It’s The Serenity Room’s 1st Birthday!!

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The Serenity Room celebrates its 1st birthday today! This is a huge accomplishment for me as starting this blog had been a goal of mine for a very long time.  Not being completely confident in my ability to start and maintain a blog had been what had stopped me many times in the past from starting The Serenity Room but this time last year I did it!  And I proud of myself for doing so. I have learned a lot about blogging this past year and I have learned a lot about myself. 

I want to thank everyone who has followed me, shared or commented on my posts, or just taken the time to read my posts and the daily content I put out on social media. Your support means more to me than I can express.  The Serenity Room is going to be bigger and better in 2021 and I would love for each of you to continue to be a part The Serenity Room family.

Please visit The Serenity Room to see my most recent post about the benefits of affirmations and why I am choosing to do affirmations this year instead of resolutions. And although it is The Serenity Room’s birthday, it is you who will get the gift.  I will be posting affirmations for the entire month of January to help get you into the right mindset to start 2021 off with nothing but positivity and self-confidence.  Once again, thank you for all your support and happy new year!!

3 Reasons to Choose Affirmations Over Resolutions

Young lady looking at herself in the mirror and pointing while she says her affirmations

What a year this has been! As we prepare to enter 2021, what are you thinking about? Are you making resolutions, or do you see them as a waste of time? This time last year I was challenging myself to come up with a list of resolutions that were different than previous the years. It seemed like every New Year’s brought the same resolutions – eat better, exercise, more self-care. Well, my list ended up looking the same except for one resolution: to start and maintain my blog. That was my only different resolution and the only one I kept. This year I decided to do something a little different. Instead of going into the new year with resolutions, I am going into the new year by doing affirmations.

Affirmations are something I have been hearing and reading a lot about and want to incorporate into my daily routine. Resolutions are the things you want to see happen while affirmations are those things that you want to make happen. They are positive statements about yourself that work best when you are intentional about what you are saying. Here are three benefits of affirmations.

Lady with pink scarf on head looking at herself in mirror

Speak desires into existence

We can sometimes limit ourselves by the way we speak and the way we think. When you only think negative thoughts, negative words are far more likely to come out of your mouth. Speaking affirmations almost forces you to speak positively. When you hear yourself repeating these positive statements over and over, the hope is that you will eventually begin to believe them. So, speaking an affirmation surrounding healthy living can help fulfill the resolution of eating healthier. Healthy eating will almost come naturally after affirmations concerning your health and the desire to live healthily.  Affirmations utilize the power of your thoughts and words to create a desired change.

Build Self-Confidence

As stated earlier, negative thoughts will have you giving up before you even start. We often have lofty resolutions that we often do not keep due to our own lack of self-confidence. You can have a resolution of writing a book or going after your dream job but if deep down you do not feel like you really deserve it, it will not happen. Repeating affirmations and believing what you are saying can lead to your self-confidence rising to the point where you begin to make decisions and take actions that line up with your goals.

Become Aware of Negative Thought Patterns

Some affirmations are also helpful because you can see which ones are difficult for you to wrap your head around. If you already feel that you are loved, you will be able to say these types of affirmations easily. But if you find it hard to let go of your past mistakes and forgive yourself, then those affirmations that encourage you to forgive yourself may not come as easily.  This will let you know what areas you probably need to work on in your journey of personal growth. Your thought patterns and self-talk will become more evident as you begin saying affirmations.

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Hopefully, these benefits of affirmations will help you begin to incorporate them into your daily life. Do you already do affirmations? Do you feel like they help? Comment below with either your experience with affirmations or whether you want to start saying affirmations.

5 Self-Care Tips for the Holidays

Christmas gifts to help promote self-care
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I think most of us would agree that this has been an extremely challenging year.  Many of us have experienced a lot of loss.  Some of us have lost loved ones.  Some of us have lost jobs.  And some of us have lost our homes.  The holidays can be tough when you are trying to adjust to loss of any magnitude and this year may be more challenging than most.  The following are what I hope to tips to help you practice self-care of yourself through these holidays.

