How Can I Manage My Anxiety and Stress Levels During COVID-19?

It is no surprise that so many of us are facing more stress than ever before with the COVID-19 pandemic. We find ourselves asking questions like, “How is this going to impact my loved ones?” How will this impact our economy?” “Will I lose my job?” “Will my business survive?” “When will I get to see my friends and my parents again?” These are all valid questions, and questions that we don’t yet have the answers to. Things are unknown, unfamiliar, and that fear of ‘not knowing’ allows our minds to easily wonder into dark places. Then, we inundate ourselves with negative social media and news that only furthers our anxiety. At some point, we become paralyzed with fear and curl into a fetal position. Trust me, I’ve been there! As a small business owner and someone who is tackling this pandemic during her 3 rd trimester of pregnancy, I’ve felt ALL the feels! I’ve really had to do some work on myself to help with my anxiety and stress levels so that I can continue to be there for my son and my husband, so that I can show up as a leader for my team, and so that I can show up and support my patients during this time. So, I wanted to share the things that I have been doing to allow myself to become better and show up every day for the people that I care most about.

1) Start my day with gratitude. Since the beginning of the year, I have used Rachel Hollis’s “start today” journal where I begin each and every day writing down the 5 things that I am grateful for. This can be simple things like a good night’s sleep, the coffee that you are sipping on, your child’s contagious laugh, or even the roof over your head. When you are able to start the day with gratitude, it truly reminds you of all the things that we are so blessed to have. By concentrating on these things every morning, we begin to notice all the small things that we take for granted, and become grateful for them. This allows us to start our day with a positive mindset, and takes us out of fear.

2) Limit access to Social Media and the News. We have to remind ourselves that the news is a business, and they are going to report on things that sell. They will not run a segment on how beautiful the weather has been, but they WILL run 24 hour coverage on the hurricane that is coming. In this instance, the news will report on the deaths that have happened due to COVID- 19, rather than focusing on the hundreds of thousands of people who have recovered. These news channels are smart, and run a successful business. They know exactly what to say to feed into our fear and anxiety so that we tune in. Be informed on the current status of the virus and the economic status of our country, but limit the amount of time that you spend filling your brain with negative information.

3) Be in action. Whether this is to organize the closet that you’ve been wanting to do for 10 years, or to write a blog post for your business (see what I’m doing here?), be in action. When we are constantly taking action, we are able to accomplish things that are IN OUR CONTROL. In a time that feels like things are so uncertain and so out of our control, taking action allows us to control various aspects of our life. When we feel like we are in control of our life, we walk away feeling accomplished, more productive, and more motivated to keep moving forward.

4) Remind ourselves that this is temporary. Like all things, this too shall pass. When it does, plan a celebratory event where you are able to see all your friends and family! Plan a nice dinner out with your work team! Celebrate that we WILL get through this together!

5) Get adjusted! Chiropractic adjustments reset the nervous system and take us out of the “fight or flight” stress mode, by activating the parasympathetic or “rest, digest, and relaxation” part of our nervous system. Adjustments keep our nervous system functioning properly, keep us healthy, and help to reduce our stress response so that we are better able to live life, and show up every day for the people that mean the most to us!

What Kind of Milk Should I be Drinking?

Whole milk, 2%, Almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, cashew milk, oat milk, hemp milk, or a combination of all of these? 

As far as variety and options go, we’re living in a time when we have a million different choices to make every time we go to the grocery store. Many people are prioritizing their health and stores have risen up to the challenge and provided us with endless brands and types of milks. This is so evident when you go to the milk section and almost have to spend as much time reading labels as you do watching your favorite show or taking a leisurely walk in the park. It can be time consuming! 

What are some key things you should be looking for when you navigate the milk section/ plant based milk section of the grocery store? Are these milks really healthy? Or did some companies just jump on the health food craze and provide a product that appears to be the healthier option but has ingredients in it that you can’t recognize that may be harmful to you? Let’s break it down into simple things to look for on the nutrition label so that you can navigate what milk options are best for your family. 

