Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Needed Rest

"Sometimes change is as good as a rest." This can be true most of the time. Sometimes coming to a complete stop and taking the time to actually rest is the best solution.

We can try to keep going and push ourselves to the limit only for so long until our body will start to give us warning signals. It could be that our brain starts to get fuzzy, so we just drink more coffee to keep going. Or, it could be that extreme fatigue sets in and we start making careless mistakes. We may become short with those around us and excuse our behavior because what we are busy doing is important after all.

If we don't pay attention to the signs, we will eventually pay the ultimate price of burnout. This is not an easy condition to recover from and it very likely will necessitate a complete lifestyle change. It is easier to take the time to get sufficient rest when we need it than to try and recover from a severe illness later.

Here are three ways to get the rest you need:
1. Take short naps--some people take a 15 minute nap and it gives them renewed energy for the rest of the day. It's amazing what a short refresher can do.
2. Get enough sleep at night--7-9 hours depending on what you need. With adequate rest, proper exercise and a balanced diet you should wake up with energy.
3. Do some breathing/relaxation exercises for a few minutes to give your body a boost of oxygen. This is something you can do even at work when a nap would not be appropriate.

By getting enough rest, the body will have the resources to renew itself and function to its optimum. We'll be happier and more able to cope with the stresses each day brings.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kindle: the New Way to Read

Stacks of books everywhere—on the bed, the floor, the desk! That was what my room looked like when I was young. Books were my best friend. I could go on an enticing adventure anytime I wanted through the power of words on a page and my imagination.

We borrowed books from friends and family or the local library. Hunting for old books in antique stores was an afternoon outing. The joy of finding a treasure was indeed something to be talked about!

Now everything is changing. E-books are the way to go. No longer is there any need to hunt for the accepting publisher who thinks your masterpiece is worth investing in. Anyone can create an e-book with the right software program and the ability to write interesting content.

There is no need for stacks of books when a person can store up to 3,500 volumes on one Kindle Reading Device. Wow, a day at the beach no longer demands a hefty backpack full of reads—only a lightweight device. When all the books have been read, it is simple enough to get a new book with a quick download (no matter where you are!)

While some of us still enjoy the smell of a new book, or the excitement of an "old" find, there is something exhilarating about having hundreds of books easily accessible to suit whatever mood hits. Yes, things are changing, but perhaps it's not all bad. People are reading and that's what is important.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Expectations

The Christmas season seems to come with a lot of pressures that can overwhelm us if we allow them to simply sweep us away in their wake—parties, banquets, shopping, decorating, baking, cooking, friends, family, church, and the list goes on. Do we just take a big breath at the beginning of the season and hope we'll make it through before we collapse in a heap, or get sick? For too many this is what happens, thinking there just is no other choice.

“What if”...dream for a minute.

If you could change one thing to make Christmas a better experience for you, what would it be? Is there something you would really enjoy but don't have the time to do? Is there something that really stresses you out and wish you didn't have to do? Perhaps it is time to prioritize what is the most important for you and your family. Focus on getting those things done and gradually let go of the rest. It might be too drastic a change to simplify all at once, but if you do one thing each year it will become easier.

For example, you always host the family Christmas dinner because everyone expects you to. You don’t mind having it at your place but it is getting more stressful for you to do all the cooking. Instead of just canceling dinner, ask each person to bring part of the meal—now it is easier and more bearable.

Also, you and your spouse may go to every Christmas party you’re invited to. While you enjoy parties, going to every one is a bit much (especially if you have a lot of friends and both work.) Which ones do you enjoy the most? Try to gradually cut down to the ones that make Christmas an enjoyable experience rather than a duty.

You might like to volunteer somewhere during the season to bring joy to the homeless? Try and find a way to include your family and make it a giving experience rather than just “getting.” If you choose a focus for each year, it is something your family might more easily buy into and get involved with as well.

If you’re like me, you also need quiet time to meditate about the real meaning of Christmas—taking time to reflect on Jesus’ birth. Where does He fit in all the rush? None of these changes happen without a focused effort. Which one is the most important to you this year? Plan to do something different and gradually reshape the season of stress into a season of joy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Challenge to Change

Life in 2010 demands that we change continually if we want to remain current and in touch. Human nature resists this change because it is so much easier and more comfortable to choose the predictable and remain in a safe cocoon. How many of us have tried this and failed? Life just will not remain static--it changes even if we don't want to!

So, together we will explore ways that will help us grow, change and become better people in the process. I invite you to come along for the ride! Feel free to add your own insight and inspiration to enhance our growing experience.