I Can’t Believe I Was Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

I Can’t Believe I Was Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

Yep. That’s me – diagnosed with ADHD at age 36. Within the neurodivergent world, there are MANY adults receiving a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) right now. Have you seen the news reports of the nationwide Adderall shortage? Why is this? I think it comes from a few factors.

First, definitions, detections, and diagnostic criteria have expanded SO much since we were in school in the ’80s and ’90s. Doctors know so much more about ADHD now, which leads to easier diagnoses.

Secondly, many of us have children who have ADHD. Being the mama bears we are, we have entrenched ourselves in learning every single thing we can about how our child’s brain operates. We are their advocate, protector, and cheerleader.

So it makes sense that while parenting in the neurodivergent sphere, some of us saw characteristics of ourselves. What we thought was normal, might not have been as normal as we thought.

My ADHD Symptoms

Keep in mind, this is my personal experience. No two people have the same story. But here are some things I saw in myself that are characteristics of ADHD:

  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. This is an overwhelming emotional (and sometimes physical) sensation someone experiences due to actual or perceived rejection or criticism. I have a really difficult time when I think someone doesn’t like me, and I have to pep talk my way out of these intense feelings.
  • Difficulty with Task Initiation. It can be INCREDIBLY difficult for me to start something. It’s an odd feeling; I’m not going to lie. I know in my head I need to do the thing (folding the laundry for example). I know it’s important, easy, and won’t take a lot of time. But if I don’t want to do the task, then my brain cannot make my body do the task. I know. I don’t get it either, but it’s real.
  • Task Switching. This easily looks like multitasking. I do this during things my brain considers “work”. The task is not interesting/novel/exciting enough to hold my attention. Do you know anyone who has multiple projects going on at one time? Ha, I do. It also happens on a smaller scale. For example, I might be in the middle of meal planning, then all of a sudden switch to lesson planning. When I’m writing, I write a little, then search for images, write a little more, then to make a pin, and so on.
  • Hyperfocus. This is a more common characteristic of ADHD. If there is something I want to learn or a task I am excited about, then I can spend hours on it. Easily. Need help with breastfeeding? I can give you some great pointers. Want to know random facts about homeless orphans in North Korea, I got you. Interested in the historical context of some of the more controversial verses in the Bible? Let’s chat. I could go on, haha!
An accurate image of me trying to make sense of my brain. Image Credit: Womanlog

So, What Happened?

I operated well in my daily life. I used planners and organizers to keep things moving efficiently from day to day, and I accomplished my daily tasks well enough. Sure, some days/seasons were hard. But that’s life, right? That’s adulting.

Then the pandemic happened. I suffered from long-haul covid, and it changed me. I experienced neurological symptoms like brain fog, insomnia, depression, and memory loss. Covid changed my brain. I really believe covid tipped the scale for me. Systems in my life that worked well before no longer worked.

All of the symptoms listed above became more pronounced and problematic in my everyday life. I couldn’t plan or organize my brain out of the struggle I was feeling. My days became harder and harder. I was moving through mud. Everything took so much effort, and I was oh so very tired each and every day. Finally, I decided to talk to my doctor, and he diagnosed me right then and there.

Keep In Mind

Many things I listed above are not “official” ADHD symptoms. They aren’t listed in the DSM-5. However, they are all characteristics many people with ADHD have in common. Many doctors agree these are unique to ADHD and other neurodivergent diagnoses and take them into consideration.

Additionally, these characteristics are easily masked, or they can be overlooked if someone is functioning well in their day-to-day life. They can look like anxiety and/or depression as well. So many women were given an original diagnosis of anxiety, then were later diagnosed with ADHD. Fun fact about me: I had panic attacks in college and was on anxiety medication for about five years.

Treating My ADHD

After being diagnosed with ADHD, I knew I wanted to try medication. My ADHD children have had great experiences on medication. After a discussion with my doctor, we decided on the non-stimulant Wellbutrin.

Now, I know many people have strong opinions on Wellbutrin. I know some have experienced horrible side effects. Yet, for me, it has been WONDERFUL. It is hard to describe, but my days are just easier. I am back to cooking dinner for my family most nights because I am not as tired at the end of the day. I can maintain my home the way that I prefer. Most importantly, I don’t feel like I am moving through mud.

How’s It Going?

There have been two occasions where I have unintentionally missed a day of medication. Both times, I didn’t realize it until the end of the day, but it was definitely a hard day.

