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Archive for December, 2008

A Free report for SAHMs

December 30, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Stress Management No Comments →

 Being at home mom comes with all kinds of challenges. There’s always plenty to do and everyone seems to expect even more from you because – after all – you’re at home. But there is only so much one individual can do.

If you’re feeling a little frazzled by all you have on your plate and it seems there is no time left for you to relax – or even breathe, download this quick guide. It has 15 ideas you can use right away to help reduce your stress and put a little fun back into things.

Grab your free report here http://www.reallifeguidance.com/sanity-satisfaction.pdf

New Years Drink Ideas – Family Friendly

December 30, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

New Year’s Eve brings to mind glasses of champagne clinking together as the clock strikes midnight.  While champagne is fine for adults, it isn’t appropriate for everyone.  Here are ten drink ideas the whole family will love this New Year’s Eve.

1.  For those who want the sensation of champagne, you should be able to find sparkling grape juice at nearly every grocery or discount food store.  You can also make your own by combining white grape juice with ginger ale. 

2.  If you’re having a Hawaiian or luau themed party, you’ll want a tropical style drink that everyone can enjoy.  Try an Island Dream.  This drink is made by combining crushed ice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite.  Don’t forget the umbrella to finish this drink off.

3.  Another tropical cocktail that the whole family can enjoy is the orange burst cocktail.  This is made by combining orange juice, Sprite, and grenadine syrup with crushed ice.  Your children are sure to love this one.

4.  Strawberry limeades are popular at some fast food restaurants.  These would be a great alternative to alcoholic drinks.  Of course, with this recipe requiring limes and strawberries, you may have to do some searching to find the ingredients.

5.  New Year’s Eve punch is another great alternative to champagne.  It is made with several different juices, fruit cocktail, sherbet, and sparkling grape juice.

6.  Snowbird Mocktails are delicious.  They’re made with pineapple juice, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, coconut extract, and ginger ale.  One of the nice things about this drink is that it keeps for up to one week.

7.  Non-alcoholic (or virgin) margaritas are a popular drink and would be the perfect choice if you’re having a Mexican themed New Year’s Eve party.  They could also be used for a winter beach party theme. 

8.  Another summertime drink that would be appropriate for New Year’s Eve is a virgin strawberry daiquiri.  Strawberry daiquiri mix is added to Sprite and ice.  To make the drink more festive, put fresh fruit on a plastic sword and put that in the drink.

9.  If it’s really cold outside, it’s quite possible your guests would prefer something hot to drink instead.   Hot spiced punch may be appreciated.  It is made with pineapple juice, cranberry juice, all spice, cloves, cinnamon, water, and brown sugar.

10.  Spiced punch may not appeal to you, but hot mulled cider may be just the thing.  Similar to the spiced punch, hot mulled cider has all spice, cinnamon, and cloves.  The main ingredient, however, is apple cider, which makes the taste different.

Everyone wants to enjoy a New Year’s Eve party, but it doesn’t have to include alcohol.  By having non-alcoholic drinks at your party, these ten drink ideas are something the whole family will love. 

My New Years Resolution

December 29, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals No Comments →

It’s that time of the year again; when we make a New Years resolutions. If you are anything like the majority of people in this country (83% to be exact), you probably made and broke a resolution before the end of January last year.  But this year is going to be different.  This message is all about how to make a realistic resolution and keep it. We’ll get you to your ultimate goal – whatever it may be one step at a time.

It doesn’t matter if you resolve to loose some weight, stop smoking or carve some more time out for yourself.  Together we will get you there this year.  Here’s to a successful 2009.

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2008 Reflection
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The end of the year has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the new year to come.

It’s a wonderful time to reflect on the changes we want and need to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Here are some questions to get you started in your reflection.

1)  What did I learn? (skills, knowledge, awareness, etc.)
2)  What did I accomplish? (Create a list of your accomplishments and achievements).
3)  What would I have done differently? Why?
4)  What still feels incomplete or unfinished to me?
5)  What were the top 3 significant events of the year past?
6)  What do I feel especially good about?
7)  What were my biggest challenges/roadblocks/difficulties?

