Go Fly a Kite!

I don’t mean “go fly a kite” as in “get lost,” I literally mean, go fly a kite! Hopefully the weather around you will be nice enough so that you can do something different this weekend.

I don’t remember the last time I flew a kite…actually, I don’t think I’ve ever even flown a kite! I remember trying once and failing miserably, and that was probably 20 years ago. This weekend, my company is having a grand opening event and we’re inviting people out to our property to come fly a kite. So, I look forward to learning, tomorrow.

I decided to read about some benefits of kite flying, because in my mind, it seems to be a calming experience, which must relieve some stress!  Turns out, there is a Chinese proverb that says, “Those who fly a kite can have a long life.”  (The kite originated fromChina.)  When looking and focusing on your kite, it relaxes your mind and your body.  While concentrating on your kite, you stare into a blue and white sky, which will give you a sense of serenity.  At the same time, kite flying is said to rejuvenate and reenergize the body.  So go fly a kite this weekend, and see how it makes you feel!

Smiles are Contagious

Have you ever seen someone randomly smiling to themselves and then noticed that you are now smiling too? It’s nice to see that someone is having a nice thought, or that someone just made their day. Little things like that can really brighten up a moment. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but try to smile a bit more, today…even if you’re not feeling it. It might be nice to let a memory or a thought take you to a place where you smile and the next person sees it causes a ripple effect.  Look around in the next public place you  visit, look at people’s smiles, and hopefully it will make you smile, too.

Forget the research done that proves that smiles are contagious, I think it’s proof enough that everyone has experienced it. Hopefully, just thinking about it makes you think off to nicer moments, regardless of the mood you’re in right now.  This reminded me of one of the great quotes by Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell in Elf), “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!”

Just a note: I’ve read that smiling makes a person more attractive, and helps them to keep a positive outlook…so those are just two extra good reasons to keep smiling! 😀

Call up a Friend

How often do we think about calling to check up on a friend, but never actually do it? I feel like I always have an excuse not to pick up the phone, but it’s not even that time consuming! The truth is, if you keep thinking about it, you will always feel a weight on your shoulders. And even better, once you do hear your friend’s voice, you will probably feel an overwhelming satisfaction.

We can’t let distance come between valuable friendships – whether your friend has moved, you have moved, or even if they live in the same city. Whatever the reason for the distance, the phone can always keep us near.  There are many people I think about on a regular basis but never see, and with so much going on right now, I don’t even know their news!

The same goes for meeting up with a friend. A cup of coffee with a friend is even better and more enjoyable then a catch up session on the phone (at least in my opinion!).  We let “life” get in the way of some great friendships.  If someone has been on your mind lately, or you just miss a friend, get in touch with them. It’s always good to hear a distant voice, especially one that brings back good memories.

Pick up a Book

At some point in my life, I became a really big reader. I have to admit that this great habit started with the Bridget Jones books and the Shopaholic series. Once I started reading a lot, I expanded my reads and started learning a lot of history from excellent novels and fictions. And then, I became a little arrogant and thought that if I was going to be reading so much, I needed to start reading books that “really matter.” Books that are thought-provoking, controversial, and, many times, political (I studied political science, so I do have a strong interest)…but guess what? Once I made that decision to read these non-fiction books, I stopped reading – completely! I didn’t pick up a book for a loooong time, and then, finally I was at the airport once and I grabbed a best-seller fiction from the airport bookstore right before I got on a plane. I hadn’t known much about the book, but the title sounded familiar. Once I got on the plane, I couldn’t put the book down. I finally picked up my great habit, again, and now I always make sure I have a book on my nightstand.

Sometimes a book can be a great friend. I feel like I miss a friend once I’ve finished the last page, but then I just pick up a new book and start all over.  I encourage you to go buy one and start reading.  No matter what your interest may be, you can find a book to enjoy by the pool, in your bed, while traveling, etc. And just a little advice for any nonreaders out there – if you like movies, you’ll love reading books…I promise!

Let it Out

 

There is an article that is posted up the bulletin board in my office kitchen that says “Small Business Enemy #1: Stress.” I don’t know why I didn’t notice it before, but I just read it. The only thing I’d change is the title, so that it reads “Business Enemy #1: Stress.” Before leaving my old job to work for a small company, I worked at a very large company, where you can consider each department a “small business.”  Of course, the underlying similarity between me and my direct coworkers was our high stress levels. Half of my department was counting down the minutes to happy hour and the other half the minutes to just get home.

The article states that “modern social norms don’t allow us to act out in ways that our ancestors did to release built-up stress.” Did all of you have an image of cavemen screaming? I just did! But, if that’s what it takes, don’t go put on a cavemen suit but do go yell into a pillow if you have to. Sometimes it just feels better. Basically, what the researcher is saying is that stress triggers an increased need for physical activity due to the hormones released by stress. We end up suppressing or denying our stress because our environments are not conducive to relieving it. So, I think step one should be letting the stress out, rather than internalizing it.  Whether it’s venting, yelling into a pillow or walking it out, try to release your stress so that it won’t build up.

By the way, I just learned from this article that in 1992, the UN named stress the “20th Century Epidemic.” Let’s not allow this epidemic to take over our lives!

