Grief, mourning, and self care

I am going through a personal loss in my life right now, on the verge of losing one of my heroes and someone who profoundly affected my life.  As I sit and reflect on this, I am trying to understand grief and mourning as I am new to these, or so I thought.

Questions I am contemplating are: What’s going to happen next?  How will I cope?  How will my loved ones cope?  Will this trigger depression or anxiety? What can I do to healthily work through my triggers?  How will I support my loved ones?  My children have never experienced a severe loss at an age where they could truly understand and now two of my kids are at an age where I believe they will.

I find myself determined to be a healthy example of grief and mourning.  We have always taught our children that life and death are inevitable and it’s OK to be sad, it’s OK to miss someone, but that they are looking down on us, want our happiness, and to be remembered and spoken about.  However, this was over our pet guinea pig and our pet rabbit, and when we lost my father-in-law to cancer, only one of them was at an age where they could sort of understand.

So what is “Grief” and what is “Mourning”?  We use the words as if they have the same meaning, but grief is the internal feeling of loss and mourning is the external.  Mourning can be shared between others, there is a process sometimes, like a celebration of life, a funeral, some sort of service for our internal grief to be externalized.  Mourning is to release overwhelming emotions.  The internal battles are far more challenging in my opinion.  Parents can be falling apart inside with grief, but their mourning needs to be controlled for their children, to an extent.  If we have an “I can’t get out of this bed feeling”, we can’t allow ourselves to stay in bed.  We have the most precious gifts we need to get up for and support and show our strength.  It doesn’t make us any stronger than the next, but a responsibility we chose as we decided to enter parenthood.  We don’t get sick days, we don’t get time off.  I am not complaining, as my children are my greatest accomplishment and gift, I am just wondering what I can offer my children through my wisdom, experience and love to help them and get them through this in finding their inner peace.

Some different examples we don’t even realize we grieve are not just death of a loved one, but maybe you are grieving the loss of  a friendship or relationship, the loss of an education, job,and for some even the loss of an addiction or an election.

For my triggers, as a lot of us have them, a death or other hardships can trigger depression, anxiety, sadness and pain.  I believe everyone should have a distress tolerance checklist.  One in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem and whether you realize it or not, you are or will be affected in some way, yourself or a loved one.  It isn’t doing us any favors to avoid opening up a dialogue.  This being said, I want to offer some ideas in distress tolerance and self-soothing.

Have an Emergency Distress/Self-soothing care kit.  Create a portable box, bag, whatever works for you and fill it with comforting things.  A drawing from your child,  a picture of your loved ones,  essential oils (lavender is great for anxiety).  Maybe you need some soft fabric as your senses need that touch to feel better.  It could be a memento from a trip or experience you’ve had.  It could be a list of your favourite songs to listen to that are upbeat, a playlist you download in your Ipod or phone.  It’s really up to you.  It is easier to make this kit when you are in a better frame of mind so you can take the time to create it full of kind and thoughtful ways to care for yourself.

Believe in yourself, be grateful and show gratitude to others.  Maybe you will have days where that feels impossible, but know that you have gotten through hardship before and that you are strong enough to do it again.  I have found that believing in myself and showing kindness to myself and others has created an inner peace and confidence that allows me to know that it will truly be OK when I could not do that years ago.  Don’t allow others to tell you how to feel, how to grieve, or what you have to do.  Each one of us is composed of different thoughts, feelings, and emotions and that is was makes us unique.  The only thing I could ever ask of someone else is to have an open-mind.  When you have an open-mind and are willing to try things that may not make sense, or seem like they couldn’t possibly work, you will find peace in things and yourself you never thought possible.  There is a saying of willing vs willful.  Willingness is using that open-mind to allow yourself to experience everything you can to self-care, self-improve and create experiences for yourself that will help you succeed.  Being willful is to me the close-minded side, that you decide only you know what is best, that nothing can succeed unless you feel it can, and you allow yourself to stop co-operating with your life, with others, with good intentions, thoughts and feelings that may empower you to find yourself.  I have found the most peace in things I could have never imagined.  At one point though, I have been that willful woman.  I saw that wilfulness fails and was left with two options.  Become willing, or self destruct.  I can assure you, the freedom of willingness was one of the most powerful decisions I have ever made.

