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12 Tips for Holiday Self-Care: Mourning During the Holidays.

 

**A throwback post I have previously written for another blog over a year ago. Originally written 11/17/2016**

Personal Testimony:

This will be the fourth holiday season without my mom. This is the fourth year I prepare the food she taught me how to cook. The fourth time I wish I could call her for some tips because I still feel like I am “mixing it wrong”. Even though it always turns out just like hers or very close to it. I miss her and it makes it very hard to enjoy the holidays without her. At times, I get sad and angry. Or I may feel nothing. Within all the memories, the good is mixed in with the bad. Good holiday moments and bad holiday moments. I won’t mention all the memories but dealing with them hasn’t been easy this year.

Since my last mental health-related post (here), I have been newly diagnosed with PTSD and recurring depression while getting treatment after having a panic attack and injuring myself. The day that it happened was July 24, 2016. That day would have been my mother’s 70th birthday. I thought I was okay most of the day. I didn’t cry or feel sad.

I don’t recall even thinking about her a whole lot either. But that day, a family member posted on Facebook a picture of her at her old job, wearing a very familiar wig and a pair of glasses, and she was smiling her beautiful smile that I miss so much. Unfortunately, seeing the picture lit the fuse to a lot of negative emotions that were piled high like sticks of dynamite. Without going into too much detail, I lost it. I was throwing dishes and I injured myself on my wrist. I spent the night in the emergency room and voluntarily spent just under a week at a local psychiatric crisis facility.

I don’t want myself or anyone else to go through what I went through. I want to help ease the angst the holidays can bring to those still in mourning. I’m not a professional counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist, but I do believe in bearing one another’s burdens for the sake of making them a little lighter.

 

The Holidays Without Them

Holiday Milestones:

Ever since my mother’s passing, the months of February, July, November, and December have been tough. February is my birth month. July is her birth month and the same month she passed, 4 days after her 66th birthday to be exact. November and December are, of course, the holiday months’ families get together.

Empty Seat

For you, it may just be the holiday season, but whatever time of the year it is, it’s okay to acknowledge that they aren’t here anymore and that you miss them. It’s okay to cry or not cry. It’s okay to want to skip the holidays with family, but try not to. My next point will explain why.

All Too Familiar Faces, Sights, & Sounds = Triggers!

It’s hard to see and hear from family members who will remind you of your lost loved one in some way. They may speak of them because they miss them too. You may remind them of the one who is gone because you could have been raised by them, look like them, talk like them, etc. You may have a family member or two that look like your loved one, sound like them, etc.

In my case, my aunts and uncles may do or say something that will remind me of her. One of my aunt’s voice sounds just like her, except she speaks a little slower. Also, the older I get, the more I begin to look like my mother. My young son also looks a lot like her too.

Set Table

Then, there are the family members that will remind you of what was wrong with the loved ones that are gone or what went wrong while your loved one was alive. Those are very hurtful and draining moments. Whether they’re truthful comments or not, we aren’t obligated to deal with any of it.

There is also the music, there are shows, and movies that were their favorite and they heavily remind you of them. You hear their voice, their laughter, you see their smile, and you want it all back.

Holiday Milestone Plan of Action:

I’ve concluded that every milestone after my mother’s passing shouldn’t be ignored anymore. No more pretending I’m fine. Even when I don’t feel sad, I should still do a little extra to make sure I am still intact mentally and physically. The very thought of a lost loved one is a trigger.

Black and white candles

It’s important to find or create ways to continue mourning in a healthy way because the stages of grief have no special order, no expiration date, and they may reappear. I understand that every person is different in how we deal with missing someone, but I would like to share 12 different ways that we can make sure we remain whole during this holiday season and the others to come. I believe that the piled sticks of dynamite can be diffused days or weeks before the holidays come around.

**Just to let you know, I may mention some spiritual/religious things. Please know that I am not trying to offend or force anything on anyone. They are just some ideas and I will be exercising with you and will try to share the results on my blog.**

Related Post: My Holiday Self-Care in Memoriam Journal.

