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!

 

Hope Inspires, Recovery, Thankful Thursday, Unclutter Your Life

Thankful Thursday: Struggling with Acceptance

Today is a difficult day…….I’m struggling with ACCEPTANCE.

After 10 years of being a Director with Thirty One, I will revert to a Senior Consultant.  WOW! I will admit I am struggling.  My ego is deflated.  My pride is hurt.  I have weathered many storms over the years fighting to keep my title.  Today I just have to have acceptance.  Could I point fingers and play the blame game?  YUP!  But the truth is life (and the inner gremlins) caused me to think I was less then when the struggles came along.  Yup!  I played the comparison game.  I dabbled in another direct sales company but my heart wasn’t really there.

Acceptance is defined as “the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group“.

Believe it or not, as welcoming as the other group was and still is – it was not where my heart was.  I missed the relationships I had built over the years with team members and customers.  I struggled to fit in playing the comparison game yet again.  My addiction & MS makes building relationships hard for me.  The double whammy has also given me double the number of inner gremlins.  They usually have me acting in fear instead of being faithful to God’s will.  When I opened my eyes, stomped on the gremlins; I was able to see God winks telling me to remain faithful to my heart during the turmoil.

Over the last 3 years through recovery, I thought I had started to accept who I am or at least think I am.  I’m usually ready to stomp the inner gremlins when they start wanting to play the comparison game.   I still worry about disappointing others.  I still worry about whether I am good enough (just not as often).  Working a 4th step and taking an inventory can be a blessing and a curse – those who know, know ❤

Not sharing my business struggles sooner as a result of PRIDE left me feeling alone.  Over the last 3 months, those secrets of inadequacy kept me sick (and on the road to losing my title)…I was afraid of what my upline would think.  Unsure if they would accept me broken and struggling yet again.  I hate being the “needy” one.  Pride and fear kept feelings stuffed away.   The inner gremlins had me convinced my time with Thirty One was over.  The reality was………my upline loves me unconditionally and when I stepped up even at the very last minute to “vomit” my feelings, they were loving and supportive.  My team has been there through the struggles too so why would I think they wouldn’t be now.

I am learning to accept what is in my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  I am learning to accept I am wonderfully made even on my worst days.  I am learning to accept (very slowly) my struggles with MS, having faith in the fact it is all part of God’s plan.  Do I think God’s plan was for me to make a mess of my life?  NO!  I do know he has helped me through the struggles.  He accepts me for who I am – no matter what.  But can I accept me, is the real question?

I accept:

  • I am a addict recovering from the disease of addition
  • I am a child of God as he wraps his loving arms around me
  • I am a better me today than I was yesterday
  • I am open to God’s plan whatever it may be
  • I am an MS warrior and I will not let it defeat me
  • I am a giving, loving person who wants to make a difference

Today I have acceptance for where I am in my business and in my life.  I accept this is just a bump in the road.  I accept this will be part of my story to share with someone else who may need to hear it.  I’m not giving up.  Thirty One has been the blessing which saved me on my darkest days in more ways than I can count.  It helped me get out of credit card debt.  It helped me learn how to build relationships.  It helped me in my walk with God.  It has helped this introvert come out of her shell even when I don’t want to.  Being uncomfortable is good sometimes – in business, in recovery and in life.

Today, I am learning to thankful…Being thankful helps you get through life’s tough times, because you can easily call to mind all of the good things in your life.  Being grateful just makes you happy and being happy can help keep your mind and body healthy!

Accept who you are, without relying on outside influences.  Accept we are not perfect and it is okay.  What are you thankful for today?

Have a blessed day!

Clear the Clutter, Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Top 5 Cooking Hacks

Kitchen hacks are clever solutions to every day kitchen dilemmas which could save you time, money and maybe even help to avoid an embarrassing situation.

If you are an avid cook, you probably know lots of them, right?  Maybe they are things you found out by googling a question.  Or, they were passed down in your family – you know like those “old wives tales”.  I have found each time I am in the kitchen making a recipe – I am googling another question and then am amazed at the results.  Sometimes it is even the same question over and over because I forgot the answer. LOL.  You would be surprised but sometimes you get different answers.

1 – Removing Eggshell Fragments

This is one of those hacks I thought wouldn’t work because it seemed too good to be true BUT I was wrong!

Simply use a larger piece of eggshell to scoop up those pesky little fragments. It’s like magic.  I am surprised how often I use this especially in the mornings when I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee  and am fixing breakfast.

2 – Evenly Portion Batter

Use an ice cream scoop to evenly portion out muffin batter or cupcake batter or anything you are using individual pans for. The kind with the trigger release makes it easy to transfer the batter to the muffin tin: no trying desperately to get the batter off of a spoon.  If it is a “sticky” batter, spray pam on the scoop FIRST, then scoop.  The batter will slide out, easy peasy.

3 – Freeze Flat 

OMG!!! I wish I knew this when we lived in the condo.  Our freezer was small and when I pulled one thing out, it all could come tumbling.  LOL. Whether it’s soups, stews, or ground meat, the flatter and wider you can get them, the faster they’ll freeze and defrost.  Place foods in heavy-duty freezer bags, squeeze out all the air, lay the bag flat, and use your hands to work the contents into as flat and even a shape as possible.

