Planning for a Healthy Spring

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to talk about getting healthy!

Get out: it’s finally nice enough to spend a lot of time outside!  You can go on walks, go hiking, train for a marathon, play in the backyard, go to a park, visit a nature center near you and even eat your lunch outside!  Fresh air makes you feel better, whether you’re exercising or even just sitting outside.

Eat right: eat a fruit or veggie with each meal, and in between too.  Whether it’s a salad, side of corn or banana, fruits and veggies are usually an easy option with lots of good vitamins, minerals and fuel for your body.  Take time this spring and summer to visit local farmer’s markets and farms near you and get locally grown produce.  You’ll be supporting your community and getting good food too.  Don’t forget to try some of the delicious seasonal produce that’s available now too!

Get rest: many of us don’t really know what our body needs in the way of sleep and rest, and even if we do, we don’t always get it.  Know how many hours of sleep you need, and do your best to get it.  An unrested body doesn’t function as well as a rested one.  It’s also important to take time out to just sit and relax too.  Our bodies aren’t designed to be on the go 24/7.  They have to rest too!

Power your mind: in our on-the-go societies, we are subjected to thousands of messages each day, whether at work, on the computer, on our phones, while driving, at the store, in the newspapers and on TV.  This also means you’ve got tons of choices about what you choose to be exposed to.  Granted, you can’t block out all the bad stuff, but you can be particular about what you and your kids watch and see at home.  Yes, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and be socially aware, but you don’t have to be a news or TV junkie to do OK in the world.

Get involved: Finally, the last piece to being healthy is being involved in the community.  Join the community pool, help at a community garden, go out with 3 or 4 other couples, bring your kids to the park with your friends, and have play dates.  Getting your kids involved with other people, going on group dates, and being part of your community are all an important part of having a healthy life.

I encourage you this week to do a family checkup: plan and make changes in your lives to eat, live and work in your communities and at home.  Together we can make the world a healthier place!

Joy in Seasons

Can you believe another month is almost over?  Today is our last post really looking at our topic of the month: seasons.  What I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is the joy that can be found in each and every season.  I know, you’re mentally complaining about at least one season in your head right now, like how much snow there is in winter, how much rain there is in spring/the rainy season, how hot summer/the dry season is, how cold fall gets and miserable it is to watch the leaves fall off the trees etc.  You don’t have to like every season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some joy in each of them.  For example,  I don’t like snow but still find joy in watching kids go sledding, or sitting in a comfy chair watching the snow fall with a cup of hot tea and a good book.

Like so many things, the seasons are really what you make of them.  Last Wednesday I talked about what to do if your business is heading into a slow season for the summer.  Just because you may not be making many sales, it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can, could or should be doing during this time.  Just because it’s raining out today doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing because your outside plans were cancelled.   Just because you have a broken arm or leg doesn’t mean there’s no summer fun to be had.

I really believe that life is what you make of it a majority of the time. If you are feeling miserable, that’s the life situation you’ll create around you.  If you’re feeling like a winner, that’s the situation you’ll create around you.  If you want to enjoy your least favorite season, I believe you’ll be able to find reasons to do so!  But it only happens when we choose that path.    So what path will you choose this summer? Will you choose to find some reason for joy in each and every day?

A Season and Gift of Hope

One of the things I love most about spring is that it is a season of hope.  With the arrival of spring officially yesterday we can cautiously put away our winter clothes and think about wearing shorts and tank tops and having our lunches in the sun and taking walks after dinner.  I know those things excite me!

Research has been done over the years about how challenging winter is for many people, so much so that they’ve given it a name: seasonal affective disorder.  You’ve probably heard about it and may know someone who deals with it or struggle with it yourself.  So when spring rolls around it’s a fresh breath of air for these people especially, and for all of us too.

