The Pros & Cons of Journaling

Woman sitting outside journaling in a notebook
Getting some journaling time in!

Several months ago I posted about how I changed the way I journal to make it more enjoyable and meaningful. You can find that post here.

Today I want to talk about the Benefits and Downfalls of Journaling. According to an article on PsychologyToday.com, “Outcome research on the benefits of journaling shows mixed results. Sometimes keeping a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences helps, but often it makes things worse. In general it is likely to hurt if it tries to help you “know yourself” in isolation and helps if it leads to greater understanding and behavior change in your interactions with others.”

“Know yourself in isolation” is an interesting way to describe it, I think. But I think it means that failing to connect with other people, and get feedback etc, is important as well. If you only look to yourself for improvement, solutions, and opportunities for growth, you’re missing out on a whole lot!

The article goes on to give a list of benefits and drawbacks of journaling according to research:

Journaling can have a positive effect on your behavior and well being if it:

  • Makes you step back and evaluate your thoughts, emotions, and behavior
  • Explores solutions
  • Brings your emotions and motivations into alignment with your deepest values
  • Converts negative energy into positive creativity and growth
  • Lowers your emotional reactivity to others
  • Increases tolerance of ambiguity, ambivalence, and unpredictability, which are part of normal living
  • Helps you see other people’s perspectives alongside your own
  • Makes you feel more humane
  • Helps you take a definite course of action.

Journaling can have a negative effect on your behavior and well being if it:

  • Makes you live too much in your head
  • Makes you a passive observer of your life (thinking about how you’ll record it instead of experiencing what is happening)
  • Makes you self-obsessed
  • Becomes a vehicle of blame instead of solutions
  • Wallows in negative things that have happened to you.

Sticking to writing in a journal can be really difficult too, which is why you need to make it enjoyable, and a part of your daily routine. My friends and I were talking about journaling this past weekend, and it came up that sometimes it can be hard to know what to write about. Especially if you are writing everyday! So one of my friends told us that he Grandmother always kept a journal and once told her, “If you don’t know what to say, just write about the weather.” You know what the weather was like so you really don’t have to think about what to say, you can just write it. And if nothing else flows out after that, then maybe that’s enough some days.

I really loved that idea. It gives you a way to stay accountable in a way, because you don’t ever have the excuse that you don’t know what to write.

I think another good rule for journaling is that if you only do one sentence on the days you have trouble figuring out what to write, that’s ok too. Sometimes I even will write down a quote that I really like when I have nothing else to write.

It’s important to remember that journaling is for YOU. Drop whatever preconceived ideas or beliefs about journaling that you have and create new ones! There are no RULES! You get to make up your own!

Do you journal?

Tell me in the comments– Do you journal? If yes, how do you make it enjoyable for yourself? Do you draw pictures? Make lists? Tell me everything!

FREEBIE!!

List of twenty Journal Prompts
20 FREE Journal Therapy Prompts

Interested in trying out my online journaling program? Let me know your email address in the comments or message me on Facebook, and I will send you more information.

Source: The Good and the Bad of Journaling: Use it as a tool to improve or appreciate, Steven Stosny, Ph.D., Psychology Today

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Beer Fear & Cheer Podcast

So I did a thing..

Beer Fear and Cheer Podcast
Me and my Brother

 

So I did a thing and started a Podcast with my brother! I absolutely LOVE podcasts! You can find a list of my favorites here.

And since I got addicted to podcasts about a year or so ago I wanted to start my own, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted my podcast to be about! So I thought about it for a long time and finally came to a decision.

And I’m sure you’re thinking, “of course you would do a podcast on self love or mental health or something like that right?”

Actually, no. I decided I wanted this project to be one that is a form of self care for me. I want to talk about something I love, something I know, and something that will be beneficial for other people, even if it’s just for a laugh!

Thats why I decided on a true crime/comedy podcast! Now.. I know you’re thinking, “man that seems pretty off brand for you.” And yeah I guess you’re right! BUT my “brand” is being yourself and doing what makes you happy!

Why true crime/comedy?

Well I love true crime and I love psychology and I like to talk about both of them!

I chose to do this with my brother because we have always been super close and I think we’re hilarious together haha😁 But in all honesty, my brother Rich is a lot funnier than I am!

