How are you? Busy. That’s life though, right?
Does this sound like you? Maybe someone you know? I would bet that many people that you ran into in December said this to you. In fact, there are many people say this on a daily basis.
What if I told you that we had the most relaxing, slow paced and blessed holiday season to date? It was full (aka busy). We enjoyed many gatherings with friends and family, the feeling of joy and excitement on my children’s faces. It felt like a made for television Christmas special and I was living it.
Now, don’t think for a second that there were not imperfections along the way – the meltdown by my overstimulated four-year old, for example. There have also been Christmases in the past that were too hectic, where we have spent Christmas Day at emergency with a sick child or have been saddened by the loss of a loved one. Christmases that were overwhelming. Events that they don’t show you on the Netflix Christmas specials.
This year was different. Our family took some steps to make this holiday season more calm.
- Our family was mindful not to overschedule ourselves and politely declined if we simply could not fit it during the holidays.
- We created plans to visit friends and family and do family activities that mattered to us.
- We created days of pure rest – movies, playing games and time outdoors, all of us in our pajamas.
- I meditated each morning (early while the house is quiet!), wrote in a journal while enjoying a hot coffee.
- I drank A LOT of water while still indulging a bit more than usual, but I was mindful.
The point of all of this is not to make you think that life can be perfect because truthfully, it can’t. It can, however, be the life that you intended to live. You CAN create more mindfulness, peace, calm and serenity while juggling the wild adventure of life.
After working with sleep for adults over the past year, I see how stressed many of us are, how long the to-do lists can be, how overwhelmed we are constantly.
Resolving adult sleep is SO MUCH MORE than going to bed at 10:00 p.m. and waking up at 6 a.m. This idea is wonderful, yet often not realistic. It is about balance, self-care, daily pauses, and prioritizing YOU so that you can give to all of the other areas in your life.
Start 2020 off right – schedule a call here now to learn more about how I can help you have the sleep, and healthier, happier you that you have always desired!
The Christmas season is here! Many of us already have a full calendar between parties, activities, shopping, travel and endless to-do lists. All of this can bring a lot of mixed emotions of excitement, joy, as well as overwhelm, busyness and exhaustion with trying to fit it all in – a tall order for most of us. As I write this, we have exactly one month before Christmas Day, so I want to share my best tips so that you take in the special moments, feel more relaxed, and of course rested when the new year arrives!
Learn to say “no thank you” to some celebrations
While we look forward to attending holiday parties and spending time with family and friends, it can be exhausting to attend every single one. Especially when there is a Christmas party (or two!) planned for your work, perhaps your spouse’s work, and, if you are a parent, this often means a party for daycare, school, and every activity that your child is involved in
Instead, decide which holiday celebrations are most important for you and your family. If you politely decline, people always understand. Schedule a time to meet with friends after the holidays and plan a date ahead so that you don’t miss out on spending time with those that matter the most in your life.
Brain dump & prioritize
Planning will save you from the crazy hamster wheel of rushing this time of year. Create a master list of everything that is on your mind, in your calendar, and perhaps floating in your inbox – this will save you time and eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. Take a hard look at the list and decide what is really important.
There are some commitments that you want to do, meaning it won’t be Christmas without them – volunteering at my children’s school for Christmas shopping day is a must do event for me because I enjoy seeing the children’s excitement when they have picked out something special for their loved ones.
There are, of course some activities that are commitments that still must happen, like wrapping presents (usually fun at the beginning of the season but not at 2 a.m. the day before Christmas Eve).
Then there are events that you can easily eliminate – like attending a cookie trading party, going to three Santa Claus Parades, or booking yourself Friday through Sunday each weekend. Some people might enjoy this type of pace while others do not. Be honest with yourself and choose those that are most important.
Honour your own bedtime most nights
Indulging is fun and we all look forward to doing it bit more often than usual. This often results in poor quality sleep throughout the month. Ensure that you are achieving proper rest by being mindful of the following five out of seven days of the week:
- Create a bedtime most nights of the week: Aim for an achievable bedtime most nights. If it is 10:30 p.m. create a short 30-minute routine at 10:00 p.m. to allow your body some time to wind down with a bath, reading, or sipping a chamomile tea.
- Create daily pauses: Take a walk, eat your lunch away from your desk, read a good book for 10-15 minutes midday or sit for a few minutes and inhale and exhale silence. These daily pauses will allow your body some time during the day to calm down, resulting in better quality sleep in the evening.
- Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime: Blue light is produced by electronic devices and wrecks havoc on the quality of our sleep by reducing melatonin production that our body naturally produces throughout the night. Scrolling on our electronic devices, online shopping and watching Christmas Vacation again 😉 are places that we can limit our exposure to blue light.
Being rested during the holidays, means that we have the opportunity to truly enjoy the special moments that come with this time of year. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed Christmas celebrating each and every one of them!