Whether you are choosing a traditional milk or a plant based milk, here are a few things to look for and avoid: 

Carrageenan: this is an inflammatory additive that should be avoided. 

Natural flavors: there is nothing natural about these! Companies are allowed to hide all sorts of ingredients under this label. Until they are told to be specific about their ingredients, it is best to avoid anything with “natural flavors” in the ingredients list. 

Soy: Many varieties of soy are GMO and can be very inflammatory. Unless the soy is organic, leave it on the shelf! 

Sugar: pay attention to the sugar content of some plant based milks. Sometimes the “original and “vanilla” flavored milks have sugar added. Usually these same brands will have an “unsweetened” version right next to them, grab that instead! 

Conventional cow’s milk: If you’re buying milk from a cow, an additional step is needed to figure out the ingredients. When the ingredients label says “milk” you really have to dig a little deeper and think about everything that cow has eaten, because those things are also in the milk! Look for cow’s milk that is organic, grass fed, and hormone free. Traditionally processed cow’s milk comes from cows that are fed tons of antibiotics, hormones, corn wheat, and soy. If you have any allergies to these products, consider that your milk may contain these things as well, and search for cow’s milk that specifically mentions that the cows were not fed these things. (*note: if the label doesn’t mention that they avoid these things, they probably don’t!). With so many other healthy nutrient packed alternatives for cow’s milk, it is possible to avoid buying this all together. 

Want to skip the grocery store processed milks and make it from scratch in your own kitchen? It’s so easy! Here’s my favorite recipe to make at home: all you need is a blender and a nut-milk bag or fine strainer.

 

Homemade coconut milk: 

-Meat from one mature coconut + the coconut water or 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes

 -4-6 cups hot water

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 tbsp sweetener of choice (honey, dates, maple syrup, or coconut sugar)

-1 pinch of salt 

Instructions: Choose a mature (not young) coconut that has meat in it. These are the ones in the grocery store that have the husk removed already and are light brown on the outside. They are usually sold with a score around the outside to make them easier to crack open with a large knife or hammer. Dig out the meat, and place the meat and coconut water into the blender. (or you can substitute 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes) Add 4-6 cups of hot water and blend for a few minutes until the water has a nice white creamy consistency. (*tip, the hot water helps the fats from the coconut melt into the water for a creamier milk!) Once blended, pour the contents into a nut milk bag or fine strainer, and discard the pulp. Add 1 tsp vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp your choice of honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar to sweeten to taste and a pinch of salt and blend again for a few seconds. Refrigerate and enjoy! Lasts about 4-7 days in the fridge. 

Want to try another type of plant based milk like almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, or rice milk? Just substitute 1 cup of your alternative ingredient into the hot water, and follow the same instructions (soaking your almonds or cashews overnight before blending)! 

Making your own plant based coffee creamer? Just cut the water content in half, and add a few more tablespoons of a natural sugar, and a teaspoon more of vanilla. You can even spice it up with a teaspoon of cinnamon, or add cocoa powder… any variation you can think of to mix it up! 

 

Making your own plant based milks from scratch lets you avoid all of the questionable ingredients from the store that you may find in pre-packaged milks, while delivering you all of the amazing health benefits from the vitamins and minerals of the fresh ingredients that you are using! 

By just paying attention to a few key ingredients on the labels, we can bring our families health to a whole new level, easy as that! #gotmilk? 

How Do You Know if You’re Healthy?

How do you know if you’re healthy?

According to the WHO, the US ranks 27th in healthcare, far below most first world countries. Our country consumes more pharmaceutical drugs than any other country and yet is still incredibly sick. In the US alone, 1 in 2 people will be affected by cancer, and 48% of the population will develop heart disease throughout their lifetime. So, why does this happen?

Well, in my experience, our country has done a poor job actually understanding what true health is. And if we can’t define it properly, how would we even know where to begin taking appropriate action? When I talk to most patients in the office, they assume that they are healthy if they feel good, and that they are unhealthy if they are expressing symptoms.

