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Health

Rethinking Traditional Thanksgiving

Do you and your family and friends gather for a traditional Thanksgiving?  What does traditional mean these days during the holidays? Here are some traditions the media provides and how to rethink what “tradition” means this year for our planet.

Turkey at Thanksgiving

We have all endured high food prices with inflation this year. We are paying 30, 40 and sometimes 50% more for the same products this year!  The average turkey this year will cost about $1.99 per pound, up 73% from last year. Instead of turkey, does your family enjoy other main courses?

Consider lower cost cuts of meat or vegan options which also help the environment and our climate crisis. Have you considered enjoying vegetarian sides without a main dish protein?  A recent study in the United Kingdom states every meal without meat you save about 30% on your grocery bill. The ethical reasons to eat vegan are also important. Just consider the lasting effect for our children and grandchildren when you pass on turkey this year.

Black Friday

Shopping has changed over the years. I remember standing in line to buy a coveted gaming system or the “must have” toy for my kids.  Deals for the holidays now start as early as October and feeds into society’s need for consumption.

I do not stand in line for anything anymore, especially for retailers to take my money. I think before I purchase. Again, consider the environment and the actual usefulness of a product before you buy it. Think about upcycling items to prolong their use. Finally, think about the money you save when you stop overspending and buying needlessly every holiday.

Time with Family

The holidays, especially Thanksgiving, is a time to be with your family. I’m thinking the Hallmark movie with the happy ending. But, like real life, families are complicated on so many levels. You should never feel pressured to be with someone you don’t feel comfortable with, family or not.

You need to enjoy your holiday while still having boundaries especially from those who love you. So, what I’m saying is, it’s okay if you shake things up and try something new this year.  Have Thanksgiving dinner at lunch time this year.

If the weather permits have your meal outside on the patio or better yet at a close friend’s home.  If there is a neighbor that is alone this year, invite them to enjoy your celebration. The holidays should bring peace and comfort to you, not stress and chaos.

Reach out and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!

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career Health

Major Life Changes

The pandemic has forced some people to re-evaluate not only their life but their livelihoods, and values as well. Would you like to change careers or just make a major adjustment in your life? Read on for tips on how to ease into making major changes and how to recognize signs to start now.

How Important Is It?

According to James Clear, major changes in life are determined by your attitude and the importance placed on the change. For some people having a child or changing jobs is a huge decision. While others don’t put as much importance on those factors in life.  It really depends on you, your partner, and your unique circumstances.

How that change will affect you and your family is also another overriding factor influencing the decision to make a change.  A child in the family is not only a time and energy commitment but it’s also very expensive. You’ll need a safe home, financial security, and a means to raise the child. All these factors when examined might scare some would-be parents. For others, having a new baby is more of an emotional decision.

When is the Right Time

How do you know if change needs to happen in your life?  There are a few red flags to look out for especially when others are affected in your circle. Is your mental and physical health in decline, due to work life balance?  Do you feel “stuck” with no place to go?  Are you picking up detrimental habits that are damaging your health? Excessive alcohol use, overeating, or overspending are a few habits that come to mind.

If you answer “Yes,” to one of these questions, it might be time to re-evaluate what’s causing the negative patterns.   Normally, if a two-week, relaxing vacation or change of scenery does not help, a major shift needs to occur.

How to Start

Start off by acknowledging your feelings, good and bad. Talk with your partner, parent, or a trusted person to discuss your situation. Break down what’s happening in more manageable objectives. Always remain positive, even if the situation looks bleak. Staying calm, working on a solution, and having a goal starts the process. Working towards the solution and outcome will gradually help you feel more in control and better about the situation.

But understand, major changes take time and energy to work through the entire process. Sometimes just acknowledging you need “something” different is enough for some folks to feel better. Hope this finds you well!

Check out my personal website for more living well articles.

Categories
Health Travel

Best Fall Hikes

As the leaves change and temperatures get cooler, what better way to celebrate than with a weekend fall hike. Here are the best areas for fall hikes to suit any experience level.  Give yourself a boost of autumn spirit and enjoy the great outdoors this autumn.

