24 Hours a Day

24 Hours a Day

Each one of us is blessed to have the same amount of time each day–24 hours.

Yet some of us get so much more done in the same amount of time than others. And I am noticing that people who can accomplish more in the same amount of time that we are all given are happier people.

It all comes down to organization, focus and work ethic.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your day.

1. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

Some people say this is boring. Ok then I am boring. I go to bed by 8:30pm, 9:00pm at the latest, everyday. I wake up at 5:00 am every “workday” and 6:00am on weekends.

As a teacher, even on my holidays off, I follow the same schedule. If my husband and I are traveling we do so also.

This helps our body have the sufficient energy levels each day for whatever is planned.

If we stay up late for a special occasion we still keep to the same schedule and in a few days our bodies have “caught up” the hours of rest needed to continue whatever our lifestyle dictates.

2. Be organized in everything you do.

Being organized is a tremendous time saver. If you know me or have been reading my blog for even a short time you will know I am a planner.

I plan everything from the chores of the day–and the days of the week certain chores get done– to our meals, our workdays, family activities and events.

For example, grocery shopping happens once a week, we follow a list and we don’t go back to the grocery store that week. If we forget something we just work around it until the next time.

If you are organized in everything, less time is wasted and more is accomplished.

3. Keep your focus.

It is great to have lots and lots of dreams of what you want to do with your life and how you want to spend your days–but without focus you will spend days and years going from one thing to the next and never accomplishing anything.

Keeping your focus on beginning and finishing your tasks–whether it is an obligation (like your career)–or something recreational like a hobby or project–is the only way things get done.

Think of all the things you began but have not finished yet…you have lost your focus for those things.

If you feel you have lost your focus because you don’t have enough time see tip # 2.

4. A strong work ethic will help you accomplish anything.

If you want to live a full life with days packed with accomplishments and successes a strong work ethic will get you there.

Whether it is washing dishes, or building a successful company, raising intelligent resourceful children, or being the best you can be at whatever it is you want to do, you have to have a stick-with-it-ness that only comes from a good work ethic.

Here’s the good news–if you don’t already have a work ethic you can get one–they are free!

4 easy steps to a happy and productive life…remember we are all given the same 24 hours a day–how are you choosing to take advantage of them?

Going Organic

Going Organic

Every Sunday I go to the grocery store to buy our groceries for the week. As we are trying to eat healthy and get back to basics-we buy a lot of fruits and vegetables, both raw and frozen.

It never fails to amaze me how much more the organic varieties are compared to the “regular” fruits and vegetables.

I used to ask myself if it was worth it and I answered myself that of course it was not!

We do not buy organic-I don’t think it’s worth it! And although I have been criticized for it–It is MY CHOICE.  Here are my reasons why:

 

How do I really know that the organically labeled produce was actually grown organically? I don’t! I’m taking the word of the company that created the labels.

And the definition of “organically grown” only means “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines, addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives.” (USDA.com)

What? Exactly what does that mean? In my mind it means some families have their own farms and they grow their crops the best they know how without the help of modern science.

I’m good with that and I think it is a noble profession. Congratulations to those families and the love they have of their way of life. I celebrate them for it, because that is their choice.

But in our wonderful capitalist society we have competition and I also have a choice and for me the choice is to pay less for my produce so I can buy more of it.

 

In order to grow food organically–by federal guidelines–you must use more land, more water and “natural” pesticides such as copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is a natural product, so it falls under the “organic” guidelines–but this product when ingested in a certain amounts can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal problems.  No thanks.

Additionally, I also don’t buy organic because it takes more land to grow organic food. In a world that is continually growing (we are over 7.6 billion people now!)  and with so many people worried/arguing/protesting about world hunger it seems like a great waste of resources in a world where so many people go hungry.

Only in America are we so full of ourselves that we feel that we should strive to eat only organically grown foods so we can “be healthier”, so we can “protect and preserve the earth”, so we can “lead the world by an example” by going against the “big corporate world” that is trying to “control what we eat.”

Think about all the other people in the world that are not worried about eating healthy or being socially conscious as they eat–they just want to EAT.

 

But I think the biggest reason I don’t buy organic produce is because it’s a huge marketing scheme to make (primarily) Americans feel that the only way to eat healthier is to eat organically and I know that to be untrue.

Marketers are brilliant people–and they do their job well. They can make multitudes of people believe that regular fruits and vegetables are bad for you and that if you don’t have the money to shell out for organic–then well poor you, at least you can eat a regular apple–that’s better than nothing at all!

