Stress Free Holiday Tips for Mom

Stress Free Holiday Tips for Mom

It seems like every year, everyone is searching for the best stress free holiday tips to stay sane during the impending hustle and bustle. Having a perfectly stress free holiday is always the goal. Am I right? I know it is for me. November and December are a busy time for our family. Four out of five of us have birthdays in November. My husband and my anniversary is in November, and of course, there is Thanksgiving. Then comes December. My husband is a pastor, which means lot of extra commitments on his schedule. Furthermore, the kids are off schedule because of school breaks. All of these things are outside of my control. I have had lot of opportunities to practice the art of giving myself grace and letting go during this season. But, like everyone else, I also want the holidays to be filled with peace, wonder, and awe. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I want to slow down and enjoy the magic too. So, how do we accomplish both? How do we meet our commitments well without getting completely stressed out? Well, here are my practical and easy stress free holiday tips that you can actually accomplish this year.

Write It All Down

If you’re like me, there are so many things that you want to accomplish during the holidays. Not only are there outside obligations and commitments, but there are family activities and traditions to participate in as well. My tip is write every single thing down. Make a list of all the things you hope to do during this season. Then, transfer everything to your calendar. Schedule everything – the big and small things. For example, every year we make homemade gingerbread houses and cookies, and we have a little decorating party with the kids. I need to make sure I plan which night we want to do this. Otherwise before I know it, it’s the week of Christmas, and I will be frantically trying to squeeze in the tradition last minute.

Do What Brings You Joy

Speaking of that list you made. You have permission to cross of things that do not bring you joy. If the last couple of years taught us anything, it is that life is too short to spend time doing things that rob you of your joy. This year, I know I do not have the capacity to do a daily advent activity and devotion with my children. As a homeschooling pastor’s wife, this feels almost sacrilegious! But I know it is not. We will experience the glory and birth of our Savior in other ways that fill all of us with joy instead of feeling cumbersome. I know that we will not be able to attend every single event our city offers. However, I do know that what we do choose to do, we will do it wholeheartedly. So my friend, it is okay to do less when that means you can do it well. If you’re interested in reading more about editing your to do list, you can read my post from last year here.

Make Peace with Clutter

Clutter. Oh the clutter! This is a big one for me, so I am especially preaching to myself here. There is going to be extra things in your environment during the holidays. There are decorations, crafts, baking, and so on. We need to keep our expectations for a perfectly clean house in check. I can get visually overstimulated when there is random stuff every place my eyes land. Then, it feels like the wall are closing in on me. I know this about myself. To help mitigate this, I carefully consider what and how many decorations I put out each year. I also make sure there are areas in a room that my eyes can go to and rest. Maybe it’s leaving a corner of the living room without decorations, or maybe it’s taking some pieces of furniture out of the room before adding in any more decor. Also, because my kids are in the “toy years,” I make sure all the toys are picked up and put away at the end of the day. This is a habit I already have, but it is even more important to achieve a stress free holiday season.

Have a Wrapping Party

This is my favorite stress free holiday tip! Wrapping presents can feel like a chore all too often. Instead of thinking of it as yet another thing to check off the list, make it a party. After the kids are in bed, open up a great bottle of wine. Make a scrumptious snack (I know you’ll be doing some great holiday baking!), then put on a cheesy, feel good Hallmark movie. Boom! Your chore is now a party. I usually do this twice during the holidays. Once to wrap friends and family’s gifts that go under the tree. Then again on Christmas Eve because, you know *wink*.

There you have it! My stress free holiday tips that you can actually accomplish this year. What do you do to manage your expectations during the holidays? Tell me about it in the comments below. If you enjoyed these tips, please share this with your friends and join my email list for extra goodies.

What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

Intentionally Well: Striving for Present Intentionality Every Day

I have been using social media app timers on my phone for about four months. And let me tell you, I have learned some things about myself. Let me first start off admitting that everything that was 2020 had a negative impact on my relationship with my phone. I will be transparent and tell you that scrolling and zoning out on social media became a coping mechanism for all the hard things. This became my escape because I had cultivated my social media to be an uplifting space. In theory, this was a good thing. We all needed some sort of way to deal with the stress we were all experiencing. The problem was when I was ready to scale my consumption back, I struggled.

