5 Simple Ways to De-Stress for the Holidays

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(1) Simplify your shopping ~ If you’re into “shopping ‘til you drop,” and can do this without feeling overwhelmed, go for it!  Me?  I’ll pass on Black Friday craziness.  This year, I did most of my shopping online. It was fun and easy.  My daughter sent me links for her “wish list” and I clicked on the links, ordered the stuff, and voila, packages arrived like magic. Since she lives in another state, I had some of them sent directly to her, and enjoyed Amazon’s free shipping. I also bought my hubby’s gifts online, giving him the gift of fun stuff to do together, instead of the usual clothes!  I’m giving money to my young great-nieces and nephews, which de-stresses my pre-holiday preparation even more. 

(2) Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, don’t watch the news stations on television or the Internet.  All the bad news will raise your blood pressure and give you nightmares! Instead, pop in your favorite holiday movie (For me, it’s Elf, a Christmas tradition for me and my daughter), listen to some seasonal music, or read a good book. 

(3) Remember that the holiday party is about being with your loved ones – it’s about who’s at your table, not what’s on your table.  I used to be a fanatic, baking and freezing hundreds of cookies, picking out dozens of new recipes and overspending on food and other goodies, basically driving myself crazy because everything had to be perfect!

(4) Relax before bedtime by curling up in a chair and listening to meditative music on your Ipod or other player.  This is particularly relaxing when you turn the lights down low, light some candles, and enjoy the glow of your Christmas tree lights.  (That is, if you celebrate Christmas)  

(5) If you believe in a Higher Power, another wonderful way to relax and get into the spirit of the holidays is by reading a faith-based book. My current choice is The Inspirational Study Bible by Max Lucado, which provides life lessons along with the readings. Other options include books by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) or other inspirational authors.  

7 Ways to Enhance your Mental Health in 2015

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 6 – 1/16/15

  •  Learn something new. Bea recently decided to learn how to play the keyboard. There was a perfectly good keyboard sitting in her basement, just taking up space. So Bea thought, “What the heck; I always wanted to play the piano as a kid, why not give this a whirl?” So far, she’s gotten the keyboard upstairs and now it’s taking up space in her computer room. Little steps, folks, little steps.
  • Get a good laugh each day – and by good laugh, I mean a belly laugh! We grown-ups just don’t laugh enough. What’s not to like about laughing? It’s good for our mental and physical health, and reduces tension and stress.  At Funnywebsite you can sign up for a daily newsletter.   If you enjoy work humor, try Dilbert.  You can also find some funny boards at Pinterest.
  • Sing in your shower or out loud in your car along with your favorite music. There’s no research on it (or maybe there is, but Bea has never googled it), but it’s simply fun and who the heck cares if people in other cars look at you like your crazy? At least you’re not road raging!
  • Feeling down in the dumps? Give a friend a call!  It seems like more of a woman thing, but friendships are important for men, too. Friendship is good for your social wellness; isolation is bad for our mental health, especially as we age.

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  • Do something kind for someone without them knowing it. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, found in her research that performing acts of kindness promotes social wellness not only in the receiver, but the giver as well.
  • Avoid gloom and doom people (admit it, you know at least one who drives you crazy with their whining) and people who make you feel lousy about yourself. You deserve better.
  • Did you know that being productive can make you happier? Simple things like getting outside in the winter to shovel the snow; planting a garden in the spring, or making a pot of homemade soup can lower stress levels and give us a sense of well-being, according to researchers.

Sources:

Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness. 2007. Penguin Press. New York, NY.

Newman, Catherine. Want to be Happier? From Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. July 2011.

For further reading:

How can you improve your mental health and well-being in 2015?

 

Bea’s Productivity Boost

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Bea had a goal for Labor Day week-end – Her goal was to actually accomplish something. But where to start?  That was the question.

