New Day

Each and every day we have a choice, actually, many choices. We choose our mindset, our outlook and how we are going to face our day within the first few minutes of waking up. People have different practices for what they do before they get out of bed and after they get out of bed.

  • Are you the kind of person that lingers for a bit…?
  • Do you stop to think about you’re grateful for…?
  • Do you choose to meditate…?
  • Do you drink some water…?
  • Do you journal…?
  • Do you go over what you need to accomplish during the day…?
  • Do you pray…?
  • Do you jump out of bed and hit the floor running…?
  • DO you hit the snooze button, over and over…and over…?

Our mindset from the very moment we wake up has a huge impact on our day, it sets the tone. So, what do you do, what do you consciously choose as you begin each day…?

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Appreciating People in Your Life

Most parents tell their children that life goes by quickly. Kids often ignore this advice until one day they find themselves giving the same advice to their children. We have a limited number of days on this planet. Because of this, we need to appreciate people in our life.

When we start to approach our mid years, our older parents, relatives and family friends pass away. We may regret not having spent more time with them while they were still alive. Life gets busy, to be sure. But, I think we need to make time to spend and appreciate our elders. Their time is more limited than ours, all things being equal. And as they age, they need the love of family. They realize it more than people who are younger, that they won’t be around much longer.

I am personally experiencing this right now with my own mother. My father passed away almost 10 years ago. All my relatives have also passed away in those 10 years as well as very close friends.

On the other hand, we need to appreciate our children and encourage them to spend time with us, for the very same reasons. Our mid years will soon turn into your advanced years, if they haven’t already. We will be the one realizing that there’s as much time left as we would like. There may even be grandchildren that we love spending time with.

Aside from family, we need to have friends as well. Our friends complete us and contribute to us having a more rewarding life. Appreciating friends is just as important as appreciating family. In many instances, friends will move away and we don’t hear from them again. It’s important to make an effort to keep in contact. Technology has made this much easier than it would have been even 20-30 years ago.

Appreciation is about being grateful. It’s about taking the time and thanking people for being a part of your life. Always be willing to help your family and friends, or even co-workers. Be grateful for the little things that people do as well as the big things. Remember to show and express gratitude.

Make sure you let the people in your life know you are there for them. Don’t just say the words. Show them in appropriate ways, if needed. Sometimes, people don’t like to ask for help. Consider showing up even if they say they don’t need help. Often, they will admit that you helped and made their lives easier.

Sometimes, appreciation is simply listening to others and finding out what they truly want, what may be troubling them or what they dream about. If you can help them in any way, support them or help them realize their dreams, they will be appreciative of you. Sometimes though they may not be able to share that with you, be there anyways.

If you want to be appreciative, be willing to give more than you take. This will set the stage that you are a caring person and it shows that you appreciate people. It’s easy and rewarding at the same time. Remember it’s not just the big things, it’s the little things as well. Say, “Thank you,” often.

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Self Care in the Digital Age

So what have I learned about taking care of ourselves in the digital age? Here are a few of the things I’ve learned so far:

  • It’s important to set boundaries for ourselves around technologies — times to be off email and other work-related contacts — time to eat and enjoy food and the people we’re eating with, especially toward the end of a day.
  • We need to keep our body moving, taking frequent breaks from sitting still working on our computer or on a device.
  • We need experiences that are doing and being and interacting with the world (and the people) around us, especially being outside. This means putting the technology done at these times.
  • We need to disconnect–even from fun things before bedtime. We really don’t sleep as restfully when we don’t, and the research on the impact of backlit screens on sleep confirms this. Turn off notifications on your phone and/ or put it on silent, too.
  • Leave some “open” mind time for reflecting. Sometimes we just need to let our brain be still or wander, because our minds just overworked and busy. Sometimes we need to drive in silence, not listening to a recorded book, a motivational podcast, or even music. Research suggests the need to allow for some mind-wandering, since it seems to enhance creativity.
  • I’d say the important thing is to have a healthy balance when using our devices for work and for pleasure as well as the need for time away  and time out from technology.technology-devices

3 Steps to Creating New Habits

3 Steps to Creating New Habits

Let’s talk about forming new habits. We all have times in our lives when we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. It could be moving more during the day or taking the dog for a daily walk. It could be work related, or spiritual. It could be how you relate and communicate in a relationship. There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.

Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.

Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit and something we do more automatically without having to think about, driving our car or brushing our teeth.

1) Decide What You Want To Do

The first step is to decide what you want the new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day.” Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.

2) Remind Yourself To Get It Done

The next few days should go smoothly. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Initially, sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s seems easy to slip back into old habits.

Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. Maybe you’re just not feeling that great or there’s something else you’d rather do. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list to keep you focused for a while.

3) Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit

This brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before a new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower, motivation or relying on daily reminders.

Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack. Decide you will take the time to get in touch with that friend who’s been on your mind. Get up and put the dishes in the dishwasher when you’re done eating. Find a place to put those keys every time you come in.

Congratulations! Decide to create a new habit, practice doing it until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming and having a good new habit. Once you’ve mastered one, why not choose another new one.