12 Tips for Holiday Self-Care in Memoriam:

  1. Make sure your basic needs are being met. Your basic needs are non-negotiable. Do not skip meals and water, bathing, sleep, and trips to the bathroom during this time or at all. Making sure you are well-fed, rested, clean, and refreshed will help to keep up your resilience during some of the most draining moments of the year. So, even if you are the holiday host this year, don’t neglect yourself for anyone. Have a shower or soak in the tub while the turkey is roasting. Ask someone to come over to help you cook or have them bring something already made.
  2. Journal your good memories of your loved one. Decorate the journal and make special doodles in it that relate to him or her. Make that one specifically for the holidays and keep it in a private place for the next milestone.
  3. Keep a box of tissues near for when you feel like crying. An empty room and a thick pillow are awesome for when you feel like screaming.
  4. If you are lacking emotions but still want to keep yourself whole, do something that day that will make you feel good. Take the day off work or do a half-day, go to a movie, have a snowball fight, jumping on trampolines, visit an old friend, look for free or darn-near-free stuff to do on Groupon, etc.
  5. Write down all the movies, shows, and songs you’ve enjoyed together. Make a playlist, Netflix list, or Redbox Rental list and plan to listen or watch them this year. If you don’t remember what they liked, pick something you think they would.
  6. Write a letter to them or to God about how much you miss them. Pour your heart out about the good and the bad about them. Say what you’ve always wanted to say. Update them on what’s been going on since they’ve left. Write a letter of forgiveness, if needed. Some of the loved ones we miss have hurt us and it’s time to work on letting it go.
  7. When the words escape you, look up bible verses or in memoriam quotes about mourning, sadness, family, and forgiveness. Then write them down in your journal.
  8. Wear their favorite color during the milestones. My mom’s favorite color was blue.
  9. Avoid storing those clapbacks in your mind. The bag of clapbacks can be heavy during a sensitive time. When the family gets disrespectful, attempt to drain your energy, and try to bring up the past about your lost loved one, either walk away, walk completely out, or shut it down and let them know that they are being rude and it’s not the time or place to bring up some mess. Then, say nothing else to them about it.
  10. Briefly share good memories about your lost loved one to your children, friends, or partners who may not have met them or have known them well. Share photos and share advice they used to give to you with others.
  11. Attempt to talk about how you feel (or don’t feel) with a licensed counselor. They are skilled professionals who may be able to give you tips on how to cope in a healthy way during the holidays.
  12. Start a new holiday tradition in their honor. It can be anything. It can be a combination of any of these tips. Try attending a play or an orchestra concert wearing their favorite color and afterward eat some of their favorite snacks. Or visit their gravesite and leave flowers in their favorite color or a color that represents how they left. For example, my mother passed of a cardiac arrest. Therefore, I would wear red or leave red flowers and ribbons for women’s heart health.

There is no wrong way to take care of yourself and there’s no wrong way to mourn if you are not harming yourself and others. And no matter you much you miss them and want them back or to be in heaven where they are, it’s imperative that you are safe and healthy while still on this earth.

Your existence is important. I’m telling you what I have told myself and I wouldn’t tell you if I didn’t believe it and practice it.

I had an awesome mother. I miss her so much and because I miss her, the importance of my self-care is even higher. I know that she wouldn’t want me to neglect myself. Self-neglect isn’t an option because self-neglect is the loss of oneself. Except, the body is still present. Especially, when I have my husband, my son, my family, and friends who love me. I wouldn’t want to force them to mourn my loss whether I am alive or with the Lord.

Please let me know what self-care tips you have for the holidays. How do you celebrate the life that was once here?

This post was written in memory of

Juanita Chalmers.

(July 24, 1946 – July 28, 2012)

Mommy and Me Collage
Mommy & Me (CoilySue86, now Ebony Glass Co.)

Ebony/ CoilySue86

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It's Never Too Late to Live: Self-Care Saturday.

 

First, I would like to say, Happy New Year!

It’s been over a month since the last self-care Saturday post and I thought that I would get this one out to you just in time for the new year. The new year is the moment in our mental calendar that signals a fresh start and possibilities for better things. Yet, every moment is a brand new piece of time that we can start anew.