However, I want to challenge this belief system. Most people assume that a fever is a bad thing (and take medication to lower it). However, in all reality, a fever is your body’s first line of defense against a foreign pathogen. When your immune system detects viruses/ bacteria, it will innately raise your internal body temperature to kill this foreign invader off. Talk about a healthy response of the body!

On the other hand, one of the first signs of a heart attack in 50% of cases, is the heart attack itself. Those people never felt any chest pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. But, were they healthy? Of course not.

These examples prove that we can’t just base our health on how we FEEL. Our definition of health has got to be based on how our body FUNCTIONS! As a chiropractor, I get excited about talking about FUNCTION since I work with system in the body that controls the FUNCTION of every single cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in the body- the nervous system. If our nervous system controls and coordinates every function in the body, and can function appropriately, we can achieve true health! We have got to change our definition of health. Let’s redefine it as health= 100% function.

Check out our wellness workshop to learn how to get your body to function appropriately, and truly BE healthy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u53LPMVLKkQ

Improve Communication With Your Teen – Part 2 By Travis McNulty, LMHC

5 Ways to Improve Communication and Create a Renewed Foundation in Your Relationship With Your Teen 5: Part 2

 

  • Lend a Listening Ear

 

Think about yourself. If someone isn’t a good listener, how likely are you to confide in them? Probably not very likely. Your teen needs to feel like you’ll listen to their questions or concerns respectfully and give them your undivided attention if you want them to come to you for anything. Try to just listen—no matter how hard it is to not jump in and give a lecture. Using psychology, if your teen knows that every time they’ve screwed up in the past (and trust me, they know), they come to you and they get that lecture or consequence (negative reinforcement), why would your highly intelligent young adult come to you in the future when they REALLY need your help and guidance? Answer: They won’t. I’ve seen teens and young adults in college go to extreme lengths to make sure their parents don’t find out about x, y, and z to avoid disapproval and punishment.

When it is time to respond to your teen, try to start with empathy. Repeat whatever they said to you back to them to show them that you’re hearing them and acknowledging their feelings. Then, carefully give advice or talk through how they can respond to whatever they’re talking to you about without judgment or negativity. Be receptive to if they’re listening but don’t get frustrated if they’re not. We want them to be able to figure out problems on their own using their own god given talents. If they’re not listening think of how you’re portraying yourself and what it was like when you were a teen. What would have made you more receptive to listening more to your parents?

 

  • The Two-Sentence Rule

 

I tell my parents to use the “Two-Sentence Rule.” Try and shorten “lecturing” to no longer than two sentences. If they’re not feeling heard or are wanting to figure out how to correct a problem they’re having on their own, this is about the length at which I see teenagers truly paying attention to what parents have to say. I see it every single day in my office where a parent goes off on a teen-perceived diatribe to their child only to get increasingly frustrated when their teen doesn’t elicit the response they’re looking for (if there is any response at all). The parent doesn’t feel listened to and the young adult regrets bringing it up in the first place creating more distance between the two. It’s my role to then help both individuals to learn how to effectively communicate with one another so that there is a mutual understanding of what the other person is saying. I know this is not easy as a parent and it will take a ton of practice but 90% of the problems I see in relationships between a teen and a parent is fixed with a small tweak in communication.

 

  • Take Emotions Out of the Equation

 

No matter how difficult this may be, especially if your teen has gotten themselves into trouble, do your absolute best to stay calm. Freaking out will do no one any good, and your teen probably won’t come back to you next time they’re in trouble.

Instead of immediately jumping into a protective parent mode, unless it’s an emergency that requires you to do so, stay calm, thank your teen for sharing with you and coming to you, and then respond accordingly. Sometimes this requires you to head to your happy place before responding, and that’s okay. As I said, parents are human too! If you blow up every now and then it’s okay but we don’t want this to be a common thing because of the aforementioned psychological impact of a teen opening up to a parent then receiving negative reinforcement.

  • Persistence is key!

Building a long-lasting, healthy relationship with your teen can be hard work, but it’s something that’s necessary. Make sure you’re both on the same page with your communication plan and do your best to be a role model. If you’re interested in guidance for your teen or consultation as a parent please reach out to the experts at our counseling center for help.

