Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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The Cold Weather Depression

Did you know that as it gets colder outside that people’s mood shifts?  This is super true and super real.  People start to go down and depression is at an all time high. It could be the weather, it could be the changes in the leaves and things slowly doing their dying/vegetation stage or the fact that as it gets colder the closer we get to the holidays.

I am generally a holiday person but I notice too that I have to be mindful of my moods more often during the colder months.  My kids are what balances me.  They don’t allow for me to have too much of a down time and that’s super great.  Although I know my husband and I are great parents and we push through, let’s get it real I get in the dumps often.  So what do I do during the months leading up to the holidays? I get aware like never before of my triggers.

My personal triggers:

  1. My mother in law being gone has been one.  The year is slowly approaching like in a few days, and that alone has me shifting as I watch my husband and kids shift.  I can see pain and I am dealing with my own.  For that reason, we have made sure to be careful of any extra drama into our home.  This means in conversations, deeds, petty arguments etc.  We are aware.
  2. Holiday commercials.  I think they are great. But the onset of them being super early even for me who is a planner gets to me.  I was in the store and I am still grabbing things for Halloween and I saw Christmas stuff and I am like are you serious?  The reason is it sets my anxiety and now I am trying to focus on meal planning for Thanksgiving and these stores and shoving Christmas at me and I can’t take it.
  3. Drama-Any onset of drama gets me.  To elevate that, I don’t allow it. This is major.  Had this been a few years especially before my kids were born, I would have popped popcorn, and starred in it.
  4. Cold gloomy days-rain is a mood downer on its own, but… cold rainy days or snowy days that don’t produce enough snow to get me or the kids a day off is a downer.  I do not like snow.  I do not like cold.  So I really make sure that I am upbeat, play different music, whatever it takes to get through.  Perception is always key to get through.
  5. Black or dark grey-it works great in the Winter to layer but I will intentionally add color even if it’s in scarf to avoid my mood shifting.
  6. Complaining-I could be a professional one however even I get sick of it.  So now instead of complaining or being around complainers, I just figure out what the core issue is and handle that.
  7. Lack of physical activity-take that how you like. I try to keep my workout strong because with all of the comfort foods you kind of have to.  I tell myself that working out allows me my wine moments.  When activities get low as snow piles up I get my wine in.  This is why babies are born conceived the most during the Winter months.  So be careful.
  8. Social events-I love the idea of dressing and getting ready to go somewhere until its time to go.  Days before my stomach starts to hurt.  The day of I start to get sick or my head starts to hurt. To push past that is simple as going, but pushing past my thoughts are harder to do than slipping on a pair of heels.

Whatever your personal triggers are, be aware.  Have a plan in site.  Speak to someone you trust.  The list of mine may seem trivial but if I let myself go, the outcome of that can be devastating to myself and my family. I know for a fact I am not the only one.  This is why you need to be connected to the right people who can recognize that you are spiraling or you are withdrawing too.

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Make sure that you find what makes you happy.  Get healthy.  The second I get sick, it doesn’t help my mood.  Not only am I focused on getting better but it takes me 3 times harder to get out if I am having a depression trigger right before I get sick.  Sometimes I can get sick, if I allow myself to get too boggled down.

Even after you notice your triggers and work really hard not to allow them to get to you, it still may.  Knowing what you like that can get you out before you get in is key. Not everyone is the same.  Sometimes music does it.  Sometimes being outside helps.  You may need to get counseling during the Winter months.  Whatever it is, get it and make sure you are clear on what that looks like and get it.

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Things you can do to get ahead of it:

  1. Write and keep a gratitude journal
  2. Buy flowers for yourself
  3. Meet up with a special friend once a month
  4. Purchase a special drink
  5. Have a certain go to song
  6. Do something for others
  7. Wear a color that reminds you to stay focused
  8. Bright Nail colors or color art
  9. Keep healthy
  10. Eat right
  11. Do not-self medicate
  12. Talk to someone
  13. Reach out to one person
  14. Check in on others

IF you experience at any time not just when the Winter months come a slight or even worse case of suicidal thoughts please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

What are you Grateful for?

