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Being a creative caregiver… to help with balance!

Being a creative caregiver… to help with balance!

Creativity is the ability to make something new or to develop new ideas. Developing more creativity can benefit your career, relationships, and hobbies. Children love to be creative, but many adults have less motivation to create. There are also many obstacles to creativity.

Stack the deck in your favor by dealing intelligently with most the common barriers to creativity:

Fear of ridicule. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. No matter what you do, someone will provide criticism. Learn to ignore the naysayers and let your creativity shine.

Fear of failure. It can be the fear of losing money or valuable time. Or it can be a simple fear of failure. You’re tough enough to handle it. You’ve already failed thousands of times in one way or another and you’ve survived. What would happen if you did fail?

  • Time and space energize creativity. It’s more challenging to come up with a brilliant idea if your kids are calling your name or your phone is chirping at you every 30 seconds. Schedule your creative time to minimize as many interruptions as possible. Early in the morning and later in the evening can be the best options for many.
  •  A distraction is an interruption you give yourself. How do you commonly waste time? Remove those distractions from your immediate environment. Put your cell phone on mute and throw it in the drawer. Turn off the TV. Focus 100% on your creative activity. Distractions are controllable. Have the self-discipline to control them.

Past experiences. Your past affects your current thinking and beliefs. Attempt to open your mind to all the possibilities. Just because something didn’t work once in the past doesn’t mean it can’t work today. Let go of the past and free your creativity.

 Stopping too soon. Once a good idea is found, it’s common to stop looking for a better solution. Are you sure you’ve chosen the right color for your painting? The right word for your novel? The right idea to make $10 million?

  • Once you’ve found a good idea, keep looking for an even better one.
  • Stress and creativity rarely go hand in hand. Whether it’s the stress of being tired, running out of time, financial issues, or illness, creativity is more challenging than when you’re relaxed. Find time to relax and decompress before starting a session of creativity. Your results will be enhanced.  

Negative moods. It’s not just stress. Anger, jealousy, fear, impatience, sadness, or hopelessness can also be barriers to creativity. Studies have shown that creativity tends to peak while experiencing strong, positive moods.

  • Do whatever is necessary to boost your mood before accessing your creativity. Take a walk, call a good friend, or listen to uplifting music. What makes you feel better when you’re in a bad mood?

Too many options. It can actually be easier to find your creative streak if you limit your choices. Try to make a painting with only three colors. Write a short story with only 300 words. Or compose a song with only a few chords. Having too many choices can be a challenge in itself. Try limiting your options if you’re stuck.

If you can’t get your creative juices flowing, maybe something is in your way. Your creativity is a significant part of your uniqueness. Avoid the common obstacles to creativity and show the world what you have to offer. To really boost your creativity, try using it regularly. And start today!

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13 ways to keeping balanced…

13 ways to keeping balanced…

When caring for others, it can be easy to forget about our own needs. It may take more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away, but a healthy diet and other simple lifestyle changes can keep you from becoming ill. Learn how to develop habits that will keep you fit and strong.

Dietary Changes

Many experts blame the Standard American Diet (SAD) for high rates of obesity, diabetes, depression, and other serious conditions. Good nutrition can strengthen your immune system and lower your risk for many illnesses.

1. Eat more produce. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and light in calories. They’ll boost your immune system and help you stay hydrated. Plus, all that fiber can lower your risk of diabetes.

2. Focus on whole foods. Processed foods are usually loaded with excessive fat, sugar, and salt. Try eating foods in their natural state.

3. Limit alcohol. Too many cocktails can damage your liver and other organs. Most experts recommend up to one drink a day for women and two for men.

4. Manage your weight. Carrying around too many pounds increases your risk of heart conditions, arthritis, and certain cancers. Stay slim by watching calories and leading an active life.
 

Other Lifestyle Changes

Here are a few more changes to go along with your balanced diet. They’ll have a major impact on your body and mind.

5. Move around. Physical activity strengthens your heart and muscles. Aim to exercise at least 3 days a week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

6. Sit less. Research suggests that the longer you sit, the poorer your health may be even if you exercise. If you have a desk job, try taking walking breaks every half hour. Cut back on your TV time.

7. Do yoga. While any form of exercise and relaxation can be beneficial, yoga seems especially powerful. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital recorded a whopping 43% reduction in healthcare use among patients who studied yoga for a year.

8. Deal with stress. If yoga is not your cup of tea, there are other ways to keep tension from piling up. Book a massage or listen to gentle music.

9. Be happy. The more you’re satisfied with your life, the less you’ll need your doctor. On a scale of 1 to 6, a patient could expect an 11% decrease in doctor visits for each level of higher life satisfaction, according to one University of Michigan study.

10. Adopt a pet. Holding your cat is good for mental and physical well being. The CDC says pets help people lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. They also provide an antidote to loneliness.

