It’s Cyber Monday-See If You’ve Won

True to our mission here at livingselfcare, Lauren and I took last week off to recharge and enjoy the holiday. Since today is Cyber Monday, we thought it would be fitting to announce the winners of our Nov.14-18 2011 Self-Care Challenge Contest.

Here they are:

dianne@femininefaceofmoney.com - $100 SpaWish certificate from Pregnancy.org

http://outoftheclearblue.wordpress.com - $25 Shutterfly Gift Certificate via Working Moms Against Guilt

melody.meiners@gmail.com - $25 Maternique Gift Certifiicate from Darline Turner-Lee of Mamas on Bedrest

starfish810@hotmail.com - Happy Family clothing & PSI Educational DVD via Postpartum Support International

felicia3@gmail.com- A copy of A Life’s Work by Rachel Cusk via Postpartum Progress

lisa07110@yahoo.com - Jewelry set via Mother to Mother Support

simply.homemade@yahoo.com- Deluxe Prize Basket from Real Mom Experts

Congratulations to all our winners! You’ll be contacted via email with additional details regarding how to claim your prizes.

Thank you again to all the wonderful Challenge Champions. We couldn’t have done it without you! Also, to all of you who participated in our weeklong self-care challenge. If you missed out, you can still go back to the posts and participate in the daily gratitude activities. Thankfulness is always timely and a great way to practice self-care.

Let’s See How Far Our Gratitude Can Spread

It’s the final day of our self-care challenge and hopefully you’re less stresed and feeling better from this week’s gratitude activities. Now, it’s time to spread the cheer. Remember when you used to play telephone and whisper messages in your friends’ ears passing them from one to the next. At the end, you’d laugh over how the message changed and start again.

Today’s challenge is to send gratitude to others in whatever way works for you. Choose someone you want to express thanks to for what they’ve done, who they are or what they mean to you. It can be someone you’re close to or someone you may have fallen out of touch with. Let your heart and soul decide. You won’t be misled.

Then message that person via e-mail or Facebook, text them, make a call or send a note. Once they receive your message, ask them to choose someone to express their gratitude towards and contact them. The goal is to connect as many people as possible with thankfulness and appreciation, keeping the true spirit of the season alive. Let’s see how many cities, states, and countries we can reach and how far our message can spread.

At livingselfcare, we want to thank each of you for joining us this past week and sharing your posts and comments, and to each of the challenge champions for their participation and generosity. Let us always remember what we’re thankful for during the holidays and each day of our lives.

Beat Holiday Stress-Join the Challenge!

Before holiday stress overwhelms you, join our online self-care contest/challenge Nov.14-18. But wait you say, that’s still a week away. To begin flexing your self-care muscle, we’re offering tips starting today on how to replace holiday stress with inner peace and happiness. Follow us at www.twitter.com/realmomexperts  and www.facebook.com/livingselfcare for stress-busting advice.

Likewise our self-care challenge champions have pitched in to get this party started. Take a listen http://ow.ly/7hkKZ to @mamasonbedrest interview with me about livingselfcare. Visit www.pregnancy.org for their new look and updated info on motherhood and health. Visit www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com for support on “putting mommy guilt in its place.” Who couldn’t use some of that?

For moms struggling with postpartum emotional health challenges, we’ve got you covered too! Check out Postpartum Support International’s extensive website http://www.postpartum.net. Visit Katherine Stone’s amazing www.postpartumprogress.org and sign up for Daily Hope to lift your spirits. Listen to #ppdchat Mondays at 1pm EST and 8:30pm EST with Lauren Hale of mypostpartumvoice. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the contest part for this week. Visit any of the sites mentioned above, leave us a comment at www.livingselfcare.com and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a self-care treat. Nov.14-18 each self-care challenge champion will contribute a prize to a random drawing the end of the week. More info on that later.

So, flex your self-care muscle and get on board. Spread the news about the challenge to other women you know and love to help them feel better and beat holiday stress. Start today!

3 Weeks Until Fall Self-Care Contest/Challenge: Let’s Get This Party Started

In the midwest where I live, there are definite signs that fall is upon us. Leaves are turning and days are growing shorter. Summer vacation is over, children are back in school and the air is buzzing with activity. Fall also signals impending holiday madness with too little time to get things done.