The first time was a day that I had a long to-do list. I started multiple tasks all at the same time, and I kept bouncing from one thing to another. I felt extremely frazzled, but I couldn’t slow my pace down to concentrate on one thing at a time.

The second time I missed a medication dose was a normal day filled with normal responsibilities. Yet I was EXHAUSTED. I could barely speak at the end of the day because I was so tired. I realized how much harder my brain had to work.

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Final Thoughts Getting Diagnosed with ADHD at Age 36

My overarching thought on my ADHD journey is I am so glad I sought help. I have what would be considered mild ADHD, yet my medication has been extremely beneficial. Even though most would look at me and think I was functioning in life just fine, things were harder for me than that of a neurotypical person. My brain had to do more than others to maintain the same baseline if that makes sense.

I hope you found my journey helpful and enlightening. Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult? I’d love to hear about it! Make sure to share this post with your friends if you found it helpful.

How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

How To Survive Year-End Stress With Your Elementary Student

Woohoo! Summer break is almost here, and it is time for a busy but beautiful season of vacations, pool parties, and lemonade stands. But before you can dive in and enjoy the fun that summer vacation brings for you and your kiddos, you must partake in the end-of-school-year Olympics and figure out how to survive year-end stress.

Yes, I am talking about the weeks after spring break and before summer vacation, when school tests the fortitude and dedication of every elementary school parent and beyond. You will be stretched to the limit some days, but the end result is worth it: watching your child’s face the day they walk out of school for the last time before summer break. What an exciting, squealing, ice cream-faced reward!

Manage Year-End Field Trip Stress

Children looking at a train car on a field trip to the train station.
Field trip to the train station was so much fun!

Is it just me, or do schools cram as many field trips as they can into the last 3 weeks of school? Aquarium, pizza arcade, Zoo, nature walk, CRAM IT IN! Oh and do not forget the permission slip. Or close-toed shoes. And the money for snacks on site. Or the sunscreen! While it may seem like a ton of extra stuff to cram into your pint-size child’s backpack, it’s all worth it to see their ruddy cheeks at the end of the day. Filled with stories and excitement from the trip. Remember your why!

Do Not Stress Report Cards & Grades

While the report cards and quarterly grades may not seem like a big part of how to survive year-end stress, they certainly are for your children – elementary school and beyond. When my daughter began 3rd grade, the report cards got a bit more serious. And so did she.

Reward all grades, as long as you know your child has done their best

Remind your kiddo that there are no bad grades as long as they have done their best work. Grades do not make a kind or empathetic spirit. Kick the stress and discipline when a disappointing report card rolls in. Celebrate the small victories!

Year-End Teacher Gifts – What To Give?

I am positive your kid’s teacher has some different ideas about how to survive year-end stress, which is why I always love to gift them something special at the end of the school year. 

Here are some “how to survive year-end stress” gift ideas for teachers:

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How To Survive Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher conferences can be intimidating and leave everyone feeling defeated if handled improperly. My daughter’s elementary school requires at least 2 conferences a year. But you can have a great conference with your child’s teacher!

Focus on the positive.

Do not hone in on your child’s worst but choose to focus on their best.

Ask questions.

Do not begin the conference without a list of questions to ask your child’s teacher.

Request positive feedback to give your child.

Your child’s teacher wants them to succeed. They watch them learn and grow every day, so grab some of those compliments to share with your child.

Make Year-End Class Parties Fun

You might not be an over-achiever. You know what I’m talking about – a Pinterest-Perfect mom. One of those moms who set the table for every holiday and take the Christmas tree down by New Year’s. If you are, elementary class parties might not be your forte. That is okay momma! Take a chill pill and bring in the store-bough cupcakes. You do not have to cut the carrots into star shapes. 

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More than perfection, your child will remember your presence.

This is a hugely important part of how to survive year-end stress and school madness. Your child will not likely remember your perfectly styled hair or the cupcakes you stayed up until 2am baking. No, they will remember your smile as you laughed on the bus headed to the Zoo. They will remember your compassion when they got a 75% on their math test.

Choose to focus on the reason why you are running around like a chicken on mountain dew. Your children and the memories you are making amidst the madness. Do you have any tips for surviving the year-end stress of elementary school? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Howdy, Miranda here from planitmiranda.com 

I am a full-time working mom and small business owner. I work for a local law firm while trying my best to juggle mom-sponsibilities, 40 hours of work for “the man”, and entrepreneurship. My days are spent meticulously planning what is to come so nothing falls through the cracks. My daughter Dorothy is 9 years old and my joy.  We make a great planning team.