The Power of No!

Holidays can be full of invitations.  The celebrations may look and feel a little different this year, but the invitations will probably still come.  You may feel obligated to attend or participate in these events because you were invited or because the event may be something that you would have attended in the past.  There is power in the word ‘no’.  I am talking about a good, old fashioned, solid ‘no’.  The kind of no that does not come with an explanation or an apology.  You deserve a holiday that does not leave you feeling overwhelmed and drained.

Stay Thankful

Holidays are a great time to reflect on our many blessings.  A great way to practice self-care is to think of the things that you must be thankful for.  A good way to do this is to keep a running list or journal to serve as a reminder of all the things you should be thankful for.  Revisiting your list or journal entries and thinking back on all the things you have to be thankful for can help a great deal. 

Allow Yourself to Feel

When those sad or unpleasant feelings begin to overwhelm you, your natural tendency may be to press them down and ignore them.  Doing this can lead to these emotions “eating you up” on the inside.  Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion that comes your way.  If you feel like laughing, laugh.  If you feel like crying, cry.  If you want to be to yourself because it is just too much to be around people, do that.  You can often do more harm to yourself than good when you try to suppress these feelings.  Be open to your feelings and allow yourself to feel them in their totality.  Accepting your feelings is a form of self-care as you allow yourself to feel emotions and work through them.

Keep a Routine

There is often great comfort in routine.  Knowing what is coming next can often ease a lot of anxiety.  There is a lot going on around the holidays and there is often a lot of pressure to get into the holiday spirit.  If you begin to feel down, sometimes the easiest way to get back to feeling like yourself a little is to continue your routine.  It may not be easy, and you may not feel up to continuing your entire routine but doing those things that are familiar can help prevent you from falling into a prolonged period of not feeling like yourself.

Keep Moving

There are so many benefits to physical activity.  Whether you are running, walking, or just moving around your house, physical activity decreases tension and stress while giving you a natural energy boost.  It can also reduce your risk of becoming depressed during this time.  When you stay in bed or start to become inactive, you may feel sluggish and your mental health may begin to be affected.  Move around even it is just to walk to the mailbox.  A part of self-care is to keep moving so that you can keep your energy level up and hopefully your mood elevated.

Christmas tree to help promote self-care
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Hopefully, these self-care tips will help ease any unpleasant feelings that you may feel throughout this holiday season.  Remember that all these feelings are normal and that you may have to intentionally put yourself first. 

What are some things that you do to practice self-care during the holidays?

The Serenity Room wishes you a Happy Holiday Season!

Holiday Self-Care: Keep Moving

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There are so many benefits to physical activity.  Whether you are running, walking, or just moving around your house, physical activity decreases tension and stress while giving you a natural energy boost.  It can also reduce your risk of becoming depressed during this time.  When you stay in bed or start to become inactive, you may feel sluggish and your mental health may begin to be affected.  Move around even it is just to walk to the mailbox.  A part of self-care is to keep moving so that you can keep your energy level up and hopefully your mood elevated.

Previous Tips: Say No!, Be Thankful, Allow Yourself to Feel, and Keep a Routine

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Holiday Self-Care: Keep a Routine

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There is often great comfort in routine.  Knowing what is coming next can often ease a lot of anxiety.  There is a lot going on around the holidays and there is often a lot of pressure to get into the holiday spirit.  If you begin to feel down, sometimes the easiest way to get back to feeling like yourself a little is to continue your routine.  It may not be easy, and you may not feel up to continuing your entire routine but doing those things that are familiar can help prevent you from falling into a prolonged period of not feeling like yourself.

