Tag Archives: wellness

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How to cope with broken resolutions and the mid-January slump

Before reading further, be advised I am not a professional in the field of mental health, and what I share here should never replace the services provided by someone who is trained to help those who struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety or other mental health issues.

January is a difficult month for many people. We come in at the start full of excitement and hope, determined to accomplish our goals, only to find by the middle of the month, we have already failed to follow through on our resolutions. Add to that feeling of dejection days of minimal sunlight, and, for some, seasonal depression.

Yes, January can be tough. However, January can also be freeing and satisfying. As a person born in January, this month holds deep meaning for me, and I hope the ideas shared below serve you well in the coming weeks and beyond.

Reassess Those Resolutions

Many of us use the upcoming year to make resolutions and set intentions for ourselves. After sticking with them for a few days, often we fail to keep following through. For example, you may have gone in to 2023 determined to run three miles a day, and after a week, you found yourself lacing up your running shoes less and less. You may feel angry, disappointed and frustrated at your failure to follow through. All of these are valid feelings. Failing to stick with a resolution, especially so early on in the year can be such a blow to our egos, many of us see little point in even trying again.

There is a point, and being able to come back to something like running or learning a language or volunteering more is admirable. Yet, when we approach these goals the same way we always have, chances are, we will struggle once more. We tend to believe we need to think big, when thinking small, that is setting tiny, easily attainable goals is a better path toward success.

I first came across this idea of setting small goals when listening to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits on Brene Brown’s “Dare To Lead” podcast. He shared an example of someone’s goal of simply driving to the gym (I believe once a week). Did this person go in the gym at first, no, but the small, repeated habit of just getting there set the stage for them to do so. Even driving might be too much, it could just be the simple act of packing a gym bag one day a week. The point is, even if you “failed” to follow through on those resolutions, you can try again by giving yourself simpler and more attainable goals.

Celebrate The Small Wins

After the past few years we have been through, I believe we all deserve a lot of love and grace for getting to this moment. For many of us, the pandemic has left us with an overwhelming question of “what am I doing with my life?” We feel pressured to make big changes and “correct” areas of our lives.

Pandemic or not, any moment any of us can say I am here, I am alive, I am present is worth celebrating. For some, this could just mean getting out of bed and getting dressed in the morning. For others, it might mean taking a walk around the block. For others, it could just mean spending a minute in front of a mirror brushing their hair. These little moments are huge, and should be celebrated.

Focus On The Present

January tends to be a time of looking ahead. I am guilty of using this time of year to obsess over summer plans and other happenings long in the future. While, planning ahead is necessary at times, and there is nothing wrong with thinking about the future, I know the idea can be stressful.

I find taking the time to be mindful of where I am and what I am doing to be centering and gives me the focus I need to take on more challenging tasks. If you find yourself spiraling into worry, you might find this tip I learned from my therapist helpful. Wherever you are, take a few moments to play a game of “I Spy” (yup the game you play with your kids). By focusing on items in our current space, we can calm our minds and center ourselves.

Remember Even Those “Lost” Days Have Value

I have many days where I intend to check a bunch of items off of my to do list, but my mood, extenuating circumstances or other unexpected things pull me off course, and I am left at the end of the day wondering what I did with my time.

For many of us, we feel like we need tangible evidence of a productive day. This could mean cleaning out our inbox, scheduling doctors’ appointments, putting away laundry and other tasks on our to-do lists. When we have those days where it feels like nothing got done, it can be devastating. However, those “nothing” days are important. Sometimes, we go into them with intention, purposely committing to avoiding most tasks in order to recharge, and sometimes we just find our bodies and minds need a rest and have to cancel plans or put off our task list for a day. Taking care of ourselves, in whatever way that means, isn’t being lazy or self-indulgent, it is vital for living a healthy life.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I am no expert, and I often fail to heed my own advice. I wrote this as much as a guide for myself as anyone else. If you leave with anything, know you are incredible as you are and that every day is a new opportunity.

Should you replace your petroleum jelly with Waxelene?

Like many Americans, petroleum jelly, or as you may know it by its most popular brand name, Vaseline, was a staple in my childhood home. The gooey, greasy, slippery product was a sought-after tool for curing everything from an irritated nose during a cold to healing chapped lips.

As an adult, I continued to use petroleum jelly, finding it helped me with a number of beauty and personal care needs. However, I always felt a bit disturbed by how petroleum jelly gets made, and wondered if this was really the best option for mine and my family’s health.

I was intrigued when I was offered a chance to try out Waxelene, an all-natural, organic alternative to petroleum jelly.

9oz jar of Waxelene


Before I continue, I will note that I have never personally experienced any adverse affects from using petroleum jelly, nor I can I offer any substantiated claims to suggest anyone would be harmed by continuing to use it. This post is meant to give readers insight into an alternative product, which may align more with their needs and preferences. I encourage you to do your own research and make choices that are best for you.

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Tech-free player helps kids relax and reset

My oldest is a highly sensitive child, who feels his emotions with deep intensity. When he is happy, he is exuberant, when he is sad, he is distraught, and, when, he is angry, he is furious.

My youngest is a go-go-go type of child. His mind is always wandering, he is easily distracted, and he often has trouble calming down and focusing on what he needs to do.

