Set Health Goals That Match Your Why

Monday Motivation

I worked with someone who sent me this list of goals:

  • Smoke less
  • Drink less
  • Have less fun

I love this!  In theory, these are great goals.  I wasn’t sure about the ‘have less fun’ goal but she explained that when she goes out to bars and ‘has fun’, she drinks too much which then gives her the urge to smoke.  She feels that she can go to other locations if she wants to be social without feeling like she has to drink.  

Why do you feel the need to set health goals? You must ask yourself why something is important to you. Set health goals that match your why so that they remain a priority to you.

So the first thing we did was to change the order of her goals.  She feels that she is a social drinker and smoker.  She knows that these are not good for her health and she was ready to make a plan for herself.  The first thing we did was to change the order of her goals since they are all related.

Have less fun > Drink less > Smoke less

When we are looking at health goals, you are more likely to succeed when you can answer ‘what is your why?’  Make them personal!  The 7 Levels Deep approach comes from Dean Graziosi’s Millionaire Success Habits and is used to keep fine tuning why you are setting out to make a goal and why it is important to you.  Here is an example of this using her goals:

    • What do you want to do?  I want to go out to bars less.
    • Why is that important to you?  So I can drink less.
    • Why is that important to you?  So I can smoke less.
    • Why is that important to you?  It isn’t healthy.
    • Why is that important to you?  I have asthma.
    • Why is that important to you?  It makes me cough too much.
    • Why is that important to you?  Coughing makes me pee on myself.

All kidding aside, this is just another approach to help you make goals that you can reach.  There are many tools available to help you write out your thoughts and to give you guidance on how to make them happen.  The most important thing is that you are thinking about what is important to you.  

Think about it, write it down and then make an action plan.   

 

The Importance of Scheduling ‘Me’ Time

There are 3 topics that we strive to discuss in this forum; ‘me’ time, self care and self reliance. For the next 3 Mondays, I will be providing a brief overview on each of these topics and why I think they are the 3 topics hat we need to focus on. 

‘Me’ Time

All of us need a few minutes each day to focus on ourselves.  The importance of scheduling  ‘me’ time cannot be overstressed.  By unplugging from others or your work, you allow your mind to take a break.  This allows you to reset.  According to Happify Daily, women have 25 hours of leisure time each week while men have 28 hours.  Using snippets of time to focus on yourself will improve your relationships, make you more productive and can set a great example for those around you, especially children.

The amount of time is not as important as what you do for that time.  I use a 30 minute time period but this is a random number I picked out because I like to exercise or walk for a minimum of 30 minutes each day and this is my main form of ‘me’ time. Walking outdoors is a huge stress reliever for me. This also allows me to take pictures of my favorite animals or views.

You get to pick out what you want to do and for how long. You may be in a season of life where you have a newborn (or two) and there never seems to be time for anything else. You may be caring for an elderly parent or family member and it may seem that you do not have a minute for yourself. You may be the caregiver of an adult child with special needs who needs your undivided attention. You could be single and responsible only for yourself.  You may be in charge of a household with a partner and children or young adults under your roof.

Your situation is your situation. I am going to challenge you to change your words from ‘I don’t have time for me’ to ‘How can I find time for me?’ The only person limiting this is YOU!

The first place to find time is to quit reading this post and pick out a different activity! Replacing your screen time on social media is the easiest place to find time.  Analyzing your leisure time to identify blocks of time is the next thing.  You can use our Activity Journal
to help you keep track of your activities over the course of the week to see where you are duplicating effort.

Remember that our group came up with a list of 30 Things You Can Do During ‘Me’ Time.  There are other tools that you can use under our Resources table.

Start small and work your way up to 30 minutes. It may mean that you wake up a few minutes early or stay up a few minutes later but make a promise to yourself to make this a priority.  Make an appointment with yourself.  By being intentional you will find that this becomes your new normal.

Ten Ways to Decrease Holiday Stress

The weeks between Thanksgiving week and New Years can be very stressful during most years.  2020 is no exception with COVID cases increasing across the county.  As you continue to work on taking care of yourself, look for opportunities each day to help combat this.  Let’s look at a ten ways to help decrease daily stress during this holiday season.

