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Sick Child Survival Tips

‘Tis the season for sick children. If you are like me, you really think your immune system is top notch, until you have your first child. My son’s first year of life, I am really not sure if he was ever not sick. On top of being a food allergy baby and dealing with eczema and a constant runny nose, he was in daycare, which is like the cutest little human petri dish. He had the flu, on constant ear infection that led to tubes in his ears and let’s not forget about all of the teething that first year. Exhausting mentally and physically for everyone. I have never felt so helpless as I did when trying to soothe my sick child. And not to mention, I have never caught so many bugs in my life. And the lack of sleep alone can drive our insanity through the roof. Whew, it really takes survival mode!

This is that part of life I talk about where it becomes a huge bump in the road toward your goals. Obviously, this stuff happens and when you have kids you can’t predict when this will happen. And it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times, because LIFE!!

Tips to help you survive all of the nasty bugs your child/children get…

  1. Release expectations of everything else

Taking care of a sick family takes a lot out of you, not to mention if you are sick too! I am talking forget the dishes, vacuuming, only wash laundry that you need. Prioritize everyone’s health, including your own, literally survival mode. Make life easy on yourself, use those paper plates. Rest when you can, you can worry about the rest of things when you feel back to normal.

  1. Communicate logistics and Ask for help!

Number one, talk with your partner to see who can take off work and plan ahead. So coming up with a couple of different plans for a couple of days is going to make this whole process easier. And it takes a village, use them! When you need to call in more than you or your spouse, do it! Let go, and let someone help.

  1. Self-Care

Self-care in this situation looks a little different than your mani/pedi visit but still do it! In this critical moment, self- care is taking your vitamins, loading up on vitamin c, zinc, and elderberry. Wash those hands like it’s going out of style! Change those snotty, pukey clothes often so you don’t completely soak in all of their germs. There is nothing easy about sick kids, so keep yourself as healthy as possible.

  1. Lower those expectations!

This is where life is put on hold, so who cares about the kid’s screen time, healthy dinners. Don’t feel guilt about grabbing that take out, vegging out on the couch, not getting anything done. Number one priority is making it out of this germ filled quarantine.

  1. Release the guilt!

Release the guilt of taking sick days at work, they will survive. Yes, it doesn’t matter what your job is, the parenting job comes first, don’t let others dictate how you feel about your priority. Release the guilt of thinking this is your fault somehow, like, if they weren’t in daycare, if they didn’t go to the park, if they didn’t go to that birthday party. Seriously, you can only do so much to prevent this. It is going to happen! Release the guilt of being the perfect parent. It is a learning curve, and when babies and kids are sick, it is like a treasure hunt on how to make them feel better, you are doing your best!!! Let me say this again…. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS! Soak that in!!

There is nothing worse than sick children but guess what, it happens! It happens to the best of us and all we can do, is be our best for them when they need us. Stay healthy and strong, my friends, and hope you can use the tips for the rest of flu season!!

Mom Wellness

Ever have doubts and wonder if you were made for this Mom title?

With my son’s birthday a couple of ago, I have been looking back at pictures from his birth in complete amazement. I re-lived his birth and to be honest I didn’t have a very blissful experience and my recovery was so hard on me physically and mentally, so it’s something I don’t like to go back to often. But this moment captured in this picture was a pivotal moment in my life and the exact moment I realized that this child was meant for me. He was mine and I was his.

I remember this exact moment and I am so glad it was captured because the day was a blur and it confirmed what I felt. After he was delivered by emergency caesarian section, he was evaluated by the NICU because meconium was found in the amniotic fluid. So, I didn’t even get to see him for what felt like a lifetime. I was shaking from the anesthesia, scared because I wasn’t sure if he was ok, and was in shock and exhaustion from the long labor and emergency delivery. Thankfully my husband was able to be right there with Maddux and even bring him to me when he was cleared. As he was bringing him to me, Maddux was crying, and as soon as he snuggled up close to my face, it was like Maddux just knew, he calmed immediately. His face softened, his hand felt my face and he was safe. Close to his mama. Close to the person that he has been nestled in for 9 months prior.

If I had to go back and tell my new mom self something, I would say, “Brandi, this might be tough, this might be extremely challenging, but you are tougher! You are strong. Your baby loves you and that is all that matters. Don’t let others dictate how you walk through this journey. Communicate your feelings as best as you can. Ask for help, even when you hesitate and think it might make you seem weak, ask for help! Hire that sleep consultant sooner than 14 months, being a zombie isn’t all that fun. It’s ok to not love motherhood at all times, but I promise Maddux is worth every second, so trust the process. Love yourself as much as you love that baby. Everything will be ok, even when you think it won’t. And YOU ARE THE BEST MOM FOR MADDUX, I can tell by the way he hugs and kisses you!!”

