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Posts Tagged ‘stress’


And where are you going?

road travelledAs we look back behind us, at our life, we can see the path that we have been down.

We see where we’ve been… what we’ve done.

We see the good times… and the not-so-good.

We are proud of the good choices we made… and would like to forget some of the poor ones.

We see where others we met and interacted with along the way have given us much joy… or brought us much grief.

Many times we would like to go back and change where our path took us

To avoid some of the negatives and the pain.

To end up in a different place than where we are.

These things are not possible.

All we can do with the past, positive or negative, is to embrace it, learn from it, and (this part many people don’t realize!)…

decide which way we want to go from here

Are we content with where our current path is leading? Or do we want to end up somewhere totally different?

The choice is yours. You get to decide what direction your life takes. You can make course adjustments. Did you know that pilots (and the autopilot) are constantly having to make minor course corrections? Being off by 1 degree can make a huge difference in where you end up. By the same token, making adjustments of 1 degree can totally alter your journey.
road less travelled

It doesn’t necessarily take a MAJOR life decision or change to get different results!

I met a wonderful lady this weekend, Laurie Smithwick, co-founder of Kirtsy.com who made a statement that inspired this post. She said…

“We are creating our future by deciding where to step.”

Awesome! You get to decide which direction you take your next step. A little to the right? A little to the left?

But, what about…

I know that we all have been dealt some tough stuff. There are some things out of your control. However, there are a lot of things YOU do have the ability to control, and you need to learn what those things are.

  1. Your thoughts
  2. Your Attitude
  3. How you take care of yourself (eat right, drink water, exercise)
  4. How you manage your time (saying No, turning off TV or PC, choosing family time over outside obligations)
  5. Learn to live in the moment

Even if you are at a place in your life where a lot of your time is committed to things that ARE important to you (children, family, career) determine even those small things that can make a shift toward the direction you want to head.

this way that way signFor example-

  1. Drink water instead of soda
  2. Go to bed instead of watching ‘just one more show’
  3. Take a 10 minute walk rather than vegging out. If you still want to veg when you return, go for it!
  4. Read a book on a subject you want to know more about, even if it is just 15 minutes on your lunch break
  5. Research that business idea floating in your head and start creating a plan, even if it is a 5 or 10 year plan
  6. Get a new haircut/style that better reflects you
  7. Go through your wardrobe and do your best to wear only the clothes that you feel good in, that make you feel confident
  8. Spend some time in reflection determining who “you” really are, and where you want your path to eventually lead.

What are some of the little (or BIG) changes you have made to point yourself in the direction you want to be going?

I will be expanding on some of these ideas over the next couple of weeks. Be sure to subscribe HERE so you don’t miss out on any of my posts!

If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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Being Busy Steals Your Life Away

busy womanMost of America and many other developed nations feel that being busy is a badge of honor

We think gives us our worth.

 

I think the opposite.

I think that being busy can keep us from being who we TRULY are.

I think it gets in the way of doing the things that are the MOST important to us.

I think that WE use being busy as a way to protect ourselves from stepping out of our comfort zone into what we feel deep inside we ought to be doing — and I am not talking about all the nagging ‘shoulds’ that come from outside, but those things which we know we are ‘called’ to do.

Doing Good, or Doing the Best?

We’ve all heard the quote, “The good is the enemy of the best”. I am not saying that many of the things you are doing aren’t good things. They may even be GREAT things, but, they may not be the BEST THING for YOU at this point in your life. When busyness gets a hold of us, we become bound by our ‘shoulds’ and we cannot be at peace in our lives.
work life balance sign

So how can you be sure you are doing the right things?

Christ wants us to have life and have it abundantly. He wants us to have what is best for US. We must be in tune with Him and with our hearts to avoid this empty busyness.

Below is a list adapted from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. Included are links to many of his helpful tips to accomplish these things.

