Ways to De-Winterize

For some of us in this world, the winter season after the holidays can be a long period. Where I live everyday, I have to bring in some extra light to help with short days. That is also true for most of the people around me.

Another big negative to winter is staying inside on the couch too much. During winter, just like the summer, everyone must get out and about. One of my greatest exercises is shoveling a little snow every day. Another option is to take a walk with a friend or your dog. Just get up and get out there! Your bones and muscles will thank you.

Then there is the d-word…….depression. I am not an expert on this one. I just know what others say. People need to talk about their feelings to other people. Find a friend, find religion that is comfortable for you, find a companion, find a pet, find a hobby, and then start finding positives to replace the negatives. Remember….you are in control of you……..

Another way to “de-winterize” is to leave the cold by taking a winter vacation. If you go to a warm spot for a week, or two, winter just got shorter. But this usually only works for people who don’t have school-age kids.

Whatever you do to make the next few monthes shorter, have fun doing it. April isn’t far away. And, soon, it will be May.

Inhale…..Hold……Exhale……Repeat, If Necessary.

When you buy a bottle of shampoo, the instructions on the back say, “Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.”

After you have had kids, and all of that loud noise is created by those playful children within the once-quiet rooms of your home, remember the shampoo instructions…..but replace them with the words, “Inhale……Hold……Exhale…..Repeat.”

Continue repeating this process until the stress level goes down. Then, and, only then, should you approach the young ones and quietly remind them to use their indoor voices during their playtime inside. Also, remember, you need to use YOUR indoor voice, too.

Other times where this stress-relieving process can be helpful is when other types of events are beyond your control. There are many examples of these, including:

1. driving in heavy traffic with the kids in the back seat not wanting to stay in their seats

“Hey, let’s play with this frisbee I left under the seat.”

2. waiting in long lines outside without an umbrella while it rains

“So these portable buildings save the state some money.”

3. being put on hold by your electric company during a power outage

“Are there any humans working today?”

4. waiting to see the only doctor-on-call at the Emergency Room

“The doctor will be able to look at your bleeding head in about one hour.”

5. getting stopped for a traffic violation in front of a friend or relative’s home

“Hi, Dad! Yeah, I remember what you told me about speeding.”

6. running out of money at the laundromat while all of your clothes are in the washer

“Do you have a big bag I can carry my wet clothes in until I get more change.”

7. learning that you forgot your wallet after eating out at a restaurant

“How many hours of dishwashing do I have to do?”

8. being invited to a Halloween costume party on October 31st without a costume

“Don’t you have any costumes left for men?”

9. being flagged by TSA, as suspicious, while going through airport security

“No, I have never left the United States.”

10. learning that your window seat on the airplane is next to one man who has brought

his collection of polka songs to listen to during the six-hour flight, and a woman,

who was allowed to keep her loud chihuahua with her on the plane.

“Hello, stewardess, are there any empty seats available on the plane?”

Whenever possible, the use of relaxing portable music to go along with this breathing process can be helpful. If this doesn’t help, you might try the bottle of shampoo. Have a good one!

Welcome to the New Year

Welcome to 2019! Say good-bye to 2018! A new year means new ways to live and play throughout each day.

Everyone comes up with resolutions for the new year to get a fresh start on the new calendar.

However, the hard part has always been hanging on to those resolutions as the days get longer.

I always come up with a few resolutions for a new year. Some I can keep. Some I have failed at in the worst ways. I have been good at weight loss, quitting smoking, saving money and managing my time a little better. However, other resolutions, like home projects, outdoor projects, items that cost more money, etc…., those usually hit the back-burner every year on the priority list.

For this year, one of my resolutions is to continue working on my well-being. I figure the better I feel, the better everyone around me will feel. When I smile, the people around me will smile. When I laugh, the people around me will laugh. When I am happy, those around me will be happy. So, as we say hello to 2019, feel optimistic this year will be better than last year, and put on a smile.

Remember Those Less Fortunate This Season

As everyone makes last trips to the stores this holiday season, remember those who cannot make it to the store quite as easy as everyone else to make those special Christmas purchases. They have fallen on hard financial times, been hit with big bills, bad health, bad debt, unemployment, or any of those negative items that have hit us all at one time or another in our lives. We’ve been there……we know how it feels. And, it feels nice, when there are people around us willing to share.