A person recently told me that they eat organic strawberries because they had less calories than regular strawberries. I was going to correct her–but she was enjoying those strawberries so much–why burst her bubble?  The marketers certainly did their job on her.

 

It comes down to this–we are so fortunate to have choices.  If you choose to buy organic and you can afford to do so, more power to you.  Do that if that is what you want to do. I am not stopping you or trying to convince you otherwise. And I do not have to believe what the marketers (or movie stars) say, if I don’t want to. So I decide to spend my dollars on good old regular produce. That is my choice.

What are your thoughts about organically grown foods?  Leave a comment below or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.  And enjoy your fruits today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Science Behind Health

The Science Behind Health

I am a strong advocate for eating healthy, for exercise to stay flexible and active and for creating a life that is enjoyable.

There are many ways to go about this especially if we take advantage of the technology and science that is available to us.

If you think about it our health over the last 100 years has improved immensely. It wasn’t that long ago that we came up with antibiotics, blood transfusion and organ transplants.

The world of medicine has grown quickly and we have reaped the benefits of it. People live longer fuller lives than ever before because of the science.

We know more about the structures and functions of the body, and how movements or every kind and help us or hurt us because of the science.

Sciences of all kinds have helped us have better everything from food production and cultivation to prosthetics to medications and procedures to help us live better and feel better.

But you would think that with all these advances we would be farther along the health spectrum than we actually are because along with all the progress always comes some setbacks, you know: people.

It seems to me that most people have embraced the advantages of the sciences to create the monster instead of embracing it to make us stronger, better and healthier. Sorry Dr. Frankenstein, your creation is not working out well.

Even worse, we are now stopping to take notice of the monster we have created and are blaming the science!  

We want to turn back the clock and go back to a “simpler and better time”–where we struggled to have enough food to feed a nation, where we had to walk everywhere, where life was “healthier”.

Well…we can’t go back. And I don’t think we should.

I like the fact that I can have a protein shake in the morning and that it already has all the vitamins and nutrients that my body needs for the next few hours to do its job. Thank you science!

I like that the meat at the market already comes cut, ground and sometimes even tenderized for me with no bacteria, and other problems like rot, thanks to the science.  I like that I can get eggs from a carton and not a coop in a backyard–again science.

I like that walking is a sport I can choose to do on an indoor track and that I can hop in my car to go buy the aforementioned meat and eggs.

I like that we are still learning the best ways to get out nutrients and medications needed to live a full active life.

Our health in this nation has fallen apart–not because of the science–but because of the choices we have made. Just because hot spicy lemon lime extra crunchy cheetos were invented does not mean we should eat them.

I mean the science proves that they are NOT GOOD FOR US…yet day after day we buy them off the shelves and indulge and feed them to our kids.

And while all the time I see people taking on the farmer, the scientists, the pharmaceutical companies and the government over our health I don’t see anyone upset at the people who are choosing to ruin their health by making horrible choices.

I also don’t see anyone complaining or attacking the people who invented the sugary soft, crunchy, spicy invented shaped stuff we eat.

For me, I choose the science.  I choose to learn all I can about the things that affect my life and to make the best choices I can about my health that I can.

I don’t pretend to be a scientist myself, thank goodness that is not my job. But I also don’t pretend to just go with whatever is available in the marketplace and then complain and lament when my health is not where I want it to be.

We cannot have it both ways–we cannot go back in time and pretend all our advances do not exist. We also cannot be healthy without the science.

What we can do is learn all we can, investigate what is best for us that we are willing to live with, ask questions and enjoy our lives. Use the science to our advantage…it is a very powerful thing!

How do you enjoy the benefits of the science behind our health in your life. Send me a comment or write me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

The Choice of Health

The Choice of Health

We all make choices in our lives.  Part of this journey I am on is about making the new choices to live the best life I can live and to live to my highest purpose–whatever that may be.

One of the things I have been thinking about changing in my life is my level of health.

Being healthy and looking healthy has always been an important value for me, and while I consider myself to be in good health, I know there is always room for improvement.

Another thing I value is knowledge. And so I have been researching and reading about how to be the healthiest I can be.

The regular health articles have come up of course–hydrate, eat right and exercise. I have also found many “how to” articles about how to start eating right, why to exercise, or lists of reasons why people should be healthy.

I was surprised that there would be so many articles written to help convince people to be healthy. But after I thought about it for a while, it isn’t surprising at all.

