Monday, May 28, 2012

Social Media Sucker

Who do you know that is a Negative Nancy on social media?  Their posts are 50+% negative or self loathing.  Or they are deep sea fishing for a compliment on the regular. 

I do love social media because of its innate ability to promote expression.  Unfortunately though, some have regressed into somewhat of a passive aggressive nature as it relates to communication.  We are all guilty of this I feel, including my self at least once a week.  But there is a difference between a rant and a funk.

People are beginning to do studies that relate to the increased occurrence of anxiety, depression, and the overall stress caused by the use of social media.  Not every friend or user is considered to be a valued relationship.  Consider this:

How important is this relationship in my life?
How much do I invest in this relationship?
How much does this person invest in me?
How do I feel in their presence?

Hopefully all positive thoughts come to mind as you answer those questions.  Our relationships should not leave us feeling obligated vs. willing, unhappy together vs. unfulfilled alone, passive vs. confident.  What does an energizing relationship look like to you?

Do your social media relationships energize or drain you? Some helpful tips to freshen up your feed:

  • Set your feed settings to avoid publishing updates from Nancy.  Keep her as a friend, but turn of the mobile update ok?  Her posts are downers and create stress and concern over situations that are insignificant to your relationship or well being.  If something major happens, you will know about it, or it should be time to assess the value of the relationship.
  • Try not to "like" or "retweet" every single rant, it only encourages negative behavior.  We post for attention and the need to feel acknowledged and important to someone.  Not a bad thing if you have self worth.  Totally a bad thing if a social media site is the thermometer for your self esteem.  If your friend Nancy is having a rough time, you are just the person to reach out if she is worth it to you.  Otherwise, see the above bullet point.
  • Clean up your lists.  We hold onto people on social media as if to prove that we are important to many more people that we really are.  Hold your close one close and let the others go if they are annoying you.  They will probably not notice that they were unfriended or unfollowed.  Seriously.  If you are not ready for this, see the first bullet.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Toxic Love

Ever had a friend cross that imaginary line?  Kind of like losing at tug-o-war and falling into the mud, only to be walked on so they don't get dirty? (good metaphor I thought).  This has happened to me a hand full of times.  I am the friend that is loyal to the bone, until you cross that line and then I am done.  And I do not mean I cute back to 20%, I mean I hit 0% hard.  If I could be in a negative relationship with you afterwards, that is my preference. 

The sheer feeling inside my body when I am involved in a toxic relationship is retching.  I am a firm believer in creating your own happiness.  I choose to eliminate toxic people from my life in order to do so.  Will I be at your bedside if you are dying?  Yes.  Will I help you with a flat tire?  Yes.  But you will not be involved in any aspect of my life after you drag me through the mud.

I believe that we should trim the fat off of our life so that we can enjoy the hearty inside.  We should free up some space in the hard drive so we can store more pleasurable and meaningful memories.  We need to save more room for dessert.  Is that enough analogies?

Why does our society find it appalling to eliminate relationships?  I would imagine because not everyone is willing to sever the tie and still remain a decent person enough to offer sympathy, compassion, and empathy during the hard times to follow.  I guess I just find it disturbing that people can harshly judge others for cutting ties, but yet it is acceptable to maintain a negative energy with another person creating more stress for everyone involved.

I try hard to not put toxins into my body.  I eat right, I do not abuse drugs or alcohol, and I exercise.  But we do not feel the need to eliminate toxins from our hearts and the core of our emotions.  Why?  Don't you think one is just as important as the other?


Monday, May 14, 2012

Non-traditional Tradition

It is quite obvious that I read blogs on the internet elated to psychology and other mental health happenings.  I recently read one about marriage making parents happier.  Since we are just coming off of one of the most celebrated holidays during the year, Mother's Day, a few things came to my mind as my parents are not married and I am estranged from my mother--nice combo.  I will sound quite cynical in this post, but I do believe that my points on this matter are worth some consideration. I am intending to invoke some compassion for the other point of view.

1.  What about the kids without a mother or maternal figure?  My mother is not dead, but we have not been in contact in 5 years.  We have both chosen not to contact one another for one reason or another.  Is that holiday a sore subject for me, you bet.  However, I rejoice in the women I do have in my life who have played a major role in who I am today because they deserve it.  But what about those people who do not have a support system?  The media cranks out millions of dollars in advertising to promote this day.  Restaurants offer special brunch, stores offer sales, and Hallmark sells a lot of cards.  I picture a small child who is neglected and consider if those things make me upset, how must they feel?  I assume kind of like me, much more alone.  Do I believe that Mothers in this world deserve that day, yes.  Do I think it is fair that society pressures me to acknowledge a very toxic aspect of my life?  Absolutely not.

