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On Your Mind: How to deal with the holiday blues

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, December 18, 2014

onyourmindIs it weird that I don’t feel like it’s “the most wonderful time of the year”? During this time of year, it’s a real struggle for me to feel happy and festive. I usually just feel stressed or a little “down.” I get angry at myself for not being able to snap out of it and enjoy all the holiday parties and activities. I find myself “faking it” for the kids and my husband. Is this common? What could be behind this holiday gloom and doom?

Dear “Down around Christmas time,”

There are many reasons that someone might feel down during the holidays. It could be that the holidays are associated with a painful childhood experience or family issues, a lost loved one whom you typically see around the holidays, spending holidays away from people you love, or a variety of other factors that could contribute. If you feel your “doom and gloom” is persistent and feels excessive, please seek professional help to explore what could be triggering these feelings.

It’s also possible that, during the holidays, your expectations might clash with reality. You want the perfect party, perfect gifts, and the perfect family to get along all the time — happy and celebrating. However, things often don’t go as planned. A good place to start is to look at your expectations and determine if they’re unrealistic or adding to your stress.

Remember that there might be disappointments during the holidays, but there can still be some enjoyment even if all of those expectations aren’t met. Besides, the holidays will be over before you know it. Attempt to create realistic expectations for the holidays such as knowing that the entire family may not be able to get together at one time, or you might not be able to find that perfect gift you’re looking for. Focus on the times and activities you DO enjoy.

not most wonderful time of yearBelow are strategies to help you deal with the Christmas blues:

  • Try to get away over the holidays or change your routine.
  • Spend time with friends and family that care about you.
  • Create new traditions.
  • Volunteer to help others.
  • Develop short term, realistic goals you would like to accomplish during this time.
  • Engage in relaxing activities – yoga, massages, etc.

I hope some of these strategies help you feel better this holiday season. And if you decide that professional guidance would be helpful right now, don’t hesitate to contact one of the counselors on staff here at Ozark Guidance. We’d love to help.

Stanfill, Abby1214Abby Stanfill is a licensed professional counselor with Ozark Guidance, a local non-profit mental health center. Since 1970, Ozark Guidance has helped tens of thousands of children, adults, and families in Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll Counties live better lives by providing high quality, affordable mental healthcare services.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.

Marathon Mama: How to find time to run and how to stay motivated

By nwamamas - Last updated: Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guest post by Beth Gallini

If you read the first post in the Hogeye Marathon series, your interest may have been piqued and you may be tempted to start running and to register for one of the Hogeye Marathon races.

But you’re likely wondering how you will find the time to run when you have two kids, work full-time, and have the kids’ activities to juggle. Or maybe you’re home with the kids, but you’re home with the kids, so when will you find time to run?

Anytime you make a new commitment, it can be challenging to find the time for it in an already over-committed and busy calendar.  But the saying is true: if it is important to you, you will find the time.

Here are some ideas to help you busy mamas find the time to run:

exercise on calendarSchedule it: Adding your training to your calendar will help you find the time for it, it will block the time off so you don’t commit to something else, it will create structure and consistency, and you will be more likely to follow-through with it.

Ask for support: Share your new interest in running with your family and ask for their help.   Maybe your spouse can help with the kids so you can enjoy a run.

Get out there early: You are less likely to skip your run when other things come up during the day if you do it first thing in the morning.  Plus you get to enjoy the post-run feeling throughout the day and you start your day on a healthy and positive note.

Join a gym: Many gyms provide childcare and they all have treadmills, so that allows you to work out while your kids are being cared for.  Some gyms are located near running trails where you can run outside while your kids are being watched.

Invest in a jogging stroller: If you have a jogging stroller, you can load the kid(s) up and take them with you!  It will give you a total body workout and make you an even stronger runner.  It is also a great way to share your love of running with your children and involve them in a way that is fun for them.  Jogging strollers can be expensive, but you can find a used one at a consignment shop or online.

Find another parent to swap kids with: If you have a friend or neighbor who is in the same situation as you, set up a system where you watch the kids while she runs and then she watches the kids while you run.


Aside from finding the time to run, another common hurdle is staying motivated. It can be hard to pull yourself out of a warm bed to run or you may just not feel like running on some days.  Don’t worry, everyone has those feelings!

Here are some ways to help you stay motivated:

Make goals: Whether they’re big or small, having goals gives you something to work toward.

Hogeye MarathonSign up for a race: By registering for a race, you have a ‘deadline’ for when you need to be ready to go.