 

ABOUT Travis McNulty, LMHC, GAL

Travis McNulty is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of McNulty Counseling and Wellness whose office is located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, FL. Stressed out parents who have nowhere left to turn are his forte as he has worked with thousands of children/teens and their parents to improve communication while restoring loving and communicative relationships. He works with adolescents and young adults by implementing empirically supported cognitive behavioral therapy combined with humanistic psychology to promote balance in the lives of his clients from a holistic perspective. Providing parenting support, guiding communication changes, and collaborating with parents by answering some of the most difficult questions that they face leaves them feeling assured that they’re doing the best job possible as parents.

Travis and his team of expert clinicians are proud to work alongside Dr. Savy and her amazing team at Blossom Family Chiropractic to regularly provide insight on challenging topics related to positive holistic psychology. “Mothers and fathers are exposed to an extreme amount of mental and physical stress that over time throws our entire being out of alignment (pun intended). With all joking aside, this can lead to major negative implications in our health, our relationships, and our ability to care for others, which is why it is so important to seek help from the experts for your physical and mental health.” Call McNulty Counseling and Wellness today for a free consultation, 727-344-9867!

Improve Communication With Your Teen – Part 1 By Travis McNulty, LMHC

5 Ways to Improve Communication and Create a Renewed Foundation in Your Relationship with Your Teen – Part 1

It’s no secret that the relationship between a teen and their parents is complicated during high school and college years. In addition to raging hormones and wanting to test the boundaries, teens often stop communicating with their parents, because it’s not “cool” to talk to them about most things, or in general. If you’re going through this, you’re not alone. Almost all parents come across this problem. How you respond, though, will either make or break your relationship with your teen for years to come. By fostering a true connection with your teen through authentic communication, you’ll create a dialogue and dynamic where you and your teen see the other for who they truly are, drop the expectations and judgments and hear each other in a productive way. 

Authentically communicating with your teen may sound difficult, but the best things in life always take work. Fortunately, it isn’t impossible. Here are five simple ways that you can improve communication and create a positive foundation in your relationship with your teen for years to come. 

  1. Leave the Past in the Past

Dwelling on the past or things that have already happened won’t do you or your teen any good. In fact, it will strain a relationship and communication efforts if either of you brings up hurtful comments, actions or mistakes. It’s also a huge waste of both of your energy. Good introspection as a parent always begins with asking yourself, “By me saying or doing this, will this bring us closer together or further apart?”

Remember, you can’t take back whatever happened, so instead, give yourselves permission to let it go, wipe the slate clean, and move forward. It’s also important to make a commitment to operate only in a forward-facing or present state of mind. Trust us, we know this is difficult and not always realistic. Parents are humans too! If you’re struggling to let something go that constantly rears itself in a negative way when it comes to your relationship with your child, reach out to us for guidance.  The same goes for if you feel like they harbor resentment towards you for whatever reason. Holding on to resentment and not communicating is toxic for any relationship.

  1. Manage Expectations

Nothing hurts more than someone failing to meet our expectations, regardless of who they are. This is even truer when your teen may not rise to your expectations about how they behave, how they should perform in school and how they should communicate. Set yourself up for success by dropping any preconceived ideas of how your teen should behave/perform. By dropping these expectations and judgments, you’re more likely to respond to less-than-ideal situations calmly and you’ll open the door to having healthy communication with your teen. 

It’s important to note as parents, your roles shift drastically during the teenage years, especially for how much you should be involved as a motivator for your teen. Their drive for motivation to do well in school and extracurricular activities must come from themselves as much as it comes from parents or peers otherwise it becomes meaningless to them in the long haul.

If you’re constantly feeling like you have to nag your teen to do their homework, study for their test or prepare for their SAT/ACT, chances are they may have a deficit in their internal motivation. Know when to shift roles from being a director (like you were when they were younger) to a facilitator (someone who fosters their independence, autonomy, and self-motivation, in your teen). After all, they’ll be off to college soon and we want to empower your teen to not only be able to survive on their own, but to thrive! Ask them, “What expectations do you hold for yourself if mom and dad no longer had any for you?” A mix of self, friends, and family driving their motivation is both healthy and adaptive. If their answer is that their motivation is based solely on you, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional.

