Posted in Health

The Ripple Effect

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy holiday. It was a Happy Thanksgiving for the Orchards and I hope it was for you as well. Now, the Christmas season has officially begun, and I’m excited. It’s my favorite time of year because I love shopping for Christmas and finding gifts for everyone and the lights! All those awesome Christmas lights!

 

 

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But enough about that. Today I want to talk about the way women view their bodies. We’ve been conditioned by society to believe we need to fix our imperfections and the only way we can do this is by buying what “they’re” selling, whether it’s clothes, makeup, or exercise equipment.

Instead of focusing on our supposed imperfections let’s focus on how our body feels. Does it feel healthy? Does it feel strong? Can I do all the activities I want?

If we focus on how we feel instead of how we look, we’ll be happier. For example, when I run, I feel awesome afterward. I have a lot of energy and the endorphins are bursting through my body. I feel good for hours afterward and I feel healthy and strong.

 

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When I’m taking care of my body in this way, I’m not worried about how I look because I feel so good. I accomplish more, my mind’s clearer, and I feel great.

I don’t pick at my imperfections because I’m focused on what I want to accomplish and my relationships. Which is where my focus should be. Then my relationships grow stronger and I’m happier. All because I’m taking care of myself.

Taking care of myself causes a ripple effect. It affects my relationships with my hubby and my kids. Because I’m healthier, I’m less reactive. I’m more proactive and focused on my goals. I accomplish more and that makes me feel better about myself, too. It’s good for my self-esteem when I set goals and accomplish them. This all stems from the fact that I started taking care of myself.

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I should add, that another part of taking care of myself is eating a healthy diet. I don’t feel I need to go into a lot of detail about that because you all know what a healthy diet is. 😉

So, if you don’t have a self-care routine, develop one and see what kind of ripple effect it could have on your life.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are some of the ways you take care of yourself? Do you see a ripple effect happening in your life because of it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Family, Health, Personal

Be Kinder to Yourself, You Deserve It

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work, writing, and fighting a cold. Yes. I have a horrible cold and a horrible cough that’s just starting to loosen up. Hopefully, by the end of the week my seal bark will be gone, and I’ll be able to breathe easy again, but enough about that.

Today I’d like to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart. This post was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine.  She was complaining about her weight one day. You see, she has been trying to lose weight and she had been doing well until she hit a plateau. She stalled. She upped her exercise program, and nothing changed. She was frustrated, and she spouted off to me.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

“I’m never going to reach my goal.” She threw up her hands and dropped them on her thighs.

“Mary, (I’ve changed the name to protect the innocent) stop focusing on your weight.”

“I can’t help it. I just have ten more pounds to go. I feel like such a failure. I can’t drop these last pounds for the life of me.”

I told Mary to stop focusing on the one negative thing in her life. Her weight. There are so many other more positive things to focus on, like the fact she has an incredible sense of humor. That she’s kind. That she’s brave. That she’s empathetic. I mean the list literally goes on and on.

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I told her you have all these other positive, wonderful qualities and your weight is a tiny fraction of who you are. It’s not the only thing that makes you, you. Sometimes we’re so busy hyper-focusing on the one aspect we want to change, we forget about all the other amazing aspects that make up our personality and physical body.

When I look at Mary, I don’t see her weight. I see how kind she is to people who need a helping hand. I see how funny she is and how she makes me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants. I see her warmth. I see how she can brighten someone’s day with one of her radiant smiles.

When you add all that up, her weight isn’t a glaring negative. It’s just something she has to work on, and she is. She’s moving in the right direction, and that’s all she can expect of herself.

So, the next time you’re hyper-critical of yourself, take a second and take a broader look and include all the positives you see. I guarantee you, the positives outweigh the negatives. We need to make this a regular practice and we’ll be happier in our lives. Wouldn’t you agree?

Be kinder to yourself. You deserve it.

 

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How about you? Do you see yourself falling into this trap? Do you have any other suggestions on how to avoid it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Personal

Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve started a new job and it’s great to be back to work full time. I’ve missed it. However, I’m still committed to my writing. I’ve got two manuscripts I’m committed to finishing and a third one that I started a while back that I want to finish as well.

Today, I’d like to talk about self-care. Taking care of your health should be one of the most important goals an individual has. In my younger years, I took my health for granted and picked up some bad habits, like drinking too much pop. It’s bad for your bones and your body needs water. So, I’ve made a conscious effort to drink more water and limit the amount of pop I drink.

That’s just one example. Through the years, I’ve tried to be consistent about exercise as well. Exercise is so important for our body. It’s great for maintaining our mood and managing our stress.

So, when I think about self-care, I think about the basics. What does my body need to be healthy?

