Motivation Monday: See Opportunities

I’m a planner, and I try to see the whole picture in a situation: both the positives and negatives. I look for the benefits as well as plan for any kinds of obstacles that might occur. Generally, I like this process, and it has served me well. But sometimes I get caught up in the obstacles and I struggle to see beyond them in order to move forward. That’s no good.

So I continue to try to shift my mindset to a more positive one. If you’re in a tricky situation, and you think the outlook is grim, tell yourself it will work out, and you WILL find the opportunities that will keep you moving forward.

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Motivation Monday: Desire & Hustle

There have been certain times in my life where I wanted to be good at something but didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of natural talent in that area. I got good grades in school, I’ve been promoted, and I once ran 6 miles. I’m proud of all these accomplishments, and none of them came easy to me.

I remember working my butt off studying for exams when some of my classmates would get “A”s without even opening a book.

At one of my past jobs, I didn’t know what I was doing when I started out. There was a lot of trial and error and some tears, but eventually I figured out exactly what it took to succeed, I did it, and I got promoted.

The 6 mile thing– a LOT of training. It took me years to work up to that.

It starts with desire. If there’s something you truly desire, you can make it happen. Even if it’s something you’ve never done before and you think you’ll be really bad at it. Maybe you will be bad at it or fail at first, but if your desire is strong enough, keep hustling. You’ll learn from mistakes and eventually get it.

Figure out what you truly desire, make a plan, and hustle until you get it!

Motivation Monday: Trust the Timing

Sometimes I look at my life and think, shouldn’t I have this figured out by now?

I want everything to make sense at this moment. There are certain things I want for my life, and sometimes I wish I were closer to getting them. I’d like to have our debt paid off, enjoy traveling, have a house, be better at my job, and feel a little more settled. It’ll all fall into place when it is supposed to. I’ll get there—- I just have to have patience.

Whether you’re working toward a bachelor’s degree, a 20-lb weight loss goal, learning a new language, looking for love, paying off your student loans or what ever it might be, keep on truckin’. Enjoy where you are in life, and trust in God’s timing.

Motivation Monday: Keep moving forward.

What an inspirational quote from Martin Luther King Jr. He said it at a rally to get young people to keep moving in the fight for justice.

What ever cause you’re fighting for, goals you’re setting, or personal battles you’re dealing with, persevere.

Fly, run, walk, or crawl. Keep at those goals— progress is progress no matter how small.

Also, take some time to remember and honor Martin Luther King Jr. today!

 

Ending the Pity Party and Counting My Blessings

This is part of a journal entry I wrote last Monday. It’s kind of dark and whiny, and I had no plans to post it. However, a friend encouraged me to share my experience because she thought it might resonate with other people, even if it’s not pretty:

The last two weeks have been rough. We moved into our tiny apartment that’s dark, dingy and old. It has a teeny kitchen with very little counter space and storage. I love cooking, but in this kitchen, it’s become a messy, frustrating juggling act (hence, no Favorite Recipe Fridays).

I start my new job next week, and I’ll have the privilege of working from this lovely home. My office will be our kitchen table that is currently in the middle of our living room, blocking the kitchen so it’s out of the way from our dripping ceiling. (It was raining, and we had a couple leaks in the roof.)

Also, Rick’s car died, and the repairs are too costly to justify.

mark-asthoff-20098-unsplash.jpgEmotionally, I’m riding a roller coaster. I’m getting over leaving my old job and our former apartment with the spacious kitchen and pantry. I miss being closer to family and feeling safe with familiar surroundings.

I’m getting ready to begin a new job, which I’m excited about and nervous. I have two weeks off between jobs, and though I appreciate some down time, I’m anxious without structure. It’s also that time of year when the winter blues are coming around, so that’s a whole different story.

I’m mad at our student loans and the fact that they’re taking so long to pay off and that I’m not living in a nice house with a huge kitchen in sunny, 80-degree weather.

So that was my obnoxious Monday pity party. I felt awful and couldn’t see all the good in my situation. It would have been nice to go buy something to make myself feel better or to just cry and watch TV all day. But, really, how would that have helped? I recognized my sour mood and decided to snap myself out of it.

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Though it didn’t feel good, allowing myself to wallow and cry for a short time helped. I was able to feel my feelings, and then gradually move past them. I journaled about how I was feeling, read it over, and realized how ridiculous I sounded. I did some yoga, went for a walk, prayed and drank some tea. I felt much more empowered and hopeful later.

Counting my blessings…

alexandru-tudorache-17852-unsplash.jpgI am lucky to have a job lined up so quickly after moving due to Rick’s job change. And two weeks off in-between! I’m so fortunate to have a roof over my head and a fridge full of food. Rick’s car picked the perfect time to poop-out as I’ll be working from home, and we can easily do without two cars. We have an emergency fund so we technically could afford a new used car if we needed one. We have our health and strong relationships with friends, family and each other. This mood, apartment and debt are all temporary.

I am way more fortunate than I could see in that dark moment on Monday, and I feel absolutely silly about it looking back now.