No One is Perfect

Many things drive our need for perfection, but those only drive our stress levels up the wall! Yes, we can make a perfect score on a test, have the perfect job, or find the perfect outfit, but have you ever met a perfect human? We each have our own flaws, and to try to admit that you are flawless, will only put you in a state of constant competition with yourself. Don’t hide your insecurities behind this notion of “perfection.” We are all good enough, and if you do not think you are, the only person judging you is you!

We can’t always do everything perfectly, but we can do them to the best of our ability. Respect who you are and be proud of the work you’ve achieved. I think that if we can be true to ourselves and content with who we are, we will be more accepting of ourselves and understand that we are as “perfect” as can be. This is something I will have to come back and read often. I need to remind myself that I don’t have to bend over backwards to prove to myself that I can do everything right. Just remember, this goes to say for all aspects of life, whichever one you may be struggling with – scholastically, socially, physically, professionally, etc.

The funny thing is, while I was writing this, it reminded me of Saturday Night Live’s “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley.” So remember his words, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!” He said it best! 🙂  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DIETlxquzY

Make a To Do List (and check it off).

 One of the best feelings, for me, is crossing things off a To Do list. I’m going to admit right now, that sometimes I add things to my list that I have already done, just for the sensation of crossing it off! (Don’t judge me). Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with the amount of things we need to do, that we either forget them or we keep putting them off. Keeping a list in front of you will keep you organized and allow you to follow up on items that are still pending. I prefer to make lists for both work items and for personal errands.    

To Do lists are extremely beneficial in sorting out your thoughts and focusing on your priorities. Many times, they help me realize that only few items are of great significance, and the rest are really not that bad. Also, I am a big multi-tasker, but that isn’t always in my best benefit. It’s easy to forget something when working on too many things at the same time, so using a list as a point of reference will always get you back on track if something is forgotten. Most importantly, I think these lists help me with time management. By looking at a list of things I need to do, I can have an idea of what kind of day I have ahead of me. Of course many unexpected tasks will come your way, but at least you will have an organized way of going about it and taking control of your responsibilities.

So start managing your stress by making a To Do list beginning right now. I’ll help you start:

  1. Read Daily Dose 101
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast…

😉

Love Your Body

This is one of my favorite comics. I had it on my bulletin board all throughout college, and I just came across it the other day. This scenario is so true, but it’s also unfortunate. These girls are already afraid of what they will see on the scale, and they are so young. Don’t fight the scale, just don’t weigh yourself! At least that’s what I do! J The truth is, we need to learn to love our bodies.  Everybody is built differently, so we can never compare ourselves to others.  I know that is something that is hard for most women (and a lot of men, too). And, especially if you have kids, don’t let them grow up seeing you complain about what you see in the mirror or on the scale, it will affect their own body image as they grow up.

Look at your own body and accept yourself the way you are – whether you are pear shaped or hour-glass shaped, you’ve got big boobs or small boobs, big thighs or chicken legs, no butt or a big butt, or big build or a petite build. Just how will things change if we complain about them? It’s important to realize the benefits of our bodies and what we can do, instead of how our bodies look, and what is wrong with them. If your body parts are functional, then there is nothing wrong with them. I personally think that if I could appreciate my body more, I would take better care of it. And, the more you nurture your body, the more you will love it. After all, “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” (Kobi Yamada). Your body is your home; maintain it, love it and care for it.

Pamper Yourself

Nothing beats stress like a good day of pampering. I personally feel so refreshed after a good mani/pedi, which, luckily comes with such a great massage! (At least if you go to the right place – that’s criteria for me!). Too often our busy lives get in the way of our personal pampering. It’s so important to take care of your body from the inside and out. So whatever it is that makes you feel good – a hair cut, sun tanning, massage, facials…any type of relaxing and beautifying treatment (yes, I know you guys do it, too) – make sure you save some personal time to spoil yourself.  It’s also important to make it a habit. Try to schedule these types of things once a month. In an ideal world, we’d do all of the above once a month! But I know nobody has time for that.

Remember, stress can lead to high blood pressure, muscle spasms, and headaches or migraines, among other things.  Treating yourself to a relaxing spa-type session will help reduce such tensions, and, my favorite, can promote better breathing. Try to alleviate your stress by doing something that relaxes you this weekend. Pick up the phone and make an appointment 🙂

The Easiest Breakfast

As I’ve said before, start your morning off right. And the best way to do this is to have a satisfying and healthy breakfast. Today, I just want to share my favorite weekday breakfast.

Prepare one pack of instant (organic) oatmeal (oatmeal + boiling water); Add a banana; Add crushed walnuts; If needed, add your preferred sweetener (please try to stay away from unnatural sweeteners!)

And, voila! Breakfast is served!

Total time – maybe 2 minutes for the boiling water and that’s about it

Just as a note: Oatmeal is considered a “heart-healthy” meal, which helps control weight. It is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and it is said to lower cholesterol.  

If you don’t like any of my additions to oatmeal, try your favorite fruits and nuts. My only recommendation is to stick to the original flavored oatmeal, don’t buy the ones with added flavors. Those oatmeal boxes claim to be “healthy breakfasts,” but in reality, they are packed with high, unnecessary sugars. If you like the cinnamon flavor, add your own cinnamon! Same with vanilla, apple, etc. Just make it as natural as possible.

Try it out and see what you think 🙂 Happy Eating!

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