 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the tray onto a sheet of wax paper and tap it a bit until the chocolate cubes come out. And you are done.

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So easy! I was surprised as of how fast everything went. In almost an hour these beauties were ready to eat.

Chocolate Strawberry Boxes

I will be making these again with a few tweaks to see if I can get a good too layer.

what’s your favorite chocolate recipe?? I’d love to give it a try, leave the link in the comments or send me an email with the recipe I’d love to hear from y’all.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

There is a show on The Cooking channel which I love watching but anyway, the show is called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. I can’t pick just one though. I’ve been eating for 30 years and I have so many favorite!

The best thing I ever ate
If these photos don’t make you drool even just a little then you’re not living your life right, I’m just kidding – I know you love your life. I hope you love your life because you only get one of them. Anyway, enough motivation because that is for another post. However you can visit “My Guide To Confidence In 6 steps” if you need a little self love at this very moment, or you can pin this post and come back when you have time to read it through.

The mocha pudding from a place at Carolina Beach that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant. Look at it though, how can you not want to grab a spoon and devour it?! The mocha and the caramel are made for each other when it comes to this dessert.

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Chocolate Lasagna & Zeppoli from Olive Garden, don’t knock it until you try it! It’s so rich and the cream choose brings together the chocolate mousse and the thin chocolate layers of cake. There are shavings a top the lasagna to top it off and it makes it so pretty but you can’t wait to dig in. You can definitely share it with someone else became it is a little on the rich side.

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Roscoto wine is my favourite! It’s a sweet wine that pairs well with desserts so a glass or two with the chocolate lasagna. You can get Rosocto ate Total Wine, trust me if you like a sweet red wine then you’ll want to be all over this!
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Not Your Mama’s Banana a Pudding is absolutely amazing! When I first tasted it my mother and were in Savanah, the first time checking out the scenery and doing the tourist thing we decided we wanted to see what the hype was about Paula Dean’s restaurant. I found the recipe from The Food Network and I fell in love as well as every event I’ve taken it to.

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I hope this post has satisfied your sweet teeth in a very cyber way, if that’s a thing. I hope you stick around because I may keep up and add on top this post as I find new favorites.

 

What is one of your favorite foods that you can’t wait to shovel into your mouth?

Let’s Blog Our Way to Better Mental Health

The history of blogs can be traced back in 1994, with Links.net considered to be the first ever blog. Since then, blogging has come a long way: from being a fad to becoming an industry; from being merely online forms of the traditional personal diary to becoming a repository of valuable information. But what makes blogging even more remarkable is that it is democratic – anyone can easily launch their own. As a result, blogs have now become a staple of the digital world.

In January 2019 there were already more than 1.8 billion websites. That’s a lot of websites. And as most of us know already, websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, ranging from entertainment and social networking, to providing news and education – or even mental health.

Blogs are essentially another form of website. At its core, a blog is a regularly updated website – typically managed by an individual or small group – that is written in an informal or conversational style.

There are blogs on virtually every conceivable topic, which makes blogging an effective tool to raise awareness about mental health. Indeed, the parameters of blogging offer the ability to show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood, and listened to.

With the ever increasing popularity of blogs, it makes sense that they should be adapted in order to improve the way people think and act about mental health. The exciting news is that across the world, people use blogs as a platform to share experiences, to increase awareness and understanding, and to offer comfort and support. It is comforting to know that mental health blogs are now being given recognition similar to that of the mainstream blogging niche. For instance, there are now awards solely dedicated for mental health bloggers such as the Mental Health Blog Awards.

Lets blog our way to better mental health
Blogs – and the stories they convey – can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.

It might sound surprising to most people but there is a psychology behind blogging. An emerging subfield in psychology that focuses on the application of psychological principles and research in order to optimise the benefits that readers can derive from consuming blogs is known as ‘blog psychology’. A recently published article in the Psychreg Journal of Psychology explored the theoretical underpinnings of blog psychology, such as readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of reading blogs.

However, in spite of the popularity of blogs, its psychology is still emergent. There is definitely a huge potential to this subfield towards contributing to the discipline of psychology. Indeed, with the continued popularity of blogs, it is crucial that a specialized discipline be developed to encompass all forms of internet-mediated communication – specifically in blogs, such as the use, design, and its impact on mental health and well-being of its readers.

Potential theories of blog psychology may include the readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of consuming blogs. ‘Blog psychologists’ may also draw upon developmental and narrative psychologies and emerging findings from cyberpsychology. The theories and research in psychology could be used as the backbone of blog psychology and guide the discipline itself.

 

Conversations about mental health, psychology, and well-being play a crucial role in helping people feel better about themselves. Blogging gives people a chance to create these conversations. It allows people to feel more connected to the world outside their home through the internet.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.

He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show.