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. 

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).

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?

My Guide to Confidence in 6 Steps

Wow…This is my first guest blog!

When I first started blogging, the thing I was most excited about was having other people read my thoughts and hear my advice. But then, when I started writing, I was like ‘woah.. this means I am totally vulnerable to criticism!’

This, I’m sure, is relatable for so many people – not just bloggers! If you’re applying for a promotion and you’re asked to present to a group, you may feel vulnerable and insecure about your ideas in the same way.

Nonetheless to strive for what we want, we absolutely must remove ourselves from our comfort zone and remind ourselves of a few very important things.

For my first ever Guest Blog post, I’d like to share with you some advice on confidence. It’s something we; lack, build, lose and encourage. But how? And why?

My Guide to Confidence in 6 Steps

Confidence is a feeling of belief or faith in someone that you can rely on. It is a mindset and ‘someone’ can be yourself or anyone else.

We are encouraged to be confident from such a young age, but the methods to attain it are often never mentioned. One seemingly timeless piece of advice is to ‘imagine everyone is naked’ when giving a speech – has this ​really ever worked for anyone?

So, since lockdown, I’ve chosen to take some time for reflection. I have reflected upon who I believe I am as a person. Some traits I am sure I can use to describe ‘me’

– such as organised and conscientious. However, when it comes to confidence, I can’t quite make my mind up.

It is so natural to be confident in certain settings over others. You may find that in the office you are comfortable chatting with lots of different people and have no trouble with being the centre of attention, thus, confident. However, when faced with your In-Laws, it may be a different story and you may feel less confident in your own abilities to hold a conversation.

 This is normal! We often find ourselves changing our persona depending on who we are surrounded by and our confidence may fluctuate depending on how comfortable we are in any given social setting.

You may be reading this and ask yourself ‘but how do I become more confident?’ You may be quite introverted and want to put yourself out there a little more.

Well, here are my tips on how to become a more confident person. Some may come across as blatantly obvious – but I feel it is important to remind yourself of these things. Others may be less obvious – I hope you make a mental note of these and remind yourself when needed.

Your goals surrounding confidence will differ, as will your reasonings. Nonetheless, I hope you find my advice useful! Here goes…

  1. ALWAYS Stay True to Yourself

It is so important and possibly my number one piece of advice for just about anything you want to achieve. In this case, you want to gain confidence. The most effective way to do this is be sure of yourself and what you stand for. You’re going to need to know what it is you want (I’ll come back to this later on) but most of all, you needtoknoww​hy.​Whydoyouneedtoportrayconfidenceinasocialsettingwith high profile members of a particular organisation? ‘​To make an impression, make yourself known and to put you in good stead for a career.’ ​Whatever the reason, you need to understand your motives and stay true to who you are and what you wish to achieve.

  1. Write Down Your Goals

A major factor in confidence is the belief that what you want to achieve can actually come to fruition. I know it sounds cliche, but you really can achieve what you set your mind to. The moment you start doubting this is the moment your confidence lacks and you begin to falter or deviate from your goals. So, by writing them down in an assertive way, you will be able to more easily envisage yourself achieving them.

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If you are creative, make your page colourful and pretty. If you are more pragmatic, organise your goals into; personal, relationships, work and exercise, etc. However you choose to write down your goals, you must articulate it in a way that sounds as though it is already your reality. For instance, ‘I will get a promotion’ or ‘I will save enough money for a house.’ This allows us to more easily visualise ourselves living our goals with confidence…

  1. Visualization

This is an age old technique but it is so effective and has certainly worked for me. To visualise your goals, you are imagining your life as though your aspirations are achieved. This makes the goal more realistic and allows you to see the good in what you want to achieve. Visualisation of your goals may motivate you to push that much harder for what you want. But not only this, it will help you grow in confidence to work towards what you want. It will leave you in no doubt about what and why you want your life to take a certain path.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection or Failure

Part of growing in confidence is to strive for things, however, what holds a lot of people back is the idea of rejection or failure. This is totally understandable, however, it is something we must overcome to grow in confidence and achieve our goals. So, how do we do that? Although easier said than done, we must not be afraid of rejection by others or failures. To be rejected by a new employer or by failing to achieve what we wanted to, we are simply creating new learning experiences to carry forward to your next venture. For instance, you apply for a new job at a different firm.

You are successful in your written application but do not get the job after your interview. This is not a failure because you have gained invaluable application and interview experience for a job that you will get elsewhere at a later date. (Always try to receive some feedback in this instance, too!) One handy tip is to walk away from your interview and write notes and tips for your future self! Whatever form rejection may take, you need to remember that you’re still progressing towards your goals, and

 this experience will give you the confidence to do so in the near future. Don’t give up!

  1. Build Positive Relationships

I have spoken about this in my previous blogposts on’​ Protecting Your Energy,​’ however, it is so important to build positive and meaningful relationships. Why would we ever choose to be friends with people that try to knock our confidence? Please, please p​ lease s​ urround yourself with people that want to see you succeed and who help you along the way.

