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Archive for the ‘Life Skills’ Category

by Bookt.com

We all have those days (and weeks) when it just seems that work is totally overwhelming. Stacks of paperwork, ringing phones, endless emails, and continuous complications.  Days when nothing you touch is simple.

Those are the times when it’s a relief to admit it – work sucks! It’s confusing and frustrating, tedious and monotonous, and takes up every minute of your day.  Days when you sit in your little cubicle making phone calls and correcting mistakes and never even see the sun.

It’s good to admit that work isn’t always the “love your job and your career” utopia that some people enjoy. It can be a grind.  It’s a headache making, tiring whirlwind of forms, deadlines, and overflowing in-baskets.  Weeks when it’s seems your to-do list has been hit by a growth-ray of evil scientist proportions!

Luckily, a little venting goes a long ways.  Just knowing you’re not alone, that other people feel the same way can help.  Grumbling with your coworkers, as long as stays within reason, can help you feel like someone else appreciates the pressure you’re under.

A good old fashioned listing of your blessings never hurt either. All the reasons why you have this job in the first place.  Some of mine include:

  • It’s close to the house – within 5 miles.
  • It has great vacation time and a flexible schedule
  • The pay is good and so is the healthcare
  • It’s helping to finance my passions – music, drawing, movies, books, etc.
  • I get a steady set paycheck each week which helps me set a budget
  • I get satisfaction from helping other people by getting them what they’re entitled to

Your list doesn’t have to be spectacular – especially in this economy.  Everyone is different.  It just helps to know that there is some good in your job, even when it’s so taxing that you think about work in your off time.

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by elycefeliz

I know I’ve made mistakes, lots and lots of them. I’ve been rude, given the cold shoulder, let down a friend in need, and not lived up to my own expectations.  I’ve forgotten birthdays, skipped lunch and dinner invitations, and gotten so caught up in work that I’ve gone home tired, headachy and grouchy.

I’ve tried to become a writer, planned to open a store, and didn’t apply for better jobs when I had the chance.  I’ve not exercised, eaten far too much, and skipped cleaning the house when it needed it.

Isn’t it great?  Because all these mistakes mean I’m making progress. At least I’m working.  I’m doing something.  I have found so many things that don’t work for me over the past 20 years.  So I must be pretty darn close to figuring out the whole mystery of life.  (Well one can hope can’t they?)

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas A. Edison

As every inventor knows, life is all about making mistakes –there would be no new inventions without them. Babies fall down more times than they stand, but they keep trying.  They know the goal is worth the effort – a whole new world awaits if they can just get it right.  Basketball players can miss half their shots and still win the game.  Even when you fail you can still succeed.

Don’t just look at your missteps and errors and not see the accomplishments, skills or lessons you’ve learned. Maybe you discovered you weren’t quite organized enough to run a business and you need to work on that first.  Perhaps you learned to arrive late like your best friend instead of wasting time waiting for her.  Maybe you saw that your passion for writing was not for a novel, but better suited to magazine articles, poems or some other shorter bits of material.

Making mistakes means making progress.  I forget this vital truth from time and time and need to remind myself.  There is relief in knowing that each blooper and blunders is just part of the journey.  The path you’re on may swerve in an unexpected direction – it’s up to you to decide which whether to keep going or not. It’s the adventure of life and we all live it.  Where will you’re adventure lead?

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Tattoo Clown Man In Funny Glasses
Originally uploaded by Pink Sherbet Photography

I often fear letting people see the inner me. There are so many critics out there – -and I already have plenty in my own head.  I find I have many fears; looking stupid, making a mistake that could cost me – money, friendship, or an opportunity, or missing out on something better.

 

Recently I started drawing again.  For me that basically means copying other people’s ideas.  I have very little drawing skill yet, and I’ve done no formal training, but I love cartoons and always wanted to draw my own.  I also loving coloring just for the sake of coloring.  The colors, the rhythm of crayons or colored pencils across the paper is relaxing to me.

 

I find showing people my drawings fairly embarrassing.  While I might know that I’ve already progressed bit by bit into cleaner lines, others may see my attempts as immature and weak.  I know that each day I draw I get better, but when the comments begin “What exactly is that supposed to be?” I do get a bit flushed in the face.

 

I also like to sing and dance although I’m not very good at either.  But since I’ve been practicing letting go of my fears I’ve found that with practice those get better too.  Not that I can leave my day job in this lifetime, but at least my voice stays in tune a little better and I only fall on my butt once instead of three times.