Carve out some time to reflect, learn and grow from the past year. This will prepare you for a positive New Year ahead.

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Action Steps
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Here are a few action steps for you to take into consideration when working on setting your resolutions.

1) Make sure you set goals that you can realistically reach. Striving to be perfect is not a realistic goal. Striving to eat healthier, exercise more..etc. is a realistic goal.

2) Break your big goals up into bite-sized chunks. They key is to take small, thought-through steps to reach your ultimate goal.

3) Write your goals down and force yourself to be very specific about them. You can then refer back to your goals list and you can see how you are measuring up. It is an empowering feeling to set goals and achieve them.

4) Celebrate! When you achieve a goal or overcome a hurdle that brings you closer to that goal, CELEBRATE you and your accomplishment!

5) Get a goal buddy, coach, friend or partner to help you along the way!

You can accomplish just about anything you ask of yourself. Make your goals specific and clear. When you know exactly what you intend to do, you’re well on your way to getting it done.
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New Year, New You Special
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I am offering my subscribers a 20% discount on any of my coaching packages.  You can view the packages here http://www.reallifecoaching.net/packages.shtml Be sure to mention this special when you sign up! 

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Freebies
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Try a Free Session on the house!  I offer free 35-minute consultations (valued at $45); by telephone, instant messenger or in person to help you decide if coaching is for you. If you are interested in setting one up for yourself, simply hit reply to this message and let me know :)
 

Setting Small Goals

December 28, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals 1 Comment →

When people think about making New Year’s resolutions, they often think of the big picture and set goals that are unattainable.  Instead of making a resolution to lose thirty pounds by the end of the year, you may want to set five small goals for the new year of losing ten pounds every two months.

Setting smaller goals, no matter what those goals may be, are easier to stick with and accomplish than long range, larger goals.  These smaller goals are like stepping stones along a path.  Follow each one and before you know it, you’ll have reached the end and succeeded in meeting your New Year’s resolution.

Be specific about the goals you want to meet.  The more specific the goal, the more likely you will be to work hard at obtaining it.  Know what you want to accomplish and even why you want to accomplish it.  If your reasons for wanting to do something aren’t strong enough, it will be easier to give up.

Set measurable goals.  If you haven’t been specific about what you want to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, and how you’re going to do so, how will you know if you’ve actually achieved it?

Write your goals down, being sure to specify the date you hope to achieve it and how you will determine whether you’ve been successful or not.  Hang the list of goals up where you can see them regularly.  When you see your goals written out, you’ll be much more likely to achieve your goal than if they are hidden away in a file folder somewhere.

Keep a journal about your progress and record what you’ve done in reaching for your goals.  Discuss things that have worked and things that haven’t.  Be specific so you know what to do if you have a similar goal in the future.

Don’t be afraid to share your goals with others.  Telling others will help solidify your commitment to accomplish these goals.  Ask your friends and family to hold you accountable by asking you how you’re doing on your goals.

Renew your commitment to succeed in case something goes wrong.  With small goals you can see what you’re doing, know why you’re doing it, and can remain committed even in the worst circumstances.  Celebrate each of your successes and move on toward the next.

When you set five small goals for the New Year instead of one, your chances of success are much higher than having one large goal.  Not only will you be able to measure how you’re doing, you can use the goals as a means to know where you are on the journey. 

P.S. Visit http://www.reallifecoaching.net/free-consultation/ to claim a free ‘Goal Setting & Getting’ consultation today.

Clean Sweep, One Room at a Time

December 24, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

You’ve undoubtedly seen the television show called “Clean Sweep”, or one like it.  It’s a show that helps families clean up and unclutter their homes.  If you think your home needs a clean sweep, one way to achieve this is to clean one room at a time until the whole home is clutter-free. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your home is cluttered.  Trying to decide what to do to get rid of the clutter is even more discouraging.  You look at the things in your home and wonder where to start.  Here are some ideas that will help you succeed at clearing the clutter.

