Dare to Make a Difference

How a 13-Year-Old Girl Turned a School Around!

Have you noticed how many teens wear the baggy shorts that are always falling down around their hips? It makes me think of my days in junior high when we had to conform to a strict dress code. Girls wore a skirt and blouse, or a dress.

My friend Susan was always complaining about how cold her legs were, and while the rest of us were sympathetic, we knew the principal was a miserable old crank, and when it came to rules, it was his way or the highway.

Finally, Susan couldn’t take it anymore and showed up for class one day in a pair of pants. When she walked into class you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet. While we admired her plucky spirit, we knew it was only a matter of time before the hammer dropped.

The PA system crackled to life summoning Susan to the office IMMEDIATELY! Her reward for following her convictions: she was booted off campus and told not to show her face again until she was in compliance with the dress code.

So, that was the end of that, or was it? Susan returned to class a few days later, and the dress code didn’t change that year. However, it started a conversation among the school bigwigs. Maybe Susan had a point, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if girls could wear a nice pair of slacks and blouse.

Gradually the dress code changed, and now kids choose what to wear and more emphasis is put on just getting them to show up for class.

How many times have you wanted to take a stand for something you believed in, but were afraid people would make fun of you, or like Susan, you would be the only person standing up for what you believed in? Dare to make a difference. You may change a lot of lives, but the biggest change will be in your own.

Does Winter Weather Make You Cranky?

5 Ways to Deal with Seasonal Depression!

We have had so much rain lately that I feel like building an ark and climbing in it. It’s too nasty to go outside and so cabin fever sets in, and the long cold nights seem like they’ll never end.

Does this sound familiar? You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), otherwise known as seasonal depression. Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your dark mood.

Here are five ways to deal with seasonal depression:

Stick to a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This is particularly helpful if you find that you can’t go to sleep or can’t wake up. If possible, eat your meals at the same time each day. Following these good habits will keep your body in a more normal rhythm.

Let the Light Shine In

When the weather is  dreary and it looks dark outside, open your curtains and blinds and let in some natural sunshine, even if it’s just a small amount. When things are dark and dreary, it’s a temptation to just curl up in a corner. Spend at least part of the day in front of the window.

Purchase a Light Box/Dawn Simulator

If you’re having trouble getting out of bed, consider purchasing a dawn simulator. It works like your alarm clock but it gradually wakes you up with light. Many people who suffer from SAD get relief by using a light box for 30 minutes each morning.

Don’t Neglect Exercise

When it’s nasty outside, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. However, getting some exercise in the fresh air will give you more energy.  Bundle up if you have to, and talk a walk or run. Visit your neighbors or play games with the family.

Keep a Journal

Writing down your feelings is a good way to relieve stress and isolation, and you may find that it’s not just the dreary season of the year that is bothering you. Maybe there is a problem at work or in your relationships with family and friends.

 

What’s Going Right?

Things May Not Be As Screwed Up As You Think!

It’s been a crazy month and it seems like everything went haywire at once. One of us got sick, with multiple doctor and hospital visits plus medication, the car warranty that was supposed to cover everything didn’t, my glasses needed to be changed, and a breaker and the heat pump were in dire need of immediate attention.

All this chaos reminded me of a session I had with my life coach.  We met on Skype and this one particular day I had a laundry list of complaints about life, and couldn’t wait for our session to begin. I was going to get things off my chest come Hell or high water.

I was about halfway through my complaint list of things that were going wrong, when my life coach stopped me. That was highly annoying since I was only halfway done.

“Ok, let me ask you, what’s going right?”  Wow, I’d have to give that some thought. Who knew he was going to throw that kind of curveball at me?

I was still  above ground so that was a plus, I had a warm house to live in, my marriage was good, we weren’t flat broke, and I had pizza for lunch (always a plus in my book).

Once I got started it was hard to stop, and I could have filled part of a notebook with all the things that were going right.

My cranky mood lifted, and we decided that each night before bedtime I would list three things that went right, and why. Now, when those frantic days come, this simple exercise helps me keep things in perspective.

Let me give you some examples:

I was tempted to eat too much cake, but chose fruit instead. Why? I want to watch my weight and eat healthier foods.

I kept calm when the heater repairman said I owed $500. Why? Getting upset won’t solve anything and I knew the repairs would be expensive. Now I am toasty warm instead of freezing cold.

Try this simple exercise before bedtime and see how many things are going right in your life.

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance in Menopause

You Don't Have to Drive Yourself Crazy!

