9 Gift Ideas to Comfort Someone

9 Gift Ideas to Comfort Someone

Need some gift ideas to comfort someone? Whether you need a gift idea to physically comfort someone or gift ideas to emotionally comfort them, I’ve got 9 gift ideas to warm the body and soul. These are practical gift ideas, in other words, gifts that can be used daily. Candles and blankets are flooding the stores; as well as fuzzy socks and scarfs. Try something different this year, choose a gift people will really use and love. Here are nine great gift ideas that will make a lasting impression on them.

9 gift ideas to warm the body and soul

Gift ideas #1: Leg Warmers

Leg warmers were a big hit in the ’80s largely due to the movie Fame and Flashdance; not to mention the exercise aerobics. They may have been a fashion statement, but leg warmers are actually very functional and practical if I don’t say so myself! With leggings and skinny jeans trends, leg warmers are perfect to slide over your legs before going for a walk or walking the dog! I simply slide them over my leggings on cold days and head outside…perfect! Leg warmers are a great gift for people who live in the city and walk to work, for college students walking to the gym, and for the dog owner on cold days. I recommend these leg warmers on Amazon, pick your color!

Gift ideas #2: Heating pads

Heating pads. This sounds like an old person. Hear me out though, heating pads are an awesome way to get the blood flowing to the areas of your body to heal. They don’t just naturally ease sore muscles, but they give you peace of mind. Heating pads are portable, which is great for travel or sitting on the couch. There is nothing more comforting than a warm heating pad against your aches and pains. If you don’t have access to a bathtub or hot shower, a heating pad is the next best thing to warm the bones and bring a sense of calm to your heart. Great for camping/glamping!

#3: Hot Chocolate (Dairy-free!)

Hot cocoa – Dairy Free. Yes, it exists. For those of us who need to be dairy-free due to digestive distress, this hot cocoa is simply delicious. Let’s face it, there is nothing more soothing and joyful than sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. It not only warms your insides, but it warms up the childhood memories from playing in the snow. When I had to go dairy-free, not to mention gluten-free, I couldn’t have hot chocolate anymore. However, Swiss Miss now makes a dairy-free version! And I gotta say, it’s fantastic. If you have a dairy-free friend, a cup of hot cocoa would be a really awesome gift. You can easily get this on Amazon.

#4: Epson Salts (this is my favorite)

Epson Bath Salts: these are my favorite all year round. Epson salts aren’t just for after a chiropractic adjustment or massage appointment, they are for everyday use to release your muscle tightness and rid toxins from your body. They even have Epson salts infused with essential oils, which enhance the bath experience and give your body and mind extra care. My personal favorite is Dr. Teals Chamomile. When I smell the scent of these Epson salts my mind immediately releases and melts into the tub. This is one of the best comforting gift ideas if you have a bath lover.

#5: Mini Electrical Fireplace

Small electrical fireplace: This might sound silly, but these small electrical fireplaces are so nice to have around. These days, they are very affordable and portable! They are easy to use and instantly bring warmth to your room both physically and mentally. There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day than having the glow of a fireplace. You don’t need a fancy fireplace to get the same warm fuzzies.  What I love about electrical fireplaces is that you can turn on the flames without the heat, because sometimes, you might just want the ambiance without the extra heat.

#6: Essential Oils

Essential Oils: essential oils were the craze in the 20-teens, but they are still beneficial for the mind and body. My essential oils are used every day, mainly for mental goodness, but also for sore muscles. I do have my go-to oils, but there are some no-fail oils to give as gifts, like Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, and Frankincense. A little bit goes a long way and gives our senses a treat and healing. You can get a nice variety of oils for under $10 on Amazon.

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Gift ideas #7: Instrumental Music

William Augusto: Soaking in His Presence instrumental music. I usually don’t say much about music because everyone has their own taste, but this one is a must. When you just want to escape your reality without having to think about lyrics, this album is a keeper. Soaking in His Presence is beautiful, soft, and welcoming. Love, love, love this! When I want to feel closer to God Almighty, I play this music and pray. This is great when you’re driving and just need a minute to relax and calm your road rage. 😊

#8: Flowers

Flowers never get old. This is a great birthday gift idea and this is especially a great Mother’s Day gift idea. Add color to their kitchen table. This simple gift gives the gift of peace. Seriously, flowers are known to promote positive thinking and reduce stress! Talk about great gift ideas to comfort someone. Head to your local grocery store, Trader Joe’s, ALDI’s, or Costco to get some amazing deals on flowers.

