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Tips for Heart Health

Prioritizing heart health becomes increasingly important over time for a fulfilling and energetic life. Adopting lifestyle choices that support cardiovascular well-being can contribute to a healthier and more active aging process. Here are simple tips to stay heart-healthy as you navigate this new year.

Heart-Healthy Diet

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining heart health, especially as we age. Embrace a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Choose nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Minimize salt intake to support healthy blood pressure levels.

Consider the Mediterranean diet, known for its heart-protective qualities, emphasizing olive oil, fish, nuts, and plenty of plant-based foods. Consulting with healthcare professionals or a registered dietitian can help your dietary choices based on your health needs and preferences.

Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health, regardless of age. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, incorporating activities that elevate your heart rate. Walking, swimming, cycling, and low-impact aerobics are excellent choices.

Additionally, include strength training exercises to maintain muscle mass, supporting overall cardiovascular fitness. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Manage Stress

This is difficult for most of us, but stress management is integral to heart health. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature.

Cultivate hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation, providing a healthy outlet for stress. Prioritizing mental well-being contributes not only to heart health but also to overall quality of life.

Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups and monitoring are necessary components of heart health maintenance. Schedule routine visits with your healthcare provider to assess blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health.

Early detection of potential issues allows for proactive interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Stay informed about your health metrics and collaborate with your doctor to create a personalized plan for heart wellness.

Stay Hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration is often overlooked but is crucial for heart health. Ensure an adequate water intake to support overall bodily functions. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption, as excessive alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular concerns. When alcohol is interfering with family, friends, or your job it’s time to rethink your drinking and seek help.

Staying heart-healthy involves a holistic approach encompassing dietary choices, regular exercise, stress management, and proactive health monitoring. Adopting heart-protective habits enhances the quality of life, allowing you to age gracefully while prioritizing cardiovascular well-being.

Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals and making gradual changes, helps a heart-healthy lifestyle and supports a fulfilling and vibrant life.

For more self-care tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Valentine’s Day Gifts

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and what better way to express your affection than gifts from the heart? While grand gestures are wonderful, sometimes it’s the simple, thoughtful presents that leave a lasting impression. Here are three heartfelt and budget-friendly gift ideas that will surely make your Valentine’s Day special without breaking the bank.

Handwritten Love Letter

In the age of online everything, there’s something incredibly intimate about receiving a handwritten love letter. Take the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings in a heartfelt note. Share your favorite memories, the reasons you love your partner, or your hopes for the future.

A handwritten letter adds a personal touch that can’t be replicated by a text or email. Consider placing the letter in a decorative envelope or tying it with a ribbon for an extra romantic touch.

Customized Memory Jar

Create a personalized memory jar filled with cherished moments and shared experiences. Gather small pieces of paper and jot down memories, inside jokes, or reasons why you love your partner. Fold each note and place them in a decorative jar.

Your significant other can pull out a memory whenever they need a pick-me-up. It’s a sentimental gift that continually reminds both of you of the special moments you’ve shared. This gift not only reflects on your shared history but also looks forward to creating more beautiful memories together.

DIY Book

Gift your loved one a homemade coupon book filled with redeemable gestures. Include IOU’s for a homemade dinner, a movie night of their choice, or a relaxing massage. Personalize the coupons based on your partner’s preferences and the things they love.

This gift shows your commitment to spending quality time together. It also allows you to tailor the coupons to your partner’s tastes. It’s a meaningful and cost-effective way to offer your time and attention, making for a memorable Valentine’s Day.

Thoughtful and affordable gifts can be just as meaningful, if not more, than expensive ones. By putting in the effort to create something personal, you not only save money but also show your partner that your love is genuine and comes from the heart.

This Valentine’s Day, let your creativity and affection shine through these thoughtful, budget-friendly gift ideas.

For more inspiration or a travel idea for Valentine’s Day check out my travel website: KathyHusserTempe.net

 

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Setting Healthy Boundries

In our fast-paced and demanding world, self-care and setting healthy boundaries is essential. This practice sets you up for maintaining a happy and joyful life. Establishing boundaries allows us to prioritize our well-being, protect our energy, and create space for self-nurturing activities. By cultivating healthy boundaries, we can enhance our overall quality of life and cultivate a sense of inner peace.

