Anxious today?….How to cope on particularly bad days

You know how it is with anxiety, you have great days where you don’t even think about being anxious, not worrying a lot, not distracted and you feel almost normal. And then BAM! One of those awful days hits, heart pounding, feel nauseous, worried and your frustrated because just yesterday you felt totally calm and collected. Well guys, I used to get so frustrated with this particular issue until I did enough research on anxiety and realized that IT’S A NORMAL PART OF HAVING ANXIETY!

That’s right, some days you feel great and other days you feel crummy. At one point though hopefully when you start feeling better and gaining control over the anxiety, you will get more good days than bad days. I have a secret to tell you all: I used to get panic attacks even in the shower. I had such terrible panic attacks and anxiety that I couldn’t even take a shower without symptoms of anxiety, my heart would race I would start feeling dizzy I couldn’t even take a hot shower because the steam would make me feel like I couldn’t breath and thus reminding my body to start feeling anxious all over again. It was like my body was PRIMED for panic attacks. It took a lot of work and a couple of years to feel normal again, and now I definitely enjoy hot showers again!

Today, however, was one of those days where my anxiety level was higher than usual. Actually lately I feel more bad days than good days. I am going through some life changes, family issues, money issues and changes in general. Whenever you are feeling more anxious, take a look at what is going on in your life. Big move? Pregnancy? Money is tight? There seems to be a pattern for me (and I’m sure for a lot of you) that when you have new things happening in your life good or bad, it may increase your anxiety level. Well today I decided I would not let anxiety win. I will share with you what I did to embrace the anxiety and not let it control me.

 

I WENT OUTSIDE IN NATURE

This is so important you need some fresh air when you are feeling anxious. It should really be a prescription. Trees swaying in the wind the smell of flowers in the air or even in the crunching of snow under your boots in the winter or the smell of wood burning fireplaces. Nature has a proven track record to calm your nerves.

 

I MADE SURE TO STAY HYDRATED

As soon as I feel anxiety rising I make sure to have a cold glass of water and to keep myself drinking water all day long. I used to get panic attacks thinking that I would faint. Drinking water instantly made me feel better and I felt like at least if I stayed hydrated I wouldn’t faint (that’s what I told myself and it worked). So make sure you keep hydrated and don’t drink caffeine…DRINK WATER!

 

TOLD MYSELF ITS OK

As I was walking in nature with my son in his stroller I was thinking about how I was feeling. Heart pounding, tingling, nauseous, headache- the works. Then I thought, you know what FEEL EVERYTHING AS YOU FEEL IT, IT’S OK! Go with the feeling. Maybe you are excited about something or channel it into a thought about what you will be doing with all this pent up energy today.

 

DID SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE

Along the lines of what I was saying in the previous point, do something with all that pent up energy. I decided to wash all my floors. A lot of the time you will find that you get most anxious on the days where maybe you have more time to think about anxiety or you have less that you have to do. Its feels like a balloon is about to pop, now, do you want it to pop or do you want to make a small hole and release the air slowly? I don’t like loud noises or surprises so I choose the latter (lol). Releasing the air slowly is a great idea. Get some exercise, cook a great meal, clean out the fridge, organize the bookshelves, vacuum the house. Do something so you don’t feel like your day was wasted worrying and feeling anxious all day long. It turns a negative into a positive. Win!

 

TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY

Get something engrained in your head, anxiety-sufferer. Just because today was a bad day, doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. This was THE KEY for my path to a better place in my mind. When I was in the throws of my anxiety disorder, when I had a bad day I would always assume the next day, the next month, the next year will be just as bad. NOPE. ANXIETY DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY AND THAT IS HOW IT WANTS TO CONTROL YOU. Take the control back. Tell yourself, ok you are feeling anxious today you had a bad day but you will not have a bad day tomorrow. And if you do happen to have a bad day tomorrow, that’s ok the next day will be better!