The only time we talk about gratefulness is around Thanksgiving.  You hear everyone repeat what they are grateful for.  If you come from a big family as I do, by the time Aunt Sally speaks her gratefulness you’re almost tapped out.  Do you know the power of speaking what you are grateful for out loud?  It refocuses what you have and less on what you don’t.  It will renew your mind to go after what you don’t have without negativity.  It will allow others around you to get good vibes as well.  When you see grateful people they seem to smile more. There lives may be in shambles but they know that trouble don’t last always.  They seem perkier.  They seem almost too unreal.  The reason they seem unreal is because the world is full of life suckers and negative vibes.  Choose to be the light in a dark world. Sometimes a simple smile can do it for someone. I watched my kids energy in a simple Snapchat video and it reminded me to slow down and relax.  Or when I see my daughter accomplish a goal she thought she couldn’t its gratefulness that makes me stop and reflect.  I look and see the Vegas devastation and some of the stories of heroism or the stories of how a man lost his wife but he was grateful for her smile everyday.  Can you say the same?  Will someone look back at the time you were here and say, they were genuine and loved life?  If not you can change it.  Life sucks no doubt, but if you change the lens you will be able to conquer anything thrown.

So I’ll start it out for you, what are you grateful for?

I am grateful:

  1. My life
  2. My health
  3. My husband
  4. My kids
  5. My job
  6. Good credit
  7. No debt
  8. Ability to love
  9. Ability to receive love
  10. This day
  11. My friends
  12. For my grandparents still being alive
  13. For my nieces
  14. My siblings and siblings in love
  15. My parents
  16. For working my marriage
  17. For good food in my home
  18. For the ability to have gas in my car
  19. For healing
  20. For a sound mind
  21. Loving love
  22. Being quirky
  23. For loving to celebrate daily days
  24. Being an organized person
  25. For being creative

The list can go on for pages and pages, what are you grateful for?  Speak it and sit back and enjoy the blessings that God gave you as you speak it and list it.  It changes you when you learn to live from a grateful heart.  Be grateful!

Approvals Aren’t Always Necessary

We live in an approval type world.  We live for likes and shares.  We live for someone to high-five our moves.  There are times when this is just not necessary.  There are times when this will not happen, what are you going to do?  Cry and die because you don’t have a team of support behind you?  Don’t get caught up in this approval world.

You are more than enough.  Your voice is strong enough.  Your more than capable of making a sound decision.  You don’t have time to call in the troops to rally around you. You have to make decisions on your own as an adult and deal with whatever fall out that comes from that decision.  So if you are in a hard place trying to figure some things out you have to find what is the best decision for YOU.  Only you know what you want to accomplish in the end.  Only you know what you need to do to get there.

Friends

Having friends are nice but not necessary in your decision-making process.  You have to be very careful who you whisper your intentions and dreams. Everyone is not a friend. Life will weed out the good and the bad.  You can’t think that all of your friends will mean you well.  Never make a decision and get advice from someone who hasn’t walked your path.  That’s like asking your unmarried friends advice for your marriage.  They have clear perspective from only one sight: the what I would do sight.  What one would do from the outside and that of someone on the inside is totally different perspective. You listening to your friend telling you to end their marriage while they have no one or are booed up with a joker makes no sense.  Learn to weed out some of the advice you get. It’s like a couple in the middle of a divorce getting advice from someone in the honeymoon stage of their marriage.  You haven’t had to fight long enough to know what its like to be ready to walk away.  Learn not to cast your hopes in a group or a person. Make decisions for yourself.

Family

Having family that love and support you is a beautiful thing.  However you have to be able to think for yourself and not make decisions based on what your favorite aunt, cousin, mom, or grandma would do.  Remember even in a family, everyone still has individual goals.  Do you know that some people are so stuck on family that they can’t even make sound decisions on their own?  Let me give you an example. A young couple gets married, the wife is so used to doing all that her family wants that when she is married she doesn’t learn to drop some of that dependence to her family.  So when it’s time for her and her new husband to cleave, she doesn’t.  She can’t go anywhere the family hasn’t approved.  If her family says it’s not time for her and her husband to have a baby, she doesn’t.  It causes issues in her own new family.  Remember a married couple is their own family with or without kids.  So now the marriage is tested because she needs the approval of her family and hasn’t managed to be her own person or to talk and listen to her new family’s needs.  Family can’t dictate what happens in your home unless you allow it.  Learn to hear God, and yourself first.  Trust the process.

