Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Stressed? Take A Holistic Approach to Self-Care During the Holidays

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s hard not to feel stressed during the holiday season. There is so much to do–parties, cleaning, cooking, shopping and gift wrapping .. OK I am getting stressed just listing it all out!

This season, don’t let stress get the best of you. Take care of yourself so you can at least enjoy the season.

Take a quick inventory of your self-care practices. Are you attending to all areas of your life? If so, this holistic approach will help you reduce stress.

1) Emotional Self-Care: Pull out those assertive skills and say NO! ” Sorry, I can’t bake two dozen cookies for the school party.” “I know you need a volunteer but I just can’t work it in this year.” “Yes, I would be honored to come to your gathering but I have too much on my calendar already. I am going to have to say NO. Maybe next time.”

2) Financial Self-Care: Have a budget and stick to it. One of the biggest stresses is spending too much. You don’t want those January bills to freak you out! So as hard as it is, come up with a budget, a list of people to buy for and stick to your plan. Your mind will be at ease.

3) Physical Self-Care: Don’t forget about exercise, eating and sleeping well. Yes, you will not be as routined as usual, but don’t give up just because it is more difficult to work physical care into your day. The more you take care of your physical body, the better you will feel.

4) Spiritual Self-Care: Plan time for morning meditation and prayer. There is no better way to de-stress, then to begin your day with God. Quiet and center yourself. Ask Him to order your day and give His peace. When I get too busy to spend time with God, I get stressed.

5) Relational Self-Care:  My mom died right before Christmas a few years ago. Feelings of loss sometimes hit me. When they do. I sit with them. I grieve and allow myself to feel the loss. Be aware of your emotions and relationships that trigger you during this time. Work on difficult relationships and don’t allow the extra stress to make you more irritable.

10 Tips to Deal With Difficult Family Members During the Holidays

posted by Linda Mintle

1. Anticipate your reactions. Because of past experience with those difficult family members, you know what to expect. So, anticipate how you will react ahead of time. Think it through. Imagine a scenario and how you will respond. This anticipation can help you feel in control of problematic situations.

2. Pick your battles. There will always be the relative that asks why you are not married yet, have kids or aren’t in a better job. Decide if you want to take this on or simply respond with a preplanned response like, “I don’t know. Got any ideas.” Sometimes it is best not to engage because it will upset you.

3. Practice restraint and extend grace. This is one time of the year that you may want to refuse to engage in conflict or deep family issues. Keep it light with the focus on the positive things of the holiday. Redirect conversation to subjects of gratitude and joy. If a difficult relative tries to pick a fight, don’t go there. Determine to show mercy and grace this time of year.

4. Limit alcohol. When some people drink they get belligerent and combative. This only makes matters worse so opt for an alcohol free celebration or make sure people are not over indulging.

5. Have enough variety in activities that everyone can find something he or she likes to do. Take a walk, start a card game, play touch football, join in on games with the kids, etc. Keeping people engaged helps stave off opportunities to get on each other’s nerves. Getting involved with the kids can relieve stress and get you out of difficult conversations.

6. With really difficult families, limit your time and have an exit strategy. If people start to become verbally abusive or drink too much and get combative, kindly excuse yourself and have some where to go. Asa  grown up, you don’t have to put up with this type of behavior.

7. Use this time to watch and learn. It may help to become an observer of your family interactions. Watch how people relate and interact. Study the family and decide if you are part of the dysfunction and how to make changes. Family get togethers can be learning situations if you are aware of the patterns of interactions.

8. Be realistic. Unless your family has been in therapy, not much will be different. But these are your relatives and do not have to be your best friends. Be respectful and kind but don’t expect too much if nothing has changed.

9. Know what triggers you. It helps to know your hot buttons and be prepared to respond calmly. You have control over your reactions so don’t expect others to change. You change how you respond to those hot triggers.

10. Pray and remind yourself that you are a grown-up now. Family get togethers can bring back painful memories. It helps to remind yourself that you are not that helpless child anymore, that you are not a victim and can behave in ways that take care of you. If you need a break, go for a quick walk, or in to a room and just deep breathe and get your thoughts together. Pray and ask God to help you be lovely to those not always so lovely. By God’s grace, you can do it.

10 No Nos For Holiday Office Parties

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s that time of year. Holiday office parties are on the calendar. So what should you keep in mind in order to insure you don’t make a fool of yourself or get in trouble?

Here’s my list. I suggest you check it twice–don’t be naughty, be nice!

1) Don’t say NO to going. Yes, you need to attend your holiday party. It shows cooperation and team spirit. Skipping the event is a bah humbug moment!

2) If there is drinking, don’t imbibe or do so minimally. So many problems are rooted in too much alcohol loosening up people to say and do things without restraint. Later, you will regret it. And if your boss is a former alcoholic, drinking may put you in a negative light.

3) What happens at an office party doesn’t stay at an office party. Consider smart phones, social media and all the ways pictures and comments can be posted to the public. Missteps could ruin your career.

4) Don’t flirt or say sexually inappropriate comments. These are your co-workers, not your potential dates. This is your workplace and these are the people you will continue to interact with on Monday. Don’t make things uncomfortable. And remember sexual harassment in the workplace is real.

5) Don’t talk shop. This is a party, not a business meeting. Relax, get to know people, but leave business at your desk. Save your great ideas for a scheduled meeting. If you do make a job related commitment, write it down as soon as you get home so you don’t forget to follow through.

6) Dress appropriately. You can be overdressed or too casual. Find out the dress code ahead of time. Keep sexy down. Again, this is not a nightclub! Look professional.

7) Don’t blur boundaries. The lines of authority need to be respected. So don’t get overly friendly with a boss or person you supervise. They are not your new buddy just because it is a party.

8) Be nice. If there are co-workers who irritate you, let it go. Don’t engage in gossip. Be an example of grace.

9) Don’t isolate. Mingle. Don’t stand in the corner or wait for people to find you. Be social and make it a point to greet and talk to as many people as possible.

10) Thank the host. This may be your boss and whoever put together the party. This is basic etiquette but people sometimes forget.

Calculate The Probability of Your Newborn Becoming Obese

posted by Linda Mintle

When you hold that beautiful new baby in your arms, you are probably not thinking about childhood obesity. But maybe you should.

Researchers at the Imperial College London have developed an on-line calculator that strongly predicts a baby’s probability of becoming obese during childhood.

Here is how it works. You need this data:

  • Child’s birth weight,
  • Number of household members
  • The mother and father’s body mass indexes (BMI)
  • The mother’s occupation
  • Mother’s gestational smoking habits

Once you have this information, click on the calculator and plug in the data. Then click on the predicted probability and this will give you a percentage of how likely your baby is to become obese.

Researchers studied 4000 children born in Finland beginning in 1986. They looked at genetics, socio-cultural factors, lifestyle and more. Through statistical analysis, they were able to come up with the most predictive factors of childhood obesity (those listed above). These factors predicted childhood obesity up to 85% of the time.

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