Gift ideas #9: Silk Pillowcase

Silk pillowcase: this has been a game-changer in my sleep…for the better. A silk pillowcase is not only soft and cool, but it’s actually good for your hair! My husband even loves them. I know that a silk pillowcase sounds a little cheesy, but it is the bomb. If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to get one for yourself! My husband loves his!

Wrapping it up!

In wrapping up these great gift ideas to comfort someone, I’m sure you found at least one of them to be a perfect fit for your friend or family member. Note: these gifts can not only be for Christmas gifts, but for Mother’s Day gifts, Father’s Day, Birthday gift ideas, and even gifts to mend a broken heart. May these gift ideas refresh and bring joy to yourself and those you care about. Surprise someone with one of these thoughtful yet practical gifts.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
3 Ways to Help My Child Lose Weight…with a Smile

3 Ways to Help My Child Lose Weight…with a Smile

The words ‘smile’ and ‘weight loss’ typically don’t go hand in hand when we are trying to lose weight. Let’s face it, diet, self-care, and wellness can be a challenge, no, it is a challenge. Then when you realize you need to help your child lose weight…oh brother. It’s okay, I get it. Why not make it fun? Seriously, this IS possible! I’ve got three ways to get your bodies (and minds) to feel and look better!

Weight Facts

Child obesity affects 1 in 5 children in the US. This means that children who are overweight now will likely be overweight when they are adults. This excess weight can not only increase the risk for them getting type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease but their mental health and self-esteem may be altered. Also, being overweight can get to be very expensive! Not just in food and clothes, but with medical bills. We all want our children to live a life full of opportunity and blessing. To give your child a head start in life start with them knowing how to take care of themselves. This is so super important, because without their health, what do they have?

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The problem with child weight loss

One of the biggest issues with weight loss is that children don’t understand health all that well. They are either going to watch you or other influences to get their knowledge. Since you are their biggest influence, you can help them make the right choices and for them to have fun while doing it.

When to start?

There is no better time than right now to get started on helping your child lose weight. “But I was going to wait until New Years’?” WHY? This is what gets us in trouble, procrastination. If you wait, you’re just going to make it harder on everyone. Go about this with a gradual approach. Help your kids make the right choices with their time and dinner plates now.

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3 Fun & Simple Ways to Help Your Child Lose Weight

1. Let them see you.

One way to make diet, self-care, and wellness fun is for your kids to see you doing it with a smile on your face, in fact, this is probably the most effective way to teach your kiddos that taking care of yourself is actually a good thing. If they see you doing it, and that you’re committed to it and enjoying it, they’re likely going to start doing it too! Remember kids see and hear EVERYTHING! When you’re done exercising say things like, “Man, that felt great!”, “I feel so good!”, “I’m getting stronger, check this out!” (then flex your bicep or something).

2. Do it with them.

Another way to help your child lose weight and make it fun is for you to do it with them. As we know, when it comes to the couch, the snacks come too; which eventually leads to a fully loaded butt or gut for that matter. Make a family promise to each other that together we can be healthier and stronger! Then brainstorm together how you’re going to make this happen. This is also great because you’ll have each other to hold accountable. This approach can not only teach your kids about exercise and cooking but about love for themselves, it helps them learn more about themselves.

3. Make it a game.

Why not make it a game? I have a free download for you! Making anything a game for a child is way more fun than being Mr. Serious. I personally enjoy the game of Bingo. Just anticipating seeing the full line of tiddlywinks in a complete row is motivating! With Bingo Bites you win not by chance, but by choice! There are three versions: Bingo Bites Junior, Bingo Bites for 4 – 8-year-olds, and Bingo Bites for 9 -13-year-olds. These games focus on choices that, all-in-all, make a difference in their weight loss. You can download it in my Freebies.

Bingo Bites Junior comes with three cards: one card for diet, one for self-care, and one for wellness. Each card has colorful pictures and, of course, a free space! These are to be used on a daily basis until your kid gets into a habit of making the right choices in eating, grooming, and giving themselves some love. Honestly, any age can benefit from Bingo Bites Junior.