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This could be in the form of inviting you to coffee when the know you might be stressed about upcoming deadlines or simply dropping you a message to check in! Likewise, try to b​ e ​this friend to others. You’ll find the world to be a happier place when you build others up.

 

  1. Do What You Love (But Not Always)

My most ambiguous tip.. but an important one, nonetheless. Simply put, it is important to do what you love to build confidence because you are assured in what you are doing and passionate about it, too. However, you should always try to edge yourself out of your comfort zone. You never know … you might just find a new passion or fill your mind with new information, equipping yourself to achieve your goals!

Here I have only scratched the surface in what you can do to build your confidence. Simply reading this blog post will not help you, either. You need to internalise this advice and carry it with you. If you ever feel inadequate or under qualified, you need to remind yourself of these six steps. You are brilliant, you are valuable and you are confident.

Grace x

August Goals: I’m Coming For You August

May-July goals were a complete bust with the lock down, social distancing, and masks. So I’m not even going to try and report those, as there wouldn’t be hardly any thing there to write.

With a little more lenience I can deal with wearing the mask (I got really cute ones from Ken and I love them, you can even get a filter! I picked up this one and this one, so cute!

I’d like to do a little more traveling around local or near to local places but the friend and I are spontaneous so I have no idea when or where we are going. We have had a few adventures like trail rides & rock crawling plus a grueling hiking trip to Catawba Falls waterfall.

August Goals: I’m Coming For You

Miles: To hold myself accountable I want to track at least 10 miles (it’s in the triple digits here and all I’ve got is my neighborhood since the gyms aren’t open. I’m hoping to break that 10 mile mark though

August goals

Books: I hope to read at least one book this month. With all this free time you’d think I’d use it more wisely – I’ve watched a lot of I.D Network & Dr. Phil. I’ve got about 2 books I want to knock out by at least October.

Yoga: I’ve done a little but not as much as I should. I want to practice everyday and it’s not like it’s hard. I’ve just fallen out of practice, maybe explains why I’ve been so moody lately 🤔

Self care: I did get a manicure and a pedicure 2 weeks ago with my best friends whom we haven’t seen in months. With this pandemic it’s been hard to get out to do anything plus the salons were closed. I haven’t even taken a bath with a bubble bar in a few weeks, I’m running low on bubble bars but don’t want to hit up the mall and be around a bunch of people.

Mental health: This is one that’s really taken a hit! My bipolar triggers are through the rough so I have rough days instead of one or two days. Some days I’m so anxious I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin while other days I’m so depressed I can barely get out of bed (would explain the lack of blog posts).

August goals

Social media/blog: I really would like to build my following, I’d love to make money from this blog one day. After I get back into the swing of things I’m going to offer sponsors for $5 a month, I’d love to have you! More info on that as it gets closer.

 

There you have it, my goals I’ll be setting out to accomplish given in this pandemic no one really knows.

I just want to get your perspective as a reader on a few things though:

  1. How’ve you been during this entire thing?
  2. What are the blogging secrets you use?
  3. What would you like to see on Balanced Mochas?

Things I Do You Probably Don’t

Everyone has their own quirks, it makes them who they are just as yours makes you who you are.

What some may consider odd or weird others think is perfectly normal, so who is to say?

I had a lot of fun writing the list for this post so I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. Let’s head into the list shall we..

Things I do you probably don’t

Things I Do You Probably Don’t 

1. I only eat finger foods if I’m in a group of more than 3 people.

There is a reasoning behind this though, when i was 3 i was in a tornado and the entire left side of my face was taken off by a cement slab – so I can’t feel it. I’m self conscious about it so finger foods it is!

2. I eat dessert first. This drives my twin brother crazy when we go out to eat. It’s the main reason I showed up for the occasion so why not. I get my entree to go so I can enjoy it at home, especially if it includes #1 ☝🏼
Things I Do You Probably Don’t - it’s what makes us unique

3. I take a shower before I take a bath, I want to make sure I’m clean so I can get clean while relaxing reading my book enjoying my “Bewitched” Lush bubble bar.

If you’re a dirty little bath taker too then I suggest the “Bewitched” bubble bar, it smells amazing! It’s only available for Halloween so you’ve got to stock up but they keep nicely. These little bars also give at least 2 baths, they are in the shape of a black cat face and they turn the water black. Soooo relaxing.

4. I listen to a new song at least 4 times when I first heard it. The first two times I’m listening to the lyrics then the other two I’m listening to the actual music. A brilliant baseline or a drummer rhythm get me every time!

5. I always get rainbow sprinkles! I think they make life better. I put that shit in everything, on my pop tarts, in my cookies & cream milkshakes, ice cream.. you get the point. SO good. I love their crunch.

Things I do you probably don’t

6. I eat pizza backwards, so crust first. I also use a fork and knife. No judging, again my face.

7. I always order free magazines but never read them. They usually get dropped off at my moms house. I might skin the recipes though.