Record your runs: You can record your training in a journal or online, but being able to review the progress you’ve made will help you to see your hard work paying off and you’ll want to maintain that.

Get dressed: It may sound silly, but sometimes just getting dressed and putting your running clothes on will help you get out the door.

Find a friend/group to run with: Running with others can be fun, but it can also keep you accountable.  If you know others are waiting for you, you won’t want to let them down.

If you’re looking for a run to get motivated for, the Hogeye Marathon is on March 29th and offers a marathon, half marathon, 4-person relay, 5K, and corporate challenge.  Don’t forget that registration increases on January 1st.  Encourage your friends and family who aren’t running to volunteer – there’s something for everyone!

Beth Gallini runningAbout Beth: Beth is mom, runner, running coach, and the blogger behind RUNNING around my kitchen.  She and her husband adopted two boys who are a month apart and just celebrated their first birthday. Beth serves on the board for the Hogeye Marathon and is interested in helping other moms with their training and answering any questions you have.   Be social, connect with other Hogeye runners, and let them hear from you by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  #hogeyemarathon

Fashion Fairy Godmother: A fashionable wishlist

By nwamamas - Last updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Here are a few of the things our Fashion Fairy Godmother is hoping to find under the tree this year as well as things she is picking up for friends and family. Most of these items can be found locally at the Northwest Arkansas Mall. Find info and links to each item below. Happy shopping!

wishlist2 (3)1. Another great bag option this Christmas is this gold simple tote from Michael Kors at Dillard’s as well. I love the cleanness of it and the neutral color.

2. This sweater is from American Eagle and is perfect for any day or night paired with jeans, and I always think sweaters make a great gift for the cold season.

3. I love this cream cashmere scarf from Banana Republic. Treat yourself to this perfect and easy accessory. I think it would go with everything!

4. A cute mug is always a good Christmas gift and this classy gold mug from J Crew is a winner.

5. We will all need mittens here soon and I think these black gloves with fur from Zappos are great – warm and fashionable.

6. Phone cases are a fun gift that we might not always think of and this blue one from Francesca’s is too cute. I think it sums up how a lot of us feel – I am very busy.

7. Holiday candles are a must around this time and my favorites are the 3-wick candles from Bath & Body Works.

8. This fun necklace from Express would be a great Christmas gift because it is perfect for New Years Eve with its black and gold.

wishlist1 (3)1. This is a large, hound’s-tooth Vera Bradley cosmetic bag – perfect for trips or just keeping your makeup organized around your house. I can’t live without my make up bag and it gets dirty pretty often, so sometimes it is a good idea to invest in a new one!

2. I love this boyfriend shirt from Gap – it is a classic piece for your wardrobe and an easy piece to pick out.

3. Leather band watches are very in this winter and this one is from Forever 21 so it won’t break your budget.

4. This Michael Kors bag from Dillard’s is the perfect size for a tote and a beautiful color with gold accents.  I think bags are always a great Christmas gift.

5. Volcano candles are amazing! Everyone loves these and you can pick yours up for yourself or family members at Francesca’s.

6. I love Tory Burch flats! For any working gal, these are an incredible investment, and something you might only ask for for Christmas.

7. You always want a couple beauty products for stuffing stockings and this Tarte lipstick from Sephora is an easy choice! I love this nude pink color.

8. Hats are perfect throwing on when your don’t have much make up on and need to run to the store. I wear hats so much, I like to have options to mix it up and these polo caps from Dillard’s are cute in any color.

Looking for a new series to watch on Netflix? Here ya go!

By nwamamas - Last updated: Wednesday, December 17, 2014

netflix, cropped

We recently asked our nwaMotherlode. com Facebook friends about their favorite shows to watch on Netflix.

When you get some downtime during the holidays, you might try a few of these series suggestion. Some are a little “older”, but if you never watched them, now could be the time!

nwaMotherlode Readers’ Top Picks:

Call the Midwife

About: Set in the 1950s, this period drama based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth follows new midwife Jenny Lee and the other midwives and nuns working in a nursing convent in an impoverished section of London’s East End.


About: Four grown siblings juggle parenthood, relationships, careers and more as they cope with life’s ups and downs in this family drama set in Berkeley, Calif. Meanwhile, their parents face an unraveling marriage and their own parenting challenges.

west wing

About: Winning four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, creator Aaron Sorkin’s powerful political epic chronicles the triumphs and travails of White House senior staff under the administration of President Josiah Bartlet.