11. Connect with others. Speaking of loneliness, support from humans helps too. Close social ties can help you catch fewer colds, and may even extend your life.

12. Sleep well. Adequate rest and sleep is vital to healing. Turn off the computer and TV in the evening and go to bed on time.

13. Quit smoking. Giving up tobacco may be the most important thing you can do for your health. It takes an average of 5 to 10 attempts to quit for good, so hang in there.

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Starting over…

Starting over…

You’ve thrown your hands up in the air and declared that something must change. Suffer a major loss? You’re ready for a fresh start. While your current situation may be challenging, the intention of making a fresh start is a good sign. It’s much better than giving up!

What do you need to change? Is it just one area of your life or do you need a complete makeover?

You can make a fresh start in any area of your life:

1. Home. Consider giving your living arrangement a makeover. You could move to a new home or change your existing home. Move the furniture or purchase new furniture. Paint the walls a new color. Convert a spare room into a room with a purpose. It could be dedicated to music, arts and crafts, or meditation.

2. Finances. Create a budget. Work a second job. Talk to a financial advisor. Find a job with a higher salary. Address your debt. Plan for your retirement. Look at your current financial challenges and finally address them with a detailed, step-by-step plan you can stick to.

3. Social life. It’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life that drag you down and replace them with those that provide a boost to your life. Meet some new friends and try a few new social activities. Work on your dating skills and catch the partner of your dreams.

4. Health and body. Hire a personal trainer and join a gym. Find a diet that works for you. Address any health issues you might have. Visit the doctor and the dentist. Try a new sport.

5. Career. Ask for a raise or change jobs. Grab your career by the horns and learn new skills that will make a difference. Consider going back to school.

6. Belief structure. Investigate a new religion or philosophy. Learn how to meditate. Question your beliefs and find a purpose. Read a good book each month and apply what you learn.

These are just a few ideas. You can also address your current relationships, attitude, or fears. It isn’t necessary to change everything at once. In fact, addressing one area at a time will yield better results.

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Getting unstuck

Getting unstuck

As a caregiver, we can sometimes feel stuck and need to look in the right place for answers. Asking yourself questions is an excellent way to find the answers you need. The right questions can be stimulating to your thought process. Ask yourself these questions and you’ll get answers that you can use.

Ask yourself the questions that matter the most:

How do I sabotage myself? We all sabotage ourselves. We talk ourselves out of things that would lead to success and happiness. We procrastinate. We compare ourselves harshly to others.

Make a list of the ways you’ve sabotaged yourself in the past. Be on the lookout for these same patterns in the future.

How can I use more of the useful knowledge and skills I already have? In today’s world, we know more than we ever have. The average person knows enough to make a million dollars, have the body of a Greek god or goddess, and marry a supermodel. Why don’t you use all the great things you already know?

Consider all the things you know about diet and exercise. Do you apply that knowledge?

How much do you know about saving and investing for the future? What can you do to brighten your financial outlook?

How much do you know about relationships? Are you taking full advantage of that information? Why not?

Imagine what your life would look like if you applied everything you already know. Most people are convinced they don’t know enough. In reality, they just don’t perform the actions that they know to be effective or avoid counterproductive actions.

Make a list of everything you do that you know you shouldn’t. Then make a list of everything you fail to do, but know that you should.

What can I control? What can I not control? We spend far too much time worrying about things that can’t be controlled. We spend too little time effectively controlling those things that are within our realm of control

Most of our childhood and early adulthood are spent trying to control the uncontrollable. Maturing is understanding what can be controlled and then figuring out the best way to control it.

What are you worrying about right now that you can’t control?

Why am I doing all of this? Most of the things we do are for others. You might think you’re going to the gym for yourself, but you might actually be going to impress others with your amazing physique.

How much are you actually doing for yourself? How many things do you do only because others are watching? Would you drive a luxury car if no one would ever know about it?

Are your goals about satisfying yourself or impressing others? Are you only trying to live up to the expectations of others?

What is most important to me? We spend too much time on frivolous activities, largely because we haven’t defined our priorities. What is most important to you?

If you could only have one career for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If you could only be with one person for the rest of your life, what characteristics would that person possess?

What are the three places you’d most like to visit?

What are the three things you’d most like to accomplish?

What are you going to make a priority in your life?

Consider the questions you ask yourself on a regular basis. In one form or another, most people are asking themselves, “How can I distract myself until…” By asking yourself more effective questions, you’ll get the answers you need to put your personal development into overdrive.

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Maintaining Mental & Emotional Health

Maintaining Mental & Emotional Health

Working through grief and loss, it is importance to maintain our physical health but mental and emotional health are just as critical. Exercise prevention whenever possible. Mental and emotional health issues can be very debilitating and challenging to treat.