10 Ways to Stop being So Busy

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.  
  2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things. Article here.  
  3. family organizer cozi

  4. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.  
  5. Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.  
  6. Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help).not to do
  7. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. Article here on how to say NO.  
  8. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, forums, and more. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes (I recommend twice a day, but do what works for you). Only do IM once a day, for a limited amount of time. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.  
  9. Limit your media consumption. This tip won’t be for everyone, so if media consumption is important to you, please skip it (as with any of the other tips). However, I believe that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Try a media fast.  
  10. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels seriously terrific. Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss. Here’s my guide on decluttering. Here’s a post on starting small.
  11. Do what you love. Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you love. Go back to your list of 4-5 important things. Do those, and nothing else. Read more.

Woman WritingIt will take time to implement these steps. They cannot be accomplished in a week, or even a month. I encourage you, however, if you find that you are not at peace with your level of busyness, that you go through this list, examine your heart, spend some time in meditation, and create an action plan for creating change in your life.

What are some things that you would like to change or possibly do away with in your life? Are there some things you would actually like to add?

 My goal is to help as many people as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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computer virusOur brains have been compared to computers many times, and I even wrote a post about having too many ‘windows’ open and being on overload

We all know how destructive viruses on our computer can be and how important it is to have virus protection installed. and if you’ve ever been overrun by a virus, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to rid your computer of it.

Protecting our mind

When it come to our minds, however, we’re not so careful to protect ourselves from the, often devastating, effects our own thoughts can have on it. The more serious of these thought viruses can lead to mental health problems such as loss of confidence, mild depression, self esteem issues, and a distorted perception of ourselves.
depressionThis has been an issue of mine recently. See, when my brain was completely overwhelmed during the time surrounding my mental meltdown, I believe it became susceptible to many harmful ‘viruses’ or thought patterns. And, because my mind was in such a fragile state, these thought patterns were able to move right in and make themselves at home!

How then do we combat these thought viruses and protect our minds in order to stay healthy mentally and physically?

The answer could be ‘thought awareness’. This is when we recognize the thoughts that could lead to a downward spiral of negative emotion resulting in mental and physical problems, in effect, viruses in our minds.  This is a technique that I have been working on, becoming aware of ‘what’ my mind is thinking and the possible reasons ‘why’.

4 Ways to to control the viruses in your mind

1. Negative self talk.

In 2 Cor. 10:5, it says: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.  We can bring our thoughts into our control by the power and knowledge of God.

When you recognize that you are talking to yourself in a negative way, recognize it for what it is; Your mind has tried to protect you from being hurt emotionally so starts talking to you in a negative way in order to protect your feelings.

For example: you want to start your own business and have a desire to work for yourself. At first you are really excited by the prospect, but immediately your mind start telling you it will be too hard, you will have to work very long hours, you will have to network, which you hate doing, you will have to do this and that and it will be way too hard.  As soon as you recognize these thoughts creeping in,take these thoughts captive, bind them, and carry on with your plans.

2. Get rid of the past.

We tend to dwell on negative events from our past in an effort to understand why they happened.  My counselor and I discussed that some things we will never understand.  We need to give ourselves permission to feel and then to put our past where it belongs, in the past. We don’t forget it, we don’t ignore it, we accept that is just ‘is’ and we move on.

3. Use affirmations to train your mind.

It is important to understand that we CAN train our mind. We can teach it what to think about. Affirmations are a great way to do this. Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself everyday to ingrain the thought into your mind as truth.

bibleAs a Christian, I believe some of the best affirmations to be found are in the Scripture

We must pray for the strength to overcome the negative thoughts, and use Scripture to replace them.
Here are a few to start with-
 
It is the Lord Who goes before you;
He will [march] with you;
He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you;
[let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not,
neither become broken [in spirit–depressed,
dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].
– Deuteronomy 31:8 (AMP)

Beloved,
I pray that you may prosper in all things
and be in health,
just as your soul prospers.
-3 John 1:2 (NKJV)


ARISE [from the depression and prostration
in which circumstances have kept you
–rise to a new life]!
Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord),
for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
-Isaiah 60:1 (AMP)


But God,
Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers
the depressed and the sinking,
comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us.
– 2 Corinthians 7:6 (AMP)


Casting the whole of your care
[all your anxieties, all your worries,
 all your concerns, once and for all]
on Him, for He cares for you affectionately
and cares about you watchfully.
– 1Peter 5:6-7 (AMP)


He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds. 
– Psalm 147:3


4. Take a leap into LIFE!

Christ came so that we can have life, and life more abundantly.  He wants us to live full lives, but many times our negative thought patterns keep us trapped within our comfort zones.   We all live in comfort zones and that’s great because they can protect us to a degree. However, comfort zones also stop us from learning about ourselves and growing as individuals.  Apathy is found within the comfort zone, abundant life is outside of it. 

