Working Toward Your Best Self

Self-care is such a popular subject these days, as it should be – especially for moms and women in general. When women are asked to name their top three priorities, they never include themselves. Are we really surprised? Can’t say that I am. We tend to give and give until nothing is left in our cup rather than filling our cups up first so it can then overflow on to everyone else.

For the past decade personal growth has been on my radar. I wanted to find balance, train my brain to focus on the positives versus the negatives, gain more patience and just overall perspective. As we get older we start to realize some of our behaviors from childhood should not remain in our adulthood. We realize it takes work, like really HARD work, to maintain relationships and marriages. We are blindsided by what it takes to survive motherhood. The stresses of work, family, maintaining health and the day to day responsibilities can really take a bite out of your happiness if you let it.

It’s mentally draining when your reality is not living up to your expectations of what you thought your life would look like. And, that’s okay because in the grand scheme I believe life has already been planned out anyway. When I started appreciating this rigged destiny, I learned lessons from the hardships and chose to be grateful to grow– the perspective, patience, happiness, and balance eventually came.

Did I figure this out on my own? No. Did I have a lot of help getting to a place of content? Yes. Am I still learning and growing every day? Absolutely.

In my early 30s I went to therapy and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was struggling with debilitating anxiety and the notion that I had to be perfect at everything. There wasn’t any balance, it was all or nothing. That drive was a good thing and got me far in life, but it wasn’t until I learned how to control it and let go of certain behaviors that it started working more in my favor.

Those toxic behaviors include being a people pleaser at the expense of my own happiness, competing with myself on a daily basis, caring what other’s thought about me, and trying to save the world. When I realized I am just one person with only 24 hours in my day and that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business – my life changed.

If you’re reading this and it’s speaking to you – I’m glad you’re here. There’s nothing worse than carrying around these burdens and feeling hopeless. I also have some advice for you, but first, I’ll remind you I am not a doctor – just someone who had help, learned a few things, and now I want to pay it forward.

First off, I’ll say, even if you think therapy is for the weak or doesn’t work or not worth it, you’re wrong. It’s refreshing to speak to someone with an outside perspective and knowledge of how the brain and behaviors work. It’s also great to get advice, or get on medications (if needed) that can help you. There’s no shame in getting help and having support to work through issues.

Another practice I put into play is meditation. I wake up 30-45 minutes before my kids every morning to have silent me time. I am not rushed, I can take some deep breaths, stretch, and get ready for the day without the drama of a toddler. I don’t look at my phone until after I wake up my kids, get them ready and out the door. If I look at it before then – I’ll see the tons of unread emails and it immediately makes me anxious about the workday ahead. My priorities in the morning are me, the kids, then….work.

All you need is 10 minutes.

Before bed, I read 10 pages of a book. Nine out of 10 times they are usually self-help or an inspiring story of some sort. This keeps me from looking at my phone and allows my body to fall into relaxation mode. I go to sleep on a positive note. Do not, I repeat, do not watch the news or scroll through social media right before bed. You don’t need sensationalized messages and doomsday scenarios entering your brain right before you want to shut it off for the night.

My favorite books I’ve read over the past decade that have made a lasting impression on me:
The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins. Gives you exercises to help you gain control of your thoughts and actions. I’ve also seen her speak and talk about inspiring! I recommend you follow her on social too!

The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod  An inspiring story of a young man who overcame so many obstacles and his morning routine that sets him up for success every day.

Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis. Rachel is my spirit animal. I think I might have a serious girl crush on her. I connect to her story on so many levels and I think many of you will, too. If you need that smack to get out of your head and realize you’re much stronger than you think you are – this is your girl. It’s time to be your own hero.

The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy. I can’t say enough good things about this book. He is a success coach to many celebrities, CEO’s you name it. His in your face advice will help anyone looking for personal growth in any facet of their life. His main message is how little daily actions turn into big achievements and why it’s important to stay consistent and go the extra mile when necessary.

Unf*ck Yourself, Gary Bishop A raw in your face approach to help yourself get out of your head.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k, Sarah Knight.  I bought this more for a fun read on a flight home and to my surprise gave me some serious come-to-Jesus moments. It’s all about not feeling guilty for your decisions and saying no when you want to. It gives you a good laugh and some life-changing advice! Who knew?!