Which is why self-care is so important now and the reason we chose Mental Health Week (October 2-8) for our bi-annual self-care challenge/contest. We want to remind you to conserve some your energy now, like squirrels gathering acorns, to have enough for what’s ahead. Most of the tips in our contest/challenge take only 10-15 minutes but the resulting good feelings last much longer.

Last week, I spoke to Darline Turner of MamasOnBedrest about how moms/women can take better care of themselves whatever circumstances they find themselves in. Check out our podcast by clicking here. Darline is a champion for women’s health and said that she learned firsthand, like many of us, about the importance of self-care after becoming a mom.

Prior to the normal post-birth upheaval, her pregnancy journey was very stressful, which puts women even more at risk for postpartum issues. However, whether momss or not, women still have twice the depression men experience. For women,  self-care cannot be ignored.

Join us for our contest/challenge, 10/2-8. We’ll have more prizes, free downloads, and great advice. Meanwhile we still have Godiva Chocolates to give away. Find 5 friends to subscribe to our blog, livingselfcare, and you could be this week’s winner!

Want To Win A Box of Godiva Chocolates: Read This

To celebrate our almost first birthday which is October 9, we’re sponsoring a contest for our current and new subscribers. Because we want our October self-care contest/challenge to succeed, we’re asking that any subscriber get ten other friends, family, co-workers, etc. to join our blog, and we’ll enter you in a random weekly drawing for a box of Godiva chocolates for the month of September.

Winners will be chosen each Sunday and announced the following Monday. If you’ve never tasted Godiva chocolates, you’re in for a treat and if you have, you know how irresistable they are. For any new subscriber you recruit, have them leave your name in our comment box so you get credit.

We’re also asking you to give us your recommendations for favorite woman-or-mom-related blogs and websites, so we can include them in the October contest/self-care challenge. While we’ve discovered many sites we think are terrific and worthwhile, the web is too vast for anyone (except possibly a search engine expert) to know what’s out there. This will help ensure that we provide what you want. Likewise, as much as we enjoy social media, we can’t quit our day jobs for endless web surfing.

Now our self-care tip for the week. Focus on those experiences which strengthen rather than weaken you. I realized this again, when I was having a massage and started to freak out about an upcoming interview. Instead of scaring myself, I thought about situations I’d survived despite my fears and felt much calmer.

When Self-Care is Not Enough; Ask for Help

It has taken many years to learn how to take care of me; always putting other’s first while I drained the energy out of myself. Learning self-care began while battling postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety 21 years ago.

PPD was out of my control, but I could seek help from others.  This was very difficult for someone who had never done it before. I gave my family and friends specific direction on how they could help me; i.e. I need an hour to myself, time to go for a walk, sit and talk with me, etc. On many occasions, I asked family and friends to watch my daughter while I attended doctor visits and counseling sessions.

Doctor visits were necessary and counseling sessions were invaluable; I learned tips on relieving anxiety and that my needs were important. I attended support groups for women with PPD.  I limited my conversations to those that were good listeners and supportive.  I stayed away from anxiety provoking situations.

I have learned that while self-care is important, sometimes you may need an extension of self-care. That’s when professional healthcare, professional counseling and support from others can help you to heal.

Linda Meyer is the Executive Director of Mother to Mother in St. Louis, MO.  Mother to Mother provides free telephone support, group support and resources to women experiencing emotional difficulties during pregnancy and postpartum. www.mothertomothersupport.org

Mother to Mother will be participating in the St. Louis Walk for Mental Health on Saturday, August 20 www.thewalk.org

The Benefits of Self-Care

When we take good care of ourselves, there are multiple benefits to us as well as others.  While self-care may seem self-indulgent, it’s not.  Just as we’re instructed to put our oxygen mask on first if there’s an emergency on an airplane so we can help others, self-care enables us to help ourselves and others more.

Self-Care Improves Our Health:  Self-care tends to improve our
immunity, increase positive thinking and make us less susceptible to stress,
depression, anxiety and other emotional health issues.  Taking time out to care for ourselves helps remind us and others that our needs are important, too.  Feeling well cared-for leads to feelings of calm and relaxation, and conveys to others that we value ourselves which contributes to long-term feelings of wellbeing.

