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New Year & Vision Boards

We are half way through the first month of our new year. Happy 2020!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and have had opportunity with the start of the new year for a little bit of rest and re-grouping.

No?

Yea, me either.

Our holidays were wonderful but there’s been little in the way of rest and re-grouping. We’ve been clipping along at a pretty steady pace; riding in the new year on a wave of sickness but life moving forward as it does nonetheless.

So…I’ve been wondering…how many of you set resolutions for New Years? How many of you are still on track with resolutions you set? How many forego the setting of New Years Resolutions because…what’s the point?!?!

I once read the average resolution dissolves within the first two weeks – one month, at most.

Yikes!

Might a propose a different approach? Even if you set a resolution you’re still on top of. Or one that’s already tanked. Or skipped the resolution setting all together because you know yourself too well and didn’t want to even bother….

How about creating a vision board?

A tool I used a lot when working with adolescents in therapy: vision boards work in a similar way to other visualization exercises and are proven effective.

Visualization, put simply, is mental practice.

When we put in to practice very detailed and specific visualizations (pertaining to whatever goal) the same areas of the brain are activated as though we were physically doing the activity. It also increases motivation, confidence and self-efficacy.

Visualization primes the brain and sets us up for success!

Sports psychologists use visualization techniques with professional athletes all the time as performance enhancer.

That’s right. It’s science y’all.

When hung in a place often seen, a vision board takes us through a brief visualization exercise (whether we know it’s happening or not) every time our eyes meet with our masterpiece.

This year, rather than get all wrapped up in New Years Resolutions, I set out to create a vision board (mine actually ‘lives’ in a planner that I use daily).

Putting your dreams and desires out into the universe also has a powerful impact. Similar to speaking out loud daily personal affirmations, and having faith in that which is yet unseen.

Here’s the trick, though: while your board should certainly include material things you’d like to have, things you’d like to do and stuff you wish to accomplish, the board should focus more-so on how you want to FEEL.

Because lets be honest: when we FEEL our best, all those other things tend to fall in to place for one reason or another.

So…how about it? Ready to ditch the resolution for (or, at least add to the resolution with) a vision board?

Getting started is easy…..

Start by thinking about how you wish to FEEL in the coming year.
Brainstorm and jot down notes about what is most important to you: in the way of accomplishments, and things or experiences you want to have.

Then, find ‘stuff” to glue to your board that represents the ideas you have brainstormed. Magazines, old calendars, stickers, and brochures. I even used Christmas Cards before they were tossed in the recycling!

Your representations only need to make sense to you so don’t feel the need to find things that anyone would “get” without explanation. Also, don’t feel pressured to explain your board to anyone else…unless you want to, of course.

When finished, proudly display your board where you will see it often!

Re-visit your board as frequently as makes sense for you! If you quickly discover that your board isn’t serving as inspiration and motivation, or you are rapidly achieving what you have envisioned for the new year, have a do-over!

Don’t let fear of not being overly artistically inclined deter you from this exercise. Cast those fears aside and just start creating!!

The new year is a blank slate. How will you color it?

-H

Photo Credit: Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Movement Monday: Standing Abs Challenge Check In & Green Beans

When the garden knocks…you answer…immediately.

The best time to preserve anything – whether canning, freezing or drying – is 24-hours within picking. Or sooner, if possible.

Waiting means the freshness and quality of the food is being compromised (tomatoes has been the only exception to this rule that I use simply because you want them to be as ripe as possible and that sometimes means having to wait a touch).

And what’s the point in putting in all the work if you aren’t going to have a high quality and fresh final product?

Yesterday before it warmed up I got out into the greenhouse and did a harvest.

Tomatoes and green beans galore!

Shortly after I set to work getting 8 pints (the max my pressure canner can hold at a time) of green beans canned and on the shelf for winter eats.

If you’re interested, here’s a post on how green beans come to be a delicious treat long after the garden is gone for the season.

It’s time consuming but oh-so worth it!

In other news…I wanted to check in with those who outreached either via the comments on the blog or personal message on FB with interest in the Standing Abs Challenge (<– link to challenge).

How are y’all doing?

Admittedly, I started off strong and have already fallen off the plan (weekends when there’s a lot going on KILL me!).

So I have some catching up to do.

As I mentioned previously, if you miss a day, you be the boss of you and figure out how you want to address those missed days.

Maybe you skip them all together.

Perhaps you double up a couple days until you’re caught up.

Another option is to exercise through rest days until back on track.

I’m for sure going to make up all the missed reps but haven’t quite decided if I’m going to double up or work through rest days.