The last thing I did to elevate my well-being was to get healthy! I learned the hard way how important eating healthy, working out and taking care of your body is after I developed thyroid disease. This disease rocked me and took years to gain control of. It’s amazing how much a healthy lifestyle leads to overall happiness.

Now, if you’re a mom and you just want a laugh and to know you’re not alone in the parenting fails then check out one of my books. Sometimes laughter is all you need.

Everyday Practices To Keep You Thankful All Year Long

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season. The season that reminds us all to be thankful for our blessings, family and friends. Every year across social media I see people reminding themselves that life isn’t so bad after all, but wouldn’t it be great if we could be thankful all year long? When you take on this perspective, it’s pretty amazing how your outlook on everything changes.

I’m happy most of the time. Sure I have my bad moments. I cry, I get upset, I get depressed sometimes, but overall – I’m happy.  I’ve always been a glass half full kind of gal, but I’ve also had many challenges (like most of us) in life that greatly tested that happiness. So, for the last decade I’ve been training my mind to be thankful for everything – even the bad times. When you do this, you start to realize just how amazing your life actually is.

Here are some best practices I’ve adopted over the years to help me stay positive and not let outside influences ruin my happiness.

Dinner time is thankful time.

Every night at dinner my family and I go around the table and say three things that made us happy that day. When we first started this I got a huge wake up call because my son would say things like, “I’m happy I got to play with a ball and hug mommy and I’m thankful for this cheese stick.” Those were the things that made him happy. A cheese stick. I knew if he could find joy in a cheese stick that I should be grateful for a lot more.

The beautiful thing about this activity is….. even if you had horrible day, your mind finds at least three things that were positive and you forget about the bad stuff. You also start appreciating the little things like: I’m happy I got to drink my coffee hot today! I’m happy my boss didn’t yell at me today! I’m happy I didn’t break my ankle when I fell and only sprained it instead! You see – there’s even a silver lining in the bad stuff!

Have your phone remind you. 

I love putting reminders in my phone. I have six that go off everyday starting at 8 am. They are a combination of goals I’ve set for myself in my personal and professional life and reminders to be thankful. Keep them simple. Mine are: Be grateful, you got this, you use to pray for what you have now, and the best is yet to come. The last one I recently added, thanks to a work friend making the recommendation, is just the word RIGGED. This reminder goes off in early evening to remind myself that anything that happened during the day was supposed to happen. Life is rigged my friends – so start finding the joy in the journey.

Cut yourself a break.

Look, you’re not perfect….. but you don’t have to be! Moms, you’re going to forget crazy hair day at your kid’s school sometimes. Don’t worry! Your kids will remember the hugs you gave them and how often you told them you loved them, not that you forget to gel their hair up one day.

You’re not always going to get the promotion you wanted. It’s okay, something better is around the corner. Maybe you weren’t ready. Maybe it’s the universe saving you from mountains of stress!

At the end of each day you should thank yourself for getting through another day as a mom, wife, friend, leader, employee, etc.! It’s hard out there sometimes.

Use resources.

There’s some really great books and people out there that helped me along the way. My recent reads that I absolutely loved and put into practice are: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

If you use these best practices every day, they become habit. Habits become part of your behavior and then you’ll start to see some positive changes. There are so many things to be thankful for, we just need help and reminders to be able to see them every day.

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I’m thankful for all of you.




As a kid, all we want to do is grow up and live the life we dream about. Little did we know that it is harder than we think. Getting a degree and then a job is hard, but what is harder is to know that you live for once and you earn for yourself but you still realize the fact that you have to spend your money wisely. See some reviews here.

When I first started earning and saw the bills I questioned so much about why do we even live as we do, a house in the woods can b a better option than this one but we are costumed to the modern world now and to earn, eat and repeat with occasional fun is the answer to our questions.

Now what the question arises is, how to have a balance in our finances? Meaning, how to be financially responsible? Following are the seven ways in which you could reduce your monthly expenses.


Our life is busy, almost robotic but does that mean that we should impose some unnecessary payments on ourselves? Why pay for the mobile data you are not using? Why pay for the Wi-Fi that was plugged in even when you were not in the house and many more. Below is the list of things we spend on unnecessarily.

