#294 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#294

Babysit

This may sound like an odd suggestion for increasing happiness but indeed – it may be just the thing you need as children have a tendency to remind us how precious life can be. Even if you have your own children, another child can offer a fresh perspective. Children know how to be present and in the moment naturally and they instinctively understand what it means to be authentic; traits that we adults, need reminded of far too often.

If you have children:

Babysitting another child can offer perspective on the value of your own children. It can be another form of the blessing you experience every day and/or it can be a reminder of the potential your own children have. It may remind you why you made the decision to have children in the first place.

If you don’t have children but are thinking about it:

Babysitting other children may inspire you in your decision to move forward or it may cement the decision not to commit. Spending time with someone else’s child may demonstrate the joy that a child can carry into your life or it may validate the concerns you’ve had about readiness.

If you’ve made the decision to never have children:

Babysitting will remind you of life’s innocence. It will help you put life stressors into perspective and open your eyes to another way of viewing the environment surrounding you.

If you are an empty nester:

Babysitting your grandchildren and/or another child will have you counting blessings in many directions. There’s nothing quite like the spirit of a child to brighten our space, our spirit, and our sense of purpose. And… they seem to find all the things we’ve hidden or lost!

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent; returning to their own child/ren refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. It’s an extension of kindness in a subtle way and yet it really a personal treat each time we…

Babysit

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#295 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

If you are thinking about someone – phone them; say hello and let them know you’re thinking about them or leave a message.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#295

Phone a friend

This suggestion works nicely if you are playing a television game for a million dollars but it’s also important if you are interested in maintaining friendships. With our evolving habit of texting conversations – some of us have all but eliminated vocal interacting. Why not phone a friend?

Think of someone you haven’t spoken with in a while. What has prevented you from chatting? I occasionally hear that a friend hasn’t called because “I didn’t know if you were busy”. Frankly – that’s why voicemail was invented, wasn’t it? If I am busy, I will let the call go to message but I’ll know that you were thinking about me.

I’m miffed when someone says “I’ve been thinking about you forever…” but I have no way of knowing it because there’s been NO communication to that extent. If you are thinking about someone – phone them; say hello and let them know you’re thinking about them or leave a message. It’s simple really.

I realize that we all have busy lives and it takes time to maintain friendships. I find that most of us don’t need extended conversations and deep, meaningful interactions to sustain an existing friendship but we do need contact – real – live – connection. So, think of someone you haven’t heard from in a while and …

Phone a friend.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#296 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

as I attempted to buy wine the next day – I was asked for ID. As I got back in the car to go home I slammed a solid fist pump into the air believing that my primping was responsible.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#296

Have an at-home spa day

This may be the ultimate in Self-care activities. Spending an afternoon or an entire day pampering your face, your hair, your skin, and your nails. Back in my youth this meant massaging a gross amount of mayonnaise into  my hair and wrapping it in a warm towel; rubbing my heels with Vaseline and covering my feet with cotton socks; and then applying baby oil all over my skin from head to toe. Just to be cute I would use cucumber slices on my eyes on occasion but mostly they got cold compresses. That was the process of beautification as I knew it.

Today, while those methods may work fine, there are dozens of fancier options. From homemade facial scrubs to electric foot baths – having a personal spa day is easier than ever. Get started with a bath, a glass of wine, some soft music, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Spend time moisturizing your hair, your face, and your extremities. A sugar scrub for your face, hands, and feet will exfoliate and prep your skin for the lotions that come next. Using honey, buttermilk, coconut oil and/or avocados are a natural way to hydrate the largest organ (your skin) on your body.

Finish up with attending to your finger and toenails – to polish or not is a personal preference. Some light yoga or meditation may be a great way to still your mind while while your body regenerates and then perhaps some outdoor time in a garden or a short nap.

In my late twenties I treated myself to a full day of pampering and as I attempted to buy wine the next day – I was asked for ID. As I got back in the car to go home I slammed a solid fist pump into the air believing that my primping was responsible. Who knows? The more you take care of your skin – the longer it looks good so go ahead and treat yourself to an…

At Home Spa Day.

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#297 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

When I built those bookcases I mentioned above, a friend share the tip that “a little bit of caulk and a little bit of paint, make the carpenter what he ain’t.”.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#297

Use a caulk gun around the house

Recently, a friend prepping for a big family gathering mentioned that she spent the day ‘caulking’. When I inquired further, she indicated that she has made it an annual habit to roam the house looking for woodwork that had settled and/or separated over the year.

While I am quite familiar with a caulk gun when I am constructing something (built some bookcases a few years back), I’ve never randomly searched for areas in my home that needed that particular attention unless I was doing a thorough paint job – which, definitely doesn’t happen annually.

Happiest of all Mother’s Day to the moms out there today!

When I built those bookcases I mentioned above, a friend share the tip that “a little bit of caulk and a little bit of paint, make the carpenter what he ain’t.”. I’ve never forgotten and believe me… there was a tube or more on those shelves.

