All posts by Alison

11 Ways To Stay Inspired Daily, So You Never Feel Stuck Or Unmotivated

When it comes to our daily routines, we often focus on habits that can help keep us healthy. Although all of those are great, we also should focus on our mental health and motivation, such as how we can stay inspired daily. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and get stuck in a rut, but if you pick up habits that can help boost your creativity and encourage your drive, your days will not only feel better, but you’ll likely be more productive as well.

“Too often we put our own needs and wants on the back burner in order to handle things we give a higher priority to, such as the needs of others, work etc.,” says Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC over email. “When we do this, we all but lose sight of our own desires and why they matter to our life. Inspiration provides us with motivation and continued desire. Without that inspiration we can easily become apathetic or discouraged, which is how we get off track and give up on something that we had decided was important to us.”

If you’re looking to add a positive and encouraging spin to your day, consider utilizing these 11 ways to stay inspired daily.

1. Write Stuff Down

Whether you’re writing down your goals, jotting down those quickly fleeting ideas, or just messing around with creative writing, taking your thoughts and putting them on paper can have some powerful effects. A study from Dominican University found that writing down your goals makes you 21 percent more likely to actually achieve those goals.

2. Connect With Someone Motivating

“Connect with someone who inspires you and invite them to coffee,” says Kelley Kitley, LCSW over email. “If we surround ourself with motivated people, it is contagious.” Having someone to look up to can also encourage you to succeed. One study from MicroMentor.org found that 49 percent of people that received mentoring actually ended up started their businesses, and 82 percent survived for one to two years, which is 13 percent higher than the survival of an average new business.

3. Read A Book

“Read books and authors who are doing what you want,” says Kitley. “Create a library of authors and books that inspire you. When you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night read a few pages so that your starting or ending your day inspired.”

4. Get Moving

“This can involve taking short walks around the office or neighborhood,” says Coleman. “Or you can get up, stretch, go up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator, etc. Movement clears our head, helps us to focus, and provides us with energy.” A study from Stanford found that creative thinking improves when walking and for a time shortly thereafter.

5. Use Affirmations

“Use affirmations,” says Coleman. “This may sound cliche, but they work and its easy. Tell yourself you can do something that you may not always believe you can. Remind yourself about something you did well yesterday. Think about and meditate on one or two of your strengths and how well you have used them this recently.”

6. Practice Gratitude

“Every day, meditate briefly on something in your life that is good,” says Coleman. “It can be anything at all, large or small. This helps us to stay positive and to keep our emotional energy flowing in the right direction.” According to Harvard Health, studies show that gratitude helps people feel more positive, relish good experiences, and deal with adversity.

7. Schedule Time For Yourself

Schedule a time each day to reflect on and take a simple step towards your present goal(s),” says Coleman. “This could be as simple as spending 20 minutes creating a meal plan, with recipes that would help you stay on track. It could also involve identifying resources for helping you with your goals — finding information online, identifying a class, calling a professional who can help you, etc.”

8. Unplug From Electronics

“Insist upon times for an electronic lockdown,” says leadership coach Geraldine Markel, PhD over email. “Allow time for brainstorming sessions when the creative juices can flow without interruptions.” Disconnecting from technology can encourage you to switch to another activity, whether it be something new or something you haven’t picked up in a long time but enjoy.

9. Use Visualization

“This technique encourages the use of your mind’s eye,” says Markel. “Forming a mental picture heightens your awareness and brings clarity and specificity about situations you confront. Winning athletes use visualization to simulate a competitive situation and mentally rehearse their moves. You can use this technique to reduce stress and increase motivation.”

10. Create A Morning Routine

“Quiet time helps me to set my intention for the day,” says Kitley. “I light a candle and write attainable, tangible goals for the day. I become more inspired when I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.”

11. Surround Yourself With Reminders

👏 IMPORTANT. 👏

A photo posted by Olivia Muenter (@oliviamuenter) on 

We are only human, and sometimes we get down on ourselves, so it can helpful to have visual reminders that everything will be okay. “Put motivational quotes in all areas of your day to day — on the mirror, on the coffee machine, in the car, on your desk — so when negative thoughts creep in, you have gentle reminders,” says Kitley.

Although we are all not motivated by the same activities, making a conscious effort to focus on your inspiration and drive can only help lead you closer to your goals.

Originally posted by Carina Wolff on Bustle

5 TOXIC BEHAVIORS YOU SHOULD NEVER TOLERATE FROM OTHERS

If you are trying to create a better life for yourself, it’s a good idea to evaluate the people you are close with to make sure they don’t exhibit any chronic, toxic behaviors.