Not only am I thankful today for the arrival of spring, I’m thankful for the people in the world who are called to make people happy, to encourage them, and to cheer them up.  I’m not talking about the people who are considered “comics” or the shows that are “comedies.”  Yes, they have their own place in things and sometimes the break they offer is what you want.  But the people I’m talking about are those who make you smile when you see them or they call, the people who brighten every day, the people who always have something good to say, and those who can see some good in just about everything.

You may not think you’re that person, and maybe you’re not always or often that person. But each of us can be the bright light if we so choose to be.  Your light and hope may be what someone needs to choose to live another day, or just the little hope that they need to try again tomorrow.

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is to be happy and hopeful yourself; then you draw them up out of their despondency.” Dr. Edward Bach

The Start of Spring

One of the keys to running a successful business is being aware. You need to be aware of what’s going on, aware of what your business needs, aware what your customers need, aware of what’s going on in the world, aware of what’s going on in your niche, and aware of when things need to change. If you’re not aware of what’s going on in your business, you’ll never be able to recognize when things are happening, when new things are needed and when things are hurdling out of control.

I had to stop and pause this week because I saw a chipmunk out scurrying around and it’s much too soon for them, or so I thought. But it reminded me that sometimes we get caught up in what we’re doing and what’s going on that we miss the signs. The good news is that spring is the perfect time to get started on updating things and growing your business. For spring to happen, for your business to be successful there are some things that need to happen.

Spring seems like all of a sudden there are just flowers everywhere and you can’t believe it. The truth is that it’s been happening slowly over the past few weeks, you’ve just missed the signs. To businesses it may seem like the answer to everything is to be viral, but what those who go viral quickly learn, you have to keep going viral for lasting success. So while viral’s nice if you can make it happen, it’s not what I recommend for consistent success. Instead I recommend you follow the guidance of spring and instead work on consistent, lasting growth and success throughout the life of your business. If you’re consistent with your marketing efforts and with your work with clients you’ll never deal with a lack in clients or be concerned about how far behind you are. It’s time to stop trying to be viral and start consistently helping people.

Spring is also known as the bringer of new things. Very few businesses can exist successfully on just one product created just one time, or one client purchasing one time. While a music store may only sell music, they’re always getting new songs and new artists. While an accountant may always work with numbers the numbers always change and tax rules change each year. Very few writers live off only one book. Your willingness to bring in a new perspective, try something new, work with a new client or partner with another business could be the breath of fresh air you need in your business to get you out of your slump or passionate about your business again.

Consider this week as your chance to shed the chills of winter and move into the warm fresh air of spring. Let go of what’s holding you back as a business and step into what will help you grow. Not sure? Contact me and I’ll review your situation and share my thoughts for what spring can be for you.

The Season of Spring

This week I’ll be sharing a message of spring. That message is one of both hope and challenge, so while I will be sharing encouragement, I’ll also be calling you out on ways you may have been slacking or holding back and why you may not have what you want or be where you want to be. I want to start by sharing my understanding that hope and challenge are usually seen hand in hand rather than separately. We don’t usually talk about hope when things are awesome and amazing, we talk about hope when things are tough and you can’t see the end of the tunnel, or if you can it doesn’t look very good.

One reason that these two topics come up so often in our lives is because our lives are like the seasons: we have times of death and rest and times of growth and abundance. It’s a cycle we go through during our lives, it’s called the journey of life. It’s not something we can stop, nor is it something we should. Think about how it feels when your boss keeps piling work on your desk, you start to get frustrated because even as fast as you do things more things get added. You never get ahead, never catch up, never make progress, you’re just trying to keep your head above water. So we need those times of quiet and less activity so that we can have the strength to get through those more difficult times.

As we enter the season of spring it’s important to remember that even in this time of growth there’s still stuff to let go of: dead plants, the snow, and our winter jackets. We look forward to the growth but we can’t get there until we allow that growth to happen. It’s not as much of a letting go as fall to winter is, but with change there’s always a little that has to be let go to make room for the new, the bigger, the better.