 

 

ABOUT Travis McNulty, LMHC, GAL

Travis McNulty is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and founder of McNulty Counseling and Wellness whose office is located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, FL. Stressed out parents who have nowhere left to turn are his forte as he has worked with thousands of children/teens and their parents to improve communication while restoring loving and communicative relationships. He works with adolescents and young adults by implementing empirically supported cognitive behavioral therapy combined with humanistic psychology to promote balance in the lives of his clients from a holistic perspective. Providing parenting support, guiding communication changes, and collaborating with parents by answering some of the most difficult questions that they face leaves them feeling assured that they’re doing the best job possible as parents.

Travis and his team of expert clinicians are proud to work alongside Dr. Savy and her amazing team at Blossom Family Chiropractic to regularly provide insight on challenging topics related to positive holistic psychology. “Mothers and fathers are exposed to an extreme amount of mental and physical stress that over time throws our entire being out of alignment (pun intended). With all joking aside, this can lead to major negative implications in our health, our relationships, and our ability to care for others, which is why it is so important to seek help from the experts for your physical and mental health.” Call McNulty Counseling and Wellness today for a free consultation, 727-344-9867!

Top 10 Mommy Must Have’s

Do you want to make your life so much easier as a new mom? Find out Dr. Savy’s top 10 must have’s. You can also check out her 10 videos of each item on our Facebook page.

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Top 10 Mommy Must Have’s:

  • Kiinde Bottle System: They are twist pouches that attach to most breast pumps and have a screw top that allows for easy, no leak storage. However, the best part is that this bottle system doesn’t require any clean-up afterwards! When you are ready to feed baby, just heat the pouch up and attach the nipple to the top of the pouch, and throw it away after you are done. I love a system that is effective and saves me from cleaning a bottle.
  • Ubbi Diaper Pail: The Ubbi is wonderful because it does not smell up the house with dirty diaper smells, and you can use regular trash bags (without having to order a specific kind to fit the container).
  • Easy Baby Wear: What new mom wants to wake up in the middle of the night and mess with a million snaps?!? If you can find PJ’s that have zippers or magnets (magnetic me), these will save you time and SLEEP!
  • Muslin Blankets: You can’t have enough of these! These are great for swaddling baby, burp cloths, a mat for tummy time, to cover the stroller on a sunny day, or to use as a light blanket to cover your sleepy baby.
  • A good nursing bra: Nordstrom’s has a wonderful collection of nursing bras to fit your new cup size. Nordstrom’s will also turn your current bra into a nursing bra for only $15.
  • Jammy Jams: When your baby is fussy and won’t calm down, turn on Jammy Jams. This is a free Pandora station that turns popular songs into classical music that is sure to soothe and entertain your newborn.
  • Rock N Play: The rock in play can act as your bassinet. It allows the baby sleep at an incline and has a vibrate option to help with colicky and fussy babies!
  • Spectra (S1) Breast Pump: The spectra is a gentle breast pump that doesn’t hurt your nipples, allows you to get more milk out at a lower setting, and is portable with a long lasting rechargeable battery!
  • My breast friend: This breastfeeding pillow will not only help position baby optimally for nursing, but is also ergonomically designed to help save mom’s back! This is definitely Chiropractor approved 🙂
  • The Solly Wrap: This is a light-weight wrap perfectly designed for baby wearing! The best part- you have 2 free hands to take care of things, mama! Enjoy having your baby on your chest and being productive at the same time!

What are the Benefits of Babywearing?

There are several benefits to babywearing:

👉🏻Happy Babies!
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours.

👉🏻Healthy Babies!
Premature babies and babies with special needs often enter the world with fragile nervous systems. When a baby rides in a sling attached to his mother, he is in tune with the rhythm of her breathing, the sound of her heartbeat, and the movements his mother makes—walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps him to regulate his own physical responses. Research has even shown that premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not.

