life hacks

       10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Day   BY KIMBERLY CARROLL, MA, LPC, LADC      November 5, 2016     1.       Good sleep!    Start on a good note by getting proper rest the night before. Got kids? Your planning may need to be more strategic. Where the National Sleep Foundation still recommends young adults up to older adults still need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, you may have to figure out your best way to accomplish this and your tasks in a way that works best with little Jimmy’s sleep patterns; if you are a night-owl maybe this means scheduling a single specific task and allotted time frame after your kiddo falls into dreamland, before you kill the lights and do the same. If you are a morning person, maybe this means getting your darling into bed a little sooner and then waking up a little earlier yourself.     2.       Schedule proper, healthy meals.    When I say proper, coffee doesn’t count as a healthy meal, despite how delightful it can be, no matter how much you would like to believe it comes from a bean and you add dairy product and sugars to it! If this is you, don’t forget to add something on the side. Quick meals from the leftovers in the fridge could be a way to tackle this. Still struggling? Keep a loaf of bread (or package out a few slices in sandwich bags) and keep them in your car or desk along with a jar of peanut butter, and a butter knife. It is quick in a pinch, but still allows you to nurture your body. Apples and oranges can also be great, long-lasting fruits for those busy days. Want something warm and low-cost? Try leaving some microwavable soups in your car or office; even for the frequent traveler, gas stations are kind enough to loan their microwave to the passing civilian.     3.       A little exercise.    Okay, on the note of busy schedules, everyone has at least 5 minutes to step out and take a stroll or could complete a 5 minute workout of their choice, physical abilities, allowing. What about doing Warrior Pose on your elevator ride or a power stance? Not only is exercise and these things good for your body, flexibility and muscle toning, but it is actually wonderful for the brain. Feeling stressed, down, anxious? Leave it at the doorway, even if you need to say this to yourself and get to moving out of those emotions.     4.       Set a      few      goals.    A few is my way of saying, “let’s be realistic” because goal lists could go on and on. So which one’s should you do now? Well let’s start with one year from today. What would you like this to look like? Then, six months from today, three months from today and this week.You will start to notice that these chain together and you could actually schedule in 2 items per week starting now, to reach your longer term goals. Put them on a checklist and cross them off when you have completed them. Ohh, doesn’t scribbling those suckers out feel rewarding! “Gone and done! I freaking rock!”. Yes, you got this!     5.       Identify your priorities to gain accomplishment.    Ever work really, really hard and still feel like the day sucked? Yep, well what if you chose one thing in each of your busy days and added it to your to-do list, something you find meaningful and can prioritize a certain amount of time to. Give it some focus and attention. Being accomplished is an internalized thing; you could complete everything your boss said, but if you know there are other priorities that would make your life easier or better, make a point to do it. At the end of the day, you are still the person who must walk away and decide whether the day was worth it. For some people this may be a 5 minute long conversation with a valued customer, problem-solving an issue you know a lot about or completing a task you are invested in. Need more time with your kids and family? Schedule a family walk, and outing or put all the electronics away and add these into your daily goals.     6.       Make Time for Yourself.    While family is often our top priority, the old saying goes that you cannot pour from an empty cup, so give yourself 10 minutes to take that walk down the road, to turn up the music on your way home, not babble into your phone or Bluetooth device, read something enjoyable or respond to a friend. Not sure what to do, try different things until it feels rewarding!     7.       Become Flexible.    Because the only person you can control in this big world full of over-sized children, sometimes called politicians, screaming children, slower than normal cashiers, long lines and crappy drivers, is your response to these. Knowing you will run into a lot of these you can plan how to roll with the waves. Flexibility means to understand whether or not these things really impact you or those around you (you may be thinking of children or listening to them here), to be able to be positive in these situations and plan accordingly (which can be hard to do if you are always late). So write in your appointments 15 minutes before their actual time, and remind yourself to take a big deep extra breath and let the crap all go out with your exhale.       8.       Make time for positive people    because life is too short for negative people to break you down and steal your energy. Positive people in your life can help remind you of all those positive attributes and push you to continue self-betterment. They care about you, not what they can get out of you. Feel someone is a time-suck and emotionally draining? Set some boundaries to improve your relationship, reduce the negativity and increase time spent around like-minded people.     9.       Don’t Over-schedule It.    With only so many minutes in a day for work, family and you, be realistic with life. You are not a robot, and even us Superheroes need our sleep and R&R. Stick with your realistic goals each day and remember that a crisis or lack of planning on another person’s part does not constitute an emergency on yours!     10.   Re-evaluate and reflect at the end.    Spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each day. Smile at what you have crossed off. Feel okay with what you didn’t. Reevaluate the importance of each task and move things over into the next day’s to-do list or goals if necessary. Write a daily gratitude list, remind yourself where you are going and how you did so awesome at doing what you did today and perhaps enjoyed feel more accomplished!