Ten Ways to Decrease Holiday Stress

Savings

    • Financial stress can cause medical problems so look for ways to not overextend yourself.  Did you make a holiday budget?  Scrub your gift list.  Draw names and set limits on family gifts.  Set spending limits.  If you have to buy something, can you buy it from someone locally?  If not, search the internet for any savings you can find.  

Say No

    • You are in control of your daily schedule. If someone is trying to convince you that they need your help in order to complete a task or to run an errand, feel free to say ‘no’.  Politely, of course.

Schedule ‘Me Time’

    • This is a great month to continue to work on this. This is a priority and trumps anything else.  Don’t say yes to another commitment if it means you lose this time.  Say no so that you can say yes to yourself.  If you need to find the time to do this, use our Activity Journal to find the time.

Shut Up

    • Do you talk just to hear yourself talk? Ha!  I think this goes back to my high school classroom days.  Speak less and listen more.  Listen and ask questions, especially if you live with someone elderly.  Write down what you learn.  Capturing your family’s stories is priceless.

Sing

    • Turn on some music during your down time. You don’t have to carry a tune to enjoy this.  Trade one Netflix episode with music videos while you are cooking dinner, folding clothes or cleaning up.  Listen to new genres if you are feeling brave.

Simplify

    • As you are going through your holiday decorations, purge anything that you are not using this year. Gift it to someone else who can use it.  If you can’t find an individual who can use it, donate it to your local  charitable donation center.  Reducing clutter can be calming.  Do you really need a tree in each room?  If the answer is yes, then put it up.  If the answer is no, keep it simple.

Sleep

    • Strive to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Work backwards to determine your bedtime.  For example, if you have to be up at 6 am, you need to be winding down by 9 pm so that you can turn off lights at 10 pm.  Maybe you need to begin turning off electronics at 8:30.  Play with your daily routine so that you have an unhurried morning routine.

Soak In a Tub

    • Pamper yourself. Use a bath bomb or essential oils to improve the ambiance.  Candles are a nice addition if you have the shelf space.  If you don’t have a tub, soak in a hot shower for five extra minutes. Let the water hit your upper back and practice your neck, shoulder and upper back stretches while you relax.

Solitude

    • Find a quiet place to read, knit, paint or meditate. You pick your activity.  You may be in cramped quarters but speaking to the others you live with and working out a schedule where there is nap time, bath time or quiet time will help everyone out.  Use our member’s recommendations if you need ideas on what to do.

Stop Complaining

    • Instead of pointing out the negative aspect of something, find something positive to say instead. Purposefully think about what you are going to say and figure out how to say it with a positive spin.  This can change your family’s culture if all agree to work on this.

Sunshine

    • Shorter days increase the chance that you may feel depressed. Find short blocks of time to take a short walk outside or to sit by a window facing the sun so that you can just shut your eyes and ‘sunbathe’.  If this is not an option, there are lighting fixtures you can buy to help with this.

Pick one or more topics to work on each day and you will see an improved outlook.  Be intentional about what you are doing.  Share this information with others in your circle and work on these things together.  

Taking care of yourself should be a priority despite the season. Continue to find ways to make your personal situation better.  Review the list, pick a topic and make a plan.  

 

 

 

Invest In Your Health By Setting Health Goals

I am so not a cold weather person. I am in Pittsburgh for a couple of days and arrived yesterday to very windy and cold weather. One of my first thoughts was ‘I am not walking in this!’

 

I am asking for you to invest in your health by setting health goals.  As you think about how to do this, think about building in movement into each of your days.  What challenges do you face? You may not be able to set up an exercise plan due to medical conditions or disabilities but if your clinician has given you the green light, find something to do that makes you move more.

 

Hot, cold or rainy weather, home situations, shorter days, new COVID restrictions on gyms, malls and other outdoor venues may all impact your ability to get a workout in.

 

Look around you.  Your setting may be in a shelter,  on a couch with a friend or in your home.  You may not have the room or specific equipment (treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical or weight lifting equipment) available to you but if you can sit or walk, you can move.  