New England 

New England has such diverse landscape, starting in Maine (one of my “bucket list” vacations) and running the length of Connecticut. The four states in between are Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Every state offers up moderate to strenuous hikes near water or wilderness depending on your endurance.

An easy to moderate hike in Massachusetts loved by artists and nature lovers is Bish Bash Falls. Two miles to enjoy scenery and the biggest waterfall in the state! For a more challenging hike, Mount Mansfield in Vermont will give you breathtaking views near Lake Chaplain. The 6-mile roundtrip hike has been known to have the very best views in the state. With the elevation change be prepared with warmer clothes as you reach the summit and colder temperatures.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains have an abundance of wilderness trails mixed with amenities to make your fall excursion perfect for any age. Trails range from level walking paths to bike and board trails for all ages. There are also nature walks, to help you and your family identify plants and the surrounding wildlife easily. Finally, due to the elevation of the park, your hike can show you some of the best fall foliage near the East Cost of the United States.

Southwest Arizona

If you live in the southwestern region of the United States, you have many choices to experience the changing leaves. Enjoying the crisp fall weather is only a short drive away to northern Arizona. Sedona, Flagstaff and along the Mogollon Rim all have the advantage of being close the urban center of Phoenix. These towns offer some of the best nature walks with only a two-hour drive north.

Humphrey’s Peak Trail is considered an easy 4.5-mile hike reaching an elevation gain of about 3500 feet.  The highest point of the peak is 12,000 feet, so be aware of the elevation change and plan accordingly. Temperatures will also be much cooler when you reach the summit so for all hikes pack warm clothing and the appropriate amount of water and food.

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career Health

Happiness Hacks

After the past two years, we are all looking for happiness and contentment in our “post pandemic” lives. Read on for simple happiness hacks that are proven to work to bring joy into your life.

Social Connections

Creating social connections and other positive habits, research has shown, rewires your brain toward positivity and success.  Known as positive intelligence, the research points to the happiness and consistent habits leading you toward successful outcomes.

It can be as simple as journaling three happy thoughts of gratitude daily. In addition, reaching out to your friends and family to find support has shown to improve happiness levels. Give it a try for a few weeks and see the results. Think what you could gain.

Gratitude

This leads to the next hack and that is showing gratitude daily. No matter your circumstances, you have reasons to be grateful. After reading, Thank and Grow Rich from an article I read in Elephant Journal, my life was changed. This simple exercise of looking for the positive and being grateful every day is easy to make a habit.

The book is filled with funny, well-written, real-life examples of the world opening up when you show gratitude. Just like the saying goes, “Open yourself up and the world provides.” (Or something like that.) But you get the idea.

In addition, the book, “The Secret” is also written along those same lines. While this book is more spiritual in nature, the message is the same. You need to be grateful and present by asking for what you want, and it comes to you. The opportunities present themselves to you to fulfill those needs.

Resilience

Finally, another common aspect of happiness is resilience. If nothing else, the pandemic has given us skills to succeed in the face of uncertainty. These skills build a resilient mind, body, and drive you to keep moving forward. Finally, resilient people are happier, more confident and see the positive even during difficult challenges.

Furthermore, it has been proven, no matter your social standing or economic means. It’s like your muscles, to build them up, you need to use them daily! You need to build a resilient attitude, then you will lead a happier and more content life.

Give a few of the happiness hacks a try and practice them daily. You will be glad you did!

More living well tips at be found on my personal website: KathyHusserTempe.com

Categories
career Health

Improving Your Growth Mindset

The term “growth mindset” is a term leaders and entrepreneurs use to discuss learning, success, and a way toward achieving goals. What is growth mindset and how can you improve it?

Flexible Thinking

The opposite of growth mindset is a fixed mindset. According to Gemma Leigh Roberts, life coach and psychologist, building mental agility and resilience is necessary to learn from life’s challenges. In other words, turning obstacles into learning opportunities, no matter how small, is growth mindset.  This flexible way of thinking and looking at life is a growth mindset.  Like any skill, growth mindset can be learned with practice.

