All Entries For Finding Balance
I’m watching the tide come in here at the beach near my house on a lovely sunny afternoon, wishing I could be outside. Instead I’m at my desk typing, in my two-fingered way. (Yes, that’s how I do it, using only my index fingers—“hunting and pecking,” my mother called it.)
In front of me on the computer screen is an essay for my master’s degree in fiction writing. I decided three years ago at age 49 that this was important. But somehow I forgot that going back to college meant I’d have homework, even in the summer.
At the moment, I am cursing at my laptop as I try to italicize book titles (no more underlining them, like I did when I was in college). The university expects the paper to be perfect. That’s my advisor’s word. Perfect. I thought no one used that term anymore—in preschool and in yoga class it is not allowed.
I don’t believe in perfect anymore.
I used to. I spent my whole life, it seems, trying to be perfect. The perfect daughter, perfect student, perfect bride, perfect mother, perfect friend, perfect wife—not to mention keeping a perfect house, serving perfect meals and tending perfect chickens who lay perfect eggs.
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Life may give you plenty of opportunities to gripe, but knowing the right way to complain and get a positive result in return can be tricky in most everyday situations. Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, says that you can strike a balance between passively keeping your complaints to yourself and screaming about cold coffee by being assertive when an issue arises. Ask yourself if the aggravating situation will matter in a week or a month, suggests life coach Valorie Burton, founder of the Coaching & Positive Psychology Institute and author of Where Will You Go from Here? If the answer is yes, then learn how to complain effectively by following this situation-based advice.
Your neighbor’s dog does number two in your yard…again.
If you're tired of finding surprises left by Fido, before approaching your neighbors for the first time, give them the benefit of the doubt in order to avoid a huge confrontation. Try saying, “You guys are probably unaware of this, but your dog has been doing his business all over our yard. Any ideas on how we can keep him out?” Guy Winch, PhD, author of The Squeaky Wheel, says they are more likely to comply if they don’t feel that they are to blame. However, if they insist that it can’t be their dog but you are certain because you saw him commit the deed, you should let them know. “If the idea of a confrontation is intimidating, you can tell them in writing," suggests Dr. Winch. Drop off a simple note stating: “I just wanted to clarify that I saw Rover ‘fertilize’ my yard several times. I’m letting you know because I assumed you were unaware of what he was doing and I would like to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Read More ›
I'll just come out and say it: I'm cheap. If I can go without something, I will. If it's not a "necessity," then I don't need it, which means I don't buy it. I repair and mend broken appliances and holey socks. I use coupons and wait weeks for items to go on sale. I drive a 15-year-old car that gets me from place to place and that's about it. I don't own a Smartphone—or a phone that can even send a picture message. When I do go out to eat (a rare occasion), I usually order my food to-go just to save on tax and tip! Some people may view my penny-pinching ways as problematic, but I think frugal living is a virtue. After all, during hard economic times, living within a budget is a real challenge for many people.
I admit though: Living on the cheap can get old…fast. If you're not going on vacations, buying expensive clothes or toys, or spending much on entertainment, life can get boring. But only if you let it. Cheap as I may be, I realized recently that I do splurge on myself in little ways that add big pleasure to my everyday life. This led me to wonder: How do you splurge on a budget? Read More ›
For many of us this time of year brings the opportunity to help others. I am a true believer that when we give our time, talent or treasure to others we truly receive one of the greatest blessings in life. Giving back or helping those in need is what connects us to others and makes us happy and studies are proving this to be the case. It is truly what living is meant to be.
In just a few short days I will be celebrating my 4 year SparkVersary which means I have spent countless hours perusing the message boards. Over the course of four years I have seen complete strangers reach out to help others and what an amazing event it is to witness. Friendships are made and solidified as our members connect. And who can better to relate to our situation than others who have walked in similar shoes.