It is time to step out of our comfort zones into the LIFE that is waiting for us!

leap of faith

I believe that God has something just around the corner for me! I am doing my best to learn all I can about where I ‘am’ right now, as I know it will be a stepping stone to the next great thing He has in store for me! 

What about you? Where are you in your life? Does you brain have a ‘virus’?  Do you struggle with negative thoughts?  How do you overcome them?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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We watched ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ last night

under the tuscan sunI am a bit envious of Frances’ freedom to just buy a villa in Italy. Now, granted, she got that freedom by her husband having an affair and and a nasty divorce, so I don’t envy that part! (if you have not seen it, you can watch the trailer here). She arrived there with the one suitcase she was traveling with. The ability to start afresh with no physical burdens to bear is an awesome thought.

Minimalism

There is a move in this country, and even the world, called minimalism. It has also been called voluntary simplicity. As we have achieved and acquired so much in our lives, it now feels if IT is weighing us down.

The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.

As I have been journeying down the road from my mental meltdown, and working through the healing process, I have been trying to redefine who I am, what I want from this life and what I want to give back to those around me.

I know now that I do not care for this house full of stuff. (I am so glad we didn’t upsize 3 years ago!)   I grew up in a very cluttered home and have realized the clutter makes me anxious (don’t need any more anxiety!)  So I am working currently on beginning to clear some of the extra stuff from our home. I want to create some ‘white space’ around me, room to breathe and create a beautiful yet simple home for us to relax in.

The more things you commit to, the less of ‘you’ there is.

Speaking of relaxing, the minimalist movement is not just about reducing stuff, it is about creating space in your life, space for the things that are most important to you. Living life YOUR way, with balance and peace in the areas that matter the most to you.  People who live a minimal lifestyle are living intentionally. They may be involved in activities or committees, but they choose intentionally how they want to spend their time by what is important to them.

Minimalism does not look the same for everyone.

There are some who are part of the 100 item challenge, I don’t think I’ll ever be there! Maybe 1000 things?

Others reduce their belongings and purchases to leave a smaller footprint on the earth.

Myself, at this point, am at the point where I am minimalizing mentally and emotionally, to quiet the noise in my head from several years of overload. The piles of clutter around me are indicative of what is happening inside my head. 

As I begin to quiet the noise and be comfortable with who I am and see the beauty inside, I am ready to create some beauty around me. I finally feel I deserve it!

The Healing Process

As part of my healing process, I have greatly reduced the things and activities I am committed to, even my job (currently on medical leave). The majority of what I am currently involved in either has to do with taking care of my body, soul and mind (gym, doctors, and church!) or spending time with my family. These are the most important things in my life!

Eventually I will have to add back in other things, but at this time, I am enjoying gaining peace within my soul and mind. God has been gracious to come down and meet me where I am, broken and desperate, and move me towards healing.matthew 11:28 poster

What are your thoughts or experiences with simplifying your life?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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Resources for minimalism and voluntary simplicity

http://zenhabits.net/

http://www.zenfamilyhabits.net/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

http://www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com/

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I know we normally like to blame our messes on our kids, lol! This time though, it is no one’s fault but my own!

Songs have so much meaning to me. It amazes me that lyrics can reach so deep within me. This past Saturday, we saw Switchfoot, an alternative Christian band in concert.They have several songs that speak to where I have been lately. I want to only tell about one at a time so you have an opportunity to benefit from each one individually.

The first one is Mess of Me.

I have pasted the main lyrics below so you know what they are saying, but there is a lot of repetition, so I did not post all of it. Jump to the bottom to get my take on this song!