Personal Limits

One fundamental aspect of self-care is recognizing and honoring our personal limits. This involves acknowledging our physical, emotional, and mental capacities and understanding when to say no. It is crucial to listen to our bodies and minds and respond with kindness and compassion. By setting boundaries around our time and energy, we create the opportunity to engage in activities that replenish us.

Whether it’s taking a restorative break, engaging in a hobby, or spending time with loved ones, you need it.  Prioritizing our needs and well-being is not selfish but rather a prerequisite for living a fulfilling and joyful life.

Communication

Communication plays a vital role in establishing healthy boundaries. Clearly and assertively expressing our needs and limitations allows others to understand and respect our boundaries. It is essential to practice effective communication by expressing ourselves honestly.  You also need to be open to listening to the needs of others as well.

By setting clear expectations and boundaries in our relationships, we foster healthier dynamics and promote mutual understanding and respect. Effective communication also helps us navigate any unforeseeable conflicts. This ensures that our boundaries are upheld and our well-being is also prioritized.

Recognizing Energy Drains

Maintaining healthy boundaries also involves recognizing and managing emotional and energetic drains. It is crucial to identify relationships or situations that consistently deplete our energy and create emotional distress. Setting boundaries allows us to protect our emotional well-being and invest energy in relationships and activities that bring us joy.

This may involve creating distance from toxic relationships, limiting exposure to negative influences, seeking support from trusted friends or professionals. For example, I had a job that was truly unhealthy and leaving was the best thing that happened to me.

Foster Positive Relationships

Self-care and healthy boundaries are not about isolation but rather about fostering relationships that align with our values and needs. It is about surrounding ourselves with people who uplift and support us, and engaging in activities that nourish our souls. By nurturing ourselves and setting healthy boundaries, we create the energy to show up fully in relationships, work, and personal pursuits.

It enables us to be more present, engaged, and authentic in all aspects of our lives. Setting boundaries fosters a deeper sense of fulfillment and joy.

Embracing healthy boundaries and practicing self-care are essential components of a happy, joyful life. Be sure to prioritize your well-being, communicate needs, and manage emotional drains you experience.  We all create a foundation for personal growth, contentment, and vibrant relationships when boundaries are respected.

Remember, setting boundaries is an act of self-love and respect. It is empowering all of us to live authentically, cultivate joy, and thrive in all areas of our lives. Live well and enjoy!

Follow my website for more articles on living well: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Vision Boards Create Success

What is a vision board?  Create success and achieve your goals this year with a vision board. Read on for three simple steps to make a vision board and have your dreams come true this year.

Visualize Goals

First you need to visualize your goals or what you want out of 2024. Whether it’s a new job, relationship, or home, create a picture in your mind of exactly what that looks like. Remember little details to truly create a vision in your mind’s eye of how achieving your goal would feel.

Next, have at least 3-5 big ideas for the new year. Write down the words that describe those successes and don’t hold back.  Words that come to mind can be fearless, courage, abundance, joy, self-care, so use your imagination.

Illustrate Your Big Ideas

I’m not an artist, so illustrating for me may be different for you. I like to use Pinterest as a very easy way to capture my thoughts and inspiration. Studies have proven if you can visualize your goals, you will increase your chances of achieving them. Digital photos, drawings, doodles, anything that brings your big idea to mind is an “illustration” for your board.

I tend to create simple drawings and also attach photos for inspiration on my vision board. Whatever is easiest, illustrate your ideas so you have a roadmap to your action steps.

Map Out Steps

 

Mapping out specific actions, no matter how small, for each goal is your next step.  For example, if you want to learn Spanish by the end of year, your actions might resemble:

  1. Check out free language resources at the library
  2. Research local teachers or community organizations for classes
  3. Block off time on my weekly calendar for lessons/practice
  4. Book my trip to Mexico for the summer or in 2025
  5. Continue conversational Spanish with my neighbor two nights a week

When goals are written down, visualized and acted on, they are more easily achieved. The vision board for this big idea might include Yucatan travel photos or common conversational phases. Having a goal that is broken down and committed on your calendar is also more likely to be completed by your timeline. This is only one big idea example, so think of more and don’t limit yourself.

The most difficult part of a vision board is deciding what you want from 2024 with so many possibilities today. Don’t limit yourself, and make this new year, a year to remember and celebrate.  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2024 to you and your family and friends!

