10 tips for Handling toxic people & family estrangement at Christmas.

Hey friends,
It is a few days out from Christmas and in today’s blog post I want to offer support & encouragement to anyone that maybe dealing with family issues or estrangement during this festive season.
It is fairly hard to be an adult child and feel like your family has abandoned you or to feel like you have no other choice but to walk away from family who continually hurt you. It sucks, gosh it is hard, heck it is hard enough writing this post, but I feel it may help someone… So if you are dealing with this right now, I am sorry. I get it.

I filmed a video the other day talking about this, I admit it’s a bit rambly and a bit long – so if you want to watch, I highly recommend you go get a cup a tea/snack/cold drink and then click HERE.
But if you would just like a few tips on how to deal with family estrangement or toxic people, especially at Christmas read on…

  1. Refocus your vision. Instead of focusing on who isn’t in your life, focus on who is. Focusing on those who aren’t in your life, is heartbreaking & can bring up a lot of angry feelings. So instead focus on those who actively participate in your life and bring value to it.
  2. We can’t control the actions of others. Remember this, it doesn’t matter who they are – parents, siblings, children, partners – we ultimately cannot control anyone but ourselves.
  3. Set boundaries. If you are forced to be around people who are toxic during Christmas, set boundaries. Protect yourself, don’t put yourself in a position to be alone with them, have an exit plan if you start getting upset or hurt and remain respectful.
  4. Don’t lower yourself. It is easy to say this and not so easy to do this, but when someone is hurting you, don’t go out of your way to hurt them back. Their behaviour is their choice, you look after yourself – your mental & emotional health and make sure you are behaving to a standard you are proud of. Admittedly everyone occasionally says something they wish they hadn’t or let’s anger take over their mind, in this case – try and pull yourself up and walk away or hang up the phone.
  5. Let go of negative feelings. Let go of anger, stress, resentment & bitterness.
  6. Understand everything happens for a reason. This sounds dreadful in this context. Like it’s hard to understand God’s plan for removing people you love from your life, or forcing you to remove people you do love but you can no longer tolerate hurtful behaviour from. But I truly believe everything is part of a greater plan, we just can’t see it yet. Perhaps the person will never be apart of your life again or maybe you just need a time out from them, who know’s time apart could strengthen your relationship… Everyone’s circumstance is different. But everything happens for a reason.
  7. Don’t be hard on yourself & be prepared. If you have made a decision to distance yourself from family members, be gentle with yourself. Not every person will understand, agree with or respect your choice – be prepared for that. You may lose even more people you love, because of the fall out from this decision. Many people will try & guilt trip you – especially around events like Christmas, if you went through gradual steps and the separation is a mature & thought out decision, don’t feel you owe it to anyone to explain why. You can of course, but be strong in your choice and know that your decision was for the best for yourself/& your family at this current time. Often outside people don’t see a side of a person that you may, so they may not understand what you have been through. Toxic people are great at playing the victim & you maybe painted as a villian.
  8. Reconciliation. If you want it to happen, reach out. But prepared to have that talk about issues and also your part in the estrangement. If you don’t want to reconcile but the others do, be respectful if you respond or just say nothing. You don’t have to have a relationship with someone or accept being treated poorly just because they are family.  Christmas seems like an ideal time for reconciliation, because everyone wants family at Christmas – but I highly suggest thoroughly thinking it through seriously, would you and the other person would be in the right mental/emotional state in such a busy month to properly reconcile. Remember it takes 2 people to mend a relationship & both have to be willing and also have empathy. Some toxic people lack the skills to be empathetic – so reconciling can be hard – even impossible and it may actually require professional help. Christmas may not be the ideal time to do this.
  9.  Seek help & talk. Chatting to a trusted friend or your partner/spouse maybe all you need, but maybe speaking to a professional or seeking out a support group is what you need. Don’t let your feelings build up so you explode – talking is very helpful.
  10. Lose all expectations & don’t compare. If you don’t expect anything you can’t get hurt. I am still learning this and it is hard. I don’t mean material items, but basic support & love. The very basic things we expect from family. And try not to compare your relationships to others, this is also tough. Remember comparison is the thief of joy and if you have no expectations – you can’t be disappointed.

Friends, I hope these tips may help you during the holiday season. If you are feeling abandoned, alone or forced into a decision you wish you didn’t have to make – I am sorry. I understand – I truly do. It is very heartbreaking & hard.
To hear me ramble & be a little raw about this topic please click HERE. But be warned the video is a bit all over the place.
Or for more support please check out this organisation. Stand Alone

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This post/video is designed to help people and that is the motive behind posting it.

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5 tips to stay sane with THE ELF ON THE SHELF! 