People have many excuses for not being healthy but the main ones cited in many articles I read were these:

  • I don’t have time to exercise
  • Eating healthy is expensive
  • I can’t be “healthy” at social gatherings, family holidays etc
  • I am too tired to exercise
  • Healthy food is not available where I live
  • I have no will power
  • I don’t want to miss out
  • My friends and family would not understand

Ultimately, this is what I have learned–being healthy is a choice. I choose healthy.  And I have decided to do 4 simple things:

  1. I am going to make time for myself–to exercise, to eat right and to educate myself on the best ways for doing both.
  2. I am going to find the best foods and the best habits for healthy living.
  3. I am going to honor my own thoughts, beliefs and values before anyone else’s.
  4. I am going to help others if they choose they want to live healthy lives too.

Making choices about health in and of itself is a journey and it is hard work. If I want to live the best life I can live–I have to start with my health. Health is going to give me the strength, the stamina, the longevity and the ability to move to do all the other things I want to do in my life.

We may take our health for granted because we have gotten used to the few extra pounds, the headaches, the allergies, the small twinges. We may be afraid to make changes in our lives that the people we most care about would not understand or appreciate. Any type of change takes courage.

And all change takes choice. The funny thing is–at least to me–has been that making the choice has been the easiest part. Taking action is much harder. It takes planning and thought and deliberate intention.

These intentions and the work you put in is what helps us reach our best potential–our highest self–and sometimes our purpose.

It’s time for action.

Have you been thinking about improving your health?  What parts of your health would you like to see a change in? Do you suffer from a condition or disease that could be changed through healthier living? What is holding you back?

Comment below about how you would like to improve your health or your life in general. I would love to read your thoughts!

And remember to have fun–our health is what allows us to live the life we want to live!

Finding Our True Identity

Finding Our True Identity

This is the year of “finding myself”.  Many would say it is about time. Others might ask: “have you been lost?”  I think the concept of finding yourself is code for defining your true identity–at least for right now.

In the past–it was en vogue to go on an extended trip to Europe or go backpacking on some mountain to “find yourself”.  It has also been said that a person going through a major life change such as a divorce or a mid-life crisis is also “finding themselves.”

What I think is really happening is that we have come to a point in our lives when we make a decision.  A life changing decision that perhaps many around us do not understand, or approve of , and so we hide behind the “finding ourselves” cloak.

We all have a true identity.  The self we recognize that knows our hopes and dreams that we were very connected with as children. We are not lost–but we are buried under layers of expectations, responsibilities, and perceptions of who we should be, what we should do, how we should act and who we should become in relation to everyone else around us.

We have many times given up our true identity in order to fit the identifiers others place on us and define us with: so and so’s daughter, Mr. X’s wife, the children’s mother and the worst one of all– being defined by the job you do.

We can accept that we are all those things based on past decisions we made, but that is not the only definition of who we are. We can behave as responsible individuals while still finding fulfillment in the life we are living.

For example, being a parent is a decision.  Some may argue that the decision was made for them by a situation or circumstance–but it was at the very least a passive decision made by allowing someone else to make it for you.

Once that decision is made–responsibilities follow. It is how we handle those responsibilities that restore the identity you have of what a parent should be and how you see yourself in that role.

If you are true to your identity as a parent–even though you may make mistakes–that portion of your life will be fulfilling. And our identities are always evolving to meet the next challenge before us in that particular situation.

So in this year of finding myself–and if you are finding yourself–it really just means we are evolving. We are changing to meet the needs we identify with. I am sure you realize we are only changing those parts of our lives that are not fulfilling us–the parts that are draining us day by day.

And well we should for our own well being. For some that may be the toxic relationships in our lives. For others it may mean a change in diet and lifestyle. For many it means reevaluating their career choices. It can mean a great many things.

Finding your true identity is being comfortable in your own skin, living up to your values–even if they don’t match the values of those around you.

We must learn to be ourselves, our true selves and stop fighting against the “who” others want us to be. Ultimately it is our life–those that want to support that will be there for you. Those that don’t are probably out finding themselves too!

What I do know as I “find” myself is that it is never too late, each day gives us a renewed chance to make new decisions for ourselves that will lead to a different outcome and help us find our true identity.

What decisions are you currently struggling with that will help your life have more meaning? Where are you on your path to your true identity?

Share your thoughts below–and have fun with your search of your inner self! We have one beautiful, complicated life–LIVE it!