  • Checking for credit score
  • Buying new just to avoid used goods
  • Television cable
  • Cell phone data
  • Landline
  • Late Fees
  • Extra warranties
  • Bottled water   



We love to have a car and driving it to work or school but keep in mind the expenses you have to bear just to keep this luxury and think of all the money you will be saving in


Almost every one of us has a gym or club membership that we have never used, but it costs us a fortune. This is a major expense, it seems huge, and it is huge. Nobody likes throwing money down the drain but, nobody wants to take out some time and go talk to the administration about canceling the registration.


Habits like smoking and drinking are extremely bad for our health and can leave us in a hospital bed easily. Keeping the cost of the hospital bills aside, accumulate the annual amount you put in to buy these things, and you will know what am I talking about. Sure, have an occasional drink, have the fun you deserve but know to live in the balance.


Eating outside is the new trend but please do not follow it for your own sake. Eating at your house and cooking your meal helps to reduce your cost of food to 50% and that is huge and again, eating outside is not very good for your health.


Gardening can prove to be good as a hobby. It could bring color to your eyes, enhance beauty to your house and can grow some fresh ingredients for your food. Planting some herbs, mints, and pepper can save you a good amount of money.


I know life is hard already and with all these precautions it could be even harder, but please be good on yourself. Set yourself some monthly allowance and use it at the end of the month to keep you motivated to stick to your budget.

The 5 Best Hacks to Fit Yoga Into Your Busy Mom Schedule

Being a mom is not an easy job. You’ll have to spend sleepless nights and you’ll have to work without taking breaks. From the moment you wake up, someone will always be needing something from you.

Between looking after your children, getting household chores done, and fulfilling workplace demands, you won’t even have enough time to sweat and experience a “me” time.

These things can easily take a toll on your health and your sanity. The good news is that there are ways for you to fit a decent yoga routine into your busy schedule. These best hacks can help you accomplish that.

1. Get up earlier than usual

When you think about it, the most peaceful time you can get is when your kids and the rest of the family are still asleep. So, if you want to squeeze in a workout, take advantage of that time.

Get up earlier than usual so you’ll still have enough time to prepare your kids’ breakfast and clothes for school. You don’t necessarily have to wake several hours earlier.

Getting up half an hour earlier than usual can give you enough time to do a 15-minute yoga routine.

Now, if you’re a working mom, avoid scheduling your yoga workout after work. There’s a good chance that with so many activities and tasks, you’ll forget about it. Schedule your workout first thing in the morning.

 2. Get your family involved

As a mom, it’s pretty easy to feel guilty about having a “me” time, particularly when your kids are at home and waiting for you to play with them.

Why not eliminate the drama and get your family to join you?

Get a yoga mat for each of your kids and keep your routine simple so they can follow along. Even if they don’t have the attention span for the entire routine, they’ll be busy for a few minutes and that can be enough for you to focus.

3. Ask for your partner’s support

You need a break so don’t think twice about asking your partner to watch the kids while you do your workout routine. If he is a bit unwilling, let him know how you’re willing to compromise and return the favor.

4. Plan your yoga routine for the whole week

Planning your yoga routine on a daily basis might sound like a wise choice, particularly since you don’t have a fixed schedule. However, if you want to truly experience the benefits of yoga, plan your routine for the whole week.

For example, you can perform poses on your mat for about 3 times a week. You can switch to restorative yoga poses and meditation for the other days. This way, you’ll be able to recalibrate your brain and feel calmer and more relaxed.

When it comes to planning, remember to be flexible. Don’t feel frustrated whenever your initial plan doesn’t go as expected.

5. Make yoga fit you

Women go through a lot. You can experience menstrual cycles, get pregnant, and deliver a baby. With all those changes, you need to recalibrate yoga to fit you and your body’s needs. Make sure that it will meet not just your physical needs but also your mental and emotional health.

Don’t be afraid of steer away from the rigid yoga poses your teacher taught you. Instead, find postures that your body will be comfortable with.

Being a mom is a blessing. However, with so many things to do and people to attend to, it’s quite easy to sabotage one’s health. And once you neglect your health, you become less effective when it comes to caring for others.