When Scrolling Became a Problem

I can’t say there was a singular moment when I realized I was relying too much on my phone. It was a slow build up. But one day I had this awareness that I was missing it. My real life, my days, were passing me by. Honestly, friend, I think we all have those realizations from time to time. It is so easy to become engrossed in what is happening on our phone, and we get these little gut checks that tell us we need to scale back. I had the gut check, but I had a really difficult time breaking the muscle memory habits I formed. It was hard for my brain to just be. I felt all squirmy when I tried to let my mind be still and quiet. I realized my brain was constantly craving some sort of stimulation from my phone. That was when I realized my phone was a problem. Was I actually addicted to my phone? The definition of addiction is as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Here is an article published by CNN about phone addiction.

Implementing Social Media App Timers

No. Based off the clinical definition of addiction, I was not addicted to my phone. However, I wanted to break the habits I had formed around it. Enter app timers! Did you know this was a feature on your iPhone? I honestly didn’t until I started researching them. However, there they are. To find the app timers on your iPhone go to Settings>Screen Time>App Limits>Add Limit. From there, you can choose which apps you would like to limit your time on, for how long, and what days you’d like to have the limits. I decided to use these timers on my social media and news apps. I am sure other phone companies have this feature, so feel free to let google tell you how to access them if you do not have an iPhone.

What I learned

Every day I get the pop ups saying I reached my limit. And let me tell you, there are still days where I override my app timers. I do this for different reasons. Sometimes, especially with Instagram, my time is spent promoting this space or engaging with my community there. I don’t feel like that needs to be lumped together with the unhealthy scrolling habit I am trying to break. Sometimes I override the limit at the end of the day when I just want a little extra time to laugh at funny Tik Toks. However, many days I do stick to my goals. Regardless if I override the app timers or not, having them in place brings so much more awareness to my phone consumption. Do I need to check the news 4 times a day? No, I don’t, and I am better for it. Is it easier for me to leave my phone in another room? Yes, it is. That is something I am really proud of because that used to be a struggle. I am still a work in progress, but I am making progress. And that is something to celebrate.

What do you think? Do you have a healthy relationship with your phone? Let’s chat about it in the comments below. As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Road Trip with Kids: Surviving to Thriving

Road Trip with Kids: Surviving to Thriving

Intentionally Well: Striving for present intentionality every day.

Going on a road trip with kids isn’t something that conjures feelings of rainbows and sunshine. I get it. Having your whole family crammed in the car for an extended amount of time feels overwhelming. As you probably know (or maybe not), we live in Indianapolis. Our entire family lives in Alabama. So, over the last three years, we have become accustomed to long road trips with our kids. I am here to share with you all the things we do to make these trips not only bearable but also fun.

Prep Expectations in Advance

If you are familiar with Intentionally Well, it shouldn’t surprise you to see preparation at the top of the list. Ha! I like to plan. Here is what I do. First, I talk often about the trip with my kids. I mark the dates of the vacation on my children’s monthly calendar which is always posted on our refrigerator. They really love counting down the days until we leave. I remind them the travel days will be spent in the car. I tell them over and over again that we will be driving all day. This helps manage their expectations. It takes about eight hours to our house to my parents house according to Maps without stopping. However, we know that stopping often is a given when traveling with kids. Last time, it took us about eleven hours to make that drive. Eleven.

Snacks

We usually keep pretty basic snacks in our house. Fruit, Larabars, raisins, etc.. But when we go on a road trip with kids, we go all out with the snacks. Gummies…you got it. Chips…you got it. Literally, whatever the kids want, I will pack it. I promise having favorite snacks on a long car ride is worth it. I mean, I love the strawberry sour straws like there is no tomorrow on a road trip. Treat yourself and your kids, mama.

Activities

I did a pole in Instagram, and it was about 60/40 as to families preferring activity books to screens for road trips. We utilize both. My three year old also plays with his favorite toys really well in the car, so those always get packed. As far as what my children do to occupy themselves in the car, I let them choose. I don’t limit the screens or a toy or a book. They can to do whatever they like as long as they are being respectful of others (use headphones, share, etc). I am also a fan of listening to audiobooks during long car trips. I’ve included some links to a few of our favorite car activities below.

