#1 Practice Mutuality

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.

#1

Practice Mutuality

Mutuality is defined as…

The sharing of a feeling, action, or relationship between two or more parties.”

It’s a reciprocal exchange of intent, energy, and commitment in friendship, familial relationships, and marriage. The pinnacle of mutuality is when your interest is in the love, respect, support, and trust of another individual. We do this easily in friendship. We encourage, support, trust, love, and respect the autonomy and independence of our friends.

Love Relationships

In order to practice mutuality in romantic relationships, you get up every day with the goal of helping your loved one have their best day ever. Your focus is on supporting them to achieve their highest goals, to be their best selves and you do this no. matter. what. It can be hard in those love relationships that endure day to day stressors and get more complicated over time as we combine finances, raise children, and try to balance home and work. 

Reciprocal

Mutuality is the based on the concept of reciprocation. You have my back… I have yours. Do onto me what you would have me do onto you. Etcetera. When I feel supported, I am willing to support. When I feel loved, I am offering love back. When I am respected, I respect. When I am appreciated, I will be appreciative. It works beautifully under those conditions and it fosters great respect. Without reciprocation, mutuality takes on a whole new look.

Self-respect

In the best example of mutuality, both people in the relationship are focused on one another, respecting the space, independence, goals, and autonomy of the other. If you are in a relationship where it is not reciprocated, then the key is to kick self-respect into high gear and practice mutuality personally.

In this case, it may look like this…  “I respect you but if you can’t be as respectful of me, I must practice self-respect”. “I am encouraging you to reach your goals but if you can’t encourage me than I must encourage myself”. “ I am supporting you to be your best and will continue to support myself to grow and learn”. Sometimes, the mutuality you engage in is with yourself by setting boundaries that demonstrate a respect for self.

Relationships

The self-respect examples I list are more often for those relationships that  you don’t necessarily choose; family, boss, neighbor, etc… In a romantic relationship, the practice of mutuality is one of the only ways to foster a happy and healthy bond. It creates an environment where both of your needs for love, respect, support, and autonomy are being encouraged and developed. You are building one another up – not with hot air, but with energy that binds. It will ‘feel’ good.

For best results in every relationship, it’s important to …

Practice Mutuality.

TTAH

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#17 Host a Clothing Swap

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.

#17

Host a Clothing Swap

Were you ever dismayed to find out that your friends sweater – the one you loved – got sent to Goodwill? Are you in the habit of dipping into your roommate’s closet more often than your own? Are you on a budget but really tired of your wardrobe? The solution may be as easy as hosting a clothing swap.

This is an activity that mom’s often engage in when they have friends with children just under or over the ages of their friends. Kids, especially babies, frequently outgrow their clothes before they can wear them out and so it’s financially prudent to swap clothe as you go along. Since we so easily think of this for our kids, it’s equally sensible to do it for ourselves.

It’s easy.

Clean out your closet just as you would if you were going to donate clothing to charity. Invite a few friends over after directing them to do the same, open a bottle of wine, and take turns choosing something from one another’s discards. Don’t limit the items to clothing. Jewelry, shoes, bags, and other accessories will also be “new to you”. These items are especially considerations for those friends who may not be the same size. Whatever is left can then be donated.

This particular suggestion hits the mark on all levels by promoting recycling, inspiring financial sensibility, upgrading your wardrobe and boosting the happiness that ensues from all of that.

If you’re looking to refresh your closet, why not invite a few friends and have a fun night by…

Hosting a clothing swap.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

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

#21 Give Some a Homemade Gift

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.

#21

Give Some a Homemade Gift

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s one of the best times to give someone a homemade gift… in this case, a homemade card depicting your affection – is perfect. Who wouldn’t prefer a few well thought out sentiments that come directly from the heart?

A handmade card is lovely and a handmade gift is often just as appreciated, especially when it is made with the recipient in mind. How about someone’s favorite cookie, pie, or cake? A member of my family prefers to receive baggies of my well known shredded pork barbecue (nothing special really) anytime it’s his birthday or if I draw his name for our Christmas exchange. Knowing that you have a home cooked option in the freezer after a long day of working really is a ‘gift’ at times.

Personal Thought

When we offer something we made, it frequently symbolizes that we spent time and energy thinking of the individual; crafting something specifically designed for the person receiving the gift. A friend of mine is involved in a community gift exchange every year and they make something that is reminiscent of the community in which they reside. It might be a collection of leaves from the trees specific to their street, another year it was made out of driftwood that washed up on the shore of their community. Later yet it was something crafted with the motto of the neighborhood. All of the gift were specific to the broader connection between the giver and the recipient.

Ideas

There are tens of thousands of ideas on the internet or in the aisles of big box stores catering to crafter’s such as Michael’s, AC Moore, and Joanne’s. It can be cooked, baked, knitted, crocheted, stitched, sewn, painted, drawn, stamped, burnt, carved, glued, built, burnished, adorned, or woven – just to cover the basics. There are classes upon classes if you need ideas or support. There are how to videos all over YouTube not to mention basic instructions on almost anything you can imagine in blog posts and articles in the Do-It-Yourself genre.