Bingo Bites 9 - 13
Bingo Bites

Bingo Bites for 4 – 8 is more complex than Bingo Bites Junior. This is one big card that covers a lot of ground! Instead of choosing what card to do, use this card to cover all territory. Bingo Bites covers all the food groups, water, exercise, manners, outside time, and reading. If you’re looking for a little help to motivate your kids, use a bingo marker they like; for instance, candy, coins, or tiddlywinks with a prize (like a soda or playing time on Xbox). BINGO!

The Bingo Bites for 9 -14 is the same except for the quantity of food and manners.

To download Bingo Bites Junior or Bingo Bites for specific ages simply go to my freebies and you’ll find it there. Remember, your first step in getting your family healthy is to take the first step.

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Wrapping up how to help your child lose weight

One last thing! I know rewards are super important for a child. Typically we reward with food, candy, or ice cream. I get it, I do it too! All I’m saying is to change it up once in a while. By changing up the prize from a donut to a game of Crossy Roads or some other video game with mom, it helps the child appreciate each prize a little bit more. Also, check out my eBook for more tips and strategies that work! Simple Happy Wellness Strategies. $75 value, yours for $5.99!

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter

How to Help Your Digestive System: 10 Triggers to Watch For

3 Essential Tactics for Holiday Eating

13 Natural Stress Relief Products for Anyone!

Food Combining Does What? manage stomach acid now!

First Step to Losing Weight: 5 Effective Questions

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day

Let’s save money on Valentine’s Day this year. You’ll get my 6 simple ways to save money on Valentine’s Day along with a little history about February 14th. Explore my simple and inexpensive gift ideas for you, your family, and your friend; but first I gotta tell you what I learned about this ‘loving’ holiday, it certainly surprised me!

6 simple ways to save money on valentine's day

Valentine’s Day originated from a Roman festival. It had nice intentions of celebrating the coming Spring. Because as we know, with Spring comes rebirth. The Romans capitalized on this season and promoted fertility at this time. Side note; if you have a November birthday, your parents probably practiced the Roman tradition. LOL! Anyway, what I didn’t expect was a dark side to this ‘lovers’ holiday.

The Dark side of Valentine’s Day

This Roman festival included, what sounds like, arranged marriages by a lottery. Say what? All I can picture is taking a ticket at the meat counter and waiting for someone to call my name and hope and pray I was attracted to him. This does not sound very romantic, but they did it!

And according to legend, there was a priest whose name was Valentine. The story isn’t clear of whether the priest secretly married people behind the emperor’s back to spare men from war, or if the priest signed a letter to a jailer’s daughter “from your Valentine” which created havoc. Either way, the emperor, Caludius II Gothicus, martyred him! Yes murdered the guy named Valentine.

As for cupid, he represents the Roman god of love. Are you as confused as I am? This holiday is messed up, murder, love, lottery, and a naked baby with a bow n arrow. The Romans back then had some mental issues.

What We’re Spending

I get it that we’re celebrating this guy, Valentine, but “Be My Valentine” or “Will you be my Valentine?” sounds weird to me now that I understand the back story. Frankly put, these days, retailers use the holiday to get more business. In 2019 53% of all Americans spent a grand total of $30 billion. Heart-shaped candies and decadent chocolates get me all the time, but I spend maybe $25- $50 on Valentine’s Day, that’s including dinner. However, the average person spends about $225 on one person. There is nothing wrong with that. Your significant other’s love language may be ‘gifts’. But if you’re on a tight budget there are other ways to go about showing your love.

Save Money on Valentine’s Day with Simple Ideas

Valentine gift ideas under $25

The Card

The average cost of a Valentine’s card is $4.99. That can add up with kids and even pets. Yes, they have cards for pets. Three kids alone plus a dog could cost $20. Ouch. Here’s a different idea, back in the day, my husband and I were strapped for money, and so instead of buying each other a card, we took a picture of the card in the store then shared the pictures with each other. I know that sounds lame, but it was actually quite fun. There are many benefits to this: it’s inexpensive, saves the environment, and you can keep it on your phone forever! In fact, if you found more than one perfect card, you can take a picture of that one too!