 

I think the most frustrating part about anxiety is remembering that you weren’t always like this. At some point you felt normal and you were functioning well and even having fun in life. Where is that now? I used to feel like such a failure when I had a panic attack. I used to feel like giving up, like I will never feel normal again. I never thought there would ever come a time where I would enjoy life again. But slowly and gradually I came out of it and I did so by not taking every feeling or sensation so seriously. I realized that some days are good and some days are bad and you have to just ride the wave! One great thing that PANIC AWAY taught me is that you have to roll with your anxiety, almost like a roller coaster ride. Once I started doing that I started living again. Yes I still get bad days, as you have just read, it happened to me today! But I decided to let the anxiety wash over me like a wave instead of fighting against it and it gave me the POWER back. It may seem counterintuitive but it works. Now the ball is in my court again. I got on the rollercoaster today and you know what? I SURVIVED. And you will too! Try my tricks and let me know how you did on your bad day.

Crohn’s disease and the new mom: 5 tips on how to survive!

I am 30 years old now and I have had Crohn’s disease since I was 23. My father and sister have ulcerative colitis so it definitely runs in the family. I was always concerned how my diagnosis would affect any future pregnancies and thankfully my gastroenterologist told me that my disease is definitely manageable with medication and a less stressful lifestyle. With Crohn’s, they say you should get pregnant while you are in remission or in between flare ups, because you have a better chance of staying in remission during your entire pregnancy. So that is what I did and I managed to keep my symptoms under control and kept my life as stress-free as possible. I also quit my my stressful job and stayed home during my pregnancy. So then fast forward to the fact that I had my baby and then of course, with lack of sleep not eating right and the stress of being a first time mom, my symptoms came back with a vengeance! Frequent bathroom trips, cramps, pains it was awful. I realized how much harder it was to manage a flare up when you are responsible for another life! Moms definitely do NOT get sick days! So here are 5 tips on how to survive with digestive woes AND a baby to take care of!
Invest in a portable vibrating or bouncy chair for the baby

Ok, when you gotta go, you gotta go, am I right? My LO hated the baby carrier but I found it awkward in the bathroom anyway so I would just secure him into his bouncy chair and lug that thing into the bathroom with me! Even better idea: buy one secondhand just for the bathroom if you have the budget for it, which I didn’t at the time but man is that a good idea!!

Magic Bag the cramps away

Get a magic bag heat it up and put it on your tummy when you get that terrible pressure/pain feeling. It really really helps! Also, it conveniently helps with period cramps. I never used it when I was holding the baby but when he was napping I was all about the magic bag! Heating pads are good too, but the cord situation is quite cumbersome.

Peppermint tea instead of coffee




When you are taking care of a newborn, coffee can be seen as your lifeline! But when you are a Crohn’s momma you need to think about the added issue of your tummy. When I have an unsettled stomach because I ate something I shouldn’t have or I ate too fast, I find peppermint tea really helps me feel better pretty much as soon as I drink it and it has a lasting effect too. If you want, make it iced with a little honey to sweeten it and put it in one of those cute thermal straw cups.

Try not to eat so fast

As I mentioned above this was a big issue for me. When you have a little one to take care of, you come second to them. Eating proper meals becomes too time consuming so you end up scarfing down whatever you can roll into a wrap. I ALWAYS feel sick when I eat to quickly and it usually goes right through me especially when I’m also sleep deprived. Try to have light small snacks when you are hungry and eat a proper meal when you actually have 15 minutes to eat. I really tried hard to limit the tv time but sometimes I would just put the baby down turn on the tv and go get my lunch together.

Set an alarm to take your meds

I would always forget to take my medication when my LO was a baby. He would just consume all my time and at the end of the day when I have to take my meds I would often fall asleep on the couch or get distracted washing bottles etc. So I set my alarm on my cell phone that at 7:30 I need to take my meds. Great way to not forget!

