Mindfulness – It’s Not All in Your Mind

Mindfulness – It’s Not All in Your Mind

As much as many of us choose to overlook it, there is a lot wrong with the way most of us currently live our lives.

We sit in chairs all day long gaining weight, we eat processed foods and we face constant stresses from work, from our relationships, and from our finances.

What’s more, we are constantly in demand and constantly ‘plugged in’ and ‘stressed out’. Our phones are always ringing, texts are always coming in, we get a new e-mail every two minutes… And even when most of us aren’t working or being bothered, we have a near addiction to technology that means we’re still unable to really decompress.

And while our attention spans are not really shorter than a goldfish, it is not surprising that our attention has become more demanding. We are always demanding to be entertained as we flip from one video to another or one app to another.

And all this amid a raging pandemic.

Is it any wonder that mental health problems are skyrocketing?

Using mindfulness to escape modern stress is probably a big part of the reason that mindfulness is so popular right now. Mindfulness simply means directing attention in a purposeful manner. Sometimes this will mean focusing on our thoughts (in an objective and non-judgmental way) but in other cases, it will mean simply being more present and focusing on our breathing and our environments.

Either way, the idea of mindfulness is to enjoy calmness and stop the incessant chatter of our minds. Instead of being completely engaged with the world around you, we need to learn to disengage with your thoughts, providing you with relief from stress and from fear and allow you to simply relax and recover.

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness. How many times have you realized you devoured the entire bag of potato chips while binge-watching your favorite Netflix series? Or how many times have you suddenly asked yourself “where did my day go”? Often before bedtime, we can’t even remember what we did with our time during the day.

I realize the damaging toll the pandemic has made on our lives. Everyone has suffered in some way. How are we coping? For many, we have tried to escape the reality of it all through overeating, binging on Netflix, or staying glued to our phone or iPad screen.

There is a better way.

It starts with being aware that we are not being aware.

Boiled down to its essence, mindfulness is the observation of one’s own thoughts and emotions. In other words, it means stepping back and then simply being aware of what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and what you are experiencing. This can then, in turn, be used to help treat a wide range of different psychological problems and to generally improve your psychological health.

The reason for this is that it brings more attention to the way that we handle various different events and to how our thoughts and emotions normally control us. This then in turn allows us to anticipate them, to deal with them, and ultimately to prevent them.

Mindfulness is a broad tool to be used in a number of different ways. In almost every scenario though, the true end goal is to be aware of the present moment and to find an inner calm that often eludes us.

Ready to work on your mindfulness? Start with Designing Your New Normal Mindset to guide you in defining your best state of mindfulness. Available now. Available HERE.

The 2021 Best Time to Buy Anything Calendar

The 2021 Best Time to Buy Anything Calendar

Sometime around the first of each year, I get stingy. Maybe it’s the fact that I overspent on Christmas gifts for my family, which seems to be a personal weakness of mine. Or maybe it’s that I subconsciously make a New Year’s resolution to be more thoughtful in my purchases. That means I plan to not get excited about every new trend that I’m sure will make my life easier and more enjoyable and therefore give in to my uncontrollable urge to buy it!

So, in my quest to be more frugal with money and at least make my purchases a “bargain”, I researched the best times of the year to buy just about anything. You know a bargain is not a bargain if you don’t need it. My husband always gets worried when I tell him how much money I saved on something! Of course, not purchasing something saves you even more!

If you actually plan purchases you need, there is little reason to purchase anything unless it’s on sale. Sales are an everyday occurrence. However, you can save a lot of money just by knowing when the lowest sale price for an item is most likely to happen. This is especially true for big-ticket items. 

I researched Consumer Reports for the best months to buy things. Consumer Reports is probably the most credible and least biased organization that reviews and rates products. I always check out their recommendations for buying big ticket items and many other things.

From this research, I compiled an annual calendar for The Best Time to Buy Anything. Holidays and annual sales drive many of the best times to purchase some items. For instance, the Consumer Electronics Show in January unveils many new models of electronics, which makes early January a good time to buy TVs, especially if you’re willing to consider older models. January is also known for white sales on bedding and linens.

The best use of the buying calendar is that it allows you to plan purchases, especially for expensive items.

You can get good deals on products at almost any time of the year, so you’ll see some of the same products listed in several months of the year. And clearance sales of some larger items occur several times a year, because retail stores need the space for newer inventory.

You can download your free copy of the 2021 Best Time to Buy Anything annual calendar here: https://vickiloves.me/2021BestTimeToBuy

 I hope you find it useful! Do you have anything to add? Comment below!