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The first Day’s Night had come—
And grateful that a thing
So terrible—had been endured—
I told my Soul to sing—
She said her Strings were snapt—
Her Bow—to Atoms blown—
And so to mend her—gave me work
Until another Morn--
--Emily Dickinson, 410
I’m done with just trying to endure my depression and get back to "normal." I'm setting my sights a little higher this time.
Yeah, I know. Trying to make something out of being depressed is about as easy as trying to tie your shoes with one hand tied behind your back. At least when you start with nothing, anything you do will be something. When you start with a big batch of negatives like the hopelessness, helplessness, fatigue, and mental fog that is depression, there’s really no reason to believe that whatever you can do will even get you out of the hole, much less get you moving along in a good direction. It's much easier to see those depressed thoughts and feelings as enemies to be defeated, rather than tools to use.
But maybe it only seems this way because we've forgotten our basic math. When you multiply two negatives together, you get a positive, right? I'm hoping that at least some of the negatives going on for me right now can be combined into something positive--and something beyond merely getting back to "normal."
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What I have learned in my 47 years on this planet is that it isn’t from our perfection that we learn the most about who we are, but when we make mistakes and learn from them that we find our true essence.
Below are my top 10 weight loss mistakes. I can tell you this wasn’t too difficult to configure because I certainly could come up with at least 10 more. Feel free to add to my list so that maybe others can learn from our mistakes. Read More ›
This is the fourth in a series about how to find the balance between work, family and your own health and fitness goals. Click here to read the first blog entry in this series.
I don't think she's the one who originated this quote, but I once heard Oprah Winfrey say "You can have it all. You just can't have it all at one time." She was referring to balancing your time between being a wife, mother, career woman, etc. Read More ›
This is the third in a series about how to find the balance between work, family and your own health and fitness goals. Click here to read the first blog entry in this series.
I was talking to a co-worker the other day about the subject of guilt. She was saying how she feels guilty about little things all the time--like using a paper towel (which gets thrown away) instead of a dish towel. My response was "Just wait until you have kids! Then the real guilt begins!" Read More ›
This is the second in a series about how to find the balance between work, family and your own health and fitness goals. Click here to read the first blog entry in this series.
I work a lot from home, so with two little ones around, finding time throughout the day to get my job done can be a challenge. These days, packing up for a trip to the store, doing the shopping and coming home to unpack the groceries can be a half-day affair. With so many day-to-day tasks to complete, how do I find time to take care of myself? Read More ›
I had one of those Aha! moments this past weekend. You probably know what I’m talking about: one of those blinding flashes of the obvious (BFO), where you suddenly realize what’s really going on, and why you’ve been doing what you've been doing. Which, of course, has been obvious to everyone else in your life for quite a while.
This particular BFO was triggered by a complete stranger. I was out last Sunday taking a ride on my bike, and was making a quick stop at the grocery store on my way home when I crashed. I didn’t think it was any big deal, just some scratches and bruises, and tried to head on into the grocery store as planned. But some bystanders firmly insisted that I should wait for the paramedics, who had already been called. I protested until a woman pulled a mirror from her purse and showed me my face, which was covered in blood from a fairly nasty looking gash near my temple.
Fortunately, my injuries turned out to be less serious than they looked. But in the course of cleaning me up and checking me out for signs of a concussion, the paramedic grilled me about what had happened. I explained that I had been out on a long ride, and was angling into the store’s driveway when my front tire got snagged on the curb cut and I was thrown off the bike onto the sidewalk. We walked over so I could show him where it happened, and I saw that the curb cut was very high, which explained why it grabbed my tire. I told him I hadn’t noticed that, because I didn’t have my glasses on. Then he said:
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This is the first in a series about how to find the balance between work, family and your own health and fitness goals.
Starting over is hard. You had a regular exercise routine, a healthy diet and were working toward your health and fitness goals. Then life got in the way. Maybe you got off track because you got busy at work, bought a new house or if you're like me, had a new baby. Your own goals took a backseat to other priorities, and some of those old habits started to creep back into your life. Now the new year has you ready to make a fresh start and find the time to put yourself first. But the question becomes: Where do you begin? Read More ›