As for kids, homemade Valentine’s are the best. Any kind of gift made with our very hands means so much more than something you buy. You can Google a joke or cute saying and incorporate that into a homemade card.

The Gifts

Unless it’s your birthday on Valentine’s Day, big gifts are out, at least in our home. Money doesn’t buy love. Time does. Time with your spouse, friend, kids, and pets says a lot more than the latest video game. What are they going to remember more? The gift and who got it for them? Or will they remember the memory of playing Battleship and Clue and the epic popcorn-launch-in-your-mouth game? Actually, the Game of Clue might be appropriate for Valentine’s Day…remember Roman times? Here’s my skinny on gifts and what we do in my family. Candy.

The Candy

Candy is instant, enjoyable for everyone, and easy. Get whatever is their favorite sugar bomb. I know it’s not the healthiest, but skip dessert and have the candy instead…don’t forget portion control. My son loves those Sweetart Hearts, my husband is all about Nerds, and me, well, my hands-down favorite of all favorites is See’s Candies. Seriously, these are the best chocolates I’ve ever had. AND they are gluten-free! If you don’t have a retailer near you, you can order online, believe me, it’s worth it. They are SO good!

The Flowers

If candy isn’t your thing, flowers do make a great gift. Here’s the kicker. Keep the flowers simple. They don’t have to be red roses. The jester is what counts. Recently, my husband stumbled upon white roses at Trader Joe’s. He got a dozen for like $7.00. Can’t beat that, and they lasted a long time. They were beautiful. Thank you Trader Joe’s! The other option with flowers is to go for the carnations. They are a simple flower that comes in a variety of colors. A large bouquet is about half the price of a dozen roses (roses not from Trader Joe’s). I personally like to mix carnations and roses together like in this picture.

The Touch

Besides the gift of time, sweet treats, and flowers, touch is just as important if not more. Touch is another language of love. It’s definitely my husband’s. Intimate time with your spouse or boyfriend is probably all they want for Valentine’s Day. Stop spending your money on other things, just give him some lovin’. As for kids, snuggles or tickle attacks while watching “Be My Valentine Charlie Brown” serve the best of both worlds for the child and mom/dad. Feel goods with hugs and laughs with tickles are a joy to the heart.

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Save money on Valentine’s Day dinner

Let’s talk about dinner. If it’s just your spouse/friend with you, you’ll spend an average of $50 at a restaurant. And don’t forget to tip! Oh, did I mention the babysitter? As for time, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights at restaurants. You may have to wait for a table. I didn’t even mention traffic or the weather.

A different option is to have a candlelight dinner at home. This saves time and is a great way to save money on Valentine’s Day. I know it may sound boring, but that’s up to you. Dress up, get some music playing, and have your kids wait on you and play restaurant at the same time. It’s something different to try this year.

At the grocery, you’ll spend at least half of the amount on a meal than at the restaurant. Get some steak, salad, and garlic bread. Start up the grill and “By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER!” Yes, I have dated myself with He-Man. Dinner at home can be fun for everyone!  

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Final Tips for a Great Valentine’s Day

Lastly, decorating with construction paper hearts tapped on the sliding glass door gets everyone in a loving mood. This is an easy way to save money on Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to go all out with decorations. Keep it simple. It’s a gentle reminder that Valentine’s Day should be fun and not filled with a martyr. Now, don’t forget the chocolate! For more ways to manage money, be sure to check out my post on money here!

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By Christy Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved. 

How to start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

How to start Volunteering: 4 Tips to Succeed

Have you wondered how to start volunteering? I’ve got 4 great tips to help you succeed with your helping hand. But first, let’s reminisce. Have you caught yourself saying, “Oh, someone else will do it.”? We all know volunteering is essential for our charities, religious organizations, pancake breakfasts, environmental cleanups, and schools to name a few. And we all know we SHOULD volunteer for something, right? But why at times (not all the time) do we see volunteering as a daunting task?

Here’s an interesting volunteering scenario

Let’s say you’re at…a magic show. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine creates mystery, and the magician stands with a power pose and says, “I need a volunteer!” Eyebrows raise. Hands pop up. Voices chirp, ‘pick me, pick me’!