4 Simple Tips to Make the Holidays Stress-FREE Instead of Stress-FULL

4 Simple Tips to Make the Holidays Stress-FREE Instead of Stress-FULL

Isn’t it the goal every year to have a stress free holiday? Seriously, every year I tell myself, “This is the year. I am going to keep things simple.” Then, before I know it, I’m so overbooked that I’ve run out of space in my calendar, my kids are on their daily treasure hunt looking for all the hidden presents, and the smoke detector is beeping because I forgot about those dang cookies in the oven! I’ve run myself into the ground trying to make the season special for everyone else.

But, 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 overwhelmed and stressed out? I got you, girl!

#1. Write It All Down

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. There are so many things that we want to accomplish during the holidays. There are outside obligations and commitments, as well as family activities and traditions. Make sure there is space in your schedule to get every thing accomplished.

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. The kitchen becomes filled with the smell of cinnamon and ginger, while our table transforms into a construction zone with candy canes, gumdrops, and frosting as building materials.

Our gingerbread house making party is my kids’ favorite tradition. I need to make sure I have it scheduled. Otherwise before I know it, it’s the week of Christmas, and I will be frantically running through the grocery store, likely sweating, trying to find all the things. And I will probably come up short. That does not sound like a good time to me.

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#2. 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. And trying to do too much will definitely steal the simple peace we all crave this season.

I know I do not have the capacity to do a daily advent activity with my children. As a homeschooling pastor’s wife, this feels almost sacrilegious! But I know it is not. We experience the glory and birth of our Savior in other ways that leave us feeling joyful instead of it feeling cumbersome. Sometimes we need to say no to things, even if those things are good.

Furthermore, we won’t be able to attend every single event we are invited to. But, 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 how to edit your to do list, you can read about that here.

#3. Make Peace with Clutter

Oh the clutter! There is, literally, stuff everywhere! This is a big one for me. I can so easily become anxious and overstimulated when my environment is messy. It feels like the walls are closing in on me.

But let’s face facts. There’s going to be extra things in our environments 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 do my best to carefully consider how many decorations I put out. I also make sure there are areas in a room that my eyes can wander to and rest, like having a corner in the living room free from decorations.

Additionally, because my kids are in the “toy years,” I put in a little extra effort and make sure all the toys are put away at the end of the day.

#4. Have a Wrapping Party

This is my favorite stress free holiday tip! Wrapping presents feels 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. Plate up a scrumptious snack (I know you’ve got some great holiday treats!), 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 all the 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: The 4 Best Tips to Go from Surviving to Thriving

Road Trip with Kids: The 4 Best Tips to Go from 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 may 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. Because we have gotten used to long road trips with our kids, this has opened up many other travel opportunities that we may have been overwhelmed by otherwise.

Author, Emily, taking a selfie in her van with 3 young kids in the background as they take a road trip to Michigan.
That time I drove all 3 kids to Michigan by myself!

Tip #1: 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.

Additionally, 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. I also tell them they are not allowed to ask me how much longer. That is to keep my own sanity. Instead, I give them an estimate of what time we expect to arrive.

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.

Tip #2: Pack Everyone’s Most Favorite 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 everyone’s favorite snacks on a long car ride is worth it. And don’t forget the adults! Enjoy your favorites too. I love strawberry sour straws, a Milky Way, and a coke on a road trip. Treat yourself and your kids, mama.

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Tip #3: Bring Activities for the Car

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 kids really enjoy fun sticker books, My three year old also plays with his favorite toys really well in the car, which is currently dinosaurs. Additionally, I really love these travel craft kits. I am also a fan of listening to audiobooks during long car trips.

Our van does have a DVD player, but I know not every one has this option. We typically play a movie after eating lunch or towards the end of the trip when we all just need some quiet.

I let my children choose how they want to occupy themselves when we travel. I don’t limit screens, toys, or books. They can to do whatever they like as long as they are being respectful of others (use headphones, sharing, etc).

Here we are enjoying our trip to the Gulf of Mexico, which is about 13 hours away from home.

Tip #4: Make the Most Out of Potty Breaks

First, stop at the big truck stops if you can (Love’s, Pilot…). I find 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, take advantage of rest stops along the highway. These are great if you don’t need food. Rest stops almost always have some sort of green space, so kids can around and really get those wiggles out.

Lastly, and this is super specific, but hear me out – Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is a southern style restaurant, but also has a store in the front. The bathrooms are clean, kids love exploring the store, they’re typically located right off the highway, and it’s just something a little different and unexpected.

I hope these tips and tricks help you thrive on your next road trip with your kids. Do you 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!

