#9 Go on a Retreat

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.

#9

Go on a Retreat

How many times have you wished you could get away from it all? Have you fantasized about sitting in silence or dedicating time and attention to your spiritual, physical, or emotional health? A retreat may be just the thing for you.

Abandon

A retreat is an opportunity to temporarily abandon the typical distractions that become a part of our day to day life. It’s an opportunity to deeply relax and allow enough time for an inner change to take place and be sustained. Generally, a retreat differs from a typical vacation in that it focuses on a developmental purpose. The examples include Yoga, Meditation, Massage, Spiritual, Mindfulness, Food, and Fitness; there are dozens of options.

Focus

Imagine a week of de-stressing in a relaxing atmosphere where your only concern is may be literally feeding your body, mind, or soul. A retreat can be effective even if it is for a weekend. The concept is getting away long enough to fix your focus on something healing.

Options

From websites like Retreat Guru to Google searches such as “retreat centers in [your region]”, there are literally thousands of choices around the globe that offer get-a-ways to recharge you. Depending on your budget, you can go local or halfway around the world.

Self-Care

A retreat is a kind of self-care on the next level. It takes you beyond a good night’s rest or an evening with friends and dedicates an entire period to individual care – much of what you do on your own (meditation, yoga, spiritual) but with the time and space to accomplish what didn’t happen at home.

When life is too much or preferably before it is overwhelming, do yourself a favor and …

Go on a retreat.

TTAH

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

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#27 Get Five-Star Treatment

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.

#27

Get Five-Star Treatment

When was the last time you were treated like the Queen of something? Or the King? Have you had white glove service? Flown first class? Have you been waited on pool side? You deserve to and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – or anything at all if you are super lucky.

Deserving

We are all deserving of being spoiled and attended to from time to time. Whether it is a spa day where our bodies are pampered, a five star restaurant where a meal is prepared and served with perfection, or a day at home where our every need is anticipated… it’s nice to know that someone in the world – at some point in time – is there for us.

Defined

Exactly what constitutes five star treatment? Most of us agree it’s when we feel attended to, important, and/or special. It’s when service is entirely focused on the pleasure and satisfaction of the customer. And, sadly – it’s not available everywhere. Indeed, five star service is so exemplary that it’s difficult to achieve.  

Five stars is a mentality according to Dr. Williams in an article in CSM magazine – a way of working. He explains that it’s an attitude and discipline that denies mediocrity. And while we intellectually know that “perfect” isn’t consistently possible – the persistent striving for is what sets the tone of five stars.

Finding It

A five star experience is when every detail is anticipated or provided for and it’s not necessarily only at expensive establishments. There are spas, restaurants, markets, shops, hotels, and resorts that are reasonably priced and demand excellence from their staff. Finding it can be challenging at times and if it is affordable for the average consumer, there may be a significant wait time for service. Websites and apps like Yelp and TripAdvisor can help in your search.

Treat Yourself

There’s something really special about being treated as if you are the only person in the world for an hour, a day, or longer. Especially for those of you who are devout caregivers, it’s great to provide exemplary care and maybe even nicer to be the recipient every once in a while. Why not treat yourself by making an appointment or reservations to …

Get five-star treatment.

TTAH

Listen 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

 

 

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#53 Eat Dessert First

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.

#59

Eat Dessert First

I happen to be writing this from the balcony of a cruise ship where dessert is available almost 24 hours a day. I’ve noticed that by the time I am offered desert each night, I am far too full to add anything else to my digestion system and I am reminded that my grandmother would often treat us to the pleasure of eating dessert first.

I think the concept of eating dessert first is centered on knowing how to treat yourself. My grandmother understood the concept of self-care and while I’m not sure everyone in her world saw it as such, she didn’t hesitate to meet her own needs. She was a strong woman who understood what was good for her and what wasn’t.

For her, eating dessert first wasn’t about indulging in sugary treats versus nutrition, or giving in to fanciful whims of confectionery concoction on a regular basis…

It was predominantly a consideration of understanding balance; that sometimes, as a treat, you could set aside the rules and do what you want instead of what you ‘should’ (with consideration, of course).

I used this strategy once in awhile with my children and offered them an “upside down dinner” – starting with dessert, moving to an entree, and then offering a salad to end the meal but of course, no one ever opted in for the salad selection!

Today, as I move through the buffet line at lunch, I am going directly to the dessert section and select the yummiest option as my first course justifying it as the pursuit of self care! I strongly recommend – for the sake of life balance…

Eat dessert first.

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.

 

#70 Splurge on Nice Sheets

Merry Christmas! If this is a religious holiday for you, I wish you the joy of Christ’s blessings. If not, I wish for you the joy and love of friends and/or family and hope you have a beautiful day.

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.

#70

Splurge on Nice Sheets

Considering that we spend somewhere around one-third of our life in bed, it’s not presumptuous to think that it needs to be a place of comfort.  A major element of a great bed are the sheets that we lie between. It’s one of those treats we never knew we needed until we’ve had the experience. Once you have the pleasure of sleeping on really nice sheets, it will be a goal.

