Category Archives: General / Miscellaneous

New Year’s Challenge…

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I challenge us all to make a new year resolution to be kind to our fellow beings.  In other words, take the time out of your life to focus on those around you.

I fully believe that we need to care for ourselves before we can care for others.  The airplane lesson is true…put your own oxygen mask on before you help others put theirs on.  However, sometimes we can also get a little too wrapped up in our own drama and we need to take a moment to pause and remember that there are so many around us that we can really make a difference for.

I am talking about your neighbors, your coworkers, your family, your friends, your frenemies, your pets, nature (including animals, plants and all of mother earth).

Please take a moment to let those around you know how much they mean to you and take that extra step to do something to brighten their day.  If you are shoveling your drive…take the extra steps and walk next door to help shovel your neighbor’s drive as well.  Mail a note of gratitude to a friend or family member…just because you think they know how much you care about them doesn’t always mean that they do.  So tell them.

Visit your grandparents and listen to their stories…they will love the quality time with you and you will be rewarded with wonderful knowledge and memories that you will treasure forever.

Spend some quality time with your grandkids.  Play a board game and let yourself be a kid again.  Bridge the generation gaps and remind our young future what it means to be caring and respectful…they need that reminder!  And then enjoy giving them back to their parents, because let’s be honest…they are exhausting!  🙂

Plant a seed, nurture it and watch it grow.  Indoor plant, outdoor garden, whatever you find joy in…but allow yourself to witness the wonder of creating something from a small seed to something beautiful or tasty.  And while you are at it, reflect on the fact that this concept can be applied to many more areas of life…allow yourself to make those connections…plant those seeds of thought and watch them grow.

Invite a family member that you only see at the normal family gatherings over for dinner or a game night.  They will be so appreciative and doing something outside the norm will take your relationship to another level.

Remind your friends that they are on your mind.  Life is busy, there is no doubt about it, but we need to let our friends know that even though we don’t see them as often as we may want to…they are still on our minds and they mean the world to us.  A simple email, fb post, instant message, text, whatever you can think of!  Just reach out to them in some way and when possible try to get together for a quick visit as well!

Listen.  That’s it.  When somebody, anybody, speaks to you.  Stop, look and listen.  Stop what you are doing.  Look at them. And listen to what they are saying.  Really listen.  Don’t think about what you are going to say next.  Don’t let yourself trail off in the crazy to-do list running through your head.  Give them your un-divided attention, listen to what they say, and reply honestly.  Take interest in what they are telling you.  Are they taking a trip soon?  Ask questions about it and really listen to the answers.  Care about what they say.

There are so many things we can do to really care about others.  It is time that we get into doing them more.  Let’s all resolve to do a little bit more of this in 2016 and watch what a better place the world will become.

Until next time y’all!
Love, health and happiness.

 

That thing you have been avoiding…do it!

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The majority of people have something they are avoiding or are procrastinating doing.  I am no exception.  I promised to use this blog to help others learn from my life experiences…so here we go.

I am not proud to admit this to you all because by trade I am a wellness professional and make a living helping guide people on how to best take care of themselves and live a full, healthy and happy life.  But I am human and I too have things that I don’t do as well as I should, even when I know better.  My main avoidance for many years (we are talking 10-15 years) has been the dentist.  That’s right…I have not been to the dentist in over a decade.

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The truth is that I have very high anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist, which made it very easy for me to completely avoid it!  Once it was my responsibility to schedule appointments, I just didn’t schedule them.  I started off with just procrastinating and putting it off.  Then I started using excuses to rationalize why I hadn’t gone yet…I moved away for college, then it was I don’t have dental insurance, then it was I am pregnant (not a good excuse, by the way), then it was I am pregnant again, and again and again and again (yep 5 pregnancies), and then it was that we moved to a new part of town and I didn’t have a dentist in that area.  When in reality I just really, really, really, really, really, really didn’t want to go!