 

Honestly, I wish they taught us these things in school.  Like, it’s okay to make mistakes – it means you’re learning. And you can’t be great at something if you’ve never done it before.  It takes practice, that’s all.  And why not teach us that being different is not only okay, but possibly necessary for our sanity.

 

Just like different have different tastes – my husband loves pumpkin pie while I prefer cherry for instance, we all have different ways of expressing ourselves. I love to read books, meditate and watch cartoons.  Friends of mine often haven’t picked up a book in years and find cartoons childish.  That’s fine, I’m not a big fan of shopping and I don’t like math.  To each their own.

 

All I know is when I do all those wacky, strange, crazy things I love, it makes me smile. The smile often turns into laughter.  After a few minutes, I find I feel more energized and peaceful.  These activities entertain me and break up boredom, frustration and put me in a better mood.  You can’t ask for better than that.

 

So next time somebody asks you why you’re being so silly, just tell them “That’s me, that’s just how I roll.”  Enjoying your passions and having as much as you can fit in your day are the best ways I know to have a satisfying life. Being yourself is totally worth it.

 

Here’s a few more things I love; rock collecting (crystals and fossils), ghosts and the paranormal, movie nights, visiting the library, going to the flea market, dogs, kids playing, walking in the woods and surfing the Internet.  What DO YOU LOVE?


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Picture by revoluzzza

The fear monster is very scary. It can be overwhelming loud and insistent.  That nagging voice that says “You can’t dance.  You don’t know how to paint.  You’ll never be able to write an entire novel.”

We all doubt our abilities and talents.  We fear we don’t have enough time, determination or knowledge to accomplish our dreams.  When in doubt – do it anyway.

Our fears will always be there.  Usually they never amount to anything.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve hesitated to do something new because I might look foolish.  Often, I did look silly, uncoordinated or clumsy.

It’s okay to look like a fool sometimes.  It means we’re growing and learning. I took a writing course since I love books and stories and I’ve always wanted to create some of my own.  I never did any more writing after that course.  It overwhelmed with the big bad world of publishing.

I learned publishing was too intense for me right now.  But I did learn others things; punctuation, sentence structure, and other useful tips that I can use in anything I write.  I learned that I may need to tweak that dream a little to make workable for me. So even though I see the course as a failure, I did learn.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas A. Edison

 

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

We’re always going to stumble and falter when we try something new.  We’ll feel uncertain and nervous, ungraceful and fumbling.  But our investigations will teach us, sometimes leading us in new, exciting directions.  It’s an adventure worth having.  So if you’re in doubt – go ahead and do it anyway.

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by True_Bavarian

I started this blog to help people.  Myself, friends, family, strangers.  I want the world to be a brighter place.  And at times, it is so easy. Share a little laughter, some fun things from life, and all the willy-nilly topsy-turvy adventures of life.  Joy is everywhere.  A blog article I read recently reminded me of the joy of crunching leaves under your feet in autumn – a secret love of mine.  (Kim you know who you are.)  Something so simple, but just so fun.  The sharp woodsy aroma and the crackling crunching of the leaves is addicting.  So is looking at the sheer varity of shape, texture and color in every leaf.  I saw streaks, blobs, stripes, and all sorts of patterns.  It was highly entertaining.

Even TV can bring enlightenment.  While watching the TV show Deadliest Roads, I was reminded not only of how lucky we are to have safe and convenient roads in the states, but also of the luxury and wealth we take for granted.  While one truck driver was stuck in a traffic jam fuming and late, he saw some nomads camped on the side of the road. He shared a large container of candy he had bought himself for the road and several large watermelon with the hungry children, and spread smiles, laughter and joy.  He rejuvenated his mood and outlook, when he returned to driving suddenly things didn’t seem quite as bad as they had before.

Of course we all have days where the stress piles up one after.  Too many chores and errands, work that piles up endlessly making us feel like we’re drowning in it, traffic, burning dinner, ripping your favorite pants, or an unexpected car repair.  By themselves, these things are fairly easy to handle.  But add up two or three in a day, and suddenly our normal coping mechanisms flee and we lose our usual self control.

Taking these tips in mind, I think the best defense is a good offense.  Since we never know when stress will hit, our best plan of attack is to have a good game plan.  Some ideas work to help alleviate stress BEFORE it turns from a molehill into a mountain.  Other ideas can aid in the midst of the chaos.  Here’s a few ideas I’ve picked up along the way.

