Grief comes in many layers and after losing my dad to Parkinson’s I have experienced many of the typical identified stages of grief.
While the holidays are typically a festive time of the year it can be an unexpected challenge when you have lost a loved one. It can also heighten the stress that is already common for many during the holiday season. Simply hearing music, participating in holiday traditions, or even spending time with others can be a trigger.
Here are some ways to cope with grief and loss during the holidays
Accept that you’re not stuck in traditional patterns
For me Christmas was the holiday that I most looked forward to with my parents. As my dad’s illness progressed I had to slowly accept that the holiday season doesn’t only comprise large meals and gifts. Accept that the patterns and traditions you create for the holiday are just that, traditions that you create and they can and will continually evolve as they are always rooted in the idea of togetherness. As you keep that in mind you may then feel less guilt about the traditions looking different than previously experienced.
State healing affirmations
Mourning a loss during the holidays can bring so many emotions. Affirmations have been shown to clinically improve a person’s outlook.¹ Consider crafting a powerful affirmation that speaks to your needs and reminds you that the love for your lost loved one still remains.
Grief can often make you feel like you are alone. Make sure to use your community and it’s resources. It can be so easy to assume that others know you need extra support during the holidays but many will not know or they may be too afraid to say anything. Communicate your needs with your friends and community circles so that others can help hold a space for you in a way that is healing.
Honor your feelings and take a break when needed
Living in NY I’ve always been impressed with the fast paced feel and chaos that is so often experienced for adults during the holiday season. Grieving is a stressful process in itself because there are so many feelings and for that reason alone it is of utmost importance to be more attuned with the feelings you have and take breaks to just rest. You cannot be everything to everyone all the time without being for yourself first and that means setting some boundaries to let others know that part of your healing journey requires space to rest and unwind.
As I go through this journey myself I realize more and more that the memories you hold of your late loved one are personal and equally important to remember during the holidays. It’s ok to hold onto the things about them that make your holiday season so special but remember the days afterwards are equally as important in your coping journey. Stay strong my friends.
If you’re going through a hard grieving process or finding the idea of the holidays without a loved one stressful feel free to check out this guide with 6 caregiver tips for beating stress.
Over the last few years I added elderberries into my seasonal wellness regime. Now they are one of my go-to’s in my natural wellness routine. I used to think cold and flu season was 10/12 months of the year and that traditional medicinal options were the only hope, but thankfully nature has provided us options that can help lessen the duration and severity of commonly found ailments and these berries are a great part of that arsenal.
What Are The Benefits?
While there are benefits to traditional medicinal options, black elderberry (sambucas nigra) is known to help avoid illness and lessen the duration of illness. Here are some of the many benefits.
Reduces cold duration: Elderberry is well-known in its fight against the cold, particularly related to its vitamin A and C content. There is also some evidence that elderberries may have strong antioxidant and antiviral effects.
Reduces inflammation: Elderberry displays numerous anti-inflammatory activities, particularly related to its anthocyanin and vitamins A and C contents.
Great during air travel: Most of you know I love to travel but being trapped in an enclosed space with recirculating air for hours isn’t ideal, especially when folks are coughing and sneezing. It’s suggested to take elderberries days prior to a flight and while away on a trip to ensure optimal respiratory support and immune function. For more deets check out this article .
How Long Does Elderberry Syrup Last in the Fridge?
I’m not really sure but personally I placed the syrup in a mason canning jar while it is still slightly warm. This can help create an air-tight and stay in the fridge up to several months. However I only keep one jar refrigerated and the rest I freeze and thaw as needed.
How Much Elderberry Should You Take?
Since I mainly use it as a preventative remedy, I take 1 teaspoon a day (up to 1full tbsp) during peak cold and flu season but half that for kids can also be effective.
Although there is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of elderberries there is still much to be learned about its immune boosting effects. Don’t forget sourcing quality matters when choosing your elderberries and since I don’t have a local reliable source I tend to purchase from here. If you have questions feel free to open up convo with your doctor.
Maybe you’ve heard about financial investments, educational investments, and even gym membership investments but what about investments into upgrading your mindset?
I know it may not seem worth investing in as your mind is always ‘on’ but truth be told your mind may not be focused on the right things and that could be holding you back. I know it was for me!
Just like you workout your muscles, your brain and your thoughts also need a workout of their own and that requires just as much effort on a daily basis as anything else.
I describe a healthy mindset as one that is able to find the good in all things, that focuses on the positive aspects, and seeks to increase awareness and adaptability.
Becoming aware of just how important your attitude and mindset is in all your decisions is vital and although it’s work, it is the best investment you will ever make in yourself.
Here are 5 tips to help you create a healthier mindset:
The attitude of gratitude is the winning mindset to have. When your mindset is fostering a lot of negative thoughts and opinions you find yourself believing what you have is not enough as compared to someone else. It’s time to ditch those ideas and give daily gratitude for the things you have (big and small) as well as the things you want to attract into your life that aren’t yet apparent to you.
Setting Clear Boundaries
Too often as women we can get caught in allowing others negative drama to capture our precious time. This can be so difficult but having clear boundaries for your time and energy will allow your mind to be in a space to be creative towards the things you want.