When you are in the thick of motherhood it can be hard to clear your vision. If you find times where you aren’t sure if you were made for this job, or you are wondering whether you are a good enough mom, you were good enough without even laying eyes on each other! You were good enough without them knowing anything about the world. You were good enough when you were all they had.

You are their world, you are their safety. This was my personal experience but I am sure if you look back on your journey with your little one, you have a moment where you just knew. That moment of connection, even if it wasn’t right off the bat.

There are times in this journey where you can feel defeated, not good enough, compare yourself to other moms, feel like you just aren’t cut out. But let me give you a little insider tip… everyone has these feelings at some point, but it is our responsibility to ourselves to change the perspective. You owe it to yourself to change the narrative. Switch the negatives to positives and if that isn’t possible in the moment you are in, switch it to a neutral comment.

Instead of I am not good enough, change the narrative to I am enough, or I am doing the best I can. And repeat this to yourself over and over again. These affirmations are so important to our mom well-being.

If you were to go back to the new mom you were, who just gave birth to your little being, what would you tell her? What would you insist she do from that point forward?

Mom Wellness, Self Care

Motherhood Mantras to Get You Through the Day

As mothers, we have a tough, thankless job that doesn’t come with any handbook with directions on how to navigate motherhood. We are forced to tap into that divine feminine intuition that sometimes can be tough to listen to when we are tired, working, trying to raise kind, responsible human beings and juggling all life throws at us. That can lead to opportunities for negative narratives filling up your mind. Then comes the comparisons to other mothers, without much help from social media. It then leads to focusing on what we did wrong to what a horrible parent we are. You can head down a rabbit hole of despair fairly quickly.

But there are some things we can do to stay centered and close to the Goddess Mother within you. The more we work on our own narrative, the more others will catch on as well. If anything we need more now, it’s to support each other in this motherhood journey even if situations are not the same. We need to unite as mothers because, let’s be honest, it takes a village to raise a child!

So how can we do that?

Changing the narrative.

Sounds easier said than done, I know. But don’t complicate it because it is a simple task, we can all do. When you find negative thoughts flooding your mind, instantly turn it into something positive. Whether its immediately thinking of 3 things you are grateful for or just saying something positive about yourself instead. This will train your mind into releasing the negative and focusing on the positive. Instead of thinking about everything you did wrong, think about everything you did right! I guarantee that list is longer!

Something else I love, love, love are Affirmations.

Affirmations are positive, unique mantras or statements about you or your situation that you can play on repeat in your mind daily. You can choose one daily or a few different ones to repeat throughout the day. I suggest starting your day, upon waking, with an affirmation that will set the tone for the day. Write it down so you can be reminded of it often.

If you are having trouble coming up with your own, here is a list of 30 Motherhood Mantras that will get you through the chaos that motherhood comes with.

  1. I love myself enough, to nurture myself, so I have an abundance of love to give to others.
  2. I trust my intuition to lead me in my motherhood journey.
  3. I am capable of amazing things because I helped create life.
  4. I love the body that created and carried my child(ren).
  5. My body is beautiful and deserves grace in this season of healing.
  6. I am centered and focused on healing my postpartum mind, body, and soul.
  7. I am strong because I helped create, carry and birth my little one(s).
  8. Peace begins with me. The more peaceful I am inside, the more peace I have to share with others. – Louise Hay
  9. This is just a season of life that needs me to nurture and be nurtured.
  10. I love myself because_____________.
  11. I am filled with an abundance of love.
  12. Today I will find peace in knowing that the sun always rises and so will I.
  13. Even the littlest thing I do, serves the greater good of my family.
  14. I parent with confidence, without guilt or comparisons. Other mothers are not me, as I am not them.
  15. I give myself permission to do something that nourishes my mind, body and soul.
  16. Loving my child(ren) is more important than loving every moment of motherhood.
  17. I am a good mom, even as I work to become a better one.
  18. I was chosen to parent my child because I was exactly what he/she needed.
  19. There is an abundance of love and peace in this home, even in the midst of chaos.
  20. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my child(ren).
  21. I will do my best as a mom, and that is always enough.
  22. I am more than enough for my baby.
  23. I am present and grateful in this moment.
  24. I will model self-love to my child(ren) without guilt.
  25. The struggles I push through today will be the strengths I gain tomorrow.
  26. My love is given from my full, heart centered, cup.
  27. I will let go of how I think today is supposed to go and accept how it flows.
  28. I am grateful for my ability to create and carry life.
  29. I was brought to this moment because I am strong enough to thrive through this situation gracefully.
  30. I am going with the flow of life and I am peaceful knowing it will all be OK.