  1. Perspective – is this a big deal? Often we think the stress we are currently in is worse than anything we’ve endured before.  But is it really?  Are these deadlines and setbacks really going to interfere with our life, or does it just feel that way?  Do you even remember the annoying coworker from your last job who drove you crazy?  Did the expensive care repairs from 6 months ago really put you in debt or did you just give up a few dinners out to pay for it?  Most problems seem worse while we’re working to solve them.  The problems I had two years ago seem much smaller looking back now.
  2. Clarity – are you seeing the truth? Is your boss really out to get you?  Does your sister-in-law truly find ways to insult you at every get together?  Maybe these people treat everyone that way.  It’s possible they feel threatened by you in some way.  Are you really trapped at a job you hate?  Or did you choose your current position knowing it would give you job security and a good paycheck until you can find something better?  Could you leave if you really wanted to?
  3. Health – are you having fun? If you’re not taking time to have a little fun every day, something is wrong.  There should be at least a few minutes if not several hours a day, where you are doing what you love.  Doing the things we love bring us joy, passion, energy and peace.  Whether we’re doing yoga, fixing a car, making cupcakes, or reading a book, doing something you enjoy will bring you time to relax, unwind and bring some balance to your life.  You don’t know how busy you are until you make time to slow down and notice.  Don’t let life pass you by.
  4. Health  – mini breaks. Mini breaks are a life saver.  Taking as few as 2-3 minutes to step away from your stress can make a huge difference.  I stood outside the other day and did nothing but look at the day.  I heard the birds, saw the butterflies, the trees changing, the sun shining, the cool breeze, watched people going to and fro.  And I relished every minute knowing that while today is beautiful, tomorrow could be rainy or cold or windy.  Delight in the little things and you’ll be happier for it.
  5. Humor – Laugh at it. Exaggerate your problems.  I named the other day GUOSD “Gang up on Shirley Day.”  That was what it felt like.  Work piling up, problems for my attention and so on.  By exaggerating that everyone in the office was out to get me, I was able to laugh.  Then I could better focus and realize that not everything in the pile had to be done today.  Relieved, I focused on the priority and left the rest for later.
  6. Organize – Prioritize. I use a trick I picked up from some great source that I can’t remember.  I list three MIT’s (most important task) for each day.  Then I add a Pending file of items that need to be done after the MIT’s.  I usually move the Pending up to start my next MIT list, but some weeks the Pending stays the same for several days.  I always know I’m doing what needs to be done most and I don’t forget the smaller things, so I can relax more while I work.
  7. Humor – Nobody cares. This tip is a flip.  Nobody cares about my whining and complaining, just like I don’t want to hear theirs.  This makes me realize that I need to suck it up and deal with it.  Sometimes that means switching tasks, or asking for help, or even wait until the next day when I’m better rested.  My mom used to tease me when I was grumpy,  “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna go eats worms!”  When you can see the humor during your pain, it helps.
  8. Goals – am I getting what I want? Sometimes we get weighed down by the mundane tasks we need to do to reach a goal.  This is the time to remind yourself of why you’re doing things in the first place.  Maybe your job is a way to save for a new house or car.  Maybe you’re working extra hard to earn a promotion.  Knowing why you do something can help you see it in a new light.  You do have a choice.  You can change your course whenever you realize you’re not headed in the direction you want to go.
  9. Goals – change what you can. Sometimes our problems may aggravate, annoy and frustrate us because they’re so repetitive.  Is there something about this habit, task or chore that I like or could change?  For instance, I like to sing and hum while I do the dishes, it helps me pass the time.  Having fun with your task can make it seem easier.  Maybe you could trade a coworker part of a job you don’t like.  Maybe she can type up the report if you do the research – or vice versa.

I’m no super genius, but these ideas have helped me and hopefully they could help you too.  If you have better ideas to share – feel free.  I will happily give you credit.  I’m wise enough to showcase people smarter than me.  :0)  Thanks for stopping by.

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AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by WTL photos

In the middle of a savage zombie invasion, your heart beat increases, adrenaline flows through your body, and your muscles stiffen in anticipation of a possible impact to the body.

Luckily for most of us we won’t face the zombie apocalypse anytime soon.  But sometimes we can experience this same stress response in our daily lives.  One big problem, or a barrage of smaller ones, add up and overload both mind and body.  While we can recover from a day or two of such stress, week after week of “fight or flight” can leave us feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.

Why does this happen?  I know I’m not the only one waiting on hold forever, in endless line, or getting their paperwork wet in the rain that curses the fact that they got out of bed this morning.  On days like this, I don’t laugh off my over-reaction to muddy dog prints on the floor, I yell at the dog and angrily wipe them up while silently contemplating if anyone I know would like a new pet.

