SECRETS OF A SOCIAL WORKER

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

Tag: peace

Who Are You?

I am the unwavering love that encompasses you every minute of every day. I am the calm before the storm, and the calm once the storm subsides. I am the truth, I am real. I am everything you want to be, and what you realize you already are. I am your base, the support to guide you. Trust in me, and in turn you’ll trust yourself. I am the kindness and warmth in your heart. I am strength. I am vulnerability. Growth is a part of me. I am peace. I am everywhere, and I am incredible…I am you.

-keep shining

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Happy Things Thursday

 

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  • A successful first date
  • New slippers
  • Toddlers trying to walk in boot and snowsuits
  • The smell of Barnes and Noble
  • Drinking your favorite fountain pop
  • A baby falling asleep in your arms
  • Lighting a new candle for the first time
  • Wedding receptions
  • Someone letting you budge in line
  • Getting reimbursed for college books at the end of the semesterClick here to ‘like’ and follow my Facebook page
    -keep shining

Happy Things Thursday

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1. Random smiles from strangers.

2. Adopting a pet.

3. Coming home to a package on your doorstep you forgot you ordered.

4. The smell of Subway.

5. Finding gift cards you forgot you had stashed away.

6. Dog kisses.

7. Refurbishing old furniture.

8. The tummy tickling feeling in your gut when driving down a steep hill.

9. Good hair days.

10. Getting your rental deposit money back after moving out of a rental property.

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-keep shining

Happy Holidays To Me

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When I began to write my holiday blog this year, I was really struggling. I was struggling because I didn’t want to write the same old stuff we always read; be thankful, be grateful, get in the holiday spirit, do for others, etc… I agree that all of this is great and wonderful, as I wrote about it last year (www.swsecrets.net/?p=3), but what else can we focus on this time of year that is equally as important but less talked about? I had to sit with this thought for a few days until I really started to notice one key part of this time of year we are missing the boat on….

OURSELVES! Yes, you! This time of year is typically focused on doing good for others, fundraising, donating our time and money, buying Christmas gifts, getting good discounts, feeling the holiday cheer, and being grateful for all we have in this life….But what about YOU? None of these things can happen without you.

This time of year is hectic, and by the time Thanksgiving gets here I can already tell I need a break, and I bet you all do too. And once Thanksgiving is over, you realize that life is not slowing down anytime soon. Now it becomes the time to give back, put up the holiday lights, make Christmas plans, start planning and prepping our meals and houses for  guests, and start putting holiday work parties on the calendar. Can a get a ‘yikes’ one time?! Let’s all pump the breaks, people! Take time to and focus on you, your needs, and what you want to do during this hectic time of year. Pull back on your crazy schedule and the need to focus on others, because if we aren’t mentally healthy and personally ‘up to par’ then everything else in our lives will suffer a little bit. Everything else in our lives will feel a little more exhausting, stressful, and frustrating because we are forgetting to put ourselves first.

Be selfish. Be about  you. This society focuses so much on doing good for others in order to live a fulfilling life. That is so true, but don’t we need to do good for ourselves and treat ourselves well before we can focus on those around us and their needs? I will give you a hint…..The answer to this question is YES.

I know you all can agree with me on this, but the bigger question is the how? How do we take time for ourselves without feeling guilty, without feeling like other things are not going to get done, and without creating that little anxiety in our bodies if we do not get every ‘t’ crossed and every ‘i’ dotted? Let me give you a few tips and tricks to get you started on your more beautifully selfish life.

