Monthly Archives: August 2015

Overcoming those Wintertime Blues!

With the autumn months approaching, I find my mood begin to follow the weather and become a little bleak and dreary.  It begins around October/November and can stretch to February/March.  It is referred to as SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Many people suffer from this disorder, but it affects more women than men.  

As the time changes, days are dark when I’m going to work and dark when getting off from work, and I begin to feel almost hopeless.  As my mother would say, I begin feeling ‘blue’.  It is during these months, as the weather starts to turn colder, that we should take special care of ourselves.

The months of November and December are busier months and I can distract myself with the business of getting prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Given that knowledge, I try to plan something to look forward to during the months of October and late or mid-February.  Distracting myself with a party or a trip helps keep my mind off the immediate feelings of despair and helplessness.

It’s important for me to make sure I get out and enjoy the sunshine!  If it’s bright out, even when cold, I turn my face to the sun.  It warms me and I experience hope!

Some women that I have talked with use a light therapy box.  This is a box that holds special lights that mimic the warm rays that we feel from the sun, hence, giving us that feeling of having our mood lifted.  They will sit in front of this box for fifteen minutes a day, but it is enough time to lift their spirits.

There is also medication, as well as, talk therapy.  I, personally, find it helpful to have someone to which I can talk and share some anxiety I might be having as a result of the weather and the time of year.  

It’s a good time to check your vitamin intake!  Through the summer months, we are so busy and outdoors, eating good fresh vegetables, but as the weather becomes colder, we are more likely to eat more of the ‘comfort foods’.  These foods can leave us feeling laden down and kind of depressed, as well.  Be vigilant to eat well and take a look at the vitamins in your medicine cabinet.  Make sure you’re taking some D3, to protect you and keep your immune system strong, as well as some B12, to help you from feeling tired and weighed down!

This is a really good time of year to give to others!  When we focus on others, then we forget about ourselves and the woe’s we might be feeling.

The last thing that I try to do, and my last suggestion, is be sure you have a few good books to read!  You can go to warm places, sunny places, exotic places and all over the world with many different people when you read.  You can worry about someone else’s problems, even if they’re fictional, rather than your own worries.

As we approach September, and the weather becomes cooler, if you find yourself becoming ‘blue’, try something new and pretty soon, before you know it, we’ll be finding Spring just around the corner!   

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think!  Until next time, don’t just count YOUR blessings ……BE a blessing to others!  😉

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How Do You Keep from Running on Empty?

It is my conclusion that there are two types of people in the world.  There are givers and there are takers.  Now this does not mean that the giver never takes or that the taker never gives.  It simply means that the tendency is stronger in one of the two areas.  Of course, they have a propensity to gravitate to one another.  Obviously, this makes it easier for their natures to live comfortably.

Conflicts arise when the taker fails to give anything and the giver gives it all away, until there is nothing left.  The giver begins to breakdown, emotionally, mentally and oftentimes, physically.  This is because they can’t even give themselves the attention to take care of their own bodies.

It is prudent for the one that gives in the relationship to keep enough in the tank to  continue to uphold the balance.

Here are some suggestions to be mindful of in maintaining a healthy flow of energy.

  • Are you spending enough time with another giver? 

We all know who they are – and we need to have like hearted people in our lives.  If you can not connect with another giver, enlist the help of a therapist.  There is no shame in paying for someone to listen to you, encourage you when you need it, and offer alternatives to actions that can set the course of disruption in your relationship with the taker.

  • Are your activities feeding your spirit?c617872f2d892407478bd34a6b9858d4

For some it might be an afternoon alone in a bookstore.  For someone else, you may need to find a project or hobby that you can look forward to completing.  You may need to find a silent retreat at a nearby retreat house where you can get quiet enough to finally hear your inner voice.

  • Have you spent enough time alone to really know yourself and what you need?

This one can be a little tricky if you are in a committed marriage.  You can’t just take a year hiatus from your life together.  Who can afford that?  If you can’t take little snippets of alone time to do this, then, again, paying a therapist to talk it out can help tremendously.  They have a unique view-point that can help you see what you’ve not been able to see previously.

  • Are you caring for yourself external self?

Sometimes just getting a new hairstyle can do wonders for your “love tank”.  Maybe starting a new workout routine or try a new color of lipstick!  You just can’t forget to love yourself and that includes giving to yourself on the outside too!

So, these are a few things that I keep in mind when I find my “love tank” is running low.  I also find it helpful to have something for which to hope.  If I’ve got something to look forward to, I am always stretching myself until that event can be reached.  Then I am, once again, fed and able to give to others.

What are some ways you keep the balance in your relationship when it comes to the give and the take?  I’d love to know what works best for you!

Have a Blessed Day!  🙂425dbe7bf7ebb79c368af70261b29fb9

7 Lasting Gifts Your Children Will Treasure

With the beginning of a new school year, I find myself becoming a bit nostalgic.  Whether I am longing for my own first days of school or missing the first days for my children, my mind wanders to different times in my life.

