what every parent in waiting needs to know

It’s true that nothing will ever truly prepare you for parenthood, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do that’ll help to make the journey a little more straightforward. While you’ll never be able to get the full picture of things before the child arrives, you can at least begin getting a sense of what’s in store for you. There is, after all, a lot to know! In this blog, we’re going to run through some of the essential pieces of information that every parent ‘to be’ needs to know. 

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Your Life Will Dramatically Change

Some parents like to downplay the seriousness of the journey they’re undertaking. They have the idea that their life will carry on more or less as normal; it’s just that, now, they’ll have a baby by their side. This, of course, is not the case. It’s best to get rid of any illusion that your “old life” will remain intact. It won’t! But that’s not a bad thing. You’re moving into something that’s even better and more valuable. 

Everyone Will Have An Opinion

If there’s one thing to know about parents, it’s that every single one of them thinks they know the correct way to raise a child. And they’re very forthcoming with those opinions. You’ll be the same one day unless you actively work to prevent yourself from sliding into that role. When you’re a parent, you’ll have to put up with friends, family members, and complete strangers putting in their two cents’ worth on matters related to, well, just about everything. You can’t always stop people from sharing their thoughts, but you can control how you respond. Don’t let it annoy you!

Time Moves Fast

Time can move extremely slowly, but generally only when you’re not doing anything or when every day is the same. That’s why the coronavirus lockdown seemed to last so long! When you have a baby, you’ll be doing a lot of things all the time, and no two days will be the same. As such, you can expect that time will move extremely quickly. You’ll hit the 11 month mark before you even realise what’s going on. Meditation can help to make you more present, which can help to “slow down time,” somewhat. But the main thing will be to appreciate the experience! It’ll be rushed, but it’s always important to stop and smell the roses from time to time. 

The Parenting Style 

You’re not going to get everything right as a parent. And that’s fine — you shouldn’t expect to. However, there are things you can do that’ll push you as far in the right direction as it’s possible to go. One such approach is to figure out what you want your parenting style to be before your child arrives. There are plenty of different approaches to take, with none being necessarily better than the others; it’s just about what’s right for you. Once you have your style figured out, you’ll have something of a ‘blueprint’ for how to act/what to do as a parent. 

Be aware, however, that you won’t always stick to whatever approach you come up with. The child will have a mind of his or her own, after all. For instance, while you might want to prevent your child from watching television and eating dinner at the same time, there’ll be times when it just happens. Treat whatever approach you come up with more as guiding principles, rather than anything that’s absolute concrete. 

The Products They Need

It might be a little intimidating to think that you have to go through the parenting experience all on your own. Thankfully, that is not the case. Help is available everywhere, in the shape of advice, blogs, apps, and products. Products are especially important — there are just so many available that’ll help to make things run much more smoothly! You should buy some of the more essential items before the baby is born; you might not have the time you need to locate the item once he or she has arrived. When you’re still pregnant, read up on baby rockers, bouncers, and swings, so you can get the one that’s right for your needs. You should also take a read of the best baby apps; there’s generally something for every type of issue that a new parent would experience.

Working As A Team

You and your partner will likely have a long history of shared moments and so forth. But your baby is going to bring about your biggest challenge yet. In order to succeed as much as possible, you should actively plan to work as a team, rather than just hoping it’ll happen. It may well come together, but in nearly all cases, things run more smoothly when there’s been a conscious effort to develop a working system. The New York Yankees didn’t get to their level just by hoping that things would naturally work out. 

Working with your partner doesn’t just help you to become better parents. It also helps your relationship. Like it or not, having a baby does put a pretty big strain on a relationship. After all, it’s a pretty stressful and intense position to be in! To prevent drama and resentment from developing, think ahead of time and answer the big questions, such as who’s going to be responsible for what, how you’ll both give your time and energy to your child, and so forth. 

Make The Most of Sleep Opportunities

You’ll have heard plenty of horror stories about how little sleep new parents can get. And we’d be lying if we didn’t say that this is definitely a factor! But it’s not necessarily guaranteed. There are many babies who sleep all through the night — and often, all through the day, too. Still, there’ll likely be, at the very least, a period where you struggle to get as much shut-eye as you need. 