Social Media

It’s so nice to have social media.  It can bring some together.  It can tear others apart.  Do NOT allow what social media says to dictate your every move.  Even for this blog I make sure I am grounded.  I can’t make every blog fit everyone.  It wasn’t made to.  I can’t worry about likes or shares all the time. This blog wasn’t made for it.  You have to be able to know whats for you and what’s not.  Do not let social media be the source or be what dictates what you do or say.  You do have to keep in mind audience but if you believe in it, speak it say it.  However believe all the way about it.  The reason is in this day and age, screen shots are too real.  So before you go off on someone or something think to yourself is it worth me losing a job over, losing relationships with loved ones?  If so do your thing but if not refrain.  Do make sure you take breaks.  Social media can be draining.

This Monday and everyday be clear on what it is YOU want.  Make decisions based upon if you are comfortable.  This goes for who you marry down to what you wear.  People mean well that is at least what I tell myself when I deal with others but you have to live for yourself.  Do not allow others to have a voice that is higher and stronger than the voice of God or what you feel inside of you.  God has given us all discernment. Sometimes we do a great job listening and others times we do not.  Trust the process.  It will feel uncomfortable sometimes having to do somethings on your own.  You were built for your life.  This is why only certain trials that would take someone out doesn’t take you out.  You were built to make it.  You will make it. However do not allow others to come into your life and make decisions for you. I would rather fail at my own than try to live a life that is not in me to live to please others.

The Scare Of My Life, Brought Me Life

So I’m finally home after having one of the best times of my life yesterday. I’m catching up and reading my Essence magazine (the August edition with Idris Elba) and reading the stories of women who suffered strokes and all I can say is but God.

It’s making me super grateful. I remember having the migraine of my life while pregnant with my youngest child. I also remember the flood of emotions after being told I had a blood clot in my brain. I’m super grateful for that migraine because it’s the one thing that alerted doctors that something wasn’t right. I’m grateful that I was spared from having a stroke. Had I not had that migraine I can’t imagine what my family and I would have had to endure. I am super happy that although the road from the blood clot wasn’t an easy one how much worst it could be.  The doctors are amazed at how I didn’t stroke out and let me say I am grateful.

It’s the one thing that I think of when I don’t want to work out and eat the right things. My health is my wealth. I can’t do for myself or my family if I’m not at my best. To be at my best I have to invest in my overall health from the inside out.

I indulge but for the most part I am super cautious of what I eat or drink. I do not want to do anything that may cause large issues later. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your health seriously. I never really paid any attention to it until that day and even after that I slipped until I was weighed almost 3 years later weighing 190 pounds. I got on that scale at work of all places and secretly cried in the bathroom. I thought what type of sorcery was I on to eat myself to this point? I blamed breastfeeding. Yes when you first start out and are pumping I lost all of my baby weight in the first two weeks. Even my husband was shocked. Slowly but surely I needed more calorie intake but I took that to be more of the unhealthy choices and soon after I stopped nursing I had this 190 pounds of foolishness to carry. 

That is why after that reality check I couldn’t see the weight like that anymore. Not being able to wear the clothes I wanted was a push too. No one feels good wearing clothes you have to wear. However I took the responsibility that it was on me to fix.  Even if I didn’t have a goal of what my weight was to be, I couldn’t wear any more plus size clothes. I’m not knocking a plus size woman but my issue was from pure laziness and it wasn’t my size. It was the size that I accepted by not putting effort in my life.  There was other areas in my life where I didn’t put effort either. So in December before the New Year hit I set out to change what I looked like and how I felt. Even with the recovery of my hysterectomy I have maintained my weight without working out. I will step back into my work outs this week and I’m super excited. 

My overall effort in my inside is showing on my outside. I feel a new glow up in my life. It’s not just the clothes I can finally wear but it’s the fact that every single day I wake up and do the things that make me happy and whole.  Please don’t let a medial scare take you out of here or bring you to death’s door.  You can make the change today! 

Beach Day aka Peace

So yesterday I had my annual beach day. What a great time. It was everything I needed and more. I went to Belmar Beach in Jersey. It’s super nice and not too crowded.

Let’s talk about the things that was different from last year. One I didn’t get to the beach until like noon. That is like beach no no. Normally I like to get there by 9 so I can get settled before the swarm of people come. Getting there at noon meant no umbrellas was available to rent. So I settled with the beach chair. Another issue with getting there later than normal is parking. I was super far and it felt like I parked in Philly and walked to the beach. None the less I got snuggled into my spot and got to my me day.  I sat there super proud yet again. 2 years in a row and I didn’t let even my surgery stop me from having this time to renew.