Start by focusing on one room at a time.  If you look at everything you’ll easily be intimidated by the scope of the work to be done.  By cleaning out one room at a time, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment when you’re done with one room, and be encouraged to move on to the next.

Be prepared with trash bags, plenty of cardboard boxes, and some storage containers.  Label the boxes “Keep”, “Donate”, and “Trash”.  Then start going through the items in the room. 

Clean off all surfaces and empty out each drawer.  If it’s a bedroom, take everything out of the closet.  You will have a number of boxes, but don’t look at the total number.  Concentrate on one box by deciding about each and every item in the box, then go to the next box.

Clothing:  If you love the clothes and wear them often, put them in the Keep box.  If clothing hasn’t been worn in six months you may want to donate them, so put them in the Donate box.  If they’re torn or need repairs and you love them, put them in the Keep box.  If they need repairs or are stained and you don’t like them, in the Trash they go.  Put the boxes you intend to keep aside and move on.

Shoes:  Treat shoes as you did clothing.  Keep only those pairs that you love and wear often.  If you haven’t used them, unless they are seasonal shoes, let them go.  Each pair you get rid of will give you more room and less clutter.

Music:  Go through your music collection to see if there’s anything you’ve outgrown or your musical tastes have changed.  Sort and store your favorite music.

Papers:  Take the time to go through the papers in this room.  Start a filing system if you don’t already have one in place.  You can begin by separating items by broad categories and then into smaller subcategories as needed.

Books:  Unless you’ve read a book multiple times or have recently acquired it, books may be something you’ll consider passing on to others.  You can donate them to shelters, charities, or even a local library.  Books take up a lot of room so getting rid of some of them will open up space in your room.

After you’ve taken the time to decide upon which items you’re keeping, what is being donated, and what is being thrown away, take the donate boxes and trash bags out of the room.  Clean the room from top to bottom, paint if that is planned, and then rearrange or remodel the room.  Put the items you’re keeping back into the room, being careful to store the items in an organized manner. 

Give yourself a break after completing one room.  Then start on the next room – separating, keeping, tossing, and donating items until each and every room in your house has been swept clean and is organized.  Congratulate yourself for hard work well done.
 

Ho Ho Ho or Ba Humbug!?

December 22, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family No Comments →

The holiday season is mostly a time of joy, merriment and family/friend gatherings. However, for many people, it is a time of self-evaluation, isolation, reflection on past failures, and anxiety about many things (past and present).

There are many factors that can cause the “holiday blues”: financial constraints, stress, fatigue and perhaps an inability to be with your family and friends.

Here are some tips that you can use when coping with Stress and/or Depression During the Holiday season:

• Set realistic goals for yourself and take is slow. Try to organize your time wisely. Make a list of the things that you need to do and prioritize them. Be mindful of the YES Syndrome and only commit to doing things that you can realistically fit into your schedule.

• Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some time to help others.

• Enjoy activities that are free, such as window-shopping driving around to look at holiday decorations; going without buying; making a snowperson with children.

• Leave ‘days gone by’ in the past and look positively toward the future. During the course of life, we all face many changes. Try to not compare this holiday season to those of the past. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Even with the loss of loved ones, you can try to create new remembrances, new traditions and new joy!

• Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends or contact someone you have not heard from for awhile.

No matter what is happening in your life, reflect upon ALL of the blessings you do have. Taking note of all of the positives in your life will start you on the path of lifting up your mood.

Get Organized – its a family affair

December 20, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

When you’re the woman of the house, it’s often expected that you’re going to be the one primarily in charge of keeping the home clean and running smoothly.   You may not be able to do everything, however, and really need to get the whole family to help you get organized. 

Division of labor in the home is one topic that causes stress among families.  The man of the house often feels that the house is the woman’s domain and therefore he shouldn’t have to help.  And we know what happens when we ask the children to help with chores.  You’d think we asked them to walk over broken glass or something equally sinister.