The solution? Sleep when your baby is asleep. Many parents use that as an opportunity to catch up with housework and so forth, but that can wait. You’ll be making much better use of your time by getting some shut-eye when you can! 

You Can Trust Your Intuition

We mentioned earlier how there’s a lot of information out there about the correct way to parent and so forth. However, while those words of advice can be useful when you have no idea what to do, you won’t need to always get the thoughts and opinions of experts. Parenting is natural and you can trust your intuition; if something seems wrong, then don’t do it — if it feels right, then do it. You’ll find that having confidence in your natural ability to raise a child can ease some of the pressure you feel, plus it’ll just save you time, since you won’t always need to consult Dr Google.

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It’s Important To Stay Social

Your life is going to change significantly. But it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of excluding everything that you once knew and loved. With your child occupying so much of your time, it’s normal to discount friends and family. However, it’s really important that you stay social — you’ll be amazed at just how much of a difference it can make to your general well-being. It’s usually only after they’ve spent an evening with friends that most people realise just how important those moments are to their happiness. So while your baby will be your main focus, you can always take some time to see your nearest and dearest! 

Self-Care

The main priority for all parents is to ensure that their baby has everything that they need. However, that shouldn’t be their only priority. If you have a baby, it’s also important that you’re taking care of yourself. Is your mental, physical, and spiritual health all that it could be? If not, then allocate more time to it, and get to a good space. This will actually have a positive impact on your parenting skills, too — if you’re at your top level, then you’ll be able to give more to your family, and you’ll be happy while you do it, too.

Enjoy the Ride

Finally, be sure to enjoy the ride. It’ll be exciting, fun, joyful, stressful, and anxiety-inducing all at the same time. And you know what’ll happen at the end? You’ll get through it just fine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and take the time to appreciate the path that you’re on. Take photos, slow down, and give yourself a break — it’s the least that you deserve. 

Conclusion

As we said at the beginning of the article, there’s nothing that’ll truly prepare you for the madness of becoming a parent for the first time. But as with all things, the more knowledge that you have, the better you’ll be able to navigate yourself along the way. While we can never promise that it’ll be a smooth journey from beginning to end, we can promise that it’ll all be worth it! 

** This was a contributed post.

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how to cure anxiety

This post has a bold title for a reason- while there is no “cure all” for general or crippling anxiety (in fact, anxiety exists to help you), I do so strongly believe in these methods working to help alleviate symptoms that I wanted to get your attention!

If you are a sufferer of anxiety then please read on. If you aren’t, that doesn’t mean that you will go through your entire life without experiencing it at some point. In fact, it can hit anyone at any given moment. For the more sensitized people (myself included), it can become almost unbearable.

Now I’m not writing this from a doctor’s standpoint. I’m writing this from someone who has lived with anxiety probably my entire life, and suffered from pretty bad anxiety over the last 1.5 years. I now feel 90% better than how I felt last year. I do still have some of my physical symptoms, for just as the body takes time to heal a broken leg it also takes time to heal from nervous energy. But I no longer have my persistent anxiety, and that is due to these natural methods. So, I am not deterring anyone from going to a doctor to seek help. I’m merely stating what helped me, and what I believe can help you too (if you are wanting it to)!

Everyone who has anxiety has their own unique story. I won’t get into mine much, but I will say that it began after much stress and change about 1.5 years ago. From there, the horrible physical symptoms arose. I went from being completely healthy and happy to incredibly dizzy, upset stomach, heart palpitations, eye floaters, lump in the throat, shaky hands, weak legs, moody, tinnitus, and more. These symptoms never let up. For 24 hours a day I experienced them, and could barely function. I suffered, my children suffered, and my husband probably suffered most. It was horrendous.

After over a year of so many tests, I kept on hearing the same thing from doctors. “Your results are normal. I don’t know what you have, but it could be ______ (insert illness/disease). I’m referring you to a specialist. By the way you also have anxiety and should go on anti-depressants.” Then they would wash their hands clean of me. I never went on them, and I became so tired of that cycle and living in constant fear that I knew that something needed to change.

Like so many people with anxiety, I spent hours researching natural and alternative ways to “cure” it. I would tell myself to get over it and do everything I could think of to mentally push it away. I tried ignoring it, which only made it worse. I didn’t realize that what I should’ve been doing was fully accepting it- even calling it on! Sound crazy? I know, but it works.