I hope starting this affirmation practice gives you the confidence you need to be your best Goddess Mother self, even when life challenges it.

Self Care

Spirituality, Yoga, and Meditation for Beginners

Spirituality and religion get misinterpreted often when it comes to yoga. I personally have heard a lot misinterpreted information when it comes to this subject. You don’t have to be a certain faith or religion to practice yoga. Yoga is not affiliated with any organized religion. It’s the spirituality that yoga offers that makes yoga special. Spirituality is personal for each individual, but it is what makes us feel whole and complete. Spirituality is connecting with your authentic self and/or higher power. Our spirit is the foundation of everything we do, it is our moral compass and driving force in life. Yoga is not a specific religion but with pranayama (breath work), asanas (poses), and meditation, it is great at aligning each being with their source, whatever that may be. Yoga challenges us to sit in silence with ourselves and be accepting of who we are and where we are in life. It challenges us to release the past, be present, and be worry free of the future. This self-awareness has a profound effect on how we live our lives. The better self-awareness we have the better we make decisions for our greater good. The more consistency you have with yoga, the more access you gain to self-awareness and self-alignment. This is how showing up to the mat, can little by little, change your life.

The word yoga means “union” or “unite”. You can define what that means to you because that could mean something a little different person to person. For me, I believe it is the act of uniting our true authentic self with the mask we try hard to keep on. It is the union of our authentic self with our higher power. It is the union of our authentic self with our physical self. This trinity of wholeness between the mind, body and soul is something we all try to align with whether we are actively trying to or not. That place where we stop resisting that alignment is the place where your life begins.

Silencing your mind and sitting alone with yourself can be challenging. We live in a busy, fast world where we prioritize everything else before ourselves. We need yoga more now in this life than ever. A diligent yoga practice can bring up the not so pretty moments in your life that need healing, the things we distract ourselves from thinking about. But this is where true healing can begin. Bringing these issues up, feeling them and releasing them is how we stay present, balanced and blissful. Yoga empowers us to be strong and trusting of ourselves and to go with the flow of life. I believe yoga is one of the most underused life management tools and not to mention you only need yourself to start.

HOW TO SILENCE YOUR MIND: MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS

            If you are unsure of where to start, a good place is allotting just a couple of minutes to meditation daily and working on adding time as you go. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to focus and silence the noise. There are many types of meditations that you can explore that include concentration meditation, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, and imagery meditation. There are meditations for everyone. This meditation exercise a good place to start if you have never had experience meditating. This is something you can practice anywhere, anytime.

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Bring your attention to your natural breath and how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. If your mind wanders or thoughts start taking over, return your focus back to your breath.
  • Maintain this for 2-3 minutes to start and then add time the more you meditate.

After a few sessions of this, start practicing deeper, more controlled belly breaths.

  • Inhaling into your belly, filling up your belly, then chest at a count of 4
  • Exhaling, emptying your belly, then chest at a count of 4.
  • Focusing on breaths. Imagining inhaling positive energy and exhaling anything that no longer serves you or any thoughts you need to rid your mind of.
  • Repeating this during your meditation practice.

No matter the active practice, I hope you are able to challenge your own self-awareness and deepen your personal spirituality by embracing your own unique practice in this world full of unknowns and challenging situations. Don’t focus on healing the world, focus on healing yourself. If every person heals themselves, how different the world might look.

Exercise, Mom Wellness, Nutrition, Self Care, Women's Health

5 Steps I took to go from an Extreme Mindset to Blissfully Balanced

My whole life I have been an extreme, self-competitive, driven, determined, structured, type A individual who can get deep into something I put my heart into. This is great for accomplishing things and with being a former national level figure competitor in bodybuilding, this was great for succeeding in the sport but I didn’t realize I had a lot of healing to do and competing only pushed me further away from myself. Bodybuilding is not to blame, I still love following the sport and love seeing my friends achieve their personal goals with it. I believe that determined mindset is also why I did so well. When I did well and kept improving each show, I was rewarded with my own competitive stage goals, that made me love the stage even more, creating a vicious cycle and an unrealistic expectation of myself in the “off season”. Being so lean on stage created a sense that when not competing and wanting results I felt like…

“I have to do hours of cardio”

“I have to eat the same foods and restrict calories to the extreme.”