By making your health a priority and with these hacks, you’ll be able to stay in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Tipping The Scale Back to Center

Life is hard. Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is really hard. Being a friend is hard. Being a wife is hard. Did I cover everything?

I recently turned 40. I know, I don’t look a day over 25 (at least that’s what I like to tell myself). After hitting this milestone, I’ve finally decided that I’m enough. I work hard at two different jobs. I love my kids. I love my friends. I love my husband. That love may not be shown every day in my actions, but it’s there and it’s real.

For the last twenty years, I’ve had a tendency to put everyone before me. I’ve sacrificed my happiness, my wishes, my sleep, my money and my time for those around me. Some deserved it – while others did not. When you spend so many years doing this – it becomes the expectation from those around you. Then you make life even harder for yourself.

I’ve talked to so many women about this unattainable expectation we continually try to live up to and we all feel the same. We wish we could clone ourselves or be in two different places at once, win the lotto and hire a staff to help – none of which is possible. Maybe the lotto part and if that happened then the staff comes, but let’s be honest here – we aren’t winning the lotto anytime soon.

Once I became a mom, this problem I had became worse. Friendships suffered because naturally my kids had to come first. I’ve had to cancel trips, dinner dates and countless girl’s nights. I’ve had to miss weddings and baby showers out of town due to finances or work. I’ve had to tell my kids “no” to outings because I physically didn’t have the energy to even get them or myself dressed. I’m burned out. I’m tired. I’m not 20 years old anymore.

But, now, entering my 40s – I’m not going to feel guilty about it any more. I’m also going to be more understanding when the tables are reversed. I’m going to give myself a morning to sleep in. I’m not going to overextend myself or over schedule my calendar. I’m going to make each day count. I’m going to be present in one activity at a time instead of only giving 30% to three activities at once. Extreme multi-tasking is a thing of my past. It’s not cool anymore.

Moving forward, I’m taking the advice of Randi Zuckerberg: Choose three. Each day choose  three things to focus on. Choose from family, friends, fitness, finances, faith, or what ever is most important to you. Today is my fitness, finance and family day. My family is ultimately my #1, but it’s okay if they aren’t my #1 every day. The more balanced you are, the happier your family is. My friends are important to me, but I can’t always be the one keeping the friendship alive either. My husband is my partner in life, but a night out with the girls makes my time spent with him even more special.

If you struggle to find balance too – stop feeling guilty because you can’t volunteer (or don’t want to) at your kid’s school. Start taking care of yourself – you deserve that mani-pedi with the girls. Say “no” more, and if people don’t understand – that’s not your problem. Choose three – three is enough. You are enough. <3

Making….AND Keeping Those New Year’s Resolutions

WE did it! We made it to another year. That’s a goal achieved in and of itself, right?! I would say so.

This is my favorite time of year. A clean slate. A new start. A refreshed state. A cleared mind. Each new year presents the opportunity to make changes, enhance your life or start anew.  Now is the best time to look for that new job, or get your health and finances in check. Unfortunately, the excitement and determination with New Year’s resolutions fades fast and most give up before they even remember to write 2018 – instead of 2017.

So, how can you do it? How can you keep those New Year’s resolutions?

Start with your WHY.

Your “why” has to be a strong one. Unbreakable. Why did you choose this specific resolution? If your WHY makes you cry – then you have a greater chance of sticking with your goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight – is it because your health is depending on it? Or, because none of your clothes fit? Are you on medications for weight related issues and want to get off them? Is your health creating a negative impact on your life? These would all be great reminders when you feel like giving up. Make giving up not an option.

Is your resolution truly achievable?

When people make goals they have a tendency to go big or go home. Should you dream big? Yes, ut, those dreams have to  be achievable. When you make grandiose goals – you put too much pressure on yourself and as time goes on you get more and more discouraged.

Make little individual goals to help you achieve your end goal. 

If your goal is to finish a marathon, the last thing you want to do at the starting line is think about the 26 miles you have in front of you. Talk about overwhelming! If you tell yourself to make it to mile five and then see how you feel – you’re much more likely to continue on with another five miles, and another and another.

Take it one day at a time. 

