How to use nuggets of time to ease stress

I am sure that most of us have heard to set aside time to meditate for stress relief. I have tried multiple times and me being me cannot relax enough for it to work, so I have come up with a way to relieve some of my stress, at least the stress around the house. We all have a few minutes here and there during the day when we are not actively doing anything, so i thought I could put it to use. I wrote down little chores that I put off but they are always nagging at me; seriously who needs to be nagged by your own mind!

First thing I did was break them down into 5, 10 and 15 minutes, as to how long it would take to complete. When I found myself with  5, 10 or 15 minutes of time I went to my list and picked something to do. Once done it came off the list and it stopped nagging me. Now I am not saying that every moment of your day needs to be accounted for but when you have these little nuggets of time, put them to use so you really can enjoy your free time without the nagging feeling you need to do something. Some of these are chores that always need to be done and others are one time chores. The ones that need to be done all the time might not be on everyone’s list but I put them on mine because it stresses me out when I find they are not done, for example: emptying the dishwasher. I mean when I finish dinner I want to put the dishes in the dishwasher not have to empty it first! Following are some of mine:

  • empty dishwasher(5 mins)
  • put in a load of laundry(5mins)
  • wipe down kitchen counter(5mins)
  • tighten toilet in master bath(5 mins)
  • sweep kitchen(5 mins)
  • scrub birdbaths and refill(10mins)
  • deadhead flowering plants(10 mins)
  • dust/clean tops of all artwork(10mins)
  • clean out purse(10mins)-this is a good one to do while waiting at an appt.
  • wipe down shelves in fridge(15mins)
  • write a quick note to friend or relative(15 mins)-everyone loves mail
  • clean dining room chandelier(15 mins)

Well, you get the idea, I have a lot more and yours will be different. I find I can do these things without much trouble and now they are not bothering me and I can enjoy sitting down to read at night or take a little longer with my morning coffee without obsessing about all the piddly little chores that never seem to get done. I find these little nuggets of time at various times of day, for example: waiting for my water to boil for tea, while dinner is cooking, on hold while on the phone etc. This has given me more free time in larger chunks because now I can relax. I won’t say I am stress free but I am able to relax more frequently without feeling guilty.

I have a little lined journal that I write daily musings, shopping and to-do lists in and I just put these little time nuggets on one page in the back so I can refer to it whenever I want, some are crossed off when done as these are one time projects and others get a little check. Some of them are seasonal so it is a fluid list, but for me just writing them down takes them off my shoulders and I stop thinking about them.

My trick for living everyday is to be constructive everyday, to relax everyday, to laugh everyday, to stress less and enjoy!

Posted in downtime, everyday life, habits, organizing, planning, stress, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Perfectionism is a flaw

Quite a few people suffer from perfectionism and don’t really know it. They just think they are trying to make whatever they do the best they can. That is not really the crux of the problem. They think they can’t be perfectionists because they do not live up to the ideals they set for themselves. Perfectionism holds you back from trying new things, because if you can’t do it perfectly right away then you don’t do it all. It stops you from making mistakes and learning and growing from them. Some really great mistakes turned into great successes. The woman who created Toll House cookies was trying for something completely different, now who doesn’t like a good chocolate chip cookie? Being perfect is an impossible ideal and if you told someone that they were perfect they might take that as an insult.

I have been struggling with this my whole life and it has kept me from trying new things. I figure if I can’t be great at something right away then I am not going to bother. There is always a learning curve even for those who are ,say, natural athletes. They have the ability to pick up on things and learn quickly but they are not born being a professional athlete. They have to take time, learn, train, and take direction. It is hard work. I am not afraid of hard work by any means, but I don’t want to look like a failure while trying, and having people see me as less because I don’t know how to do something. Let me tell you I know this is not rational, but it comes with the territory. Shame and embarrassment is part of what holds a perfectionist back. It is the ultimate failure.

Flaws can be good. Think of handcrafted items, antiques, reclaimed wood, old buildings; none of these are perfect, we love them because of their flaws. Their flaws are what make them appealing to the eye and our senses. Perfection is limiting.

I am trying to do things that I have always wanted to do. One thing at a time. I know I will make mistakes and not all of these things will be something I continue to do, but I am going to try. I will probably start in private and not show my failures, that will be a different step in the process. I have always wanted to write either a short story or novel, but have figured out no one would want to read it let alone publish it, but why not write it anyway; just for myself? I have always wanted to be artistic in some way, but I know I don’t have that talent as I come from an artistic family and realize that just is not part of my being, so I am going to try to teach myself fancy handwriting. I am going to try to accept that I may not be very good at these but why deprive myself the pleasure of trying?