The problem with organizing the home and delegation of chores is that you may work away from the home as well.  Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, that doesn’t mean you’re the only one who does the work.  If everyone made the clutter or the mess, it only makes sense that everyone in the family should help to organize and clean.

First, getting the whole family to help you get organized will take some effort.  Be sure not to nag and coerce them into helping just to get to you stop nagging.  They’ll only resent you for it.  Ask them to help, giving them tasks they may find enjoyable, or at least not completely boring.

If you can get everyone to take care of their own messes, it will make your job easier.  Have them put their own clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, take their dishes to the sink when they’re done, and clean up anything they spill.  Help them remember that you’re not a slave and that everyone in the family is expected to chip in with the chores.

When your children are younger, you may have to spend extra time teaching them how to clean and organize their own things.  The effort, if they are receptive to learning, will be well worth it in the future.  You won’t have to worry about their being able to take care of their own things, they will be less likely to lose them, and they’ll be better prepared to live on their own when the time comes.

Staying organized, at least as far as being where you’re supposed to be on time, will be easier if everyone knows how to read a calendar.  Whenever the children bring home a paper with an important date to remember, transfer it to a family calendar.  Color-code the calendar so everyone has their own color.  You’ll all be able to look at the calendar and quickly see if you have something to do that day.

To help keep the home organized and running smoothly, you may have to get creative.  Your goal is to help everyone learn personal responsibility even if that means being tough when someone doesn’t pitch in.  Encourage each family member in a way that will appeal and you’re closer to getting the whole family to help you get organized and clean up the house.

Good Friendships Contribute to Good Health

December 19, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

We all know stress and anxiety are bad for us.  If left unchecked, these emotional problems can have serious physical effects.  We spend millions of dollars every year on yoga classes and videos, relaxation tapes, massages, spa visits, and herbal remedies, all in a bid to reduce our stress levels and live healthier lives.  The truth is, there a great and easy remedy for stress relief that costs little no money: go talk to a friend.

For years, scientists have been aware of the fight or flight response.  When we are confronted with a stressful situation, our bodies produce chemicals.  These chemicals induce us to either stand up and fight the situation, or run away.  This is how science has always viewed the situation, till now.  The problem with this theory is that it was based on research experiments using solely male subjects.  Scientists believed that men and women responded the same way to stress; however, recent studies have shown that isn’t true.  When women are confronted with stress, we produce oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding.  This response probably developed so a woman would protect her family instead of risking her life or abandoning them in a dangerous situation.  Nowadays it means that when women are stressed, we seek out friendship. 

The fact that we seek out friendships when we face stressful situations still doesn’t explain why these friendships help women relieve stress.  There are several aspects of friendship that help us lower our stress level.

* Help in time of need.  We feel more stressed in a situation if we view it as hopeless with no way of escape.  Having a friend there who will do anything for you can make a situation seem less hopeless because we know they’ll always be there to bail us out.

* Support.  We can feel less stress in our lives if we learn to look at situations positively and cope with them accordingly.  Having a friend there for support and encouragement can help force us to look on the bright side.  A friend can also help us strategize and come up with solutions about how to deal with the situation. 

* Laughter.  A good hard laugh has been shown to lighten our mood, release stress, and give us a more positive outlook on life.    Being around friends can help us smile and laugh, no matter how high our stress level is.

* An ear to listen.  Sometimes we need to simply vent our frustrations out loud in order to feel better.  We don’t need feedback; we just need someone with an open mind to listen while we rant.  A good friend can provide this kind of support. 

So if you want to live a long, healthy, happy life, get on the phone and call up a good friend.  If you can’t call a friend, go out and make a new one.  You’ll definitely be better off for it. 

Ways to Add Exercise to Your Child’s Day

December 17, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children No Comments →

Childhood obesity is becoming a growing problem in many countries.  Some situation are so bad that children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease that used to be isolated to older, overweight adults.  As parents, it is our responsibility to help keep your child’s weight and health in check.  A great way to do this is by getting your children to exercise more often.  This can help them to lose weight and simply be more healthy. 