If you want to lose thirty pounds by year end, make a goal of losing three pounds per month. If you only focus on the end goal – you assume you have so much more time to get there. Then, December rolls around and you turn into a maniac trying to make magic happen. Spoiler alert – you’re not a magician. Make a decision every day to eat healthy. If you slip one day, don’t beat yourself up – just start over the next day.

Make a plan.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. You’re not going to wish your way to a slimmer waistline, although that would be amazing if you could! So, how are you going to lose the weight? You need to go to the gym a minimum of two days a week. You need to track 20,000 steps a day. Sunday can be your cheat day. Start a meal plan, etc.
Celebrate each victory – big or small. 
If your goal was to pay off debt, but you only paid off half – that’s a victory! You worked toward your goal and made some headway. This is not an all or nothing goal. You may have underestimated the timeline, but the important thing was that you stuck to it! Move the end date back and pour a glass of bubbles because you deserve to celebrate!
Take these tips and own your 2018.
Wishing you all a year filled with blessings and resolution successes!




5 Benefits of Giving Your Kids a Smartphone

Smartphones were once considered a luxury exclusively for adults. But, with the proliferation of educational apps on the market, offered on the market, these devices suddenly because advisable for our little ones. The only question would be: is it necessary for them to own a smart device at a young age?

There are plenty of explanations as to why parents give their kids a mobile device. According to Verizon Wireless feature article on Setting Mobile Boundaries for Children, reasons are ranging from safety considerations to homework solutions. To elaborate this further, we will list down 5 ways on how a smartphone is beneficial for your kids.

image courtesy of

1. An Added Dimension of Learning

According to PBS Parents Guide to Children & Media, giving a smartphone to a school-aged children will provide them an additional way of learning, apart from traditional books or classroom. With the device, they can access a lot of learning resources such as mobile dictionaries, encyclopedia, educational applications and augmented reality flash cards. These applications can be regularly updated online to add new information, unlike an actual published textbook that remains stagnant over time.

Plus, smart devices may come in handy if your kid is enrolled in academic institutions that are implementing the digital way of learning through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) system.

2. Homework Help

Most of the high-end phones offer functionalities that are similar to what a computer does. For instance, loading the device with productivity tools like Documents To Go will allow children to use it for creating their homework, school paper or class presentations. It also won’t be a problem if their teachers will require them to submit it via email or cloud service.


Image courtesy of

Most importantly, its built-in web browser gives them an instant access to Google’s resources online.

3. For keeping in touch and locating them

With a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) in these devices, you can easily track them wherever they go. Every time they access their social networking sites to check-in or update their statuses, you can automatically determine their geographical location. This gives you the power to monitor them if ever they are skipping classes or going beyond your allowed distance. For some parents, this feature can also be maximized to determine if their kids are violating their curfew hours by sneaking out of the house.

On the other hand, they can also get in touch with you all the time. In case of unforeseen emergencies, (tornados, school fires or tropical storms) they can immediately inform you through voice or video call.

4. Navigation

With the navigation feature on the device, you can be sure that they arrive safely at their destination. Of course, this requires you teaching them on how to use it properly.

5. For playtime

In order for them not to get exhausted, children also need a break from schoolwork. You can let them play with their gizmos by loading it with a multitude of child-friendly games. You can use it as a method of reward if they’ve accomplished their household chores or if they excelled in class.

But, make sure that these games are appropriate for their age. If you want, you can play with them and make it your bonding moment. It is also important to be strict about their usage by setting a maximum time they should spend with their smartphones. Keep in mind that although these devices allow them to access hundreds of mobile games, nothing beats recreational activities. It’s also important to keep their online safety in mind. A great guide for parents to find and use safe apps for smartphones and Andriod can be located here.

These are the top five benefits of a smart device to your children. As good as it is, we can’t deny the fact that it can also bring some negative effects to them. It can be highly addictive and can also cause a distraction from their studies. It also opens the door to cyberbullying and restricted content online. That is why it is always important to monitor and control their usage. As a Digital Mom, have you given your kid a smartphone? Share your experiences with us.

Check out this comprehensive guide for screen times and more information.