If you didn’t jump in on Sept 1st, you’re still welcome to join the fun. For those who’ve started already….I’m interested to hear how you are doing…and if you did anything fun over the weekend. Shout out below!

And have a beautiful Monday!

Why We Sleep Clock

The sleep clock entered our lives a month or so after our foster kids came bursting through the door like the whirl-wind you might imagine (and a whole lot more I promise you couldn’t dream up — because we didn’t/hadn’t/couldn’t — which is probably the reason the chaos hit us so hard. Emotionally and Physically).

Among the lengthy list of “stuff” (i.e. behaviors) we had to navigate with these two little ones were sleep issues.

MAJOR SLEEP ISSUES.

Issues that differed between the two.

For one (9 months old) it was a matter of waking in the night and then holding us hostage the remainder of the night because he simply refused to sleep if he was put back down.

For the other (21 months) it was screaming fits that you can’t imagine, for hours, about bed and nap-time. Not staying asleep. Then inability to convince her that is, in fact, still the middle of the night and too early to get up for the day (cue next screaming fit).

Screaming that continued to torment me in the very few hours I did get some shut-eye. Screaming I heard in the rare moments it was quiet in the house. Screaming that still haunts my dreams from time to time.

The struggle was unreal.

A new family. A new environment. Uncertainty. Confusion. Fear. Lack of schedule being part of your history.

Naps? What are those?

It’s hard to really know what all contributed to this fight – but it wasn’t a fight we could relent on and simply let be.

It was one of those things that we simply had to dig in and figure out because…

Kids need sleep.

We ALL need sleep.

For the one a little sleep training went a LONG way and it wasn’t long before we had him sleeping mostly through the night.

For the other, I had to get creative (beyond simply enduring the 2-3 hour screaming fit — which — I did — because there wasn’t any convincing or soothing that little thing to sleep. She was pissed and scared and sad and she wanted the world to know. I’m not sure about the world, but feel confident our neighbors got the point).

And I remembered a friend of mine talking about a sleep clock she had purchased for her son. A way to keep him in his own bed until an appropriate time to be getting up (i.e. waking her up).

Her son is a lot older than my kiddo but I figured anything was worth a try.

So I ordered a sleep clock.

It took a while for things to catch on: blue means sleep, yellow means wake up. It didn’t do anything to squelch the screaming fits on the front end of the night (or naps). But eventually it helped a great deal with understanding what time of day (or night) it was for a little one unable to tell (or really understand) time.

No more arguing the facts – if the clock is blue, it’s still sleepy time.

We had some fits for a few weeks but eventually she got the gist: she wasn’t getting out of bed until the clock face changed to yellow.

And now?

Both kiddos have sleep clocks.

It doesn’t help get them to sleep. They both continue to boycott the idea.

BUT, it keeps them in bed. Both on the front and back ends of the day.

And this has been monumentally helpful in the morning when I’m here alone attempting to get myself and 3 littles, age 3 and under, ready and out the door.

When they’re all awake at the same time I run the risk of losing all control with kids getting into things they shouldn’t, fighting with one another, etc.

I got a nice taste of this “losing all control” the very first morning after the baby was born and I was flying solo getting the crew ready and out the door. It took nearly 3 hours, start to finish, before I was back home post drop off at the babysitter and so exhausted (because, honestly, my body wasn’t physically ready for that yet) I spent the rest of the day on the couch crying thousands of tears and wondering if I might just die.

So their wake (i.e. get out of bed) times are staggered allowing me to get and stay in a rhythm. I have time to get one up, dressed, teeth brushed and hair combed before situating him in the family room with some toys and a “show”. Then just enough time to unload the dishwasher or start some laundry before the other, who can do a few things a little more independently while I get the baby ready, is up and at ’em.

Before I know it, we are out the door in what might even be described as a semi-organized fashion

When I first embarked upon this idea I was skeptical. Mostly because of their ages, and honestly, their temperaments too.

But staying consistent and a LOT of repetition has paid its dues BIG TIME and made opportunities for absolute craziness in the morning much more manageable.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend considering a sleep clock. Here’s the one we have: My Sleep Clock

It’s simple to operate, setting wake times for week days and weekend days as well as nap duration. We don’t currently use the nap function or the music/white noise functions but the opportunity is there.

The clock is battery operated and doesn’t come with a cord to plug-in but there’s the option for that as well: Sleep Clock Power Adapter

I tend to think the clocks eat up batteries a little more quickly than I would prefer, but there’s an energy saver function that I’ve found helps a LOT in this regard.

Is sleep a struggle in your house? How about the morning routine? Might your family benefit from the addition of sleep clocks?

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