  • First and foremost…. It is okay to say no. We do not constantly owe our time and energy to others, and we struggle to say no without coming up with a lie or excuse. But the unfortunate alternative is we say yes, roll our eyes, and start stressing about the things that will be put on hold because we said yes to someone else other than ourselves. Practice saying no. Challenge yourself. You can even practice now. Say it with me… NO NO NO.
    Didn’t that feel good?
  • Plan activities to do alone, and put them in your calendar. Yes, do it….Let me challenge you with this question: Realistically, if you could do anything by yourself right now or this week what would it be? What is the first thing that comes to mind for you? Okay, great. Now write that down, plan it, and put it in your schedule. I can already hear the excuses because I make them all the time (I don’t have time, I have to clean my house, I already have a full week…The list goes on and on). But, I will politely remind you to put that ‘thing’ you thought of in your schedule…..
    Didn’t that feel good? And doesn’t it make you smile?
  • It’s not always better to give than receive. We give so much of ourselves around the holidays, but at what point do we give to ourselves? At what point do we treat ourselves? At what point to we throw our hands in the air and surrender to everything that adds up on the never-ending-to-do list? Yes, it feels good to give to others whether through volunteering, our cooking/baking, or our gift giving. But the most important relationship you will have throughout life is with yourself, and you need to nurture it. Do not always feel that in order to be a good member of society means we have to take time to give back, spend all our hard earned money on food and gifts, and not take a minute of time to ourselves between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This holiday can be about you too, if you let it.
  • If you want to get take-out instead, then do it. If you don’t want to put lights up on your house or decorate head to toe, then don’t. If you don’t want to go caroling with your church group, then don’t. If you don’t want to participate in your work party’s Secret Santa exchange, that is okay….Whether or not you believe me, you have a choice, and you don’t have to do all of these things. And if you’re catching my drift, then you’ll realize that it goes back to saying no. There is too much to do this time of year, and it is up to you to recognize that and then prioritize. For example, this year I was to make the pie for Thanksgiving but I bought one instead. This year my husband and I decided not to buy Christmas lights for the house or buy each other gifts. And you know what? It felt good! Don’t be a superhero this holiday season, just do what it is that you want. After all, this is your holiday season too, not just everyone else’s. Take a breath and prioritize. Your holiday will be much more enjoyable if you’re relaxed.

During these special times of year, take advantage of the opportunity you have to spend time with loved ones, have real conversations, and enjoy authentic moments. 

-Happy Holidays and keep shining

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Dear Negative Nancy, You’re Not Welcome Here!

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Negativity is poison to our body and minds. It consumes us, it takes over. And it does so with ease….We barely even know it’s happening.

The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life will be. Would you agree with this statement? I think that is an easy ‘yes’ for most people.
But, what happens when you are the one bringing the negativity to the table?

It happens, we all have spurts of being the dreaded ‘Negative Nancy’. The one who focuses on all negative things, talks negatively, whines, never has anything good to say, and focuses a lot on their lives and all the things going wrong… We have all been there! But, how do we get out of this dreaded phase? How do we keep from allowing the negativity to take over?

Negative thinking is easy. In my opinion, it’s our minds lazy track. It is so much easier to think negatively than positive. We really need to train our minds to focus on positivity and leave the negative to Nancy.
I have a question for you…What are some negative traits you feel you posses? Those things you want to change?
…I bet it was really easy for you to come up with a list of things you do not like about yourself, or feel need some tweaking. But now ask yourself the opposite; what are your best qualities? What do you love about you?
…Was it more difficult to come up with your positive features than negative? Was your positive list shorter? A lot of the times, we will answer yes. Our minds steer towards the negative, and a lot of times we have to train ourselves to think about the good, the positive, the uplifting. It is hard to forget about the negative and put it aside. It is hard to ignore those thoughts.

Think about how much easier our lives would be if we didn’t respond to or pay attention to all the negativity. If we thought about the great qualities we have, the good in the world, focus on our friendships and their worth… Wouldn’t that be wonderful? 

I think we have all had that friend who is stuck in ‘Negative Nancy’ phase. The one who always thinks about themselves- the ‘poor me’ attitude- and quite frankly is just exhausting to be around! You leave feeling so icky and ‘blah’ inside because they have complained so much and had nothing good to say about anything/anyone. The ‘Nancys’ of the world tend to focus on themselves, and afterwards our moods change because of all the negativity that has been brought in by Nancy. I unfortunately have had to wash my hands clean of some Nancy’s in my life, and it’s really too bad. They had some fabulous qualities about them, but they let so much negativity consume them, that they could not even focus on the positive and supportive friendships they had right in front of them.