 

I hope all these tips help, I have many survival tips but these are the best and most helpful that have really gotten me through the tough first few months. Have any to share, Crohn’s and colitis moms? Let me know in the comments I would love to read your survival tips!

5 things to do to stay sane as a stay at home mom WITHOUT a car!

basket-1242086_1280
Keep all your eggs in your basket and stay sane.

As most of you all know I am a stay at home mom to a 17 month old boy. What you don’t know about me is that I don’t have my driver’s license yet. I know, crazy right? I live in the suburbs in Quebec, Canada with a toddler and NO WHEELS!!! How do I stay sane? Well, the truth is, I will be getting my driver’s license at some point, I honestly never got around to it because I never felt the need to drive. I went to school very conveniently with the train, bus and metro and I was lucky enough (and spoiled enough!) that my lovely boyfriend (now hubby) would drive me around everywhere. Of course since I have issues with anxiety I was always afraid to drive but I’m getting better with that now- having an antsy toddler and a life that is only getting busier is making me get over the driving anxiety for sure but I digress. The reality is even if I did have my license we could not afford two car payments anyway. With only one income and the way the economy is, cars are not cheap here in Canada and neither is gas! I guess I haven’t really been motivated to get my license because in order to have wheels for the day I would have to pack up my toddler in the car in the morning, drive my husband to work in traffic (ug I’m so not a morning person) and then come back, do my thing with the car and then have to pick him up in traffic again (ug I’m so not a traffic person). Moms ask me all the time HOW DO YOU NOT GO INSANE WITHOUT A CAR WITH A TODDLER AT HOME? Honestly, I have gone close to insane on many occasions! There are good days and bad days and awful days but in the end as my son got older and more independent, it got easier to get some things done on my end to make sure I don’t go insane all day long and I will share my tips with you guys.

Have a plan or a schedule for the day

 

I have found that my LO thrives on a schedule. He is a very needy, insecure type of kid that is thrown off by something that goes off of his routine, and I find a schedule really calms him down. He knows what to expect in his day, when his naptime is coming, when lunch is coming and the calmer the kid, the calmer the mom! I will share with you a simplified version of our schedule, keeping in mind that it’s summer now, which makes outdoor time a lot easier to incorporate (winters are brutal here):

 

6:30-7:45: wake up play time with Daddy (mom gets to sleep for half an hour lucky me!)

8:30-9:30: breakfast, LO is changed teeth brushed and ready for the day

10-11 am: play time with Mommy and independent play while mommy gets dressed

11-12 pm: outside, walking or playing (snack in stroller)

12-12:30: lunch time

12:30-1: quiet play time and winding down for nap

1-3pm: nap time (mommy time!!!)

3:30-4: quiet playtime and second snack

4-5pm: playtime with mommy and independent play

5-6pm: crazy time of day where mommy tries to make supper while kid is hungry and misses his daddy so he whines a lot so mommy tries everything to juggle entertaining him and cooking, eventually mommy will put on Thomas the Train lol

6-7: Daddy and baby reunite, suppertime and a family evening walk

7-7:30: bath time and winding down for bed

7:30-8: Attempting to get baby down for bed

8 pm: Bed time for baby (woohoo day is over! Mommy and daddy get to relax!)




 

So this is on a day where we don’t have much planned. Usually a couple of times a week we have play dates with other children, or we walk a little further across the street to some shops, we are lucky enough to have some shops in walking distance. Anyway I try to incorporate one thing in my day to make me feel like I achieved something other than baby rearing. I do manage on most days to keep the kitchen clean so these are the extras that I try to do but the key is I do just one per day so I am not overwhelmed. I usually cycle between washing all the laundry, folding all the laundry, vacuuming the whole condo, washing the floors, organizing drawers, organizing papers and mail, dusting the condo, deep cleaning fridge or microwave or stove or baking something. Honestly everyone, some days I truly get nothing done because LO is being whiny, sick, demanding of attention, clingy. But on days where he’s very content playing independently I do take advantage and get some things organized and cleaned and it makes for a much more accomplished day which is a bonus for me.