About: From the creator of “Weeds” comes a heartbreaking and hilarious series set in a women’s prison. Piper trades her comfortable life for an orange jumpsuit and finds unexpected conflict and camaraderie amidst an eccentric group of inmates.

bob's burgers

About: In this animated series, hamburger restaurant owner Bob Belcher, his happy-go-lucky wife, Linda, and their three rambunctious kids try to outwit a rival eatery and overcome their own family dysfunction to get their greasy spoon off the ground.

raising hope

About: Slacker Jimmy suddenly finds himself a father after a one-night stand with a murderer, but his eccentric family — including his dim-bulb father, sarcastic mother and addled great-grandmother — reluctantly pitches in to help with the new arrival.

breaking bad

About: Emmy winner Bryan Cranston stars as Walter White, a high school science teacher who learns that he has terminal lung cancer and teams with a former student to manufacture and sell high-quality crystal meth to secure his family’s future.

house of cards

About: Ruthless politician Francis Underwood and his ambitious wife Claire will stop at nothing to conquer Washington D.C. in this dark political drama, winner of three Emmy Awards, including Best Director, and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.


About: This adaptation of the story of DC Comics’ Green Arrow stars Stephen Amell as the titular character, an affluent playboy who becomes an archer superhero at night, saving the city from villains armed with just a bow and arrows.

once upon a time

About: Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin and Robert Carlyle star in this fantastical series that follows the travails of a young woman who is drawn to a small Maine town and discovers that it’s filled with the mystical elements of the fairy tale world.

dr. who

About: After more than a decade off the air, this epic sci-fi series returns with an all-new look — and the ninth (and beyond) incarnation of everybody’s favorite time-traveling Doctor, who promptly sets about fighting nefarious aliens and other foes.


About: In this updated take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved mystery tales, the eccentric sleuth prowls the streets of modern-day London in search of clues. At his side — though hobbling — is flatmate Dr. John Watson, fresh from the war in Afghanistan.

freaks and geeks

About: A group of high school students in 1980 faces various social struggles. Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts, courtesy of an invitation from Daniel Desario.

the walking dead

About: In the wake of a zombie apocalypse that desolates the world as we know it, a group of survivors led by police officer Rick Grimes holds on to the hope of humanity by banding together to wage a never-ending fight for their own survival.


About: Olivia Pope leads a team of Washington, D.C., lawyers who specialize in making scandals disappear. As they secretly handle crises at the highest levels of government, the dysfunctional team must also cope with problems closer to home.


About: Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, this modern-day drama follows a lovely young woman who moves to the Hamptons and charms the pants off her new neighbors — while plotting their downfall for sins committed against her family.

Here’s to a little downtime. Happy watching, mamas :) If you’d like to join our fun conversations on Facebook, click here!

Mercy Health Foundation accepting donations to pay for NICU baby supplies

By nwamamas - Last updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

nicu mercy

We know lots of families like to to help others — and give back — during the holiday season.

We’d like to suggest a gift to the NICU at the nonprofit health care organization, Mercy Health Foundation. Each year, Mercy provides millions of dollars in charity care in the Northwest Arkansas region through the generosity of people in the community who donate.

Mercy’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where the tiniest patients can be found, is a current focus for The Mercy Foundation. Among the most precious, these little babies are also the most fragile and require a higher level of care.

“There isn’t anything more precious than a little newborn, yet at the same time, there isn’t anything more heart breaking than seeing one sick,” said Clark Ellison, regional vice president of  Mercy Health Foundation. “It’s our privilege as the Foundation to partner with our community to bring the highest level of care to these little patients and their families.”

From pacifiers to diapers and baby hats, there are lots of ways to help Mercy care for these little ones and their families, and each and every cent donated goes into our own community:

Baby hats: $36.94 per case would last 6 months in NICU.

baby_nicu-3-200x133 Baby Shampoo: $63.45 per case would last 6 months in NICU.

Diaper cream: $78.94 per case would last 3 months in NICU.

Pacifiers: $112.60 per case would last 3 months in NICU.

Baby wipes: $132.00 per case would last one month in NICU.

The NICU is a care line that has received even greater resources this past year. Mercy added two new neonatologists, Dr. Kimberly Thornton and Dr. Wayne Stillick, onto the team and is also investing in the latest advanced NICU equipment, including a transport isolette and customized ventilators that provide specialized respiratory support to premature babies.

“We have a genuine partnership with our community sharing the same vision of providing care to all regardless of means,” said Ellison. “It’s a true collaboration, as neither could accomplish that vision without the other.”

For more information on donating to the work of the Mercy Health Foundation, contact Clark Ellison with the Mercy Foundation at 479-338-2990 or click here to give to the NICU online.

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