I never filled my children with stories of how difficult it was walking to school in six inches of snow, uphill both ways.  I wanted them to know that I loved school, but more than that, I loved to learn.

My mother always had a book in one hand and a crossword puzzle in the other, with a dictionary close by her at all times!  She watched birds and learned about them, along with flowers and plants.  She was never bored because she always had a project going.  If she wanted to do something she wasn’t sure about, she taught herself.  These were the days before the internet and You Tube, mind you!

I think about my own thirst of learning, and I know it was a gift she passed to me.  I can only hope that I have passed on some valuable things to my children.  I certainly tried to show them the joy in living and learning.

These are some of the things I find most important for children.  Perhaps you might find them useful:

  1. Be interested in many things, not just what’s in the People magazine.  Watch documentaries together on nature and how the animals interact and behave.  Watch the nature outside your window.  Have an appreciation for the spider that weaves his web at night only to unweave it in the morning.  This will teach your children to look and see the world around them!
  2. Be interested in people you meet.  Everyone has a story to tell – make yourself available in your conversations to hear their story.  This teaches your children to take the focus off of themselves.
  3. Always have a project going.  Learn to scrapbook, knit, crochet or sew, or even to paint.  Teach your children how to occupy themselves in ways other than turning to video games and t.v.  This will teach your children that boredom is not an option.
  4. Let them see you read.  Enjoy books!  If you are not a reader, attempt to become one.  You will always have material about which to converse.  This teaches your children that the world is huge with so many things to discover from right in our own homes, and further it always gives them something to share with others.
  5. Volunteer your talents.  However be careful not to over commit yourself.  It’s important to teach your children to give back to the world either your time, your talent or your treasure.  So be sure to tithe, and teach your children too.  Your children will be unselfish with the gifts they’ve been given if they have been taught to share them.
  6. Budget your time well.  We have so much going on with our children in so many activities and the areas in which we, as parents, are committed.  However, it’s important to have a balance of activity outside the home and time spent with one another inside the home.  Teach your children how to prioritize by making time spent at home with one another the priority.
  7. My A – #1, absolute TOP JOB for parents – leave your children with GOOD memories!  I have never heard my children share memories with one another that involved the ballgames they played, but rather they talk about the times spent here at home, or out having family fun.  Simple spontaneous and usually more inexpensive activities have been some of our most wonderful memories.  Sometimes…..there is value in everyone being at home, just doing their own things.  This teaches your child to appreciate family, as well as time spent alone…learning to entertain themselves.

I have bought into the phrase that “What is caught is more important than taught”.  As I think about my own mother, I truly believe that. 

What are some areas in your parenting that you feel are important to pass onto your children?  Maybe you have a particular memory that is special to you that you would like to share…PLEASE do!  I would love to know what your thoughts are and perhaps you can help someone else in their family!  You just never know what morsel you lay down might be a complete meal for someone else!  Give us your morsel!  😉 

Have a blessed day!                274dfd18ca70bc4fcf1dc993505128d7

How Do You Treat Your Server When Eating Out?

One of my most favorite things to do is to go out to eat.  There is something about not having to cook for myself or anyone else, not having to serve it and clean up after it simply puts me in a wonderful place.  Often my husband and I will revisit the same restaurants, particularly, if we have made a connection with one of our Servers.  If we are going to spend our money with anyone, we will do it with someone we like!

I am so appreciative of the world of Servers, cause it’s a job that I could never see myself doing.  I think it’s hard, and oftentimes, not so gratifying.  However, I recently had a conversation with our favorite Server, Lindsay, from Chili’s. I asked her what she liked about serving, and what could we do, as patrons, to help make work go a little easier for her.  She reached out to some of her Server friends and here’s why they love doing what they do:

  • They all told me that they love meeting new people and becoming more like family!  Our friend, Lindsay, is definitely like family.  When my daughter turned 21, we went to celebrate with Lindsay for dinner because of our relationship with her!
  • Interacting with all sorts of people.  Learning different languages and talking with people and learning new things.
  • The money is really good (especially when the Server is good at her job).  They don’t have to wait two weeks for a paycheck.
  • Trying all the new foods.
  • Flexible schedules.
  • And my favorite – the opportunity to make someone’s day!  🙂

Each one of the Servers that responded, genuinely seemed to love what they do for a living.

Personally, I think it requires a very special person to serve people for a living.  I admire those that do and I try to make it as pleasant an experience for them as they are trying to make it for me.

Here are some things to keep in mind the next time we sit down at a table and ask to be served.