Potty Breaks

It’s inevitable that you will have to stop multiple times during your trip. We usually end up stopping for one reason or another about every one and a half to two hours. If your kids are younger, you might be stopping every hour. It is what it is. However, I have found some tricks to get the most out of each stop. First, stop at the big truck stops if you can (Love’s, Pilot…). I find that the bathrooms at these establishments are bigger and cleaner than most of the regular gas stations. They offer more snack choices, and they are usually situated at exits with several food options. Next on the list is rest stops. These are great if you don’t need food. Rest stops almost always have some sort of green space. Kids are able to run around and really get those wiggles out. Lastly, we enjoy stopping at the restaurant Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel has the little store you can explore and you can also order a drink to go from the register. The facilities are clean, and it’s just something a little different and unexpected for the kids.

I hope these tips and tricks help you thrive on your next road trip with your kids. Have any other tips to share with others? Post them in the comments below. As always, please share this post with your friends if you enjoyed it!

Entertain kids wherever you go with On-The-Go Craft Kits from Kid Made Modern.

You Are Loved

You Are Loved

Sweet friend, you are loved. I am so glad you are here – reading this. This post came as an outpouring of my heart on a day when the world felt like it was screaming and being filled with hate. I hope the words written below fill you with hope and encouragement today.

To the mother, to the daughter, to the childless, you are loved.
 
To the Christian, to the Jew, to the Muslim, to the deconstructing, you are loved.
 
To the LGBTQ+ person, you are loved.
 
To the hurting, to the addict, to the depressed and anxious, to the lonely you are loved.
 
To the immigrant, you are loved.
 
To the BIPOC, you are loved.
 
To the Republican, to the Democrat, you are loved.
 

I love you. I love you because you are an image bearer of the Creator of love itself. A love that is beyond understanding. I love you because He commands me to love first, always. Because He lives in me, it is the easiest command to follow. When you truly know the One who orchestrated love, it is easy to love those whom He loves. It is easy to love you.

I know this is not my typical post. But it needs to be said more. It needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I am honored to use my little space here to hopefully allow others to feel seen. I hope you feel seen by a Christian woman, especially when the Church is currently at such a crossroads. I see the talk all over social media about the hurt and the trauma people have suffered in the name of the Church. And while those traumas are deeply personal and complex, at the very least, I want you to know – you are loved. And if you are reading this and you want to show love to the people God has placed in you path, you might like this post.

 



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Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social Media: Cultivating a Positive Experience

Social media has infiltrated every aspect of human life. There’s no denying it. It’s everywhere, and every single person and entity has some sort of social media presence. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy social media (let’s connect on my social channels listed on the sidebar!), but it’s something you have to use with such focused intentionality. Otherwise, it can quickly get out of hand. On the flip side, if you steward your social media content and consumption well, it can be a wonderful experience.

Real Life Comes First

I know how easy it is to develop a habit of checking social media whenever you have a free moment during the day. What often happens, though, is we get sucked into the scrolling game, and we miss out on little moments that are happening in real life. I know I am guilty of logging on to Instagram just because I can, then I tell my kids to wait while I finish watching stories. This isn’t how it should be. My real life needs to come before my social media life always.

Utilize Timers

Timers are a great way to keep our priorities with social media versus real life in proper order. If I am logging on to social media, I started seting a ten minute timer. This has been a game changer. Furthermore, I will only do purposeful things during this time, like engaging with my community or creating a post. I will only allow myself the treat of mindless scrolling when my kids are asleep.

Consider Your Follow List

Doing regular audits of who you follow is imperative. Do these accounts uplift and encourage you? Do they make you feel hopeful for our world, when the news cycle is so often doom and gloom? Do the lifestyles of the influencers you follow make you feel discontent with your personal life? Are these accounts your following worthy of precious mental space and energy in your mind? These are important things to consider. I typically do a big audit of people and brands I follow a couple of times a year, and it always feels like a weight has been lifted afterwards.

Pause Before Entering the Comment Section

I, personally, don’t think there are very many positives from entering the comment sections on most things. So, before expanding the comments on that account, I would encourage you to really know your motivation. The comment sections, especially on large social media platforms, tend to have a least some sort of trolling. How will reading these things effect you? This applies even more so if you are wanting to actually post a comment. Will commenting add value to this particular community? Did this account ask for your advice or opinion?