I am happy to say, however, that I finally made an appointment with a local dentist and had my first appointment yesterday! The hygienist and the dentist were both amazing and made me feel very comfortable.  They talked me through everything without scolding me or making me feel bad (or worse than I already was making myself feel) for not seeing a dentist all these years.  They completely changed my perception of going to the dentist and eased my anxiety that surrounded it.  For all you locals…check out Paragon Dental in Papillion.  Dr. Carter is awesome!  And best of all…no cavities or major dental work needed for me!  Woohoo!  One old cavity needs to be refilled (boo) and I need to have at least one wisdom tooth pulled (double boo), but nothing else!  I was convinced I was going to need to have crowns or root canals or other terrifying things done because I had waited so long.

We all have that one (or maybe more) thing(s) that we would just rather not do.  When we put it off and avoid it, it gets bigger and bigger in our minds until we feel guilt and stress every time we think about it.  Soon we start to feel shame for putting it off for so long and that just adds to the guilt and stress and eventually it gets to a point where you feel as if you can’t do it now because you have put it off for too long.

I am here to tell you that it is ok to feel anxious, nervous, stressed, etc. about these things.  But you need to own those feelings and still move forward and confront the task at hand.  And it is never too late to start now.  The thing that helped me most was that I was upfront and honest about it, both with myself and with others.  When I called to make the appointment, I let the person I was speaking with know that I was in search of a new dentist because I hadn’t been in a very long time due to anxiety and fear.  She assured me that I was coming to the right place then because they don’t judge and are happy to help me any way they can.  I let the dentist and the hygienist know as soon as I met them that I was very nervous and they walked me through everything step by step with no judgment.  Not that they wouldn’t have been that way anyway, but I am sure that it helped for them to know that right away so they could take extra care of what they were saying and how they were saying it to keep my nerves at ease.  Life always works out better when we openly communicate with each other.  Others can’t read our minds so we shouldn’t expect them to.  It is difficult for anybody to live up to our expectations if we don’t tell them what we are expecting of them.  So be honest with yourself and be honest with others and face that thing you have been avoiding.  You can do it!

Until next time,
Be kind to yourself and others!

Strive to be a better person…

72745-Try+to+be+a+better+person+eachWe can all do better…period.  There is always room for improvement.

I would encourage us all to be better people.  How you ask?  Here are a few examples for you:

– Pick up after yourself.
Don’t litter.  If you make a mess, clean it up.
Make things look better or at the very least the same as how you found it.

– Be kind to animals.
Big and small, all creatures deserve kindness.
Don’t pound on the glass, cage or enclosure that any animal is in.  It is rude and has no purpose.

– Take turns.
Let other people in when waiting in traffic.

– Be kind.
Say please and thank you.
Treat others as you want to be treated.
Practice empathy and compassion.

The world would be a much better and more beautiful place if we all worked a little harder to do these simple things every day.

Just saying…. 🙂

Change the Way you Think…

New Year’s Eve…another year coming to an end and a new one about to begin.  We all know that this time of year brings reflections of the past year and resolutions for the new year.  New year, new you right?…Wrong!

Why is it that each year at this time many of us decide we are either going to create a new version of ourselves or ignore the new year resolution movement all together and change absolutely nothing?  I have always been a firm believer that if you aren’t happy with something, change it!  And that is something that I live by 365 days per year…not just at the new year.  Well Mary Engelbreit took it a step further:

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What if we all changed the way we think?  If you really think about it, we do so many things simply because we feel we are expected to or because that is the way that everybody else does it.  Could we change the way the world works if we all just changed the way we think?

I have decided that for 2015 I am going to try a little social experiment.  My family, like so many others, is struggling to make ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck.  However, I want to help make a difference in our community and have always wished that I could “win the lottery” so I could help others more.  Well, I am going to change the way I think about that.  Knowing full well that I will in all reality never win the lottery, it is time to stop waiting for that time before I help others.  So, how do I make a difference without hurting my own family financially?  Hmmm…what if every household donated $1 each month to one organization?  What a difference that would make!  So that is what I have decided to do.  I am going to commit to donating $1 each month in 2015 to a local organization.  Only $12 for the year.  My family can definitely handle that financially.  But $1 to an organization is not much help is it?  Well, every little bit helps so I will first not feel guilty about “only donating $1.”  Second, I am a communicator, an organizer and I have hundreds of friends, family and coworkers.  We are stronger and more effective as a team then we are individually, so why don’t I use my organization and communication strengths and put them to good use!  So here is my challenge to each of you…join me in donating $1 each month to help our community.  I am happy to collect any donations that others wish to give and will give the total amount each month to a different organization.  I would love to hear from you on which organizations we should choose…we need 12…so please communicate those suggestions to me!  I will make the donation at the end of each month so that allows time to collect the donations from all of you.  I will document each donation with a photo and will blog about each one as well.