Really, there isn’t any excuse or reason one may offer to avoid the sentiment of offering something homemade the next time there is a gift-giving occasion. Now may be the best time to put on your thinking cap and start a list of ideas so that when it’s needed, you can…

Give some a homemade gift.

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

TTAH

Join me for Try This At Home podcast – where I am co-hosting a series of conversations designed to make every day a little better.

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#37 Sing Karaoke

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.

#37

Sing Karaoke

After recommending that we try Stand Up Comedy as a way to improve your well-being, I’d be remiss to ignore the idea of singing publicly as another way to foster fun, laughter, friendship, and joy in your life. And, while I am quite sure that I may be the spectacle of fun were I to stand up and attempt to sing a popular song… it would make for great memories.

Evidence

Several years ago a Japanese research team published a study indicating that those people who participated in the practice of getting together with friends and singing, were less stressed, had better cardiovascular health and less susceptible to heart disease. I mean, clearly those are benefits of reduced stress all around so essentially, they’re saying Karaoke reduces stress – no matter if you can carry a tune.

Talent

The point of Karaoke isn’t necessarily showcasing vocal talent – although it does certainly serve that purpose. We are generally entertained when someone is able to carry a tune and has even a little depth in their vocal range. But even if you can barely make it through Happy Birthday, gathering a group of friends and joining in on a collective rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ is great fun.

Physical Benefits

Maybe one of the best physical benefits of singing is that it forces us to control our breath and breathe deeply. It works our memory which, is exercise for our brain. It strengthens throat and palate muscles which, may improve snoring and apnea. It supports good posture by forcing you to stand more upright, allowing for better breath control. And, it may be one of the most natural antidepressants. People who sang regularly in church were found to have higher dopamine levels than those who did not.

Social Connection

Karaoke is an ongoing opportunity to gather with friends whether it is in a public forum or someone’s living room. It gives you rhyme and reason to connect. If you are a ‘regular’ on open mic night, you may develop a following; fostering confidence and esteem with like minded people.

There doesn’t really seem to be a downside to this recommendation except for the fear you may have revolving around judgment, rejection, ridicule, or failure… all derogatory and ultimately unhelpful; totally worth staring down. A great way to face your fears while having a great time inside a supportive environment is to…

Sing karaoke.

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

#54 Host A PJ Party

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.

#54

Host a PJ Party

One of the best parts of a girls weekend getaway is the opportunity to slip into PJ’s, grab a glass of wine, and giggle with our besties until we can’t keep our eyes open any longer. Well, you don’t have to ‘getaway’ in order for that to happen! Host a PJ party at home.

Sleepovers

I don’t know many kids who grow up without the experience of looking forward to the weekends for their opportunities to invite friends over to spend the night. Girls may do this more often than boys but the allure is always the experience of spending as much time with your friends as you can. We may reach the pinnacle of this in college as couches and floor space are dominated by friends who can’t or shouldn’t be driving home. Once we step into adulting, our friends sleepovers give way to sleepovers of a different nature.

Belonging

One of the most elementary benefits of this kind of comradery is the sense of belonging that it instills. Strong feelings of belonging are helpful to us in so many different ways. When we feel as though we ‘belong’ to a group, our self-esteem is higher; our sense of trust is stronger; our immune systems work better; we sleep more effectively; and the benefits continue…

When we spend quality – stress free – time with our friends, it strengthens our bond; our sense of belonging. Overnight visits are a wonderful way to make this happen.

Self-care

Hosting a one, or a group of friends and taking the time to truly interact with them in a carefree manner is a great way to practice self-care. It’s gathering your tribe; lifting yourself up; and surrounding yourself in love. It’s a wonderful healing exercise, even if you aren’t actively thinking about ‘healing’.

Friendship is to emotional stress what the ocean is to mosquito bites – an organic healer.

If you need a friendship boost or if you are aware of a friend that does – I highly recommend getting back to basics, employing some self-care and…

Host a PJ party!

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

 

#66 Help A Friend

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.

#66

Help A Friend

I imagine many of you do this without encouragement and yet in our very busy lives, we either fail to notice when a friend needs help and/or we don’t offer for fear of offending their autonomy. For some, a fear of getting into another’s business creates hesitation in offering assistance.

Of course this is a common practice when someone is sick, having a baby, or moving. We extend a helping hand eagerly. This suggesting is designed not for those times, but for the others that are not as obvious.

No Matter the Task

When you discover that someone is spending their weekend painting the living room or weeding their gardens, a dinner would be very helpful. After all, who wants to spend all day working up a sweat outdoors and then go inside to pull together a meal? Childcare or lending a hand may also be welcomed help. Do you have supplies that may make the job easier? An offer to come with the proper tools could prove to be invaluable. One of my dearest friends offers to come by and share my cleaning chores just to be helpful even though I like to think that my company is that entertaining! : )

Define Help

Before deciding what you think that your friend may need, make the effort to know what activity would be helpful. Some ideas of ‘help’ actually hinder without intent, sometimes, making a task even more difficult. What may seem as if it would make things easier for you, may not seem so by your friend. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to ask “How can I help?”, “I love to [weed] – can I help?”, or “Let me help you”.

