How to Reduce Christmas Stress

Can you believe it’s December already! Christmas is just around the corner. For many families, the Christmas season is the “most wonderful time of the year.”  However, the high expectations that come along with the holidays can lead to stress, depression or disappointment. With so many things needing to get done in order to spread the holiday cheer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself feeling merry and mellow this Christmas.

Get Started Early

It’s never too early to start getting ready for next Christmas. While you’re out shopping keep an eye out for festive decorations or the perfect Christmas card. Not only will this give you less to worry about during the pre-holiday rush, but buying holiday supplies off-season can also save you money. If the family Christmas festivities are going to be held at your house this year, start preparing weeks or even months ahead.
Continue reading

Learn Something New

It’s back to school time!

Kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from learning something new. Have you ever thought about taking a class to learn a new hobby or skill? This is the perfect time, as many schools have community education classes forming.

These are classes are very affordable and range from hobby topics such as cooking and knitting to technical courses that can teach you new ways to use your digital camera or your computer.

You may also be able to find some fun and unique classes at your local library, county parks, craft stores, and home improvement stores.

Some of these classes may only meet once, and some may meet once a week for several weeks. Before you pay for anything, check to make sure the dates will work with your schedule and ask what their refund policy is, just in case an emergency comes up and you miss a class (or several of them).

It’s also a good idea to find out if the cost of the class covers any supplies you will need. You don’t want to find out that your $20 make your own birdhouse class will end up costing you an additional $100 in materials!

As an adult, heading back to “school” can be all about having a good time, so go out there and learn something new!

5 Ways To Save At The Grocery Store

The price of groceries keeps rising. Here are 5 ways to help you save money at the grocery store.

Don’t limit yourself to one store: Unless you live in a very small, rural town, you have more than one grocery store available to shop in. Take a few minutes to look at their sales flyers (they may get mailed to you, or you may have to look online.) Why pay more for something at one store, when it’s on sale at another store?

Get organized before you go: If you take the time to make a list. Knowing what you need beforehand helps reduce impulse spending  If you use coupons, look for stores that double the amount.

Don’t Be Fooled By Brand Names: Why pay more for brand names when the store brand is just as good? Try switching a few things out during your next shopping visit. I bet your family won’t notice the difference (but your wallet will notice the savings).

Make It Yourself: Buying a rotisserie chicken and pre-made potato salad at the grocery store saves you time, but it costs you more money. Try to prepare more meals at home; you’ll not only save money, but the food will taste fresher. Can’t cook? Search for simple recipes online and follow the instructions. You may discover a new favorite.

Leave The Kids At Home:  It’s a lot easier to stick to your shopping list and your budget when you leave the kids at home.

How To Beat The Heat

The days are heating up and although the hottest days of the summer unusually fall in the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August (known as the “dog days.”)  we can see pretty warm temperatures any time. Being prepared to beat the heat is a smart thing to do. 

Here are some tips to help you enjoy the warmer days safely:

1. Try to stay indoors between 10am and 4pm, when the sun is the hottest.

2. If you must go outside, stay hydrated bringing a bottle water with you. I like to stick the bottle in the refrigerator, better yet the freezer, to assure the water is cold.

3. Take care not to over exert yourself, because this will make you overheated. A hot day is NOT the time to run a marathon or do vigorous exercise! If you must do it, them be sure to follow the other advice in this post.

4. Cool yourself quickly by wetting pulse points (wrists, neck, etc) with cold water or wrapping some ice in a towel and placing it on your wrists. When your wrists are cool, your core body temperature will lower, creating a cooling effect on your whole body.

5. Wearing light colored, natural fabrics, such as cotton or linen, will help keep you cool and comfortable. Shorts or a skirt are my favorite summer attire.

6. When all else fails, lay low and chill out in an air conditioned room or in front of a fan!  If you put a bowl of ice in front of the fan so it blows over it, you’ll create a cool breeze. 😀

Thoughts on Relationships

What is the secret to a long, happy, and healthy relationship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships, especially the strong, long-lasting ones. When you really study the couples that have stayed together for many years, I’ve come to realize that it isn’t that difficult to have a happy relationship. Although just about every couple will run into rough patches, how they deal with them and how they move forward is what’s important.

Here are a few secrets I discovered on how to stay happy and have long relationships in life and love:

• Don’t fight or argue over the smallest things
• Remember it always takes two to argue
• Be committed in your relationship
• Enter your relationship with a view to the long term
• Always listen to both points of view
• Don’t let money issues become a huge issue

When problems or issues come up, don’t ignore them and let things smoulder for days or weeks, this will only make things worse. Tackle any problems head on with an open mind.

Spring! Let’s Get Organized

Every year around this time I start to feel the clutter pressing in on me. It’s not that things necessarily need to be thrown away–although some stuff does–it’s that it needs to be organized.

Some people are natural born organizers. Others, well… not so much. If you fall in the latter category, don’t worry I have some tips to help you out. With a little practice, you’ll look like a “natural born” organizer in no time! So, let’s get started…
Continue reading

Our Thoughts Affect Our Lives

Over the years, I have come to see that our thoughts do affect our lives. When I’m feeling defeated and depressed I have no energy to focus on the things that will improve my situation. I mope, lie around, and feel sorry for myself –often blaming others, and yes even God, for my predicament, when I’m truth, I’m to blame. These are the times my health, my relationships, and my energy falter. Only by pulling myself out of the funk and negativity will I become empowered again.