Let’s say you’re at…church. The stage backdrop is black, the fog machine softens the ambiance, and the Pastor stands with a power pose and says, “I need volunteers”. No one moves, some eyeballs roll, and then…there’s a cough.

A little different isn’t it? Many people use the excuse of time. “I don’t have time”. I’ve used it, I’m guilty. But is that really the case? I wish it was…but if there’s something you REALLY want to do, you’ll make time for it. So what gives? Let’s start with the logical answer: Interest. If you’re not attracted to the task at hand; you’re not going to raise your hand for it.

three musketeers

Tip #1: Just say ‘No’?

Just say no. We don’t want volunteering to create stress! Well, friends, this is when you can practice it. Say what? I’m not encouraging you to NOT volunteer for stuff; I’m cheering you on to volunteer for stuff you ENJOY. Let me explain: if you don’t like the outdoors, then don’t volunteer to plant trees. If you aren’t a toddler-time kind of person, then don’t volunteer in the kid’s wing. If you hate the smell of pancakes, then don’t volunteer at the pancake breakfast. It’s okay! They don’t want you there. No one likes a grumpy volunteer or worse yet to hear how much you hated it.

When you enjoy a task at hand you do a better job, you have fun, and you make in difference in more ways than one. Now that’s rocket science, people. Having an interest in what you’re giving your time and attention to creates joy. BUT WAIT, there’s an exception to this ‘no’ thing: if you don’t know if you’ll like it, then totally do it! What a great way to test it out.

Tip #2: Get to the volunteer destination

Do you ever say, ‘when I’m there, I’m good”? I have had dozens of experiences where I didn’t want to go but was grateful after I got there. But even when I’m volunteering for something I know I’ll enjoy, I STILL have to make an effort to hurdle the couch, forgo the beach, and ignore the ‘to-do’ list. How to fix this obstacle? Think about the end first. Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I’m done?” I bet you will have more courage and confidence! Then focus on that.

Another way to look at it is to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and ask yourself if you were them, how would you want to be treated? Would you like someone to not help you because they were into their Netflix series?

Proverbs 31:25

Tip #3: But I’ll be all alone…

I have a hard time pampering this one because I’m an advocate for embarking on the unknown without knowing anyone. Why? Because you learn a tremendous amount about your character when alone. Questions like ‘who am I?’ and ‘who do I want to become?’ get an opportunity to plant a seed in you. It’s like searching for a piece of a puzzle. You know the piece is somewhere on the table; the hard part is finding it. But when you do find it, a small flutter happens and you get to see a little bit more of the big picture. So here it goes friends, “Suck it up and go.” Who cares if you go solo, there are people there in the same boat.

To help you out here is a website to get your juices flowing about volunteering: http://www.500volunteers.com/

Tip #4: Go in with the right attitude

Have fun. Remember who you’re working for, the Big Man upstairs. Help with a smile on your face. Nothing is worse than seeing someone help you in disgust. How does that make you feel when a grouchy person is helping you? I just wanted to remind you of that.

Also, this is super important. Go in without expecting a lot in return, you may not even get a thank you, just prepare yourself for that. They are grateful, they might not know how to show it or say it.

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4 reasons why volunteering is so important

There are a number of reasons with a bunch of explanations behind them, let’s check some out:

  • Assist those who need it…the less fortunate, the disabled, the elderly, and the young.
  • Create connections. Network.
  • Experience wellness. Studies have shown that volunteering helps boost self-confidence, personal satisfaction, and even helps combat anxiety.
  • Career enhancement. Want to try a new career path before jumping headfirst? Volunteering gives you a taste without any waste. It’s a way to get your foot in the door.

Everyone deserves a smile, a thank you, and a helping hand. Seeing appreciation from the faces of the people I help is priceless and brings wealth to my heart. Be a success, and challenge yourself to help one person in the next seven days.