So this is the start of me changing the way I think…and it is just the start.  I hope that this helps inspire you to change the way you think as well.  I want to hear your new thoughts and ideas and your plans as well…please feel free to share them with me and others so we can all continue to motivate and inspire each other and make the world a better place for us and for our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.

Until next time…

Wellness Break

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Many of us find ourselves in situations at work (or in our lives in general) where we are sitting for long periods of time.  These situations are the perfect opportunity for a wellness break.  In less than 5 minutes time you can work on stress relief, mental focus/clarity, blood flow, mood, heart health and so much more.  Seems to good to be true, I know…but it really does work.  I challenge each of you to conduct at least one wellness break each and every day.

Start your wellness break by finding a comfortable position in your chair.  Tense up all of your muscles and then release them all to a relaxed state.  Close your eyes and take a slow deep breath in through your nose and release that breath through your mouth visioning all of the negative thoughts and energy leaving your body with that exhale.  Repeat the relaxing cleansing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth two to three more times.  This exercise will help relieve stress and bring your mental focus back to a mindful state.

Next stand and stretch up as tall as you can, stand on your tip-toes and reach for the skies.  Then reach your arms out to your sides and imagine somebody pulling on each of your arms stretching them out as far as they will go.   Finally, return your arms down to your sides and flap your arms slightly tapping the sides of your legs.  This exercise may feel and look a little silly, but it will help get your blood flowing and get you to a more alert state of mind.

Round off your wellness break with a grand finale of laughter.  Laughter can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.  It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells which can improve your resistance to disease and it triggers the release of endorphins to promote an overall sense of well-being.  Laughter also improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

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Laughter not only provides all of these physical benefits, but it can also ease anxiety and fear, improve your mood, enhance reliance, strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork and help defuse conflict.  Laughter really is the best medicine and should be done at least once a day.  If you need a little assistance to get you laughing, try looking up ‘baby laughing’ on YouTube!  You are sure to find a video or few that will get you laughing!

Until next time…wishing you all a good belly laugh!

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Avoiding the Holiday Hangover

Holiday Hangover

Now before you get too far into this post…this has nothing to do with the typical alcohol-induced hangover.  So if you are hoping for a magic cure-all for that I am afraid I have bad news for you…the cure is don’t drink so much!! 

No, I am referring to that feeling you get after the holidays are over.  We spend a month (or more for some) building up to the holidays…planning and cooking and baking and shopping and wrapping and decorating and gathering together…etc.  And before long the day has come and it is Christmas Eve (or insert whatever holiday you and yours celebrate…yes, I am quite aware that everybody doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but in my house we do).  Tomorrow is the big day…Christmas Day!  Santa comes tonight!!  We have cookies and hot cocoa to put out tonight, reindeer food to sprinkle on the yard and the kids have one gift (Christmas jammies!) to open tonight from mom and dad.  My husband and I started the Minivan Express tradition last year so that will happen tonight as well!  (I will write more on that in a future post).

And then tomorrow morning arrives and the kids excitedly wake up and run into our room and bounce on the bed anxious to open their presents!  We all get up and mommy stays up in the bedroom with the kiddos (trying to make myself somewhat presentable for pictures/video)  while daddy goes down to see what surprises Santa has left for us (and to get the camera!).  Then daddy has us all come down the stairs to the Christmas morning goodies that await us!  After the flying wrapping paper and the excited squeals of the kids we all get showered and dressed and eat some breakfast before family arrives.

Family arrives and we eat, drink and be merry sharing the company of one another and stories of memories of Christmas past.  We exchange gifts and thanks and play some games and eat some more and then one by one people start to head home.  Soon everybody is gone and it is time for bed.  The kiddos get a bath and a bedtime story and then tucked into bed.  Mom and dad finish cleaning up the remains of the celebration and collapse on the couch together in exhaustion.

