Podcast 1: Resolutions and SAD

January wouldn’t be January without setting new goals and dreary, cold days. Once the holidays have passed the urge to create resolutions is very popular, almost regardless of any intention to keep them. It’s also a month better known for hibernation than high energy and motivation. For most of us, it takes a lot of energy to reach new goals and if SAD is an issue for you then it can be even more frustrating for you to make and keep resolutions.

No worries – you can succeed! There are no reasons that  should be keeping you from making and reaching your goals. It’s all about how you approach them. The best tip for gaining ground toward any resolution is to START SMALL. The phrase “you must walk before you can run” holds truth. Trying to overhaul a new lifestyle is absolutely do-able…if you go at it in small bits.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) can make it very hard to function during the cold, dark months; let alone feel good enough to keep resolutions. If you are craving carbohydrate foods more and feeling more socially withdrawn than usual you might have SAD. A good dose of sunlight is the most popular solution; however, there are a couple additional ways to boost your mood. Make sure that you are eating enough protein in your diet because it will support the body’s serotonin uptake. (Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that regulates mood.) Soybeans are an excellent source of protein. Exercise is also great because it will release endorphins. (More neurotransmitters that create a good feeling in the body) Taking a brisk walk can do the trick. Both of these therapies will not only help with SAD but also be great ways to support any healthy resolutions you might have made. Of course, see your doctor if there is not any improvement soon.

Any time is a great time to make a resolution, it doesn’t have to be January 1st. Improving yourself will make it easier for you to do great things for the people you love and the community around you. Being successful is all about the approach. Remember to start small, be persistent, seek solutions for possible obstacles and you can be successful. -trvw

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How Do You Conquer Chronic Illness?

Chronic illness does it’s best to interfere with daily life. Ignoring it seems to help suck away some of it’s power. However, there are too many days when if the illness isn’t bothering us physically, then it’s tasking our emotions, or even our wallets. That leaves very few worry, chronic-free days to enjoy.

Being surrounded by understanding people helps a lot. Another powerful way to deal with it is by standing tall no matter how little chronic illness can make you feel. Try not to whine – you deserve to vent, a lot! – just don’t give it the power to chronically bring you down.

That being said, we can use all the help we can to build an arsenal against the emotional anguish that comes with an ongoing illness. So please tell us, what is your weapon of choice when battling “the chronic”? -trvw

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Precious Time

Every year seems to zoom by faster than the previous year. My grandma and I agree on this “speeding time” theory. She thinks it’s just because she’s older, I swear it has nothing to do with age. The concept of time is a wild thing for me to wrap my brain around, here’s why.

The way time goes by baffles me because while it seems to take an eternity for my goals to come together quickly, my days and weeks flip from day to night quicker than I can keep up with.  I’m not complaining, we all have to manage our hours the best we can – it just toys with my mind.

Chunks of my life that didn’t seem very long ago are now fading memories. I know this when I see friends trading their two door cars for four doors. I experience it when I reconnect with co-workers from my first career on Facebook. Did you catch that? “First career”!? I did my best to avoid the horror stories that college graduates would have more than one career in their lifetime – lots of luck with that one.

I admire those of you that have known your life passion since you were a kid, but that’s not the case for me. However, I will spend all the time it takes to find out what it is that I am here to do. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get tired and frustrated. I feel like I’m wasting my time on numerous occasions. Sometimes I feel unappreciated and foolish to think that I am dreaming so big. Then I think back and see how much time has passed and honestly see how many things that I have done that I never thought were possible. If I’ve done it before, I can do it again. I can do it better if I take my time. -trvw

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Having Compassion When A Pet Passes Away

blacklabSaying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, even when you think you’re prepared. Losing a pet is gut wrenching and not any easier than losing a person that we love. Sometimes society expects people to bounce back from the loss of a pet faster than losing a person and that isn’t fair.

The relationship between a person and an animal becomes a very tight bond over time. We develop our own silent language with our animals and they seem to love, trust, and understand us in ways that are different from people. Their personalities are unique and seem to shine especially for the people that they care about most.

Those are just a few examples as to why we humans get so attached to our beloved pets. In the past I have had pets in my life that I loved and they either left without saying goodbye or had to leave this earth because it was their time to go. It was never easy and sometimes I still have dreams of a reunion with a runaway dog or playing with a pet bunny from the past. Though I’ve had several pets growing up, I’ve never had such a strong bond with the two dogs that I have now. They are my family. While I know in the back of my mind that their life expectancy is less than I desire, my heart wants to believe that they will be with me forever.

Over the weekend my friend’s 14 year old lab passed away. Fourteen years is a very long time and I know that she gave Abby a great life. I think that one of the ways to come to peace with the passing of a pet is to know that you gave your animal the best love that you had in your heart.