  • Be polite!  Please and Thank You are not just for kids, ya know.  They go a long way for someone who may have been on their feet for the last six hours.  But even if they have just clocked in, it can set the tone for their whole shift.  And as a side note – learn your server’s name, and use it.  They are people who deserve the dignity of having their names used.
  • When Servers are good – the money is good.  If they have done a good job, it is real nice to tell them, but it’s even nicer when you show them by tipping well.  I am so appreciative of a good server that I am going to make it worth their while to have served me!  Compliments don’t pay the bills!
  • Call ahead if you know there is a going to be a large party with you.  Restaurants typically send staff home on slow evenings.  It becomes a hardship to have a party of 20 come in after half of the cooks and servers have been sent home.  This will ensure your experience to be more pleasant if the restaurant is prepared for your party.
  • If you have a special request for your meal – extra sour cream/butter – let your server know when you place your order.  Your table is only one of many in their station and they can better serve you if they have everything sent out at once.  You might have to wait more than a few minutes to get your extra pickles because Tables 2, 3 and 4, need their drinks.
  • And this brings me to my last helpful hint.  Please be patient!  A server works several tables at once.  But all of the people at all of the tables are #1 priority for them.  Your Servers are doing all they can to make you feel like the Number 1.  Please keep this in mind and know that they will return to your table as quickly as they possibly can.  Compassion goes a long way!

Occasionally, you will get a poor server.  This is unfortunate.  Please remember that we are all dealing with something.  Perhaps it’s just a particularly bad day for them.  I think if we can all be quicker to show compassion rather than impatience, then the world would be a better place.

So let’s go out there and make the world a better place!  And remember to tip your Server’s well!  🙂

5 Ways to Regroup after Emptying the Nest

At the young age of 48, I became an “empty-nester”.  For 22+ years, I had children under my feet.  And I loved every……well…..almost every minute of it!  😉

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I had my first son in May, 1989, and my daughter in December, 1993, with two boys in between the two.  Four children in four years was a little faster than I had planned, but I had to know that God knew what He was doing.  However, it left me feeling quite overwhelmed at times.

The years came and they went, and with each passing year, my children grew.  As the order of life has it, eventually, they grew up and moved away to begin their own lives.

Three have graduated college and my daughter is in her last year of study.  I am very proud of all of them.  Time does fly, whether or not you’re having fun!

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When our last one left the house, I kind of thought my job was over.  No longer was I on 24/7 call.  No longer was I the one to make sure they were fed and had a clean pair of underwear.  They were on their own.  I considered myself to be somewhat free.  Not free in the sense of not in a committed relationship, but free in a way that I could go out and re-discover who I was as Ann Corley…..not as Mom or as Momma Corley.

In my zest to capture life and run with it, I made a few mistakes.  It caused some serious problems for my marriage that was never my intention.

Here are a few ideas that you might keep in mind when you and your spouse become empty-nesters.

1)  Communicate Your Expectations

Each of you have your own idea as to what it will look like to have just the two of you in the house together, with no distraction.  Maybe you want to become more social, going out to meet new people, but your spouse is perfectly content with a quieter existence.  This could become a trigger of discontent in your marriage.

2)  Have a Discussion Concerning Money

With the children out of the house, you may have a little extra spending money.  Talk to your spouse about ideas of savings accounts, vacations and spending power!  For me, as long as the kids were here, their needs came first.  When they left, I felt like it was my turn and I began spending a little on myself.  However, even just the little that I spent, it was a radical change and it began to cause my husband to question me and my intentions.

3)  Plan Some New Activities for the Two of You

Having the children around the house provided a distraction from our relationship that we never recognized, until the distractions were gone.

Planning new activities to do that neither one of you had ever experienced puts a little spark back in the relationship.  Sharing something new for both of you gives you something to talk about to the kids, and it makes you feel connected to one another.

4)  Talk about the Past, But Don’t Get Stuck There

As we grow older, it is natural to begin to look at ages gone by rather than to look forward to the age to come.  It’s wonderful to talk about the times spent together and reminisce about the joys shared long ago.

The concern is for one or the other to begin to reminisce on their personal past, the one that doesn’t include the spouse.  Or for one spouse to fixate on better times during the marriage and wonder why they aren’t like that any more.  These scenarios only serve to put distance between the two of you.  Talk about the wonderful times spent together, but don’t ignore where you are now.  Focus on making new memories.

5)  Allow One Another the Space to Breathe

For myself, I felt like I had been holding my breath for 22+ years, so when my youngest was close to leaving, I began to run.  I literally began to run and began losing weight.  I, then, reconnected with old friends and began running with them.  I began making plans and then telling my husband, instead of running plans by him….just out of respect.  From my husband’s viewpoint, I was running away from him.

It really wasn’t that at all.  I was simply learning to breathe again.  After putting five people in front of me for so many years, there was a learning curve for me on how I related to the world and the world related to me.  I was simply finding my way.

Finally, having caught my breath now, I don’t feel the need to run as much (although, I DO need to be out running again for weight control – HA).  I still need room to grow and blossom as the person I am and not just as the mother of four children.

I am so grateful for my family.  They are my greatest joys.  I have been blessed with a husband that loves me, even when he doesn’t understand me.

Think about what you want life to look like when the children are gone from the house.  Make sure you and your husband are on the same page.  Otherwise, one of you may turn the page, and not find the other one there.

Good luck and thank you for reading.  Please leave me a comment!  I want to hear from you!