Just Keep Scrolling

And that leads me to my last tip. More often than not, just keep scrolling past that thing that irked you. Social media did not exist until I was in college. I’m part of that Oregon Trail generation. I went through my entire adolescence and early adulthood without expressing my opinions on a public platform. Commenting was not even a thing in the early days of social media. So, I say this with love, not everyone needs to know your thoughts and opinions about every single thing. No debates are ever won through social media, but divisiveness is easily fueled. As a Christian, I believe I am called to love first, and sometimes that means keeping my mouth closed on that crazy thing I read or saw on Facebook.

Cultivating a pleasant social media experience takes some intentional effort and self discipline. There’s no denying that. I hope this post encourages you to take a look at not only what you’re consuming on social media, but also what you are producing. If you enjoyed this post, check out this post on having intentional days.

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Simple Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Hey there, mama. I am so glad you’re here. Today, I am excited to share with you some really easy and simple self care tips for you to incorporate into your daily life. I have been a stay at home mom for nearly eight and a half years now. With three kids under my care, I can tell you that there are seasons of thriving and seasons of surviving. You can read here on why I am passionate about self care, as well as why I feel so strongly about having appropriate and realistic expectations of ourselves. But now I want to give you some simple tips on how to implement self care into your daily routine. And no, I’m not going to tell you to wake up an hour early every day. Sleep wins in my house, always and forever.

Drink Your Coffee Hot

I know you’re rolling your eyes right now. I know how hard it is to finish a cup of coffee with littles running around, especially while it’s still hot. Reheat that cup, mama. Reheat it as many times as you need to. Make a fresh pot even. Drink your coffee hot. There is something comforting about a hot cup of coffee. Drinking lukewarm coffee makes you feel blah, and no one wants to start the day off felling blah. To level up, drink that morning happy bean juice from a special mug. I really like this one with a verse from the book of Proverbs. Whatever mug you use, let it be one that inspires you and motivates you.

Get Dressed

I know. Pandemic life made daily pajamas socially acceptable. But think about how you feel when you put on real clothes versus your sweats. I know for me, I always have a little more pep in my step if I’ve gotten dressed for the day. I’m not saying get glammed up when you’re spending your day at home with a baby and toddler. My point is to make an effort. Sometimes I prefer a hoodie to a sweater. I really enjoy make up, so I wear it just about every day. You might be more of a moisturizer and mascara only girl, and that is okay. But spending ten minutes in the morning tending to yourself can really help you feel refreshed for your day.

A Special Afternoon Snack

The house is finally quiet, and the babies are napping. I know you have a never ending list of chores to get done before they wake up. But hear me on this, that never ending chore list will actually never end. There will always be something else to do. Take 30 minutes. Fix a favorite snack, you know, the snack you keep hidden from the kids in the back of the pantry or that random cabinet. Then, put on a show that doesn’t have J.J. or Mickey Mouse as a main character, and just relax. I promise the day will not fall apart while you take these 30 minutes for yourself. My favorite afternoon snack when my middle child was a baby was a glass of Prosecco and chocolate chips. Yep, it sure was. And while, of course, I’m not advocating for being irresponsible, and I really don’t like this wine mom culture that has become prevalent over the last couple of years – that glass of bubbly and chocolate made me feel fancy and fun when my days felt pretty mundane. My go to afternoon snack these days is a cup of black tea and (again) some sort of chocolate.

Move Your Body

I will confess that exercise was not something I was very good at maintaining during the years when my kids were babies. However, having a fulfilling exercise routine now, it makes me wish that I had made my physical fitness more of a priority sooner. It’s one of my regrets of those early years. Mama, you are worth it. Even if you are taking five minutes at the end of the day to just stretch, it will help you to unwind and recharge. Now that the weather is turning, I really encourage you to get outside and move your body. Maybe that means going for a walk or playing with your kids in the backyard. What ever it is, work up a sweat every now and then. I promise you will be glad you did. And if you’re looking for great at home workouts, I really like Blogilates.

