Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

5 AFFORDABLE WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE

 

What is self-care?

The “technical” definition is: the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.

I’m all about holistic or natural treatments so would you think I would have this down to a science, right?  NOPE!  I struggle with practice self-care, like I’m sure many do.  The benefits of better physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being should be enough of a reason for me to at least attempt it once a month, right?  Research suggests self-care promotes positive health outcomes, such as fostering resilience, living longer, and becoming better equipped to manage stress.  I definitely could use some more tools in managing stress!

Self-care can get pretty expensive but you don’t have to break the bank or carve out lots of time to reap the benefits.  These may seem like no-brainers BUT the truth is, how many of us actually do them?  

#1 – DON’T SKIP USING YOUR VACATION TIME

Vacations can be expensive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some time off.  Did you know,  most Americans, cumulatively wasted 768 million vacation days in 2019. I know, then COVID hit so many used their vacation time to stay home to care for family.  Time off from work can improve your mental and physical health, give you a mental edge when it comes to productivity, and keep you excited about your job — and your life.

Vacation can be more affordable with a little bit of creativity. Consider going with friends or family and getting a vacation rental.  We loved the cabin we stayed in when we were in Florida.  Instead of shelling out for a hotel, share a comfortable home, condo, or apartment then enjoy everything your destination has to offer. When you save on accommodations, you can splurge on great local restaurants, music, and water recreation, too. 

#2 – CARVE OUT TIME FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP

No matter what your struggles are in daily life, speaking with a counselor might help. This one was always tough for me.  I was afraid it would be considered a sign of weakness.  Counseling helps people identify negative patterns, make changes to take control of their lives, and discover their personal strengths.  I’m grateful for the 12-steps in my recovery program to help me do this too.  Cost should no longer be a reason for not seeking help – if you have employer-sponsored healthcare, a policy through a health insurance exchange, or Medicaid, mental health is likely part of the package.  Check it out!

#3 – GET BETTER (AND MORE) SLEEP

Did you know a lack of sleep can affect your mental health and your overall psychological state?  I know we feel grump, or at least I do, when we don’t get enough sleep.  I was surprised that it also worsens depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety issues, and ADHD.   Do you have a bedtime routine?  Remember how we always had one for the kids?  Guess what?  We need one too.  I have found  sticking with a schedule helps me decompress and prepare for quality rest. I may not get the recommended 7 – 9 hours sleep (who does) but I do average between 6 – 7 hours which definitely makes a difference for me.  Some tips for getting into a sleepy mood: journaling, reading or meditating before bed can help.  TURN OFF your electronics about an hour before bed.  I know this could be the toughest thing.  LOL. Try to keep your bedroom as neat as possible; if the place where you sleep is a disorganized mess, you may find this level of chaos is causing a spike in your stress levels, which can disrupt your sleep.

#4 – GET A LITTLE EXERCISE

You know exercise is great for your body. However, you don’t need a gym membership to take advantage of the benefits  Plus, there are mental health benefits built into your sweat session, no matter where you have it. Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety.  You don’t need to pay for a gym to lift weights or use machines. Old-fashioned bodyweight workouts require minimal, if any, equipment, and it can be just as effective as hitting the gym.  How many of you have exercise equipment (stationary bike, elliptic or something like this) you bought and it is collecting dust in the garage?  Pull it out!  We bought a stationary bike about 15 years ago and it wasn’t until we moved to our forever home I started using it every day for 15 – 30 minutes.  Not a lot but it is definitely making a difference.

Here’s a plus for seniors: If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can take advantage of the SilverSneakers program, which allows you to enjoy workouts at participating fitness facilities without having to pay any additional fees. 

#5 – STEP OUTSIDE & ENJOY NATURE

There are multiple benefits by walking in nature for your mental health — and it’s free. Spending time outside can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and myriad other conditions.  No matter where you live, there’s likely a park or nature trail nearby you can take advantage of. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Enjoy the sunshine (things are warming up in NJ), smell the flowers (spring is coming), and start feeling more energized without spending a dime.

Although you can spend a lot of money on self-care, it’s not necessary. With these easy ideas, you can glean all the stress-reducing benefits of self-care right away.

What self-care strategies work for you?  Share your best tips with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Recovery, Relax, Reflect, Recharge, Unclutter Your Life

Do You Believe?

I dedicate today’s blog to all of those who doubt themselves, who beat themselves up over past mistakes, who think they are inferior, or who think they will never succeed.  

January has been an interesting month for me…. trying to find my passion again, setting goals than changing them, doubting myself, waiting for answers to prayers, and working on my 4th & 5th steps….Living life on life’s terms can be rough.

I want you to know you are not alone, we are in this journey together.  I’m back to sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences a few times per month.  I want you to remember together we can heal and become the AMAZING women God wants us to be.  It won’t always be easy.  It probably won’t be in our time – God works on his schedule not ours.  But the important thing is – we do heal!