Every moment that we are alive and have air in our lungs, there is a new moment of hope. Every day is filled with new grace and mercies. Every day we have just enough strength and resources to stay alive and get certain things done. Every single day.

its-never-too-late-to-live-life

With that in mind, we can count on the fact that it’s never too late for anything we need or want to do in life.

Affirmations to Live By:

  • It’s never too late to start that blog, business, investment.
  • It’s never too late to start a family, friendship, relationship.
  • It’s never too late to get to know myself, my spouse, my children.
  • It’s never too late to know God and my spiritual self.
  • It’s never too late to start speaking up and being an advocate for myself and others.
  • It’s never too late to take care of myself and every aspect of myself.

Just because you feel like time has been wasted that doesn’t mean more time has to slip away. You are still here and everything about you matters. Although, society does praise our youth for accomplishing so much in so little time. However, that’s not us.Never Too Late To Live.jpg

All those self-care basics I wrote about, it’s not too late for those either. You could be going on 60 years old; thinking that “It’s a shame! I shoulda been doing this. It’s too late now…” and I would tell you that you couldn’t be any more wrong. To think “It’s too late” are words that self-defeat. They bring you down before you can even get started or make it to completion. They show that you are comparing yourself to someone who is younger and doing what you’ve always wanted to do and need to do.

Even when it seems scary, it’s not impossible. Just because the wall seems too big to climb, that doesn’t mean there’s no way to get over it or around it.

Speak those affirmations to yourself in areas where you see fit. Then, find ways to make it happen, even if you have to create the opportunity yourself. Don’t focus on how long it might take because we can’t rush progress.

Wonderful Examples:

There is an 88-year-old woman by the name of Ernestine Shepherd who started bodybuilding “late” in her mid 50’s. There’s another woman by the name of Ida Keeling who set a world record at the Penn Relay and she is 100 years old. Mother Cicely Tyson, even though she started her career young, she is still acting at the age of 92 years well-aged. These three women, among many others, remind me that it’s never too late. I can be great like them. I will be great like them. And so will you.

In what areas do you feel that it may be “too late” to try and do?

Are you young like me, but feel too old to succeed?

Do you feel like there are just too many obstacles in your way? What do you do about that?

 

Thanks for visiting!

Ebony/ CoilySue86

How to Increase Your Joy with These 7 Self Care Tips.

This is my first Self Care Saturday post. Yay!

I know that happiness is fleeting, but joy is internal. For the past three months, I’ve been doing what I can to practice self-care since my panic attack back in July 2016. My moments of unhappiness and depression outweighed my joyful moments. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, but I truly lacked joy. I needed to take the necessary steps to increase my joy.

Since then, I’ve learned that all the missed opportunities to take care of myself, all the moments that I spoke ill of myself and to myself, all the moments I didn’t allow myself to mourn properly all added up to a complete meltdown. It was decades of built-up pressure.

So, no more of that crap! NO. MORE.

Related Post: 12 Tips for Holiday Self-Care in Memoriam: The Holidays, Mourning, & Self-Care.

Since this is the first post I thought I would post things that should never be skipped. The tips mentioned are basic and non-negotiable human needs. To meet them is to recognize yourself which is the first step to increasing your joy. If they are not, no need to kick your own butt about it. Just try your best the next day or the next weekend. The ultimate goal is to increase your peace and joy.

*~*Note: Some of these habits that I will write about now and in the future may seem way too simple to most. So simple that it is possible that these should have been a part of my home training growing up. Some were a part of my home training but my self-care deteriorated along with my esteem. Some habits were learned in my late teens and/or I am discovering now.

So, since this is a harsh judgment a.k.a snark-free zone and we weren’t all raised the same or share the same life experiences, I would hope that you all keep the comments kind, constructive, and nourishing. If that is way too difficult, keep the comments nonexistent. Mkay? Mkay.*~*

7 Basic Non-Negotiable Self-Care Tips. – EbonyGlassCo.com


Before we begin, click here to get your free 14-page journal; 3 Steps to Heal Yourself Journal.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR JOY WITH THESE 7 SELF CARE METHODS.

I know this is called Self-Care Saturday, but I wanted to go over what can be done daily to preserve yourself. If done daily your self-care Saturday won’t seem so overwhelming or daunting to tackle.