Recognizing this build-up before it gets to the blow-out point can be a lifesaver.  A good way to do this is to teach yourself to take a break each time you notice the worry, frustration, and anxiety are building up.  When you feel too busy to stop, that’s a good sign you need to slow down.

Like any other skill, it takes practice. There are several strategies you can use to do this.  One is to set times during the day to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. If for example, you notice at your 10:00 break that you are feeling worried, overwhelmed or upset, you can take a few minutes to do some deep breathing, put on some fun music or take a walk to change your focus. If you’re feeling fine, you can simply continue with your day.

You can also teach yourself to stop for a few minutes whenever you feel stressed. This is harder to do, as you have to consciously realize that you are feeling stressed.  Once you recognize the signals – shallow breathing, stiff shoulders or back, headache, tired eyes, etc, you can take a few moments to recover. Close your eyes and simply sit still for a few minutes.  If your mind is racing too much, count backwards from 50 to 1 or 100 to 1 until you are breathing deeper and feeling calmer.

Amazingly even 1-2 minutes of deep breathing can improve your mood. You’ll find longer lasting relief by taking a 10-15 minute break, but any break at all will help you refocus your attention, breaking the cycle of worry, complaining and anger you feel.

Because it’s hard to think of ideas to break your negative thinking while it’s happening, here are few ideas:

  • Relax. Close your eyes.  This rests your eyes and your mind.  In the fluorescent jungle the lights can dry our eyes and cause eyestrain bringing on a headache.  Taking a few minutes to rest can stop a headache before it starts.
  • Refocus. Keep some pictures, quotes or other inspiration material around.  Take a few minutes away from what you’re doing.  Let yourself just “be” for a moment.  Even 5 minutes of refocusing time can make a huge difference.
  • Change perspective. Play some music.  Classics can be soothing and calming, while rock, pop or disco are upbeat and energetic.  Chair dancing to some fun tunes can liven up almost any task.
  • Wake up. Get some air.  It’s surprising what a little fresh air can do for you.  You’ll breathe deeper, blink a little in the bright light, get your blood flowing by walking around and go back to work feel much more refreshed.
  • Fun. Do something fun for a few minutes.  Talk to a coworker, share a joke, read the comics or watch a cartoon on your MP3.  Doing something you enjoy can lighten your mood and when you return your hurdles won’t seem insurmountable anymore.
  • Get some support. Talk to a friend.  Give them a call or send an email.  Hearing a friendly voice or venting a little can take the stress down a level.  Knowing someone cares helps you feel loved and reminds you of your strengths.

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by Prozac74

While reading another blog that I love, I came across a theme that really resonates with me. It’s called “Rules that don’t exist.” I love this idea firstly because I have always been a bit weird.  I often enjoy things that friends or family dislike or aren’t interested in.  It could be liking music someone else hates, or my love reading – I can’t get enough of it.  Some friends hope that particular disease isn’t contagious

That’s why living by your own rules is so important. Another great blogger, Gretchen Rubin, talks about how what’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – and vice versa.  This is so important to recognize.  You can’t live your life by other people’s rules.

If you love foreign films, or playing video games, or doing sudoku, go right ahead and have fun!  If you love knitting, making homemade Christmas cards or fantasy football – go for it!  Do what YOU love.  Remember love is a matter of the heart. Just like no one can make you love a particular person, no one can make you love a particular thing either.

If you’re anything like me, you live the old adage “Joys shared are doubled, sorrows shared are halved.”  For me, it’s completely true.  Sometimes I feel my joy is diminished because the people around me don’t share my enthusiasm and interest.

It is an enormous relief to realize that while none of my friends like playing with toys – I love it!  I like movies that my husband hates.  It’s like a milkshake – some love strawberry or vanilla, but I love chocolate.  Living life by your own rules means enjoying your particular flavor of life.

That’s one of the beautiful things about the Internet.  There you can find comrades who enjoy EXACTLY the same things as you.  Even if you have to go to one site for Harry Potter fans, and another one for horror movie fans.  (Both of which I like.)

I was reading an article with a point of view I disagreed with today, and it made me feel guilty.  (I thought the article had a point.)  But then I realized, that even though I agree with some of the information, I didn’t agree with the main point.  And that’s TOTALLY OK.  My whole perspective shifted once I realized it’s okay to disagree.

So whatever rules you use to live your life, make them ones that work for you.  Look at the things that you think you should believe – that doing things for others is good for you, that you can’t stay out late on a work night, or that rollercoasters are fun.  Maybe so, but maybe that’s not true for you.  Create a life that makes sense for you, not someone else, even someone you admire. Go live life by YOUR RULES!

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