What you don’t see, you don’t spend!

 

Having a car is great, you get to do all your errands during the week, if you forget something last minute you can throw LO in the car and go get what you need right? But wait, doesn’t that make you a little less inclined to keep organized and make a proper grocery list? Why make a list when you have easy access to your car and can go get what you need right? Phew I’m saved! Who needs lists?? WELL let me tell you how many times have we gone to the grocery store without a list and spend 3 times more than we wanted to spend because we saw things we may need or we want now because we are starving?? YUP…guilty! It happens to the best of us. When you know when you are going to the store, (my hubby, baby and I go every Tuesday night because he gets paid that day every week) I make a list of things we need and we eat supper first so we don’t go there hungry and spend our budget in food for the week. I don’t necessarily get a chance to meal plan every week but I definitely have an idea of what will get us all fed weekly. Guys, we spend less money when we don’t see things we want to buy all the time! So even if you drive, try to stick to your list and only go when you plan to go out. If you take the bus or walk to the store, at least you know how much you can handle buying so you won’t go overboard anyways!

 

Dress yourself, Momma!

 

There are days when I don’t feel like getting dressed and want to stay in my pyjamas all day long. Why do I need to get dressed nobody will see me but my toddler or maybe the mailman right? Well if I made a productivity chart on the days that I wore pyjamas all day versus the days where I get dressed, showered, hair brushed- you could imagine the pattern there. Getting dressed sets yourself up for the day! What a funk I was in for a while there in the winter, staying in my pyjamas all day long…but wait, I thought…do I not dress my kid in clothes for the day? Of course I do! If I left him in pyjamas all day long I would feel like a lazy mother (even though I have done this too and its ok really, the world will not implode). But I would feel sad- he has all these cute clothes why not get him dressed? Well…. why not get me dressed too?? I am a person too not just his mommy! Trust me, as soon as you get dressed and ready for the day, even if you don’t leave the house, you will get more done that day and have a more positive outlook for the day. I see it as getting ready for work, because being a stay at home mom is a 24/7 job that you never leave, but during the day when you are alone just you and your kid(s), you are on DUTY! So why not get dressed? Maybe you will have a better day! Try it!

Get fresh air at least once a day




 

Especially in the summer. Here in Canada the winter is harsh. It’s depressing, long, cold, icy and nasty. Summer comes and goes in a flash before you know it its fall again (which is lovely, but then winter is next and it comes fast) so make the best of nice weather and make your kid love being outside! We walk at least once a day, if not twice. Its great exercise helps with anxiety and depression, you get your vitamin D (sunshine!) for the day and your baby gets fresh air, which is so important for their health.

Enjoy the here and now

 

Be present for your child. Really and truly. I have had so many days where I get up for the day and I truly don’t know how I will get through it. The days can be SO LONG for a stay at home mom, let alone a stay at home mom who doesn’t get out of the house much. The day is daunting. The whining feels like it will never stop, the nap seems too short, the dishes keep piling up and it’s a never-ending cycle of cleaning up after your whole family and then the mess happens all over again. The pressure on you is too great sometimes it’s really hard to even think about what you want. Really, all I want sometimes is to open the window and scream at the top of my lungs…but you know what? The day ALWAYS passes and I always get through it with LO, thankfully unscathed. And then when my hubby takes LO to bed for the night, and I’m finally left alone with my thoughts for the day, I often look back on the day and think about all that I accomplished. Sometimes not so much, sometimes quite a bit. But then I think to myself did my son have a fun day? Or was he bored? Was he happy or did he miss his daddy? You know what I noticed? Letting go and trying to enjoy your baby is the best way to let the day pass with the least frustration. Just sit there, have your thermos of coffee and watch your baby play. It is quite a relaxing and satisfying thing to do. Be proud of what you are accomplishing. Raising a child is SO hard. It is definitely the hardest thing I have ever done. It is the most self-sacrificing thing you will ever do, and just think about the fact that time is fleeting and your baby will eventually go to school. Then you will have all the time in the world to figure out what you will do with your days, and you can be sure you will look back on the days where your baby was needy and you wanted to pull your hair out and you will realize that those days really weren’t that long, and in fact those days passed by way too fast.

