Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy New (school) Year!

January 1. A time to start over. It’s New Year’s Day after all. The unofficial declaration of a new and healthier lifestyle for many. The busiest day at almost any gym.

Of the 45% of American’s who usually make New Year’s Resolutions, less than 50% of people maintain their resolutions through July 31, and only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions.

The reasons vary, but the most common is setting your goals too high. “All-in” is often accompanied by burnout, injury and just plain unattainability.

Aim high, but not so high that there is not a steady, sustainable effort that will get you to the top.

But it’s not January 1, so why am I discussing goals and resolutions? Because this week is the start of a new year—a new school year.  At least here in Arkansas.  

A new school year, a new season, a chance to get a new perspective & a new teacher. A chance to reflect on the year so far—what has gone well? What needs fresh attention and improvement?

Think about it? Did you look forward to the new calendar year with as much excitement as the new school year? I know I didn’t! New school year meant new clothes, new routines and new friends!

Sustainability is the capacity to endure; to be diverse and productive over time; exhibiting the potential for long-term maintenance and well-being.  ~Darren Hardy

Resetting goals in September has the same effect (and same rewards)…so let’s start planning.
  • Set and write down your goal. I always recommend doing this in small and then large increments. What is your goal for October 15 (fall break)? December 31 (winter break)? What is your goal for June 1 (summer break)? Adjust as needed, but stay true to your short and long-term goals.  
  • Adjust your bedtime. Adjust your bedtime to allow for a minimum 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Wake up 15 minutes earlier (or more) to have some private time before the family wakes up and to reduce the feeling of being rushed. The optimal temperature for sleeping in 65°F. Better sleep encourages improved focus, mood, and energy!
  • Pack your lunch. Instead of hitting the restaurant down the street or the cafeteria, brown bag it most days of the week. It saves money, time and calories! Bonus points for packing the night before.
  • Find a fun extracurricular to participate in. Your friends loves the local boot camp but it just doesn’t do anything for you? Then don’t do it! Find something you love and enjoy doing and you’re are more likely to stick to it. Not everyone uses the same toothpaste, why should they all use the same workout?
  • Make new friends. Interesting in joining a kickball league? Sign up and make friends with the other members—it will keep you going and might inspire you to try new activities along the way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Health Tips...from Betty Crocker?

You might remember last week, I posted about the shortcuts from 1950 that eliminated stress from household chores.  Well, another thing I ran across in that "shortcuts" section of Betty Crocker's cookbook were some tips on health.

I'm telling you what.  Betty is not only successful - she is one smart lady!..but then again, aren't we all?

Betty's advice below is designed to help reduce fatigue and and make chores less daunting. But adopting many of these habits will do more than just fight fatigue - they'll help with general health and wellbeing.  

Personal Outlook:  Eat proper food for health and vitality. Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply makeup, a dash of cologne, and perhaps some simple earrings.  Does wonders for your morale.

Prevent Unnecessary Fatigue:  Use a dust mop and a long-handled dust pan.  Use self-ringing mop (no stopping).

Vary Your Tasks:  Alternate sitting down tasks and standing up tasks.  Don't be on your feet too long at one time.  (addendum:  or on your butt)

Exercise:  Exercise, sunshine, fresh air are part of health. Get outdoors every day.  Take a walk, do some gardening, take the children for an outing or pay your neighbor a short visit.

Take Time to Rest:  If you have just a moment, sit down, put your feet up on a chair, close your eyes and just relax your muscles.  Let your arms, heads and head fall limp.

Practice Self-care:  If after following the rules for proper rest, exercise, diet, you are still tired and depressed, have a medical check-up and follow doctor's orders.

Refresh Your Spirit:  "Recreation" means "re-create"...for enthusiasm and courage.  Garden, pain pictures, pursue any hobby, look through a magazine for home planning ideas, read a good book, or attend club meetings.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How becoming a 1950s housewife saved me…

So, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am not a housewife…I work full-time, have no children, and I’m not even married! 

My favorite cookbook is my grandmother’s red Betty Crocker – a wedding gift she received in 1952.  Some of my favorite recipes come from that book.

Once, as I was quite gingerly leafing through the yellowed pages, I ran across a section called “Shortcuts”.  Ol' Betty was onto something back then, and we can still apply many of the shortcuts to today's busy lifestyle.

These shortcuts aren't only for housewives or women, they are for anyone trying to balance chores around the house with a life and fun outside of the home.  

We might still have to do it all, but at least we can do it with a little more ease…..
  • Have a  plan for your time and work.  Map a general schedule for every day of the week.  Set a certain day each week to include at least one of the special tasks that must be done once a week.
  • Take time to plan meals for a week or several days at a time.
  • Market only once or twice for the week.
  • Have logical and orderly arrangement in your kitchen -- this, my friends, is a game changer!
  • Keep utensils and equipment in good working order.  and hear's very important...DISCARD GADGETS THAT ADD WORK.
  • Prepare for tomorrow while cooking today.
  • Prepare some dishes for last-minute mixing or baking.
  • Organize the family to cooperate.  Train your children to help with different jobs.
A few of my other favorites tips to keep time spent cleaning at a minimum and time having fun at a maximum:
  • Right after using, fill cooking pans with hot water.  (cold water for egg, cereal and milk dishes).
  • Eliminate cleaning of broiler or oven bottom by placing aluminum foil over rack to catch droppings.  
  • Do messy tasks (like peeling potatoes) on paper for easy clean-up.
  • After grating cheese, immediately rub hard crust of bread over grater to clean it.
  • Keep all cleaning supplies in a basket to carry from room to room.
So change your attitude or your approach - not your lifestyle.  The truth is it doesn't have to be that complicated to be stress free or organized.  You don't need countless lists or expensive seminars.  

Pick up a few of these habits - like rearranging your cabinets perhaps - to streamline clean up time so you can focus on family time and enjoyment.  

And on another note:  did you know you aren't supposed to use "self-rising" flour in any yeast recipes?

All bulleted items above taken from:  Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book.  First Edition.  ©1950 by General Mills.

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