2.  Is divorce a bad thing?  In my situation no.  I might be in the minority of children who were glad to see the end to a 20+ year marriage.  I mentioned before about a toxic relationship.  I understand the point of view that your spouse is your priority.  And though I do not wish to have children myself, I do realize the value they must hold for parents.  This love should come above all else, including that sacred bond.  Why should parents stay together when their relationship is poisoning the whole family?  Is it easier to divorce, I don' think so.  Is the best option, perhaps.  But what I do know is that in the long run, children benefit from positive environments with support and communication.  Worth some consideration.  A miserable parent is hard to hide from kids, trust me.  Point is, do not always feel sorry for kids of broken families, sometimes it really is for the best.

So what is the point of this cynical rant?  Be careful to pressure everyone into the idea that you must be married, have kids, and live happily ever after.  Some women are not meant to have children and rush into it to fulfill a societal expectation.  And then when they can not perform, we chastise them for failing at something they should have not done in the first place.  Some couples are good for as long as they can be.  Their growth together comes to a halt and their relationship and interactions with others become toxic, often at the expense of the children creating resentment and unattainable expectations of behavior and emotion.

Happy is not determined by the accomplishment of societal goals.  Happiness is a choice.  I choose to be happy in my life regardless of the perceived misfortunes I have experienced.  Just a thought.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Still Resolving?

Are you still keeping up with your new year's resolution to lose weight? If you have fallen off the wagon, try these 4 keys to keeping the weight off without really trying.  Enjoy!

1.  DO NOT restrict.  Just let yourself have the cookie.
2.  Time is on your side.  Quality of the diet not quantity of pounds or days.
3.  C'Mon get happy.  Take care of your mind, emotional eating will not end with a fad diet.
4.  Change your lifestyle, not the style of your life.  Seasons change and so do diets, keep it easy.

Adapted from: Diet Is A Four-Letter Word

Friday, April 6, 2012

Take This One Home

Reading through my other blogs on the RSS feed and I came across a gem.  I am not going to write a long post because I just want you to chew on the meaning behind this quote, and take it with you.

"While we can’t have perfect control over our moods, we do have some say in how we feel. Sometimes, just being aware of what we’re doing can increase calm. Other times, it takes intentionality to lead you toward the mood you’re hoping to create."

Check out the rest of the article here:  What Pleasures You May Stress You

Friday, March 30, 2012

Reduce PMS Naturally

This is an artcile from The Family Health Guide.  Last post came from this site as well.  There are so many great articles on there so it is definitely work the bookmark on your browser.  This one was interesting to me because it looks at healthier ways to manage PMS.   See a few of the suggestions below and follow the link above to see more!

  • Vitamin B6-100mg/day helps with mood and behavior
  • Magnesium-reduces breast tenderness
  • Vitamin E-reduces breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings, and depression
  • GLA (evening primrose oil)- reduces breast tenderness
  • reduce carbohydrates and sugars
  • reduce caffeine
  • increase fruit and vegetables
  • take a supplement
  • exercise regularly

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crunch The Myths of Ab Exercising

I used to work in a fitness center.  One of the first things I was taught was to never tell the members that they can spot reduce--i.e. crunches alone will not give you washboard abs.  Below are some myths of abdominal training.  I won't go into detail about each one, but if you want to read further check out the article on Family Health Guide

  • Crunches remove fat from your abs:  working out your muscles will not remove the fat on top of them.
  • Twist it off your waist: again, specific motions will not guarantee that you will lose fat from that area.
  • More repetitions, better results: keep it moderate and new--add weight or incline
  • Do ab work every day:  overtraining may work against you, let your muscles rest
First rule of weight loss is to burn more than you take in.  This can be through caloric reduction or exercise.  For best result combine them both and lose the weight slowly and the right way.  The good thing about abdominal exercises is that they are quick and easy routine that you can do at home or in your office.  Don't forget to reverse the exercise every so often to work your back muscles too.  This will help strengthen your overall core and help you reduce back pain.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Disabilities That Work

My job is to work with individuals who have disabilities and help them get back to work.  Additionally, I provide guidance and services to help expedite the outcome of employment.  There are agencies all over the country to do this very same thing.  I am including an article below that addresses how disability should not be a barrier to obtaining a job.  I just really like the message and how it could open up a narrow mind that might think of work only as a means to an end.

Learning_Disability_ServicesWe know that having a job is something that is important to the vast majority of people with learning disabilities. We also know that only a fraction of those who want jobs, have them.
And yet the benefits of working for even a few hours a week are huge – and it’s not just about money, important though that is.

