Over the last few months, we've all gone through stages. Stages of grief, acceptance, frustration, fear. I have found that when I allow myself to focus on the negative, the dark, I forget about how much light there is in my life. I have found that actively practicing gratitude has helped my mood immensely. I have always been someone who is grateful for what she has, but I have found it even more important lately to practice gratitude.
When I forget to be grateful, I focus on my husband leaving his clothes on the bathroom floor instead of reminding myself that he serves me coffee every morning. I focus on the messes my kids make instead of on the memories they made. I focus on the things I didn't get done instead of the things I did.
At the very beginning of this pandemic, I quickly realized that if I wasn't being actively grateful for the things I DO have, I could easily fall into this hole of self-despair and woe-is-me. And honestly, that's not a place I really wanted to be. So throughout the day, I found ways to stop and be grateful for something.
I chatted with Dr. Erika Velez of The Mindful Corner, who gave me some really interesting information. Robert Emmons is considered the world's leading expert on gratitude, and he says that gratitude has two important components. The first is that gratitude is an affirmation of good things in the world. In the second, we recognize that the things we are grateful for exist outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that God and other people give us gifts both big and small to help us achieve the goodness in our lives. Gratitude is a source of strengthening relationships because it requires us to see how other people have been able to support and affirm us.
Emmons found that people who practice gratitude consistently report many benefits. Physically they can have stronger immune systems, can be less bothered by aches and pains, can have lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of their health, and sleep better. Psychological benefits include higher levels of positive emotions, more alert, more joy and pleasure, and more optimism and happiness. Social benefits of practicing gratitude include being more helpful, generous and compassionate, forgiving, outgoing, and feeling less lonely and isolated.
Practicing gratitude is something that requires mindfulness and intention, so while sometimes it may seem like I am just doing something to check it off a list, it is done intentionally and to build it into my routine so it becomes a natural practice. Because I have seen firsthand some of the benefits listed by Emmons above, I want to continue to be consistent in this practice.
Some simple ways I practice gratitude:
And there you have it - 5 simple ways to practice gratitude daily. It doesn't have to be a complicated process. Just make the intention to do it, and you will find yourself finding more ways to be thankful each and every day.
Let me know in the comments, how do you practice gratitude?
In times like these, I am extra grateful that my kids and my family are all generally healthy and don't have any major health issues. And recognizing the blessing that it is in our family, I know that not everyone is as lucky. There are so many out there who are still battling various diseases and require treatment on a regular basis.
And while during normal times, places like Ronald McDonald House Charities rely on the help of volunteers and charitable donations, right now they are extra reliant on the charitable donations since they cannot have volunteers on site.
I had the opportunity to visit RMHCSF with Miami Mom Collective back in November, and it was such a wonderful experience. We served meals, did arts and crafts with the families, and we were able to take a tour of the house. If you have never been there, check out this Virtual House Tour, which shares a little more about what they do there (and it's a LOT). I recently spoke with their Executive Director, Soraya Rivera-Moya, and asked her about ways we can help. They are very active on their Instagram account and regularly post what they are in need of. They have an Amazon wish list, where you can purchase items and have them sent directly to the House.
Soraya also let me know that they are currently in need of individual meals for families during the weekends. Sometimes restaurants donate meals, and other times people donate money to RMHC and they help out local restaurants. They are currently feeding about 20 people on the weekends. It costs about $8 per day to feed one person there, adding up to $160 a week. If you're interested in donating funds, you can do so here.
Gift cards can be a huge help as well. They can be delivered to their front entrance or they can be mailed. The address is 1145 NW 14th Terrace, Miami, FL 33136.
I know that times are hard for many of us, but if you're one of the lucky ones to have your job, health, and income intact, then I urge you to give what you can. If you can't give anything, share the information with friends who might be able to. And every day, count the blessing that is your health.
*Links are affiliate links.
Here's a roundup of some of the things I've bought online this month. Some of the things I have shared in stories and many of you have asked, and others are thing I think might be useful!
1. With all the extra screen time lately, I got these blue light glasses to help Caleb and his tired eyes.
2. I have been packing lunch for Caleb and this morning I started packing Chloe's, too. I love using these Bentgo Boxes because it lets me give them a good variety of things - I have one great eater and one picky one. The great eater gets foods from most of the food groups. The picky ones gets a variety of things I think she may eat.
3. Cables everywhere drive me bananas, and this sticks to the underside of a desk or table to hang headphones.
4. How gross and grimy do bottle brushes get? This Teal Trunk Bottle Brush is silicone and bends just right to get into all those crevices of water bottles and baby bottles.
5. This Amazon Basics device holder is perfect for adjusting and holding phones and tablets. Plus, it's super portable!
6. Okay, so targeted ads get me, too. In this case it was this Summersalt Swimsuit. It kept popping up on my Facebook and Instagram, and when I saw this black and white one, I couldn't resist. I hadn't bought really nice, high quality (read: expensive lol) swimsuit in a while. I think the price on this is reasonable and the compression on the suit is great. Get $10 off your purchase with them by shopping with this link.
7. Chloe got a new swimsuit too. She's had several from Rufflebutts before, but this rainbow striped one is just too cute!
8. I also got the kids these Yeti Ramblers. They're pricey, but all their other water bottles don't really keep their water cold and have a pretty short lifespan. These can also be washed in the dishwasher, which isn't the case for many kids water bottles! It's a little hard for Chloe to open the top, but we practiced with her and she's a pro now. I also love how easy it is to carry with the handle.
That's all for today, I'll have more for you soon!
This is uncharted territory for a lot of us, but we are all making it work however we can. Caleb is on day 4 of virtual learning, and already I have found a few things that have worked and others that haven't. This is by no means smooth sailing, but every day has been a little better, and Caleb's school was so well-prepared for this. His teacher has been a rockstar, too.
I know that I am extremely fortunate in that I have the flexibility to work at whatever time I need to, but I also have Chloe to worry about and keep entertained, and I do want Caleb to learn to be more independent when it comes to virtual learning. After all, I would not be sitting next to him in the classroom, would I?
His teacher sent home a few tips that were really useful, and there were a few other things I implemented that just made sense for us here at home.
I'm trying to keep those last few in mind myself. It's not easy, but I keep reminding myself that we are all going through something similar. Deep breaths and lots of prayers! You've got this!
Want to get more tips and real-life advice from a mom in the trenches? Make sure you're following me on Instagram and Facebook! You can also subscribe to my newsletter, and browse some of my freebies and some of my favorites.
P.S. Wash your hands, wear your mask, increase your vitamin intake, and get active yourself. Because once we do get back to semi-normal living, you're going to want to be doing all those things.
A couple weeks ago, Eddie sent me a link to this recipe from the New York Times Cooking site, and it immediately called our attention for the combination of flavors. I made it that night, and since then, we've had it another 3 times - totaling four times in three weeks! Honestly, it's THAT good.
The first time we had it we made it exactly like in the recipe, served over orzo for a complete meal. Twice we have had it as a side with some steaks, and once I doubled the broccolini and we just had it as a light dinner. It's got all these delicious summer flavors, and since it's a sheet pan meal, it makes for easy cleanup. It also makes for good leftovers - just heat it up in the oven (we use a toaster oven because it's easier).
It's a great dish for when you have company or when you have to take a side dish somewhere - you can prep it beforehand and just toss it in the oven 25 minutes before it's time to eat (it's best to eat the feta right out of the oven or it does get a little chewy as it cools). Plus, it's so colorful - it looks beautiful!
Let me know if you try it and how you like it!
South Florida Bloggers
2019 Best Parenting Blog