“I have to be a slave to the gym.”

This mentality also cycled into…

Binge eating

Insatiable cravings

Fatigue

Feeling like a prisoner to food

Insecurities

Never feeling good enough

Hormonal imbalances

You don’t have to compete to know this cycle. I do believe there are many competitors and non-competitors who have the same mindset and suffer mentally, physically and emotionally from the years of an extreme mindset that causes a multitude of issues that affect wellness. There are so many people feeling this way, but it isn’t talked about because so many do not want to appear “weak”. What I didn’t realize during this rabbit hole I was in, was that these qualities were reactions of feeling out of control of my life, imbalanced, insecurities, past emotional issues and not truly loving myself. That is not weak, that is a serious issue that needs addressed. I hope by speaking about my own journey, it will encourage others silently dealing with the same feelings, to help themselves out of this situation.

I have friends who are competitors and non-competitors who understand this mental state, who have asked me “how did you change that extreme mindset and heal yourself from it because I don’t know how to change?” Everyone’s situation is different and healing looks different for everyone, but these are the first steps I took that started my journey of healing myself.

  1. I started making decisions for my wellbeing.

These decisions look differently for everyone, but I would challenge you to ask yourself, “what is holding me back from being my best self? What is it that is bringing me down?”. After some big realizations, I decided to quit competing and left a toxic relationship. These two decisions were the very first steps to improving my overall wellness and honestly were necessary to my health. My body was so exhausted and needed time to heal from the hormonal damage of extreme dieting for so long. I knew I needed to make decisions that put me in a less anxious, less volatile environment. I needed to focus on me and my mental, physical and emotional well-being.

  1. I hired a coach I trusted.

I hired a coach who helped me come up with a meal and cardio plan. I know what you’re thinking, “How could this be helpful, wouldn’t this put you back into the same situation?” No, this was necessary because if I made my own plan at that time, I would have made things worse. I needed someone to get me started in the right direction and someone that was knowledgeable and knew what they were doing. I was eating the right macros for my body, I was feeling full, I liked the food I was eating and also felt like I had someone who cared about the state of my body, mentally and physically. This helped me get to a point that I could rely on myself and my own awareness which is something I could never do before.

  1. I started listening to my body.

Being on a wholesome, balanced plan sparked enough confidence to start listening to my body, paying attention to my needs and truly taking care of myself. We know our bodies better than anyone but a lot of times we ignore important signs and wait until it’s out of hand. We can prevent a lot of issues just by living more intuitively, quieting the outside noises and extrinsic pressures, and really being real with ourselves.

  1. I started exercising for enjoyment.

I stopped exercising for a competition and started training for fun. I stopped punishing my body with exercise and instead rewarded it with exercise. That was a part of breaking that obsessive habit of only training the way I needed to for the stage and to please judges. I focused on what I liked to do and what made me keep going back. Exploring different kinds of exercise empowered me to break free of the obsessive-compulsive part of my mentality, while maintaining the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

  1. I stopped comparing myself to others.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to improve things about yourself while loving yourself and the process. It becomes negative and the opposite of loving yourself when you compare yourself to others. This is so crucial in our world of social media. Social media is a highlight reel of someone’s life, so you can’t compare your challenges to their best. There is so much behind the scenes that we don’t see and who knows where they are in their journey of life. No one is you and that is a beautiful thing to celebrate.

Healing and changing the way you think is challenging but staying in a toxic mindset is even harder. Time will pass anyway so always prioritize your own happiness and see what unfolds. These 5 steps that started my own journey to a healthy and happy mindset inspired many positive things in my life. I married someone who brings even more joy to my life, I got certified in personal training, fitness nutrition, and Holistic Life Coaching, created The Balancebuilding Philosophy based on my own personal journey, that has helped so many struggling individuals become blissfully balanced as well and most of all I have found my own internal peace and love for myself. If you are someone who struggles with finding a balance with personal goals, health, wellness, loved ones, and/or life in general, start with step one, be real with yourself, and start making decisions to better your well-being. Positive decisions create positive outcomes.

Peace, Love, and Positivity,

Brandi