  1. A healthy diet

For me, a healthy diet is more salads and less sugar. I’ve tried to cut down on sugar, but I haven’t eliminated it all together. I’ve also developed a plan where I eat carbs only in the morning and at night, leaving my noon meal for proteins and vegetables. I’m trying to work with the changes that occur in our bodies as we age. I still need carbs, but I don’t need as many, and I feel the time of day I eat these things is also important.

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          Our bodies also need water. Lots of it. 😊

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  1. Exercise

Our bodies are designed to move so the more movement you can get, the better off you’ll be. It can be anything like walking, hiking, or cycling. I run, but I also change it up with hiking and walking so I don’t get bored. I also work out with free weights to keep my muscles strong. Exercise is also an excellent way to relieve stress.

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  1. Stress relieving activities

Besides exercise there are other stress relieving activities we can participate in, like yoga or reading or getting together with friends. All of these activities are important ways to maintain both our mental and physical health.

 

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  1. Setting boundaries

I list setting boundaries with people as a part of our self-care because we can get wrapped up into taking care of other people. This includes our spouse and children. Sometimes Mom needs a time out and that’s okay because you’ll be a better parent if you take care of yourself. Not only that, but your setting a good example for your children on how to take care of themselves without feeling bad about it. Go you!

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  1. Setting goals

I list setting goals because part of taking care of ourselves is managing our time. If we set goals we know where we want to spend our time and how much time we want to devote to that activity. By doing this, we can eliminate all that unimportant crap that can demand our attention. We learn to say no to things without guilt.

 

So, there you have it. A blue-print for self-care. It looks easy, I know but, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to find the time sometimes for exercise and stress relieving activities when your family is demanding your attention. It’ll take some practice and some juggling, but I’m sure you can do it.

 

Photo on Visual Hunt

What do you do for self-care? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, friendship, Health, Parenting, Teen

Let’s pull Together and Do This!

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of work and writing. I finally nailed a scene I’ve been struggling with and it feels so good! 😊

But enough about that. I came across this meme on Facebook and it inspired me to write this post, so I thought I’d share it with all of you. It’s mainly for us women, but guys can help with this too, so keep reading.

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For years, women have been trained to search for their physical flaws and try to fix them. We’re bombarded by ads for makeup, clothes, and physical fitness equipment that shows us how to improve our appearance. This has made many corporations and plastic surgeons rich while tearing down women’s self-esteem. The message we’re receiving is, the only way you’ll feel good about yourself is if you use this product, buy these clothes, and get this type of plastic surgery.

It’s up to us women to pull together and say:

 

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We’re a powerful force when we come together. A force to be reckoned with. So, let’s do it. Let’s pull together and create an environment of support against this onslaught that tears us down.

Instead of focusing on our faults, let’s focus on our health. Let’s exercise because it’s good for us, not to look better. We’ll look better because we’re healthy and we’ll feel better because we’re healthy.

 

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Let’s focus on our diet, not to lose weight and try to be model-thin, but because we want to take care of our health. We’ll feel better if we eat healthier. The outside will take care of itself if we focus on the inside.

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This same concept can be applied to our mental health. Let’s change our negative self-talk to positive. Let’s forgive ourselves for our imperfections because let’s face it, everyone has them. Let’s practice giving some of the love we give to everyone else to ourselves. Let’s teach our daughters that it’s okay to think of ourselves. To take care of ourselves. To set boundaries. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go, too.

Photo on Visual Hunt

Let’s make our health and happiness a priority. If we take responsibility for our own happiness and chase goals that we want to achieve, our relationships will be better. Our relationships won’t be the only source of happiness for us and it’ll take the pressure off our spouses. They’ll be able to work on themselves and pursue their own happiness.  Once we do that, we’ll find we’re happier and our relationships will be better. It’s like the ripple effect of tossing a stone in the water and watching the ripples float farther and farther away until they pass through the whole lake. We can do this. Who’s with me? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Posted in Health

What’s in Your Water?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after writing a new beginning for my latest WIP. It’s made the story stronger which makes me happy. 🙂

Now to finish it. I’m hoping it won’t take me too much longer. I like this story just like my last one.

Well. Enough about that. We had an interesting week this week. Our community has learned our water supply may be in danger due to the fact a company I shall not name used the surrounding area as a dump for the chemicals they used in tanning the leather used in their shoes.

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The middle school my sons attend is near one of the dumpsites and this company has started providing bottled water for the school until the results of the water tests come in.

A few days later we learned there were other dump sites within the community. So we’re all worried about our water now.

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This is just another example of corporate greed and further evidence that supports a theory I have. We are going to end up killing ourselves if we don’t stop this kind of behavior.