Beer Fear and Cheer Podcast Logo

So we named it Beer, Fear, & Cheer because we get together, drink some beer (or wine) and tell each other stories and try to make each other laugh. We talk about a true crime story, ghost stories, or a story that has to do with one of our fears– our last episode was based on one of my biggest fears which is the water or the ocean. And we discussed the true story behind the movie Open Water. Then when I’m done telling my story Rich tells a story that will make me (and the listener) laugh! We try to cover all of the bases! 😁

I have really enjoyed doing the podcast and I’m looking forward to doing more episodes this year. If true crime is your thing too I would love for you to check it out! Just click here to listen! If you don’t have Apple you can find us on Spotify or just about anywhere else you listen to podcasts! If you would also be so kind as to leave us a review we would both be SO grateful! It really helps us out when people leave us reviews! You can also like us/follow us on:

Facebook and join our Facebook group!!

& Twitter

If you have a ghost story or funny/embarrassing story you want to share, we will read it on the podcast in an upcoming episode! Just email it to us at beerfearandcheer@gmail.com We would love to hear from you!!

Enough about me! What is something you would like to do but you are hesitant because it’s not what everyone else thinks you should do. Tell me in the comments!

Improve the Quality of Your Friendships

Let’s be honest with each other here, it’s hard making friends as an adult. Am I right? As adults we are much more judgmental, hesitant, and picky about our who we choose as our friends.

Our social circles tend to get smaller as we get older and our lives change. We don’t see the same people that we used to on a regular basis.

However research shows that connection is necessary for living a fulfilling life. We need friends that we can share our lives with to feel whole. I’m sure you have heard the statistics about women’s life expectancy being longer than men’s. This is partly because women are more social creatures. We’re more likely to have a network of friends and therefore more likely to..

LIVE

LONGER!

If that doesn’t say something about how our friendships affect us, I don’t know what does!

So since it such an important aspect of our lives it’s something we should put more effort and intention into.

SO, I made a free 5 Day Course on Friendships! It includes:

  • Characteristics of Healthy Friends
  • 10 Tips for Being a Better Friend
  • Friends & Setting Boundaries
  • Healthy Conflict Resolution in Friendships
  • 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Friendships

If you are interested in my free course just click here to sign up!

Mommy Monday: Casey Wolfe

“Mom guilt, it’s like my arch nemesis. It’s constantly present, and never ceasing to exist! I had mom guilt before Fitz was even born, and still, to this day, it is present. I have just now learned how to ignore unnecessary guilt and let it “roll off my shoulders.”

Before my son was born, there would be days I would forget to take my prenatal vitamin, or I ate crap for several days.  I thought to myself, what a disservice to my unborn child! I can’t even remember to take a vitamin or eat my veggies that is beneficial to his development. When Fitz was born, I always asked myself, am I rocking him or holding him long enough? Am I using the right bottles? Does he need more gas medicine? It was always never enough, or I always felt like I was doing something wrong. When Fitz was 4 months old, I went back to work, and my mom guilt quickly escalated!  I constantly thought I wasn’t spending enough time with him, and I was missing his milestones. My milk supply dropped when I started back work, and I felt terrible that I couldn’t provide him with enough milk.

To this day, I have guilt when disciplining Fitz, and he is 21 months old. I always think, am I being too harsh? Am I not disciplining him enough? If Fitz eats fast food for several days in a row, he will be fine, he gets to eat food he thinks taste way better than my vegetables. If I discipline him, I know I a teaching him right from wrong because I love him and want him to be a good person. If I don’t give him that piece of cake right before bed and he has a fit, I can’t feel guilty about not giving in to him. I can’t feel guilty about every little thing that I may or may not be doing right. I always second guess myself when it comes to raising Fitz. This is all new to me and I am slowly learning.

There is one thing I do know, and that is Fitz knows he is loved, and he will always be safe. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but it can be close to it. It can be your kind of perfect. Mom guilt lingers and stays. However, I leaned to let things go and not let it take over. All mommies, and future mommies. You are awesome! Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone and think you should be doing more.  You be you, momma, and love that baby, and that is all they will ever need. Your love. Give your mom guilt a kick to curb and relax. You are doing perfect!”

Casey also owns an online children’s embroidery boutique called Lollie Mac’s. You can find her on Facebook Lollie Mac’s    and Instagram

Check her out! She has some adorable clothes for your little ones!! And mention this blog post and get $3 off your first order!!