This new perspective allows you to explore and test new ideas creating innovation and internal confidence to achieve just about anything. Whether it’s long-term goals in your career or life, the first step is being able to stretch your thinking. Knowing you can continue to develop skills, learn new ideas, and change your perspective. This will enable you to reach your potential and create cohesive teams as a leader. The first step is to develop a plan.

Develop a Plan and Practice

To cultivate your new mindset of growth and learning, you need to practice. Practice switching your perspective to take in new experiences and draw from those lessons. Being optimistic and taking risks to discover new concepts is crucial to adapting life-long learning behaviors.

To develop a personal mindset plan you will need to:

  • be flexible in your thinking
  • stretch your current abilities for achievable goals
  • establish objectives which are measurable toward those goals
  • ask for feedback along the way

Asking for feedback is so important to realize if real growth has happened, since as human beings, we have unconscious bias.

Clear and Measurable  

Being very clear in your objectives, making them quantifiable and detailed. This will provide a roadmap for your growth plan. If things don’t work out, then you must take those lessons and apply them to the next project or plan. The key to success for true evolution as a leader is taking those “disappointments” and learning from them.

Being truly resilient will lead you down a happier life path. Pivoting with the information learned is what makes us happier, healthier, and more successful the next time around. Our mindset really does matter every single day!

For more career and living well tips follow me at: KathyHusserTempe.com

Categories
career Health

Get More Time

Does time seem crunched as we get back to new routines in work and at home? Gaining more time is easy by changing habits and repeating them. Read on for ideas to streamline the new normal and gain more time for you! 

Get More Time Back at Work

 Manager tested tips to gain more time at work are as simple as blocking off your calendar or making task lists. Other time saving tips need more behavioral change from you to make the change and form a habit. Planning ahead the night before or tackling more challenging tasks first thing in the morning will give you a sense of accomplishment. Starting the day off with a win, no matter how small, will set you up for success.

Furthermore, plan for the unexpected everyday especially at work. What this looks like is making sure you have at least 15 minutes between meetings even online. Those buffers will help if you have unexpected responsibilities come up or need to take a call.

Feel More Relaxed at Home

At home, provide a buffer of time between commitments for the unexpected traffic jams or other mishaps. Tasks like picking up the kids or dentist appointments will leave you feeling more relaxed when you allow more time. In other words, over-estimate travel time, waiting in line, etc.  Also find the positive in your task, making it more enjoyable and less burdensome.

Finally, slow down and provide your attention to each task at hand, one at a time. Multi-tasking does not work since each responsibility gets half of your full attention. Even if you need to de-stress and take a quick walk outdoors to calm down, do it! Taking a few extra minutes to regain focus is much more important than driving recklessly or making a decision under duress.

Practice Saying No

Just because someone asks you to do something, does not mean you have to say yes. Practice saying no, to extra commitments that don’t bring you joy or help you with other goals. Some tasks like carpools and school are “must do’s.” However, that extra project at work, bake sale at church or dog sitting for neighbors can be negotiable.

Setting healthy boundaries will keep your most valuable resource, your time, more your own.  Try out a few “No’s” over the next few days or weeks and see what happens. You will thank yourself.  It becomes easier the more practice you give yourself.

Follow me for more tips on living well at KathyHusserTempe.com

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career Health

Decision Making

Ever wonder how some people make big life changing decisions so easily? Do you struggle taking the first step for a life-changing decision?  Read on for tips to make the decision-making process a bit easier and less daunting.

Do Your Research

Doing your research should be the first step in any decision, big or small. You don’t need anything complicated but learning the facts regarding your decision is very important. For example, understanding the cost of your first pet, before you adopt one. Learning about the company before you accept that job offer. Some things you are not able to learn, until you are in the situation, such as work culture.

However, asking questions of various contacts in the network of your decision is research.  Do as much as possible for a well-informed decision.

Consider Your Expectations

Next, what are your expectations for the outcome of your decision? What do you envision after you make the decision to change jobs, have a child, or move across country? You need to keep your expectations in check. You also need to realize that nothing will be perfect after your decision is made.