Hi friends…
It’s the 27th of November… Despite that being both of my brother’s birthday, it is also 3 days until DECEMBER!!
Meaning, if you have an Elf on the Shelf – his arrival is coming up rather quickly…
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For today’s post I have 5 tips to make your elf’s visit pleasant rather than stressful…

  1. Make a plan, but don’t be too strict. I set out a monthly plan so I have inspiration and a general idea of what will happen – but I know I can easily swap days around, I also leave a few days blank so I can see how our month is going and add in plans we come up with later on. I even coordinated a few days with my best friend, so our kids can have Christmas themed play dates on certain days that the elf will announce. Having a plan is my top tip or even just 25-30 rough ideas of how to stage it, or just make a Pinterest board of elf ideas you love & wish to recreate. Basically, just have some ideas going into December with what you want to do. (Also have a plan for nights that you can’t be stuffed doing much with it, or a plan in case you forget to move it!)
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  2. Don’t go overboard, do not set unrealistic expectations or plan too big… December is a busy and big month for everyone – add in planing and setting up an extra visitor every night can be a lot of work. Keep it simple.
  3. Use what you have, don’t feel the need to buy all new props for the elf. Raid your kids toys. Our Generation, Lego, Barbie, basically any toys are great for elf accessories and props – even your Christmas decor!
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  4. Have fun, with it. Don’t view it as a chore – encourage your husband to even think up a few stunts for the elf so you can set it up together. Don’t over think it, like I said in point 2, just keep it simple and just have fun. Remember why you are doing it, it’s meant to bring happiness not stress…
  5. Your family, your rules… Everyone does the elf on the shelf differently, some people let the kids touch the elf, some don’t… Sometimes the elf comes earlier than December 1st & others only visit for 12 days before Christmas. Some elves just do funny antics, some bring little gifts or treats and some announce daily activities or do a combination of all! Every elf is unique – do what works for you and your family. There is no set rules, the elf & it’s antics can be as simple or as extravagant as you want… Don’t compare your elf to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, even with elves!
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Do you do Elf on the Shelf? What is your top tip for staying sane while staging your festive little friend?
Let me know below or on my social media…
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Keep an eye on my social media, I will share a photo of our elf Kringle’s new house this week!
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10 tips for surviving a heat wave with kids.

10 tips for surviving a heat wave with kids.

Hi friends,
We are at the start of a week long heat wave… We have had and are expecting temperatures in the low to mid 30s! (90ish degrees Fahrenheit temperatures) And for some places high 30s/low 40s!! And it’s only the first month of spring!! It’s HOT!

So today my brain is not working that great, I love spring, but summer heat – eh, not so much. I can handle temps up until about 30degrees, after that it just feels like death!
So I thought I would share some tips to stay cool in this heat…

10 tips for beating the heat with kids…

  • Stay hydrated! Keep your freezer stocked with hydralyte (or similar) ice blocks. These are not only great to have in case of sickness, but they are great on hot days especially for active kids… Keep water bottles filled up and water in the fridge.
  • Over heating/heat stroke. Be informed and aware of the signs of heat stroke in not only kids & babies but also elderly, pets and even yourself. HERE is a great article.
  • Netflix or movies. You all know I hate TV and it is a rarity in this house, I truly do not like my kids watching it, but sometimes you just have to give in. When it’s super hot and I need my super active little girl to rest in the heat of the day, I don’t mind popping a movie on for her to enjoy in the cool.
  • Crafts. Kmart has a fantastic range of simple & fairly mess free crafts. LuLu loves them and they entertain her really well. Doing a simple craft inside in the cool (under a fan, near open windows or even in the air con) is a great way to rest & cool down.

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    Highly recommend all 3 of these packs! 
  • Water play. While Trent has been on shift we’ve enjoyed the little paddling pool, but when he is home we all get in the big pool. I use the little pool because it is a lot easier to manage on my own with 2 kids. If you don’t have a pool, a water table is a great play option (a big tub full of water & some Tupperware works too!) or even just a sprinkler or a water fight – kids love water. Try and find a shady spot, and let them have fun! If it is way too hot outside, fill up the bathtub and stay cool inside! (Pinterest is also full of water play ideas!) *Always supervise children around water.
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  • Sunscreen & hats! This goes without saying and I’m sure you all know this point, but sun protection is so important. We put sunscreen on every morning and reapply before going outside each time. We also always have wide brim hats (or legionnaire style for babies) I really like the brand Bed Head hats, that is the brand of LuLu’s swim hat & Tommy’s hat is by Plum (as was LuLu’s swim hat when she was a baby). The kids are always in swim shirts while outside for water play or light shirts that cover their shoulders for regular play.
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  • Cool meals. Plan your meals with the heat in mind, think cool & light foods salads, smoothies, burgers – meals that aren’t bulky and typical hot meals. Make some homemade ice blocks or fruit sorbet. Even treat yourself to a night off making dinner and have take away so you aren’t using your oven.  (My go to meal lately has been a BBQ chicken from Woolies or Coles and coleslaw burgers. Honestly the best easy meal!)
  • Get rest. This comes back to the movie point, but try and encourage your kids to rest & take it easy during the day. LuLu is super active and wants to play all day and she doesn’t nap – so the only way I can get her to rest is to let her to have some TV time. On normal days, her energetic enthusiasm doesn’t bother me, she can play & entertain herself but during this sudden heat wave, I don’t want her over exerting herself in the high temperatures, so I allow a movie so she rests.
  • Wash the dog. Our pets also will be feeling the heat, so get the kids & find a shady spot and give your beloved pooch a spring time bath. They cool down, you all will probably get drenched so you and the kids are cooling down and a job is being checked off your list. Reward your dog for being a good sport with a “pupsicle”!  (a big frozen ice cube full of dog treats/toys etc. I freeze ours in old ice cream buckets & add in a mix of dog treats, cat biscuits, chicken stock, toys etc)
  • Bed time. At bed time the temperatures are normally still high. We dress the kids in the very light clothing and don’t use any sheets,  as the temperature lowers during the evening we go in and cover them. We also keep the bedroom windows open to allow cool breeze to blow in but if it is super hot we run the air con.

How are you staying cool this week?
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Stay cool friends, I am dreading to know what Summer will be like if this is only spring!
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