So, how do we keep from becoming Nancy? What can we do?

For me, the most important step is to be mindful. I love the word ‘mindful’ because it  really keeps me in check. To be mindful means to focus on our present moment, to be aware of ourselves and our thoughts. Mindful means to think about our current feelings, thoughts, and our body language.  Once we start recognizing right away that we are being negative, we can alter our thinking. There are numerous mindfulness techniques available to practice and help train ourselves to be more present in the current moment.

Another important step in avoiding becoming the Negative Nancy of your posy is to remember that life is not fair. We all have days of feeling like we had a giant target on our backs, and we just do not understand why everything terrible is happening to us today. It is important in these moments to work on training our minds to think positive thoughts. What about my day went well? What can I do differently next time? Tomorrow is a new day! It could always be worse. Think about what you are thankful for today, think about what is going right in your life. Again, being mindful of the moment and how you’re feeling. It is a waste of time to go through life thinking about the obstacles that come your way that are not fair. This is a waste of your energy..Energy that could be utilized is much more productive ways!

Try not to use the word but. But is so negative! It is an ugly word, in my opinion, and always negates the beginning of your sentence. For example, what if I said to you “thank you so much for helping me clean the house today, but next time don’t forget to fold the towels’…What does your mind focus on? For me, it focuses  on the statement about forgetting to fold towels and makes me feel defensive. But completely eliminates the first part of the sentence, making it seem as if it never existed, because we focus on the negative which begins with but. It takes practice to rearrange our sentences to eliminate the word but, however it does make our conversations with others more positive, therefore people’s interactions with us are more positive as well. What if instead I thought about that sentence and said ,” regardless of the towels not being folded, I noticed how great of a job you did cleaning today and I really appreciate that…Thank you”.

Always remember that smiling is the best medicine 🙂 Nothing helps uplift our spirits and load our minds with positivity more than a little laughter and smiling. Smiling is contagious! The more we smile, the more people around us will feel our positivity and want to find something to smile about too. Isn’t your favorite person at the office the one who is always making light of the situation and cracking jokes? You can be that person too, if you want to!

Also important is not to dwell…Try moving forward and turn that negativity into a learning experience. Dwelling on icky feelings keeps us feeling down in the dumps. It rubs off on our friends, and honestly makes them not want to be around us. Not to say we can’t vent sometimes to our friends, that is what friends are for too! Just try focusing on positive aspects of your friendships as well, and be supportive of one another in the positive aspects of your lives.

Know that it is okay to seek out a ‘listener'(therapist, counselor, life coach). Utilizing a listener is such a wonderful and healthful gift that we can give ourselves.  We don’t have all the answers.  People who are trained in these fields can serve as a  wonderful and non-judgmental sounding board.  Don’t ever deny yourself the ability to consider visiting with someone if life presents you with a roadblock. Allow this ‘listener’ to help untangle the thoughts and come to a place of peace.  We all help each other, and there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

Another important factor of course, as I have mentioned before, is to work on loving yourself! I talk a lot about this because it is so important, and so easily overlooked because we spend a lot of time putting our energy into others’ needs before our own. To love yourself will bring positive feelings, and it will be easier to let the negative stuff go. As I mentioned in a previous blog (http://swsecrets.net/2015/10/08/lifes-too-short/), make a list of what you love about yourself. Think about some of these things right away in the morning, or right before bed. Better yet, have your list somewhere visible. It sounds cheesy, but it’s really helpful. My husband and I made a list of things we love about each other and have them next to our bed. It always cheers me up to see that list, even if I do not read it. Just having it there is a reminder that I am loved and possess many great qualities that my husband notices.

Being a positive person will bring more positive feelings, experiences, and people into our lives.

Find peace. Find happiness. Find yourself.

keep shining

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