Look at the Flint water crisis. According to sources they still don’t have viable drinking water. At least this company is taking responsibility and trying to correct the problem, but many companies don’t they deny…deny…deny until the evidence is overwhelming.

I know it’s cheaper for corporations to cut corners and work around some of our environmental restrictions, but if it’s bad for our environment, it’s bad for us. Those restrictions are there for a reason.

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I also know that countries like China and Japan don’t have the restrictions we do. They aren’t as concerned about the environment as we are, but they should be. This is the reason they can produce products less expensively than we can.

Photo via Visualhunt

We need to set up a global environmental protection agency. Set up a protocol we can all live with. I know corruption will still go on, but maybe it’ll be a little bit better if everyone’s playing by the same rules.

We need to make sure we leave a planet our future generations can survive on. I’m worried about the mess we’re leaving behind for our kids. I want to make the world a better place for them, don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Do you have any ideas on how to make the world a better place? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Health, Reading

Reading: It’s Cheaper than Therapy

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the future of reading in our society. According to this article, reading is on the decline. Washington Post Article

Like the article states, we readers have many distractions pulling us away from our beloved books. There’s the internet, movies, and video games. Now, I’m not big on video games. In fact, the only time my boys want to challenge me to a game is when they need an ego boost because I suck at video games. However, I can attest to the fact there are more things demanding my attention so I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

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I’m sure you’ve heard many educators claim that reading teaches empathy, and with reading on the decline so is our ability to empathize with our peers. This is evident in the arguments I see on social media. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it just seems like we have less tolerance for people who are different than us.

 

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Not only is reading linked with empathy but there are other benefits we need to pay attention to as well.

For example, reading is an incredible stress reliever. Did you know by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent?  I don’t know about you, but I’m teaching this to my kids. Exercise and reading are better ways of handling stress than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, wouldn’t you agree?

As a parent, we need to teach our littles how to cope with everyday stress and one of the cheapest ways is to pick up a book and read. It sure beats the alternatives and is less expensive than therapy.

There are still more benefits to reading for pleasure. Like running is exercise for the body, reading is exercise for the mind. It improves focus, improves memory, and analytical skills. To read more about this check out this post: The Benefits of Reading

I don’t know about you, but I feel we can’t let this decline continue. If we do we’ll be seeing our young people resorting to other stress relievers that aren’t as beneficial.  We don’t want that to happen. You realize there’s an opioid epidemic happening don’t you?  I don’t want one of my kids to end up as part of that statistic, do you?

So teach them healthy coping mechanisms like reading for pleasure and exercising. They’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Health

You Need to be Your Own Advocate

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a harrowing week of being at the hospital with my son who developed appendicitis over the weekend. My poor little guy was in so much pain. Sob. When we figured out he might have appendicitis, we immediately got him into the doctor who then made arrangements for him to go to the emergency room.

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We got our son into the hospital and we hoped he’d have surgery that night. Nope. He wasn’t considered an emergency case because his appendix hadn’t burst. According to the ultrasound, it was just inflamed. So they gave him pain medication and anti-nausea medication for the night. He was scheduled for surgery the next morning, but he was pushed back to noon because an emergency case had come in. When he finally went into surgery it was one thirty, and guess what, during our wait his appendix burst. The surgery took longer than expected and so has his recovery. We were in the hospital two days longer than we had planned.

 

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The reason I’m telling you this is because you must be your own advocate when you seek medical attention. I wish we hadn’t blindly followed the doctor’s advice and allowed him to push our son’s surgery back. I wish we had said we feel this is a real emergency and we want this taken care of now.

Another example I’d like to share with you is when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The surgeon who performed my mastectomy originally recommended a lumpectomy because they had only found one spot.

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I told him I wanted an MRI done to make sure there weren’t any other cancerous spots. I wanted this to be a one and done kind of thing. I didn’t want to have to go through anything like this again.  His response was, “We don’t do MRI’s on people your age.”

I told him I didn’t care. I wanted to make sure there weren’t any other spots and he needed to order an MRI. He did and there were five other cancerous spots. Now if I had just listened to him, I’d be going back for more surgery and the cancer would’ve most likely spread through my body. My life would’ve been cut dramatically short.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate everything the medical community has done for me. After all, they’ve extended my life and I get to see my kids grow up. But they’re not always right and some doctors have a tendency to cut corners whether it’s at the behest of insurance companies or for other reasons I’m not sure. So the moral of this story is: You need to be your own advocate for your health. Ask questions and push the issue when you need medical attention. Get second and third opinions. It could literally save your life.

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any medical experiences you’d like to share? Please do. I love to hear from you!