1. Bathe at Least Once a Day. A task so simple for most may be difficult for someone who has lost themselves. A part of getting back to yourself is keeping your body clean. This is important to avoid not only smelling but avoid yeast/ fungal infections on the creases and folds of the body. It’s also important to keep the skin clean and wash away body oil build-up that causes acne.

You can create a happy and joyful moment just by bathing. It’s refreshing to the skin and to the body to feel the warm water and the massaging your entire body with a bar of soap, a loofah, washcloth, or just your hands and your favorite soap or body wash.
So, whether it’s in the shower, the bathtub, or a birdbath at the sink. Wash your body.
I recommend trying some of my favorite eco-friendly soaps, body washes, and body scrubs.
My current favorite body wash:

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Bath At Least Once a Day With Your Favorite Body Wash!

2. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day. Brushing your teeth keeps your teeth clean, white or off-white, reduces gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems. Also, if your teeth aren’t healthy, you may have difficulty eating and drinking. Which in turn depletes your energy and stamina.

3. Eat at Least Three Meals. Skipping meals, unless you’re fasting, is bad on the body. It throws off your endocrine system. Your endocrine system is “…the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.” – Live Science

There’s also joy in eating. People like to say that we eat to live and not live to eat, but I think we have a tongue that tastes for a reason. It’s possible to enjoy eating healthy and tasty meals at the same time.

Consider subscribing to these meal plans or services to help you eat well when you don’t know what else to do.
Grocery Delivery:
Instacart
Walmart Grocery
Amazon Prime Now

Thrive Market
Hello Fresh
Takeout/ Delivery:
DoorDash

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com
Eat at Least Three Meals. 7 Effective Non-Negotiable Self-Care Tips! Self-Care 101.

Neglecting your hunger will exacerbate mental and physical illnesses because it will inhibit any healing that is to take place during any moments of self-care. So, when you are trying to work out or go for a walk, you may burn out quicker than you would if you had a healthy meal or snack beforehand. It will also disturb sleep. If you are a menstruating woman, it will make your periods and ovulation irregular.

So, attempt to eat more wholesome foods. Food that has ingredients you can read or are very simple to make at home. Even when you don’t feel like eating, at least drink a smoothie or eat a protein and fiber-rich snack.

*Note: Beware of what you eat. Avoid your allergens. If you are unsure of what you may be allergic to, pay attention to how you feel mentally and physically for a from about 15 minutes to as much as a few days after eating fast food, nuts, dairy, eggs, candy, cakes, and pies. Certain foods may become toxic to your brain and may not show symptoms in the body. Or you may be accustomed to these symptoms and not realize that they are not good for you.

Related post: 3 Steps to Begin Healing Your Whole Self Instantly!

4. Drink Water/ Healthy Liquids at Least 3 Times a Day. Water or water-rich fruits and vegetables will prevent symptoms of dehydration. These symptoms can exacerbate mental illness, sadness, confusion, and feelings of hopelessness. Hopelessness and joy do not mix. For me, I get a lot of headaches when I don’t get enough water in my body. Most of which seem to be tension headaches.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com
Drinking water is a part of self-care.

Attempt to drink 8 oz of water or tea every other hour to start and you would have drunk 56 oz in 12 hours. Or if you drink 8 oz every hour you would have drunk 96 oz in 12 hours.

5. Sleep/ Naps. I don’t know about you, but when I lose sleep I.Am.Not.Okay. If I am woken up suddenly, my heart races, my stomach gets upset, and I’ll have a full-blown attitude that may last until I go back to bed. Lack of sleep can make us more emotional, confused, and short-tempered. It can also raise blood pressure and increase your chances of heart disease.

Related Post: The WAHM’s Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. 8 Tips to Get the Rest You Deserve.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
Avoid Sleep Deprivation.

I use this site here to help me determine how many sleep cycles I can get in whatever time I have to sleep.

6. Laugh and Smile. I’m just going to put this plainly. Go to YouTube and find some funny fails, funny cats, or watch videos by Kev On Stage or AphricanAce. I promise you will feel just a little bit better.

