Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wellness Wednesday - Building Relationships

We've been working on things that make you happier and calmer. We can't be happy or calm if those around us are neither. Let's try something to build positive relationships.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the people I love to be around. Why is everyone so eager to be around them? I'm not talking about the type of popularity you see in high school, but personalities that make others happy.

I think the first thing is that they're friendly. They act genuinely pleased to see you. How can we do this for others? Recognition.

Begin by greeting everyone who comes into your presence. Even if you've already acknowledged them that day, take time to recognize them each time they appear. Say something, look them in the eyes, nod. The point is to do something.

Then take the time to really listen. Turn towards them, make eye contact, and repeat back a short summary of what they've said. If you're pressed for time, let them know that you're interested in what they have to say, promise to get back with them later, then do so.

Next Tuesday, take time to look at the people around you. Are they acting any differently?

My adult children often accuse me of not listening. They're right. I'm often focused on other things. I'll see them this weekend, and make an effort to really acknowledge them and listen. We'll see what happens.

Leave a comment for an entry in the $25 Amazon gift card drawing at the end of February.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Wellness: Stress Reduction and Another Winner!

Well, we've been making our beds for some time now, and taking steps to do the things we've been putting off. How do you feel about yourself at this point? Don't worry if you haven't been perfect. Anything you've accomplished is progress.

Great job!

Now we're going to reduce a little stress. Take a look at your day. When do you get the most stressed? For me, it's mornings. I try to get up early enough to allow time for the unexpected, but sometimes those challenges knock your day off track. Here are some things that have derailed my plans in the past:

  • Stray cat threw up on the hood of my car. Grossly unexpected, and I had to stop and deal with it even though I was running late. 
  • Project took much longer than anticipated.
  • Short phone calls that took too long. 
  • Forgot something important at home (like my cell phone) and had to run back. 
  • Spent time looking for a misplaced document. 
Some of these things (stray cat, longer projects, etc.) were, and continue to be, out of my control. I needed a plan to take care things within my power to change. 

I decided I didn't have time to look for misplaced documents at work. I purchased an alphabetized accordion file and put all loose documents in according to last name. I save hours of panicked searching every month with this simple system. 

I also now choose to prepare everything I need for the next day the night before. No more changing outfits because a button is missing, or running home for my cell phone. It also helps me leave early, so I can deal with things like feral felines. 

These organizing efforts have reduced my stress by an unbelievable degree. I've also discovered that when I begin the day feeling less stress, I'm more confident, feel more in control, and have better self-esteem.

What are you going to try to reduce your stress? Remember to 
  • Choose something within your control.
  • Find a solution that is inexpensive and fairly simple to implement. 
  • Post a comment about your challenge, what you're going to do, or asking a question!
Comments posted here qualify you for the next drawing of a $25 Amazon gift card in March!

Wondering about the current winner? It's Sarah H, who posted a comment on Facebook! Congratulations!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: A Winner and Preventing Procrastination

And the winner of the lovely scarf is (drum roll, please!) Aleck Featherston! I'm sure his lovely wife will enjoy wearing the scarf!

How did everyone do making your beds last week? I had one extremely busy day, so I was very tempted to skip it. I just told myself that it was only three minutes, and immediately felt more in control afterwards.

This month we're going to focus on continuing to improve our surroundings in ways that will set our minds at rest, help us feel more organized, and bring more peace into our lives.

While we continue making our beds, we're going to attempt one project this week (of course, you're welcome to do more!).

Think about your house. What is the one thing you've avoided doing for months, or possibly years? This doesn't have to be something major, like a remodeling project. It could be a drawer that hasn't been cleaned out in a while. Or an overlooked closet. Maybe it's patching nail holes, or going through your closet to throw away clothing you haven't worn in a while. It could be a phone call to take care of a challenging personal situation.This task doesn't have to be something that takes a week, or even an entire day. It just needs to be a project you've procrastinated.

Why do we procrastinate? I know I tend to put off things that make a big mess or are difficult or unpleasant. When I'm stalling, I tell myself I don't have time now, but will be able to tackle it later. Then the chore becomes bigger and bigger in my mind until I start to think it will take too much mental and/or physical energy to get it done. So, I put it off more.

What's the big deal? Not only do you have things left undone, but every time you see the results of letting them go, you feel badly about yourself. It's a failure reminder. It reinforces all your negative self-talk.

I cleaned out a cluttered cabinet at work. It cleared my head, made me feel much less stressed, and gave me back some control. Doing the actual organizing wasn't nearly as unpleasant as I thought it would be, and it took much less time than I had predicted. I bet it will be the same for you!

So, get after that job this week. If it's huge, like a messy closet, just do one shelf. Then, look at your completed task every day. Pat yourself on the back and remember how amazing you are. It will encourage you to do more, and your self-esteem will shoot up!

Leave a comment to share how the bed making went and what your project is for this week for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday Wellness: Make your Bed, Win a Scarf, and Make your Life Better!

A few months ago, I read that the path to happiness begins by making your bed. I made my bed as a child because my mother insisted I do so. I made my bed when I moved into a college dorm because my roommate made hers. I made my bed as a young married woman because I felt it was part of my job.

We didn't have money for a bed frame for many years, so our mattress and box springs sat on the floor. After my mother-in-law saw me make the bed on my knees six months pregnant with our second son, she bought us a frame. I don't remember feeling especially put out by doing this chore at floor-level, but I appreciated the gift.

As more children came along, I continued to make my bed as an example to them. When my status changed from stay-at-home mother to working mother, bed making was bumped down the priority list at some point.

Unfortunately, many other aspects of my life began to slip as well. I've been working at pulling many things back into line. Most people feel they have a few things out of control, also.

The advantages of making your bed:

  • It only takes about three minutes, but provides a strong sense of accomplishment. 
  • Those who make their beds are usually more disciplined and organized than those who do not.
  • This small success can give you the courage to take on and achieve more difficult challenges.
I'm inviting you to participate in this journey with me, beginning with your bed making skills. Make a small goal to make your bed every morning this week. The only exception is if you are too ill to get up.

Leave a comment if you're willing to join me--and enter to win this beautiful handmade scarf!

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