Write It Down

Journaling has so many benefits. For me, I find journaling really helpful for processing life. It’s not something I consistently do, but whenever I am in a season of survival mode, journaling is what gets me through. Writing out all the things gets them out of your head and on to the paper instead. It helps you think and process those challenging times in a more objective manner. Journaling is also a wonderful way to keep track of your prayers and/or meditations. If you want to explore journaling from a Christian perspective, I love these Write the Word journals. I am currently working through the one on worship.

End Your Day With a Hot Bath

I am convinced that people who say they are not “bath people” haven’t actually given daily baths a chance. If you know me in real life, you know that I deem my nightly bath essential to my mental health. I say that with all sincerity. Soaking in that magnificent hot water relaxes my body and allows the daily stressors to melt away. Sometimes I make it a fancy bath with bubbles and a candle. But most of the time it’s not. My husband and children know not to come near the bathroom door while I’m taking my bath. A quiet bath centers my introverted and often touched out self. Give it a chance. I even turn my husband into a bath person.

Often when we think of self care, we think of these grand excursions like spa day or girls’ trip. However, I have found self care to be more effective when you can do little things for yourself throughout the day. It’s also important to communicate with your person about what your needs are. Having a self care routine reminds yourself that you are worthy, lovely, and called to the season you’re in. That season might feel like thriving or it might feel like you’re barely surviving. Either way, I hope these self care tips help you feel loved, because you are!

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Easy Goal Setting Tips for the Busy Mom

Easy Goal Setting Tips for the Busy Mom

Learning how to set goals changed my life, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that. They brought clarity and focus when I was in a season of uncertainty. We all have a set finite days to our life. I decided that I didn’t want to waste a single one any longer. I stepped into the calling that I was created on purpose for a purpose. And so are you, sweet friend. You have a worthy life to live! Goal setting takes practice, and it can feel overwhelming for someone just starting out. Here are my tips for learning how to set goals for your life.

Start with the Big Picture

What do you want your life to look like when you are 80? This was the question that sparked something in me. I realized I needed to be doing stuff now if I was to have the life I envisioned when I’m old. So, here I am asking you this same question. Think about all the aspects of your life. What do you want them to look like 50 years from now, and most importantly why? Why do you want your life to look like this vision? When you’re struggling, always refer back to your way.

Break It Down

Now that you have your long term vision, it’s time to break it down. Grab a piece of paper and write out various categories. Things like family, relationships, spiritual life, finances, and so on. You tailor this to you. Next, write out what needs to happen in each category for you to reach your end of life vision, and once again, don’t forget your why.

Bust Through the Doubt

We all encounter doubt and fear in life. Your goals might seem pretty far off right now, almost unreachable. You might be hearing whispers of insecurity, or maybe you feel trapped in the comparison game. I am going to ask you to do something hard here. I am going to ask you to do a deep introspection. Meditate and/or pray about what the root of your fear really is. Think back to the first time you felt that feeling. Replace those lies with truth. You are WORTHY. No one can do what you were divinely created to do. Dear friend, let me encourage you. I am here for you, and I am cheering you on.

Write It Down

Now it’s time to get after it. Go back to your categories and start thinking of small actionable steps you can take this month to move to needle forward on your goals. Small steps over time lead to big progress. You are not required to make perfect progress. In fact, I can guarantee that there will be mistakes and missteps along the way. My fellow enneagram ones might be panicking right now. I don’t like the idea of making mistakes either. However, I would rather make a mistake and learn while making progress on my goals, than stay stuck in the same place for the rest of my life. I like to have daily, weekly, and monthly check off items, when I am writing out my action steps. A daily step might be as simple as drinking water every day (why is this so hard??), while a monthly step might be paying down debt by a certain amount. You do you. This if your one life. But here is the MOST important thing. Are you listening? Put your action steps in a place where you see them every.single.day. I have mine taped to my bathroom mirror. It is so easy to get distracted by the day to day. Having your goals in front of your face will help to keep you focused.

Tips and Tricks

  1. While you do not need any special tools to set goals, I really like the resources from Cultivate What Matters. Makse is another popular tool, but I have not personally used them before.
  2. Set a word for your year that encompasses all of your goal. I know it’s not January, but here’s a secret – there’s nothing magical about January 1st. You can read all about my word for 2021 here.
  3. Your goals should stretch you. Be really honest with yourself with what you are capable of. Have realistic expectations of your goals, but you should also be stretching yourself. I will usually set my monthly goals to where I know I won’t accomplish them perfectly on purpose, so that I am always reaching. Does that make sense?
  4. Decide today is the day, because why not you? Why not today? You got this!

