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Life's Journey Series: The art of self-care

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By Denise Morganthall

 

With today’s hectic lifestyle and abundant responsibilities, it can be difficult to make time for health and self-care needs. But what better time to explore some self-care strategies than at the start of what for most people is a long weekend?

 

The idea of self care has been around for centuries, but it really gained a popular following in the 1980s, when it was employed in households, businesses and health care facilities. It has been proven that taking care of ourselves makes us better caretakers for others, whether children, parents or patients.

 

Self care is about choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors in our lives. This can involve exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep or practicing relaxation techniques, anything that cultivates a healthy mind and body. Here are some ways to make time for your own well-being:

  • Listen to music
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Get a massage
  • Take a power nap
  • Go to lunch with a friend
  • Go for a walk or ride your bike
  • Plant a garden
  • Draw or paint
  • Go fishing

This list of self-care strategies could go on and on. The most important thing is that we take care of ourselves, do what we enjoy the most and make the best use of our time. You must make yourself a priority to attain a better state of mental and physical well-being, and self-care gives you the knowledge and tools to improve the quality of your life.

Life's Journey Series: You are responsible for your life

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positive outlookBy Denise Morganthall 

 

Many of us go through life hearing these words over and over again … “You need to be more responsible.” Sound familiar? When you were a teenager I am sure you heard, “If you were more responsible, that would not have happened.” You may even hear your boss tell you that you need to be more responsible. Unfortunately we are very good at playing what we call the “blame game.” We are constantly blaming others when we should be blaming ourselves.

 

It is easy to blame others for our irresponsible behaviors and our quality of life. We blame our parents for how we were raised, our boss for our low salary, our spouse for having no time to ourselves. Why do we do this? The answer is fear. Taking responsibility for our lives can be a scary thing. When you accept full responsibility for your life, you then need to accept not just the successes but failures as well. Maybe you had a troubled childhood, and you obviously aren’t responsible for what happened at that time, however from this point on you are responsible for what you make of your life. There is no reason to take revenge out on your parents for what happened years ago. There is nothing they can do now to make the past disappear, however, you can talk about it and work on the present and the future. Don’t ever let a negative past define you; let it be a lesson that strengthens you and leads you on a path to a positive, brighter future.

 

If we are to be 100 percent responsible for our lives then we need to look at life through a different lens. A positive outlook produces a positive outcome. If you are driving and someone cuts you off, your first response may be to get angry and start yelling and throwing your fists around. Before you do this, let’s think this through. Maybe this person just found out he has cancer and may not live. Or maybe she has 1,000 things on her mind and just wasn’t thinking. Or maybe there was a blind spot in the road and your car wasn’t visible. Of course, maybe the other driver is just disrespectful. But whatever the case, you need to move on.

 

Changing our thoughts and behavior is certainly not an easy task, but if we want to see change in our lives we need to change our reactions to situations that are presented to us. Everything you experience today is the result of choices you have made in the past. If you are an alcoholic and you keep drinking, your life is not going to get any better. You have the choice to change who you are and what you want out of life. Yes, that may mean changing your friends, changing your outlook or your habits. But if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve always gotten. If you need more help around the house, your house will remain a mess until you ask for help. By taking no action and complaining, we are allowing things to happen to us rather than accepting responsibility for our lives. No one else can help you get what you want. When we complain, we are wasting time, and often voicing our displeasure to the wrong people. Rather than telling your boss that you’re upset with your new work schedule, you complain to your spouse. You whine to your friends that your spouse is always on the road and your relationship is on the rocks. Complaining will get us nowhere if we don’t go to the right person. We all have the responsibility to take action to make our lives better.

 

Life’s Journey series: Secrets to a positive attitude

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positive thinkingBy Denise Morganthall 

 

Our attitudes, or how we react to people or situations, determine the type of day we will have. If we wake up to a rainy day, it is easy to feel moody and tired unless we shift our attitude and look on the bright side. It could be as simple as saying, “I’d like to see some sun, but I know we need the rain” or “It doesn’t matter what the weather is. I am going to have a great day.” In the words of Art Linkletter, “Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

 

Our attitudes are shaped by our intelligence, self-esteem and mood, but the remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding what we will embrace. We cannot change the past or how other people behave. Some things are inevitable, no matter how much we desire otherwise, but we can change our reactions to other people and situations to produce a positive result. Years ago I attended a seminar emphasizing how our attitude affects our life. The leader shared a story about a man who was driving his SUV on the interstate when he saw an 18-wheeler coming toward him. He was hoping the 18-wheeler would get back on the other side of the road, but unfortunately it clipped his vehicle, sending it spinning in circles before landing on its side in a ditch. When passersby stopped to help him, he looked up, smiled and waved and said, "I’m alive!" Now that’s a positive attitude.

 

Sometimes life can seem unfair, but some of our unhappy times may be a blessing in disguise. If you lose your job, it could be the opportunity to find one you truly love. If your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you, it might be the chance you needed to meet someone new. Remember that whatever you are working through now is helping you have a brighter future. Don’t forget the Law of Attraction, and if it helps, think about the fact that there is always someone having a harder time. There is an old saying, "I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street I met a man who had no feet."

 

While we are all ultimately in control of our own attitudes, which means it is important to surround ourselves with positivity. If your friends don’t improve your mood, it’s time to find a new circle. Make time to do things that make you feel good about yourself. Avoid comparing yourself to others. And remember that life is not just about the journey, but the quality of the journey. Make every day the best it can be.

 

Photo credit: iStock/Eskemar 

 
   
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