First things first. The changing moment in my life came when I downloaded the DARE app. You need to as well. No, this isn’t an ad. What it is is life-changing. Download it, go off by yourself somewhere, and listen to it all. Take it in. The type of anxiety that you have will become clear, and the amazing founder of the DARE Response will tell you how to start living peacefully with your anxiety. That day.

You will also most likely be sent the e-book. Read it. If you aren’t, here is a free link. The password is dare2016.

I was told by someone that the founder, Barry McDonagh, was largely inspired by the brilliant Dr. Claire Weekes. So step two, read everything that you can by her. Do you like Audrey Hepburn? If so then I highly recommend her audiobook “Panic Away.” It will put the DARE Response into perspective and give you a more rounded understanding of how tricky anxiety is and how you can live peacefully with it. Reading/listening to her material is as important as doing the same of McDonagh’s.

Let’s discuss food. If there are two foods that you should try to eliminate it’s caffeine and refined sugar. What does caffeine physically do to a body? It increases your heart rate, makes you excitable, can make you dizzy, give you racing thoughts, the inability to sleep, and more. It can even make you anxious. Those with anxiety already suffer from these issues. Why would you want to increase that? So please, it will be very hard, but the first thing that you must do is cut out all caffeine. You will feel like garbage for days or weeks but I promise you that it will help you in the long run! (If you happen to miss the taste then opt for decaf instead.)

Why sugar? It has also been linked to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. While I tried to cut it out of my diet completely, I found that it was incredibly difficult. Instead, I have cut down on it a lot. Even doing that is better than consuming a lot of it.

Now of course there are foods that can help reduce the effects of anxiety. I didn’t find that they worked for me, perhaps because I didn’t stick to a plan where I ate them regularly. However, I don’t dispute their effects. So, I will include them here. They are: Brazil nuts, fatty fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, turmeric, chamomile, yogurt, and Green tea (try herbal). Finally, water. Drink more water!

Now for what I know does help- V I T A M I N S! The day you stop drinking caffeine, please begin take a Vitamin B complex. There are so many studies on how this vitamin helps to lower stress in the body. I promise you that it works! I can always notice a difference on the days that I don’t take it as I generally feel more irritable. This is one of the most important vitamins to take in this new journey.

Magnesium (with Calcium) is also said to be the world’s most natural relaxation pill. Some of it’s benefits are it promotes a better sleep and it relaxes your nervous system. In order for it to work properly, Magnesium needs to be taken with Calcium. You can actually buy both together in one capsule!

Probiotics. Again there is just so much research on how good gut health improves your overall health and mood. I find that taking one is also very important if you are wanting to get over your general anxiety.

Acupuncture is something that has also changed my mind towards all the wonderful benefits of Eastern medicine. It also helps that the doctor who administers my acupuncture is a kind, affirming man. The key is to find one that will tell you that they can cure your anxiety, and will reassure you each time you go in. I actually went to another acupuncturist before finding him, and found the process to be painful and uncomfortable. Don’t stop searching until you feel like you found someone that can help you, and that you actually leave feeling better than before you went in! Acupuncture helps release endorphins to ease anxiety. With regular treatments, and a credible acupuncturist, it is just so beneficial.

Finally, exercise. I know that health professionals say that exercising two or three times a week is what you should always aim for. But I say that if you can do it everyday, please do! It doesn’t have to be long or strenuous. 20 minutes or so of jump rope or a YouTube workout (my family loves Chloe Ting) to get the heart rate going does wonders for reducing your anxiety levels. Or, going for a longer walk. Anything helps and it is one of the best defences against anxiety that you will find. 

To sum up:

– Download the DARE Response app and read the book
– Read/listen to everything you can by Claire Weekes
– Eliminate caffeine and sugar
– Eat anxiety-reducing foods
– Take Vitamin B, Magnesium with Calcium, and a Probiotic
– Consider acupuncture
– Try to exercise everyday
– Most of all, find someone who can tell you everyday that you will get through this! Anxiety is not a life-sentence and you can easily live with it with just a bit of work on your part. I promise that you will be ok!

This may all seem like a lot and perhaps even difficult. Aside from acupuncture, it won’t cost you more than your average grocery bills. You definitely don’t have to do them all at once, but instead, maybe adopt them over a period of weeks or months. It is work, but so is living with anxiety. Anxiety is more than a full-time job. My goal in posting this is to stop anxiety living your life for you, and for you to gain that control back!