Wrapping up how to start volunteering

To sum up how to start volunteering, you just gotta start somewhere. Without volunteers we DO get divided, we do fall. Think about those events at church, school, or the community center. It’s the volunteers who are the real Musketeers. Next time you hear the word ‘volunteer’, stay tuned to your instincts and pay attention to what you enjoy. Say ‘no’ when you need to and ‘yes’ when you want to. You’ll make an impact on not only the people you’re serving but on the bigger picture.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

By CT Copyright © 2018 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

Martin Luther King Jr. in Child’s Eyes

Martin Luther King Jr. in Child’s Eyes

Every year we recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. Banks close. The Post Office closes. Public schools close. If you haven’t heard of Martin Luther King Jr. or haven’t understood his stand, he was the most visible spokesperson in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Dr. King believed in non-violence, he was determined, he knew his purpose, and he acted on it. He paved the way for peace.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

My 7-year-old son HAS school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His school honors Dr. King by teaching the students about him…what better way to celebrate this day. His teachers explain what Dr. King was fighting for. The students experience his “I Have a Dream” speech. When my son was six years old he came home from school excited yet a little confused.

At dinner, our son started the conversation like this, “Guess what?”

“What?” we respond.

“Did you know… that some people had to go to different schools? They couldn’t ride the same bus or use the same bathroom because they were tan? That’s so weird.”

We respond, “Yeah, we know. Thankfully, it’s not like that anymore.”

I pause and ask. “Did you guys talk about Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech today?”

“Yeah.”

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Our neighborhood

For you to understand the next question I asked my son, you need to know that we live in a diverse neighborhood. Our neighbors come from all over the world; we exchange smiles, conversation, baked goods, a cry on a shoulder, and a helping hand. We look after each other and even pray for each other. Our next-door neighbors and our neighbors across the street are African-American.

“Honey?” I ask. “Do you know anyone who is “tan” which is also called “African-American” in our neighborhood?”

Our son says, “No.”

My husband and I look at each other and smile. I wink at him.

“It doesn’t matter what people look like, does it?” I ask.

Our son says, “No, that’s silly.”

“That’s what Dr. King was trying to tell the world,” I explain.

“Yep. He did a good job,” he says, then continues to eat his apple sauce.

If only we could be more like kids

What I took from this small yet huge conversation was that our son has lived seven years on this earth and hasn’t seen skin color. Children have this awesome power to look beyond the surface and see the heart. They are more concerned about how people make them feel, rather than what they look like.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In hindsight

After this conversation, I was simply in awe of my son’s observations. And I hope and pray his views will continue as they are. Just remember, no matter how we were raised, it’s never too late to start looking at the world with a child’s eyes. You have the ability to make your own opinions and not be molded by what other influences told you. Do more than exist, love all people the way you would like to be loved.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

5 Mental Health Tips for Teens

5 Mental Health Tips for Teens

Mental health tips for teens coming right up! Mental health is just like taking care of our physical health. The term “Mental Health” is not a bad word, it’s not “crazy”, and it isn’t something to take lightly. How to manage mental health is daily exercise, just like going for a walk or drinking water for our bodies. I’ve got five valuable tips you’re going to want to check out to get on the road to genuine joy!

mental health tips for teens

Hey Parents! Children are resilient, do you really think?

As parents, we are told to feed our children a variety of foods, to get enough sleep, and to exercise. We want them to learn how to read, do chores, and be responsible. But what about their mental health? No one told me as a parent to teach my child how to deal with stress, depression, or low self-esteem; we were told children are resilient. Yet, are children really resilient?

In some instances, yes we all are resilient. But with traumatic events that cause deep wounds, resilience isn’t going to work. From a loss of a friend, a major illness or injury, physical or verbal abuse, or embarrassing events, some experiences or words, for that matter, will stick with them and affect their psyche. Heck, it happens to us parents! No one wants to be depressed, let alone their child or teenager. But how do we help them know how to manage mental health?

There are many things we can try at home before jumping to a therapist and prescriptions. **Please know I am NOT a professional counselor, nor am I trying to be. I share information I have either experienced myself or are extremely interested in. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things.**

Mental health tips for teens: the beginning

For young children knowing how to manage mental health starts with them watching you do things. They aren’t going to naturally know how to manage depression, they need you to encourage them, show them, and walk alongside them.

My parents were big outdoor people. My mom gardened and my dad worked in the yard; we were outside doing projects and playing all the time. I learned at a young age how to develop a relationship with nature. It was not until later in life I realized how important that relationship was going to be. Nature is my #1 go-to for mental health because that’s what my parents did. For instance, gardening is essential for my mental health. There is something about putting your hands in dirt that helps reduce stress. I learned this from my mom.