It’s hard to know what to do or say when someone is mourning a loss. However, compassion is always a good way to go. Just because a loss is an animal doesen’t mean it is any easier than losing a person. Pets are always good at teaching us things. I think that they deserve some credit for teaching us humans to give each other the same compassion that we express to animals. -pm

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Puppy Power

Only a pet owner knows that animals have more personality in their paw than most people have in their whole body. It’s amazing that not long ago many scientists assumed that animals were incapable of thought. They had the notion that they were more like machines that reacted to stimuli.

There is a neat article in National Geographic March 2008 titled, “Minds of Their Own”. Virginia Morell writes about the research that has been done to prove quite the opposite. Scientific study aside, the average pet owner can fill pages too with stories that prove the passionate, independent thought that goes on inside the minds of the animals we call pets.

I have two white dogs that resemble each other in size and color, but have personalities that are quite contrary. They both make me laugh in different ways and have their own quirks that make them unique and lovable. One is laid back and easy going, and the other is sprite and vocal with his demands. My life wouldn’t be the same without them.

How does your pet improve your life? What are some of the personality characteristics that make you confidant that your pet is an independent thinker? Let me know, and remember that if you know of an orphan animal needing a good home to email me the details and I will gladly post them.


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Lists, Tasks, and Less Stress

In a perfect world our bodies would always be buff and the dog wouldn’t need a bathroom break when it rains.  However, in reality we have to hit the weights and walk the dog in the inclement weather. Just because certain things are necessary to maintain a happy and healthy life doesn’t mean they have to be an unpleasant burden.

I am one of the worst about letting myself get wound up when it comes to getting chores done. I tend to get in this stress mode that sometimes prevents me from enjoying myself until I finish “xyz”. With practice I am realizing that I can take that stress and use it as positive fuel for getting things done in a more relaxed way.

There is a bit of truth to the phrase “you are as happy as you make your mind up to be”. Once you make your mind up that things have to get done and that if they don’t get done today they will be there tomorrow; it is easier to go with the flow. Key word is “easier”, it takes practice for some people. There will always be things to do. Nobody is racing you or judging you on how it gets done. Try prioritizing a task list and you will be amazed by how much stress relief comes from simply writing them down. 

There is a lot of obstacles that pop up in life and make it seem more stressful than it needs to be. Redirect the stress into positive energy and you will get more things done and be happier while you do it. When I have a lot on my mind, it helps me to make notes. Other times I email myself reminders. How do you manage tasks? -pm

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Spring Cleaning

Signs of fresh new life
Flowers beaming with color
Friends with wings visit.

Spring is spreading fever with the tempting clear skies, warm sunshine, and bare beds begging for flowering friends.  It doesn’t matter if you favor the outdoors or not, when spring arrives it brings an energy that spreads into the veins of everyone. Most people don’t need much persuasion to get outside on a beautiful, sun-shiny day. Even standing outside can lift a mood on a nice day.

Other outdoor activities like gardening, washing the car, or cleaning out the garage might seem like chores but they can be therapy for the soul too. Even though tasks like cleaning are typically the chores that we hope to get done before we play, they can still lift our moods. They offer a chance to get the body moving, generate some blood flow, and a feeling of accomplishment. Your mind benefits from cleaning up the space around you as well. An article on WOW suggests that, “organizing your physical world is an important step on the path leading to clarity, purpose, and success.”

Taking time away from relaxing or play to clean and organize is not always easy. However, getting rid of some of the clutter can bring a feeling of acomplishment. Then kicking back is even better that it would have been had the mess stuck around. Because you deserve clean surrounding so you can feel more purposeful and clear, here are some suggestions: Spring Cleaning Guide. Enjoy. -pm

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Friends Forever

friendpactFriendships are important for a healthy lifestyle. Having good friends that you can count on, and vice versa, adds quality to life. A good variety of pals is a great way to learn new things and to share common interests. As adults, sometimes we get caught up in the schedule of work life and family so much that sometimes we forget that our friends are important too. Family is certainly #1, but don’t forget that it is important to yourself, and to your friends, to nurture those relationships.

When we are younger our friends influence us a lot. As we grow up and become more independent sometime we confuse needy and necessity of good friendship relations. Nobody needs to have a “negative nelly” around 24-7, but  seeking out supportive, positive pals is necessary for many reasons.

For example, I have a cool friend that I know from high school. This person and I were more acquaintances in school but got to be closer post-grad. Now we send each other fun stuff snail mail and text messages out of the blue just to cheer up the other ones day or to say “hi”. It’s neat! It feels good to know that my silly card cheered somebody’s day up; and in return it is so nice to feel like someone cared enough to take time out of their day to drop something in the mail because they thought I might like it.

I try to take notes from my good friends and reciprocate it to them and spread it to my other friends. I have always valued friendship, I know I make mistakes but I do my best to be a friend that a person would want to claim and keep. Here’s to all my pals: Thank you for being a friend!!! -pm


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