The old adage “seek and ye shall find” remains as true as ever. If you look for proof that achieving big goals, big dreams and living a life of excitement and success is possible… you will find it.

However, if you look for proof that life is difficult, big goals are impossible to achieve and success is reserved only for a select few…you will surely find that as well.

There’s nothing more empowering than coming to the realization that you can have, do and be anything you want!

The problem for most people is they don’t believe it is possible for them.
Continue reading

Change One Thing

Sometimes it seems like nothing works the way it should. If you’re a human, you have probably hit that point where work is no fun, relationship is a struggle and you don’t even feel comfortable in your body.

At times like these, changing your life can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to do…where do you even start?

It’s quite simple, really…just change ONE thing.

  • Read a magazine you wouldn’t normally consider picking up.
  • Try a new type of restaurant.
  • Take a different route to work.

Any simple change of routine can shift your perspective, and has the potential to drastically transform your life.

It’s like a ship at sea…if it changes course even one degree, 100 miles later it’s in completely new waters.

Of course, the most profound shifts are the ones you make on the inside. Annoyance can easily be turned into fascination. Frustration can be flipped to become gratitude. Even anger can be transformed if you simply turn it into a song.

You don’t have to tackle the whole enchilada, just make one simple shift.

And the best part is…it’s all experimentation. If you don’t like your new perspective, you can always go back to your old one.

What “one-degree” shift can YOU make TODAY?

Your Morning Routine

Last time, I wrote about making choices and how they affected your life. Today, I want to talk about one important choice you make every day—your morning routine.

Your morning routine sets the tone for your day. It plays a big part in how you handle the day and determines how the rest of your day will go.

How often do you jump out of the bed, get ready and dash out the door to work or rush to get the kids off to school? Then, the rest of the day you feel stressed, constantly on the go and behind schedule. Creating some quiet time in the morning, to ease into your day, will better equip you to handle any situation that comes up during the day. Starting your morning with quiet time won’t make all your troubles go away. It won’t prevent the day from trying to tackle you. It will, however, give you a better foundation and a better mindset to deal with the problems and issues that come up throughout the day.

So, how do you create a more peaceful morning?
Try getting up half an hour earlier and spent the time on quiet activities: reading the Bible, meditating, writing in a journal, etc. I’ve found that thinking about what I’m grateful for, always helps me start the day in a positive and relaxed mood. If you’re the kind of person who hits the alarm, jumps out of bed and immediately has to get everyone else awake, your morning most likely feels hectic. Just getting half an hour of quiet time to enjoy coffee or tea and get your head together can do help a lot

Nowadays, too many people start their day on Facebook, or Twitter, or other social media sites. Or they immediately turn on the T.V. To catch up on the latest news. When you start your day like this, you are allowing other people’s moods and situations dictate how your day will go. It isn’t necessary, or healthy, to start your day worrying about what your friends are doing or what bad thing happened in the world while you slept.

Spend time with yourself in the morning before grabbing your phone or sitting at the computer. You’ll be in a better place mentally and emotionally to deal with all the chaos in the world.

Take care of yourself first and your friends later. Try to create a good morning routine for yourself. Start easy and gradually add to it. Within a few weeks or months, you’ll be glad you did.

Do you have a relaxing morning routine? Tell me, how do you start your day?

The Choices You Make

Life is about choices. Each day we are faced with choices. Sometimes they are the same choices as yesterday. It doesn’t matter what you want to change in your life, you will be facing many choices on the way to your goals. Things will pop up each day, throughout the day, being prepared ahead of time will help you make the better choice.

Whatever the situation, making choices is not a one size fits all type of decision. Let’s say you’ve made the choice to lose weight. Every day you will be faced with choices that will either keep you on track or lead you astray. Will you have fruit instead of cheesecake? Will you choose vegetables instead of pasta smothered in tomato sauce? Will you choose to exercise or skip it?

So you make the better choices today, great! However you need to realize that you will be faced with the same kinds of choices again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…and so on. Some days you may not make the better choice. Being aware that you will have to continue making daily choices can help your resolve and help you get throught the moment of decision.

If you sleep late, put off working on a project, grab a donut or flop in front of the TV instead of doing something productive, remember you made those choices. Habits can be hard to break, but it’s ultimately you who decides in each situation which choice you’re going to make. It’s you who decides whether or not you will make a choice that leads you closer to your goals or farther away from your goals.

Peer pressure can also lead you to make bad choices. We tend to think of peer pressure being exclusive to teenagers, but the truth is we are all subject to peer pressure. How many times have you gone on a diet and as soon as you get together with friends they try to coax you into having dessert? They tell you to “live it up a little, you can get back on your diet tomorrow.” It’s in those moments when we usually cave in and have the dessert. Even though it was your friends who lead you to the wrong choice in that moment, it’s still your responsibility to own up to the fact that you made the choice.

Start thinking more about the choices you make. Make the decision to make better choices each day. Also, realize that sometimes things will pop up that you aren’t prepared for. But if you make a conscious effort to always be aware of the choices you make, you can stick to making better choices, despite peer pressure or what’s going on in your life.

What choices have you made lately that were in line with your goals? How about the ones that were not helping you reach your goals?