#148 Read a book about History

The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#148

Read a book about History

Was History a class that you zoned out on in High School or College? Did you resist listening to the story about Christopher Columbus or Napoleon for the umpteenth time after awhile? Have you ever found yourself wishing you knew more about certain time periods now that you are an adult and perhaps more traveled?

Fiction or Non?

Learning about history can be accomplished in a variety of ways but reading a book that is either biographical in nature, a factual presentation of historical data, or a historical novel can offer a great perspective and tons of information you never knew you’d actually find interesting.

Outside of reading about Mary Todd Lincoln and fantasizing about being able to wear hoop skirts, my interest in historical information was minimal until I became an adult. Interestingly, it was my love of historical fiction and generational novels that enticed a wider interest in other time periods and I’m not sure I gave it much significance until Downton Abbey rekindled my interest in the fashions of the late 1800’s – shortly after hoops were removed from the skirts of ladies dresses.

Emotional Investment

Since then, and perhaps in tandem with a couple of visits to Europe in recent years, my interest in history has bloomed. I’ve enjoyed the fiction of Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford – both authors who create magical fictional characters against the backdrop of actual events. I am able to imagine the depth and breadth of those moments far better than a college history lecture when I am emotionally invested in the characters who are being invaded by the Nords, grieving a war loss, or losing their fortune in a market crash.

Biographies

Biographies are another way to establish an emotional connection to a character; one who is historical in their own right. These books are stories as well as factual (in most cases) accounts that are shared in the context of the person’s life – mostly historical. The need for environmental context is almost always present and so we are introduced to this person in relation to their historical surroundings, often giving us a front seat view of an event we read out in the paper or in a textbook at some point.

Politics

Maybe even more recently, I am intrigued by political history and as they say, “history repeats itself” (I know this to be true with firsthand experience in fashion and furniture design) so I search archived accounts of leaders who demonstrated attributes similar to our current president. I think I am looking for hope.

Perspective

History gives us perspective. The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention. We may do different things but our motivation is often similar – allowing us to experience compassion and empathy when we look backwards. It can also promote deep gratitude; for the people who came before us – their struggle, efforts, and intent.

We can always be learning and growing. One of the ways to do that is to…

Read a book about history.

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

#149 Try a Cleanse

While there are a ton of products on the market that claim to ‘cleanse’ there are dangers to riding your body of too many of the nutrients that aid in the proper digestion of good things we eat.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#149

Try a Cleanse

Yesterday, I offered the tip of fasting for a day and touted the potential benefits of doing so. One of them is cleaning the body of toxins. If denying yourself a meal isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps a cleanse would accomplish much of the same objective.

Get the Bad Stuff Out

A cleanse is intentionally ingesting something that is designed to rid your body of the chemicals and bacteria that should not be there and/or is hazardous to your overall lifespan. There are a number of foods that purport to detoxify your body primarily by flushing fluids; very similar to the process we use in our home piping system.

Ideally, a cleanse is designed to encourage your liver, kidneys, and colon to do their job. THEY are the organs in our bodies that are perfectly designed to naturally keep the good things in and the bad things out. Eating foods that help them process more effectively and work better is the key here.

The Liver

Your liver filters toxins from your blood at the rate of 1.4 liters per minute. It breaks down alcohol, drugs, and chemicals we ingest. Dark berries and hot peppers (caspian) will help it work more effectively. The best advice however is to eat cleanly and avoid alcohol of any kind for the best liver function. The liver is divinely designed to heal itself naturally and will do so if there aren’t any deterrents

The Colon

The colon accumulates waste and prepares it for elimination. In order to do so, material needs to move freely and so hydration and fiber are critical components. Dr. Oz says whole grains and fermented food are key elements in this process.

The Kidneys

The kidneys filter toxins from the blood as well and are responsible in maintaining electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Hydration is a primary consideration here – a state that most human bodies today fail to balance. When properly hydrated, kidneys don’t need to be cleansed. Cauliflower, broccoli, and Soy products will support kidney function naturally.

Dr. Oz Recommends

While there are a ton of products on the market that claim to ‘cleanse’ there are dangers to riding your body of too many of the nutrients that aid in the proper digestion of good things we eat. A diet with only the foods listed here may be the only cleanse you need (not medical advice) says Dr. Oz who recommends eating the recommended foods over a 48 hour period to assist the natural efforts of your body.

When your body works the way it was designed, your energy level, your mood, and your spirit are likely to be organically balanced. If you don’t want to fast, you can …

Try a cleanse.

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

 

#150 Fast for a Day

The postulation is that without food to digest, the body organically spends its energy cleaning house.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#150

Fast for a Day

You may have done this recently for some kind of a medical test and decided that fasting was ‘for the birds’ as you denied yourself coffee or food because the doctor ‘said so’.