But, the most important item I remember about giving at the holiday season, was how important the message was about being thankful and grateful. Also, I remember the phrase, “Pass it On.”

It isn’t about being able to tell your friends, relatives, co-workers, etc…. that you did this wonderful thing. It is that wonderful feeling you get when you see how your giving of time, giving of labor, giving of friendship, or just giving of a few dollars, can completely change a person’s perspective about the holidays. A person does it because it is in his or her heart to do it, and, that person wants to help others out who aren’t as fortunate, this year. Whenever, I put in a little bit of help…..remembering those times that I have received help in my life…..I try to say “Pass it On” whenever I can.

The Season for Snow

Tis the Season for Snow.

Which, as you know,

Means a new season for drivers who can’t drive slow.

So, here’s a tip for those who want to avoid a pain in the hip,

because there will be less in their wallet stash, if one of those

fast drivers finds their ride and they collide.

On those last few days to find those perfect Christmas gifts

Find some of your friends and give each other lifts.

That means safer travel when ice and snow are on top of the gravel.

When you can get a good workout by walking to where you need to go,

Don’t forget your water bottle, or you might find yourself needing to eat some snow.

Dress in layers everytime you go out, and in colors so drivers can spot you out.

Yes, tis the season for snow, family and fun. Make sure to have some.

Make Your House a Temporary Fitness Gym

Because I live miles away from any type of fitness center, I have made our home my fitness place to a certain extent. I have learned how to keep my weight steady by burning enough calories around the house each day through exercise, housework, and just basic walking.

The main key is try not to stay seated too long. Remember to get up every hour and walk around for a little while. Play with the kids and the dogs and cats. I take care of our youngest son. So, with breakfast, clean-up time, school time, chore time, etc….there are plenty of things to keep me busy with him. He is a big help with the exercise routine.

Another routine I have started is to do dishes by hand. That routine works my shoulders, hands and arms. The only negative would be the strain on my back sometimes when I do it for too long.

The third item for the routine is laundry. We have two floors. So, the stairs come into play. I make it a point to go up and down those stairs at least 20 times a day. It feels good on the legs. Another part of this involves carrying laundry from each of the rooms, whether downstairs or upstairs. That is where more calories get burned.

The next part of the workout involves drying dishes and cooking. More calories get burned in the kitchen with all of that cabinet and stove work. Plus, its more workout time for the legs, shoulders and arms.

If a person really wants to get serious about turning a day of housework, chores, cleaning, cooking and other activities into a “day at the gym”, there are several websites that can be found that have calculated how many calories get burned for specific activities around the house. These are great tools for people wanting to keep track of those numbers. One that I located years ago is still around at http://www.myfitnesspal.com.

Most of the calculators are free to use on the web. However, the sites do want people to sign up for their programs. So, before using the calculator, check out the site to make certain it isn’t a purchase. I never had to buy anything from the websites that I visited.

So, as winter gets closer and snow and ice starts messing up driving for some on certain days……make your house the substitute gym.

It’s Time For a Little Kindness

The title to this brief write says it best. Yes, just like the song voiced by the late Glen Campbell, “Try a Little Kindness” fits for this week. Like the song says, if you see someone needing a little help, try a little kindness. You never know how far that kindness may travel.

It may be the opening of a door for someone whose hands are full. It may be giving up your space in line at the grocery store for someone walking with a cane. Maybe you left the house early for work and have more time than usual to get to work. This opens the door for a little kindness…like not rushing to work….giving other drivers a little space….not cutting out in front of any other drivers to get to work faster.

These are just a few examples of kindness. What about saying hello to someone today…even if you don’t even know them. How about saying hello to the people you work with everyday. When was the last time you said thank you to people who brought a delivery to you, or to the bus driver that takes your kids to school every weekday. What about the teachers and crossing guard people at your children’s school. These are just a few ways to show a little kindness on a daily basis to help put a few more smiles on people’s faces……and maybe get rid of a few frowns. Stay happy everyone.

Never Stop Walking

To this day I still remember some of my longest walks that I have ever taken. I love looking back at them. They are like mileposts as part of my life. They represent accomplishments, turning points and personal achievements.

One of the reasons they are an accomplishment is because they have now replaced my unhealthy years of cigarette smoking. Even though I walked and exercised while I was a smoker in my late teens, twenties, and early thirties, I didn’t truly benefit from my exercising until my lungs were clear again. Oh, it felt great to work out again as an adult free of coughing.