I let those who I needed to know I was safe and the first agenda, a nap. I don’t know if it was that yesterday was national nap day but I got one. Armed with my beach hat to shield me from the sun I got some good sleep. There actually was a breeze and clouds so it wasn’t at all bad weather wise. However after my nap the sun came and stayed so I ended up having some awesome fries and a smoothie from Cruz Bay Cafe. These fries was so good. I was determined not to eat anything too heavy especially with the heat.

After that I read a book, got in the water, stayed off of social media for the most part and wrote in my journal in between some great snacking.  As my time came to a close I decided to walk the board walk. During that time I met a young woman who was traveling solo. We ended up having an acai bowl at Playa Bowls. If you ever had a bowl from there you know just how good they are for you and to you.  We talked about everything. She’s in the middle of a divorce and having to figure her new life out. I just encouraged her to find out who she is now. What she wants from her new relationship with her soon to be ex husband and how to keep her wits about her. She said she doesn’t have a lot of friends and I explained to her how I felt during my move to Philly. I encouraged her to get out and get into some new activities.

I also did a LOT of people watching. I saw a guy who was on clear house arrest but he was out splashing around. My thought is he must have a window of time to be out but he was definitely out there enjoying himself. I have to say that’s a first that I’ve seen someone on house arrest out at the beach but hey he’s minding his business so I simply observed and kept it moving.

The best part is always that it’s my time. I don’t take any of my family with me since the kids are unpredictable with the beach and my husband hates sand between his toes. It’s a win for me to indulge in the peace of watching the waves, hearing the sound of the water, enjoying the sand in my toes and literally getting quiet. I love this time. It’s all mine. Not to mention I had some great snacks that I didn’t have to share with little hands. That’s always a plus.

I got some clarity and I can’t wait to implement them. I got some fresh ideas for the blog and some series to do as well.  So be on the look out for them as I release them in the coming months.

As always I encourage everyone to take some time out for themselves. Nothing like peace that is priceless. No excuse to making sure that you are the priority. I look forward to getting ready to go back to work soon. I think anyway. But until then I will be focusing on my next appointments, and crossing off my summer wish list.  I’m more determined to get things done even if that means going solo.

How To Deal With a Jerk

So the other day I was driving behind a jerk.  I was on my way to work and I didn’t have my kids in the car which is a rarity in the morning.  Usually when I have the kids in the car I usually do an out loud prayer to prevent me from using “adult words” in my  kids’ presence and they get a kick out of it because they think I am trying to be a comedian and I’m really not.

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So this day I was able to get my car washed before work and make a Wawa stop which for me is under a Starbucks stop and I am in a good mood.  The man in front of me is going at least 15 mph in a 25.  So at first I turn my music up and rock out until he is going several blocks looking back at me in his mirror.  So the music is no longer loud to me because my focus was on the irritating man. I don’t want to tap into full road rage because in this day and time people are taking lives over this type of stuff. So a few deep breaths.  Than at some point I lose it and I am hollering at the car.  Why am I hollering as if this man can hear me?  I am all in my feelings.  The man sees it and drips down to 10mph.  Everyone is beeping their horn but he’s smiling in his mirror seeing the agitation and getting off on it if you ask me.  I couldn’t get around him at first.  So I am like Toi, what are you doing?  Don’t feed into his foolery.  So I realize I can make a turn and get around him so I do.  I turn on my Beyoncé and I get my smiles on because I know that its going to irk him to see me happy.  It works, he is waving at me as I get around me all besides himself as he catches the light.  I was able to get me together and not given into this brief encounter.  There was a way out.  There is always a way out when dealing with idiots.  We don’t look for ways out we like to indulge  into what jerks are doing. There’s a spot in us that likes to let others see that we are mad at them.  To be real folks don’t care.

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Don’t subscribe to their channel.  When someone sees you are ruffled you let them know that you are irritated and what spot to keep hitting.  Guess what?  They keep hitting. Stop allowing people who do not matter to have a front row in your life. This is easier said than done but once you shut out the extra folks and their mess that they create you will notice a peace in your own life.  Some baggage comes from our own minds, things we create, and some come from deposits that we allow others to drop off and then they walk away feeling fine and we are irritated, mad, sad, heated, and hateful.  Drop folks and their stuff off with them and makes waves to secure your own peace.  Peace is sometimes better than just having a solution to an issue.  You can solve a problem and still have no peace.  So today, to hell with a jerk…..

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