So today, as I am grieving my inevitable loss, I leave these thoughts with an inner peace.  I realize in sharing this with you, that I will be OK .  That I will work through what’s ahead because I have patience, kindness, understanding and love from myself and others to guide me.  I hope that if you read this and can relate in any way that you are kind to yourself or others.

Quote of the day:

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Self care tip of the day:

Create your self-soothing distress tolerance kit, in that you are being kind to yourself, even if you never use it.  Whatever hardships may happen, whatever decisions you make, good and bad, that you deserve kindness, love, and understanding from yourself first.






Eat well, Save more

Have you ever felt like you have a selective memory?  And by selective, I mean it selects to forget everything you want to remember if you don’t write it down instantly.  Solution?  I put up a whiteboard in my kitchen with nearby marker.  Take that selective memory!  This is where I make my 1st draft grocery list.  By first draft I mean anything I may see I need while I am in the throes of hell trying to cook for 5 people who, somehow, if you can imagine like completely different foods from one another.  I used to cook for fun, now I cook for necessity and have a “this means business” attitude towards cooking meals and buying groceries. So here are a few suggestions I have for making your relationship with food and money a little easier.

Tip 1)

The Whiteboard/grocery list – 1st draft grocery list. This is to put anything down we realized we missed on our last grocery list and to stop our parenting “selective memory” from taking over in the loudest and chaotic parts of our day.  It will help you realize exactly what you need in the insanity of daily life and schedules.  I suggest making multiple drafts.  Draft 2 comes when the flyers come in (we get ours every Thursday).  On Thursday I take my list from the whiteboard, and compare it to the flyers and create a weekly meal plan.  You don’t have to be fancy with the plan, try starting with steak, potatoes, broccoli for example.  As you get better you may be able to take more into account, sauces, spices, etc.  We live rural so running to multiple grocery stores is near impossible.  I select two (maybe you can use more, maybe you can only do one, that’s ok, just choose wisely).  I take the flyers, decide how each compares to my list of “needs” for prices, what has the best sales and the meal plan.  From this I make a decision where I will save most and shop there.  For my meat, unless that store I just picked to shop at has a great sale, I have a local go-to store that always has decent prices on meat.  Always be armed with a list – impulse buying is generally what creates unnecessary additional spending. I also make sure I have a budget, and I calculate the cost of my groceries as I shop on a calculator.  I tick each item off the list and write the price beside it (it really doesn’t take long and you will really value what you are putting in the cart, can eliminate non-essentials, and save money ).

Tip 2)

In store savings:

This is where I am always on the look out.  Sometimes we can find instant savings in the aisles.  Whether its additional coupons above products that simply require you pull them off and bring them to cash (how easy is that), or the ex: “30%-50%” off labels that you will often find on fresh goods because they are reaching the expiry date.  If these are products like meat, buy an amazing roast for half price for dinner tonight, or freeze it for later.  These products will hold in your freezer.  I don’t recommend buying these items in bulk, as everything has an eventual expiration date and the last thing you want to do is bulk up your freezer and forget about the meat or keep it any longer than between pays.  I will buy and stock up for the next two weeks meals.  Remember a roast doesn’t have to just be a roast, eating the same boring thing all the time.  If that’s where the deals are at, make some beef skewers as well.  Your breads, fruits/veggies and dairy products often will have these labels too.  Yogurt can be mixed into any recipe, baking cooking, you name it!  Fruits and veggies are great for homemade smoothies, apple sauce, popsicles, mix into your yogurt (tastes way better than flavoured yogurt), breads can be turned into garlic breads, bruschettas, toasted, put it in your food processor for bread crumbs and freeze them.  There are always ways to reinvent your fresh goods.  Grocery stores are laid out so that all the foods you really need are on the outsides of the store, while all of the junk, processed and non-essentials, with a huge mark-up, are generally in the middle of the store.  Watch where you drive your cart and really plan ahead as you shop.