 

 

Invest In Your Health By Setting Health Goals

  • I will talk to my clinician about starting an exercise routine.
  • I will look at YouTube videos or other online resources and find a series that I like and set a start date within 2 weeks.
  • I will look at my calendar and schedule three 30-minute blocks of time for exercise each week.
  • I will invite my spouse/friend/family member to join me in these exercises.
  • I will keep all of my appointments with myself and not cancel any of the sessions.

We have a  Monthly & Daily Health Goals  planner for you to use.  Write out your weekly and monthly goals.  Writing them down and posting them on the fridge or your mirror will allow you to see them daily.  This will help keep you on track.  You can also click on the Resources Tab to find this planner.

This is a great time to do this.  This will keep the extra holiday pounds at bay, provide natural endorphins to help you counteract the mental stressors that you face every day and make you physically stronger.  Are you ready to do this? 

 

Simplify Your Holiday Gift Giving and Gain Financial Health

It is Money Monday!

We will continue to destress by having you work on decreasing your financial stressors. Worrying about how to pay for all of your bills can make you physically sick so we want to work on decreasing the amount of money that you owe. You can simplify your holiday gift giving and gain financial health.  

For those of you that are new to this group, I believe that each one of you needs to be financially literate. I don’t want you to stay in a toxic home or relationship because you cannot afford to leave. I do not have any special certifications in this field. I am just sharing my thoughts with you like I share with my kids.

We began our conversation about how to pay for Christmas on September 25th. Three months before Christmas.   I asked if you preplan, budget and prepay for your holiday gifts and expenses or do you spend what you want and worry about it the following year? If you are in the latter group, I want for you to take the next 18 months to convert to a plan where you prepay for all of your holiday gifts and expenses. Yes, a good old fashion Christmas Savings account!

Although the MarketPlace article is from 2018, the average Christmas debt was $1054 and half paid it off within 3 months. Another 29% paid it off in 5 months. Some were still paying on the debt when the next holiday season rolled around.

Let’s walk through an example using my immediate family to see what kind of money we are talking about.

I have 2 parents, 1 mother-in-law, 1 spouse, 3 children and 2 boy/girl friends, 5 brothers + spouses, 4 in-laws + spouses, and 20 nieces and nephews. That is 47 individuals. If I gave each of them a gift and limited my costs to the following this is how much it would cost me.

$10 apiece = $470

$20 apiece = $940

$25 apiece = $1175

$50 apiece = $2350

I will have to decide if I am going to give everyone a gift or do we draw names to limit how many gifts we will exchange. You know that I am going to give my spouse and kids more than one gift. What kind of limits will I place on myself? Maybe I can gift them my time or talents instead.

What about the other special people in your life? Do you factor in your co-workers, employees, friends, church family members, angel trees, mailman, newspaper carrier, sports team coaches, teachers, housekeeper, lawn service, Christmas family donations, etc. When we add them in, it gets scary really quickly. Where does it end? Which of these things can you remove from your list? Again, maybe your time or talents would be a better way to show them you care. Maybe you spread your gifts out over the year instead of all in one month?

What about decorations, holiday outfits, pjs, holiday cards, special meals and drinks? What else can you add to this list?

If it is too stressful to think about prepaying (saving) for this in 2020, then use this year to keep strict records so that you can use 6-9 months of 2021 to save up for the 2021 holidays.

This year is so different for all of us. You have 5 weeks before Thanksgiving week. Your financial situation may or may not be different this year but I am going to challenge you to use this time to make a promise to yourself that you will limit holiday spending in some way this year. Sit down for dinner with your family and talk about it openly. Talk about it at work. I guarantee you that someone will be grateful to hear that you will not have a gift exchange this year.

You can make this decision for yourself and can just announce that you are taking a break this year. You are allowed to do this!

Is this too much for you? Start small. Make a promise to yourself that you will not buy any new holiday decorations this year. What can you reuse or repurpose? How can you simplify your decor? Do you really need a Christmas tree in each room? If you do, do not buy anything new for any of them this year.

For today, without thinking hard, write down ONE thing you will not buy this holiday season.

Me? Christmas Santas.

What about you? Leave a comment below and share your first thought.

mindfulness word cloud

Is Your Mind Full or Mindful?

Mindfulness Monday!
 