Material

What determines how nice a sheet is? The experts say that the very first thing to look for is the fiber of the sheet – what is it made of? The higher quality of fiber, the more comfortable the sheet. 100% cotton sheets may wrinkle and be more expensive but they will absorb moisture better than anything else. If you perspire a lot while you sleep, cotton sheets are a must. They’re easier to keep clean as well because polyester blends tends to hold dirt and stain. For the most comfortable feel, choose a long fiber sheet generally labeled ‘Pima’ or ‘Egyptian long staple’.

Thread Count

After the material, you want a high thread count. [note that lower thread count 100% cotton is better than higher thread count poly blend] In my experience, typical sheets are in the 200 range (the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch). Thread counts can go as high as 1000 but really nice sheets are in the 500 – 800 range most often.

Weave

The method of weaving those threads is also a determinant of how the sheets feel. The most common is Percale, equally woven between horizontal and vertical threads. Percale sheets are known to be crisp and breathes more easily so they’re cooler in summer months. Sateen sheets are woven differently and are therefore much thicker and tightly woven. They will keep you warmer in the winter months and they are generally thought to be softer.

Buying

If you didn’t get sheets under the Christmas tree, don’t fret. January is known for its “white sales” where linens are generally deeply discounted. If sheets aren’t the priority right now, you’re likely to find great prices at online retailers like Overstock.com throughout the year. It’s been my go-to site for linens for years. Similar to the strategy many of us use for electronics – buy the most exquisite you can afford.

Treat yourself to the thing you never knew you wanted…

Splurge on nice sheets.

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

 

#73 Hire a Physical Trainer

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.

#73

Hire a Physical Trainer

Are you a faithful gym goer? Are you completely sure your workout is the one that best fits your body and goals? For a trainer to work with you and establish a set of exercises that will help you reach your goals and efficiently develop your muscles, you will spend anywhere between $40 and $90 an hour. Considering that a trip to the emergency room can run in the thousands, a trainer makes more sense.

Accountability

Perhaps one of the most beneficial elements of paying for a personal trainer is that he or she hold us accountable for reaching the goals we establish. On those sets where we can’t seem to bring ourselves to finish – the trainer is there to encourage us and help see us to the finish line.

Variety

When we get used to a routine, it’s good for awhile but then it can become boring and when something is boring – we’re less likely to pursue it over time. Additionally, a trainer is versed in a number of different workouts that work the same goal and can help us change thing sup so that our goals are achieved without the workout becoming mundane.

Stubborn Fat

Trainers are experts in knowing how to get those spots on our body that remain resistant to self motivated reduction. Whether it’s belly fat, arms, or the small back rolls that pop up with a few extra pounds – a trainer may have a trick or two that can address those problem areas.

Self Care

Hiring a trainer is an ultimate form of self care. Its demonstrating that you are important enough to invest in yourself. It’s not only the professional advice, but the dedication to pursue a workout that helps you to reach your physical health goals.

No matter your age, indeed – at every age – an expert directing your workout can provide benefit beyond what has been mentioned. Give yourself a boost to any New Year’s resolutions you may make about getting to the gym and commit to …

Hiring a personal trainer.

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

 

#74 Find a Therapist

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.

#74

Find a Therapist

I don’t mean this suggestion to be self servicing in any manner. I have always touted the benefit of having a confidant, professional or otherwise. The difference between a psychotherapist and a best friend is that the latter most often cannot be as objective.

Objectivity

Objectivity is important because someone needs to call us out on our shit. Not that assertively of course, but hold us to seeing ourselves honestly when we are tempted to lie to ourselves. They are the ones that have no emotional connection to the outcome of your decisions and therefore, can give you an honest perspective.

Perspective

Therapists offer perspective – a chance to see the forest AND the trees – so to speak. Sometimes, we are so caught up in our own scenario that we cannot get a full view of the situation at hand. Other times, everything gets tangled and a therapist can helps us pull pieces apart so that they can be seen clearly.

Universality

One of the benefits of therapy is to discover that you are not alone. Not that the therapist tells you specifics about other people in similar circumstances, but they are often able to share general information they have collected over time. Finding someone who can relate to our struggles has great benefit.

Good Fit

One of the challenges about therapy is making sure to find a therapist that is a good fit for your personality and issues. In many ways, a therapist becomes a kind of friend. Not the kind you have dinner with or invite over for birthdays but the kind that knows you and your vulnerabilities but continues to support and offer advice without judgment. The therapeutic relationship enhances healing opportunities immensely

Priorities

When I think of the price of therapy, I think about the roof on my house. If it leaked, I wouldn’t spare any available expense to fix it lest the problem gets worse and ruins the entire home. I’ve heard people excited that they bought the newest flat screen television, iPad, or cell phone; booked a cruise, a weekend in New York City, or Disney yet they deny their ability to cover the cost of a few counseling sessions. These choices speak only to the order of priority of mental health and well-being. Many challenges are addressed in a matter of those same costs even if insurance is unavailable.