Place a premium on your mental and emotional well being:

1. Spend time with others socially. Your mental and emotional health won’t be optimal if you split all of your time between work and home. Spend some time in the company of others. Wednesday afternoon staff meetings don’t count! Humans are social beings and social interaction is a component of good mental health.

2. Train your brain. Keep your brain active and healthy. Buy a book of crossword puzzles or brainteasers. Play chess or learn a musical instrument. One of the best ways to preserve your brain health is to challenge it each day.

3. Take time for yourself. Between work, family, and maintaining a home, it can be challenging to find personal time. Nevertheless, spend a little time each day doing something that you enjoy. Even if it’s just sitting alone on your deck with a cup of coffee in the morning. Social activity is important. A little solitude is important, too.

4. Spend time with positive people. Your thoughts, attitudes, and expectations mirror those of the people around you. By spending time with positive people, you’ll be more positive, too. Whom do you spend time with now

5. Find a job that you enjoy. Besides sleep, you spend more time working than you do on any other single activity. If your job makes you miserable, your emotional health is sure to suffer. Money isn’t everything. Consider finding a career that you enjoy. You’ll be happier and more positive about the future.

6. Share your time and yourself with your community. This is also a great social activity. You feel better about yourself and increase your sense of self-worth when you help others. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Investigate a few and make a decision.

7. Spend more time doing things you love to do. What makes you happy? Spend more time doing it. Do you love golf? Build a weekly round of golf into your schedule. How can you not be happier if you spend more time doing things that make you happy?

8. Get sufficient sleep. Sleep is necessary for good health, both physical and mental. Those that lose the ability to sleep due to accident or illness die within several weeks. Your ability to manage stress, make smart decisions, and regulate your emotions are dependent on getting enough sleep.

9. Have a compelling future. For your emotional health to be at its best, you need something to look forward to. It might be a date on Saturday night, a vacation, or retiring. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you need something in the future that makes you smile when you think of it.

Give you mental health as much attention as you do your physical health. Strive to live a well-rounded life filled with enjoyable activities and people. Get enough sleep and find constructive ways to deal with stress. With good mental health, you’ll be able to handle any challenge that life throws at you.

Remember to get professional help if you’re unable to maintain good mental health. You wouldn’t attempt to treat a physical disease by yourself. Put as much importance on your mental health. Avail yourself of expert assistance if necessary.

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Being open with your feelings

Being open with your feelings

There are some people that have no trouble sharing their feelings. They are devoid of the fear and anxiety that most of us feel about sharing something personal or potentially controversial. Down deep, you’re jealous of these people. Openness provides a level of freedom that eludes those that are more private. It’s important to be able to share your feelings and concerns openly.

Your concerns can’t be addressed if you’re unwilling to share them. You have to face your challenges alone if you keep them to yourself.

Share your feelings and enjoy the resulting freedom it provides:

1. Be more accepting of others. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re afraid to share your feelings, you may be judgmental of others. Naturally, you would expect others to judge you, too. It’s impossible to accurately judge others. There’s always more going on than you realize. Be accepting of others and you’ll expect others to be accepting of you.

2. Start small. Share something small, but relevant. Once you see that you can share your feelings without negative repercussions, you’ll be more likely to share them again.

3. Determine the source of your fear. You may fear judging, rejection, ridicule, or embarrassment. Perhaps attacking that fear is the first logical step to lessening your anxiety around sharing and openness.

4. Be brave. There’s no way to be 100% comfortable about sharing your feelings until you’ve done it several times. There’s a certain amount of courage required at the beginning. Be brave enough to share your feelings. It becomes easier over time.

5. Encourage others to share their feelings with you. You might feel more comfortable if your conversation partner goes first.

6. Stay in the present moment. You generate feelings of fear by worrying about the possible outcomes. Stay in the moment, and your fear will dissipate. Avoid imagining the worst possible outcome.

7. Calibrate the other person. Others are often careless when they believe something doesn’t matter. You’ll find that others are more empathetic and understanding if you let them know that something is important to you. It can be as simple as, “I want to tell you about something that’s important to me.” Put others in the proper state of mind before you share.

8. Be honest. The willingness to make yourself vulnerable will enhance your results. If you’re sharing something that displeases you about the other person, it’s important to empathize first. Sharing your feelings requires consideration of the other person’s feelings, too.

9. Take a deep breath and just do it. The anticipation is usually worse than the actual event. Sometimes, you just have to go for it. You can do it. Focus on how much better you’ll feel afterwards.

Change isn’t easy. Sharing can be scary, but the benefits outweigh the anxiety experienced. In time, you’ll learn to share your feelings and worries more easily. It just takes practice. Focus on the benefits you’ll receive and let the words flow. The other person will appreciate your effort and you’ll find that you get what you want more often.

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