You can also call one of your funniest friends, play with your children, and just get downright silly with them. Go see a comedy film or play at the theater.

There are no lies when it is said that laughter is the best medicine. It releases endorphins, reduces stress, eases anxiety, and tension.

7. Pray & Meditate. To recognize that you are a spiritual being with spiritual needs is a step toward healing and taking care of yourself. I say this because our spirit, mind, and body are all connected. When one is off, the others can be affected and will begin a cycle of pain and doubt.

The prayer and meditation I speak of are to go to a quiet space and talk to God and meditate on what His word has to say about joy and about your circumstances. Without even opening your mouth, you can communicate with Him. Sometimes, the words don’t come to us or we become silent in our speech. But He can hear us anyway when we talk to Him in our mind. And we can hear Him and read His instructions and love letters to us.

Repeat to yourself the truths He mentions about how much He cares for us when we feel anxious (1 Peter 5:57). It will help soothe our wounds and repel harmful chatter in our minds. It will also condition us to hear Him more loudly and frequently.
Also, search out verses that speak about joy.

Did I forget any self-care basics? Which ones stood out to you? How to you increase and maintain joy in your life?

I hope to post self-care tips, ideas, moments, etc at least twice a month. So, follow my blog to stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!

Ebony/ CoilySue86

Sources:

Endocrine System:

http://www.livescience.com/26496-endocrine-system.html

Dehydration:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults#1-3

http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/6-conditions-that-feel-like-depression-but-arent/

http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education3/21-water-and-depression-stress-anxiety.htm

Laughter:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

Sleep:

https://sleep.org/articles/how-long-to-nap/

My Holiday Self-Care in Memoriam Journal.

abstract black and white blur book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This past week, I was contributing guest on *The Spoken Black Girl blog. I spoke about the holidays, mourning, and self-care. I mentioned that I would exercise some of the ideas I shared in that post. Below is my first journal entry for the holiday season. I won’t be posting a daily entry, but I will post as often as necessary to as apart of keeping myself whole while still in mourning during the holidays.

Pinterest Graphic 3 Heal Direct link

So, I did a few things for myself this Thanksgiving.

 

November 25, 2016

Yesterday was the fourth Thanksgiving without my mom. I thought about her and the rest of my living family; the family I should have called but I didn’t. I didn’t want them to ask me how I am doing or how things are going. I feel more obligated to tell them the truth than I do when my in-laws ask me. I’m not sure why, but even though we don’t speak much, I think they know a little better to know that my okay doesn’t mean I’m really okay.

Anyways…

My basics were met. I showered, brushed my teeth, ate breakfast, and took in a few cups of water. I took notice of how my body felt, noticed back pain, and took pain relievers so that I can enjoy the rest of my day. I took my twists out and rocked a mean twist-out. I wore eyeliner and winged the corners. I wore red wine-colored lipstick. I looked good and felt good.

I wrote about my mom in my journal before I went to eat with my in-laws. I asked God to tell her that I miss her and I love her. I told God how I felt about yesterday. How I am glad she is with Him and not sick anymore. She may not be here anymore, but there’s no more suffering where she is now.

I kept my portions small, but I still ate, drank, laughed, and engaged with my family. I enjoyed my time with them, but my Thanksgiving wasn’t what I hoped it would be.

I wasn’t able to cook the way I wanted to this year. The finances didn’t allow it. That bummed me out a lot. However, it’s not like any family would have come over to help us eat it. Whether it be blood or in-law, the family don’t visit and stay. Sometimes I get sad about that. Especially, when folks know where I live, I haven’t moved in over four years, and I tell them that they are always welcome. However, I don’t want anyone in my home who doesn’t want to be here. I need only peaceful energy in my home. I don’t care what holiday it is.

I took another shower, used my homemade lavender body scrub and butter. Doing that made me feel really pampered and my skin felt so soft. I then made it to bed before 11 pm. Showering and going to bed before midnight made a world of difference for my mood last night and today. I don’t feel as tense.

I think that taking a little extra care yesterday made Thanksgiving just a little more bearable this year. I am thankful for opportunities for family, food, and opportunities for self-care.

Thanks for reading!

Ebony/ CoilySue86

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