4 – Dry Bean versus Canned Beans

It has taken me awhile to learn this AND I usually google it every time I get ready to make something just to be sure.   REMEMBER…. 16 oz of canned beans DOES NOT equal 16 oz of dry beans. Dry beans DOUBLE in size when cooked. Yup, I have made this mistake more times then I can count.  LOL. If I am using the crockpot, I just rinse the dry beans off and throw them in – no pre-soaking here.

5 – How To Reduce Bacon Shrinkage

I was skeptical of this one too!  I had heard rinsing the bacon would cut out some of the salt BUT was surprised to find out it did even more.  To reduce bacon shrinkage, I first trim off the excess fat, then I rinse it off with cold water.  I used to cook bacon in the fry pan just like my mom and grandmother BUT not any more.  With smaller quantities (just for hubby & I) I put it in the air fryer for 10 minutes, turning it half way through.  If we have company, I cook it in the oven at 375F for 10 minutes or more until crispy.

Want more tips and tricks?  Check out Hope’s Healthy Kitchen on Facebook.  Have a hack you want to share…….comment below or send me an email.  If I use it in my blog post, I will send you a free gift as a thank you.

Have an Epic Day!

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Hearty Beef Stew

Today’s yummy recipe is one I use in my crockpot A LOT!!!!  For those who have an instant pot/pressure cooker there are also instructions for it.  I love the fact the cost is only $2.31/serving for 6 servings.  Of course, I always manage to have more than the stated servings… I get kind of heavy handed with the veggies.  LOL.

Perfectly Balance Your Plate

Serve with 2 cups mixed greens and 1 tbsp favourite Epicure Dressing.

 

Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with us?  Send me an email and I would be happy to include it – if you have a small business, include the link as well so we can share the love ❤

Have an Epic day!

Hope Wissel

Reflecting on 2021

A new year………….

I’m not sure what happened to 2021.  LOL.  I actually had to flip through my planner to see what went on.  The memory is not what it used to be.  It seemed to pass in the blink of an eye.

We spent the year working on the house – our forever home.  Not a lot needed to be done but it is those little things that catch you off guard.  Lots of outside projects got done.  I’m looking forward to our first “crop” of fresh garlic which should be ready in the spring.  Who knew growing garlic could happen outside in the winter????  We shall see.

The MS life seems to be changing again.  There have been more “mini” MS flare ups – foggy brain, unable to process thoughts along with the tingling in my fingers.  I have resigned myself to wearing my brace more often when I am out and about.  I have to also be careful NOT to overwhelm myself with trying to do lots of things – the realization came after spending a week prepping for Thanksgiving only to have a meltdown and having to take it easy for the rest of the weekend.  Not too bad since I got to fur-baby sit.  I’m learning new things like: my mind is often “blank” so I spend more time in quiet instead of trying to carry on conversations.  Emotions blindside me – out of nowhere there are tears or smiles.

With 3 1/2+ years in recovery, I am feeling better about me.  Most days I even like me despite the fact I am struggling to get back to goal weight.  Life on life’s terms is not always easy but I’m grateful I found an amazing home group, a new sponsor and attend meetings regularly.  Lunchtime meetings work great for this old lady.  LOL. ❤  Working through the steps has been eye opener.  God has allowed me remember things (in tiny pieces) – in his time not mine when he knows I am ready to face things.

My side hustle as a bag lady is going strong. I’m grateful for the wonderful people it has brought into my life – customers and hostesses who I am blessed to now call friends.   I am venturing out in the “food” world.  Good food, fast and easy with the ability to tweak the recipes to count my WW points.  I love sharing new recipes along with the #epiclife.  Of course, having a bigger kitchen has helped because now I actually ENJOY cooking again.   I have also been working on new angel designs for the Spring craft season and can’t wait to share them.  They will probably show up on the Etsy site soon.

I will admit, I still get stuck in my head with the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” or the comparison game.  I’m learning one day at a time to enjoy the moment and know the only person I should be comparing myself to is me, the day before.  My basic goal is to just be a better person today than I was yesterday.

Over the last 10 years, I have picked a word – a theme to the year.  Last year’s word was GRATITUDE!  Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.“.  I learned to practice gratitude every night or at least I tried to.  It was easy to have gratitude for the good things but a struggle during the challenges of the year.  I know through the challenges, I learn and grow, for that I am grateful.

Finding a word for this year was a little tougher than I thought it would be.  No matter how hard I have tried to avoid it “acceptance” keeps popping up. So I guess I better take the God wink as a sign….. ACCEPTANCE is defined as “the action of consenting to receive something offered or being received as adequate or suitable“. Dictionary definitions sometimes baffle me.  I hate when they use part of the word in the definition.  Grateful, I found an article while I was looking for a definition called “The 5 Things Everyone Should  Know About Acceptance“.  These words stood out for me:

Acceptance doesn’t mean you can’t work on changing things.

Okay, I got the message!   LOL.  Guess there will be a lot of posts on this topic because I don’t think I am the only one who struggles with it!  Change is something I tend to struggle with when it comes quickly, my brain doesn’t adjust easily.  BUT change over time is a whole lot easier.

What will your world for this year be?  Share it with us…Best wishes for a safe healthy and happy New Year from our house to yours!