Please consult your doctor if you are suffering from anxiety, and are wanting to explore more natural methods before considering anti-depressants. Or, if you are already on them and want to try any of these methods in addition to taking them. I talked to a professional before going trying each of these natural methods and followed their suggestions in doing so.

Lastly, you are not alone! I am always here if you need to talk. If ever you feel like reaching out, my email address is helloscarlettblog@outlook.com. Also, if you would like to let me know what has worked for you, please leave it in the comments below. You got this!

<3

Emory

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3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person

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Many people are experiencing higher levels of stress than usual right now. The coronavirus pandemic, confinement indoors and separation from family and friends are all contributing factors to excessive amounts of stress and anxiety; it’s a totally understandable, natural reaction to the world right now. 

If you are struggling with stress or anxiety at the moment, it could be affecting your ability to go about your daily life and complete all your tasks. It could even be affecting your sleeping, eating, exercising or working habits. 

Nobody should have to live with excessive stress – even if they are going through something difficult. Here are 3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person!

1. Do your regular routine, but make it mindful.

If you are a busy person, you could put yourself into robot mode when it comes to doing your regular routine, such as chores, work or childcare. You might be in the habit of doing things mindlessly, just trying to do everything as quickly as possible without putting any heart into it. This is a normal stress response, but one that only extrapolates your feelings.

As a stress-relief technique, try doing your regular tasks in a more mindful way. ‘Mindfulness’ is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot, but what it truly means is that you should pay attention to the actions you are taking. If you are cleaning your kitchen, pay attention to the way the sponge moves across the countertop. Breathe in the clean smells. Take your time; this menial task will come to mean something more, and bring calm feelings with it.

2. Figure out your triggers and let them go.

Everyone has triggers that increase their stress or make them particularly anxious. Examples of these triggers are messy work spaces, put-downs from your partner or spouse, calls from the boss, your kids making too much noise or family worries.

Whatever those triggers are for you, your job is to try to find a way to either let them go or become okay with them. If these triggers can’t be eliminated from your life, the task is then to re-learn your association with that thing. Seeing a therapist can help massively with unlearning negative associations and reestablishing your relationship to your triggers.

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3. Use self massage techniques.

Self massage is a fantastic way to calm down after a difficult day. You can find techniques online that help you work your tense muscles and find stillness in the evening. It helps if you are comfortable, so ensure you have bathrobes and dressing gowns ready to wear for this exercise. In addition, having a bath beforehand can help soothe any muscular tension you have. Massage is the perfect way to release your stress and sleep better through the night.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling with stress during the pandemic, you can use these techniques to alleviate your worry and become more relaxed. While there’s no quick fix for stress, these three tips can help reduce these feelings.

** This was a contributed post.

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new year

As I write these words, I am just so relieved that 2020 is coming to an end. At the same time, I am wary to say that we are in the clear just yet. It seems like every time I turn around, bad luck is coming someone’s way (and we are not exempt).

Personally, this was a year filled with medical appointments and mental health issues. From physical symptoms that triggered anxiety, to anxiety that caused physical symptoms. I had so many tests done, and yet, no answers from doctors. I heard words from them that had life-changing and even potentially terminal outcomes, and then was told that I’m too anxious when I would break down over their mention of a horrible illness. They all threw an assortment of drugs my way together with more and more referrals. That is, until I stopped going.

I am coming out of this year with a deeper understanding of mental illness, and ways to treat and cope with one without relying on western doctors and medication. I’ve had so much help from professionals in alternative medicine- with their gentle and effective treatments, complete understanding of what goes on inside someone’s mind and body, and positive mindsets. I don’t think that I would have survived this year without them. Actually, I know it.

I hope to one day write a blog post about anxiety and what I, as someone who is only just learning about it, have tried and what suggestions to do to overcome it naturally. I’m sure it will be a life-long journey, and it is one that I can share in these early days.

As 2021 approaches, I am trying my hardest to leave all of this negativity behind me. 

Goodbye to the most challenging year, on a global scale, this century. You tried to break us, but you did not succeed. You will not be missed!

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to four (two on earth, one in heaven, and growing another). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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