👉🏻Confident Parents!
A large part of feeling confident as a parent is the ability to read our babies’ cues successfully. Holding our babies close allows us to become finely attuned to their movements, gestures, and facial expressions. Every time a baby is able to let us know that she is hungry, bored, or wet without having to cry, her trust in us is increased, her learning is enhanced, and our own confidence is reinforced. This cycle of positive interaction deepens the mutual attachment between parent.

👉🏻Comfort and Convenience!
With the help of a good carrier, you can take care of older children or do chores without frequent interruptions from an anxious or distressed infant—which helps to reduce sibling rivalry. Baby carriers are also wonderful to use with older babies and toddlers; you can save those arms and go where strollers can’t.

We love babywearing!!! 🙂

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9 Daily Self-Care Rituals For Your Nervous System

The nervous system is one of the most complex and important part of our body. It is the master control system of the body, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, which connects to all the organs. Since it is responsible for controlling the larger part of our vital functions (breathing, heartbeats, hunger, thirst, posture etc.) as well as for our emotions, it is important to strengthen it naturally to ensure a good quality of life.

“Everyday stressors” show up, well every day. Morning traffic, mounting to-do lists, and looming deadlines are all common occurrences that trigger our nervous system regularly. Stress like this may become so routine that it seems normal – but common does not equal to being normal! This internal strain can silently snowball, throwing you into the vicious stress-sleeplessness cycle, wearing on your physical health and mental well-being over time. Yes, stress is a part of life and some stress is healthy, but no, stress does not have to control your life.

We must recognize and positively manage our everyday stressors, so we can prepare to tackle larger, unexpected curveballs from life, helping us thrive as healthier and happier people.
We can reduce stress by learning how to cope with it in a healthy way, which starts with daily self-care. Many of us are so busy looking after others that we forget to take care of ourselves, but failure to put your own needs first can lead to mind and body “burnout,” which occurs when all of our energy has been invested in external factors, leaving us mental and physical exhausted. When we take care of ourselves, we can take better care of others.

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Sustain the wellness of your mind and body with these nine daily self-care rituals for your nervous system:

1. Get adjusted.
Chiropractic adjustments can positively impact your nervous system function. They correct mechanical stress on the spine (subluxations) that creates irritation and interference to the flow of information across the complex and sensitive nerve system. When each vertebrae is in a healthy position and allowed to move properly, there is no stress being placed on the nervous system, which allows for proper regulation, healing, and the flow of vital information from your brain to your body.

2. Get a good night’s sleep.
You cannot function optimally if you are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation lowers your resistance to illness and the ability to make decisions. Make it a priority each day and it will help increase your brain power, productivity, and resilience.

3. Eat well.
You have heard this before, but it’s true – You are what you eat. Avoid foods high in sugar, artificial flavors, and deep fried. Opt for calming foods like sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews, which contain magnesium to help keep cortisol levels low, and green tea, which reduces tension and makes beta waves. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with all the goodness and nutrition you need. Bee pollen is a superfood that equalizes the blood pH and nervous system function thanks to its B vitamins. Oatmeal is a nervous system stabilizer, as it calms irritable states and mild anxiety, relieves insomnia, and increases mental performance – it both relaxes and provides energy.

4. Breathe deeply.
When you’re stressed, you automatically start shallow breathing. Reset your stress levels with deep breathing by expanding and contracting your stomach and chest cavity – not by raising your shoulders or straining your neck. Deep breathes, in and out.

5. Embrace in “me time.”
The best way to change your psychology is to change your physiology. Pick an activity or hoppy for self-development, like exercising, meditation, connecting with friends, playing with your dog, reading a book, painting etc.

6. Look or Be outside.
Changing your perspective by changing your view can help. Step outside or find a window and for 60 seconds, watch clouds go by, look for birds, and see trees sway. Sometimes we forget how calming nature can be to our nervous system. In addition, sunlight is an excellent regulator for the nervous system and it also provides us with vitamin D.