Toxic behaviors are not only unpleasant to be around, but left unchecked, the negativity they likely elicit from you can snowball and bleed into all areas of your life.  It’s hard to be positive and optimistic when you are in a relationship that isn’t good for your soul.

We all can be a little negative from time to time, so please don’t assume that everyone you are close to must be “perfect” and never do any of these things.

However, if you are close with someone who exhibits toxic behaviors on a consistent basis, you might want to consider removing yourself from the relationship.

Toxic Behaviors:

140228155048-whispering-gossip-horizontal-large-gallery1. Gossip: Avoid relationships that center around gossip. As has famously been said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”  Quality relationships are based on an exchange of ideas and excitement; this is what helps us grow, evolve and achieve our dreams.

2. Backhanded compliments: Backhanded compliments are a form of passive aggression (e.g. “it’s nice to meet someone who doesn’t care about the way they look” or “I don’t care what they say, you’re alright”). These hidden insults come from people who are radiating low vibrational energy.  Good relationships will only uplift you with kind and genuine feedback.

3. Competitiveness: Constantly being one-upped or having someone nip at your heels is not healthy.

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People who are happy for your successes and confident in their own accomplishments are the only ones capable of providing you with quality support.  The only person anyone should be competing with is himself or herself.

4. One-sidedness: Individuals who only come around when it suits them or who demand that things should always be done their way will likely leave you feeling marginalized and unloved.  Good relationships demonstrate a solid balance of compromise and mutual respect.

5. Pointing out your flaws: Being close with someone who tells humiliating stories about you, criticizes your looks or likes to post ugly pictures of you on social media can be damaging to your self-esteem.  The best friends and lovers will focus on your positive qualities and care about your feelings.

8 toxic thoughtsIf you feel that you are in a relationship with someone who exhibits toxic behaviors, you might want to think about distancing yourself from it.  Even if you find that you can’t fully end the relationship you will benefit from pulling away a bit and resolving to spend more time with people who are good for your soul.   Learn how to attract positive relationships that uplift and inspire you.

You deserve to be happy and you deserve to be respected.  Anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise should be held at arm’s length.

originally posted on thespiritscience.net

12 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Apologize For Being A Strong Woman

I grew up in a family of strong women. Grandma Millie, Grandma Lois, Great Gramma Gertrude, Great Gramma Lola. They were all incredibly tenacious, loving, and resilient. My mom and my sister are both amazing women as well. It seems to be in our genes. I also happen to have a lot of amazing friends who are strong women.

We’re a feisty bunch. Full of passion, creativity, determination, and guts — and we’re not alone. There’s a whole tribe of strong, passionate women who are inextricably linked together and pulling each other up as we go.

You know who you are…

You don’t back down easily. You make fierce friends, mothers, and lovers. You get sh*t done. You’re clear about what you want out of life and you know how to ask for what you need. You know how to say “No.”

The challenge with being a strong woman is that folks misconstrue your passions, your resolve, and your tenacity for a myriad of other things. Nine times out of ten, it’s the other person’s insecurities, limiting beliefs, and narrow perspectives about what’s possible that has them judging you and the amazing things you’re creating in your world.

Here are 12 reasons why, as a strong woman, you should never have to apologize.

Reason #1: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”wear your confidence

Tall or short, skinny or full figured, you love yourself and it shows. This doesn’t mean you’re egotistical or arrogant, it means you’re confident in who you are and comfortable in your own skin. For those of you who haven’t quite arrived at this amazing space of self-love, keep looking, it’s in you.

Reason #2: You know who you are and what you want in your life.

You’re clear on who you are and what you want out of life. You’re also clear on what is unacceptable, intolerable, and inexcusable. Because of this, your “no” really does mean No. You’re clear on your choices. Unless of course, you choose to change your mind.

Reason #3: Yes, you run like a girl (because you ARE a girl). Run like a girl - keep up!

Just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean you’re not competitive. Nor does it mean that you don’t like to win. You’re not aggressive, you’re spirited, unwavering, and cunning. And you get to use all of your feminine characteristics to your advantage!

Reason #4: You’re determined, driven, and focused on your goals.

In the boys club, this makes men a rock star, successful, and “in demand.” For a woman, it often gets translated to being “bitchy,” or “arrogant.” Being feisty, resolute, and steadfast towards your goals is just the way to get things done.

Reason #5: You’re hella smart and you have an opinion.

In today’s world, women have to work harder than men and yet earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. All the while women are now 33% more likely to graduate from college. Because of this disadvantage, you’ve learned to work smarter, you’re assertive, and you aren’t shy about sharing your opinions, knowledge, and expertise with others.