This kind of help really goes beyond just ‘doing a good deed’ or a ‘random act of kindness’ as it is less impulsive and more intentional. It’s a way of ‘being’ with a friend while giving the most important gift. Perhaps for the new year we can all make the effort to be more aware of when our friends can use a helping hand and commit a piece of ourselves to…

Help a friend.

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

#91 Host a Party – Just Because

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.

#91

Host a Party

The days of dinner parties for the sole purpose of spending time with people we enjoy seems to be a thing of the past. Granted, some of us may invite friends over for a barbeque or pizza night but in my world it most often meant the kids too and was the only way we made the effort to socialize at home. I’m making this recommendation to bring the party back home – just because.

Hosting

Back in the day of dinner parties, people used their best china, set out the crystal and sterling, and donned a string of pearls when they hosted friends. I’m not recommending that kind of formality as it also – has gone by the wayside in most urban homesteads. A ‘party’ for this reference is any gathering of people for the enjoyment of one another company and not for a special occasion. It can mean dinner, or not. It can mean decorations, or not. It can include alcohol, or not. And it can be formal, or not. Hosting means that you decide, you plan, you do the work (or delegate), and it’s at a location of your choice, preferably your home where you can relax and enjoy.

Doing the Work

I know. Hosting a party can be a lot of work but … it doesn’t have to be! Learning to keep it simple and allowing the pleasure of one another’s company to be the center focus is easier than one would think IF, you can learn to let go of a few things. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be creative. It doesn’t have to be homemade. Giving the bathroom a wipe-over and running the vacuum will help others feel less germ-o-phobic but no one is going to be looking at your baseboards or inside your kitchen cabinets. Asking people to bring a dish to share eliminates a day of cooking and introduces you to different culinary options. Chill out and stay focused on the laughter you’ll generate as you play a round of Cards Against Humanity or belt out a few Karaoke songs.

Theme

Since the goal is to have a party “just because” get-togethers for exchanging something (ornaments, cookies) don’t count; nor do demonstrations like Pampered Chef or Lularoe. The goal is not ‘thing’ related – it’s ‘doing’ related. Get together and engage in comradery. If you absolutely need something to go on – create a theme:

  • Ask people to bring their favorite bottle of wine and do a wine tasting.
  • Ask people to bring a board game and try to play them all.
  • Ask people to bring their favorite dip and snack all night.
  • Ask people to bring a taco topping – provide shells and protein.

Benefits

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last 270 days or so, you’ve no doubt read about the benefits of friendship, laughter, belonging, and doing… hosting a party combines some of the best criteria for positive mental health outcomes so go ahead and look at your calendar … sometime around the middle of January when nothing else is prevalent and …

Host a party… just because.

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

#94 Celebrate a Friend

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.

#94

Celebrate a Friend

Friendship is a gift. In the longest longitudinal study of human development ever conducted, it was ascertained that friendship is critical to our mental health and directly impacts our physical health. A good friend wears many hats and by helping us make critical decisions, cope with stress, and rebound from illness. A good friend may literally make the difference between life and death at a critical point whether it is holding our hand during an emotionally weak moment or donating a kidney, bone marrow, or genetic material so that we can start a family. A good friend deserves to be celebrated.

Appreciation

When was the last time you demonstrated solid appreciation for the friends in your life? If you’ve been remiss, now is a great time to reconcile your gratitude. Consider hosting a “[Barbara]Appreciation Day”. It may look very simple – a handwritten card with expressions of acknowledgement. It could be a PB&J picnic or treating him/her to a nice lunch at their favorite restaurant. It could be a full-on surprise party or celebration that catches them off guard and for the sole reason that they’ve been instrumental in your life. The point is to acknowledge their contribution to your overall well being as you…

Celebrate a friend

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

#104 Ditch Gossip

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.

#104

Ditch Gossip

If you’re human, you’ve probably – at least once in your lifetime – participated in a round of gossip. By definition, gossip is the “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others”. It is differentiated from asking a friend if they’ve ‘run into’ another… or asking about the welfare of a joint acquaintance. It’s speaking about someone’s life without explicit permission to do so.

Hurtful

By speaking about things that are considered private or deeply personal, we are likely to insult or hurt the targeted individual even if that wasn’t the intent. It may promote shame for that person and ignite feelings that lead to depression, helplessness, and sadly… even suicide. Gossip can injure esteem and confidence. It can lead to feelings of loneliness and cause people to isolate further. It often leads to embarrassment when someone’s private business becomes the focus of outsiders. The anxiety that results can paralyze.

Breach of Trust

When we gossip for the sake of having something to say, we breach the trust that others have in us for keeping their secrets. How many times have you questioned whether or not someone is talking about you the way they are talking about another? If they are willing to betray the interest of John Doe, what keeps them from doing the same to you? How do we build respect for someone that breaches trust? Without trust and respect, how is a relationship sustained?

Do Unto Others

Do you want your personal and private affairs to be the center of discussion between people not involved? If you think that may be bothersome, make the effort to change your energy into something more productive and compassionate. Make a conscious decision to …

Ditch Gossip.

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