Mess of Me

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug they could sell,
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug, it’s not enough
The sickness is myself

woman in cornerI made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It hard to free the ones you love,
When you can’t forgive yourself

I made a mess of me
I wanna reverse this tragedy
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

My personal Mess

If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I have been through some major emotional and mental trials lately. I also feel that a lot of them are spiritual as well. You can read about some of them here.

I tend to want to be in control of my life, but when I fight so hard for that, this is what I get, a mess! I have to learn, over and over again, that while, yes, I do have some control over my life, that God is ultimately in control. If I try too hard to hold on, He has to show me that I cannot do and be everything to everybody, that I have to depend on Him. I am a strong woman, but what I must not forget is that the strength I have comes from Him.

The more stubborn I am, the bigger mess I get and this time it has been a DOOZIE! I am hoping that this time I will learn a little more than I have in the past so that I can avoid winding up in this same mess again. As human beings though, we tend to have a bad memory when it comes to matters of the soul and spirit!

woman praying
The cool thing is, He is standing by, waiting and watching over me, for me to finally reach out to Him and say,

‘I made a mess of me, I can’t fix this, I can’t do it on my own, I need You!

What about you? Have you made a mess of things in your life? Have you reached out to Him for help?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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As I am learning to slow down and appreciate life and learn to just BE, I have come across some great resources I want to share! This blog post below is a great one to help you start to simplify your life. Leo Babauta from ZenHabits has a lot of resources. You can check one of his websites ZenHabits out here

One aside- quick personal note to post, my son’s girlfriend is in labor! We should be having our 7th grandchild, and born of all days, Labor Day, lol! We know it’s a girl, Kenley Grace, say a prayer for us today! They are young (17 & 19) so it’s a little scary!

Is life too complicated to simplify?

signs of stressSimplifying can sometimes be overwhelming. The amount of stuff you have in your life and the amount of things you have to do can be too big a mountain to tackle.

But you don’t have to simplify it all at once. Do one thing at a time, and take small steps. You’ll get there, and have fun doing it.

In fact, you can do little, but important things today to start living the simple life.

And these are not 10 difficult things, but 10 simple things that you can do today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. Today. Choose one and do it today. Tomorrow, choose another.

If you do these 10 things, you’ll have made great strides with little effort.

1. Make a short list. Take out a sheet of paper and fold it into a small square, perhaps 3×5 inches. Or take out an index card. Now make a short list of the 4-5 most important things in your life. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.

not to do2. Drop 1 commitment. Think about all the things in your life that you’re committed to doing, and try to find one that you dread doing. Something that takes up time but doesn’t give you much value. Perhaps you’re on a team, or coaching something, or on a board or committee, or whatever. Something that you do each day or week or month that you don’t really want to do. Now take action today to drop that commitment. Call someone, send an email, telling the appropriate person or people that you just don’t have the time. You will feel relief. I’d recommend dropping all commitments that don’t contribute to your short list (from Item #1), but for today, just drop 1 commitment.

3. Purge a drawer. Or a shelf, or a countertop, or a corner of a room. Not an entire room or even an entire closet. Just one small area. You can use that small area as your base of simplicity, and then expand from there. Here’s how to purge: 1) empty everything from the drawer or shelf or corner into a pile. 2) From this pile, pick out only the most important things, the stuff you use and love. 3) Get rid of the rest. Right now. Trash it, or put it in your car to give away or donate. 4) Put the stuff you love and use back, in a neat and orderly manner.

4. Set limits. Read Haiku Productivity for more. Basically, you set limits for things you do regularly: email, RSS posts, tasks, feeds, items in your life, etc. And try to stick with the limits. Today, all you have to do is set limits for a few things in your life. Tomorrow, try to stick with them.

5. Simplify your to-do list. Take a look at your to-do list. If it’s more than 10 items long, you can probably simplify it a bit. Try to find at least a few items that can be eliminated, delegated, automated, outsourced, or ignored. Shorten the list. This is a good habit to do once a week.

