Tag Archives: stress

Pillow Presents

This is a photo of a pillow in my home office comfy chair. The Curious George pillow, lumpy and bumpy as it may be, is special to me. It was made (by my daughter) from a shirt that my youngest son had worn a lot. I didn’t want to get rid of it when he finally outgrew it. We felt like it was very fitting for him as he seemed so much like the famous little lmonkey character!

On this Mother’s Day Sunday I wanted to share an idea with those of you who have younger children (or even some older kids). They may require “help” in getting a present ready for next Mother’s Day (birthday or Christmas).

You can plan ahead over the course of the next few months or so and notice when your child outgrows a special shirt! You might suggest to him/her that you would like it and ask if they mind if you make it into a pillow and see their reaction.

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product.

For the how-tos just do a Google or Pinterest search for instructions.

Basically just trim the body into a square/rectangle shape (circles are trickier and would definitely require a pillow form) leaving enough fabric to form the sides and seams. Sew your seams inside out leaving enough open space to stuff with pillow stuffing or insert a pillow form to fit. Then turn right side out, stuff and stitch closed. And there you have it! Your keepsake pillow gift.

What do you think? Is this the type of keepsake that appeals to you? Do you think it might be meaningful to your child/children?

I do not tend to be very sentimental about things. There are just a handful. That’s probably a good thing with certain rabble rousing children. The idea of cherishing items from my children’s growing up years may not mean much to them right now. But hopefully in time it will be additional evidence that I love and cherish them.

Mother’s Day can be hard. It was hard today. But I was not surprised. I maintained my calm. Mostly. Lowering the pressure on ourselves and on the rest of the family to make Mother’s Day or any other holiday a picture perfect event can help.

My youngest daughter (whom I have had some extreme relational struggles with) had volunteered to make peach ice cream for Mother’s Day. I strategically waited until yesterday evening to take her to get the ingredients when it would be just me and her and not a regular grocery shopping trip. But the local grocery stores did not have fresh peaches yet and the produce stands were closed for the day. Yikes! But calm prevailed. I got up early and drove about 30 minutes away to “Peach Park” where I knew they would have fresh peaches. It was very much worth it in more ways than one! (Yum!)

Your child might be old enough and motivated to get in on the pillow project or even make it themself. If not, you could make it and let them give you the finished product. Helping them to participate in a way that says “we’re family” can dislodge another brick in the walls of resistance to relationship that may have been built as a result of trauma. There were some small (but huge!) Connections made today that could have been easily overshadowed if we had tried to pull off a larger event (that would likely have been an epic fail).

How about you? Do you have any helpful strategies for lowering the stress levels for holidays and events? Post them in the comments.

Self-Care Parent “Bucket List”

How do you get your own bucket filled so you can pour into your family when you’re feeling like there isn’t much left to pour out?

 

Below I share a few ideas for quick pick-me-ups to help when you’re running on empty.  But I am fully aware that there can be such a deep dark pit that it takes more than just a few quick bucket-filling ideas to make much difference.  Please do not give up hope and do not give up searching and reaching for the help that you need.  It’s there.  Keep looking and keep looking up (to God and his help and ginormous love for you)!

 

I found some things were not so helpful before things began to be noticeably different.  Some things were helpful, but it took a while.  If you are interested in more of what helped me rise up out of the deep, dark pit I found myself in not too long ago, please reach out.  I know not everyone’s situation is the same and there will be different needs.  So I don’t presume to know exactly what your situation or needs are.  I’m certainly not a medical person so nothing I say here is intended to diagnose, treat or cure.

 

But I do know everyone needs Jesus.  And he is the great healer.  He can use all manner of resources or none at all!  That said, here are some quick and easy ideas for bucket-filling on days you need a little pick-me-up.

Self-care “Bucket List”

Dawn’s TOP Ideas for Re-filling a Poured-out Parent’s Bucket

As a mom of seven, I am familiar with the constant need for parents to pour themselves out for their families.  I’m also familiar with the feeling that you are running on fumes. That bucket is feeling pretty dry at times.