Self-Care Makes Us a Better Caretaker:  People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem and feelings of resentment. Also, sometimes people who spend their time only taking care of others can be at risk for getting burned out on all the giving, which makes it more difficult to care for others or themselves. Taking time regularly for self-care can  actually make you a better caretaker for others.

What are you doing for self-care this summer?  Have family/social demands eaten into me-time?  Do you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation as Susan writes about Thursday?  Let us help.  Send us a comment or preview “Obstacles to Self-Care” at  www.realmomexperts.com.

Independence From the Myths of Motherhood And Being A Parent

Since it’s Independence Day, we thought we’d stick with that theme. In our book, “Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide,” we talk about the myths and realities of being a mom/parent in the first chapter. We did this to help liberate moms/parents from our idealized expectations  of motherhood and replace them with a more accurate, balanced view.

One mom told us, “When I thought of becoming a mother, I pictured myself singing to my baby and walking her in her stroller, happy all the time, thoroughly enjoying being a mom. When that didn’t happen, I blamed myself. I looked at my daughter certain that someone else could take better care of her than me. Yet all my life I had wanted to be a mom. What was wrong with me?”

Of course, nothing was wrong with this mom but like many of us she didn’t know that motherhood would be “the most demanding job ever.” In truth, “parenting is tough work. Being a mother is being in the trenches, mucking out the stalls, completing tasks that are neither glorious or immediately satisfying.” And every mother/parent knows this.

Likewise it’s true of many myths we have like getting married and living happily ever after or finding the perfect job and staying there. None of these happen without much effort and hard work.

So let’s release our myth of motherhood bliss and embrace what is. For more strategies, visit www.realmomexperts.com to order our book.

Living Self-Care Challenge Contest Winners!

We appreciate your patience this week as we have worked to wrap up last week’s Living Self-Care Challenge Contest. As you know, we practiced what we preached and took some time for self-care this week. Last week was a blast and we thoroughly enjoyed every comment, tweet, and new fan at our Facebook Page.

Now, on to the important stuff! The winners!

Last week’s Living Self-Care Challenge was accompanied by a contest featuring prizes donated by our Challenge Champions. In order to win, you had to subscribe to our blog by 11:59pm on May 6, 2011. This past week we drew winners and are thrilled to share them with you!

Our winners are:

tetlak75(@)yahoo.com – $50 amazon gift certificate from Pregnancy.org

haaron10(@)yahoo.com – Gift Certificate to Massage Envy via Baby Kids Expo

lwaugh(@)vpvp.com – $25 Shutterfly Gift Certificate via Working Moms Against Guilt

shauna_mondello(@)yahoo.com – Book and 1 hour of coaching from Darline Turner-Lee of Mamas on Bedrest

thistleandlavender(@)yahoo.com – Happy Family clothing & PSI Educational DVD via Postpartum Support International

kiciaw(@)sunflower.com – Spa eye pillow & Neck Pillow via Postpartum Progress

marybeth.waite(@)gmail.com – Jewelry set via Mother to Mother Support

trejojuil(@)aol.com – Great Mom Book via Minutes to Moments

jessica.pupillo(@)gmail.com – Deluxe Prize Basket from Real Mom Experts

Congratulations to all our winners! You’ll be contacted via email with additional details regarding how to claim your prizes.

Thank you again to all the wonderful Challenge Champions including St.Louis Kid’s Magazine for their support and generous donation of wonderful prizes. We could not have had such a successful week without your participation!

Woo-hoo Contest Winners Announced Today

We’ve chosen the winners.  We’ve awarded the prizes.  Now, we just need to post it.  Look for our announcement today at 5pm CT (central time) to see if you’ve won.  Good luck to all.

In the meantime, please register for our new Facebook fan page.   Our livingselfcare FB group page will be archived within the next few months and we don’t want to lose touch with you.  Also, please send ideas about aspects of self-care you’d like to see addressed.  You can also check out “7 Sanity Tips for Moms” by Dr.Sanford at BabyCenter’s Momformation blog center.  Let us know what you think.