Reason #6: You’re the glue that holds it all together.

Just because you’re organized, timely, and neat doesn’t mean you’re a control freak or bossy. It’s because you’re so orderly that you can juggle so many things at once: taking care of the kids, the partner, the employees, and still keeping your head attached to the rest of your body. This is a talent to be admired, not diminished.

Reason #7: Your priorities are just that, your priorities.

Everyone has their own path in life to take. How you walk along your path, based on your passions, purpose, and priorities, is your choice. No matter whether it’s your mother who has an opinion about what steps you should take next or a friend or colleague, you inherently know what is best for you and how to manage your time. Thank them for their input and advice, and keep on moving forward to the beat of your own drum.

Reason #8: You’re a fierce warrior and a compassionate sister/mother/friend.

I Am Woman

As a woman, you have an enormous capacity for love and caring for others. It’s actually coded into your DNA to nurture and build community. You also can be fiercely protective of those you care about, organizations you believe in, or simply fighting for those who are vulnerable to predators. When the momma bear comes out, everyone else should sit up and take note.

Reason #9: You’re sexy and you know it.

You’ve heard the saying “it’s a man’s world,” right? Well, it still is in many ways, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your full feminine power to your career. As a woman, the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more attractive you become. And when you operate from this more feminine-yet-powerful place, you’ll have everyone in the rooming paying attention.

Reason #10: You’re a leader, period.Sheryl Sandbert

As Sheryl Sandberg once said, “ In the future there will be no female leaders. There will only be leaders.”

The future starts today. You are a leader, a risk taker, a strategic thinker who is happy and capable of going toe-to-toe with any man in the room. You stand up for yourself and you stand up for those around you who need your support, your voice, your guidance, because that’s what leaders do.

Reason #11: You’re strong and independent, yet soft, sensitive, and intuitive.

I am a strong woman and proud of it.

You have learned over the years to depend on yourself, your intuition, and your higher self to guide you along your path. You feel deeply and sense the emotions of those around you, and even simple things can move you to tears. You trust your gut and speak your truth. Your intuition is a tool, use it to your advantage.

Reason #12: You are authentically, wholeheartedly yourself.women-pillars of community

You know that secretly (or not so secretly) your parents, your family, or even your culture all have expectations about how you are supposed to show up in the world – what kind of career you’ll have, who is the “right” person for you to marry and have kids with, and how life is “supposed” to look for you. You, on the other hand, know who you are authentically and are creating life in your own way, writing your own rules, speaking your truth, and living your life fully — without apology or regret. This is your way to be the best version of you that is happy from the inside out.

Life is short. Be yourself — without apology.

Originally Posted by  on LifeHack.org

and this is HOW WE DO IT. First place…my team is #1 and I was the #1 fundraiser for the entire event. Oh, and they named a room after me at the Covenant House, so there’s that. But par for the course I was late and missed the orientation where they announced that their site was apparently hacked as so much money was raised in such a short time and asked me to stand up to be acknowledged- OOPS, I was putting my own kids to bed so I missed the nice dedication to me!

So proud of my girl @kkletter and her amazing book “The First Time She Drowned” now available for order on amazon.com I read it overnight before its release and it’s incredible! Thanks to my beautiful friend and co-host @kellyrutherford We are so excited for you Kerry…the best is yet to come ⭐️⭐️You are on your way to the top 💞💞 It is a heart wrenching read for mothers and daughters EVERYWHERE; it is powerful and poignant! #bookclub

20 Reasons You Should Always Call Your Mom

Your mom is and always will be your first friend. Now that you have left the nest, she still wishes you lived under the same roof as her. Although she probably wishes you could stay young forever, she still wants to be around to watch you grow into a loving, caring, and devoted adult.

Your mom has been there for you through everything: childbirth, your first word, your first day of school, your “brace-face” stage, your first heart break, becoming a teenager and sending you away from home so you can become your own individual. And she will be there for much more like your wedding and when you have kids of your own. So when you are wrapped up in your life, remember that there is one person who will do anything to hear every chaotic detail of your life that you are dealing with.

Here are 20 reasons to call your mom:

1. She has helped raise you and get you to where you are.
Without her, you would not be where you are today. She has done everything in her power to raise you to be the best you can be. She deserves to know something as simple as what you did today.

2. She feels alone knowing that you will not always be around anymore.
Whether you have gone through a friendship ending, a tragic moment or a heartbreak, she has been there to comfort you and let you know that you are not alone. Now it is your turn.