 

We sometimes tend to feel like we are being selfish to do something for ourselves that is more than tending to basic needs.  I’ve felt that way myself at times. But I’m learning that I am my own best resource. And taking care of me as a good steward of my resources is necessary to offer the best I can to those I hold most dear.  When taking care of yourself means taking better care of your family, I don’t think that’s selfish or self-centered.

 

What exactly is Stewardship?

 

“stewardship expresses our obedience regarding the administration of everything God has placed under our control, which is all-encompassing. Stewardship is the commitment of one’s self and possessions to God’s service, recognizing that we do not have the right of control over our property or ourselves.”  ~ Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics    

 

When our self-care is from a motive and perspective of stewardship rather than selfishness we can then understand that taking good care of ourselves is our responsibility.  As a Christian, I know that I am not my own. I belong to God and have a responsibility to him to do the best with what he has given me. If I am an emotional wreck or sleep-deprived shell of myself, I may need to do some adjusting.  

 

Without further ado, here are a few of my top ideas for getting that parent bucket filled.  You can use this as a jumping off point to add more ideas of your own that will likely be even better as they are personal to you.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.

 

#1 Connect with a (non-judgmental) friend.

If you can do it it’s great to connect face to face; otherwise take a few minutes to connect in the best way you can whether that be a call, text or video chat.

#2 Let something go so you can get more/better sleep.

However you do it whether you go to bed a bit earlier, sleep a bit later or slip in an afternoon nap it’s ok to get some rest!  Do you know that sleep time is very important for certain hormone production?

 

At night, I like to use essential oils to help me relax and get some shut-eye:  One of my favorite sleep blends is Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Lavender together in a diffuser or roller bottle topped with a carrier oil like olive oil or in a bedside cool mist diffuser.

 

#3 Read or watch something lighthearted.

Laughter is good medicine and can be just the thing to lighten your perspective.  Watching a fun movie with the family can be a good way to soften built up tensions with a shared experience.

 

#4  Indulge in a special snack.

It doesn’t have to be the most calorific snack or anything guilt-laden.  But just as a snack can diffuse the “hangry” in kids, it might help us too!

 

#5 Deep Breathing.

At one point, during a particularly stressful time, I set alarms on my phone to take a few moments and do some deep breathing throughout the day.  . . . In 2, 3, 4 . . . out 2, 3, 4 . . .

 

#6 Take a luxurious bath (or at least a long shower break)!

Self-care may be getting back to the basics if you’ve been in survival mode.  Using delightfully scented soaps, shampoos, and bath salts and following up with a light lotion or skin oil can make you feel pretty pampered.  

 

I like to use toxin-free soaps and shampoos infused with essential oils.  

 

#7 Get Moving!

Perhaps it’s not resting you need as much as to get moving.  Exercise, even just a little, can be a good pick-me-up. Plus, as an added bonus, exercise can even help you to sleep better —  provided it’s not too close to bedtime.

 

#8 Drink something.

Even slight dehydration can get you feeling yucky.  So drink water or another hydrating beverage to stay hydrated. *One of my favorites is Ningxia Zing!  

 

#9 Go Outdoors!

For eons, parents have known to send their kiddos outside for better health all over the world.  Guess what? It goes for adults, too! Fresh air and the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) are necessary for each of us.

 

#9 – Listen to Happy Music!

Alone or better yet – – with the kiddos – – listening to music (and even sing and dance along) is a great way to bring on the smiles.

 

#10 Take time to read a Bible passage and pray.

This is important to me as a Christian.  The Holy Bible is God’s Word, his messages to us.  I speak to him through prayer and he speaks to me through his Word.  

 

Would you like to know more?  I’d love to share how you can become a Christian and have this personal relationship with one-on-one communication with The God of all Creation!  

 

And if you are interested in finding out more about how you can get started with essential oils and related products, let me know.  The ones I use and recommend have the Seed to Seal commitment that is an important quality control measure that puts them head and shoulders above the rest.  

 

See my Virtual Business Card for ways you can contact me for more.

~Dawn

 

Help! My Adopted Child is Terrified of Sleep

For the first year or so home, my youngest (adopted) child literally screamed himself to sleep.  One of my adopted daughters would often yell out in her sleep (still does occasionally after 10 years), never fully waking up and never remembering it in the morning.  Another one of our adopted children used to get to sleep okay, but get up during the night or wee hours of the morning, unable to fall back to sleep (and wander the house which also caused problems).