Is your mind full or mindful?  It sounds really corny but this is a question you need to ponder.  How are you doing?  How are you feeling?  Do you feel that your mind is cluttered?  Are you being pulled in too many directions?

 

Focusing on yourself is not selfish. Building in ways to combat the daily stress that you face is going to make you mentally stronger. There are many ways to calm our minds. Whether it is yoga, sitting quietly in a room and reading or journaling or listening to Tibetan bells while sitting quietly meditating, there are many tools available to help you with this. You need to experiment with finding the method that is most soothing to you.

 

Some of my girlfriends cannot listen to the raindrops because they feel that it makes them want to pee but for others, it’s ok. See what is right for you.

 

Is meditating a foreign concept to you? It certainly wasn’t something I grew up doing but I have found that this is a useful strategy when I just need to go to another room to get away from others or the noise around me.

 

I have listened to all kinds of videos to see what I like. I have determined that I don’t want someone talking to me telling me what to do or how to breathe. What I do love is when I am sitting on my back porch during a rainstorm. This is what led me to explore the raindrop videos and the raindrops with Tibetan bells are now my favorite.

 
I challenge you this week to go out of your comfort zone and to find ONE new method to soothe your mind. You get to chose if  your mind is full or mindful?. It can be walking, meditating, reading a book, listening to music, knitting or taking a nap. There is no wrong way to do this. You just need to look for something that works for you.
 

You choose.

Mental illness awareness text with Lime Green ribbon color on helping hand on old aged wood background

Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illness

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week so how appropriate that we spotlight this topic today. The National Association of Mental Illness, NAMI, is running a series of videos and blogs this week to hear the lived experiences of individuals who face the stigma of mental illness every day.  Reducing the stigma of mental illness is so important in order for us to move forward with everyone getting the care that they deserve.

There are some statistics on the site that cover many aspects of the demographics of who is impacted by this. If you look at them carefully, you will see that you are in contact with someone in all of these groups every day. You never know who is struggling with mental illness so be KIND to everyone who crosses your path.

Some of the statistics show that:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year

Take the time to educate yourself.  Maybe someone in your household is struggling with this at this time.  If you are the one in need of these services, reach out and schedule an appointment. There is NO shame in admitting this. In this time of COVID you have many options available on how to receive care. In-person or Telehealth visits are now available all across the country. This is one of the great things that has come out of these trying times.

If you have lost your job and no longer have insurance coverage, there are many sources available where you can receive services for free or for reduced costs.  Please know that you are not alone.

Read up. Reach out to your primary care physician. Reach out to someone. Reach out to me if you don’t know where to start.  The hardest step is the first one.  Visit nami.org to see the great resources that are available to you.

REDUCE THE STIGMA…

multicolored wrap bracelets on a women's wrist

Using Hobbies to Soothe Your Soul During COVID

Self-Isolation

COVID has changed our lives in so many ways.  My parents still live in their own home and have approached this time in a very different manner.  Initially, both of my parents heeded the recommendations from health officials to stay in their homes.  They had the support of several family members who lived nearby who could assist in running errands for them. Since March, she celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary, her 80th birthday and missed the graduation events of two of their grandchildren.

My dad, a very active healthy 85 year old slowly began resuming running some basic errands while being cautious.  For my mom, things were a bit different.  She had a heart attack last fall so she was still being mindful about her activities.  Due to her health issues, she decided to stay indoors without fail.  She did well at the beginning but as the confinement began to drag on, it was apparent that we had to find activities to keep her occupied.  My mom taught school for over 40 years and has always been a crafter.  She incorporated arts and crafts into her school work and then used this skill during her retirement phase to keep her entertained.  She is the type of person that can replicate anything after just studying it.  Being isolated was challenging but she turned to her love of crafts to help pass the time.  

Using hobbies to Soothe Your Soul During COVID

My dad resumed his outdoor activities but took precautions.  He was certified as a master gardener and used his love of all things green to while away his time in the great outdoors.  Piddling in his garden or work shed, cutting the grass at his lake lot or helping his sons on their projects, he took the stance that he wanted to find a healthy, cautious balance to life.  He just entered his 51st year of selling life and health insurance and has modified his work practice to meet clients in a safe manner.  