It’s getting a lot more difficult to balance work obligations with family life. Companies are keeping later hours and workers may find themselves scheduled for different shifts.

The trick is to use time more efficiently and free up extra hours for activities you enjoy. Here are some tips on how to achieve work/life balance in menopause.

Work with Your Body Clock

What time a day are you most productive? Do you prefer working in the morning or are you a night owl? If you’re a morning person and your company allows flex time, start work earlier, and avoid the worst of the commute home. This will free up more time in your day.

Start with the biggest projects first while you’re the most energetic. After lunch, you may feel less energetic, so this is a good time to do simpler things like returning phone calls and answering emails.

Bring Your Lunch

It’s a nice treat to sit down to a good meal away from the office, but if you count up how many minutes it takes you to get there and back, order, wait for the food to be prepared, and eat, you’ve wasted a good chunk of time. As an added bonus, bringing your lunch allows you to pack in nutrition and keep an eye on portion size.

Relocate Nearer to Work

It isn’t easy to just sell your house, and buy another one. Plus, you may be happy right where you are, and the kids may be in a good school district. It’s also nice to be closer to your church and shopping.

However, relocating has its benefits, and cutting your commute time down to 10-15 minutes, will free up another hour or two for things you enjoy. Add up this savings by the week, and you can come up with an extra 10 hours.

Schedule Family Time

As the old saying goes, there is a time for work and a time for play, so schedule time to do family activities. If you have weekends off, put away your phone and tablet, and take a family trip. If the budget is tight, trips to the park, beach, or a children’s museum let kids work off that energy without breaking the bank.

If you work weekends, plan family game nights. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing it together.

How do you achieve work/life balance in menopause?

 

 

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Start Working On Your Dream Life Today!

 

The holidays are here, and we’ll soon be starting a New Year. What are your goals in 2017?  Maybe you want to lose those last ten stubborn pounds, exercise regularly, take a vacation, change careers, or spend more time with your family.

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans set New Year’s goals, but only 8 % are successful in achieving those goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals will give you a clearer vision and focus, and make it easier to track your progress. Here are the keys to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: There will be no doubt that you have reached your goal. Example: My goal is to fly to Italy.

Measurable: Can your goal be measured? Let’s use the example above. Will you meet your goal when your plane lands in Italy, or do you have a more specific destination in mind such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Florence Cathedral?

Achievable: Taking your current circumstances and skill set into consideration, is it possible to reach your goals or will you have to take some classes, get a mentor, relocate, or work extra hours?

Realistic: How realistic is your goal? Do you want to fly to Italy this month, but your bank account is overdrawn? A more realistic goal would be to budget a certain amount each month until you have enough to complete your trip.

Timely: The last key element of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is to add a time limit to your goals. I will fly to Italy by June 30, 2014. If you have not reached your goal by the time limit, you can adjust your goals and plans accordingly.

When Your Life is a Mess

Help is Always Available!

I’ve certainly had my share of problems, and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve made a mess of things I would be a rich woman.

I know you’ve had your own problems, and it can often seem like you’ll never find your way back into the light. This is the time to call on God or your Higher Power to see you through.

Here are four tips to remember when your life is a mess:

Trials Make You Stronger

I didn’t say that trials are enjoyable, and you can’t always control what happens to you. As you pray, God will use these trials to strengthen your faith. It may not seem like it at the time, but every trial you go through has a purpose.

Choose to Be Thankful

When you’re going through a rough patch, it’s tempting to complain to anyone that will listen. Focus on the things that are going right and give thanks. A thankful heart and a positive attitude make things seem a lot brighter.

Trust God’s Timing

If my life is any indication, things tend to move a lot slower when you’re working in God’s timing. I tend to want to run ahead of God, but when my prayer is answered, it’s always better than anything I could have done on my own.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Hard times are often lonely, and you feel like you’re out of step with the rest of the world. No one else seems to be struggling, but always remember God is walking beside you. You may not feel it, but He is always there.

How do you get through the hard times in your life?

 

Thanksgiving- A Time to Count Your Blessings

What Are You Thankful For?

Do you remember the Mac Davis hit “Stop and Smell the Roses?” Let me refresh your mind by posting the lyrics to this thought-provoking song.

You’ve got to stop and smell the roses
You’ve got to count your many blessings everyday
You’re going to find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way

People always seem to be in a hurry in our modern-day world. Car horns beep from annoyed drivers, and video games and TV have replaced meaningful conversation. People are so busy that they are texting while driving, eating in a restaurant, and even in the movie theatre. Is it any wonder that people are so stressed out?