Previous Tips: Say No!, Be Thankful, and Allow Yourself to Feel

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Holiday Self-Care: Allow Yourself to Feel

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When sad or unpleasant feelings begin to overwhelm us, your natural tendency may be to press them down and ignore them.  Doing this can lead to these emotions “eating you up” on the inside and will eventually begin to affect your mental and physical health.  Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion that comes your way.  If you feel like laughing, laugh.  If you feel like crying, cry.  If you want to be to yourself because it is just too much to be around people, do that.  You can often do more harm to yourself than good when you try to suppress these feelings.  Be open to your feelings and allow yourself to feel them in their totality.  Accepting your feelings is a form of self-care as you allow yourself to feel emotions and work through them.

Previous tips: Say No! and Be Thankful

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Holiday Self-Care: Be Thankful

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Holidays are a great time to reflect on our many blessings.  A great way to practice self-care is to think of the things that you must be thankful for.  This year was challenging, and you may have lost a lot – but try to focus on those things that you can be thankful for.  A good way to practice self-care is to keep a running list or journal to serve as a reminder of all the things you should be thankful for.  A vital part of your self-care could be to revisit your list or journal entries and think back on all the things you have to be thankful for. 

Previous tip: SayNo!

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Holiday Self-Care: Say No!

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Holidays can be full of invitations.  The celebrations may look and feel a little different this year, but the invitations will probably still come.  You may feel obligated to attend or participate in these events because you were invited or because the event may be something that you would have attended in the past.  There is power in the word ‘no’.  I am talking about a good, old fashioned, solid ‘no’.  The kind of no that does not come with an explanation or an apology.  You deserve a holiday that does not leave you feeling overwhelmed and drained because you agreed to something that you really should have passed on.

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Free Yourself: 5 Benefits of Journaling

Woman writing in her journal

I have always been aware of the idea of journaling but I have never heard it advocated as a practice as much as I have this year.  I am sure that is due to the challenging year that this has been.  Journaling has been suggested by many as a healthy way to process the many emotions that may be felt during these times.  Many people often confuse keeping a journal with keeping a diary.  They are similar but the main difference is that a diary is a record of what happened.  A journal is a record of your thoughts and feelings.  There are several benefits to journaling.

Journal to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Have you ever had so much on your mind that it was just too much to process?  And after you talked it out you realized that your issue was not as bad as you thought?  Journaling is similar to talking something out with a friend.  Anxiety and stress can be eased when you write out your thoughts concerning those things that are making you anxious.  Journaling can provide you with clarity if it is a decision or circumstance that is causing you stress.  Writing out your thoughts on the issue that is making you anxious could greatly assist you with solving the issue or allowing you to see the big picture.  Either of these outcomes can ease stress and anxiety.

Journal to Recognize Patterns

Whether we realize it or not, we all have patterns.  If you talk to your friends about a situation enough they can probably tell you where the situation is headed based on similar conversations.  Journaling can help you see those patterns for yourself.  As you write about how different situations make you feel or your thought process around certain decisions, you will begin to notice patterns.  You may notice that use negative self-talk or you may notice that you do not have as much confidence in yourself as you should.  Patterns can be seen as you write and then reflect on those things that you have written.  Reading past entries can provide you a new perspective on your behavior.

Journal sitting on desk

Journal to Become Empowered

Journaling can give you a sense of empowerment as you can write your deepest, most intimate thoughts.  Whether writing about your experiences or through journal prompts, you will begin to gain more clarity on how you think and how certain experiences have shaped you.  Journaling can help you discover more about yourself.  You can discover what makes you happy, what causes you stress, as well as those aspects of yourself that you wish to improve.  Discovering your personal strengths and the power you possess in these strengths is a wonderful feeling.  But discovering those areas that you may need to work on to enhance your personal growth can be life changing.

Journal to Track Goals

Journals can help you track progress toward an established goal.  After identifying your goal, a journal can help you determine both your good and bad habits that may be helping or hindering you from achieving your goal.  It could be your innermost thoughts or the company you keep but reflecting on past journal entries will help you to begin to see what your barriers are.  Likewise, you will be able to see who or what promotes a healthy path to your goals.  You will be able to learn a lot about yourself in the process and this will make future goals easier to achieve.