Personal Control

What if you fasted for a day because YOU wanted to… because you were demonstrating control over your body for the purpose of telling your cells ‘who’s boss’! Or, perhaps you’ve heard of “intermittent fasting” where you only eat food during an 8 hour time period and no more – giving your body a full 16 hours every day to process what you’ve put in it.

Perfect Design

Fasting has been a tradition, a happenstance of the environment, a spiritual practice, and a medicinal effort for perhaps as long as man has been walking the earth. At the very least, our bodies are designed to fast overnight as we sleep and they know what to do when they are deprived. In fact, many illnesses were called “Kings disease” because it was only those who were well fed that came down with particular ailments – attributed to gluttonous living.

Start Over

While there are significant debates among medical professionals about the types of illness that benefit from fasting, one tenet is common; fasting offers the body an opportunity to ‘reset’ (akin to ‘wiping the hard drive’). This may be especially helpful when beginning a healthier eating phase or starting a weight loss program – a kind of ‘jump start’ for your body by cleansing the system of accumulated toxins.

Fasting – consuming water only – for a day allows the body an opportunity to enter the stage of autophagy which basically means that the body naturally works to repair damage that has accumulated. The postulation is that without food to digest, the body organically spends its energy cleaning house. Intermittent fasting (one day a week, for example) has been demonstrated to be very helpful for some medical conditions.

Be Smart

Some people fast for longer durations. These intense fasting sessions should be done under medical supervision as the experience is very similar to detoxing from hard core drugs according to people who have suddenly eliminated sugars and refined carbs from their diets. When the body is denied these ‘drugs’ and the reserves it has to use run dry – there is a withdrawal experience.

Before you grab the bull by the horn and dive into a fasting experience, pick a day when you will be distracted by things or people you love (to detract your attention away from hunger), do a trial run by…

Fasting for a day.

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

#151 Send Postcards

You can save a little money too! Sending a postcard only costs $.35 today compared the the $.50 of a regular stamped card/envelope.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#151

Send Postcards

Remember when people would go on vacation and send us a postcard with the sentiment “wish you were here?” You’d get a little envious or jealous or just happy that someone you care about was in a place that looked amazing.

Today, with social media, the need for postcards is practically obsolete yet, they still adorn racks near the cashier of retail establishments in those places that are considered tourist attractions and exist mostly for the benefit of collections.

I’ve written about sending snail mail before and the cheer that it brings to most of us when we actually receive something significant in the mailbox. A postcard from a place you’ve been, a place that is meaningful to you, or a place that you may want to share with someone would be a great treat as well.

Postcards can be used as thinking of you cards’, ‘get well cards’, or even to send birthday wishes. In this age of image bombardment – the picture focus of Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, the photo element of a postcard seems apropos.

No matter where you are, there’s likely to be a place that offers at least a small collection of postcards to choose from. Even in non-descript places off a major interstate may offer some depicting the best features of the state you’re travelling through.

You can save a little money too! Sending a postcard only costs $.35 today compared the the $.50 of a regular stamped card/envelope. The savings of $.15 adds up over time and those little cost savings is how the rich get richer!

The next time you’re at the shore, the lake, in the mountains, or on vacation… maybe even the next time you stop in a Cracker Barrel restaurant… pick up a few postcards and surprise your friends and family with a little mailbox treat! I’ve written extensively in this series about the benefits of doing nice things, surprising someone, and the effect of receiving good will. In each case, there is a shot of dopamine for both you and the receiver… increasing your happiness level just a tad with the quick and easy effort of…

Sending a postcard.

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

#152 Make a Family Yearbook

It becomes a living journal, a historical record, and a family treasure.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#153

Make a Family Yearbook

Scrapbooking has been a popular pastime and in actuality, big business but there’s a new kid in town. It’s called a Memory Book. The rising popularity of the digital age has given space to an average person’s ability to create hard bound books from the collections of digital photographs that are now stored on our smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. My suggestion here is to begin the tradition of creating a family Yearbook – just like the one from high school but … about your family instead.

Shifting Concept

While not as personal or time consuming as the traditional method of noting memories, the Family Yearbook is made in the style of a Memory Book; similar to a scrapbook but digital. It can be as creative as you have the desire, time, and talent to make it so and without a trip to the craft store or hundreds (or thousands) of dollars of machines and materials. There are apps and programs that will allow you to do all of the creating and then there are apps and programs that will grab data from your social media accounts and create basic prototypes that you may edit.

Players

Shutterfly, MixBook, and Snapfish are the big players here. In all three cases, you upload the photos you want to use, pick a layout, and create. They are relatively user friendly and offer competitive pricing but MixBook took top honors in a recent review of similar players.

Of course, there are local options too… in the review above, Walgreens & Walmart made the list. Here, you take a flash drive or photo card to the physical location and use a kiosk to make your book. The creativity may be less personalized and you are limited by their stock selections.