And then it is the day after Christmas.  The decorations are still up, but the anticipation of the approaching holiday is gone.  We know we will have to take down the decorations soon (ugh) and get them all packed away for another year (double ugh).  No more Christmas songs on the radio, no more twinkling lights and soothing tree by the fireplace.  No more Christmas specials on tv or cheesy Christmas Hallmark or Lifetime movies (those are my favorite!!).  No more Christmas baking or gift exchanges with coworkers, friends and family.  It is all just done.

That is the holiday hangover.

So to avoid that sinking feeling, here is what you do…look ahead.  Yep, that is it!  Look ahead.
Look ahead to the next thing…plan your New Year’s celebrations, gather with family and friends to celebrate the New Year and take a moment to reflect on the year behind and set goals for the year ahead.
Look ahead to Valentine’s Day and show those around you how much they mean to you.
Plan an End of Winter Celebration to say so long to the cold and snow and hello (and hurry and get here) to the warmth and new life of spring!

Find any excuse to celebrate life and surround yourself with those you love.   Decorate when you want (I am still trying to convince my husband to leave the tree up all year long and decorate it for each season/holiday!!), gather when you want, bake when you want, party when you want!  Make everyday a holiday!!  Life is short…make every second count!  One of my very favorite quotes is “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”  Create breath-taking moments!

A very Merry Christmas to you all and Happy Holidays to everybody that celebrates the many other holidays this time of year!

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Tips When Interviewing…Mind Your P’s!!

Interviewing…we have all been through it at least once in our lives in one capacity or another.

Some people are “interviewing experts” and are naturals when it comes to getting through an interview.
Others…not so much.

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I personally have been on both sides of interviewing (interviewer and interviewee) and from my experiences I have put together this list of basic tips to help you interview better!

Now I am no expert.  So as a disclaimer, any and all information and advice I give in my blog is simply my own personal opinion and comes with no guarantee.  (In other words, you can’t blame me if you don’t get hired!!)

Tip #1: Personality
– Be yourself and let your personality shine through!  One purpose of an interview is to get to know who you are and determine if the job is a good fit for you and if you are a good fit for the job.  It is very hard to determine who a candidate is if they don’t show some of their personality.  If you are sitting there describing yourself as a happy and outgoing person, yet you are not smiling, show no excitement and have no voice fluctuations…How am I supposed to believe what you are saying?!?

Tip #2: Passion
– Be passionate about the position you are interviewing for.  As an interviewer, we want you to want the job you are interviewing for.  If you don’t want it, don’t apply for it!!  If you come to the interview with an attitude and it appears that you really don’t care if you are there or not, I am not going to be compelled to hire you and deal with that attitude every day!  Now don’t go overboard…remember there is always the risk of going too far in the other direction.  It is possible to be passionate and not obsessive.  Find that balance.

Tip #3: Prepare
– Prepare yourself for the interview.  Think about what kinds of questions they may ask?  More than likely you will be asked to describe yourself or your background, your strengths, and your weaknesses.  Do not answer “I don’t know” to any of these questions!!  Have a friend or a family member interview you.  Let them spring questions on you so you get the chance to answer as you would in an interview situation.  Practice makes perfect!  But again, don’t go to the other extreme.  You do not want to sound rehearsed or robotic when answering.  You want the answers to be sincere and natural.

Tip #4: Poise
– Be poised during your interview.  In other words…have confidence in yourself.  If you come in with confidence in yourself that you can do this and would be the best person for the job, then the person interviewing you will get that same feeling from you!  Remember though…confident, not conceited…nobody likes a know-it-all.

This is a short and very basic list of tips, but if you can master them it will greatly help your interviewing skills!
The most important thing to remember is that everybody gets nervous when it comes to interviews.  It is natural to be nervous and the interviewer knows that.  But you can’t let your nerves paralyze you.  You are there to “sell” you and you are the best expert on you so that should be easy to do!
Now get out there and mind your P’s and good luck to you!

Until next time…