I hope all of you can think of something you want to try and do it! Let go of the idea that you have to be perfect this is not the way to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. So reach out and try something new and enjoy the process. Living everyday to it’s fullest and enjoy!

dscn0028

Posted in everyday life, flaws, resolutions, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Waste Not, Want Not

We waste a lot of time, money and food as a human race. I am afraid the U.S. is ahead of everyone when it comes to food waste: not something of which to be proud. I know I have thrown away food that has spoiled because I didn’t use it in time, really forgot that I purchased it. I know there are people that go hungry and here I am wasting it. Food is wasted before it even gets to the stores because it doesn’t meet strict guidelines as far as it’s appearance, but I cannot address that as it is not in my ability to fix. I have to start with myself. This is something we can all look at, our relationship with food. I am trying to eat more whole foods, less processed and more organic. This is healthier, but it does cost a  bit more. I must consider the fact that while I have spent less on cheaper food it was not as good for my body and I did end up throwing some of it away. I figure if I am spending more; I will be more careful with my buying habits.

I go food shopping once a week, so planning is key. I have a loose plan in my mind of the meals I will be cooking. I know some of you especially those that are on some diet plans get most of your meal prep done on one day so everything is ready when you are ready to make dinner; I am afraid I can’t go that route but the idea is the same- buy only what you need for the meals for the week. Remember portion size and how many people you are cooking for, this has been hard for me now that I am only cooking for two (mind you it has been this way for years). My husband likes leftovers and is able to take them to work for lunch, so I am lucky in that respect. Over the years portions have grown, if you are eating out, you are probably being served double the portion size for an adult, so we all have a skewed idea of how much to make for dinner at home. You can repackage meat into single serving sizes when you get home from the supermarket or cook it all but do not serve it all. Is it any wonder we are all gaining weight! I recently had lunch at a small sports bar and was relieved to see that my plate was not mounded with food, while it was probably not the healthiest of choices, boy was it good! It didn’t leave me feeling bloated, it satisfied my hunger and I did not have the feeling as if I should finish everything on the plate so as not to waste it. The serving was closer to the correct size. It was refreshing.

Processed food will stay in your cabinets almost forever because they have a ton of preservatives. I always hear people say that they want a large pantry in their home. I have a good sized pantry but it has only baking goods and oils in it as I do not buy a lot of processed food only some breakfast cereals and crackers and am trying to cut down on those.

I challenge you all to try an experiment: For 1 month do the following:

  1. Food shop once a week
  2. Buy only vegetables and fruit for 1 week’s use
  3. Plan your meals ahead
  4. Buy one less processed food
  5. Let yourself run out of an item you buy mindlessly every week to see if you miss it.
  6. Use up what you have in your fridge and cabinets
  7. Don’t throw away leftovers, try to reuse or heat them up for lunch
  8. Watch your portions

I know this sounds like a lot and for a long period but it takes at least 3 or 4 repetitions of doing something to become habit. I want to hear how you all have done, what you found hard or how to make this better. Stopping waste starts with the individual.

We should be living everyday mindfully and with purpose, stop wasting our resources and we can leave this world a better place.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

24 hours is enough

There are some people who say that they need more than 24 hours in a day to get it all done. I am not saying that I am super efficient or organized I am just more realistic. I know what I can get done in a day and plan accordingly. Does it work every time? No. Unexpected things happen or I just get lazy. I am human not a machine that you just turn on to complete a task.

I get all important things accomplished and then do other tasks as I see fit. My house is not spotless, my garden weeded or my filing done, but I have started a great book, walked my dog and enjoyed a funny video; in essence a good day so far as it is only 11:30 AM.

I don’t want more hours in the day, I do just fine with the 24 hours I have. When my children were small I had different responsibilities and some things fell by the wayside but we managed to have fun, be healthy and enjoy being a family. We didn’t go on elaborate vacations, have all the latest toys and gadgets or partake of organized activities but my kids knew how to entertain themselves. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of that, but it is just an example of how people use their 24 hours.

