Children’s Grief Awareness Month

When sitting down to write about this very important topic, I hesitated. Where do I start? What should I focus on? There’s so many feelings that come with grief. And that’s when I knew, it’s important to acknowledge them all….starting with our own emotions and reactions.

To help children, we must first be honest with ourselves and how we feel. Without first exploring this, we can’t truly see any walls we may put up when it comes to helping children. We need to be honest with ourselves and take a look at the wave of emotions, thoughts, and realizations that we go through when someone we know dies. Seeing ourselves more clearly will allow us to enter into conversations with children who do not possess the coping mechanisms or ability to decipher their emotions.

Because when children lose someone they love, they need our support, our love, and our help. They need us to be honest with our word choices about death, but compassionate and gentle with our approach. No adult wants to have children experience grief, but it happens. Their tears and heart ache will trade places with anger, fear, loneliness, and perhaps even self blame at any moment.

It’s important to note that even though they are stages to grief, they do not go in any specific order. Once again, grief has no order. Grief hits unexpectedly, and the “stages” come and go, interchange, and jumble with however someone is feeling at that moment.

Every child is different with how they experience grief. The best thing we can do is to be present, support them, and love them.

It’s About Compassion: Mental Health Awareness Month

This month is Mental Health Awareness month, and when thinking about what to write, I realized I needed to break it down into a few posts. I am passionate about mental health and discovered this when I was in nursing school. I remember taking a class and learning about holistic health. How we as nurses should treat the whole patient, not just their medical symptoms. If you’ve ever been in the hospital or are currently battling a disease, you might have first hand experience on how it can effect every part of you. Your health can take a toll on your emotions, your spirit, and your mind. Looking back, I’m so grateful my school introduced me to this concept, because health is so much more than our physical bodies.

After working as a nurse for a few years, I decided to go back and obtain my master’s in psychiatric nursing. Being a middle child, and a person that has always had friends span different groups, I often found myself in the workout role. The one that bridged the gap, mended miscommunications or worked to de-escalate a situation. I found myself comfortable in listening to other people’s situations and trying to help them through them.

What I discovered is that mental health and illness isn’t something in one place, a certain group of people, or only in treatment centers. It’s within all parts of our community because everyone experiences difficult moments or may be actively working on themselves. And that’s ok! There is such a stigma about expressing our emotions, anxieties, or struggles with maintaining mental health. And I hope that can change soon. People who are struggling with internal battles deserve the same love and support that patients with a heart condition, cancer, kidney disease or other physical ailments receive. Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, and it really can make such a difference in the lives of others.

Dark Days

These days, things are anything but easy. Some days, its taken all of my mental courage to keep it together. I have felt down, and low, and have had moments of uncertainty and tears. If I’m feeling the darkness of COVID and isolation, I can only imagine what those battling mental illness are feeling. These are tough times, times that can darken mental illness into complete blackness.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to hand you something that you have to learn, to understand and wrap your head around. Through the doctor visits, medications, therapy, you’ve worked hard toward progress. Towards a better understanding, a better handle of your disease..and now this.

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair for life to come along and derail the progress you have made. To make you fight each and every moment harder, longer, and by yourself.

It’s unfair.

Know there are people out there who love you, who are waiting to see you after all of the restrictions are lifted. Life wants more from you. I do not know you, but am rooting for you, cheering you on. I wish you light during these dark times.

If you are feeling unsafe please please reach out to someone. Friends, family, anyone that can help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.1-800-273-8255

Taking Care of You: All About Self Love

Hi everyone and happy new year! I can’t believe this year brings us a new decade! WOW! It makes it feel more special than other new years. What will we do in this bright new decade?!

I am taking part of Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for writers, and today’s focus was about taking time for yourself. This is such a wonderful concept, but somehow gets pushed to the back of our busy days, schedules, and family responsibilities. She stated that taking time for yourself isn’t selfish…’s self LOVE! Yes, I completely forgot about this somewhere along the way. Just because you stop to do something for yourself for more than a moment or two, does NOT make you selfish. How can we be expected to run 24/7 without ever taking care of ourselves? And, more importantly…..should we be ignoring our own needs? The answer to that is no.