9 Ways Welcoming Mindfulness Helps You Flourish At Life

You love your kids and wouldn’t be without them, but it’s an undeniable fact – being a mother can be incredibly stressful. Dealing with tantrums, trying to keep on top of all of the everyday chores and running around after the family can take a heavy toll on your state of mind, and every mother out there will recognise the feeling of sometimes struggling to keep your head above water. Luckily, research from Oxford University has shown that practising mindfulness could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Their studies showed that mindfulness is not only a powerful stress reliever, but it also helps to improve resilience to future stress, building up an inner strength that boosts physical well being and inner happiness.

So, What Is Mindfulness?

If you’ve never heard of mindfulness, don’t worry, you aren’t alone! Put in basic terms, mindfulness means that you focus on staying firmly grounded in the moment, aware of what you are doing and feeling, without being overwhelmingly influenced by events that are taking place around you. Now you’re probably thinking “Easier said than done” as your toddler howls for your attention, your teenager needs help with their homework and you have dinner to get started, and you’d be right – mindfulness takes practice. However, it’s well worth putting in the effort to achieve the many benefits that mindfulness brings.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me?

1. Better Decision Making

When you practice mindfulness, you have a much greater awareness of what’s going on inside your head. We all have a tendency to experience a gut reaction as soon as a thought pops into your brain, and your response might not always be the right one. When you are aware of your thoughts, you are much more able to take a step back and to analyse them fully without reacting to that immediate stress response. In short, you’ll become a better decision maker.

2. Slowing It Down

We’ve all been there – flying off the handle because of a stressful situation. But those immediate reactions are rarely the most sensible response and all too often we regret the way we’ve handled things. Mindfulness helps to slow down your reactions, giving you time to think sensibly and to come up with a more appropriate solution.

3. Relaxation

When you practice mindfulness, you are learning to focus on the here and now – in other words the “being” state of mind rather than the “doing”. While the “doing” mindset is associated with stress, the “being” mode is linked to relaxation – and which mother doesn’t need a bit more of that in their life?

4. Awareness Of Bodily Needs

Every mother’s been there – pushing themselves to the limit to get things done for their kids, pushing themselves to hard in the gym, collapsing under the pressures of work. It’s all too easy to ignore the signs that you need to take care of yourself and treat your body with more respect. As much as exercise can assist in reducing stress and anxiety, mindfulness makes you more sensitive to your bodily needs, and when you notice pain earlier, you can take steps to treat the problem so that it doesn’t get out of hand.

5. Less Conflict

It’s no secret that most families are full of conflict, and it can be very easy to snap at each other when emotions are running high. Mindfulness makes you more sensitive to the emotions of those around you, and this boosts your empathy. When you understand the way your kids feel, you’re much less likely to get into conflict with them.

6. Greater Compassion

There’s a distinct lack of empathy and compassion in modern society, so it’s no wonder that often we aren’t as caring or considerate as we should be. Practising mindfulness is very soothing and lowers your gut response to stress, making you more compassionate and more able to help others.

7. Less Background Stress

We’ve become so used to an ongoing backdrop of stress in our lives that we just don’t notice it any more. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t taking its toll on your physical and mental health. When you practice mindfulness, the activity in your amygdala (the part of your brain that switches on your stress response) is reduced, cutting back on all that background stress and making your life simpler and happier.

8. Better Focus

As a busy parent you’ve always got so much going on that it can feel impossible to focus on anything. How many times have you stood in the kitchen, realising you’re in the middle of three different jobs and haven’t got anything done? Mindfulness boosts your focus and concentration so you can get tasks accomplished more efficiently.

9. Change Of Attitude

One of the best things about mindfulness is that it can change your attitude to stress in your life. Whereas before you struggled to see beyond the negative consequences of stress, being mindful gives you more space and helps you to think in a different way about it. By recognising that added pressure gives you more energy to get more done, your mind and body can enjoy the positive benefits.

All things considered, mindfulness really is one of the best tools to add to your knowledge box to make you, not only flourish at parenting, but flourish at life and all the stresses it throws at you.



10 Essential Tips for a Successful Holiday Season

The holiday season heralds a time to connect with family and friends, get back to your roots and give generously to others. The holidays bring many things to look forward to, but they also bring stress factors that may feel unavoidable.

It’s hard to not bust your budget on presents, field intrusive family questions and balance your time and obligations. Don’t let stressors threaten to uproot your holiday cheer, though. A little organization, simplification and a proactive, positive attitude will make for a successful holiday season.