7. Get physical.
Exercise produces “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. So, try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Go for a brisk walk around the block or do some light yoga moves when you feel tense and stressed.

8. Try creative visualizations.
Slow your breathing, close your eyes, and use all your senses to remember your last vacation or your favorite “happy place.” Hear it, see it, feel it, smell it, and taste it.

9. Harness the powers of natural medicine.
It’s important to recognize the interconnection between the mind and the body. Emotional symptoms, like those from stress, can actually lead to physical ailments. Natural stress relief products like essential oils and flower remedies are incredibly useful. Flower remedies are said to turn negative emotions such as fear, worry, or anger into their positive counterparts of courage, calm, and love – the focus is treating the person rather than the disease. Natural stress relief products can help keep you calm, cool, and collected throughout the day and put your repetitive thoughts to bed at night.

Business of the Month Highlight: Empowered Birth & Beginnings

 

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  1. What is Empowered Births & Beginnings?

Empowered Births and Beginnings exists to empower women and their partners through some of the most memorable times of their lives; the birth of their child and the postpartum period. With #reallife conversations, evidence-based education, and compassionate, non-biased support, I offer childbirth education and empowerment classes and 4th trimester (postpartum) doula services.

  1. What inspired you to create Empowered Births & Beginnings?

I knew when I took my own childbirth education class when pregnant with our first baby, that I was going to teach.  The empowerment I felt by learning what to expect, how to cope through my labor and how to include my partner fully in the process was what started it all.

Fast forward to after having two babies SUPER close together, and going through some pretty tough times as a new Mom during my 4th Trimester and beyond, I realized that there’s just too much noise out there in the world around #Momming – what to do, what not to do, judgement, fear, mompetition and I just got SUPER clear that what we as Moms need is help navigating through that noise and cutting out all the stuff that doesn’t resonate, and learning to trust our intuition in the process. Not an easy feat, but oh so important to our own sanity and peace of mind, and to that of our sweet families.  Hence, the addition of my 4th trimester doula services, and helping to co-create and lead the Normalizing the 4th Trimester Moms Groups that are about to start up at Breath of Life, next month (April 2nd).

  1. What is your vision/goal for women who go through your birth series?

My intention is that they leave with a greater sense of their strength, intuition and greatness leading up to their births so that they can face the unpredictable nature of labor and childbirth with power and confidence. In providing a well-rounded and evidence-based series, it is also my intention to help women and their partners to understand their options and to feel confident in conversations with their care providers leading up to their birth, encouraging informed choices and a collaborative and trusting relationship with their care providers. This is SO my heart.

  1. Can you explain some details of each birth class?

My classes are a combination of evidence based information, gentle exercises, conscious breathing, and #reallife conversations, these are classes for everyone, regardless of their birth preferences or facility.

Breath and Movement: Two Keys to an Empowered Labor and Birth

I kick off the series by teaching how important breath and movement are during labor. Moms and labor partners will learn practical techniques to foster awareness and presence in the body, to be used both during labor and those final weeks of pregnancy. We’ll also discuss easy to remember and helpful tips around nutrition, ensuring Mom and baby get what they need during pregnancy.

The Letting Go of Labor: Stages and Phases and Labor Support Techniques

I love this class – we focus on what’s happening during Stage 1 labor: early, active and transition. We talk about physical and emotional signs so that Moms and Dads can understand what’s happening and how to identify how Mom is moving through the phases of Stage 1 labor. Moms will learn some more movement techniques and Dads (or labor partners) will do an exercise to understand how to support Moms during labor.

Practice for Labor: Labor Positions and a Labor Rehearsal

Moms and labor partners will learn different comfort measures, tools for labor, and multiple positions to help bring their baby into the world. Upon completing this class, Moms and Dads (labor partners) will have “rehearsed” a labor experience, giving them both confidence in their abilities and memories and tools to draw upon for when they go into labor.