I am a Physical Therapist so I cannot leave movement out of the equation. Physical movement that you enjoy not only helps your body but the endorphins released help your brain and often spark that creative and imaginative spirit that allows you to strive for your goals.
Having a healthy mindset means you need to foster a willingness to learn something new and also put it into action. Podcasts or personal development books are a great way to start, just remember no action no growth.
You may have heard it before however you act and think like the 5-10 people you spend the most time around. When you are spending more time around like minded and positive people you are more inclined to view things in a much different way!
Creating a healthy mindset will absolutely feel daunting and like a second job at first, but remain consistent and you will see just how seamless and engrained this way of thinking becomes in your daily life. I suggest starting with 1-2 of the tips and move forward from there. No point in getting stress and frustrated trying to do it all at once right? Have fun!
Need even more support? Grab my free guide on 6 ways to beat stress.
It’s no secret I can’t stand cleaning, but when it comes to oven cleaning I have a long standing dislike for it. Growing up the smell of Easy Off and Self Cleaning Oven debacles would have me evacuating the home all day to avoid the toxic chemical smell.
Now that I have my own home, I’ve had to find a way to stay on top of cleaning the dirt without the harsh side effects.
Self Cleaning or Solo Cleaning
Anyone that uses their oven to cook on the regular will experience burnt food on the sides or burnt and stuck food on the bottom of the oven often.
If you're like me, it really doesn't sound exciting to sit for an hour and scrub heavily to keep the oven clean.
Self cleaning ovens, although efficient, have been known to produce a lot of fumes from the high heat. (Not something that sounds like a great side effect for trying to keep your home clean).
So for me….solo cleaning it is!
Natural Oven Cleaner
It took me years to get past the trauma of my mother cleaning the household oven to finally take on this challenge myself. My requirements; find a recipe that wouldn’t require gloves, a mask, and windows to be opened for what felt like a lifetime.
I took a lot of time to check out ingredients in many products sold in common stores and realized those options weren’t for me. Luckily I found a natural option that wasn’t harsh on my skin or respiratory system. Here how you can make it yourself:
Lemon Essential Oil
Instructions: In a glass bowl take approximately 2 cups of baking soda and add 3 caps of Thieves cleaner and 3-5 drops of lemon oil. Mix it together until it makes a paste. Rub the paste on the inside of the oven. Let it sit for approximately 15 mins and take a wet cloth/towel and wipe it off! (make sure all the baking soda residue is removed before you use the oven again so that you don’t experience any smoke.
I love this plant based recipe for it’s effectiveness and simplicity and I know you’ll love it too! Check it out and comment below with your thoughts.
The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and the holiday season is approaching. Fall is a great time to reboot, relax and rejuvenate as we enter the last quarter of the year.
Here are 8 of my favorite fall self care tips to relax and pamper yourself.
-Make a Relaxing Foot Soak After long summer days barefoot on the beach it’s a great time to end a long day in the fall with some epsom salt and essential oils in a relaxing foot bath. It’s a great way to promote relaxation, circulation, and muscular support.
-Go Hiking I love the beautiful and scenic changes that happen in the fall and how the weather is just right in the midday. Take advantage and enjoy some fresh air, new sights, and the fall foliage as you explore the outdoors. Find a nearby park or trail to explore and enjoy some time in nature.
-Book a Spontaneous Staycation Air BNB I’m a travel addict and all about exploring new places near and far. Fall is a great time to explore local getaway spots that are within driving distance so check out some local home rental sites and book yourself a long weekend getaway for some local R&R.
-Upgrade Your Aromatherapy Practice I used to be a Yankee Candle Pumpkin Spice scented addict in the fall until I learned about how dangerous candles can be for your respiratory system (yeah I suffered for 12 yrs with chronic sinusitis). Now I remind people how amazing using quality essential oils can be to not only promote health but also give you that same scent without the toxic side effects. Grab yourself some cinnamon bark, clove, and orange essential oil so you can create all the fun fall scents in your diffuser and enjoy!
-Switch Up Your Workout Routine Need a way to reduce and prevent boredom then consider switching out your workout routine to prevent loss of motivation. Personally I have been trying to add mat Pilates into my routine on a regular basis and create some consistency in my workout this season.
-Create a Hygge Playlist Fall is all about embracing comfort and coziness and the hygge way! I’m not a big oversized sweater girl but embracing comfort and simplicity with diffusers, blankets, pillows, and battery operated candles is so comforting. As you hygge your home consider updating your playlist so you get into the ultimate unwinding mode! Need more info on ways to hygge your home-check here.
-Upgrade Your Skin Care Routine As the leaves change so does our skin care routine. With the drier and duller weather our skin often needs an upgrade on a regime that can support that. For inspiration click the link here to read up on 4 essential oils that are must haves for your fall skin care routine.
-Donate and Declutter Fall is all about letting go. Take some time to go thru your phone, closets, drawers, etc and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you. Organizing and simplifying your life can be just what you need to reconnect to true being.
Although I don’t get as excited for the fall as I do in the spring and summer there are so many fun and easy ideas to make the fall relaxing and enjoyable.