Having no down time for me sets me on a hamster wheel and I find it depressing because then I don’t feel as if I can enjoy anything. Everything is a chore, something to be crossed off a to do list, in other words another job taking you away from enjoying life in general. We are all different in how we enjoy things so I am saying to you, you only get the 24 hours so plan sometime for you and what pleases you. It doesn’t have to be a long time or a big deal; hey, just sitting down in a comfortable chair with a good book for 20 minutes is a way for me to recharge. I don’t find going full tilt full time a healthy way to live, I get cranky, my health and relationships suffer and it just feels as if I am putting in time and not living everyday. There is so much to enjoy find yours and recharge.

Live everyday all 24 hours, not work 24 hours.DSCN0182

Posted in downtime, everyday life, habits, organizing, planning, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Plastic surgery is not for me

I will state that I am vain enough to enjoy when people say that I don’t look old enough to have grown children, but I would not go as far as surgery to get that comment. I do dye my hair because I started going gray very early and not in an attractive way. My older sister did go gray early also, but on her it looked good, not in a skunk stripe down the back of her head that turned green because of the copper in my pipes! I have looked into different more natural types of hair color but the results have been confusing as the things that are used don’t sound any better. My hairdresser uses a low ammonia formula and is looking into other brands for me so for right now I will have to be content with that.

I try to look into natural and organic skin care as well as a good diet, so I think you can affect your looks naturally. I use the EWG app to scan items that I am buying or considering and it helps, so does being a conscious consumer and reading and researching things as thoroughly as possible. This is a free app and very useful, look into it, please. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and when you think about what it is exposed to on a daily basis; it is in your best interest to be careful. There are so many things to choose from and not having a degree in chemistry you can feel as if there is very little you can do to protect yourself.

I have belonged to the subscription services Birchbox and Ipsy for awhile now and have said I was interested in natural and organic products and have been able to sample some that have been great. It is a wonderful way to try things and not spend a lot of money only to have to throw things away because they didn’t work for you.

DSCN0314

This is a product line that I am really excited about. I use these serums morning and night before my regular moisturizer and they make a big difference. I am anxious to try more of their products. They get a pretty good rating and since I have no allergies they work for me. Some of the ratings take into account allergies which is why some products don’t score as high as others. I know that natural products can cost more but as they become more main stream I believe the cost will go down. People need to see that an abundance of chemicals is not the way to go in health and beauty products.

So I try to eat healthy, keep hydrated, get outside( with sunscreen) and enjoy life. Yes, I am looking older now than when I was 20 but I should! I am not giving into aging I am just doing the best things I can for me naturally and that should be enough. Life is to be lived and experienced and I will not look as if I have not had a life. Yes, I want to look good but I can do it without surgery and a soup of chemicals that a lot of companies call a”propriety blend” which means they don’t have to tell you what is in it. Until there is more oversight into what companies put into their products I am going to research and learn as much as possible.

Here are a few I have tried and liked:

  • Andalou
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Simple
  • Alba Botanica
  • Shea Moisture
  • Physician’s Formula
  • Pur Organics

There are more but you get the idea, these can be found in quite a few locations, you don’t have to go to a health food store just your local CVS or Target, etc. Look into changing just one thing at a time to find out what works for you. It is never too early or too late to make a change. I choose to live everyday naturally and more thoughtfully and if it shows on my face a little that is fine, it is a good life.

 

Posted in everyday life, health and beauty, natural products, plastic surgery, skin care, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to be a better customer

I am a retailer and have been my entire working career. Let me tell you I have seen it all, bad customers as well as employees. I know a lot of people think that working in retail is a fall back and really anyone can do it. Well, this is simply not true; it takes a different personality and skill set than other industries and to do it well takes determination as well as flexibility.I personally think it should be required for everyone to work in a service industry (retail, waitstaff etc) for a year or two so that they understand what it is like. Being in the Army is a requirement in some countries so why not this. There is a blog called http://www.servernotservant.com that is a wonderful view into the service industries, it is slanted more towards the restaurant industry but I think the title says it all. Notice that I entitled this “customers” not consumers as this is very different. As consumers we should be educated and smart about where we spend our money. With so much shopping being done online now it has taken so much away from human interaction that people are actually being phased out of some positions; this is wrong. A customer can make or break a transaction, the following are some key ways to help you to be a positive part of the human equation.