After the discussion with my earlier friend, I’ve notice many places around my own home that were quite oblivious before that conversation. Little cracks appear in almost every baseboard and I’ve noticed a few window sills that can use some attention.

Remember that post about Honey-do Lists I posted last week? This task is being added without further ado…

Use a caulk gun around the house.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#298 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

For maximum impact, it’s necessary to volunteer in an area that is of interest. A population that inspires you or a project that connects with your passion.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#298

Volunteer

If you regularly volunteer for an organization or a person … Thanks for all you do and come back tomorrow to read the next tip! If you do NOT regularly volunteer – THIS post is for you!

It is often said that when we offer our time and/or talent to a person or a cause, we are engaging in our truest purpose. We believe that when we volunteer, we are experiencing selflessness at its highest point and yet… there are so many individual and personal benefits that perhaps it serves the deepest purpose of self.

You see, when we donate time and talent, we are opening ourselves to experiences that grow our spirit, our strengths, and our hearts. Sometimes, the value is much more significant to the person who helps than to the receiver. Benefits include growth in compassion, strengths, empathy, purpose, and esteem. When we expose ourselves to new ideas, new people, and new experiences we expand our hearts; a benefit that has long lasting impact.

For maximum impact, it’s necessary to volunteer in an area that is of interest. A population that inspires you or a project that connects with your passion. Whether it is working with an animal shelter, building homes, or interacting with youth – make sure it is something that motivates continued participation.

Volunteering fosters happiness and leads to longer life expectancy. It deepens our skill sets, strengthens our weaknesses, and improves our overall outlook on life. What’s not to love? It is a win-win endeavor for everyone involved. If you’re looking for a way to improve your mood or your quality of life, it may be as simple as looking for a space where your time and talent is used as you …

Volunteer.

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#299 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

For me, old movies remind me of rainy Sunday afternoons when Shirley Temple reruns were played back to back or a childhood sick day when mom and  I curled up on the couch to watch Esther Williams synchronized her swim strokes to Hollywood music.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#299

Watch an old movie

The term old here is ‘relative’… depending on your current age, the movie that comes to mind when I suggest watching an old movie may be Casablanca from 1942 or it may be Saturday Night Fever from 1977. Frankly though… I am specifically referencing something that was filmed before the mid 1950’s when color films were the new standard. Black and white films starring Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Humphrey Bogart or the actresses of that era Irene Dunne, Ginger Rogers or Ava Gardner. There is something special about allowing your imagination create the color of the scene – to imagine that the sky is a light blue or deep azure – depending on the context of the screen.

Does a character soften in your thoughts if she is wearing a light pink blouse instead of a stark white one? Would it matter to you if a sofa was dark grey or brown? How might the tension in the scene change if you imagined bright orange walls? While I am certainly not a film critic or even a student of film direction, there is most definitely something to the lighting techniques and shadow play in those old films that lend to the character of the scene and so black and white movie viewing is an experience worth having. If you can’t quite get there, try something from the sixties like The Graduate from 1967 or The Apartment from 1960. Old movies remind us that the shot is everything… that techno effects and post production editing, while nice – aren’t absolutely necessary for a good film.

For me, old movies remind me of rainy Sunday afternoons when Shirley Temple reruns were played back to back or a childhood sick day when mom and  I curled up on the couch to watch Esther Williams synchronized her swim strokes to Hollywood music. It’s like a stroll through an antique store missing only the musty smell, dust, and occasional cobweb. The next time you don’t feel well or are treated with a lazy Sunday afternoon, forget about binge watching The Office or catching up on Hulu’s latest hit and try treating yourself to something unfashionable but classic…

Watch an old movie.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#300 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Social etiquette used to dictate the distribution of appreciative notes so much that the proper way to do so was specifically taught in ‘finishing schools’ worldwide. Emily Post – the mother of modern manners…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#300

Send thank you cards

When you receive a gift please consider bringing back the lost art of sending a ‘real’ card – not a message on Facebook or an e-card. A paper card inside an envelope with a stamp, mailed, and delivered by the good ‘ole United States Postal Service with a note of thanks for the gesture you were given.

Pouis Prang, an immigrant from Poland and known as the father of the American Christmas Card – it also credited with what we now think of when we think about ‘thank you cards’ although the practice of sending notes of appreciation to friends and family date back to the Egyptian era.

Social etiquette used to dictate the distribution of appreciative notes so much that the proper way to do so was specifically taught in ‘finishing schools’ worldwide. Emily Post – the mother of modern manners – was insistent its demonstration of good taste. So much so that her family has dedicated an entire chapter in the book Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today to how cards should be inscribed, addressed, and sent.

Yes, there is a time and place for all that formality and yet I think the moms, aunts, and grandmoms in the world would be happy with something scribbled on the back of a napkin or paper plate… it’s the gesture of expressing appreciation that is most meaningful; especially in this digital age where most of us communicate via email and/or text messaging so frequently.

All said, as we approach graduation and wedding season where gift giving is common… take the traditional approach and hand write a few sentences of gratitude for someone’s presence and/or their presents! A few minutes of your time will honor the gift you received and more so – the giver when you…

 

Send thank you cards.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.