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.

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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.

6 Simple and Easy Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

6 Simple and Easy Self Care Tips for Busy Moms

Most self care tips not realistic. No, I don’t have time to get a pedicure. My elementary-age child was late for practice, the baby was grumpy from another restless night, and the toddler was triumphantly dancing on the kitchen countertop despite the reminder I gave 30 seconds earlier that we only dance on the floor. Somehow, in the midst of this, I was supposed to prioritize self-care.

When self care takes lots of time and effort, it’s not self care anymore. I am right there with you. As a mom of 3, I can tell you that there are seasons of thriving and seasons of surviving. I am passionate about self care, and I feel strongly about having appropriate and realistic expectations of ourselves.

That’s why I am so excited to share these 6 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, amen.

#1 Drink Your Coffee Hot

Why is it so hard to finish a cup of coffee with littles running around? It’s basically impossible to enjoy the full cup 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 us all feel blah, and no one wants to start the day off feeling 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.

#2 Get Dressed

I know. Pandemic life made daily pajamas socially acceptable. But think about how good it feels when you put on real clothes instead of those same sweat pants from yesterday. I always have a little more pep in my step if I’ve gotten dressed for the day, and it helps me feel overall more refreshed.

I’m not saying go full glam when you’re spending your day at home with babies and toddlers. Do whatever “get dressed” means to you. Sometimes I prefer a hoodie to a sweater. Leggings instead of jeans.

I actually really enjoy make up, so I wear it just about every day. However, you might be more of a moisturizer and mascara only girl. You do you, friend. But spending ten minutes in the morning tending to yourself can really help you feel refreshed for your day.

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#3 Have a Special Afternoon Snack

The house is finally quiet, and the babies are napping. I know that never ending list of chores is calling you. But hear me on this, the to do list will never end. I know, it’s a hard truth, but 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 include Cocomelon or Mickey Mouse. I promise the day will not fall apart while you take these 30 minutes for yourself.

With three babies five and under, the refreshing sweet bubbles of the Prosecco paired with the slight bittersweet taste of the dark chocolate made me feel fancy and fun when my days felt mundane. I looked forward to that special treat each day. And, of course, I am not advocating for being irresponsible.

#4 Move Your Body

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.

Sweet friend, 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. Also, 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.

#5 Write It Down

Journaling has so many benefits. I find journaling really helpful for processing life. It’s not something I consistently do, but whenever I am in a season of survival, 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.

#6 End Your Day With a Hot Bath

I am convinced when people say they are not “bath people,” they haven’t actually given baths a chance. Think of a bath as an experience – not just a mode to get clean.

My nightly bath is essential to my mental health. I say that with all sincerity. My husband and children know not to come near the bathroom while I’m taking my bath. When soaking in that magnificent hot water, the weight of the day lifts off my shoulders while my entire body relaxes. The scent of my favorite body wash calms my mind and allows the daily stressors to melt away. The quiet and peaceful bath centers and decompresses my introverted self.

Sometimes I make it fancy with bubbles and a candle. But most of the time, it’s not. It doesn’t need to be. Give it a chance. I even turn my husband into a bath person.

Let the day melt away.

Often when we think of self care, we think of these grand excursions like a spa day or girls’ trip. However, I have found self care to be more effective when you can do little things for yourself consistently throughout the day. It’s also important to communicate with your person about what you need.

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!

Easy Goal Setting Tips for the Busy Mom

Easy Goal Setting Tips for the Busy Mom

Do you set goals for yourself? I was mid-thirties when I stumbled into the goal-setting world. And let me tell you, learning how to set goals changed my life! I’m not exaggerating when I say that. Goals brought clarity and focus when I was in a season of uncertainty.

We all have set finite days in our life. I decided I didn’t want to meander the days away 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. It occurred to me that I needed to be doing stuff now if I was to have the life I envisioned when I’m old. I want to be active, and I want to be living life to its fullest. I don’t want to be feeble!

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 why? Why do you want your life to look like this vision? When you’re struggling, always refer back to your wy.

Break It Down

Now that you have your long-term picture, it’s time to break it down. Grab a piece of paper and write out various categories. Things like family, hobbies, 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 the why.

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Bust Through the Doubt

It’s going to happen. 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 deep here. I am going to ask you to do a deep introspection. Meditate and/or pray about the root of your fear. 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

Let’s 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.

I know. 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 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 is your one life.

But, wait, here is the MOST important thing. Put your action steps in a place where you will 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 goals. 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 about 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.