  1. Put your phone down! your sales help is giving you their attention and they deserve the same. There is a person standing in front of you try treating them with respect and you will get it in return.
  2. Have all coupons, credits and special offers ready at the start of the sale. Even if they do not take all of these items off at the beginning, they need to know that they will be used. You probably don’t know if they have to start the sale with a different code in order to use them. Don’t tell them you have it at home, it doesn’t help.
  3. Returns-follow the rules! Bring your receipt, the merchandise in good condition, the credit card used, a smile and patience. If the item is defective you still need all of the above items. Remember there is nothing about the process that is the fault of the sales staff. Nobody likes returns but if you follow all the particular stores return policy then it should go smoothly. Berating the person processing this transaction is not helping anyone. I have seen people try to return things purchased at another store, items that are clearly used, past the date for a return, wanting cash back when a credit card was used etc. The list goes on and on.
  4. Budget your time! If you are in a rush, taking a long stroll around the store and then approaching the sales staff with a complicated sale and telling them you are in a rush does not get you any faster service. Sales staff are generally aware of the customers in their store and are trying to move all customers through the registers in a timely fashion. Telling them you are in a rush doesn’t help. All this tells them is that you think your time is more important than theirs.
  5. Don’t try to bargain! I have seen lots of articles in magazines telling people to try this and I hate it. Sales staff do not have the ability to take money off a product because of  a loose thread or a mark. In large chain stores these types of markdowns are done through corporate. All the sales staff can really do is thank you for pointing it out and pull the item off the floor. Small individually owned stores will be different but remember at small local shops this is someone’s living, it puts food on their table and pays their bills so think twice about trying to get some money knocked off.

So as you can see, just being a decent human being is all that is really needed. Be that customer that the sales staff remembers for being pleasant, friendly and doesn’t treat them with derision and you will always be greeted with a smile and willingness to help. The nasty customers are remembered believe me and not how you think. I know a lot of large chain stores are not going to remember even return customers but it really does not take all that much to be a decent human being and treat people with respect.

So in closing, try living everyday with respect for our fellow human beings no matter their station or job.

Posted in everyday life, respect, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bringing out your best

You can read lots of self help books and articles about getting organized, getting rid of clutter, exercising more, multi-tasking and all around how to improve one or more aspects of your life. It is human nature to want to improve or do better, but all those feel like criticism to me. When you are trying hard to make a change all of this “helpful” advice may only serve to show what you have done wrong. You already know that; hence trying to make a change.

I have been trying to figure out why I don’t get all the things done that I want to and my days always get away from me, so I decided to write down what I had done at certain times of the day and for how long and how I was feeling during those times (ie tired, energized, bored etc). I really needed to find out what time of day was my best for getting things done, when was I the most focused. I am looking at my days when I am not at my job as I am completely at the mercy of the public then as I work retail. When I am at home and wanting to get projects done, errands, housework etc. I want to plan my day to be efficient as well as enjoyable. My log has helped me to discover how effective I am at certain times of the day. I never used to be a morning person, but once I had children I was kind of forced into it, you really need to be on top of your game in the morning with small children. After all they spent the entire night recharging and they are allowed naps! Now that my children are grown I will admit to enjoying sleeping past 7:00 AM and having a leisurely breakfast, but from 10:00 to about 2:00 is my sweet spot. These are the hours when I am motivated and thinking clearly so I am going to try to get this to work for me. If I have a project that requires thought and planning this is my time slot. Housework does not fall into this category as I really don’t have to use my brain that much. I also need to have some downtime for pleasure, for reading, working on a puzzle watching a favorite tv show etc. While doing this research I have come up with the following ideas that may work for you.

  • Build pleasure into everyday, plan for it
  • Tasks that are rote or do not take a lot of thought and your mind can wander should be scheduled when you are not at your most productive
  • Don’t over schedule or try to fit too much into your day
  • If your project is going to take multiple days, try to tackle it when you can do it on consecutive days
  • Have a master to do list and choose one project from it, get it done and then plan more for another day
  • Get outside whenever possible even if just for 20 minutes, helps to recharge, take a walk, sit in the yard etc.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends that you don’t see dailydscn0028Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t get done- tomorrow is always there

I have started on this and will continue to tweak it as I need and will let you know how things are going, for now I have to go vacuum, that is about as mindless as it gets, then I will have a cup of tea and read a book I just got out of the library before my dog’s second walk of the day. Enjoy your life; there really is no other choice, but to live everyday and meet all obstacles in a positive frame of mind.

Posted in everyday life, habits, planning, Uncategorized | Leave a comment