My mom decided to turn to her love of crafts.  She had been selling custom made rosary wrap bracelets to her friends and at local craft shows.  This fun pasttime came to a halt with the isolation orders.  We had a long talk about what she wanted to do.  I had time on my hands and had watched too many YouTube videos so we decided to open an Etsy store.

Bevasbracelets was born

She surveyed her craft room and realized that she had over 200 bracelets.  She loves to make rosary wrap bracelets so off we went.  We made some listings and learned all about SEO.  We made an IG account.  She has a strong following which delights her.  She now has something to look forward to.
She is now making all types of styles based on what her customers request. She has autism awareness bracelets, prayer bracelets, some NFL team bracelets and her breast cancer awareness bracelets.  She sells them through many venues including direct sales to friends, on Facebook and through Etsy.  This has been so exciting to watch as her bracelets are now all over the country.   She just made her 100th sale since going live mid-April.

 

If you get a chance, visit her Etsy store and see what she has. You can sort by category. Here is a picture of all of the breast cancer survivor awareness bracelets. There are 16 different styles and they are all on Etsy under Bevasbracelets if you want to look at the close up pictures.

 

Feel free to share this post with your friends. I would appreciate you helping to spread the word.

For Optimal Health, Make Yourself Move Every Day

Move it Monday!

 

One of the themes I seemed to notice this weekend as I was browsing articles was the topic of wellness challenges. There is good information that shows that when we join a wellness activity or challenge that we are more inclined to make ourselves move.  

 

I know that this certainly works for me. One of the things I miss from my last job was the wellness activities where we walked to a variety of locations. I have even done a personal virtual walk from Charlotte NC to Corpus Christi, TX over 16 months. That is a total of 1,230 miles.

 

My team and I are doing the Blue Ridge to the Beach virtual walk and have completed 38% of the distance (thanks mostly to Renee!) I slacked off a bit last week so I know that I need to up my game. That is a map of our trek below.

 

What do I mean by movement? It can be a variety of activities. It could be pulling weeds, raking leaves, sweeping, mopping, walking, running, yoga, Zumba, dance, pushing a lawnmower, water aerobics, bicycling, rowing, arm exercises, etc.

 

For optimal health, make yourself move every day.  The type of movement is not important.  You just need to do something other than sit on the couch.  Your goal should be to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.

 

If you are not moving everyday, why not?

 

What is holding you back? (This is not geared to those of you who have a physical disability.) If you are sitting here watching the Steelers play or watching another show, you could be doing arm exercises, walking around the room or in place. You can use a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical while you are watching TV.

 

You don’t need fancy machines or weights. Cans from your pantry can be your weights and walking in place doesn’t cost you a thing. YouTube has hundreds of FREE workout videos.

 

What wellness challenge are you willing to commit to?

 

What other excuses do you have?  😁

 

Leave me a comment below so I can counter your excuse!

A male hunter and his hunting dog look into the sky searching for doves.

The Changing of the Seasons

I hope you had a great weekend. I love Labor Day Weekend due to the family traditions that we have developed over the years.  With the start of the school year and the anticipation of the usual things that happen at this time of year, this has always been a favorite time of year for me.

 

What memories does Labor Day Weekend hold for you? Is it just another weekend of work? Is it the last weekend that your neighborhood pool is open? Is this the last weekend at the beach or at the lake?

 

It is the end of one season and the beginning of the next.  The changing of the seasons is a great time to pause, reflect and redirect if necessary.

 

For my family, it is opening weekend for dove season in SC. The field preparation has occurred all summer. The gathering of old friends for the opening shoot is a day that my sons and husband look forward to all summer.

 

I find some shade and always have my camera ready to capture that special shot.

 

What occasions does your tribe look forward to?

 

The fall is rich in so many traditions. As you look ahead to the next four months what will you need to do to ensure that you can still make some great memories. If past years have been so busy that you have not been able to enjoy the cooler weather or see the leaves change, make a promise that you will do that this year.

 

Will you have to adjust how you do things?

 

Some of you will say yes and others will state that you are not going to change a thing. Either way is fine. You get to choose how, when and where you will carry out your work or family events. You get to choose who you will spend that time with.

 

Be mindful.

 

Think ahead.

 

Plan your activities.

 

Keep them simple.