mom blogger

Chin up, buttercup! If you have the post-holiday blues, I've got you covered.

A Seattle stormy day…

A Seattle stormy day…

Now that the holiday cheer and merriment that kept you busy from Halloween to New Years is over, you (or a loved one) may be feeling a range of emotions from relief to sadness to fatigue to explainable body aches.

While we expect the holiday season to be busy, somewhat stressful even, we tend to ignore the emotional aftermath, which can leave us navigating unfamiliar, dark territory. Unlike a physical wound where we would apply a bandage, emotional distress can be harder to acknowledge and therefore heal. As humans we also have a propensity to make our emotional wounds worse by discounting them as something else.

Post-holiday blues are unique to everyone. However, when some basic symptoms arise that seem out of the ordinary, you may want to slow down to evaluate why they may be cropping up.

Symptoms may include:

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue or insomnia

  • Muscle tension

  • Negative self-talk

  • Lack of focus or ability to concentrate

  • Anxiety

  • Hopelessness

  • Anger

Now, if you simply feel off this winter or show any of the above signs, read through the following list to determine what resonates with you. Pick one or two that you can commit to, to help remedy your symptoms.

Be sure you’re maintaining an excellent baseline for your body to function.

This includes:

  1. Quality sleep (ideally 6.5-9 hours) in a cool, dark room; if this is not possible, carve out a time to take a power nap. Most Americans undervalue sleep, yet if the majority of us would get enough sleep and drink water, our lives would be dramatically different!

  2. Staying hydrated by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day; set yourself up right by beginning your day (yes, before your coffee), with a large cup of lukewarm, lemon water to get your body hydrated and active, flushing out toxins that have settled while sleeping.

  3. Eating fresh, whole foods; include vegetables with every meal, as well as some healthy fats (nuts, avocado, coconut and extra-virgin olive oil); skip the sugar and processed foods and drinks. The old adage, “you are what you eat,” is scarier today than in any other modern time. Buy organic meats and know the Dirty Dozen list to avoid breaking the bank on fresh produce.

    People like to bypass the importance of nutrition and focus on the exercise component. I can’t emphasize it enough that you CANNOT exercise your way out of a bad diet. Those abs truly are made (or lost) in the kitchen.

    If this is an area you truly struggle in, I highly suggest you reach to me so that I can help you achieve your body health goals or at the very least outline a plan to help you create healthy eating habits. I have 21-Day Sugar Detox groups monthly or can also coach you one-on-one, digging deeper into the root cause of your health, or lack thereof.

  4. Exercising. This doesn’t have to be intense. Simply start your day with a minimum of 10 minutes of your favorite movements. This could be push-ups in your living room, squats while brushing your teeth, a dance party with your kids, or getting off of the bus or train a stop early to walk to the office, etc. Extra points if you can get outside in natural sunlight while exercising.

  5. Speaking of sunlight, get outside every chance you get. We have a very bad habit of sitting for hours, tucked inside, possibly never seeing the light of day for more than 5 minutes during the winter. By regulating your circadian rhythm, you’ll naturally have a lighter mood. Shoot for 20 minutes outside in the light. Better yet, break up your day with a walk at lunch with your best bud.

Create new  routines in your day that provide proper outlets and boundaries to help you thrive, including:

  1. Breath work – most of us take our breath for granted. Take a few minutes out of your day (ideally first thing in the morning or before going to bed) to slow down and pay attention to your breath. Simply breathe deeply in and out of your nose slowly 10 times or better yet meditate for 10 minutes.

  2. Be grateful – express your gratitude by pen or by voice daily. Finding 3-5 things to be grateful for daily, big or small, has a significant impact on your mental health.

  3. Draw or journal.

  4. Create time for creativity and play; detox from technology and the competing noise from being plugged in. We become more inspired and creativity flows freely in these “white” spaces of time in our day than forcing the hustle mentality.

  5. Get into nature – as noted above.

  6. Exercise – again, as noted above, make this a non-negotiable. If you’re sitting most of the day in front of a computer, be sure to take breaks every couple of hours and walk around the office or go for a walk outside. Getting your eyes off the screen and moving your body will dramatically alter your state and clear your mind, making room for better creativity.

  7. Mantras – your thoughts are incredibly powerful. What do you say about yourself; how do you talk to yourself? If necessary, change the self-talk to something positive and/or proclaiming powerful, optimistic statements that start with “I AM _____!”

  8. Level up your squad – Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” To expand on that, 1) you become more like your entire circle of influence, and 2) you should audit the people you spend time with. Are they encouraging you to be a better person? Do they promote healthy habits? Do they help you be the person you excel to be? Do they help you pursue the activities that speak to your heart? Excellence and joy are contagious –make sure you surround yourself with people that make you better.

  9. In the same vain, genuinely connect with people and environment. Unplug your phone. Show up and sit down for family meals. Look people in the eye. Tell people you appreciate them. Look around at the sights and sounds, the architecture and the diverse people, when you’re walking. Listen closely as someone speaks; think before you speak. Stop and smell the roses.