 

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Themes for the New Year

 

As we start a new year, it’s a perfect time for reflection and renewal. While resolutions abound, certain overarching themes can guide us towards a more fulfilling and purposeful journey in the coming months. Here are three vital themes to remember for the new year.

Mindful Well-Being in 2024

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to neglect our well-being. As we step into the new year, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and cultivate a mindful approach to health. This includes not only physical wellness but also mental and emotional balance.

Consider incorporating practices such as meditation, regular exercise, and adequate sleep into your routine. These small yet impactful habits can significantly contribute to overall well-being. In a world that often glorifies busyness, valuing moments of rest and self-reflection becomes a cornerstone for a healthier, more resilient you.

Embracing Learning and Resilience

The new year offers a blank slate for personal and professional growth. Embracing a growth mindset involves seeing challenges as opportunities for learning and viewing failures as stepping stones toward success. This approach not only fosters resilience but also fuels a continuous desire for improvement.

Set achievable goals that push your boundaries, both personally and professionally. Whether it’s acquiring a new skill, pursuing further education, or taking on challenging projects, the growth mindset propels you forward. This also fosters a sense of accomplishment and adaptability during unforeseen challenges.

In a rapidly evolving world, the ability to embrace change and learn from experiences is a powerful asset. Cultivating a growth mindset ensures that every encounter contributes to your journey of becoming the best version of yourself. Whether that personal experience is positive or negative, you grow from it.

Nurturing Relationships

In the digital age, genuine connections and meaningful relationships hold incomparable value. As we navigate the new year, prioritize the nurturing of both existing and new connections. Whether it’s strengthening family bonds, fostering friendships, or building professional networks, investing time and energy in relationships enriches our lives.

Take a proactive approach to communication, be present in your interactions, and seek out opportunities for collaboration and shared experiences. These connections not only provide emotional support but also contribute to a sense of belonging and purpose. In a world that can sometimes feel isolated, the power of genuine human connections is a beacon of light. A light guiding us through the challenges and joys of life to be happier.

As we embark on 2024, let mindfulness, growth, and connection be our guiding lights. Prioritizing well-being, adopting a growth mindset, and nurturing relationships pave the way for a year of purpose, resilience, and fulfillment. Here’s to embracing the opportunities that 2024 brings and creating a meaningful tapestry of experiences and growth.

Happy New Year!

Originally published on Elephant Journal

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Making Friends Remotely

In an era of digital connectivity and flexible work arrangements, the concept of “going to the office” has changed. Many professionals now find themselves working remotely, a trend accelerated by recent global events. While remote work offers numerous advantages, it can sometimes create a sense of isolation. It can leave individuals wondering how to make friends when their workplace is no longer a physical space. Fortunately, there are several strategies to create meaningful connections while working remotely.

Water Cooler

First and foremost, embrace the virtual water cooler. Just as office conversations often occur around the water cooler, remote workers can participate in digital equivalents. Engage in team chat platforms, join virtual meetings a few minutes early, and contribute to discussions. This provides an opportunity for casual conversations and shared experiences, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

Work Communities

Seek out remote work communities. Online forums, social media groups, and professional networking platforms are treasure troves of like-minded individuals who understand remote working. Join discussions, share your experiences, and engage in conversations that go beyond work-related topics. These communities offer a supportive environment to build connections based on shared interests and challenges.

Virtual Events

Participate in virtual events and workshops. Many organizations and platforms host webinars, workshops, and conferences that cater to remote professionals. Attending these events not only expands your knowledge but also exposes you to a diverse range of individuals. Take advantage of breakout sessions, networking events, and Q&A sessions to connect with attendees who understand your goals.

One-on-One

Initiate one-on-one interactions. While group interactions are valuable, establishing individual connections is equally important. Reach out to colleagues for virtual coffee chats or brainstorming sessions. These one-on-one conversations allow for deeper connections and the opportunity to learn about each other’s backgrounds, interests, and experiences.

Co-Working Spaces

Consider remote co-working spaces. These virtual spaces are designed to mimic the camaraderie of a physical office, providing a sense of community for remote workers. Many platforms offer chat rooms, virtual events, and collaborative projects, fostering connections in a structured online environment. You can also host your video calls in these spaces to increase your network.

Be You!

Be open and approachable. Displaying authenticity and a willingness to connect can attract others seeking friendship in the remote work landscape. Share personal anecdotes, interests, and even challenges. Vulnerability can create a sense of relatability that encourages others to open up as well. Remember, you have to be a friend to have a friend!

