5 Tips for Coping with Holiday Grief and Stress

Already the Hallmark Channel is playing it’s marathon of Christmas movies. They are nostalgic, sweet stories. It’s an easy escape and some of the plot lines are a little cliche but after a difficult work day it can really help me decompress.

While there are certainly characters with problems during the holiday season, Christmas is presented in a positive, peaceful, magical light. However, I was reminded recently that this season is often times difficult for some families. I’ll be the first to admit it can be an overwhelming, stressful time for me between work, children, family functions, social functions, financial strain and gift planning. It can be a reminder of a person you loved and lost, a death or bring out conflict in some families. So how do you manage grief and stress during the holidays? Here are a few tips to help you along.

1. Slow down: prioritize your social functions, take time to breath and remind yourself of what it’s about. It’s about God sending his Son to the world and reconciling our relationship, it’s about peace, it’s about time with your loved ones.
2. Set your limits financially : make a budget, say no to functions if there are too many on your schedule, don’t over-extend yourself financially.
3. Find supporters that you can talk about your feelings with; friends, spouse, a counselor.
4. Give yourself permission to have feelings, both the ups and the downs.
5. Create reminders of the hope that is in you around the house, such as a nativity scene, and advent calendar, symbols that mean peace to you.

These are just a few tips on managing holiday related stress and grief.

What helps you manage stress and grief during the holiday season? Leave a comment below and join the conversations!

How Do Parents Refocus and Unwind?

We all hear about self-care. As moms, therapists, and people going through the hustle of every day life. I have found myself thinking about it a lot lately, and I know that when I miss things, like going to church or socializing with other adults I notice I am not as focused as I usually am when  faced with some of the daily challenges of being a parent (meltdowns, fussy babies, you know the real fun stuff).

So, What is it that you do to refocus and unwind?

Answer in the Comments below, and get the self-care conversation going.  Thank you!

6 Steps to Practicing Self Care

girl homeworkMediumHere lately the practice of self care has been on my mind and a focus for me. It’s been especially important recently with a newborn, a 5 year old, a career, and a husband in school. My life is pretty crazy and I can easily get frazzled and worn out if I let it.

To be honest there are days where I struggle to balance my own needs with the needs of others in my life, especially when it involves my kids and my clients. Self care is talked about frequently between myself and my colleagues, and there are even whole professional workshops on it!  The following are things that I do to helps me to practice self care and I hope it will give you some encouragement to take care of yourself as well.

1. Journal.

I was struggling to find time to journal so I downloaded a free journaling app on m iPad which helps me since I’m usually using my iPad anyway (especially when nursing my daughter). Journaling helps me to process my day, what I’m feeling, and areas I struggle with. I use “My Wonderful Days lite.”

2. Read a day to day devotional.

I love in depth, deep devotionals I can dive into, but I don’t always have the time to spend on them so I use a day to day devotional for times where I’m needing to spend prayer/devotional time but I don’t have a lot of time by myself.

3. Ask for help when I need it.

This one is especially difficult for me because I’m an independent person and I’m so used to helping others and doing things myself. But I find that delegating and knowing my limits help ease the pressure.

4. Seek out social interaction.

Social media is great and there are many ways to connect with people via Facebook, twitter, google+ or the social media platform of your choice. However, they cannot replace face to face interaction with people in real life. This can be through church, professional associations, or just calling up a friend to chat and meet for lunch.

5. Set realistic goals for yourself.

When I get overwhelmed I tend to want everything done right now! (Like, I need to clean my house!). but I find when I break it down into smaller steps (My goal today is to finish the dishes) I feel much more accomplished and can focus on one thing at a time.

6. Take time to sit down and unwind, even if it’s only 5 minutes.

I find after a long day of seeing clients, or even days I’m home with my children that taking time to wind down by sitting in my favorite chair, drinking a glass of water or herbal tea (my favorite is tranquil dreams from Teavana) it helps me to sleep better and get re-focused.

These are just a few ways I practice self care in my life. If you have your own tips, please join the conversation and leave a comment below. Let’s support each other on our journey of self care.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

10 Things to Make Your New Year Stress Free

I don’t know about you, but for me the end of a year and the beginning of a new one always has a feeling of relief for me. I love the idea of a new, fresh start and starting over. The past year for me has been full of ups and downs, and a lot of personal stress. But at the same time, there are many blessings in my life. If I look back this year, I can see where God has really come through for me and my family. I love the hope that a new year brings. I believe that this year will be better than last year, and that God will continue to teach me how to trust Him in my life.

Here are 10 things that I am going to do this year to make life more stress free take these ideas and also add your own in the comments:

1. Say no to at least one project a week.

2. Reduce the amount of caffeine and sugar I consume.

3. Plan at least one date night a month with my husband.

4. Plan more time with my girlfriends.

5. Schedule in at least one morning a week for writing and business planning.

6. Pay down debt.

7. Say what I am thankful for everyday because God supplies all me needs and provides for me every day.

8. Read more for pleasure.

9. Read a good Bible study or join a Bible study group.

10. Give up trying to plan every little detail of my life and allow God to work things out.

 

Verses that Spoke to Me this Week:

 Isa 43:16, 18-19

This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Proverbs 3:5-6 

The Message (MSG)
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects;
a father’s delight is behind all this.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Confusion vs. Trust and Faith

What’s chronic, repetitive, or inflamed in your inner or outer life?