Mommy Monday: Chelsie Jordan

My dad has always told me “be where you’re feet are.” And I’ve always rolled my eyes and moved along. My dad is the one always trying to teach life lessons. Trying to teach me to be patient, to not panic in stressful situations, to not cut corners when I turn while driving. Blah blah. I didn’t appreciate every lesson I should have growing up. But now, as a mom, the “being where your feet are” has suddenly hit me.
I’m the mom that constantly worries. The one who has anxiety. The one who struggles with working while my babies are little because I feel like I’m missing so much. The one who still does panic in situations. I am bad about “babying” my children too much and really bad about planning and organizing. The mom who makes my lists at night and pray it doesn’t get lost or forgotten. I’m the mom who 99% of the time does not know our weekend plans because it’s only Wednesday and I haven’t thought that far. So if all these are my weaknesses, you can only imagine how I am never where my feet are.
When I’m at work I think about my babies, when I’m with my babies, I’m thinking about night time routines to get us to next day, and making sure I reserve my grocery pick up order. On the occasional date night, I’m picking the restaurant that doesn’t have a wait time, and where the food usually arrives quick because I need to get home to put kids in bed and start laundry. I’ve tried to be the other mom. The organized planner with suppers and meals organized for the week, or even the month. It just doesn’t work for us. It doesn’t.  Not in our current stage of life. It may one day. And I will look forward to that.

But there is something perfectly imperfect with coming to the realization that your routine might not be your best friends routine. Or your sisters routine. That it’s okay  that my toy room looks like a F5 tornado went through It and I can’t pick it up because I’m almost 100% sure the bins the toys were originally supposed to go in, are broken. And my sister’s toy room looks like it belongs in a magazine. And right beside it, a family photo of them. And for a long time, a REALLY long time, all that bothered me. That I wasn’t that mom. I did a lot of comparing. A lot of crying. And then one day I actually heard my dads words. Be where your feet are. And I stopped. And I breathed. And I looked around at the toy room and laughed. And smiled at the laundry. And then played with the Kids. And read to them. And went on a date with my husband. And breathed. Because every stage of life is hard. Every stage. And it really is up to us to decide, and be confident, that we are enough. And if we want our children to also be confident in themselves, we must show them. We must not compare ourself to others. Because we don’t want them to do that.

Sometimes, in the stages of our life we don’t have the energy to BLOOM where we are planted. We only have the energy to BE where are feet are. And there is something so, so special about that.

Mommy Monday: Hospital Bag Essentials

Everything You Need for Your Hospital Stay When You Deliver

Not sure what all you need for the hospital when you go into labor? Ive got a list that will tell you everything you need! Before I went into labor with Braden in August I spent SO much time scouring Pinterest and Mom groups for lists of what to take with me because I wanted to be over prepared. I ended up having to stay a few extra days as well so my husband had to make a few trips back home! So through my experience I created this awesome list of everything I couldn’t have lived without!

1.) Loose & Comfy PJs — After birth you can get out of that hospital gown and into your own clothes! I took a night gown (super cute and comfy one from Target as well as some oversized pajama pants I found on Amazon. You want to be comfortable so whichever of these you prefer or both like I did!

2.) Oversized underwear — If you are giving birth vaginally this is key! Get some cheap undies that are way too big! You’ll have to wear pads and ice packs so you will want something that allows this comfortably.

3.)  Nursing bra &/or Tank Top — I got both of these but really didn’t use the tank top until I was home. (It was more tight fitting and I wasn’t as comfortable in it, so be conscious of size! However the bras were so helpful! (Also getting a gown that makes it easy for you to nurse is something to think about as well! Mine had a low neck and then buttoned up the chest so I could just unbutton to breastfeed.

4.) Phone Charger and Extension cord — Of course you can’t forget your phone charger and having an extension cord was so helpful because all of the outlets were too far away to reach the bed without! It just makes your life a little easier!!

5.) Pillow/Blanket — I took my own pillow because I’m picky and also a queen size blanket that I didn’t end up using but my mother did when she slept on the couch in the room with me and so did my husband so its nice to have for the people that are staying with you because that room gets COLD!

6.) DVD’s — I didn’t take any but really wish I would have and my husband forgot them when he made his trip back home! But if you have to be there for a while like I did (over 24 hours of labor) + 3 nights after delivery I was so tired of watching TV and it would have been nice to be able to just pop in a favorite movie.

7.) Toothbrush & toothpaste — Do I really need to explain?

8.) Hair ties — Obvious reasons right?

9.) Bedroom shoes — My feet were SO Swollen most of my pregnancy and for several days after delivery, so I got some bedroom shoes a size too big for the hospital. They want you to walk around pretty soon afterwards and you need something comfy to hobble around the hospital in!