Certainly, another option is to hire a digital designer to make you a book. I think this is a great option for something like a 50th Wedding Anniversary, or a life celebration where you are collecting stories as well as a long history of photos. If it’s something that would be considered an ‘heirloom’ item – go ahead and spring for the big buck version if you can… you may be more satisfied with a more professional flair.

Family Treasure

Why a memory book? They provide the lure, the joy, and the interest of photo albums and scrapbooks with the durability of an encyclopedia volume. The memories may be captured in similar contexts but the variability, the time constraint, and the robustness of a Memory Book seem to offer a longer lasting solution. It becomes a living journal, a historical record, and a family treasure.

The holiday’s are fast approaching and so it’s a great time to think about all those experiences you had, the photos you took, and laughter you shared this year and how it would all be recorded as you…

Make a Family Yearbook

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

#153 Decorate for the Season/Holiday

Lift your spirit and entice a celebratory energy each time you walk into your home.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#153

Decorate for the Season / Holiday

This suggestion is inspired by all of you who do this year after year because I believe it’s something that those of us who don’t… may benefit from. Just walking into any big box store confirms that the seasonal decoration business is booming. No matter the season, Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer  – there are distinct elements and/or holidays that prompt us to embellish our homes with seasonal decor.

Fall

In the Fall, we are presented with beautiful foliage informed items that bring much of the outside color – in. Without changing the color of our walls or the art we hang there, Autumn color adorns table decorations, window clings, candles and their containers, and porch ornaments as we embellish our mantles, tables, porches, and flowerbeds.

Fall

In addition, Halloween decorating has become extremely popular which is emphasized by the plethora of ‘scary’ items intended to bring the ‘haunted’ element to neighborhood homes for the entertainment value it offers the end-of-month trick or treaters. Almost immediately, we move into the season of ‘Giving Thanks’ and very quickly, to Winter.

Winter

Without almost any time passing, we move from Fall to Christmas – a holiday that brings out the decorations in a way no other time does. From our front lawns and rooftops to the family room and bath – decorating for Christmas is common across the board. I won’t spend much time in this area of the discussion as most of us don’t need additional encouragement.

outdoor-christmas-decor-sicewi6n

After Christmas, Valentine’s Day gives us a wintry reason to brighten up a dull and sometimes white, landscape, inside & out. This can be a fun and cheerful way to lighten the mood when the winter ‘blues’ have taken over.

Spring

Who isn’t ready for beauty and fun by the time Spring arrives? Generally, Easter gives us a reason to get our creative spirit moving in the decorating department. Here again, marketing gurus have enticed us with a growing body of outdoor options, including giant blow up bunnies that wave to passersby.

easter

If it isn’t eggs and rabbits, it can be tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths or religious artifacts celebrating Christian beliefs.

Summer

And then there is summer, highlighted with patriotic holidays that entice the red, white, and blue color schemes. This is the time of year that truly encourages outdoor decor as that is where we spend our time. From banners across our decks, decorative pillows/cushions on the patio chairs, or string lights that help to create a festive vibe… summer is the perfect time to bring our decorating energy into whatever outdoor space we inhabit.

No matter the season or budget, a little construction paper or fine arts can bring color and fun into your environment, helping to lift your spirit and entice a celebratory energy each time you walk into your home. Whether you live alone or in a house full of peeps, revitalize the heart by…

Decorating for the season.

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

#154 Follow the 5 Minute Rule

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#154

Follow the 5 Minute Rule

About a year ago I ran across Mel Robbins and her explanation of the 5 second rule…. A commitment to start those things you’ve been putting off by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 – and GO. She does a much better job of discussing this and extolling its benefits – it’s worthy of attention if you procrastinate. Interestingly enough, as I was explaining it months later – I confused the concept by describing that we can do anything for 5 minutes so go ahead and … just do it. It’s different than Mel’s strategy but helpful nonetheless.

There are tons of things in our life – on our to-do lists – that we simply don’t want to do… we may dread it or be annoyed by our need to accomplish it. Perhaps it just feels overwhelming. The idea behind the ‘5 minute rule’ is that if spend just five minutes on that item  you are avoiding and still don’t find the wherewithal to keep going – then, stop; redirect and know that you made an effort.

Reality

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away. We often finish before the five minutes is up, having manifested the ‘thing’ to be much bigger – more challenging – than it actually was. Additionally, after giving something five minutes of our time and attention, we frequently discover that we can keep going; that it isn’t that bad after all or that we’re halfway there.

Try It

As you go throughout your day and face something that feels overwhelming or too cumbersome to attack – consider using this 5 minute rule and step into it with a timer set. Let me know what the result is! I love to hear the successes or challenges when people make an attempt to …

Follow the five minute rule.

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