It’s about being included; about being part of a social network; about making friends on an equal basis. It’s about the confidence boost and self esteem that comes from being valued for your abilities and for a job well done. And these benefits are not just for the most able; we’ve seen time and time again the benefits that even a few hours work a week can bring to people with complex learning disabilities who may never have worked before or worse, have been written off.

Thankfully, young people with learning disabilities have vastly increased expectations and aspirations about work – and so they should. We are seeing more and more demand from young people who want to prepare for employment. This could be about learning vocational skills but is also often about more general work readiness skills - in other words, learning about the things that many of us take as a given. How to get to work, what to wear, the routines and cultures and yes, politics, of being part of the work place and part of a team. There’s also the reality of the responsibility of a job. Like, yes, you do have to get up early (even when it’s dark) so that you are at work on time. And yes, you do have to go every day and yes, that includes when it is raining. A tough lesson for all of us!

Of course the elephant in the room is that for many people the jobs just aren’t there. The youth unemployment figures speak for themselves and in the current climate it’s tougher than ever for anyone to get onto the career ladder. But that’s only part of the story. Too many employers won’t see – or need a bit of help to see – beyond someone’s disability. And too many people with learning disabilities don’t have the confidence themselves to challenge this – and lack the support to do it. So the odds are stacked against people from the start.

But with the right support, people with learning disabilities have gone on to not just get, but excel at a range of jobs, adding real value to the organisations they work for.
For the employer, it’s often a question of confidence – and knowing there is someone there to ask for support when they are unsure, or to help the new employee to settle in. For some employers, it’s as simple as being asked to look beyond someone’s disability and to give them a chance.
United Response is proud to be part of Disability Works UK, a consortium set up to provide supported employment to disabled people. But getting a job is not just about the dedicated programmes or specialist employment services, as important and valuable as they are. Equally important is the day to day support that we provide – support that means that everyone we work with has the opportunity to find a job, if that’s what they want. Support that means that many more employers will have the chance to say “why not?”

Having a job is perhaps the most genuine form of inclusion that there is. Isn’t it time that everyone – regardless of their disability – had the opportunity to experience that?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Feeling Good Feels Good

I just wanted to include a few things that I absolutely can always smile about.

Kermit The Frog is my favorite character.  He makes me laugh and lives life as simply as he can.  Who are we to say we can't learn something from a Muppet.  Have you every seen Kermit the Frog uspset?

I am a major fan of warm comforting liquid that tastes delicious.  I know that coffee isn't for everyone, trust me I get it.  But there is something to be said for allowing yourself to enjoy every sip.  There is always time for a cup of coffee, if not, wake up earlier.

I shop for myself, for others, and also just to look.  1.  It is good exercise.  2.  Allows me to integrate into society and show some kindness by holding a door or giving a simple smile and I change stores.  It makes me feel good.  The presents are half bad either.

Finally.  I am a sorority girl.  I am very involved as a volunteer and through all of the late nights and hours that I have put in, nothing makes me feel better than being around my sisters.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You Need Oxygen

It is very clear to me, especially during a monthly pedicure or shopping treat, that I must take care of myself if I expect to care for others.  This is the HARDEST idea to convey to  fellow "people pleasers" like myself.  I was reading one of my RSS feeds and discovered a great analogy. I am including an excerpt from the article because I can't say it any better:

"Taking time for ourselves to engage in nourishing activities is so important. I often use the example of an oxygen mask on an airplane. It quickly becomes indicative of the extent of the lack of self-care when I ask clients about the instructions given when oxygen masks drop in case of an emergency. When the pattern of giving to the detriment of themselves is extreme, clients often state that they are to put on the other person’s mask before their own. Clearly, these are not the instructions given, but it is how some of us act in our own lives. In reality, we are told to put our own masks on first to enable us to help others. This becomes a powerful example of how infrequently we put our proverbial masks on by engaging in self-care that enables us to have enough balance in our lives to maintain the emotional resources to help others.

I think this example is effective because it opens the discussion of how failing to engage in self-care can be harmful to us over time. A continued pattern of having too much responsibility, inadequate support, and imbalance in our lives can easily lead to burnout, chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Chronic stress and anxiety can also lead to increased risk of illness, heart problems, and even death. Helping people recognize the serious nature of this issue is a great first step in gaining balance.", What Have I Done for Me Lately?, February 6th, 2012, By Michelle Lewis, LCSW, Body-Mind Psychotherapy Topic Expert Contributor

You can read the full article Here

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Substituting Addiction

Has it ever crossed your mind that you could be substituting one addiction for another?  Consider what would happen if you were addicted to compliments from others.  Would you purchase more new clothing?  Would you have more dinner parties? Would you work out even more?