5 Tips to Reduce Anxiety in Pregnancy

stones-944149_1280I’m an anxious person by nature. I guess that’s why I wanted to study anxiety disorders in university. I didn’t end up being a psychologist but I did end up having a lot of practical experience in dealing with anxiety and mild depression. For three years I suffered in silence with anxiety and depression and some agoraphobia. I never thought I would be able to be pregnant because of how anxious I was, I thought it would harm the baby (even though doctors told me I was perfectly healthy and anxiety won’t harm the baby, which they were right). But beyond that, I truly think having a baby was the best thing I ever did, not only for my family but also for my anxiety. However when I was pregnant, it was not easy. Here are some tricks to calm your anxious mind and body coming from someone who has been through it! (*please do not take this to replace the advice of a doctor, if you think your anxiety is unmanageable and your life has been significantly altered and affected by anxiety, consult a doctor. I did and I was safely able to live every day life by not taking medication, but if you need it there are plenty of pregnancy-safe options so please inform yourself!)

In case you want to look into self-help for your anxiety, I really recommend the PanicAway program. I purchased it online in 2011 out of desperation because I felt so isolated and alone and it really helped me make big steps towards calming down my anxiety so that I could function well daily. It really improved my quality of life and was my first step towards feeling better. Then when I became pregnant, along with implementing panic away techniques, I also found a few of my own.

balance-405513_640Meditation and Prenatal Yoga

 

 

 

 

This was a lifeline for me. I was not working when I was pregnant due to my health (I have Crohn’s Disease) and my husband and I thought it would be best if I stayed home and rested while pregnant as to not aggravate my stomach issue which for me flares up during times of stress. However….man did I have too much time on my hands to think about anxiety! Heart racing and panicky thoughts….the works! I noticed when I meditated for 5 minutes and did my prenatal yoga routine for 30 minutes, I would say on a scale of 1-10 my anxiety level (which was mostly 8) went to about a 4. Which was amazing for me and of course for my baby! There’s a prenatal routine I really love by Lara Dutta:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCSFobwvQTg

Enjoy! She is amazing!

journal-1090599_640Writing in a Journal

It really helps to write your feelings down in a journal when you really feel like your brain is about to explode. It helps you process information and look at your feelings written out on paper. I found that I was able to solve little worry problems when I actually wrote down what I was worrying about instead of trying to figure out how to solve them in my head. I also wrote down a calming scenario that I used for my meditation and took it wherever I went, I was very nervous at OBGYN appointments so I would read my scenario and take deep breaths and it would help tremendously.

Challenge your Thoughts

This is a little bit of Cognitive-Behavioural stuff but it really helps. I had iron deficiency when I was pregnant so I felt pretty weak and sometimes would feel like fainting (came close once at a wedding but never did thank God). I would feel faint in the shower or exercising or being in a hot place. Of course when you have anxiety your mind tends to go to the worst case scenario “what if I faint and hurt the baby??”. This worry would seriously make me afraid to leave my house which was so ridiculous as I didn’t want to be home all day! And of course IF I fainted there really WAS a chance that I could hurt the baby so there was real fear there. I just told myself “ok, you feel lightheaded, if you feel like this just stop what you’re doing and SIT DOWN! Anywhere!” I was always worrying what other people thought but this was definitely not a time to care about other people. If you sit down and have a snack and water, you will feel better I promise! That too, always carry cold water and a snack with you, sometimes anxiety is worsened by hunger and thirst.