This Thanksgiving stop and smell the roses. Shut off the electronics and reconnect with your loved ones. Eat dinner together and have some real conversation where everyone contributes. Go outside, get some fresh air, and admire God’s handiwork.

We have so many things to be grateful for, and when we slow down long enough to count our blessings, even the smallest things in our lives take on a new meaning.

4 Tips to Avoid Holiday Depression

Cut Loose and Have Some Fun!

 

The holidays are here and it’s time to enjoy food, family, football, and just kicking back for some much needed relaxation.  While some people can’t wait to get started on all the festivities, others are depressed and just wish they could crawl in a hole and not come out.

For the stressed-out crowd, here are four tips to avoid holiday depression:

Don’t Neglect Exercise

I know getting everything ready for the holidays can be exhausting with buying gifts, cooking dinner, and making sure everything comes together. When you’re suffering from holiday depression, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising.

However, you can make it fun by organizing activities such as a  family walk, ice skating, or playing miniature golf.  You’ll not only feel better emotionally, but it’s also a great way to work off the calories from all your favorite holiday foods.

Ask for Help

Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Guests can bring a dish, kids can decorate the holiday table, and recruit a few people to help clear the dirty dishes after the meal is served.

Cut Gift Expenses

When you count up the expense of buying presents for the family, it can throw you into a financial tailspin. Instead of buying expensive store-bought gifts, make something homemade such as cookies or fudge. If you’re handy with a crochet hook, you can crochet items such as a scarf, braided necklaces, or baby flip-flops.

Many families draw names so you only have to buy for one person. You may feel you can spend a little more if you don’t have to buy for the whole group.

Schedule Time for Yourself

You’re taking care of everyone else’s needs, and you deserve some time to do the things you enjoy. Schedule some time and kick back in the hot tub, shop till you drop, read a favorite book, or take a long nap.

 

Encore- 4 Benefits of a Gratitude Journal

 

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Let’s face it some days just suck, and you feel like digging a hole and crawling in it. A pity party is in order and no one better rain on your parade.

Yes, I have certainly had my share, but even in the midst of chaos, there is always something to be thankful for. Here are 4 benefits of a gratitude journal:

More Positive Attitude

Writing down what you’re grateful for puts your life into perspective, and you’ll realize that you have more than your share of blessings. Don’t forget about the bad things that seemed hopeless at that time, but you made it through, and emerged stronger with a more positive attitude.

Better Health

Writing down your feelings in a gratitude journal helps alleviate stress. You feel better so you’re more inclined to take care of yourself. As a bonus, you’ll sleep better without all that worry weighting you down.

Stronger Friendships

No one wants to be around a negative Nellie, and people want to be around those that are strong, confident, and in charge of their life.  Your current friendships will be stronger, and you’ll soon find yourself making new friends.

Find Joy in Small Things

It seems like we are often waiting for big things to happen in our lives. You may not win the lotto, get that big promotion, or vacation in Cancun. However, you can find joy in small things such as a beautiful bed of roses, a walk at sunset, or the smile on a baby’s face.

What are you grateful for?

4 Amazing Benefits of Giving Back

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

 

I’ve been reading a lot about abused animals, and the resources it takes to give them medical care, food, housing, and find a forever family to adopt them.

There are endless opportunities to give back. You may prefer to donate money to a favorite charity or  roll up your sleeves, and get to work.

Helping others is one of the best ways to skyrocket your personal growth.

Here are 4 amazing benefits of giving back:

Improves Physical Health

Of course you feel good about yourself when you’re helping a good cause, but you may also notice a difference in your physical health. According to a Canadian study, 85% of Ontario volunteers rated their health as good, compared to only 79% of non-volunteers.

Lifts Depression

When you’re depressed, you’re constantly thinking about your own situation, but helping others puts everything into perspective. You have your health, a place to live, food to eat, and some of the people you will help would love to be in your shoes. It’s very humbling to meet someone in desperate need of help with the basic necessities of life, and suddenly your problems seem a lot smaller.

Provides a Needed Service

Your job may appreciate your work, but you are getting paid to perform those job duties.  When you feel like you’re truly needed and appreciated, it motivates you to continue because people are depending on you.

Develops New Career Skills

If you volunteer at the ASPCA for example, you may find you enjoy working with animals so much that you want to make a career change. There might be paid opportunities right where you are. This is something you may not have considered if you hadn’t volunteered.