So this week as we approach spring what will you be hoping for? Just more sun? More time to walk and be outdoors? Freedom from the restrictions of winter? Happier people? And what do you need to do to be ready for spring to enter your life?

“I believe in process. I believe in four seasons. I believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. I believe that there’s a growing season. And I think that you realize that in life, you grow. You get better.”  Steve Southerland

Relationship Revitalization

With spring here I thought I would share a few ways to take advantage of the fresh air, free spirits and new life that comes with the transformations of spring.  Any relationship can get a fresh start at any time, of course, but it’s especially easy to consider when we’ve got all of the changes in the air and world around us.

1-see a coach or pastor.  It may seem like an excessive step to seek professional help, but this can be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to let issues that have been stewing for too long to be aired out and cleaned up.  Involving a coach or other professional gives you both the safety of another set of ears and impartial opinion that a family member or friend would not be able to offer you.

2-hire an organizer.  It’s a great time to get rid of stuff that’s been sitting around in your house for a really long time and is getting in the way of your relationship.  You would be surprised how the clutter around your house can affect your relationship.

3-commit to a date night each week.  A date night, even if it’s just 2-3 hours a week can be the start that you need to begin communications again and work through some of the issues and things that bother you both, and even more important, create time to rebuild and strengthen the bonds of love.

4-figure out your finances.  This is something that everyone should do on a regular basis, but with tax day coming up quickly, it’s an especially good time to really make sure both of you know the ins and outs of your finances and make a plan for where you really want things to be in the future.

5-spend more time outside.  I love being outdoors (even if I have to bring a tissue box). Getting outdoors as a couple for a weekly walk, or playing outside with your kids is important to feeling good and being healthy.

What are you going to do to grow your relationship this spring?

Spring Success

Spring is just about upon us here in the USA.  While I don’t see any flowers yet I am ready to do some spring cleaning and make sure my business is ready for the new season.  Here are my 5 suggestions for spring success.

1-offer something special.  I’m a big believer in taking advantage of holidays and seasons.  While you may not be comfortable discounting your products and services, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make special offers or put together special packages to honor or use the momentum of the seasons for the good of your business.

2-refresh your online information.  As people start to emerge from their winter hibernations they’ll be looking for services and products to move them into the more active life of the spring and summer.  If your information is dated (literally or figuratively) it’s imperative that you update it so people will see you’re someone they can trust to provide services for their needs today, not last year.

3-get rid of old services and products you no longer feel serves your tribe.  Sometimes it’s necessary to do a shelf clearing and remove offerings that aren’t contemporary, or don’t support your vision as a business.  Maybe it’s not a full clearing, but a new focus on one of the services or products that you want to work in more often.

4-clean up.  Yes, for the physical businesses it’s important to get rid of winter dirt and refresh their appearance.  No one likes to go to a business that looks like they belong in decades past.  People like clean, nice looking facilities, and don’t trust those that look sketchy or germy.

5-hire a coach or consultant.  If you’ve been in business for a while, there’s a good chance that you’re missing out on some of the reasons why your success isn’t growing like you want it to.  A coach or consultant can help you get a fresh perspective on the good, the bad and the opportunities you’re missing out on.

What will you be doing to be more successful this spring?

Spring Stories

I’m super excited for spring this week!  Although there are lots of things that can make us sneeze in the air, I love waking up each day knowing that there will be some new sign of life outside to discover that day.  Just like each day there are new signs of life outside our windows and around our homes, each day should bring new signs of life into our lives.  We should see progress, improvement and hope in our lives each day.  We will have discouraging days but most days should encourage us and inspire us to keep going.

What I love about spring is that each new development has its own story, just like each of us have our own stories.  No two people are exactly alike, so no two stories can be alike.  Each day’s new growth on the plants, flowers bursting just a little more open, baby animals growing a little bigger, grass growing a little greener tells a story as old as time about how nature comes alive.  Little by little we see our world transform from the dull shades of grey, brown and white of the winter into the lush shades of pinks, greens and yellows.