Tell me about your goals, and as always, please like and share this post if you enjoyed it.

Let’s Review a Book

Let’s Review a Book

I am so honored to have the opportunity to review a new book for expecting and new mothers. 15 Ways to Manage Stress and Stay Sane: The Actually Useful New Mom Care Package by Kelly Mager is the book I wish I had when I had my first child 8 years ago. Kelly’s writing is concise and straight forward. This book is an easy read, which is refreshing when you’re running off little to no sleep.

What It Says

15 Ways to Manage Stress and Stay Sane is not like other new mom books. The author is an experienced mom of three. She anticipates the struggles new moms will have and provides easy and actionable steps to combat them. Things like the need for community, meal planning, money management, and even discipline. These are things that I, as a new mom, didn’t realize I would need help with. I didn’t know how to find mom friends when I had my first child, but man, I’m so glad I did! This book gives you ideas on how to meet other women in the same season of life as you are now in. I can promise you, that the friends you have when your babies are little will be friends for life. I don’t think I’ve seen another book address this need before.

How to Read It

The structure of Kelly’s book is a breath of fresh air to say the least. Sitting down to read a book comes in low on the list of things to do when you’re a new mom. How do you find the time? But this book is SUCH an easy read. The chapters are clear and concise. Each chapter ends with a list of actionable items in reference to the topic discussed. If you are struggling in a particular area, all you need to do is find the related chapter. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out this post all about self care.

Covid Long Hauler: One Year Update

Covid Long Hauler: One Year Update

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been one year since I had covid, thus starting my journey as a covid long hauler. It really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. I think because it has consumed me. What I mean by that is that the effects of covid are still at the forefront of my thoughts often. I am constantly checking in with my breathing. Is it normal. Does my chest feel heavy? I need to take some deep breaths. Oh no! I don’t have my disposable mask. This means I will need my albuterol inhaler because breathing through cloth masks is much harder. These are some of the thoughts that run through my head all.day.long.

Covid Changed Me

The term “long hauler” is more well known now. I have read a lot of really good news articles detailing and validating, not only mine, but so many other’s experiences. These articles bring me solace. I spent much of last year feeling so alone in my journey. While I don’t know anyone else personally who has walked this same path, I find it comforting to see covid long haulers included in the national conversation. But the thing I want you to know most is this virus has changed me. It took something from me, and I don’t know if I will ever get it back. My quality of life is less than it was before this virus.

What My Life is Like Now

In my six month update, I talked a lot about different medications I was on. I still need those inhalers to help with my breathing. I still use my recuse inhaler as well. Honestly, I have gotten used to those things. It is what it is. While I am hoping my upcoming appointment with a specialist will give way to more effective medication, I accept that my body needs this help now. Do I now have asthma? Maybe. We will see. What is incredibly interesting about my breathing situation, is that I am able to exercise regularly. I feel like my fitness level has returned to pre-covid status. But talking through a mask for a long period of time will almost certainly cause me to need my rescue inhaler. It doesn’t make sense to me, but much of this journey has been baffling.

Fatigue and Brain Fog

Friend. The fatigue is rough. I will be going about my day, and it will hit me so hard and fast. I get this overwhelming feeling that I have to go to sleep right away, or I won’t make it. To deal with this, I usually take a twenty minute nap around lunch time (that’s typically when this sudden fatigue hits). Thankfully, my children are old enough to where I can do this. However, I need this power nap almost daily. On top of that, once my husband gets home from work in the afternoon, I will have to go lay down and rest AGAIN before dinner. This is my normal daily routine, and it is very disheartening. I have to continually remind myself that I am not being lazy. But mentally, it is hard. I don’t want my kids remembering mommy in bed so much. Recently, my six year old asked my why I sleep the most out of anyone in our family. That brought on the tears.