Three Simple Steps to Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever

Three Simple Steps to Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever

It’s something we’ve all been waiting for – the end of 2020. A new beginning – 2021! But is it? Exactly what do you expect to be different on January 1, 2021?

In 2020 the world changed, and we had no choice but to change. It was thrust upon us and there were lifestyle changes that we had to make to adapt to the new world around us. But did we thrive throughout this process? Or did we just survive?

What are your expectations for 2021? Something better? We need something to look forward to. We need to believe that our lives will be more within our control. 2020 was a year that continually spiraled out of control. And it made us feel out of control.

So, let’s consider our personal expectations for gaining – or regaining some semblance of control in our lives.

Do you make resolutions at the beginning of every new year? Why?

I don’t think I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution at which I’ve actually succeeded. So, when you think about it, I have set myself up for failure every time I’ve resolved to make life changes. Every resolution I’ve declared had to do with something I wanted to change about myself. But change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Let me say that again. Personal change is evolutionary, not revolutionary!

What does that mean in terms of our behavior? It all begins with our mindset. If we don’t change that, we have no chance of changing our actions. That doesn’t mean we have to do a 180, a complete turnaround of the way we’ve been thinking. But it does mean we need to be intentional with how we approach life and how we deal with circumstances and situations that make up our daily living.

First of all, let’s consider January 1, 2021, as just another day, like any other day. Change your mindset to see every day as a new beginning. Every day is a chance to make life better for ourselves and those around us.

Next, if we think there are changes we need to make in our lives, start with just one thing. Make it a little thing. And do it every day. Make it become second nature to you – make it a habit. That is setting yourself up for success, not failure. 

And finally, I propose that we start this new year being kinder to ourselves. Yes, be kind to yourself first. Because when you do, you are kinder to others. When you take care of yourself, you are in a position to take care of others. That is not being selfish. It is being considerate of others by treating yourself with kindness and respect, which in turn extends to others. It’s somewhat a twist of the Golden Rule of doing to others as you would have them do to you. Do good to yourself and then do good to others.

Need some ideas on how to implement this process?

If you need to start with simple changes to your mindset, I suggest my ecourse, Designing Your New Normal Mindset. It consists of easy activities to identify your current mindset and guide you to make mindset changes that work for you. Check it out here while still at introductory pricing!

If you need to keep up with progress on the one thing you are going to change about yourself, click and download my free gift to you, My One Thing Daily Habit Tracker. Keeping track of your progress helps ensure your success in developing habits that naturally become part of your daily life. (Your free tracker is interactive, so you can complete and save it online or print it out and complete it!)

If you think self-care is selfish, download my free report – Self-Care Hacks. And start treating yourself with the respect you deserve. That makes it second nature to extend the same kind of respect to others.

All my best to make 2021 a truly successful, joyful, and peaceful year for you!

Are You Ready for Some Hygge?

Are You Ready for Some Hygge?

Are you ready for some hygge? I know I am. The weather is turning cooler and even more days are expected to be spent at home and inside. If “cabin fever” has not already set it, you might want to prepare to ward it off, and if it has already set it, keep reading for some ways to send it packing.

First, you might be asking, “what the heck is hygge”? It’s pronounced “Hoo-gah”. I know – how can something that is spelled like that be pronounced “Hoo-gah”!?

“Hygge… is a Scandinavian way of life that celebrates coziness, shared meals, and companionable interactions with loved ones. Emphasizing warmth, kinship, and an appreciation for the little things, hygge is a perspective on life that started in Denmark and has contributed to the nation's consistently high happiness ratings. Now, Americans are turning to hygge as a way to find happiness from within.”   

Brinton Parker, (December 10, 2019), 11 Ways to Embrace the Hygge Lifestyle This Season. PopSugar

Hygge is a great way to embrace self-care that extends to all family members. Think about all the things you love about your home and the things you like to do there that provide that much-needed extra layer of comfort.

I just put together my hygge list to support and comfort me:

  • Time alone in the comfy leather chair in my office for journaling my thoughts and renewing myself spiritually
  • Adjusting my power chair in the den and watching a PBS Nova nature series program with my husband. (I love the ones about the big cats!)
  • Sipping on a warm cup of cocoa with mini-marshmallows
  • Decorating my home with items of personal family memories (I’ll show you around soon and point out all the “old things” that are so special to me!)
  • Watching HGTV – any shows on HGTV (personally, I love the Property Brothers and Home Town, among many others!)
  • Putting on an eye mask and listening to soothing music as I take a short afternoon nap
  • Curling up (OK – I mean metaphorically curling; it has been a long time since my knees allowed me to actually curl up!) with my iPad to play Candy Crush, Soda Crush, Hearts and Rummy. I’m ashamed to tell you how high I’ve gotten on Candy Crush. I am curbing my “addiction”.
  • Playing Sudoku and Kakuro. There is just something satisfying about being able to solve one of these puzzles.