First, she actually made a decision to become more productive.  Usually on week-ends, she makes a half-hearted attempt to do something that needs to be done; say, cleaning the house.  But soon, the siren call of her computer beckons – and before you know it, she’s updating her Facebook status, “liking” things her friends are posting, or (horror of horrors) attempting to complete a level on her newest game:  Pet Rescue Saga.

Once she actually made the commitment to productivity, she said “no” to multi-tasking; the bane of her existence!  Actually, multi-tasking is the bane of productivity.  We’ve all been programmed to believe that in order to accomplish a multitude of tasks, we need to do them all at once!  This my friends is an outright lie, perpetuated by our employers, who want to get the most work out of as few people as possible.

Finally, she sat down and focused on completing one thing at a time. She cleaned up the clutter in her computer room/office. She rolled up coins (she’s been saving her change for several months), and found something satisfying about adding up that change – for a whopping total of $124.  She and her hubby rearranged some furniture and created a computer workspace for his future designing ventures. Then she wrote an article for an article database, taking an hour and breaking it down into 10 minutes chunks of time.  She used each chunk of time to complete a specific writing task for that article.

Ok, so the stuff Bea completed may not be earth shattering, life changing breakthroughs. But it IS stuff she simply wanted to get done.  It made her feel happy to be productive (goes to show you how pitiful Bea’s life is, right?).

Want to become more productive?  Take a look at these tips:

From Robin Sharma’s blog:  21 Tips to Becoming the Most Productive Person you Know

From the New York Times:  Relax! You’ll Be More Productive

 

 

7 Free Online Learning Resources

I believe that lifelong learning is one of the primary keys to “growing old,” rather than simply “getting old.”  Who doesn’t want to keep their brain cells strong and functional as long as possible?  There are so many learning opportunities in our world!  New technologies, the history of inventions, biographies of famous people, the study of art, religion, spirituality, different languages, music history . . . .the list is endless.

If you’re like me, and want to keep your mind growing, instead of stagnating, you may want to check out these FREE online resources

For scholarly types:

  • Coursera  – Simply sign up,  search for a topic or click on their “courses” link.  Coursera has partnered with hundreds of international universities/institutions to provide a wide range of studies, from  Computer Science to Statistics, and everything in between.
  • Academic Earth – Here you’ll find  college courses and video lectures.  Search online courses by subject, or by a university.   View popular playlists of  video lectures or take a look at their video electives.

For “How To” Enthusiasts:

  • Howcast – Free “How To” videos in a wide variety of categories:  Style, Fitness, Home, Food, Health, Parenting and more.  Want to learn how to filet a fish?  Read palms?  Sleep better?  How to hula hoop? (I’m not kidding, that one’s actually on the site)
  • Instructables  – You can create, share your creation with others, even enter a contest and win prizes.

Want to become bilingual?

  • Duolingo – This site offers free courses in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese.  You can even download Duolingo app to your iPhone or Android.

Looking to tap into your creative side?

  • Drawspace  – Learn to draw!  This site offers many free lessons, and you can upgrade (for a $49 annual fee) for professional lessons.

Just for fun:

  • How Stuff Works – Here are a few of the cool things  I found here:  “10 Crazy Things Contacts Can Do,” “10 Fastest Things in the Universe,” and my favorite: “10 Classic Toys that could Kill You.”  (Seriously)

Quotes for the day:

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  (Chinese Proverb)

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. (Henry Ford)

 

These are just a few of the learning resources to be found on the Internet.  It’s amazing how many learning options we have at our fingertips!

Do you have a favorite online learning website?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate the Earth Today!

Good morning, fellow earthlings!

Ok, so we have this one planet Earth.  We know, from NASA’s ventures into space, that we just can’t rocket ourselves to another planet in the Universe.  So far, we haven’t found any other places out in space that are habitable for humans, and I  think I can safely say that we never will.

We have the Earth, and it’s in our power to protect it.  In my humble opinion, one day just isn’t gonna do it. I mean, one stinking day??? For a planet that gives us so much?

Take a look:

Beautiful Planet Earth

So I’m thinking, why just Earth Day?  We need an Earth year, or decade, or even a century.  Let’s keep the Earth rolling for our kids and all future generations.