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Day

Check out these 10 easy tips to help you feel better emotionally and physically and accomplish more. Following these can help you to be more productive, identify priorities, begin looking at setting SMART goals, feel healthier and how to prioritizing yourself is a priority, not an option. This may include surrounding yourself with positive people more. What life changes will you need to make? Start reading and begin evaluating where you need to step it up!

      5 Benefits of Putting Your Electronic Devices Down  BY KIMBERLY CARROLL, MA, LPC, LADC  September 17, 2016   1)  Better Sleep!    Studies shown demonstrate that cell phone and electronic use (any screen time) before bedtime effect the part of the brain called the hypothalamus which effects our circadian rhythm, also known as our sleep wake cycles and our natural serotonin production. So, lying there restless at night? The worst thing you can do is grab your phone. Kids not wanting to sleep? Keep the TV and games off; it is actually impacting your child oppositely and will make for some sleepy days at school. Some studies have shown 4 in 10 people will check their phone if there are new messages in the middle of the night; so turn your sounds off and alarms on and hit the sack for some quality sleep.    2)  Be better emotionally attuned!  A study out of the University of California, LA, stated that children who spent more screen time on phones and devices had a lessened ability to recognize emotions. The study states, "Sixth-graders who went five days without exposure to technology were significantly better at reading human emotions than kids who had regular access to phones, televisions and computers." So, when it is time for your kids to hang out after school you can implement ideas, such as a cell phone 'turn-in space' so play is face to face. Think about voting options for increasing such devices in the school systems and what effects it may take away from your child's social development. Model doing this yourself! Your kids may love the extra attention with you, too and you can set the new family trend.    3)    Increased behavioral activation   and, indirectly, positive mood.  Let's face it, throughout the different increments I sat down to write this blog, I was accomplishing much exercise for anything beyond my fingers and brain. Our bodies need exercise to maintain healthy levels of neurotransmitters that promote positive mental health. When we do not exercise, our serotonin, dopamine and norepinepherine are thereby effected. These neurotransmitters are linked to good mood. So, how long have you been sitting at you computer? Is it time to stand up and give your body a bit of a walk around the block? Some studies indicate that Americans are now spending more time on electronics then sleeping. Getting regular exercise will not only help to increase your mood by raising the neurotransmitter levels in your brain, but it will guard again degenerative brain disease according to Livestrong.com; it will increase blood flow or oxygenation levels. Exercise can help naturally improve conditions such as Parkinson's Disease and depressive disorders. Lastly, if you exercise outside, you will also be increasing your Vitamin D levels which are also connected to improved brain function. So two in one! Now finish your article and enjoy your time outdoors!    4)  Improved insight   of one's true self and increase authentic relationships.  Huh? What does all that jumbo mean?! Right? Ok, so let's put it this way, social media is a place where we can stay connected with people any time of the day, anywhere in the world. It is a place where we can manipulate our page to reflect how we want others to see us. While this may temporarily give false persona to our existence, it essentially allows us to live in and believe false realities to increase out self-worth. But what if we were to try to rather actualize what we try to portrait or rather reach out to trustworthy supports and ask for advice. What if we accepted how we look, rather than spend time trying to take the perfect selfie or edit the best portrait. What if spent less time talking about having fun and spent that time actually out having fun? Spending less time on sites like Facebook will allow us to build more authentic relationships in person. Spending more self-care time and time doing internal work and engaging in actions that will improve us to be the best person we can be may be more gratifying than editing that selfie for 10 'likes'. Being able to be with those people who really think you are amazing and not just your selfie or recent post, may be time spent developing memories and social connections that you can better rely on throughout the years. Now, while it is true that Facebook allows us a place to stay connected even when we live across the world from one another, imagine the emotions and engagement you'll rather receive when at the least, you are able to have a chat! So, yes, sometimes that invention called the phone is still very useful, but that also means you have to remember how to converse and not just stare and touch the phone! So, have at it!    5)  Reduce your stress levels.    Albeit, the first couple times may be difficult, but making electronic free days or hours may indeed reduce your stress. Think about the worries that come with electronics: Will the charge hold long enough? Did I remember the charger? What will this new message say? What will people think of my last post? Will my auto-text error be severely misinterpreted? Like in other addictions, electronic devices give us instant gratification to get what we want now. Rather, set the phone down, make some plans, leave your phone at a home and have a stellar day with a friend or your family. Let go, breathe and know everything will not have melted down by the time you get back home to check your messages.

5 Benefits of Putting Your Electronic Devices Down

Understand these 5 benefits from turning off or putting away your devices and improve your health, relationships and parenting today! Are you wanting to improve relationships with your teenage son, daughter or increase bonding with your toddlers? You want to do this in a matter of minutes? Yes! That is what I am suggesting! Along with this, these tips can help you improve your self- esteem and enhance your self-concept. You can start begin building authentic relationships with just one easy step, learn more here what can be achieved by you just 'putting it down'!