This burning question is personal. There are many things I could say about it. The past year or so of my life have brought out a lot of hurt, joy, tears, laughter, many mixed emotions. Most recently I took on some opportunities in my life that reminded my of the things that I left, and inflamed a lot of mixed emotions, distrust and confusion. Confusion about what God’s will is for my life right  now, how to decide if an opporunity is one that Is from God, or just a distraction from what His will actually is in my life. And me,being stubborn would rather take an opportunity and then stress about how to get out of it rather than saving myself the heartache and stress and trusting the path that I believe God has put me on. The repetitive is the constant battle to trust the process, and my practical mind, the need for certainty and to provide for my family financially vs. patience, trust and hearing the whispers of the Holy Spirit in my heart leading me, allowing God to unfold his will for my life openly without reservations. The balance between the “busy syndrome” that often accompanies the profession of counseling, the need to pour out compassion everywhere, and the need for self care and rejuvenation. It is a constant battle and conflict for me, and left unchecked can lead me to stubborn slips of faith. It reminds me of Peter, when he sees Jesus walking on the water towards the boat, he takes one step out, and begins walking towards His Savior, and then loses his focus off Jesus and focuses on the storm, then fear sets in and he falls into the stormy waters. There are several things that I love about this picture. One: Peter has the faith to get out of the boat, and two, Jesus is right there pulling Peter out of the water to bring him back to safety and into the boat. It reminds me that I don’t have to fear, that I can take the steps of faith that are presented to me, and that when I fail Jesus is there to rescue me and bring me back to safety, and showing me that I can Trust Him and His will and place in my life.

Matthew 14:22-34

 

Learning to Love Yourself and Connect with Others


Robin Marvel is an author, Empowerment and life positivity coach and motivational speaker for children and adults. Using tools from her “Awakening Consciousness” book series she is expanding creativity and self awareness in beings everywhere.

Robin is Leading Out Loud as the owner of Marvelous Empowerment. Providing a variety of workshops to encourage empowerment in all ages. More information on Marvelous Empowerment can be found at www.aurasenseguide.com, a website designed to strengthen your being while encouraging Universal Awareness.

Check www.aurasenseguide.com for upcoming lectures and workshops.

I Interviewed Robin about her book, “Awakening Consciousness, A Girl’s Guide.”


    I first started writing as a child. I loved being able to create something I could grow and learn from.

    What was your inspiration to write “Awakening Consciousness, a Girl’s Guide?”

My inspiration to write “Awakening Consciousness A Girl’s Guide!” was my four daughters. I wanted to make sure they were aware of the big picture of life. I also wanted to encourage girls of all ages to love themselves and create a sense of self security within.

What age group is it appropriate for?

“Awakening Consciousness A Girl’s Guide!” does not have a specific age group. As a parent you can use it with your children as young as 1, young girls can use it as well as adults. Wherever you are on your path you can benefit from the guide.

What is the goal of the book?

The goal of “Awakening Consciousness A Girl’s Guide!” is to create a sense of self security and love within all.

How could your book be used in a therapeutic setting?

My book could be used in a therapeutic setting because it is very motivating and hands on. It offers a variety of empowering, self esteem building exercises that are fun and will create security in whoever is doing them. It is also a workbook so people are able to keep track of their progress.

What advice to parents do you have about using this book?

My advice to parents is to use this book to connect with your child. Encourage your child to explore who they are and love every part of who they are. Allow them to expand on their individuality. As parents we have the opportunity to raise confident, empowered beings that will change our world!

What is your favorite activity in the book? There are so many that look fun! (I liked the idea of the armoa buddy).

This is a hard question. I love all the activities . You are right the aromabuddy is so fun. If I had to pick a favorite I think it would be the ChakraCizes. The chakraCizes really get the people moving and they instantly can feel a shift in their energy so they know they are working!

Where can your book be purchased?

My book can be purchased in any bookstore as well as www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com and www.lovinghealing.com

What other projects are you working on?

I am fortunate enough to have many projects I am working on. “Awakening Consciousness A Woman’s Guide!” will be out in 2010. I am also working on my next book “10 EmPOWERaids to Inspire Mind, Body and Spirit”

I am also the owner of Marvelous EmPOWERment ~ offering a variety of empowering workshops for all ages throughout the world.

Do you have a job other than writing? What is it?

My other jobs include being a mom to four of the most amazing beings as well as the instructor for Marvelous EmPOWERment. I am also an Energetic Specialist and motivational speaker for all ages.

What is an Energetic Specialist, and who could benefit from one?

An energetic Specialist is a person that will help you to raise your energy level through positive activities. You will be educated to know your unique energy profile and guide you towards activities that will strengthen your vibrations.
Everyone could use an energetic specialist. No matter where you are at on your path you can always use coping mechanisms to strengthen your integrated whole.

What are your future plans as a writer/author?

My future plans as an author are to continue to encourage empowerment and self security within all. I plan to keep writing books that will inspire beings to accept who they are with love and gratitude. I want parents to see the importance of teaching their children self security at a young age so they will not need to heal as adults.