Walking as an activity came when the direction of my life was changing. I began walking quite a bit in school, and, even more in college. Walking became a daily occurrence in my summers as a teenager playing sports and working each day.

But, the minute I got a job that required me to sit at a desk, boom…….no more walking. Who knew? All I know, is that my lack of walking changed me in some ways. I wasn’t as happy or ready to start a new day. I seemed tired and lacking energy.

Years later, pounds later, and a job, or two, later, I started finding jobs without desks, again. My legs and my body said, “Thank You.” The walking got me back on my feet, back in shape, back in a better mood, and back to life. Whew, much better………….I’m walking……Yes, indeed, I’m walking, again. I am happy, again. I am in shape, again.

So….the next time someone tells you to take a hike. Tell them, Thank You, for thinking about my good health. Have a good one.

How Music Comforts a Tired Mind

When I was young, I lost my vision in my left eye. After it was gone, something interesting occurred to my other senses. Each of them became more sensitive to what was taking place around me. My hearing seemed to improve over time. And, with that improved hearing, came a better understanding of music. I could hear more clearly. Music became a major part of my life, because I would enjoy listening to it.

As decades have passed, I have learned how music can relax the mind. When I was in my thirties, I decided it was time to stop smoking. I knew that I would need every possible tool to stop. So, I used the nicotine gum, meditation, relaxation, music, and it worked over time.

In today’s world, whenever stress creeps into my life as it did in the 20th century, I return to those tools used to stop smoking. I get into a relaxing position, close my eyes, grab the earphones, and turn on the tunes that let me escape.

For every person, the type of music is different. For me, I listen to “happy” tunes. I want to reach that happy place. On one day I tell myself, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”…….its time to feel some…..”Good Vibrations”……..as I go…..”Back Home Again”.

Then, on another day, it will be a day for sailing away to find a calm relaxing place. Natasha Bedingfield calls it a “Pocket Full of Sunshine.” On another day, music from country artists and R&B artists hit the spot.

This relaxation technique is also introducing me to other types of music for my library.  So, my suggestion to everyone who may feel a bit stressed or angry is to take a deep breath or two……turn on some tunes……and maybe it can help turn off the stress.

Friends: Don’t Leave Without Them.

Friends are like family and the people you work with on a daily basis.  They make up the thread that stitches together your long-term memories within your life.  Whenever you look back on your life, how often do you remember those friends, when you remember the good times that you had?  Are those friends still a part of your life today?  As I continue to get a little older, I look back in time and make attempts to keep in touch with some of my friends from the past.  But, just as important, I want to increase the number of friends that I have today.

For some, making new friendships are very difficult.  For others, they are very easy.  I see both examples in my kids.  While my oldest son tends to step back a little bit before introducing himself to everyone in the room.  My youngest son brings the room of people to him and makes it his audience.  Yes, he is the “story-teller”, and, he wants to tell that story to everyone in the room.

So, what are the benefits of making new friends?  Experts say that people who avoid others are short-changing themselves in the game of life.   They may have a family, and a spouse, and an extended family.  All of these are good.  But, according to the experts in sociology and psychology, humans need more outside inter-action between people who are not family. No matter how small this verbal interaction may be, it is still beneficial for humans.

I remember a previous time in my life where work and a need for money interfered with the number of friends I had around me at the time.  I had to work two jobs before I was married.   At one job, I worked by myself all night long at a radio station producing commercials and other recordings.  I would go home, sleep for eight hours, and then work another six hours at a grocery store in the evening before working at the station the next night.  I think what helped me the most was having the grocery store job in the evening, where I would be around people.    But, it was very difficult to have much of a social life. I eventually was promoted from the overnight shift at the station into the daytime and evening.  My sleep deprivation ended, my social life improved, and I didn’t need the second job anymore.  But, having that tough of a schedule and very little recreation left its mark on me.  I wouldn’t do it again.

Everyone needs rest and relaxation.  They need to feel recharged when they go back to work.  Having friends to help with the rest and relaxation gets people back to that important point of feeling recharged for the new week.   Other ways to recharge are through projects at home with family, games, reading, walking, meditating, enjoying music, enjoying the weather, or enjoying a hobby.  Take your pick.