3. She needs a girl to gossip with.
She doesn’t have a large group of friends to meet up with everyday to gossip like you do. No matter the age, she will always need a girl to talk to so that should be you.

4. You are more alike than you probably think.
Most girls pick up the same qualities as their moms considering she shares your genes. You can easily relate to a lot of things, especially as you get older.

5. She is always right.
Need advice? She has probably gone through something similar to what you are so she knows exactly what to tell you.

6. She will tell you what you need (and not want) to hear.
She will not beat around the bush or tell you that she agrees with something she does not fully believe in. She will be brutally honest and everybody needs somebody like that in their life.

7. She is the reason you are alive.
She carried you around for months and went through childbirth. That should be enough.

8. She is the one person that truly knows how to comfort you.
Something about being held by your mom and hearing her comforting words is more helpful than some girl who you know does not care as much.

9. She was your first friend.
She will be your friend until the very end and she is the one person you can count on to never leave you.

10. She will make you want to get stuff done.
She will ask you questions that will make you question your priorities. Instead of watching Netflix all day, she might inspire you to clean your room and go outside to get some fresh air.

11. You don’t get to go home to see her as often as she would like.
Living hours away, it is hard to make time to go home. A phone call is the best way to keep in touch when you do not see her as often as you would like to.

12. She will always be on your team.
She will side with you no matter what. Even if you are 100 percent wrong.

13. She understands.
She’s been there and she remembers what she went through when she was in your shoes.

14. She won’t judge you.
She may not agree with half of the things you do or say but she will never judge you.

15. She is your number one fan.
She has always been there cheering you on whether it was for the a dance recital, a spelling bee or preschool graduation. No matter how good or bad, she has and always will be cheering on the sideline for you.

16. She has never left your side.
After the endless amount of horrid and painful mistakes you have made in your life, she still continues to love you endlessly.

17. She just wants to hear your voice.
It is quiet around the house now that you’re gone. She’s been hearing you talk every day for 18 years and she misses that. And your dad’s voice probably getting annoying sometimes.

18. She’s your mom.
SHE’S YOUR MOM!

19. To tell her you love her.
Obviously.

20. One day, she might not be there for you to call.
You never know when your last phone conversation might be with her.

What could you possibly do or say to someone that has given you their entire life? Start by calling your mom … and not just when you need or want something.

 

Originally posted by Kelly Smith on theodysseyonline.com

21 Ways to Always Enjoy Being a Mom

Nudie scarf dancing. That sounds provocative, sexy, even NC-17, right? Well… not exactly. Let me explain.

I was sitting on the beach with my friend Isobel. Now, lounging next to this skinny blond mother of five could make anyone feel depressed by comparison. But I’ve known her since high school and I needed advice. It was hard to admit, but I was going through postpartum depression. I couldn’t stop crying, and I alternated between being barely able to cope with the daily responsibilities of motherhood, and mind-numbing confusion. I was stumped. What did I have to be sad about? Seventeen months after giving birth to my son, Chase, God had blessed me with my daughter, Mackenzie. Instant family, my dream come true. Still, I felt as if I were sinking into toxic black ink.

My dirty secret was this: I just didn’t see what was so great about motherhood. My days felt like a marathon disaster movie, starring me racing around after my kamikaze toddler to prevent him from hurling himself from high places and/or gleefully electrocuting himself. My nights were a study in sleep deprivation, with Mackenzie waking up every two hours and screaming from acid reflux.

I told Isobel about my plight, and she began sharing some of the wonderful ways she whiles away the hours with her brood: family karaoke, eating cookie batter together, firefly-catching contests. I was years away from all of this, but I scribbled the ideas down anyway. Then she mentioned nudie scarf dancing.

I glanced down at my stretched-out stomach, which was lying next to me like an affectionate pet. Surely, she couldn’t be suggesting…

The tears welled up in my eyes. There was just no way I was up for this, no matter how fun it was.

“Not you, silly!” she said, laughing so hard she was snorting. “Daughters! Don’t you have a box of ugly scarves from the ’80s? Put on music to kill time with little girls before their bath!”

Before I knew it, I started laughing, too—at Isobel’s snorting, at myself, and at the thought of the now-undulating pet attached to my midsection with a paisley scarf wrapped around it. I laughed until I was crying, a condition that Dolly Parton has called her favorite emotion.

Then it hit me: Fun was going to show me the way out of my drowning pit. The problem wasn’t that I was exhausted or scared, because motherhood comes with all of that. The issue was that I wasn’t having any fun to offset the exorbitant emotional cost.