Tip 3)

At home savings:

As mentioned above, buying reduced-price fresh goods can allow for some great savings, and the ability to make some of your own goods from scratch (meat skewers from roast, apple sauces, bruschettas, garlic breads, etc).  When you cook from scratch you don’t need to be a master chef.  The only thing you really need to make sure you have as some great base recipes.  Nothing that overwhelms you, there are lots of beginner recipies with only a few simple ingredients.  This way you know exactly what you and your family are putting into your bodies, you can make in bulk, and save the money from buying these items in packages and full of unknowns at a higher cost.

Tip 4)

Group savings:

Large family?  Maybe it’s time to invest in a wholesale membership.  Or one of my favourite ways to save time and money is to start a mom lunch box group.  You and you girlfriends who want to save time and money on your kids lunch food get together and have a bulk food making party.  Good conversation, music, and maybe some drinks make time go by while having fun.  Each one of you commit yourself to making a bulk recipe and you divide it between everyone.  You can delegate and do this from home and get together and distribute it as well, but the party is way more fun and you can alternate who hosts.  Everyone brings decided upon ingredients, making sure costs are split appropriately (easier to buy wholesale for large quantities savings), and you go.  Misery loves company and making lunch food can feel like misery for school lunches!  Maybe one of you makes bulk pizza dough, it’s so versatile, another makes homemade apple sauce (with the bulk apples you just bought in the reduced section), another makes muffins, etc.  It’s whatever you all agree upon and can take a bit of stress off each other while still feeding your kids healthy food that you know what the real active ingredients are.  I suggest having cards made with agreed upon recipes and distribute. This way everyone knows what they are getting and once decided all that’s left is to make it.  Then there are no surprises at distribution.

My question is, what are some of the best recipes you have for saving time/money/stress??

Quote of the day:

“All things are difficult before they are easy” – Thomas Fuller

Self care tip of the day:

Any of that extra money you have from doing a great job on your budget, spend on yourself from time to time. We all need a little pick me up. Whether it’s getting your nails done, buying a nicer mascara, a new shirt, or setting aside into a fund to build up for something really special. However much you saved, give yourself a pat on the back with it.

Welcome, let’s do this!

Where can we start?  Welcome to The Mended Mommy blog!  I’m a busy wife, and mother of three, navigating life, overcoming obstacles and exploring for the first time everything this world has to offer.  As I have learned to get to know myself over the years, the places I have turned to for hope, wisdom and strength have guided me to reach out and share experiences.   I want to share how I spend and save on my family of 5, where I want to travel, and how can I do it on a budget. What DIY project I make a mess out of next!?! I love a good beauty hack, life hack, anything that will make our lives easier! There are so many interesting people, places and things, and I’m ready to talk about my experiences, and anything in general. I thought, why not start using social media? Blogging? All of these interesting advances in technology I have been so afraid to get comfortable on them.  Let’s have some fun, find ways to make our lives easier and do it together!

I want your feedback, and ideas, so let’s open a dialogue.  You can also follow me on twitter @MendedMommy.

Quote of the day: 

When I think about the day ahead, I think about the potential for bettering myself and bettering everything around me.  What a treasured gift, this thing called life.” – Lisa Desatnik

Daily Tip for Self Care:

Spend an extra 10 minutes of your day, make time to pamper yourself.  Whether you want to try a new nail polish colour or beauty tip,  been meaning to cook a new dish, exercise, write more.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant and life changing.  It’s all these little things that add up and add value to our “happiness bucket”.  If you are unsure or not feeling motivated I ask you give whatever it is 10 minutes.  At this time of year, maybe it’s that New Years resolution you are already struggling to try or stick with.  If after 10 minutes you don’t want to continue, stop, pat yourself on the back for making this time for you.  It gets easier every day.