Here are 10 ways you can survive the holidays this year:

Set Ground Rules and Stick to Them

The holidays bring out the best in some and the worst in others. When stress is at an all time high, setting boundaries will be necessary to protect and take care of your sanity and health. In your house, you set your own rules, but also set your own ground rules when it comes to how you interact with others.

Say that you’ve decided not to discuss a certain topic. Don’t keep negative conversations going. Be detached to the outcome of the conversation.

Walk away, change the subject or leave if you must. Focus on something positive to get through a trivial moment, whether it’s your kids, your pet or a favorite show. Visualize a mirror which deflects drama or imagine you’re a fog that negativity wafts right through. It may take a while for family members to adjust to your boundaries, but healthy boundaries build positive relationships.


Create a Holiday Spending Plan

Create a plan for holiday spending to keep your budget balanced. Make a list of every holiday expense, including decorations, wrapping paper, cards, work gift exchanges and travel costs. Determine how much you have available for holiday spending from existing or set-aside financial resources. Prioritize spending by category and importance.

There may be ways to save money by making homemade gifts or suggesting a family potluck, for example. Your budget may inadvertently help you to choose a meaningful gift for a loved one, rather than buying several things that overextend your budget. As you purchase an item, cross it off and wrap it.


Get Your Family Involved With Useful Tasks and Fun Activities

Don’t conquer by dividing — conquer by distraction and inclusion. Finding common ground should be your holiday goal to minimize stressful encounters.

Most people want to feel useful. A family member prone to anxiety will be thankful for something to do with their hands, to help out and not engage in awkward small talk. The family member who takes over every task at holiday gatherings should be given a territory, which could be organizing gifts and checking in with family members as they come in. Play to each family member’s strengths and pair conversations and tasks accordingly.

Prepare activities for fun and distraction. Board games are usually safe bets. You could also put on a movie or the game. Give each set of activities their own space, and family members who feel stressed may retreat to their respective corners or bond in others.



Organize a Wacky Family Bingo With Friends

There are certain family situations you won’t be able to avoid, unless you opt out of an event all-together, which may create hard feelings. Tough questions and judgments are part of these gatherings for many, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer alone.

Replace anxiety and stress by adding humor to the mix and playing wacky family bingo. Get together with friends and design your own bingo card with events that happen at nearly every family event. There’s the one family member who keeps drinking the wine. There’s the one nosey aunt asking when you’re getting married. There’s the one family member who cracks the same bad jokes. Then there’s the set of socks that you receive every year in your stocking.

Text your friends when you land a space. Make a coded checklist on your phone to fill in the events as they happen. A little humor makes it more bearable.


Have a Gimmick

Have a gimmick to use as a tool to distract or engage by your choice. Into photography? Bring or borrow a camera to capture moments at the family event. Have a guitar? Play a few songs for everyone.

Your gimmick can be as simple and silly as a tacky holiday sweater or socks to diffuse stress. Come prepared with trivia questions or talk about your favorite television show to wear out the other conversationalists.


Be Prepared for Extreme Weather

Extreme weather catches many by surprise during the holidays. Enable alerts on your phone to receive emergency updates. If extreme weather happens on the road, react wisely when driving. Every region will have unique driving conditions depending on wind, sleet, snow and ice. Let the car go in the direction it wants to go when skidding and slowly act to bring the car to a stop, for example. Quickly braking or shifting the wheel on ice or water leads to more accidents.

Research what the weather will be like beforehand and have a back up plan if you need to stay longer than anticipated. Have your car tested and serviced before driving long distances to help prevent issues, too.


Plan Meals Ahead of Time

Create meal plans ahead of time to make holiday shopping and cooking easier. Prep and freeze side dishes in advance. Use a well-stocked pantry to your advantage. Break out breads, jams and other selections for holiday snacks, and if you’re so inclined, it is okay to make something from a box, too.  

If the holidays will be too stressful for meal planning, opt for a potluck. Create a shareable file where family members see what others are bringing and can add their own contribution. This takes the pressure off of you.


Don’t Overextend Yourself

Simplify as much as possible. Once your calendar or budget has taken all it can, stop. Don’t try to fit in every event. You don’t want to stretch your energy, time or money too thin.