Here are a few tips to help you get your child up and moving:

* Sign them up for group sports.  These are not only a great way to get a workout, they also promote socialization and self pride.  Plus, most kids think sports are fun.  If you find a sport your child really likes, they’ll want to practice all the time and get more and more exercise.  Try to enroll your child in a sport that promotes aerobic activity. 
* Don’t rely completely on sports.  Some kids just don’t like sports.  If this is the case, you need to make adjustments to the plan.  If they really don’t enjoy it, find something else for them to do.  Many fitness centers offer classes for children including martial arts, dance, and even yoga. 
* Work out together.  Children learn a lot of their behavior from their family.  That means, if you sit around all day and don’t work out, that’s probably what they’re going to do.  You should set a good example for your child by getting regular exercise.  A great way for you to both get a workout is to find something you both enjoy and do it together.   
* Make it fun.  You may enjoy the quiet time you get on a running on a treadmill, but you’re child is probably going to complain.  Instead of doing normal adult workout routines, make up games, play sports, or dance.  It doesn’t really matter what it is, just make sure it’s fun and entertaining for your child.  Just be creative.
* Cut back on T.V. and video games.  The best way to keep your child from playing too many video games is to stop the problem before it starts.  If you allow your child to veg in front of the T.V. for hours at a time and then cut back, they’re going to be angry.  It’s best to limit times of inactivity from a young age.  If you’re having trouble getting your kids to give up the games, buy games that require physical activity like Dance Revolution or various games available on the Nintendo Wii.  This is a great compromise where you both win.
* Fit it in where you can.  Today children have busy schedules just like adults do.  If you don’t have a large open chunk of time for your kids to get exercise, you can squeeze in small activities when you do have a few minutes free. 

These are just a few ways to get your kid up and active.  They may be resistant at first, but keep trying.  Starting good exercise habits when your child is young is a vital part of a healthy adult lifestyle. 

Finding More Mom Time

December 15, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Parenting No Comments →

What Mom hasn’t dreamed about having more time to herself? Moms are great at organizing their time each day to make sure that the household runs smoothly and the children’s needs are met; but they lack in the simple skill of setting time aside just for them.

Without their own “Me” time, Mom’s face burnout and stress. This can ultimately affect your spouse and children as well, so it’s important to find that Mom time for yourself and keep your sanity as well as your family’s. There are many ideas you can use to incorporate Mom time into your life and here are some of them:

Mothers’ Day Out – There are many childcare centers that provide a Mothers’ Day Out program. These programs don’t require that your child be registered for daily care, so you can use it only as the need arises. This is a perfect solution for mom time, because this allows you an hour or two a week to shop, hang out with friends or just pampering yourself.

Play Dates – Take a look at who your child’s friends are. Will their moms be willing to join you in a play date group? The moms in these groups can trade off and watch the other children while those moms get a short break. When it’s your turn, you return the favor and watch their children while they take some time for their own short break.

Tea Time – Taking even a short break during the day can be enough to recharge your batteries. See if you can keep your children entertained with a movie or some kind of game they can play amongst themselves. While they’re busy, you can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or a drink of your choice. Take those couple of minutes to just sit back and enjoy a peaceful moment to yourself.

Date with Dad – It’s important for the kids to spend some quality time with dad. Why not suggest he take them out for a few hours, while you stay home and relax. The kids can go on an adventure with dad and you can stay home and appreciate the quiet atmosphere that you don’t normally experience.

Mothers’ Helper – Ever thought of having another person to help you out a couple of hours a week? If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your children with a sitter; consider having a sitter come in while you’re there. Some young teenagers that are fresh out of babysitting courses can use some experience before they go off on their own. This would be the perfect way to relieve you of some of your motherly duties and enable you to be just a “supervisor” of sorts while the sitter learns the trade.

These are only a few examples of what you can do get some time for yourself. Check with other moms and see what they do for their own Mom time. As a mom, you’ve done a great job with your family, but don’t neglect yourself in the process. Mom time is not only something you need, but deserve as well.

For more help, visit Real Life Guidance for a happier and more fulfilled you.