I guess we all struggle sometimes. What helps you leave your pity party and bring yourself back down to earth?

Motivation Monday: Get Started

Today is my first day at my new work-from-home health coaching job. I’m flying to Texas for training and to meet my new coworkers!

Starting something new can be exciting and nerve-racking. I’m looking forward to a change, and I think I’m going to learn a lot from this company. It’ll be a good fit because I’ll get to help people reach their health and wellness goals. I’m also anxious, and I’m doubting myself a little right now. I’m sure I’ll be fine once I get there and get into the rhythm of the job. I just have to START.

Good luck to all who are starting something new or contemplating getting started. Whether it be a new job, exercise routine, way to manage finances, a new relationship or any kind of goal or endeavor. You can do this because you’re awesome! Now, let’s get started!

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude

‘Tis the season to give thanks!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and it’s a perfect time to talk about gratitude.

Last week I posted about holiday stress and how being grateful and staying positive can help manage stress. I also made up my mind that I wasn’t going to give in to the pressures of the holiday season.

rawpixel-1053187-unsplash.jpgWell, we’ve recently added some additional potential stress to the season: we’re moving! Rick took a new position in a new city, so we’ve already started the moving process. Also, due to relocating, I’ll be out of a job at the end of December. So I’ve started searching for new employment. So much excitement and change!

We’re juggling a lot right now, and there are many things about this move that are unknowns to us. Usually that would really stress me out, and some days I’ve already felt stressed to the max. But I don’t want these anxious feelings to consume me.

One of my strategies to get through this exciting and potentially stressful time of change is to practice gratitude. Here are a few ideas I have to help me with this goal, and they might work well for you, too:

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude:

gabrielle-cole-701889-unsplash.jpg1. Create a gratitude journal or jar. Think about the things in your day that you are thankful for. Reimagine the situations and how you felt. Try to get specific. Then, write these situations down in a journal.

You could also write them on small slips of paper and put them in a jar. I did this once and read through the slips in the jar at the year’s end. It was so nice to remember these awesome situations, and I felt so blessed! You could also do this and read through the jar weekly or monthly.

2. Reframe negative experiences into more positive ones. Think about the good things that will come out of a seemingly bad situation.

At first, I freaked out about Rick getting a new job. I have to find a new job. We have to move in the cold weather. We don’t know where we’re going to live.

Then I thought about past experiences, and I felt much more hopeful about our situation. I am grateful for my excellent job skills and experience I’ve developed, and I should be able to find a good job. I might even find a job I really enjoy! I’ve moved almost every year since I started college. I’m thankful for that experience because I’m basically a pro by now. And what a great opportunity to declutter!

ben-white-692414-unsplash.jpg3. Praise God.
At the end of the day, find at least 5 things you are grateful for and thank God for them. Again, get specific and try to reimagine these situations. Maybe it was something big like a promotion or an A on a test. Maybe it was the warmth of the sun on your lunchtime walk or only a small amount of traffic on your commute. Thank God for these gifts.

4. Give a genuine compliment daily. Tell people how good they are at what they do. Thank them for helping you with an unpleasant task. What do you appreciate about your spouse, friend, coworker, etc.? Let him or her know.

It’s important to recognize the wonderful things we have and to appreciate the people around us. When we take time to count our blessing and show gratitude, we experience more joy and less stress.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! What are you grateful for today?

8 Ways to Cut Holiday Stress

I have a good time and enjoy many aspects of the holiday season: Turkey Trot, Hallmark movies with Gretchen Wieners, getting together with family, singing Christmas carols and Christmas Eve mass, to name a few.

However, the stress that comes along with this time of year gets to me and sometimes clouds the joy and the real purpose for the holidays. The season is supposed to be about getting together with family, giving thanks, doing things for others, and sharing in the joy of the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

So I’ve decided this year will be different. No more panic attacks when shopping at Walmart. No more meltdowns when I can’t find the right tupperware after Christmas dinner (true story). I’m not going to let stress get to me, and here’s how I’m going to do it:

kari-shea-485935-unsplash.jpg1. Make gift giving simple and fun. I have a list of people I will shop for as well as a budget and a few gift ideas. I do enjoy shopping, wrapping and giving the gifts. I don’t enjoy the pressure to find the perfect gift. So I’ve given myself permission to buy imperfect gifts and to not stress about it. (Don’t worry, I’ll include a gift receipt.)

2. Make time for the things I enjoy. Some of these things I’ve listed above, and I’m also going to make time to relax. I’ll watch a Christmas movie, meditate, do yoga, blog or find some other fun, low-key activity.

3. Stay active. This is one of the most helpful things I can do to manage my stress. I was super ticked off about something holiday-related before I went for a run today. When I got back, my mood completely switched. I’d like to keep running, and when it’s too dark, cold or snowy outside, I’ll do one of my indoor workouts.rawpixel-771284-unsplash.jpg

4. Keep perspective. When something starts getting to me that I can’t control, I’m going to decide not to stress about it. Plans might change, people might create more work for me, or I might not be able to do everything I want to. I’m going to decide it’s not worth it to stress about it. Going to mass and meditating help to keep me grounded. I’m going to try to make it to mass each Wednesday in Advent to keep perspective.