Breathing, Pacing and Timing

I know this seems counter-intuitive because when you are pregnant you usually find the nearest seat to sit in for example in a waiting room right? Well for me, I would get the most nervous in waiting rooms. I just don’t like them (I have White Coat Syndrome) and I’m impatient and hate waiting, long waits would SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE my anxiety! I found that walking around near the waiting room if you can or around the room go find some posters or magazines to read, it gets the blood flowing and also helps calm the nerves. Breathing exercises work well while standing as well, it’s important to breath using your diaphragm when you are anxious, since breathing gets really shallow and feels like its making your chest rise and fall very quickly. Try to get your belly and ribcage to expand and contract with each breath. Much better way to breath and you will feel better faster. I often get a jello sensation in my legs from extreme anxiety and this really helps process the excess adrenaline pumping through the body. Also, timing is crucial of you hate waiting rooms ask for the FIRST APPOINTMENT OF THE DAY. This SAVED me. Sure it sucks to wake up early but man it’s worth it to get the appointment over with afterwards and not have to wait around and get pent up anxiety.

Treat Yourself!

After appointments, I was SO relieved that I got through them that my husband and I would get a treat. Some chocolate, a nice hot tea, breakfast or all 3! Dealing with anxiety and feeling down about it is SO hard. You need a little push sometimes to get through the tough stuff. Whenever you get overwhelmed it is really important to think of one day at a time. One appointment at a time, one bad day at a time, one good day at a time, one day closer to seeing your baby! That is the ultimate payoff. Women with anxiety can definitely raise children well. I feel like it gives them something to focus on other than themselves which is how most of anxiety is created (too much thinking about yourself, your physiological and mental reactions to a situation or environment). A baby can help you switch the focus off of yourself. *Of course if you feel like your worries and thoughts consume and overwhelm you to the point that you are not able to care for your child properly, you need to seek the help of a professional.

In the end, I had a beautiful and healthy baby boy and my life has changed for the better! I hope that gives anyone out there suffering some hope, you are not alone. Anything anyone else would like to share? Thanks for reading!

Costco and the Small Space: 5 things worth buying!

So, how many of you lovely people get a little stressed thinking about shopping at Costco but know that there are things you just have to buy there because they are such a bargain? I know. Living in 600 square feet and having a family to feed on a budget you have to face the fact that Costco is the way to go. But not for everything! I’m going to give you a short list of things (mostly necessities) that we need to buy at Costco even though we don’t have much pantry or floor or shelf space, because well, they are WORTH the floor and shelf space for us. If you buy these items they will save you money in the long run I promise!

Toilet Paper

People…when toilet paper is on sale at Coscto…BUY IT. Here in Quebec, Canada it is a STEAL at around 13$ for 40 double rolls of the good quality stuff. Regular price is around 20$, still fairly good deal but if you see it for 13$, double up and it will last you at least a few months! Since these packs are so bulky, when we buy them, I unpack some of it right away and pile it on my toilet paper rack/holder in my bathroom, it holds about 4 rolls on each of the 3 shelves so thats 12, and then I stack both in my walk in closet out of site. It takes up floor space but man its WORTH IT! Its a necessity and the cheapest in the whole province at that price.

bake-1239114_640Peanut Butter 

 

 

My husband is a PB freak of nature. He eats so much peanut butter we literally go through a whole Costco size one so fast its embarrassing to tell you how fast (haha). But really when its 7.49$ for a huge tub of it, we buy it and it takes its rightful place in our pantry because well….its peanut butter, the almighty God of nut butters. Plus its protein! 😉 bonus!

coffee-66850_640Coffee Beans 

I like to refer to myself as a coffee “snob”. I will not enjoy coffee as much if its is not freshly ground. And since we cannot afford to buy a freshly ground cup at a fancy coffee shop every day, we like to make a big pot of freshly ground coffee and poor them in giant thermoses so hubby can sip at work and I can sip at home all day long. Which by the way is a great tip for having hot coffee while playing with a toddler….pour it in a sealed thermos and you won’t have to microwave it to reheat it! Microwaved coffee is just….uninspiring, wouldn’t you say? We use amazing thermoses here’s a link to them and believe me they are amazing!