6. Free up time. Simplifying your life in general is a way to free up time to do the stuff you want to do. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find time to even think about how to simplify your life. If that’s the case, free up at least 30 minutes a day for thinking about simplifying. Or alternatively, free up a weekend and think about it then. How can you free up 30 minutes a day? Just a few ideas: wake earlier, watch less TV, eat lunch at your desk, take a walk for lunch, disconnect from the Internet, do email only once today, shut off your phones, do 1 less thing each day.

clean desk7. Clear your desk. I can personally attest to the amazing feeling that a clean desk can give you. It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet it does so much for you. If your desk is covered with papers and notes and gadgets and office supplies, you might not be able to get this done today. But here are the basic steps:

     1) Clear everything off your desk and put it in a pile (either in your inbox or on the floor).

     2) Process the pile from top to bottom, one item at a time. Do not defer decisions on any item — deal with them immediately and quickly.

     3) For each item, either file it immediately, route it to someone else, trash it, or note it on your to-do list (and put it in an “action” folder). If it’s a gadget or office supply, find a place for it in your desk drawers (or get rid of it).

     4) Repeat until your pile is empty and your desk is clear. Be sure to get rid of any knick knacks. Your desk should have your computer, your inbox, perhaps a notepad, and maybe a family photo (but not many). Ahh, a clear desk!

     5) From now on, put everything in your inbox, and at least once a day, process it in the same way as above.

8. Clear out your email inbox. This has the same psychological effect as a clear desk. Is your email inbox always full of read and unread messages? That’s because you’re delaying decisions on your emails. If you have 50, let’s say, or fewer emails in your inbox, you can process them all today. If you have hundreds, you should put them in a temporary folder and get to them one chunk at a time (do 20 per day or something). Here’s how you process your inbox to empty — including emails already in your inbox, and all future incoming emails:

     1) process them top to bottom, one at a time, deciding and disposing of each one immediately.

     2) Your choices are to delete, archive, respond immediately (and archive or delete), forward (and archive or delete), or mark it with a star (or something like that) and note it on your to-do list to respond to later (and archive).

     3) Process each email like that until the inbox is empty.

     4) Each time you check your email, process to empty. Ahh, an empty inbox!

9. Move slower. We rush through the day, from one task to another, from one appointment to another, until we collapse on the couch, exhausted, at the end of the day. Instead, simplify your life by doing less (see Items 1, 4 and 5) and doing them more slowly. Eat slower, drive slower, walk slower, shower slower, work slower. Be more deliberate. Be present. This isn’t something you’re going to master today, but you can start practicing today.

10. Single-task. Instead of multi-tasking, do one thing at a time. Remove all distractions, resist any urge to check email or do some other habitual task like that while you’re doing the task at hand. Stick to that one task, until you’re done. It’ll make a huge difference in both your stress level and your productivity.

As for myself, I am in the middle of purging my book collection and selling them on Amazon. I am also working on my closet!   What specific things have you done to simplify your life?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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Life can be ridiculously complicated, if you let it. We fall prey to the American Dream as I posted about last week, which has become more of a nightmare. One solution is to simplifyour lives. Many people are considering this by choice or out of economic necessity.
Most of this post comes from Leo Babuta at Zen Habits. He does not copyright his writings  and I would love to share some of what he says about this subject.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, which I’ve stolen as this site’s subtitle, is the shortest guide to life you’ll ever need:

“Smile, breath, and go slowly.”

couple hiking

SMILE. BREATHE. GO SLOWLY.

If you live your life by those five words, you’ll do pretty well. For those who need a little more guidance, here are the lessons that Leo has learned (so far) as a few guidelines, or reminders, really. He has quite few links to other posts and resources on his blog.

And as always, these rules are meant to be broken. Life wouldn’t be any fun if they weren’t.

the brief guide

less TV, more reading
less shopping, more outdoors
less clutter, more space
less rush, more slowness
less consuming, more creating
less junk, more real food
less busywork, more impact
less driving, more walking
less noise, more solitude-see my post Can you please turn down the noise? 
less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles
breathe Also see Calgon, take me away!

What steps have you taken to simplify your life?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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