10.) Yeti Cup (Or something like it) — That hospital ice is the BOMB and its the only the besides jello and popsicles that you can eat until you deliver! Plus the cups they give you are pretty small and require a lot more refills than a larger cup.

11.) Robe — This one was so important for me! I got a long robe from Amazon that I lived in! I wasn’t comfortable just being in my nightgown in front of visitors so throwing on my robe was super easy and comfortable! Plus I got a really pretty silk floral robe and it just made me feel good!

12.) Snacks — For your guests up until delivery and then for you afterwards! I was starving by the time Braden finally arrived and hadn’t eaten for over 24 hours!

13.) Headphones — for music during delivery or to listen to to help you go to sleep. Hospital rooms are hard to sleep in with nurses coming in and out but if you have your headphones you can drown it all out!

14.) Body wash — when you take a shower!! Duh!

15.) Shampoo & Conditioner or Dry shampoo

16.) A comfy loose outfit to go home in!

17.) Stool softener — If you are giving birth vaginally, you’ll thank me for this!

18.) Chapstick — Delivering a baby is intense and chapstick was key for me! All that breathing and pushing and everything! Your lips get really dry!

19.) Socks — One thing I left off the list above are socks! If you are anything like me, your feet will get cold! Fuzzy socks were a life savor!

20.) Positive attitude — Labor is scary but your perspective matters too! Stay positive and believe in yourself! You’re stronger than you realize!

Click here to download a printable version of the Hospital Bag Essentials Update

Mommy Monday: Tiffany McLaughin

Mommas/ Soon-to-be Mommas,

My name is Tiffany McLaughlin, I am 27 years old and have been married 2 years to my wonderful husband. I’m here to let you know have no fear your NICU baby will grow, and will be strong enough to hold their own!

Our daughter Paige was born 7-7-16 after I was induced due to preeclampsia. She was born at 37 weeks, and it was a wonderful experience being induced. I had the epidural after being in active labor for 4 hours. I thought all was great and she was perfect. I was wrong, her blood sugars were low(common with preeclampsia) and she was jaundice.

 

Paige was rushed to the NICU and I was rushed in to emergency DNC as I had hemorrhage while Paige was being taken care of with the nurses. That’s another story in itself but it makes recovery from natural birth so much harder.

Paige weighed 5lbs 12oz, 19 in. when she was born and she was our little fighter. She was pricked a women up every hour for blood test, and feeds. I didn’t get to be with her the first 12 hours and I hated every moment. I cried, I called my mom, I was an emotional wreck. Little did I know the strength she was working up to be a strong hanging with the rest of them baby. 10 days is all it took for her to tell the nurses, “I’m ready to go home.”

Paige today is 19 months, taller than most kids her age, but skinny as can be. She is a talker, a lover, and not much of a “cuddler.” She has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old, eating since 6 months. I hope to keep this a short burst to tell you moms know, it will be ok. Every story has a rough spot. I’m here to tell you there is good that comes from the bad. Moms be strong, look for support from your family and SO. You can do this. If you have questions or would like to know more into our story please feel free to reach out to me. Iselt91@gmail.com 

Or request to follow me on Instagram: @minniemommatiff

Your fellow Mom,
Tiffany McLaughlin

Mommy Monday: Bree Downs

Mommy Lesson #8 (Laughter)

 

 

Laughter is one of the many keys in Mommyhood that holds me and my kiddos together. Everyone pretty much knows I’m a pretty silly person, and I’m so glad my baby girl and baby boy inherited my sense of humor. No matter how bad of a day I’ve had I know my lil minions will say something or do something that will bring my whole day back to life! And the same goes with me for them I always want my kids to not only think of me as someone they can talk to but also someone that they have all these awesome, awkward funny memories and moments with.

From the store runs where my son announced in the frozen food section that I, quote “I JUST POOTED BOOOM!”

To my daughter telling me at the mall while shopping that “That shirt was not approved by Madison ?” Lol

And so many more stories I could share about them and their always punctual comedic timing. I live to make them laugh!

You will find that there is nothing more funny or sweeter then the sound of your child’s/children’s laughter! It’s the greatest thing ever! I am a believer that laughter is one of the many keys to parenting that will keep you and your kids with a healthy and joyful heart.

Bree❤

Hello Mama!!

Well friends, it has been a while since I have posted! I apologize for being MIA for so long! It has been a crazy couple of months recently!