However, the sad fact is that most of us miss the story each plant, each animal, each color tells.  We’re wrapped up in our little worlds.  This means we also miss the stories of the amazing people around us.  You never know what the people around you have going on in their lives.  You may be guilty of hanging out at a coffee shop just to hear the stuff other people are talking about. Oh the stories I’ve heard over the years!  I’m always amazed though when I hear the same stories coming from different people.  The relationship, family, work problems we each feel so captivated by are issues that other people around the world are having too.

I encourage you as spring is sprung around us to take time to listen to the people around you.  Discover what they have learned that you could learn from them.

Let’s Grow a Garden

With spring finally here, it’s time to get outside and get messy! Today I’ve got some great ideas to help you with your garden, and get the whole family involved.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have outdoor space I’ve got a couple ideas for keeping those green thumbs in the family happy too.

What to plant:

I love planting tomatoes, peppers, and peas.  They get great results in Northern NJ.  They’re also easy to maintain and produce more than just one crop (unlike lettuce or radishes).

However, I love the cheeriness that flowers bring both indoors and out, so planting flowers, especially if you host gatherings frequently, is a great idea.

Planting:

For the fruits and vegetables, you’ll want to plant in an enclosed area, maybe for the flowers too, depending on the animals that live near you.

Have the kids help you plant, water and weed, as well as make signs like these cute bugs to help know what you’ve planted where.

You can also divide the garden into sectors so that each kid is responsible for one, and has to take care of it.

If you’re a little behind the planting timeline too, you can start your plants inside with this homemade “greenhouse.”

More garden fun:

If you don’t really have a green thumb, or not much outdoor space, but your kids really want to plant something, here are 14 cute and easy grass planting projects.

In line with not planting, you can also make a very zen rock garden that doesn’t take up much space but is lots of fun to play with and relaxing to look at.

For the crafty (and not green) kids in your family, a rainbow garden trellis, or gazing ball are two things you could make to add to the gardening.

Will you be out in nature this year planting?  What will you be growing?

Putting the Spring in Your Relationship

Winter can be a drag in more ways than one.  You’re constantly together, stuck in the house, especially if you live in a location that gets much snow and cold over the winter months.  With the advent of spring it’s time to get some fresh air in your house and your life and in your relationship too.  Here are some things you can do to put some fresh air in your relationship.

Redo your bedroom, or at the very least clean it:  If your bedroom is dull, drab, tasteless or uninviting, it’s time to spruce it up!  A fresh coat of paint, new storage system or rearranging the furniture can help bring new life to your bedroom.  If you don’t need a makeover, you may need a clean up.  Take time to go through closets together and get rid of stuff that’s not stuff you wear or use anymore and make room for the stuff that’s all over your floor.

A weekend date: Yes, get away for the whole weekend!  Leave the kids with a relative or trusted family friend and get away from it all.  You don’t have to go too far (unless you want to), the point is just to get some space and time to relax together without the issues of normal life.

Make an outdoor space:  If you have a porch or backyard, make sure there’s some place you can go and spend time after the kids are in bed.  Like a seating area, comfy furniture or fire pit that you can relax and will make your outdoor space inviting.  Spending time in the outdoors is important because the outdoors are naturally life-giving and invigorating, two things most relationships need.

Take a local course together: Lots of high schools and towns offer courses like finances and hobbies.  These are great options to spend a few hours together learning something new or learning about each other’s hobbies and interests.

Work with a coach on the stuff you’ve let stick around like that last pile of snow that doesn’t leave:  If you’re really suffering as the weather is this year, it may be time for some outside help.  It’s normal and healthy to talk/work with a coach or pastor, it’s an outside perspective that can help you two work through the issues that have been bothering you for a while, or just figure out what’s next in your relationship.

What do you plan to do to get some fresh life in your relationship this spring?