Going back to coffee! Coffee beans are about 14$ for a large bag really good deal. Even though they say Kirkland brand, underneath that the logo says “starbucks roasters” so you get the point here! Don’t buy coffee every day at an expensive cafe! Make your own, just invest in a good thermos. And grind your beans you won’t regret the rich velvety flavour!

chicken-breast-279847_640Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

So these are a staple in my house. They are healthy and versatile and they cost around 22$ for 8-9 large chicken breasts. When I get home I divide them up in packs of 1 or 2 in sandwich bags and then when they are all individually packaged I place all the bags in a large freezer bag and throw them in the freezer. So economical to do this, folks. You just pull out a sandwich bag of the portioned out chicken and defrost in the fridge in the morning so it can be ready for you to cook that night for dinner. OR if you really aren’t keen to pre-portioning and freezing the chicken, you can throw them all in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours on low (high if putting them in frozen for 5-6 hours). You can make a large batch of shredded chicken this way for sandwiches, soups, salads and other yummy recipes. I will post recipes using shredded chicken in another post! What a great idea. You can even freeze the already cooked and shredded chicken (I would only do this if they were slow cooked from fresh, don’t freeze twice).




Dishwasher and Washing Machine Pods

These babies are two for one on my list because they are both awesome cleaning pods. We always stock up on the dishwasher pods only when they are on sale (they should last you until the next sale). And the washing machine pods I have done the research and I think its worth it to buy these even at regular price. Compared to other stores they are a great deal. I saved a plastic container because now they only sell them in 2-3 bags and I just refill the container and throw the bags away. The dishwashing pods I take them out of the box and put them in a big plastic storage container without the lid in the bottom drawer in the kitchen, that way they are tucked away and I don’t have to stare at the unsightly box when I reach for one. I absolutely love the invention of washing machine pods. They save so much space and are so convenient instead of large tubs of liquid detergent!

 

So there you have it! 5 things that my family needs from Costco, and I think your family will too!

 

I would love to hear from you! Email me at livingsmalllovingbig@gmail.com or comment below, what are your top 5 faves at Costco?

5 Top Tips On How to Live in a Tiny Space with a Baby

teddy-1248452_1280
Cleaning up toys at the end of the day sets up the next day on the right foot.

I can tell you right now it is not an easy thing to do living in such a small space with a growing family. I live in a neighbourhood where we are one of the only families to have a small condo, the rest are all much bigger and my neighbours with babies always ask me HOW? We could very easily move to a bigger place, but our mortgage here is so affordable, it is making it possible for me to stay home with my son. I have NOTHING against moms and dads that put their kids in daycare so they can work and have bigger homes and better cars and great trips I wish I had those things too, but I am choosing to sacrifice all these things so that I can be with my son until he goes to preschool. It is just our own decision and it works for us. So now lets get to why it works!

Declutter

Ok, the number 1 thing that is necessary to remain sane in a small space is to declutter. But the key is to declutter OFTEN! I honestly declutter weekly. I have a routine where I go through all our rooms and areas (basically open concept living room/kitchen, the bathroom with washer/dryer in there, and our bedroom, plus closets), and I go through everything from mail to boxes to toys to clothes to kitchen pantry and donate, recycle or throw away things that I do not absolutely need or want anymore. Even decluttering a drawer and making space for things you actually need NOW makes SUCH a difference when you live small.

Cycle and Swap

When my son gets a few new toys, we always donate a few that he already had for a while. When I buy new clothes, I donate some that I never wear anymore. I hate boxes and bags of food (Costco…see my post on must haves from Costco and how to store them in a small space here!) so I empty in pretty jars and containers for my pantry and immediately recycle the boxes. People think having a small space is easy to keep clean but it takes a lot of maintenance work!