Blind spots are just that, you don’t know what you don’t know. Understand that your support system is so important to have objective eyes on your situation.  You need to receive feedback for a “reality check” before you make that decision. Be open to receiving feedback from those you trust.

Stuck?

If you are not able to make a decision, then don’t. No action is a decision, and the status quo is sometimes better than making an even worst mistake. You might be experiencing a greater block, such as depression. Making no major decisions while in this state is recommended since you are unable to distinguish facts from feelings.

You might need to seek out a counselor for help. Getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and learning about your vulnerabilities will help you understand your mental state.  Seek out help before you act upon a decision. Finally, understanding that you are not in the right frame of mind to decide is so important before any choice. What big decision have you made this year? Share your thoughts at: KathyHusserTempe.com

Categories
Health

Being Happier

Entering the third year of this pandemic has changed our lifestyles and habits. From remote work, online school and financially our lives have changed. Finding happiness and being happier in general have been more difficult for many people. Here are simple habits to increase your happiness no matter your situation.

Finding the Good

Harvard-trained phycologist Shawn Achor, has a viral TED Talk that simplifies this notion of finding the good. For 21 days, write to someone different in your life a positive email or text. It only takes two minutes and reinforces that happiness is around you. To reaffirm your happiness, write down three different things that made you happy that day and WHY. You need to perform the exercise for 21 days, and the experiences need to be different.

Both habits have proven to increase happiness levels across the board for people.

The Happiness Advantage

In addition, Achor’s bestselling book, The Happiness Advantage, goes into greater detail about why people were happier after these two easy habits. First, he explains that happiness is contagious and produces more happy people. Second, your happiness is your choice. Finally, you are more productive when you are a happier person, family member, or employee.

Positive Psychology

Finally, the positive psychology, involved with increasing happiness has had a great deal of research across many socioeconomic communities.  Showing gratitude, being mindful, and random acts of kindness have proven to increase happiness across demographics.  In addition, practicing self-care and seeking a healthy balance in your life all benefit your overall well-being.

Being kind to yourself and others truly is the easiest way to increase your happiness and those around you.

Furthermore, you might need to stretch your emotional intelligence muscles to succeed. A happier life is out there and the research proves it. Put the time in and try a new habit for 21 days and see what happens!  Being happier is easier than you think even in a pandemic.

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Health

Stress Relievers

The world is entering the third year of the pandemic. We all have had to adapt to a new way of living and have more stress. Whether it’s from remote work, a new job, or online school, stress relievers are more important an ever.  Continue reading for habits that are easy to use to relieve day to day stress.

Get Out in Nature

Taking a quick walk around the block or morning jog in a park will help your mental health. Research has proven that two hours a week in nature increases your cognitive abilities and your physical wellbeing. It can be as easy as enjoying your coffee on the balcony. Looking at the trees and green spaces on your walk to work is another easy fix. The stress release from doses of daily nature, crosses ethic groups and demographics. So get out there and get some daily “green.”

Pet Ownership

The health benefits you get from having a pet are too many to list. Pet owners experience less depression, reduced blood pressure, and survive chronic illness than non-pet owners.  Whether it’s a dog, cat or gerbil having another animal to care for is a great stress reliever. The time commitment and cost of owning a pet are present, but the health benefits are huge. Older people also experience a sense of purpose and companionship with a pet. Cats are more independent and easier to care for than dogs. Make sure you do your research before making a commitment.

Controlling Your Emotions

Finally, this is easier said than done, but controlling your emotions will greatly benefit your health. Referred to as your emotional intelligence, increasing this trait has many benefits. At work, with your family, having a greater self-awareness is important. This benefits your mental and physical health as well as your personal and professional relationships. Practicing self-control, emotional control, and decision-making skills enables you to handle life’s up and downs.  If you were raised in a household that didn’t acknowledge emotional health or feelings, this will take practice. Check for self-care programs and talk to friends to increase your awareness and skills.

The first step in relieving stress is to acknowledge it and then make small changes. Being more resilient and adaptable in life is a must these days. Best of luck in your journey.