While working remotely might physically separate us, it need not isolate us from building meaningful connections. By leveraging virtual platforms, engaging in online communities, and embracing one-on-one interactions, remote workers can make friends beyond physical boundaries. In this digital age, the tools to make friends are at our fingertips; all it takes is a proactive approach and a genuine desire to connect.

 

Check out my website for more tips on working remotely and self-care: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Self Care

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get caught up in demands and responsibilities surrounding us. As I’ve journeyed through my own life experiences, I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care and power of meditation.

Taking the time to prioritize my well-being and cultivating a regular meditation practice has been nothing short of life-changing. Here are some insights I’d like to share with you about embracing self-care and the art of meditation.

Self-Care

First, self-care is about acknowledging and honoring your own needs. It’s not selfish; it’s an act of self-love and preservation. Begin by carving out dedicated time for self-care activities that resonate with you. It could be as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or taking a walk in nature.

Whatever it may be, the key is to make it a regular practice. This ensures it becomes a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.

Meditation

Meditation is an incredible tool for finding stillness amidst the chaos and noise of the outside world. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Start by setting aside just a few minutes each day to sit quietly, focusing on your breath.

Allow yourself to observe your thoughts without judgment, letting them come and go like passing clouds. Gradually increase the duration of your practice as you feel comfortable. Through regular meditation, you’ll experience a profound sense of calm, clarity, and inner peace.

Physical Well-Being

One aspect of self-care that often gets overlooked is nurturing your physical body. Engaging in activities that promote physical well-being is an integral part of self-care. Whether it’s practicing yoga, going for a run, or dancing to your favorite music. You need to find an exercise routine that brings you joy and makes you feel alive.

Additionally, pay attention to your nutritional needs. Fuel your body with nourishing foods that provide energy and support overall health. Remember to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and listen to what your body is telling you it needs.

Connections

Another powerful self-care practice is cultivating meaningful connections and setting healthy boundaries. Surround yourself with individuals who uplift and inspire you, and who truly care about your well-being. Learn to say no when necessary and honor your own limits.

Setting boundaries allows you to preserve your energy and protect your mental and emotional health. Prioritize activities and relationships that bring you joy and fulfillment. Also, remember to gracefully let go of those people that no longer serve your growth and happiness.

I’ve discovered that self-care and meditation are not merely acts of indulgence but components of a fulfilling and balanced life. They provide the foundation for personal growth, inner peace, and resilience in the face of life’s challenges. Embracing self-care and making space for meditation allows us to tap into our true selves. It nurtures our mind, body, and soul, to live authentically happy lives.

So, I invite you to embark on this beautiful journey of self-care and meditation. Start small, be gentle with yourself, and be open to the transformation that awaits. Prioritize your well-being, and watch as your inner light shines brighter, radiating love, peace, and harmony into the world. Remember, you deserve every moment of self-care and the deep nourishment it brings

For more living well, tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Gardening Is Like Life

Gardening is like life in many ways. What I’ve learned about life, I learned from my gardening experience outdoors and here’s why.

Time Will Tell 

A garden, a really solid variety of flowers (vegetables are a different story) takes about 2 years to establish. Like life, any new relationship, job, or new subject you’re trying to learn takes about 2 years to master. It’s two years before Gerbera Daisies take hold and bloom. The blanket flowers and periwinkles need a few years to take root and really blossom…just like in life.

Having two years of experience in a new job or with a new partner shows you different situations and effects. These “seasons” show you the good, the bad and ugly of that job or person. After about two years, patterns repeat themselves and habits are formed.  Just like your garden where seeds germinate and come back season after season. Time will tell you what you need to know and what direction to take, so listen.

Believe What You See

Flowers especially some bulb varieties are difficult to take root and thrive. Some flowers bloom easily with a little water and care. Others, take so much time to nurture, even “baby along,” until you’ve done very your best and can’t be successful.

Believe what you see, and know that some people, like flowers, will never bloom (like you expect them too.) People’s actions, just like flowers, are who they really are…don’t believe words, believe their actions. Actions tell you someone’s true character, if they’re honest, and trust worthy…just like a hearty garden that grows with care and love.