Many moms would agree that life with a toddler and a baby can feel challenging. It can often be a non-stop roller coaster ride between breakfast and bedtime. Here are my tips for making the jugging act easier for everyone!
Ask for help
Many moms have a challenging time doing this. Recognize that it is okay and normal to ask for help – it truly takes a village! If family lives far away, there is always a neighbour, a friend, a babysitter (the money spent is worth it!). Think of one person and ask, as they will often say yes. So many people will love to snuggle a baby or play with your toddler. Even one hour of entertaining your toddler and/or baby can be just the time that you need to rest, take a break, or spend some time with your spouse.
This may be a challenge to do everyday but having a plan most of the time will help to manage your day better and offers your toddler predictability which he will love. Children love to know what is happening next as it offers them a safe and secure environment to thrive in.
- Go to the park in the morning or afternoon.
- Plan a play date with a friend who also has children of a similar age.
- Do a craft. Pinterest has some excellent and simple ideas.
- Check something off of your to-do list. Grocery shopping is a fun outing for many toddlers!
Plan some time outdoors
Even if the temperature is cool, everyone benefits from a bit of fresh air during the day. This will allow your toddler the chance to play and run while your baby can experience nature. Bundle them up and get outside – the change of pace will benefit everyone!
- If there are leaves, snow or green grass this is a great chance for your baby and your toddler to explore.
- Wearing a baby carrier or placing her in a stroller is also a wonderful way to get outside and take a nature walk.
Honour sleep & rest needs
Honour your child’s need for sleep at least 90 % of the time. THIS is huge.You may choose to have your baby nap on the go a couple of times a week but ensure that it does not happen everyday. If it does, a sleep regression could be the result. Your baby needs sleep, as well as your toddler! We know and have experienced an overtired child and the results are not pretty – melt downs, lots of hard crying and then difficulty settling for the next sleep time. Also ensure that you honour your own sleep needs by resting your eyes for 10-15 minutes, taking a nap or getting to bed early.
I always love to hear comments from parents and would love to know your tips for balancing your day with a baby and toddler! Email [email protected], comment below. For anyone looking for help with honouring their sleep needs for their children or themselves you can schedule a FREE 15-minute call here!
With the last long weekend of summer coming soon, the countdown is on for back-to-school! To ensure that our children feel rested and at their best when the bell rings on the first day, it is important to make sure that they are receiving the proper amount of good quality sleep.
If summer time took your children way off track with their sleep schedules (ie. they are sleeping until noon but are no where near the teenage years yet!) here are my essential sleep tips for getting sleep back on track, starting tonight.
Start an early bedtime now.
There is no time like the present to get your children into an early bedtime routine before the first day of class. Start now – make sure that children are going to sleep no later than 8:00 p.m. so that they can get 9-11 hours of much needed sleep! Children will go through 5 sleep cycles, 5-6 times per night and each one is essential to help them focus, be creative, solve problems and be in a good mood at school. Not getting enough night time sleep means being forgetful, grumpy, impatient and can cause difficulty listening to teachers. For children that are in their first or second year of Kindergarten (as young as 3 or 4 years of age in Ontario), be prepared for overtiredness. If they are showing signs of fatigue, such as having more melt downs than usual, then moving bedtime earlier by even just 15 minutes can help them become more rested.
Use bedtime/morning routine charts.
Bedtime routine charts are an excellent tool to help re-establish that bedtime routine that may have been lacking or non-existent during the more flexible days of summer vacation. Creating one with children is easy by talking about the different steps in their routine, using clip art for a visual and posting it in their bedroom.
Morning routine charts are also an extremely useful tool to help with getting back in the groove for busier mornings. Having a list for children with important steps like, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and packing their lunch will eliminate frustration and that rushed feeling before heading out the door. Having a chart is both a fun checklist that children enjoy using each morning and a mental checklist for parents to refer to as well!
Implement school wake-up time.
In order to set children up for success on the first day of school, begin implementing the morning wake-up time now. If children are still sleeping in later than they will on a school day, then it is time to push bedtime even earlier. Getting enough sleep means waking up easily on their own and feeling rested without an alarm or wake-up call from parents.
Completing as many tasks as possible before school mornings is crucial to help the morning flow more easily. Decide on school-safe snacks to keep handy in the pantry along with grab and go fruits and vegetables, label all clothing and shoes before the first day, and select 5 days of school outfits with your child on Sunday night. Making a list of simple and nutritious dinners such as pasta, vegetables, and a protein or a taco night will minimize the after school dinner rush too. Decide on the weekend and refer to your list each morning!
Parent’s sleep needs.
Taking care of our own sleep needs as parents is essential to enjoying and succeeding in the awesome role of raising children. Be kind to yourself and make sure that you are getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep too. Turn off all electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime, and create your own bedtime routine to help yourself stay on track with sleep, along with your child, during the busy and fun back-to-school season!