Practice the art of stopping. Others may whine and complain, but overextending yourself leads to grumpy you — which isn’t fun for anyone.



Positive emotions are contagious, and when you make others feel good, it boosts your mood. Let yourself laugh at any humor or irony you find.

Remember to smile, too! People are more prone to displaying positive emotions and are socially set to mirror others empathetically. Boost everyone’s mood by finding ways to bring out smiles.


Give to Yourself

In the spirit of the holidays, you often practice generosity with others but forget yourself. To be your best self, you have to remember to take care of yourself, too.

Take time away when you are stressed. Designate space for yourself in the middle of holiday chaos, and get out of dodge. See a movie by yourself. Take a long bath. Wake up at dawn and grab an early breakfast with a friend. No matter what it is, doing something for yourself will help you handle the holiday chaos.

The holidays don’t have to be stressful. Instead, the holiday season can be successful with a little planning, determination and positivity. When you let go of control and remember to check in with yourself, the beauty and humor of life is more available to you. Enjoy the warmth of the holidays, and be merry.

The Importance of Self-Care & Motherhood

We’ve all been there, knee-deep in the murky waters of motherhood, desperately trying to live up to family and societal expectations. Then one day you look in the mirror and wonder who the hell is staring back at you. You’ve been lost for a while—overwhelmed and living minute-by-minute. What happened to you? That person who at one time had their life together? That person who others came to for advice on how to “have it all”? That person you once were?

As mothers we have a tendency to put ourselves last because that’s what good mothers do, right? We pass on those lovely shoes we long for because our child needs another shirt he’ll only wear once and then grow out of. We put off going to the gym, because the limited time we do have we feel should be spent with our kids. We eat standing in the kitchen, we forego washing our hair as much as we’d like (gross but true), and we fill our schedules with activities, playdates, and the like—all for our kids.


There are several reasons why we do this. First off, we love our children immensely, so putting them at the top of our priority list is only natural. Secondly, we are bombarded with social media’s perfectly annoying Pinterest moms and articles on how women need to endlessly lean in. We are expected to do it all. What happens when you lean so far in, you tumble? In our quest to fulfill this unrealistic status quo, we’ve left someone far behind—ourselves.

I lived in this miserable bubble for a while. The time I did spend with my children, I was busy thinking about other obligations. My body was participating, but my mind wasn’t. All I did was stress about the future. My husband and I started walking through life as a team, but not as partners. My work suffered; I was losing my passion. Overall, I was drowning, gaining weight, and questioning my purpose.

After years of running in this phantom race, I decided coming in dead last wouldn’t bother me anymore. The additional stress I was putting on myself was not benefiting my family or me. In order to be a good mother, good wife, good friend and good person, I needed to make myself a priority first. I needed to reconnect with who I was and who I wanted to be.

Once you realize there’s a problem, the only person who can fix it is you. So, that’s exactly what I did. I decided to put me first, so in turn, I could put my family first. I found that my kids were perfectly happy with one activity instead of three. I set time limits for work. When those limits were tested, I found a new job that fit into my life better. Because I was the breadwinner for my family, I had to dip into my 401k during this transition, but it was worth it in the long run. I reconnected with my spouse by having movie nights once a week after the kids went to bed. We started eating meals together sitting down and had more uninterrupted conversations. Sounds like a dream, right? I made a commitment to work out two to three times a week, which then became routine. I also took naps on Sunday afternoons without the guilt. Now when I spend time with my family, I’m present. I enjoy it. They enjoy it.

I realize if you don’t have a strong support system, spouse or partner, making all these changes can be difficult, if not impossible. But, you will find neighbors or friends who need “me” time just as desperately as you do. When my husband traveled for work during the week, I joined forces with a neighbor in the same situation as me. We would take turns watching each other’s kids and also cook a little extra a few nights a week to save the other person the hassle. Even having a glass of wine and talking with her as our kids played was a nice relief.

It only takes a few small steps to make a big difference in your life. Once you start making these little changes, it gets easier to put yourself first. Learning to connect with yourself and cater to your own needs only helps you be a better mother, wife and friend. You deserve happiness just as much as everyone else does, and it’s yours for the taking. Start choosing you.

Post originally appeared on Scary Mommy