Can’t Change Mother Nature

In a garden some flowers and plants will only grow in a certain environment, think zone gardening. I live in the desert, zone 9b. The climate is dry and very hot in the summer months. Like some people in your life, some relationships won’t last or thrive. It all comes down to what you want in your life and who you let into your circle. You can’t change someone like you can’t change Mother Nature.

Work especially exposes you to different personalities. Some of these folks will help you grow in your career and support your goals. Others won’t, whether it’s their motivation, the environment, or your personal boundaries. Some people (like plants in your garden) are not meant for you.  Find your peace and people and live like your garden…in abundance.

 

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Desert Gardening

I garden to relax and unwind, but I also live in Arizona. Planting a vegetable garden in a desert zone 9B can be intimidating. The hot, dry climate can present unique challenges for growing vegetables. With some planning and preparation, a bountiful harvest is possible in a few months.

Garden Location

The first step in planting a desert vegetable garden is to choose the right location. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil must be well-draining and not too clay-like. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility.

Best Vegetable Type

Next, choose vegetables that are well-suited to the dry climate. Some good plating options include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, beans, and okra. These vegetables thrive in hot, dry weather and are relatively low-maintenance.

When planting your vegetables, be sure to space them out properly to allow for adequate air flow and sunlight. This can help prevent disease and promote healthy growth. Additionally, consider using mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth.

Watering

Watering is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to gardening in a desert climate. To conserve water and promote healthy growth, consider using a drip irrigation system. This will allow you to water your plants directly at the root zone, minimizing evaporation and runoff. You can also try using a soaker hose or watering by hand. However, be sure to water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.

Fertilize

In addition to watering, it’s important to fertilize your plants regularly. In a dry climate, nutrients can be quickly depleted from the soil. Consider using organic fertilizers or compost to provide a slow-release source of nutrients. I use Arizona’s Best which is a solid multi-purpose fertilizer available at garden centers.

Pests

Finally, be prepared to deal with pests and diseases. Common pests in a desert garden include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Consider using natural pest control methods. These include ways to naturally deter common pests, like companion planting or insecticidal soap, to keep these pests at bay. If you do notice signs of disease or infestation, be sure to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.

Planting a vegetable garden in zone 9B can be challenging. Be sure to check climate charts, against your seeds so they root during your season. Or you might need to use a green house or inside germination for your sprouts.

With the right planning and preparation, it can be a very rewarding experience. Choose the right location, select well-suited vegetables, space them out properly, conserve water, fertilize regularly, and deal with pests regularly. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious vegetables all season long.

Happy gardening!  And be sure to check for more tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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I Loved Barbie!

Did you see the Barbie movie? I did, mainly because I had the doll growing up. I loved Barbie. And here’s why this movie and its message for us all is so popular now.

Perfect World

Barbie has always lived in a perfect world. Pink, plastic, and perfect, the marketing machine has families buy her “accessories” for their children constantly. From the dream house, to the car, to her pet dog, Barbie had it all and little girls were supposed to aspire to that life.

But, like me many families we couldn’t really afford Barbies or her perfect world. I had one new Malibu Barbie, the one with the deep (cancerous) tan, gifted to me for my birthday. I never had a Ken doll, or her sidekick Skipper, so was my imagination stilted?

Improvise

No, like any good kid with little resources, I improvised. I made Barbie’s furniture from old margarine tub lids and thread spools. She didn’t have a “dream house.” My tanned beauty had a shoe box, covered with a kitchen towel “patio” with a green washcloth lawn. My doll and the all the Saturday morning commercials gave me permission to use my imagination! I improvised to envision my own “apartment” when I grew up and had a career of my very own.

And the career choices I had, from Advertising Executive to Astronaut, I could live through Barbie and her friends. I didn’t need a man to make my dreams come true. I had my drive and work ethic to make things happen for myself. As a young girl, Barbie really inspired me to succeed to do whatever I dreamed of with integrity.

Movie’s Message

Photo by Priyanka Arora on Unsplash

I see that same message in the movie; Be yourself…whoever you are! No one is perfect or fits a certain mold. Sometimes we hold ourselves up to unrealistic standards to those around us. Whether it’s in work, school, or even motherhood women have to navigate so many other societal obstacles, that men do not.

When we can truly all be accepted as we are, without limitations or prejudices, then we can all rest easy. The world has a long way to go to get there. Even Mattel admittedly has only had three female CEO’s in the company’s 78-year history. One being the founder herself, Ruth Handler.  Where are my pink Birkenstocks?