Pushing, Placentas and Making Informed Choices 

One of the most impactful classes in the series, in this class we cover what expecting parents need to know about natural, non-medical ways to encourage labor to begin or progress and a review of common medical interventions. We will cover what their options are and what questions to ask their care provider in order to help them make informed and empowered choices. We also focus on Stage 2 labor and how to push that beautiful baby earthside and what to know about Stage 3 Labor, birthing the placenta.

Preparing for Baby: The First Hour, The First Few Weeks

Moms and Dads will learn what to expect in the first hour of their baby arriving earthside, including what are common procedures in various birth settings, and what they need to know to ensure those first few moments are within their expectations and as sacred as possible.

They’ll be prepared for the first few weeks by learning the basics of baby care and an intro to breastfeeding, with many additional resources given for support. We also discuss things they can do now to create a powerful beginning to their “4th Trimester” so that it is as peaceful as possible for them and their new baby.

 

The next Empowered Birth Series starts Thursday, May 3rd at Thank You Mama.

For more information, go to @EmpoweredBirthandBeginnings on Facebook!

Dawn Herring

Empowered Births & Beginnings

Childbirth Education & Postpartum Doula Services

empoweredbirthseries@gmail.com

727-415-0800

Healthy Habits for a Busy Mom Life

busymom

Mom life is incredible, amazing, and filled with so much love! It’s wonderful to see your little ones grow up to be happy, healthy and enjoying life! That’s what we all want for our kiddos, right?

Exhaustion from long days and lack of sleep, and stress from looming deadlines at work and life in general can come along with the many wonderful experiences of being a Mom!

Remind yourself that it is okay to slow down, and not feel bad for having to step back to take care of yourself, even if it just for a few minutes.

The key to living healthy while having a family is to keep it simple, not overcomplicate or overthink things.

And most importantly, know that taking care of yourself is not selfish. Think of it as if you don’t make the time to care for yourself, you are actually doing a disservice to your family who needs you to be there for them. If you don’t have energy, feel cranky, or just completely burnt out, you will be useless to anyone.

Taking care of ourselves does not have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as SIMPLE as this….

1. Hydrating first thing in the morning is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health.

Drink 1 glass of filtered water, followed by a cup of warm water with fresh lemon before breakfast. This will hydrate you, help your body flush out toxins (did you know toxins are stored as fat?), fire up your metabolism, help alleviate heartburn and indigestion, and keep your skin clear. The lemon is great for its Vitamin C and helps with digestion.

2. Keep 5 simple recipes on your kitchen counter always.

Doing this will save you from downing a bag of chips or ordering takeout when you are starving and tired come to dinnertime. These recipes should be simple enough that you can whip them up in about 15-20 minutes with your eyes closed, and contain ingredients that you usually keep on hand.

Quinoa with roasted vegetables.
Vegetable soup
Vegetable stir fry
Curry Vegetable dish
Baked Fish with roasted vegetables
Stuffed mushrooms or zucchini
Lettuce Taco wraps

3. When you cook, batch cook.

You don’t have to cook every night to eat well and stay healthy. However, when you cook, always make extra. It doesn’t take any more time to make 2 cups of quinoa instead of 1 or to roast extra vegetables. Cooking ahead will set you up with healthy lunch or dinner options for the next day or two.

4. Make time for yourself.

Only you can make the time to take care of yourself. I recommend putting time on your calendar and honoring this time by not cancelling on yourself! Taking time out to rejuvenate is sometimes all we need to feel energized, and can allow you to gain a new perspective on things.

Take a bath or steamy shower, enjoy a walk around the block, stretch your body, sit in a comfy chair and practice deep breathing, or read a book for a few minutes… whatever you would like!

5. Indulge in key supplements.

Our body runs on required vitamins and nutrients, and our digestive system runs on required “good bacteria” to function properly. Take a high-quality soil-based organism probiotic, and a Vitamin D3 supplement. Our gut houses 70% of our immune system, and good digestion is crucial for overall health, so therefore a healthy digestive system is key to good health. Vitamin D3 plays a role in fighting disease, supports the immune system, brain, and whole nervous system, reduces depression, maintains the health of bones and teeth, improves lung function and cardiovascular health, and reduces the risk of diabetes.