I am grateful for the struggles because from them I grow.  I am grateful for my faith which keeps me grounded even on the toughest days.  I am learning so much about myself lately and I have to admit – it can be pretty scary!  It has mw wondering (and sometimes doubting) all kinds of things.  I know the road may be bumpy but the end result is to be a better person tomorrow than I am today.  You don’t have to have lofty goals or dreams.  You don’t have to make changes immediately.  Remember slow and steady wins the race.  The key is to listen to those God nudges (or smacks on the head for me sometimes).  Trust and believe.  

This is a repost from gobigcoach:

I believe in you,

Even when you don’t.

I know you are a miracle,

Even when you forget.

I am thankful for YOUR extraordinary,

Even when you feel like you’re not enough.

Whatever you struggle with,

I know you can survive…

And prevail!

Whatever you resist,

I know you can allow…

Harmoniously.

Whatever you dream,

I know you can experience…

And expand into even more.

Whenever you fall and wonder if you

can get up again…

Remember, I believe in you – even when you don’t.

Don’t let fear and doubt steal the joys of each day.  You are an amazing individual with gifts and talents to share with the world! You ARE extraordinary!

Have an Epic day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

What is Your Passion?

The New Year triggers LOTS of talk about setting BIG goals, and following your passion.  So, what are you passionate about?

Passion is defined as: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

 

Sadly, for me……I feel like my MS has stolen this from me.  😦  I have always kicked off January excited about what the year would bring…. Over the years, my passion for things has changed – I have to admit I don’t think I was really passionate about anything (or at least I don’t remember) until I started volunteering with the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.  That is when I started to understand what the word passion was all about.  My passion for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS continues even 25+ years later.  It may not be as evident now but there was a time when everyone knew it was my passion. Then my passion became a larger group of underserved populations (the homeless, the underemployed, etc.) when I began working for Bethel, a non-profit with a soup kitchen, food pantry and many other programs.  Making a difference in the lives of people was what I wanted to do……

Then Thirty One entered my life.  In the beginning it was just a hobby then it became a passion. Sparks are flamed by my hostesses, my customers and my team.  it brought in a steady income and allowed me to make a difference in the lives of others.  Now, 10+ years later, my passion seems to be smoldering.  As I kick off the new year…..I can’t seem to latch on to a goal or get excited.  I still LOVE ❤ ThirtyOne and the life it has given me yet I am struggling.  I know I can still make a difference, but I need to figure out how.

Did I let Satan steal my passion?  Or is God leading me towards another path?  You may know what I mean – those days when nothing feels right, no excitement or joy in what you are doing, just kind of going through the motions.  These days I always wonder…….is this an MS thing, or a recovery issue?  I ask for guidance and yet nothing comes, WAIT, right?  God’s time, not mine.  Can I stamp my feet & throw a tantrum?  Will it get me the answers?  LOL. Probably not.  I feel like it would take longer to hear them.

I’m enjoying cooking again – the new bigger kitchen combined with trying new recipes created the spark.  I don’t always understand how you can be creative when you have to cook dinners every night?  I never knew how good I had it.  When Belinda was growing up, it could be the same thing multiple nights since there was always a practice (gymnastics, field hockey or cheering) to rush off to.  When I moved in with hubby, he worked night shift so I only needed to cook 2 meals per week.  Yes, I was spoiled and didn’t even know it.  LOL.  Fast forward to retirement and a BIG (okay big for me) kitchen and I am enjoying trying new things and sharing about them.  Is it a passion?  Who knows – some days it seems like it and then some days it seems like a chore?

Creating angels and sewing has become another new escape.  I am exploring.  I have the Etsy store which does okay and I am booking craft shows on a limited basis for the spring.  Creating sparks another part of my brain which helps with my MS issues too.  I also love hearing the stories of why people pick certain angels as they talk about family and friends.

Working through the steps in my recovery, and learning about me is an ongoing journey.  I’m reading again too – light things which don’t take much thought.  I’m learning MS has stolen many of my emotions and feelings while in my addiction I stuffed the feelings.

I came across an old link from John Maxwell’s word of the day which was PASSION.  Click the link to hear him talk about this AWESOME word. it will definitely trigger some thoughts…

Whether it is your business or something in your life……. I ask you again – what are YOU passionate about?  I would love to hear about it.  Share your passion with us.

Have an Epic  day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fun Family Winter Activities

Don’t let winter get you down! Even if you live where the weather is frightful, there are plenty of delightful activities for you and your family to do. We compiled a list of some of our favorite ideas here, along with a few tips and useful products to help you get the most out of your experience!

Outdoor Activities with Snow

  • Build a snowman or a snow fort
  • Go sledding or snow tubing
  • Go skiing
  • Make snow angels
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Snow paint (see details below!)