5. Cut back on sugar. It’s EVERYWHERE this time of year, and it really impacts my mood. I’m not going to give it up completely, but I’m going to make sure I have good, healthy foods available to me so I’m less likely to cave to sweet temptations.

diego-ph-254975-unsplash.jpg6. Give. It’s a big part of the season, and it makes me feel good to do something for someone else. Time and money are tight, but I can always find something to give. Maybe I’ll volunteer or donate food or clothes.

7. Be thankful. This also helps with #4. I’m working on being more positive and finding the good in all situations, especially the frustrating ones. I’m going to make an extra effort to notice and thank people for what they do. I want to spend time each night meditating on all the good that happened that day and give thanks to God.

8. Cultivate realistic expectations of myself and others. I have a lot on my plate this holiday season, and I need to recognize it’s not going to be perfect. Everybody else has a story, too, and I can’t expect them to do everything my way. We’re doing our best, and we just need to take a breath and find the good in the situation.

What do you do to manage the stress of the holiday season?

 

Week 4: Meditation through Reading

This week’s focus in the 4-Week Meditation Series is Meditation through Reading.

What I Did

Each night I read the day’s Gospel or the passage from my Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations book that I tried the previous week. I read the passage slowly, three times, and meditated on the words that stood out most to me.

I tried placing myself in the scene of the reading and thought about what was going on at that time. I thought about why certain words stood out to me and what sort of message I was supposed to get out of this passage. I thought about how these words relate to my daily life and what I was called to do differently.

Meditation Observations

Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 5.45.19 PM.pngThis week’s meditation experience was kind of a roller coaster. Some nights I really struggled to focus and felt like giving up. My mind was going in a million directions and meditating seemed impossible. I really thought I’d be better able to calm my mind after going through three weeks of meditation already. But I guess it’s not about being perfect, it’s about just DOING it.

Other nights I was relaxed and felt a connection with God and the readings. Meditating seemed to calm my mind and it helped me to sleep better. It caused me to think about things differently, with a renewed perspective, in the following days.

In the future, I’d like to try this type of meditation in the morning. It might be beneficial for me to set an intention for the day, and I’d like to see how it impacts the rest of my day.

Series Conclusion

I’m so happy I tried this 4-Week Meditation Series, and I’m excited to continue this daily practice. I have now experienced four different ways to meditate, and I can pick and choose which type I would like to do depending on the day. Or I can try something new!

These are some of the other benefits I’ve noticed throughout the last four weeks:

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The biggest benefit I’ve encountered is that my prayer life has grown. I am able to feel a deeper connection with God through meditation, and it’s starting to radiate into other areas of my life.

I would highly recommend giving meditation a shot and finding the type that works best for you. Even just 5-10 minutes a day can make a world of a difference!

**This post contains affiliate links. You won’t pay any extra for making a purchase through these links and I may earn some money to keep this blog going. I only link to products I support or use personally.

Top 10 Activities for Frugal Fall Fun

Please don’t hate me. I’m a summer person, and I get a little sad when fall arrives, marking the end of long days, warm weather and summer fun.

BUT THEN I put this list together of some super fun fall activities that won’t break the bank, and I realized fall’s a pretty great season, too.

Here’s the list of Top 10 Activities for Frugal Fall Fun:

1. Apple picking. I love harvesting produce, especially apples. Some u-pick apple orchards have hay rides, pumpkin patches and cute animals to see!

 

2. Fall festivals. Look them up on your town’s community calendar. There are often cheap/free things to do such as face painting, pumpkin carving, food eating, crafting, music listening and people watching.

3. Fall color hike. Go for a hike or a nice walk in the cool weather to view the beautiful fall colors in your area. Take photos or try a mindfulness walk enjoying nature scenes.

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4. Make a fall recipe. Apple sauce, a hearty soup, pumpkin pie, or try canning salsa (a Manthe tradition).

5. Football party. Invite friends over to watch the game. Everyone can bring a snack or beverage, and you can enjoy each other’s company while rooting for your favorite team.

6. Declutter summer stuff. Look through things you didn’t use this summer and probably won’t use again. Donate, sell, or toss what you can. Bring out the fall stuff– decorations, warm clothing, and other fall necessities.

7. Snuggling. Cooler weather permits more snuggles. Sometimes it’s nice to curl up with a movie and your significant other, your kid, or your cat.

8. Plan Halloween costume. Here are some DIY ideas.kenz pumpkin copy

9. Pumpkin carving. All you need is a pumpkin, a knife and some creativity. You can go with the classic jack-o-lantern look or Google some more intricate designs if you want to get fancy.

10. Tackle something on the indoor to-do list on cold days. It might not be a lot of fun, but it’ll feel so much better when it’s done!