Use Vertical Space

Honestly there are so many ways to use vertical space! In the living room we use shelves above the sofa to display pictures and art and decor, pretty books also look nice stacked on a shelf. Also wall-mounting the TV in the living room saves tons of space and using a shelf for the electronics is way more space-saving than a big clunky TV stand. Ikea is my go-to in my tiny space tiny budget life….isn’t it wonderful? In the kitchen I use wall mounted spice racks IMG_1294

for all my dried herbs and spices since my drawer and cupboard space is all taken up by other things. On the wall of our bedroom over my son’s crib we put up some little cubby pods to shove all his stuffed animals and toys in. Those awesome little things also have 2 hooks hanging from each pod so we hang his little sweaters and on each one we have a little numbered basket so we can throw his socks and gloves in. It works perfectly. From a hardware store, we got a magnetic hanging towel rod that hangs from the side of the stacked washer and dryer since my bathroom doesn’t have a towel rack in the wall. The best tip about using vertical space is using hooks that hang from the top of the door. We bought ours at Homesense (Winners) and they are amazing. They have the capacity to hang so many things, we have one on our closet door, bedroom door and bathroom door. Belts, bulky sweaters, towels and robes all have places on our door hangers. Amazing invention!

Clean up the toys at the end of the day

If there is one thing that saves my husband and my sanity it is cleaning up all of LO’s toys at the end of the day. No we don’t have a designated playroom, we have a living room that is shared with a 15 month old toddler that makes a mess ALL DAY LONG! So after we put him to bed we have a routine where we just arrange all his toys nicely back onto his little foam tiles and put things all back where they belong in his toy bins. That way from 8 pm until midnight, it’s mommy and daddy’s living room again. I know it seems like why go through the trouble every day but believe me it will save your sanity. I love to take a shower get my tea ready and crash on the couch for a netflix marathon and all the toys are neat and tucked in a corner so I don’t have to look at them, trip over them or listen to them until the next morning! It is SO hard to be alone with a baby all day playing in a small space especially in our brutal winters when going for a walk is out of the question on most days, and I SO look forward to just cleaning up and unwinding at the end of the day. That’s another thing too the dishes HAVE to be done in the evening before LO goes to sleep because the bedroom is backed right on to the kitchen so we like to keep things quiet when he goes to sleep. Also saves my sanity to look at the kitchen and see that its all clean and tidy since its always in my sightline from the living room.




Get a sofabed

So this is something that I wish we had done in the beginning but I learned the hard way and must give you this piece of advice. You have to replace whatever sofa you have with a sofabed. Our bed is still in the bedroom since LO still bedshares at some point in the middle of the night but if one of you is sick, or needs space, or one of you has to get up earlier one morning. You need to have a second bed somewhere in your small space! It can be a futon just a small place for even one person to sleep.

Those are my must-do’s and must-haves for small space survival! Anyone else have anything to add? Thanks for reading!

 

Hello! A little about me…

psychology major, wife, mom, small space blogger
psychology major, wife, mom, small space blogger


Please come, sit, have coffee, relax and stay a while. My name is Elle, I have a psychology degree with a focus on anxiety disorders, I am also a wife to an amazing husband and a stay at home mom to a spirited little toddler. We live in a 600 square foot condo. Yes with a baby! I will share with you tips and tricks on living in a small space with a baby, also many life hacks on how we survive on one income and still feel like we make the most of life. I will also share with you some information about anxiety and depression, especially in pregnancy and how to handle it. I love to cook and craft too! Mostly, I would love to share with you my journey to make a more fulfilled and happy home life despite living with anxiety. I know that many people feel embarrassed to admit that they have an anxiety disorder, but I found that embracing it is the key to controlling it. So, if you are interested in having a happier, calmer and simpler home life, please read, comment and enjoy, I am here for you!