For both of my kids, I have found helping them be more mindful of their bodies, their breathing and their feelings, has made handling some of the more challenging moments of parenting much easier.

When either of my children are inconsolable, I often sit with them and breathe with them until they are calm enough to talk about what is wrong and work on a solution.

I am always looking for tools to assist me in encouraging my children to learn how to regulate emotion, and for helping them get into the right mindset for sleep.

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Spice up your family’s health with these flavorful recipes

Getting kids to eat healthy is a battle I know all too well. From artistic uses of fruit, to “hiding” vegetables, parents seem to have to go through extreme lengths just to add some nutritious foods into our children’s diet.

While eating produce is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and sometimes we do need to get creative with our recipes, there is an even easier way to add nutrition to your family meals, and chances are, you already are doing it.

Herbs and spices, the stuff you pull from your pantry to add flavor to your favorite dishes are packed with the vitamins and minerals our families need to promote healthy living. From improving digestion, reducing inflammation, to boosting immunity, just a pinch or two of these small, but mighty spices cand do wonders for your nutrition.

Read on for some delicious ideas to add flavor and health to your family meals.

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It’s time we give our kids more credit for handling the tough stuff

Kids are terrible about wearing masks.

Kids don’t wash their hands.

Kids won’t keep their fingers out of their mouths and noses.

Kids are gross.

Yes, kids are gross.

As a mom of two boys, I know this well. And, one whiff of my house, you would know this, too.

Yes, kids are tiny germ machines, and I understand why many fear them as little vectors of illness.I also don’t underestimate their potential role in spreading COVID-19. However, I think we also need to show children a bit more respect.

While plenty of adults throw tantrums over having to wear a mask for a 20-minute grocery run, plenty of kids wear their masks when needed with little complaint.

Maybe it is because kids are often more caring than adults?

I am not saying it is easy for a child to wear a mask for extended periods of time, nor that every child puts one on without a fight, but I am tired of these blanket assumptions that children are terrible about protecting themselves and others.

Both of my kids have spent hours outside, in the summer heat, in masks. I have seen other children do the same, even while us adults complain about how uncomfortable we are.

For kids, like my oldest, they see a mask as a safe way to do the things he loves. A mask means getting back to school to see his friends. A mask means a chance at some “normalcy.”

We all worry about how our kids will handle the changes at school, and if they can/will be able to comply with all the new “rules.” And, there is plenty to suggest they won’t.

But, as my own kids have shown me, children are often more capable of much more than we think.As many of us prepare to send our kids back to the classroom, anxious about their safety, I offer up a bit of hope and encouragement that they will be OK.

It’s OK to grieve the loss of the Passover you wanted

When the new Coronavirus virus arrived in full force in my home state of New York, I was worried, but hopeful. I thought if enough people limited social interaction, practiced safe hygiene and sought medical care, if needed, the virus would be controlled enough to allow us to gather for the Passover holiday.

Even as the number of infected persons ticked up, and the seemingly neverending month of March was finally in its last days, I still held out hope. Continue reading

Coronavirus and Passover: Tips for keeping everyone safe and healthy

Passover is one of my favorite times of year because I get to gather with my family to participate in a seder lead by my father. I enjoy the communal spirit in partaking in rituals observed by our ancestors and passing on these traditions to my children.

Given the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States and health organizations advising everyone to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick or passing on germs to others, you may be anxious about how you will spend your Passover.

covid19passover

 

Maybe you had a big trip planned to Israel and now have to observe the holiday at home. Maybe you’re living in a containment zone and can no longer host the big seder you planned. Or, maybe, you are just anxious and can’t prepare for the holiday the way you normally would.

Whatever the reason, even during this time, we can still find ways to have a meaningful Passover, while still keeping our families and loved ones safe.

Keep reading for my tips, and feel free to share yours in the comments. Continue reading

Let’s smash the cycle of negative body image

I am lucky to have had a positive view of my body for most of my life. Sure, I had a few moments, such as wondering whether my breasts would come in by the time I got to high school, or if I put on some extra weight in college,  when I didn’t absolutely love how I looked, but overall, I was happy with what I was given.

I would like to believe this positive body image was built from within, but that is not the case. Those feelings were nurtured by being raised by two parents who never once made me feel ashamed of how I looked, and who modeled healthy attitudes themselves.

Let's smash the cycle of negative body image

In our home, the word, “diet,” was never uttered from anyone’s lips, or written on any product we owned. There was no pinching of fat, or lamenting about weight gain. The only scale I ever saw was at the doctor’s office.

My parents always reminded me of the beauty they saw within me, even if I didn’t always believe them.

Sadly, I know my experience is unique. Many of my peers grew up with moms who were constantly on diets, or subtly, or not-so-subtly, reminding them of their physical flaws. They were raised in homes obsessed with obtaining the “perfect” number on the scale, fueling a lifetime of unhealthy attitudes about weight. Continue reading

5 ways to be a new mother’s best friend

Congratulations! Someone you love has just given birth, and being the wonderful relative/friend/co-worker/random enthusiastic person you are, you want to be super helpful. And while your eagerness is certainly appreciated, you could end up causing more stress for the mother. Instead, follow these simple rules, and you will forever be in her good graces.
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