We as individuals are people too….with needs, wants, and desires. Whether that desire is to take time to write, to read a book, to build something, to go outside in nature, or to pamper ourselves…it’s ok! And in fact, it’s necessary. Self love preserves who we are. I catch myself telling my kids (in-between their requests for more milk and lunch #2, don’t ask) that I’m a person too!!! They just look at me like I’m silly….like, come on Mom! Oh well, at least I’m voicing it! But now I need to put that into action.

Putting self time into action isn’t always easy. If it is for your, that’s wonderful and do please share your secret! If you find it harder, than take a serious look at your schedule. When does time work for you? Are days of the week better than others, or specific times of the day? For me, I struggle with getting up before my kids. But if I did, that would be a nice amount of quiet time for me to enjoy my coffee WHILE sitting down and relaxing. Another option is when the kids are in bed, but by that time, I would like to maybe somedays workout, spend time with my husband and watch an adult show that doesn’t consist of kid creature rescues or dinosaurs on trains.

So as this journey of self love starts, I wish you luck. And please, write me with your thoughts, struggles, suggestions or just to say hi. Let’s make this a great new decade!


Let’s talk about stress baby

We all have it, and we all want it to go away. But how can we decrease our stress level in an already demanding and overpacked scheduled? Some will say to remove certain things from your life. Well, if you’re like most of us, our stress comes from work, our family responsibilities, and daily tasks, which, are not removable. Others will say exercise, but if you are already overloaded, the idea of adding in one more thing just seems daunting. So the questions remains, WHAT CAN WE DO TO DECREASE OUR STRESS!?

I think what’s important is to find out that triggers an increase in your stress level that ISN’T one of the above stated responsibilities. For me, I tend to start getting a little worked up when my house is, shall we say, a disaster. To be more specific, every room seems to have been attacked by a mini tornado of stuff….clothes, toys, art projects, dishes, laundry etc. I then turn into a cleaning monster and do a full attack on the mess, but not in a graceful way. Something inside erupts and I find myself saying, “I can’t take it anymore!” Once everything is cleaned up, and organized into an acceptable fashion, I feel better. My trigger is clutter. Which means, I just need to stay on top of straightening and cleaning, oh mercy I’m already stressed about this task!

This will be a forever work in progress. Stress just doesn’t go away. It’s sneaky, and is like a chameleon, it can change and take many different forms. It can rise up at any time, which means we need to be ready to handle it at any moment. How do you do this, you ask? There are a few techniques to bring down a rise is stress. The first is controlled breathing. When you feel stress coming on, stop what you’re doing. Breathe in through your nose for 4-5 counts, and out through your mouth for 4-5 counts (like you’re blowing out a birthday candle). Do this a few times in a row. It will help decreases your heart rate, increase the oxygen to your brain and throughout your body. Deep breathing can be a tool to help you relax and can be done anywhere. If you need something more active, I recommend exercise. Sometimes just a good sweat session can be exactly what the doctor ordered. Another more fun option is to dance it out! Play your favorite song and sing and dance along! Blast the radio in the car, sing along, and move yourself to a better state of mind.

We all struggle with stress. Taking the first step to decrease it is the hardest, but keep at it!

Stormy Sea of Parenting

Self forgiveness is the hardest part of being a parent. I try to start each day with the right mindset – to be my best, kindest, most loving self. My feet hit my bedroom floor and as my morning sleepiness wears off, so does my patience. It hangs on through the first batch of “nos” and sibling disputes. But as the parental waters start to experience storm waves and sea squalls of disobedience, I find it harder and harder to navigate. To quote a friend, I’m “treading water” in a sea of uncertainty and the waves start to knock me down. Instead of being my best self, it’s every man (or woman, in this case) for themselves! My mantra meets the reality of time outs, cool downs in rooms and loss of privileges. Raising kids is hard! Some days are just harder than others, and if you’re a parent, you’ve been there and know what I mean. Bad days can really ruin our self image and parenting morale. The secret though, is forgiving yourself. This is also hard to do because if you’re like me, you have high expectations for yourself. But we must learn to be gentler and kinder to OURSELVES! So, if you’ve had one of those days, take a deep breathe and try to forgive yourself. Know that I’m right there with you, and will be back at sea tomorrow, hopefully better equipped to handle whatever weather finds me.