Adults may be able to self-talk and work through their night-time anxieties, but kids have less experience and big imaginations!  Even as adults we understand that worries, fears, concerns often loom larger at bed-time, weighing on us.  But children from traumatic backgrounds may have an even harder time with all of this.  It’s harder for them to separate what’s real and what’s not, especially at night.  And it can really affect their sleep which affects their days and the rest of the family, too.  The cycle can spiral downward if it doesn’t stop.

Lack of good, restful sleep on an ongoing basis can affect a number of things and can be detrimental to their health.  It is during sleep that our brains make a clean sweep of accumulated toxins, so among other things we can think clearer the next day.  It’s during sleep that production of several hormones rises, including growth hormone.  Ever hear that children grow in their sleep?  Lack of growth hormone can impact not only growth in height but even cellular repair.  Another hormone, lack of melatonin, the sleep hormone can cause greater sleep problems.  A strong immune system is supported by good sleep.

Sleep is should be restorative and our children need even more sleep than we as adults do in order to function optimally during the day.  I recommend making sleep a priority for your entire household.  Try not to deal with stressful issues near bedtime.  If you can table it until morning, do so.  If there is always conflict over pajamas or tooth brushing, drop the issue or do a workaround – – maybe brush teeth right after dinner so it’s over and done long before bedtime, for example.

We are super careful not to use supplements with food coloring or msg (an excitotoxin to the brain).  But using melatonin has helped so much, as well as other supplements depending on the person,  and specific essential oils that are beneficial for sleep either for calming or with a sedative effect or to help alleviate racing/troubling thoughts.  Some are effective to help with pain that may seem worse at night and be a hindrance to getting to sleep.  There are different ones for different issues.  With my large family, we have had lots of sleep issues which vary from person to person.  I know I personally cannot take anything that will up my blood pressure.  Essential oils have been a huge help to me, too as well as my kids.  Wish I had had them sooner!

I want to emphasize that there are a lot of reasons you or your child may have difficulties sleeping.

IMPORTANT:  I am not a doctor and nothing in this post is meant to diagnose, treat or cure anything.  Please see your healthcare provider for any medical issues.  I am not giving medical advice here.

And please don’t give up looking for the right solutions.  There ARE solutions and it IS important.

When you become your own sleep detective you may gain new insight as to what you can change in your daily routines for optimal sleep to take place.

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Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools. 

Contact me to request my free “Sleep Detective” PDF booklet to download.  It’s a fun way to help your child or teen start to focus on their need for sleep and empower them to be an active force in making positive changes.

And if you like the content on this blog you might like to check out Yesterday’s Orphan on Facebook with the link in the sidebar.

 

 

Play’s the Thing

It can be hard to break out of serious mode when life gets chaotic. But notice your child. With them, play’s the thing. They might try to lighten the tensions with awkward attempts at play or joking that may seem inappropriate at the time to adults or older teens. Yet in their own way these children are doing the right thing – – attempting to move out of the negative and onto the positive, letting go of heavy, negative, even scary emotions and urging us to do the same.

When your child attempts to lighten things up, take their lead. And maybe initiate some play yourself, when feeling stressed. It may be just the thing to help everyone to recharge and tackle the serious issue with renewed assurance that it’s the issue – – not the person – – that needs solving. Knowing that the relationship is secure can be HUGE in garnering cooperation and communication.  And it may only take a little playfulness on your part to show that acceptance to your child.

Try it and see how it goes!

Zechariah 8:5 English Standard Version (ESV):

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

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Real life is often emotional and kid’s from hard places often have overwhelming emotions. As a parent, I want to help my children learn to use positive coping skills and give them helpful tools.

I have begun using some fantastic essential oils and other products that make a big difference in helping some of my family members with often overwhelming emotions, to manage and focus better.

Hit Reply (if you are reading this in e-mail) or Contact (if you are on the website) above or below to learn more about our toxin-free natural plant-based personal care products and dietary supplements.  Learn how they can help you and your family, too.