The History of Earth Day:

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.  In the same year, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In 1972, DDT (a cancer
causing pesticide) was banned, which eventually led to the bald eagle being taken off the endangered species list.  Also in 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act,
reducing sewage and other pollutants in our rivers, streams and lakes.  Other steps taken in the seventies were the phasing out of leaded gasoline, fuel economy and emissions standards,  the Clean Air Act of 1977, and the banning of CFCs as propellants in aerosol cans.  The EPA has continued steps like these into the 21st century.  You can read
more about the EPA’s efforts to undo the damage to this planet here.

Some Simple Things We Can Do:

  • Pick up the litter around our neighborhoods. It drives me crazy when I see people using our planet as a garbage dump. (Would they dump their  fast food bags on the floor of their home???)
  • Bring your own bag to the store. I bought a couple of re-usable bags from my favorite retailer, Target, and after a couple of weeks,  finally got in the habit of remembering to take them out of the car when I went into the store!
  • Recycle the smart way. Check out Freecycle www.freecycle.org (a network of people who give and get free stuff) and Earth911, which has some great ideas for going green.
  • Buy in bulk to save money and reduce the waste from excess packaging.  Read more about buying bulk foods at the Bulk is Green Council website.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.

Want more ideas?  There’s a ton of them out there.  Just check out these sites:

(1) How To Go Green

(2) Web Ecoist

You can read more about Earth Day at the Earth Day Network.

What are you doing on Earth Day this year?

 

 

Bea Boomer is Moving

Ahhh, spring is about to make its appearance in Michigan.  Yep, spring will make its official debut next Sunday, March 20th!  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it! 

Spring – a time of renewal.  And for Bea Boomer, a time to move.  Nope, Bea’s not moving out of the state  though it’s a tempting thought, given Michigan’s gloomy economic outlook!  She’s simply moving her blog , in favor of a self-hosting option, with her own domain name. 

And, in fact, she hopes to accomplish this by the time the first official day of spring rolls around, so she’d better get moving! 

Bea is looking forward writing a “new and improved” version of Bea Boomer’s Wellness. She hopes you’ll join her as she continues this blogging journey.

Please stop back by for further details next Sunday!

Write on, Bea!

Super Foods For Your Heart

Did you know that eating popcorn can enhance your heart’s health? (Go easy on the butter, though, or skip it altogether) Dark chocolate is also good for the heart, as well as raisins; which protect us from gum disease as well as heart disease.  These are just a few of the “heart healthy superfoods” revealed in this article by AOL Health. 

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Snowmaggedon? Not Really

The weather people promised “snowmaggedon” last night. But in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan, I woke up this morning and found not quite the amount of snow that was predicted, but enough to take a snow day from work (I swear, I never would have made it out my driveway).

So far, I’ve made waffles for breakfast, shoveled a path in the back yard so the dog can take care of his bodily functions, trekked out into the white stuff to take Desi, dog who can spell, for a walk, ate some clean white snow (hey, I’m just a kid at heart), got inspired to write this post, dragged out my boxes of old photographs with a half-baked plan to start organizing them. . . . .

Oh yeah: no make-up, hair is not washed, wearing my most comfy clothes.

The house is warm and cozy. And from the window, a winter view of  white sky, stark trees and clean, crisp snow. Now, if I just had a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream to add to a cup of coffee, well, life would be just about perfect.  (Whoops – not the whole bottle of course, just a shot)

What a great way to spend a Wednesday!

Personally, I think we all need a snow day at least once each winter, to de-stress, have some family fun (if you’ve got kids, it’s a great excuse for a pajama day!), hunker down with a good book, take an invigorating walk in the winter wonderland . . . the list is endless.

Oh by the way, and the groundhog did NOT see his shadow. Good news to me, since this will probably the last day this winter that I’ll expound on the glories of it. (Yea, I’m not typically a winter kind of person)

Hey, readers, what do you do on your “snow days?”