8. I love to write and read! Everyone thinks I’m being a weird nerd when I’d rather read than watch tv.

9. I sometimes do yoga in bed, yeah it’s lazy I know. Some days I just don’t feel like getting up to complete a routine. I’ve found a few yoga poses that I can do in bed that absolutely make my day. I don’t know if it’s because I’m relaxing in a seated or laying position but my back or shoulders will pop now and then. I feel the tension in my muscles automatically ease.

What’s your quirk? We all have more than one I’m sure. Share with me what makes you unique?

10 Yoga Poses For Anxiety

It’s hard to smile through anxiety, exhaustion, depression & frustrations. In case you think anxiety is “something you can get over” I’m here to tell you that it’s not because if that were possible all anxiety and depression would not exist.

The truth is for ones who maybe fortunate enough to swerve by and miss these states of mind all together and don’t know what it’s like, depression is like sitting in a room full of people with a blank stare and not a thought in your head but hearing everything going on around you and being too exhausted to respond to any of it. Anxiety feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest while your mind whirls through days and days of events in 10 seconds then around again, you’re too agitated to try to make sense.

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How does all of this sound? Yeah, terrible. So just think of the person that is suffering from anxiety and depression, think about what they go through on a daily basis. Day in and day out.

It can be debilitating some days, going over everything your thinking, feeling, wondering, and questioning. Some days you feel like you can’t even breathe but you try to empty your mind of all thoughts and try to let all emotion fall away while you try to escape if only for a minutes worth of peace.

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I love that mental health has come to light over the last few years after being neglected for what seems like forever.

As each of us share our stories, tips, and tricks we learn more and more which only expands our mental health toolkits and helps us meet and reach out to new friends that understand the struggle we’re bounded in.

10 yoga poses for anxiety

To get to know your friendly asana’s lets take a look at what these poses are and how they can help with anxiety:

”An asana is a body posture, originally and still a general term for a sitting meditation pose, and later extended in hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, to any type of pose or position, adding reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing poses.”

These poses are great for helping to relieve anxiety, these poses are also beginner friendly but don’t push yourself if you can’t complete the pose. That’s just motivation to keep giving them a try, huh?

  1. Bound Angel Pose
  2. Bow pose
  3. Bridge pose
  4. Cat/Cow pose
  5. Camel pose
  6. Half Moon pose
  7. Extended puppy pose
  8. Staff Pose
  9. Seated forward bend pose
  10. Legs up wall pose (my favorite)

You’ll feel better instantly after these poses, they give a sense of relief to all those anxieties by quieting the mind and concentrating on your breathing while also helping the psychical ailments as well while working to help lengthen and stretch the targeted muscles of the poses.

As I stated previously these poses are kept in mind with the beginner in mind. You can always go deeper into the pose if you’re use to doing yoga on the regular.

If you decided to give these gentle poses a try leave me a note in the comments about how you felt after your sesh, I’d love to hear from you!

Silk Elements Heat Protectant Spray Review

I have no idea where my curly hair came from, the only people with it in my family just so happens to be me and my aunt. 

Needless to say we both despise it, it just takes so much up keep! As you can see below it gets pretty unruly if it dries naturally with little to no product. However it is still so soft and smells great thanks to my shampoo and conditioner, with a very light scent.

(In the photo I’m not wearing any makeup, I’m a little self conscious about that. I was in a tornado when I was 3 and have broken blood vessels on my cheeks and face.)

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Until i got it trimmed and thinned out it was halfway down my back curly and almost to my butt when i straightened it. Which took me a little over 2 hours to straighten after all was said and done.

I love natural hair products because they help give my curls the moisture they need to survive being my hair. I wear it in messy buns most of the time so I’m constantly breaking it.

Silk effects heat protectant review

How is wearing your hair up everyday harmful?

The hair tie breaks hair off where it’s held tightly to hold the style desired, if you do this everyday you’re causing a massive amount of breakage. Try alternating styles between loose and tight hairstyles for less breakage.

A friend told me about the Silk Elements line of product and that day I went to pick up the shampoo, conditioner, and the heat protectant spray.

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Umm can I say that I’m hooked?! Now it’s pretty much all I use except for a little John Frieda straightener product. When using the products they don’t weigh my hair down like products I’ve tried in the past have. There is also no flaking from the products, which I’ve also had happen.

I love a good investment when it comes to myself (who doesn’t right?) especially when it makes me feel pretty and like I have my shit together (yeah I’m totally winging it).

I love how soft and shiny my hair is after it’s straightened using the Silk Elements heat protectant spray and a small amount of Moroccan argon oil on my ends.


I also like how neither of the products have a strong smell, smells gives me headaches which is another big reason I’m excited to find them!

Ugh, you can definitely see the difference! The style lasts for days with a little dry shampoo as well.

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Im not by any means a beauty blogger so those of you who are may be like “ok what’s she proud of?!”. I’m starting to learn my hair which I’ve never done before, so I’m pretty proud of myself for throwing together random products that actually work for me. I did the same when I do wear my hair curly.

Needless to say these products will forever be in my bathroom cabinet for as long as I can find them. Anything that tames this mane is a must keep!

Do you have a new product I should try? Tell me in the comments!