Secondly, there is the brain fog. Google defines brain fog as “a term used for certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words.” It’s sneaky. I will just randomly not be able to complete a thought. Or more noticeably, my short term memory is unpredictable. There is a good chance that I will forget anything that is not part of my weekly routine. For example, that extra errand I was supposed to run. Yep, I forgot about it. Or there was the time that I was supposed to book our summer vacation, then remembered three weeks later. I say brain fog is sneaky because I can’t predict it. It feels like it creeps up out of no where, usually when I finally remember that thing that I forgot.

Perspective

So, where am I one year after becoming a covid long hauler? Though my symptoms are actively present in my life, I have been able to come to some sort of acceptance. I don’t feel that daily angst and disappointment that was so intense a few months ago. I have days when frustration and weariness overtake me, but I always have the support of my AMAZING husband to talk me through the difficult moments.

Overall, from the outside, most people do not realize how much covid has effected me. The fact that I am still struggling often surprises others. There is good and bad to this. It shows from the outside, I function pretty normally in the world. I homeschool my children, do laundry, run errands, see friends, work at my part time job. However, on the flip side, I often have breathing difficulty during these activities. I always need a nap after an outing, and I have random days that is spent mostly in bed. Being a covid long hauler is a hidden struggle. I hope to continue to improve. Maybe one day there will be a magic solution to all of this.

A Long Hauler’s Final Thoughts

I want to close with this. If you know someone who is struggling as a covid long hauler. Check on them. Ask them how they are doing. They might seem fine, yet they could be struggling behind closed doors. Also, please…hear me on this….do not offer them advice on what they should or shouldn’t do to get better unless they ask you. Just don’t. You do not know what they have done. There are thousands of people struggling still one year later. If it was as simple as needing extra this or less that, we would know. Because those of us who are in this battle have tried it all. Instead, offer to bring your friend or family member dinner. Or cupcakes. Offer to baby-sit so they can have a quiet house for a few hours. Those are the things that are helpful.

I hope my story has impacted you. If it has, I would love to hear from you in the comments below and for you to share this post with your friends.

When Goals Failed: Adjust the Process

When Goals Failed: Adjust the Process

What happens when you feel like your goals failed? It’s mid-February, and I bet those goals you made at the beginning of the year seem like distant a memory. I get it. We all start out with such good intentions, but life happens. I want to encourage you to think back to those goals. The goals that you were so excited to take action on. Instead of accepting defeat or getting discouraged, let’s adjust the process of reaching the goal.

Adjust Your Time Line

I can speak with authority on having to adjust the time line of reaching my goals instead of accepting that my goals failed. Everything inevitably takes longer than I think it should. Don’t look at changing your time line as a negative. Look at it as having better insight into what it’s going to take to accomplish your goal, and a healthy understanding on what you are capable of accomplishing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Adjust Your Steps

Sometimes we need adjust the steps to meeting our initial goals by adjusting the steps to meet them. For example, you might have a goal to organize your home. Once you start this, you realize that you really need to focus on decluttering instead. In this circumstance you’re having to break your goal down into more specific steps. You realize that you can’t organize things the way you want to without decluttering first. In this example, we added steps to our process, but you might need to take some steps away. A couple of years ago, I wanted to improve my baking skills (anyone else get super inspired by The Great British Bake Off??). I thought that I couldn’t start practicing my baking until I had certain baking pans and other kitchen tools. It was freeing when I realized that I could cross off purchasing those things off my list and simply start with what I had. For some tips on goal setting, check out this post meant for busy moms just like you! If you are wanting to really dig in deep with your goal setting, I recommend the Powersheets Goal Planner.

Adjust Your Definition of Success

It’s easy to have a picture of what we think success looks like. The comparison trap can easily come into play here. Your success might not look like someone else’s. I think this is especially true if you have a fitness goal. We are often enticed to compare ourselves to others, when in reality our goals and our processes are so individualistic. I love the quotes from Lara Casey that say “little by little’ and “progress over perfection”. There is something so powerful when you take a step back and say, “I made progress! It might not look like what I thought it would, but I’m closer to my goal that I was.” That is worth celebrating!

It’s easy to make goals (you can read more about my 2021 goals here), but it can be hard to stick to them. It can be hard to persevere when you feel like your goals failed. But friend, I want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to adjust the process of your worthy goals for this year instead of accepting failure and tossing them out the window.