How do you snow paint?

All you need is empty spray bottles, water and food coloring! Rinse out the bottles, fill them with water and add 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Start with 1 bottle each of red, blue and yellow. If you have more bottles, you can create more colors by combining them (just like in art class)!

  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of blue = purple
  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of yellow = orange
  • 10 drops of blue + 10 drops of yellow = green

Your kids will love spray painting snow men, snowballs or just drawing pictures on that big white snow canvas!

Outdoor Activities (No Snow Required)

  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Go on a self-guided holiday light tour
  • Collect pinecones and small evergreen branches to create a centerpiece
  • Take a hike through the woods
  • Blow bubbles and watch them freeze (below 32° F)
  • Set up an “ice gem” treasure hunt for the kids (see details below!)

What are “ice gems”?

Ice gems are simply ice cubes that have been made with food coloring. Fill an ice tray with water, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to each compartment and put it in the freezer. Use different colors to represent different types of gems (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc.).

Indoor Activities

  • Build a cozy blanket fort with lights
  • Set up an indoor scavenger hunt
  • Bake cookies
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Make bird feeders (see below for details!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, if desired

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until blended and dough is stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown (center will be soft). Cool 2 minutes. Remove cookies and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  

If you would like to add this recipe to your collection, download the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe card.

This blot post was courtesy of Thirty One Gifts. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Addicted to Our Thoughts…

It has been awhile since I blogged…. I didn’t know what to write.  I didn’t know if anyone actually cared. Believe it or not it was part of my addiction.  Obsessed with “my image” and what people would think.

See, addiction isn’t just about drugs or alcohol.  It is about anything which consumes us – food, people, shopping, sex, love, thoughts and so much more.  I needed to take a break.  I needed to STOP and think about what was important to me.  I needed to decide what I really wanted to do with my life on disability.  Tough decisions but things I had to think about.  Do I have all of the answers?  NOPE!

We are addicted to our thoughts.  We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

WOW!  I don’t know about you but this quote scares the hell out of me!  Changing my thinking has been the toughest thing at age 62 with 20 months in recovery.  It is a daily process which has affected all areas of my life.  My addition shows up in some of the strangest places….Here are just a few, any of these sound like you?

1.  Comparing ourselves to everyone else, and then competing with them.

It is this kind of thinking which  started my troubles during my relapse.  The grass was always greener on the other side.  I wanted to have what I thought others had.  It is a struggle for me to remember I  don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing.  I remember my mom saying “if they jumped off a bridge, would you?”  I know that is an extreme but it is the wanting to be liked and to be like everyone else which contributed to my crazy way of thinking.

Now, I try to not compete with others.  I try to compete to be a better version of me. For some, this sounds lame.  Through recovery I am learning to not compare my outside to their picture “perfect” life because you never know what they have been going through.  I mean who doesn’t want to look good on social media or when gathering with friends? I know I am not the only one who struggles with this, right?

2.  Secretly wishing for everyone’s stamp of approval.

This is one of the hardest things as a people pleaser I deal with.  The truth is “we don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough in your own eyes.”  I know, easier said than done sometimes, right?  When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, 99% of the time it isn’t actually about us  WHAT??? You mean I am not the root of all things?  Self-centeredness is for another day.  It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs.  “Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you – it’s something inherent.   You’re allowed to think things and feel things.  You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space.  You’re allowed to hold on to the truth who you are is worthy.  And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who insists on making you feel otherwise.”  These are the things I am working on every day.

3.  Being more loving to others than we are to ourselves.

Here comes the people pleaser in me.  I want everyone to be happy, so I will make myself miserable to see it happen.  I have been told I am self-centered because of my addiction.  Truth be told “I don’t always get it”.  The result of those words though has created the struggle of being able to love myself without thinking I am self-centered.  If this is you, you are not alone.  “There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care.  If you don’t take good care of yourself then you can’t take good care of anyone else.  Because we can’t give what we don’t have.  Treat yourself right and you’ll be life-giving to others.”  This is one of my BIGGEST struggles.

4.  Dreaming of what could have been, or should have been.

Letting go of the shoulda, coulda, woulda is tough for me.  The inner gremlins have a field day on bad days.  Letting go and turning things over is a daily (sometimes hourly process).  I have learned (most days) before you can truly LIVE today, a part of you has to die first.  I have to let go and bury the what could have been if I never relapsed.  I (neither can you) can’t change the past, or the outcomes from our choices.  The best thing we can go is: Let go.  Forgive.  Be present and free.  Just for Today.

Are you struggling with any of these things?   You are not alone!  Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, and leave a life free of addiction (all types).  The bottom line is it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction.  It’s never too late to break free and become the person you are capable of being.  Addictions of all kinds CAN be beaten!

I’m not sure if anyone needed this but it was on my heart this morning…

Have a blessed day!