When we think of the first day of April, April Fools’ Day comes to mind. April Fools’ Day is the traditional day of the year to play practical jokes on friends and family, with the intent of good fun and a few laughs. What is not as commonly known is that laughter and humor are good for our physical, emotional and mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic laughter has both short and long-term health benefits. However, many adults find humor and laughter to be an indulgence or have lost their sense of humor and playfulness for a number of reasons. Adding humor back may be just what the doctor ordered. Let’s explore not only the reasons why, but also how to lighten up.
In a few weeks we will be turning the clocks forward and “losing” an hour of sleep. Of course, this is just for one night. However, an increasing number of people do not get enough sleep on a regular basis which leads to negative effects far more dangerous than feeling a bit groggy. Sleep experts suggests that the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is not a luxury! Sleep is essential for proper functioning of our body and mind. Sleep improves memory, focus and mood. It also helps increase our immune function and even helps us lose weight. Driving when tired is not much safer than driving while intoxicated and leads to accidents. So, why are so many people not sleeping enough?There are several reasons that sleep has become more difficult for so many. These can be called “sleep robbers” because they rob you of a good night sleep. Here is a list of the most common reasons:
Valentine’s Day is a few weeks away and the stores are filled with cupids, roses and heart shaped boxes of chocolates as gifts to express love. Research has shown that one of the greatest indicators of a life of happiness is the quality of our relationships. Most influential is the relationship with a spouse or partner. However, many relationships struggle over time without tools to work through the issues that arise. Although improving the quality of the relationship takes commitment and desire, it is not as hard as you might think. Make every day a celebration of romance with these five tips:
Happy New Year! As we welcome in 2018 in January, many contemplate what habits they want to cultivate, change or remove in the coming year. The most common “resolutions” are losing weight and exercising, improving relationships, getting rid of clutter, reducing stress, spending less money, stopping smoking or drinking, and finding a more fulfilling career. Unfortunately, while most set out with great intentions and maybe even a plan, most resolutions don’t result in long lasting change. So, what stops us from making these positive changes stick? Five common reasons that resolutions don’t result in lasting change are unrealistic goals, lack of support, lack of true desire, not enough resources and vague planning. Let’s look at each of these factors:
The holiday season is upon us and although it is a time of joy and excitement, it can also be a time of stress and overwhelm. Whether it’s due to the holidays, year-end deadlines or finals in school, it is important to put self-care on the list of “gifts” you give yourself. Self-care is not selfish or indulgent. Self-care is taking care of your body, mind and spirit so that you can live a full life and have energy to give to others at work and at home. The good news is even during this busy time of year, there are many ways we can take care of ourselves without adding to an already long to-do list. Try these 12 free gifts you can give yourself for a more enjoyable and less stressful season.
The holidays are rapidly approaching and can be a time of joy and a chance to reconnect with family and friends. But for many it can also be a time of stress due to strained relationships, unhappy memories of the past, too much to do and not enough time to rest. In addition, there can also the feelings of disappointment or failure stemming from the expectation that our holidays should be “perfect” like those seen in movies, commercials and social media. Unfortunately, many families and friends are also experiencing strained relationships over the increasing polarization of views in the country today. The good news is there are several tools we can use to manage the holidays and difficult relationships this year.
Awareness is first! Before the holidays begin, take time to think about what you would like to be different this year. Before we can plan, we need to become aware of what our goal is, so we can set up a way to work toward it. Be as specific as possible and list what you would ideally like from your relationships. The list can also include what you do not want to happen. As you make these lists, tune into how your mind and body are reacting. If thinking about visiting your in-laws makes your neck stiffen or if going to see your Aunt Jane makes you feel excited, write that down as well. Noticing cues can help us create a plan that will increase our enjoyment of the season.
Become curious about your reactions. Now that you have made your list, become curious about what the positives and negatives are in the relationships you have examined. Asking yourself questions like “what exactly causes my neck to stiffen when think of visiting my in-laws?” can help with planning how to do something different. Tune into your feelings and notice what arises. Maybe you feel judged or criticized or maybe just disappointed because you have different expectations than those you are with at the time. Do certain people trigger negative reactions? Noticing will help you understand your unmet needs and negative feelings.
Examine your list and begin to plan. By examining the lists, we can begin to challenge our assumptions. This will give us information about just how important things are and if we are doing them because we feel we “should” or because we want to do them. It can also help us to see what we value and how we can use our values to help us navigate tricky situations. If we feel physically ill when we visit certain people or filled with dread before going, is it necessary that we go. What would happen if we did not? If we feel we must go, is there a way we could do it differently? For example, is instead of going to a three-hour dinner at Aunt Jane’s while trying to manage your 2-year-old or getting drawn into a political debate, maybe we could stop in before dinner for a drink or go by for dessert. Good boundaries are essential for keeping relationships positive.