  10. Celebrate little victories – it’s easy to get swept away in the busyness of the season or the work week or the deadlines, but if we don’t stop and celebrate the little wins, we keep plodding ahead with little to no enthusiasm. By nature, we beat ourselves up over perceived poor performance or mistakes. However, when we celebrate our little wins, we are building our confidence, pride in our work, and reinforcing the good behavior that produced the successful result. in contrast to the hustle attitude, it’s energizing. Don’t forget to find people to celebrate with you!

  11. Give – whether that’s giving of your time by volunteering, giving back to the earth by planting a tree, donating to your favorite charity, or purely giving of your time and being present, the ROI is always more than expected.

  12. Give yourself grace. Some days are simply easier than others, don’t beat yourself up. Especially after the holidays, it will take some time to get back to a normal routine. If all else fails, a good Epsom salt bath usually does the trick!

  13. Break down larger projects into bite size, actionable tasks. When you write your to-do list, either at home or at work, be sure to keep your tasks specific, and limit each day with no more than 8 priority items. Tackle the hardest item first to get it out of the way, gain momentum and be more confident moving forward. (remember, we want to celebrate the little victories!).

  14. Research shows that physical clutter clutters your mind and reduces your productive. Gift yourself the best gift this year and purge your desk or your closets at home. Take the one-minute to tidy up at the end of each day.

While creating new habits can feel overwhelming, take one day at a time. Reject the idea that you must do everything all at once and perfectly. Choose one thing to focus on and master it before moving on. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. So, remember one foot in front of the other, no matter how slow or how often you must get up and try again.

All that being said, if your winter blues seem a shade darker, refusing to lift in the days and weeks upon returning to the office, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common, legit issue that should be addressed properly. Above all, know that you’re not alone in the process.

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me. A holiday cookie round-up!

Cranberry jam thumbprint cookies and gingersnaps

Cranberry jam thumbprint cookies and gingersnaps

Neither Halloween, nor the pumpkin spice November craze, phase me. It’s the peppermint this time of year that calls to me and entangles me in all of it’s minty goodness. In particular, the eating evolved peppermint coconut cups (which you can now only purchase on Thrive Market or make your own - recipe to come) are by far my favorite.

That being said, I’ve created a short cookie round-up for you. Don’t be fooled by it being “short.”

While I appreciate the 80-recipe round-ups, I know I don’t have time to look through 80 recipes, nor whittle it down to my top 10, nor bake said top 10 different cookies. The thought of the mess alone kills me.

I doubt you have the time either!

Since our little family has been going a mile a minute lately, we hunkered down this weekend and made several different cookies, got crafty, and watched Elf and the pbs series of Little Women (I may have shed a tear or two!).

Without further ado, here are the COOKIE RECIPES I think you should get busy making this winter season:

Cranberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies

We adapted Caroline Potter’s gluten free blackberry jam thumbprint cookies to be a delicious cranberry jam thumbprint cookie. We made enough jam to go on top of oatmeal or eat by the spoonful after we topped our cookies.

To make the jam:

Ingredients

1 lb fresh cranberries

¼ cup water

4 tbsp honey

2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice

1 ½ tsp grass-fed gelatin

Directions

Warm a skillet to medium-low heat. Add the cranberries and water and heat for 10 minutes.

Use the back of a spoon to crush the cranberries, releasing their juices.

Stir in in the honey, orange juice, and gelatin. Heat for an additional 10 minutes, allowing the jam to simmer slightly.

Remove from heat and let cool.

If you like it chunky, leave as it, otherwise use an immersion or high-speed blender to puree the jam.

Refrigerate.

 

Gingersnap Cookies

You can’t let the Christmas season go by without making gingersnaps. These cookies, created by Danielle Walker, are my Charlie Bear’s favorite.

Or if you want to get super fancy, try these iced gingersnap cookies.

 

Chocolate Orange Cookies

A new treat but one we’ll be keeping! Note, this recipe is NOT gluten-free or even paleo for that matter. I repeat, this is not GF or paleo…yet. I paleofied it today but it still needs a few tweaks. To get this into your hands now, this is the real deal, sugar laden cookie. I’ll repost soon when I have the paleo version in a better state.

 

Keto Sugar Cookies

Say what?! Yep, it’s a thing, and Brittany Angell kills it again!

 

No Bake Peppermint Hot Cocoa Bites

I’ll take it! Once again, I’ll need to post my recipe for peppermint coconut cups another time, but this recipe for peppermint hot cocoa bites Is divine, with an extra boost from the collagen peptides.

 


I hope you slow down to make a few of these yourself. If you do, let me know which ones you decided to make and what you thought of them.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Basically my wild children all weekend. I don’t think the cookies helped!

Basically my wild children all weekend. I don’t think the cookies helped!