Exercise addiction is a growing problem.  It is an acceptable form of mental illness because you "are doing it to be healthy".  This idea is referenced in previous posts I have done on orthorexia, addiction to health foods that leave you undernourished.

So what does our society think about this addiction?  Well, I can say that we only really think about it if we see a male or female that is clearly too think overworking it at the gym.  But what if you look "normal" and yet you spend more time there than you do sleeping per week or at home? 

Is it a problem if you body is breaking down from all of the wear and tear and yet the physical therapy is frustrating because you can only do low impact exercises below the waist?  My point is that we substitute addictions to drugs, alcohol, or food for the socially acceptable activities like shopping and in this case exercise.  And worse, we praise those we know for losing the weight, looking better than ever, and really making a life change.

Fast forward 10 years.  Osteoporosis, bum knees, deteriorating muscle tone, and more than likely some kind of vascular accident be it heart attack or stroke because the one thing that wasn't managed was appropriate diet and rest.  Who has time for that, I have to get to the gym!

Avoiding Exercise Addiction

Friday, January 27, 2012

5 diabetes-friendly swaps Paula Deen should try

We have all heard the announcement from Paula Deen regarding her diabetes.  There is so much positive that can come from this.  She will undoubtedly begin to eat healthier to manage her disease and this will transform many households in the south.

I make a point to purchase my monthly southern cooking magazines, many of which are loaded with delicious low country favorites we all enjoy.  Everything in moderation is always the key, and you can start here with these simple swaps.

5 diabetes-friendly swaps Paula Deen should try

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Resolution Ideas That Won't Fail.

Each year many of us pick something we would like to improve about our self or in our life.  Typically these are lifestyle changes that do not occur overnight.  We want results now, and we set goals that can quantify success.  I really do not believe that this is the way to go.  Does everyone want to be more fit?  Of course we do.  Am I prepared to committ all that I need to for this to happen, heck no.  Why?  Because I have a bunch of other things in my way preventing it, starting with me.

I was catching up on blogs, my usual routine on the weekends, and came across some ideas for resolutions that do not necessarily quantify success.  I have listed my favorites below:

  • Forgive yourself--let go of the guilt and the blame and do whatever you can to forgive yourself
  • Think about the last thing you did for someone that made you feel really good, and do it again.
  • Let go of feeling bad about something that you can not change.
We all carry expectations of what this world should be and what our place should be in it.  Life is less stressful and more enjoyable if you can let go and establish your own set of rules.  Set your expectations so that you can find something positive in everything that you do.  If you expect to find good, it will be there.

Read more resolutions here

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reduce Stress, Improve Life

When is the last time that you complimented someone?  Really enjoyed an aspect of their life and told them so.  Are you aware that such a tiny gift, and free I might add, will change the day and possibly the life of that person?

We all love to hear nice things said about us to others, but we often never hear it directly.  I am not sure why it is human nature to always praise in the opposite direction, but it happens all too often.  The idea of paying it forward can start a trend.  Try it in your workplace.  Thanking the courier for their diligence, complimenting the intern on their growth, or even mentioning how clean the bathroom is to your business housekeeper.

By nature we take pride in our positive attributes.  The more we have the more we can give, in most cases as there are always exceptions and I am not referring to the heinous woman who stole your parking spot at the mall but had on killer heels.  As Oprah says, "when we know better, we do better".

Read this post from and see how you can make a change in not only your own life, but in the life of others.  You feel good afterwards.  Win!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Self and My Nails

The holidays really took me away from it all.  At the beginning of December I found out I was promoted to a higher position at my job and then poof it was Christmas.  I have totally lost track of time and so here I am, a month and a half behind on my dear blog.

It's ok though.  I am about to paint my nails an awesome shade of OPI "Ski Teal We Drop".  It is the perfect dark teal, a jewel-tone shade if you will.  In May I was married in Paris with the perfect shade of Chanel red "Lotus Rouge", it was my something new.  This spurred on a new way of life, colors on my nails that make me feel amazing. All Fall I experimented with various shades of nail color, each making me feel different.  There was the Essie "Little Brown Dress", perfect for feeling like you are a warm winter log on the fire, cozy and traditional.  Essie "Turquoise and Caicos", for those days when you want to feel cool and relaxed.  OPI " Better" for that glamorous outfit with the perfect amount of sparkle to make you feel like a million bucks.

Whatever the shade, it changed like my mood.  Often times after a long day at work or a hormonal week in general, I found myself clinging to my nail color.  Like an amazing cup of tea, it was comforting and permanent enough to bring me joy long after it was on.

I am not saying that everyone needs to paint their nails to feel better, but rather become aware of the little things in life that can please you.  A small bottle of polish that polishes my soul.