Christmas day, my husband and I found out that I am pregnant! It was a total surprise! We were not planning it, but are so happy to be expecting! If I’m honest, my husband has been ready for kids A LOT longer than I have! The thought of having my own kids has scared the shit out of me for a long time! I teach Human Development and am a counselor, I have seen the many, many things that can happen when a couple has kids too early, or for the wrong reasons, etc. PLUS I just realize how big of a life change the whole thing is and again, if I’m honest, I wasn’t ready to not be selfish!

 

Adulting is hard without kids! The thought of adding a baby to the mix terrified me, but I knew that I wanted to be a Mom eventually so, I didn’t rule them out completely! And really, is anyone ever REALLY ready for the big jump into adulthood?? (DON’T ANSWER THAT!)

So anyway I’m so incredibly happy to share my good news with you all now! I’m almost 13 weeks pregnant, so I’m still early in my pregnancy. I’m almost into the second trimester, which I’m so happy about! I have been nothing but TIRED the whole first trimester, but also happy to say, no morning sickness or any kind of sickness except for some pretty brutal headaches here and there.

My wonderful family and friends have been so supportive and helpful though throughout all of this so I am SO thankful to have them all in my life! I definitely couldn’t do it without them!

Which brings me to my next topic of conversation, the Hello Mama Box!
This awesome company sent me a free Hello Mama Box in exchange for my review about it! First of all, I LOVED IT!! The company’s motto is, “You can not pour from an empty vessel. We take care of Mama so she take care of everyone else!” Which I of course immediately loved, because I COMPLETELY agree, it is one of the things that I try and teach my clients, whether they are Mom’s or not!

A little more info about the company…

Hello Mama Box, was created as a labor of Love to allow Family & Friends to support “Mama Moments” that promote self- care through the use of organic & natural non-toxic products. We seek to transform society’s view of self- care for Mamas while creating a safe place to explore maternal wellness!
The box that I received was curated for me, since I am pregnant! It included: stickers for every 2 weeks of pregnancy starting with week 8 for documenting the progress of my growing belly, (I’ll post pics of that later!) Preggie Pops – for morning sickness, Bath Bombs (for 2nd trimester), Tummy Butter- which has to be my favorite thing in the box (it smells SO GOOD!), some nail polish and 2 quotes for encouragement/motivation, and finally an eye cover for beauty sleep!
I can’t wait to use the Bath Bombs SOON because they smell absolutely amazing! And like I said the Tummy Butter is my FAVORITE thing that came in the box, I’ve been using it daily to help avoid stretch marks (fingers crossed)!
I found out about Hello Mama Box from an online friend, Ashley Dunham from Bossfidence, who suggested I check them out and see what they were all about! So I did! I followed them on Instagram, and was loving everything that I saw, so I contacted them to see about it and now here we are! I’m hoping my Hubby will ok, a monthly subscription to the box in the very near future!! Because if not, I might cry! I love it!!
If you aren’t already following them on Instagram, GO DO IT NOW! And if you are a Momma or a Momma to be, they have options for both for monthly boxes to help you get your self care routine up to par! Because we all know that self care is INCREDIBLY important but it becomes even more important as a Mom because you now have other live humans depending on you! And you need to be at your best! And there is only ONE way to do that! TAKE CARE OF YOUR DAMN SELF!!
So make sure you go check them out!! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask me! If I don’t know the answer, I can find it out for you!

Look On the Bright Side

3 Simple Steps to Help You Look for & Appreciate the Positives

According to Rick Hansen’s Method – Taking in the Good, if we store more negative memories than positive memories, we start to see the world as depressing and/or threatening.

We as humans are mostly hardwired to remember the bad things and forget about all the good! Our brains tend to act like velcro for our negative memories and like “repellant” for positive memories. This is clearly not a good way to live life!

If you really think about it words, can have a “sticky” property to them, when someone calls us a name or makes fun of us or just makes us feel bad about ourselves, those things tend to stick with us more than the positive things that happen to us.

BUT! Not to fear! Hansen provides us with a way for us to make our positive feelings more “sticky” to us! Here are 3 ways to take in the good:

     1.) Actively look for the positive in every experience you have

2.) Hold those positive experiences in your conscious awareness             for as long as possible

3.) Savor the positive experiences- Remember the feelings you felt

If you’re not a part of my Smart Lioness Pride Facebook Group for women yet, what are you waiting on?! 🙂 You can watch a video on this topic that I did as well! If you are really trying to make some changes in your life, I have created a worksheet to help you to “see the good” in your experiences, or at least it will remind you that’s the goal, if nothing else! 🙂

Download the worksheet here:  Look on the Bright Side