Journal In a Safe Zone

Have you ever just wanted to be brutally honest with someone regarding the way you felt but was leery due to the judgment that may follow this honesty?  All of us feel vulnerable from time to time.  A journal is a safe place to write what you feel in a safe space.  No one will see your inner most thoughts except those you choose to see them.  A journal is a place where you can be your most authentic self.  Feel free to write honestly as being candid is one of the main ways to get the total benefits of journaling.  You can learn a lot about yourself when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. 

Open journal on desk

These are just a few benefits of journaling.  Do you journal?  What are some benefits of journaling that you would add to this list?

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Self-Care for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Mother kissing child

As a special needs parent, your self- care regimen is important. Caring for a child with special needs can be stressful.  In fact, the word stressful may be an understatement.  We all can attest that there are great days where our kids achieve something that we thought would not happen as soon as it did.  Your fellow special needs parents can understand the joy of a child eating a new food or acquiring a new skill or even speaking after countless doctors have told you that your child is nonverbal and will remain that way.

There is another thing I think we all can agree with when it comes to being parents of children with special needs and that is the fact that we often neglect to take care of ourselves.  As a busy mother of four children – one having an autism diagnosis – I am guilty if not taking care of myself like I should.  The following are a few ways that we can practice self-care.

Take 5-10 minutes for yourself

Depending on your situation, this suggestion may seem virtually impossible.  But you can do it.  You can spend this time mindlessly doodling.  Or you can use this time to just taking deep, cleansing breaths.  Deep breathing allows your body to relax and release any stress while giving you a boost of energy.  The life of a special needs parent can be very hectic and stressful.  Taking mental breaks can be just the thing you need to get you through your day.

Every day is not going to be a good day

We would all like to think that we can hold it together all day every day.  We hold the belief so tightly that we often think we have failed if we have a bad day.  Every day is not going to be a good day.  A bad day does not make you a bad parent. A bad day does not mean that you are not cut out to be a special needs parent or caregiver.  A bad day does not make you a failure.  Try your best to keep things in perspective.  Some days are just going to be hard but, as cliché’ as it sounds, tomorrow is a new day.

Allow yourself to feel

Life can be challenging as a special needs parent.  There is the constant worry that all of your child’s needs are not being met.  There is the isolation that your family may experience due to your child not being able to be around large crowds or loud places.  You may feel hesitant to honestly express yourself due to not wanting to sound like you are complaining.  But it is imperative that you allow yourself to feel whatever you may be feeling in the moment. Whether you journal or whether you have a good friend you can share your feelings with, allow yourself to feel. Allowing yourself to feel is a form of self-care because this can release some of your anxieties.

Be kind to yourself

Sometimes we can be our own enemy. We can often become hindered by own negative self-talk and negative thoughts. Do whatever you can to remain positive.  Remind yourself of the great job that you are doing. Find something to do that is just for you. Read a good book even if you can only read a couple of pages a day. Find a show that you like on TV and watch it even if it takes forever to get through the whole series. The point is to not lose yourself and to stay connected to what you enjoy. So write if you like to write, read if you like to read, do whatever it is that you like to do even if you can only do it every now and then. Doing what you like to do it a form of self-care.

Take care of your mental health

Special needs parents experience a wide range of issues. There is guilt, anxiety, stress, depression, the list goes on and on. It is imperative that you take care of your mental health. Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you.  This can be achieved through support groups or through connecting with people who have a similar circumstance to yours. Be aware of your mental health and do not hesitate to see a therapist if you feel that that is what you need.  In other words, your self-care journey includes taking care of your mental health needs the same way that you take care of the needs of those that you care for and love.

Mother and son

It is not easy being the parent or caregiver of a special needs child. You always wonder if you are doing enough and you can sometimes be your own toughest critic.  I am here to tell you that you are doing a great job. You get up every day and do it have to be done for your family. Keep doing what you are doing and remember to take care of yourself.

What other self-care ideas would you add to this list?

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