Showing posts from June, 2015

Stressful Preparations

Preparations for anything can be stressful: parties, tests, vacations, interviews, beginning of the school year, weddings, guests over for dinner etc. They all require you to meet deadlines, deal with the unexpected, change routines and fund extra cost at the same time.  Any one of these can be stressful in themselves. Combine them all at once and it's no wonder preparing for an event is stressful. What can you do to minimize the stress of preparations? Here are some of my tried and true suggestions.

1. Start planning early: I'll discuss making a plan next, but I really need to begin with how important it is to start planning as soon as possible. Giving yourself enough time to accomplish all the needed tasks is a huge stress reliever. Even if your time frame is short, such as an upcoming test or interview, start getting ready right away instead of waiting until the last minute. When something unexpected happens during the planning process, you will have extra time to deal with…

Setting Goals

Rarely do I set goals for myself. Instead, I am drawn to just doing better than before, more of a constant desire to improve. However, this summer I have set a definite goal of biking 500 miles. I met this goal two years ago, under a different set of circumstances, and aspire to meet it again.

I absolutely love biking and this goal was set just to see if I could do it. The best part of this goal is that it is something I desire, but won't beat myself up over. If I meet it, great! If I don't, I'll probably be really close. It is however a little extra incentive to get outside and bike. I don't want a goal I dread, instead I want it to be a positive addition to my life.

When I met this goal two years ago, I was teaching and had the summer off. Also, my husband works from home and accompanied me almost every mile, either biking or running. When he was running, I biked at a slower pace, about half as fast as when we both biked.

Last summer, I started a new, year-round job …

The Boat

There is a debate going on in our house this summer surrounding "The Boat." Notice I did not call it "our boat," instead it is anonymously named "The Boat." Yes, capital letters and all. Thirteen years ago we sold a small cottage, that was on a small lake, where we had a small fishing boat. The bench seat kind, one step up from a canoe because it had a motor. We agreed to buy a larger boat as the only thing we missed about the cottage was boating. Since we live in an area of Wisconsin where there are many lakes by us, we purchased a 18' pontoon boat.

Once you are on the water, the boat is wonderful. We have many good memories of boating on beautiful, sunny, summer days. We also have many memories of the motor not working, rainy weather cancelling our plans, pushing it in and out of the driveway, attempts to put the boat in or out of the water that didn't go so well, difficulties finding storage for such a large boat etc.

Two years ago we used it o…

Replacement Purchases

This past month, we made some replacement purchases. At first, I was annoyed that we were buying something, but then I realized that we were not adding anything new to our home, just replacing things.

Is it ok to replace something? Yes, after you have evaluated the usefulness of the item. For example, our blender has a crack in the base and leaks. While we don't use it every day, we do use it often enough for fruit smoothies (which are very healthy), periodic homemade salad dressings, and occasional drinks. If it weren't for the smoothies, I would not have replaced it.

We also replaced the outlets in our kitchen to GFCI outlets, which brings our kitchen up to code. Did we have to do that now? No, but it needed to be done before we sell the house some day. The impetus for doing it now was that my husband had time and they were on sale for half off. Both were good reasons to do it now.

We replaced two ceiling fixtures in our family room. Neither needed replacing now, but were ou…

It's So Easy

It's so easy to go shopping and buy things. It's so easy to watch TV or read a book. It's so easy to sit and surf your phone or computer. It's so easy to (fill in the blank).

It's so hard to buy less. It's so hard to exercise. It's so hard to pay full attention to the person you are talking to instead of surfing your phone. It's so hard to (fill in the blank).

All the items in the first paragraph are passive activities. We have become a passive society, finding it easier to receive what is essentially mindless information instead of expending mental and or physical energy.

When you have free time, do you find yourself in the first paragraph or the second?

As we work towards a more simple life, I found spans of empty time to fill. I try hard to just relax during that time, go for a walk, exercise, pay attention to those around me or make a healthy dinner without time pressures. However, lately, I am falling back on old habits of passive activities. I kno…