Nothing is more important than your emotional and physical health – without it, your best life is just out of reach so just like you make the effort to find a good dentist, a good attorney, and a good accountant, spend some energy and…

Find a therapist.

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

#83 Go Ahead and Veg

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.

#83

Go Ahead and Veg

Do you know how to relax? Do you feel guilty or restless when you spend time doing ‘nothing’? It may be time for you to learn to let go and experience the pleasure of ‘veg’ing’ once in awhile.

Define

According to Urban Dictionary – to “Veg” means to “relax all day”, or to “be in a vegetative state”.  Most people think of this in terms of ‘doing nothing’ or ‘not accomplishing anything’ and I can’t help but wonder why most of us are so compelled to constantly ‘be accomplishing’ something.

I suppose we should also now clarify what it means to ‘relax’. The concept is easily considered if we imagine spending a day on the beach with our feet in the sand, a good book in our hand, and our mind fully content listening to the surf and seagulls. For some reason, we give ourselves permission to spend the day on the beach ‘vegging’ but deny ourselves that relaxation when we are at home.

Rest

Some might argue that in contemporary societies, we simply do not rest enough. Many studies have pointed out the perils of sleep deprivation with attention to the fact that it is at epidemic levels in the American society. Sleep then, would be the most beneficial way to obtain rest but so too… is fostering one’s ability to ‘veg’. This is a time when we are absolutely not focused on those things which could be linked to daily stressor items; work, money, family, etc. It may be reading a nonsense fiction book, or sitting on the deck birdwatching, or channel surfing – any activity at produces a resting heart rate and allows your mind, body, and soul to be on auto mode.

Recharge

Vegging helps you recharge. It settles your body and brain from the demanding performance levels one frequently experiences day-to-day. It is a ‘plugging in’ of sorts – breaking away from energy draining activities to recharge and regroup. Thinking of vegging in this manner may help you dismiss any derogatory feelings about letting those hours slip by unaccomplished.

Perspective

This is not to say that constant vegging will be good for anyone. Indeed, vegging should be utilized in those times – other than vacation – when its obvious that your tank is empty or when you feel the stress level about to overflow. Those are the times when its imperative that you give yourself permission to let go of the ‘to-do’ list and …

Go ahead and ‘veg’.

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

#84 Go Solo

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.

#84

Go Solo

In a world where we talk so much about belonging, I am going to recommend that – at least for some time – you ‘go solo’.

What does that mean?

Depending on who you’re talking to, the term ‘go solo’ may refer to a number of things. Some people immediately take it to the far side and assume you’re spending some ‘intimate’ time with yourself. Others wonder if you are going to ‘go out on your own’ professionally. Still others conjure visions of sitting in a movie theater or a restaurant by yourself. A few may even imagine travel.

Being Alone

No matter the definition, in fact, any of the above can apply… the goal is to find a comfort level with spending time with yourself – and only yourself. This may be uncomfortable for some of you if you think of this from the perspective of sexual pleasure and yet as we narrow down these 365 days, I’d be remiss to leave out this discussion. Indeed, personal pleasure time is very important to a healthy perspective about sex and a satisfactory sex life. If you don’t understand how your body experiences pleasure, how are you ever going to introduce another person to it? The key is to explore and experiment in the privacy and safety of your own company so that you can engage more fully when you are with a partner.

Out & About

In almost every memory I have of attending the movies, I recall seeing at least one person there solo and I’ve always admired their courage to sit there by themselves. My mother preferred going to the movies by herself because (she said) no one would interrupt her experience by asking questions or talking in the middle of it. Another friend prefers to eat lunch alone everyday and seeks restaurants that are quiet and less crowded. She asks for a booth where she can ‘hide’ from the world for that hour and she considers it a reprieve from her stressful job.

Professionally

If your career is in the trades or professional services and you’ve considered or made the decision to ‘go solo’ – bravo to you for taking the initiative of entrepreneurship. It takes considerable courage and commitment to step outside the safety of a group or organization and accept the risk of not knowing where or when your next client will surface. Not everyone can or will be open to existing in that arena but for those that do… the reward is often worth the risk.

Travel

I’ve read blogs and talked to people who have experienced solo travel as “one of the highlights of their lives” and indeed, some prefer it. I stepped out on my first solo travel trip this past summer with much trepidation and had fun although for me… the jury is still out. I love adventure and hesitate to submerge myself in unfamiliar situations without a safe harbor close by. It’s part of my current development plan and a ‘work in progress’.

Self Care

Learning to spend quality time with yourself is vital to your overall emotional health. It’s too demanding on social systems to provide 100% of the comfort that we need as individuals and so it’s imperative that we learn how to be still with ourselves. No matter the platform, consider including some ‘solo time’ into your self care plan. Eventually, you’re sure to establish some comfort in your ability to …

Go solo.

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