Now, how about you? Do you have a hygge list, even if you don’t call it that? Comment or email me at vicki@herlifehacks.com and let me know one or two things on your hygge list. I would love to be able to write a post of collective hygge experiences.

Want to know more about hygge? Here are links to several popular books about hygge.

https://amzn.to/3jLmUId is the link to the book in the featured photo at the beginning of this article.

And here is a link to two popular books on Amazon – https://amzn.to/35SUgA6  .

Finally, coloring books are very comforting activities on the hygge list of a lot of people. Here is where you can get a hygge coloring book: https://amzn.to/382GwW9.

Get started now on your hygge fall and winter. It will help comfort you through these times.

Ten Ways to Deal with Injustice Without Depression

Ten Ways to Deal with Injustice Without Depression

You know that life isn’t fair. And not just because you’ve been told that but because you’ve experienced it for yourself to the extreme these past few months. Trying to deal with something that is not just unfair but even a complete injustice, can really play havoc with your happiness if you allow it. 

To live through times like we’ve all been experiencing requires special attention to how we are coping and taking action to counteract the damaging effects of becoming a victim to circumstances.

Maybe one or more of these suggestions can help you deal with these unjust times. Find one that speaks to you and focus on applying it in your life.

  1. Be Compassionate to Yourself – The one person in the universe that can treat you with the utmost fairness and kindness is yourself. At the very least, make sure you are being compassionate to yourself because when it comes down to it, you are your own best friend.
  2. Focus on Now – Learning how to be more mindful about what is happening in your life right now is important. If watching the news makes you feel particularly bad right now, focus on you and your family and the positive ways that interaction can sustain you. Look for ways to enhance your family’s well-being. Make things fair, at least for yourself and your family. 
  3. Separate Facts from Emotion – While some types of injustice, such as systemic racism for example, are rage-inducing even when you look at them on a factual basis, sometimes the facts will help you cope. For example, when the media gets obsessed about something, it always seems worse than it really is. Avoid social media that is filled with extreme opinions expressed through hatred. Check the facts; don’t trust your emotions.
  4. Learn to Breathe Right – Did you know that most people don’t even breathe correctly. To breathe right so that your oxygen levels are the way they should be and to reduce the anxiety, you should breathe into your diaphragm like a baby. Sometimes, just taking a deep, letting-go breath (or several of them) can ease the anxiety of the moment.
  5. Eat Right and Exercise – There isn’t much that can replace good nutrition for avoiding depression. While it isn’t always going to rid you of it entirely, it will help you avoid nutritional deficiencies that can lead to depression. Moving more will also help you feel better because it’s going to help you feel more alive and in tune with your body.
  6. Sleep Enough Each Night – The next most important item after food is to ensure that you are sleeping a full 7 to 9 hours every single night. When you sleep enough, you give your body and mind time to repair. Take time to wind down before going to bed by doing things that comfort you or even bore you to sleepiness!
  7. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs – This is especially important when you are feeling down, angry, or depressed. Most drugs aren’t going to do anything but enhance the emotions, causing you to be even more depressed. Of course, if you need prescription medication, that is different.
  8. Avoid Depression Triggers – Most people have triggers that make them get worse when it comes to depression. If you know what yours are, just avoid them. That doesn’t mean that you’re putting your head in the sand. You can always help in another way if it’s interfering with you dealing with the injustice.
  9. Help Other People – Find a way to get outside of yourself and help others. Everyone is suffering in some way. Sometimes a simple phone call or card can do wonders for those feeling isolated and alone. Fresh baked goods or soup left at a neighbor’s house can be so comforting.
  10. See a Counselor – A large number of people can improve their lives by acknowledging they cannot go it alone and need to seek therapy. If you are struggling and worried about depression, realize that sometimes depression is not situational; sometimes it’s chemical. Seeing a professional can help you identify which you’re dealing with so you can learn ways to deal with the unfairness of life without depression.

It’s one thing to work toward a better world, but it’s another to let it ruin your world right now. Focus on doing what you can as an individual, but also focus on the here and now so that you can live a satisfying life even though things aren’t fair yet. If you look at the world historically, you will know for sure that the world really is becoming a more inclusive and fairer world that puts justice first. It’s just happening slowly.

Is your current mindset helping you cope or does it need some adjustments? My simple ecourse guides you through some fun and revealing activities that will help you choose a mindset that will serve you both now in the future. Take a look: Designing Your New Normal Mindset. Get it now before the price increases!