On Gratitude

I attended a Thanksgiving dinner today and was reminded how important gratitude is.

Being grateful brings humility and gladness. No matter how bad things get there is probably something we can still be grateful for.

I’m thankful for the peace I experience daily. I don’t live in a war-ridden territory, nor do I need to see my husband or brother going to fight. I know where my children are, and they are well.

I’m thankful for the basic necessities. I have uninterrupted access to clean water, shelter, heat and fresh food, as well as recreation, education and social involvement.

Every time I get over a nasty cough, I remember how grateful I am to breathe easily.

I’m amazed I can plan for my future, with some level of certainty. I am grateful for the likelihood I will live through my seventies and enjoy my children’s children.

Please add a comment – what are the things you feel gratitude for?

6 ways to improve your self care

“Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” Airline safety announcement

Self care is not about being selfish, but ensuring we have plentiful reserves. So this is not a license to spoil or over-pamper or vacation every month. It is a quite necessary activity to fully recharge rather than fritz out completely. Caring for ourselves is not egotistic or vain. It only means ensuring that our needs are met.

It’s important because our reserves are finite, similar to a battery. Our energy is used up in our daily lives in dealing with work, children, dependents, commitments, house, possessions. If we don’t fully recharge there’s not enough energy to do it properly. Too soon, the battery needs to replaced.

The first step is to make it a priority. If it’s not a priority, it won’t stick. It’s difficult to make time in a busy life, but if self care is a high enough priority, it’ll be easier to drop something less important to make the time. Once we have the time here are six ways to take better self care.

  1. Be nourished. Poor nutrition deprives us of energy we could be getting from healthier food. Water makes all the body’s functions work better. Exercise strengthens the heart and bones, heals the blood and limbers the joints. Duration, type and intensity are individual.
  2. Be rested. We need long and uninterrupted and deep enough sleep that we are refreshed each day.
  3. Be loved and appreciated. We all need good connections and healthy relationships from which we can draw strength.
  4. Don’t be stressed. Stress damages health and appearance. It shortens lifespan and decreases life quality. Getting spirituality on track is part of this too.
  5. Receive value. We need to have something that makes us glad. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but spending time enjoying our passions revives.
  6. Give back. Ironically, giving back can refresh the spirit. Too much can be taxing so we all need to find the right balance.

If there is a gap in any of these areas, it’s time to take some care of yourself. I’ve spent two nights this week at the beach, just sitting and listening to the surf, letting my mind wander and my body relax. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Need inspiration? Please comment below with your specific example.

10 steps to peace and joy for your teeth

Last week my dentist found a cavity in my molar. Not a big one, but it came as a surprise to me. Took the peace and joy right out of my day! For the last 15 years I haven’t had any problems because I’ve been taking such good care. But now I’ve made an appointment to have my tooth drilled and filled next week.

Even when we take the best care of ourselves, our bodies age and new problems crop up. There is no prevention for getting older. The body deteriorates and there’s no point pretending otherwise. But we should do all we can to delay the inevitable and prevent unnecessary damage. It’ll bring your health bill down, too!

Here are ten great ways you keep your teeth as healthy as possible. If you’re not sure where to start or this seems like an overwhelming list, start at the first one.

  1. Go to the dentist every six months and follow their advice. If you do nothing else different, this twice-yearly reminder will remind you and reset your habits (for a little while, at least).
  2. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  3. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  4. Drink water right after eating.
  5. Drink through a straw.
  6. Wait to brush 30 minutes after taking acidic food or drink.
  7. Don’t snack between meals.
  8. Brush, floss and flouride-rinse daily.
  9. Limit acidic foods and drinks, and don’t hold or swish them in your mouth.
  10. Eat a healthy diet. We all know what that is, so I won’t go into details here!

Update: I discovered two more:

  1. Use plaque-disclosing tablets every other month after you brush and floss. This’ll keep you doing the job correctly.
  2. Mind your face. Bumps, knocks and hits can break teeth, even at the root.

Keep smiling!

Emergency planning

I took a vacation from this blog while my family traveled across Canada (a fantastic adventure!) and I’m not quite ready to return yet. There is one project I must complete before I add anything else to my busy schedule:

An emergency kit and plan.

I will be making a kit with information, phone numbers, extra clothes, food, water, and other supplies. Extra copies of important information and our plan go to an off-site location. Each person will have what they need for up to 3 days after an evacuation.

It’s definitely not minimalist but it’s important to be ready. Natural (and unnatural) disasters happen. I want to make sure my family is as ready as possible. If you want more information on preparing yourself, check out http://www.getprepared.ca

I’ll be back once that project is finished. In the meantime please feel free to leave your comments or feedback below.