So I sent out an SOS e-mail to my other friends seeking advice and ideas for how to enjoy this roller-coaster ride called motherhood. The flurry of answers came back fast and furious, from the funny and dark—”Report yourself to Child Protective Services and have your children taken away for a day or two. Instant vacation!!” wrote Krisha Mahoney, a Boston mother of two—to the practical:

“Plan a playdate with other moms in the park. Bring games and order out pizza,” suggested Karen Hamilton, a mother of three in Rye, New York.

I tried my friends’ suggestions—not the one about turning myself in to the authorities, but many others that you’ll read about below. Slowly, as one good time followed another, the depression began to lift. Chase and Mackenzie were my guides as I let go of my expectations and allowed the fun to take whatever form it fancied.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it can take more than nudie scarf dancing to beat postpartum depression. That’s why, at the same time that I was reaching out to friends, I finally reached out to my ob-gyn for professional guidance. The combination of both helped me get my smile back.I read a magazine article once that said that if we want enduring satisfaction, we have to always be on the lookout for small miracles.Mothers have these small miracles in their lives every day. They are our children. And the time to enjoy them is right now. Here, just a smattering of ways to let the good times roll:

21 ways to enjoy being a mom

  1. When you’re tired, hand your kids a brush, point to your head and tell them to play beauty parlor. When you’re reallytired, pretend that you’re Sleeping Beauty.
  2. Take your mother to a spa. While you’re both getting seaweed wraps, tell her all your favorite memories of growing up.
  3. Take a bath with your infant. Make sure your husband is around for the handoff, so you can relax until the last minute. (Don’t forget to smell your baby right afterward. Heaven!)
  4. At the end of every summer, take a family photo for the holiday card (you’ll be happy to have this accomplished once December comes). Every year, add a framed 11-by-14-inch print to your front hall. Your kids will be proud now and laugh later at the funny styles.
  5. On St. Patrick’s Day, dye the milk and eggs green and turn the furniture upside down so your home looks like total chaos. When your little ones wake up, tell them that the leprechauns came.
  6. The next time you have to go to a boring kiddie activity, invite another mom-friend along. Hide wine in sippy cups for the two of you to nurse undercover.
  7. Play Freaky Friday with your husband and switch roles for a day. Enjoy his renewed appreciation for his Super Mom wife.
  8. In the dead of winter, fix some snacks, get under warm quilts and watch Happy Feet on DVD. Tell your kids you love them even more than the penguins love their chicks.
  9. Go to the beach in the off-season. Throw rocks in the water and collect shells. Put them in a vase and use it as shelf decor in your living room.
  10. Skip the Raffi and Barney. Turn your kids on to Bob Marley, They Might Be Giants, and Gwen Stefani.
  11. Take your baby out to the movies at night. (Infants love the dark, and loud trailers make them snooze immediately.) Then you can sip your soda and munch your popcorn in peace.
  12. Buy yourself that fancy watch, strand of pearls or whatever piece of expensive jewelry you’ve been lusting after. Justify your purchase by rationalizing that you’ll pass it down to your daughter (or son’s wife) eventually.
  13. Take your kids to live music performances from very early ages. Cheap ones outdoors are great to start with in case you need to make a hasty exit (like when a diaper explodes).
  14. Use your kids as an excuse to do the things you want to do, like going to silly feel-good movies, eating mac and cheese for dinner and jumping in the moonbounce. Use your kids as an excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do, like going to a wedding or office party.
  15. Every Mother’s Day, have a picture taken with your kids. Keep the photos all together—along with special cards, ticket stubs, mementos and anything else that makes you feel good about being a mom – in a shoe box. (Of course, you must get those new shoes you love in order to do this correctly.) Every year, look through your Goddess Mom box and see how much your kids have grown.
  16. Give your kids quiet time every day. Let them learn to be by themselves with books, crayons or blocks.
  17. Let your whole family take a day off and hang out in pj’s all day long.
  18. Rent Sex and the City on DVD, and reminisce about the days when you were single and the biggest problem you had was whether the “He” of the moment was going to call. Let the romance of your youth seduce you. Then remember that, despite your freedom, all you really wanted was to fall in love and have beautiful babies.
  19. Pitch a tent in the backyard. Use it as your outdoor reading room. Or when there’s a full moon, plan a family campout with sleeping bags, a transistor radio and s’mores, of course.
  20. Invent a house fairy. Give her a name, and tell your kids that she is always watching them and counting up their good deeds.
  21. Listen for the deep, happy sighs that come after your kids play or laugh really hard. Tuck them away in your heart.

Originally posted by Melina Gerona Bellows on Parenting.com