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The brain and nature balance

Get a load of this. National Geographic wrote, “Nature provides us essentials like clean water, food, medicines, even recreational retreats… it also helps regulate our weather and climate. But these systems are extremely fragile…we know that once they are gone, there are no replacements.” We didn’t need National Geographic to tell us this about nature. However, isn’t that statement similar to our mental health? Our brains need clean water, good food, and recreational escapes to help normalize our well-being. If we don’t get these things, our minds, too, are fragile and will break.

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What’s next?

Probably the biggest step in helping ourselves and our teens with mental health management is to digest that we have something going on. Upon discovery, many may experience anger at first, but others will feel relief that they finally figured a piece of the puzzle out. Does that make sense? All in all, when we can embrace it and understand it, we’ll have a better chance of managing it and living that amazing life we always envisioned.

5 Mental health tips for teens

1. Get outside

Remember that relationship with nature I started talking about? The National Academy of Sciences performed a study that shows a simple 90-minute walk in nature {a place with trees} decreases negative thinking about oneself. Taking a walk in an urban area like a city or industrial park has zero effect. This study reveals that there is a “…pathway by which nature experiences may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health…”

We may not have 90 minutes to take a walk but I’m sure we can do 20 minutes. The University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation,” which is largely due to screen time… Push your kids outside. Yes, even your teenagers. Go with them. Just last night my son and I went outside and played with our dog.

More nature quotes & the power of the outdoors

Other outside activities for teens and kids

As for other ideas with your teen, start an outside sport together like tennis, pickleball, or throwing the baseball around. Do a project together outside, like a garden, build a hunting blind, do yard work, or have a campfire. Don’t have a yard? Head to the park. Go for a walk. Take up fishing together. My personal favorite is gathering the family together (all ages) and doing The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge. This is so incredibly fun and inexpensive, perfect for teens to let loose and have fun! You can download the instructions in my Freebies.

Plant trees or volunteer in a park or nature event. If nature goes away; so will our sanity.

For little kids, show them how to build a fort, climb trees, make an obstacle course, look for birds or pretty flowers, or play in the snow. When my son was little I liked to grab a camera (a camera separate from a phone) and ask for certain pictures to be taken, for instance, anything that is yellow, rocks, funny-looking sticks, and things like that. My son absolutely loved it!

2. Do something kind for the body.

Our bodies take most of the brunt of stress. So instead of cursing your body, bless it! As much as my body and mind are not getting along, I’m still kind to it. When you feel good, you are kinder to yourself and others around you. Do you need to go for a run, have a yoga session, a massage, hot bath, or a cup of tea on the couch? Do something that makes you feel better that is good and pure.

Teens, understand your love language. Parents, know what your teen’s love language is, and yours for that matter. If it is gifts you can encourage them by getting them a simple gift that brings comfort, you can get some comfort gift ideas here. Words of affirmation is powerful, these aren’t just compliments, this is speaking truth into their minds. I have a list of affirmations in my freebies you can download. First things first, understand each other’s love language. You can grab the book: The 5 Love Languages to learn more.

Pray together

And don’t forget the power of prayer. Simply giving it all to our Heavenly Father to sort out, gives us natural peace. God is in control, he loves us, and wants us to live a life of love. There is nothing better and going to the source to ask for help, clarity, and healing. I also encourage prayer for protection over the Enemy. Body, mind, and spirit are all connected and affect each other.

John 14:27

3. Eat foods for your brain

Food matters! Your brain needs fats, good fats. And getting the clean kind in your body helps your body and brain fight off free radicals…those are the guys that destroy the good stuff. Here is a post about Omega Oils that will help you out. And don’t forget the avocados. I’ve got a great recipe here. Berries are an amazing ‘happy’ food. Stock up on blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Your brain also needs to be hydrated. Drinking more water really does help with mood and clarity. There are many benefits to water. Stick with filtered water, there is no need to add sweetener or bubbles, your body knows what to do with plain water. Get a cool-looking water bottle and fill er’ up with some H2O.

4. Journal

I know this sounds like old news, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Journaling works. When our thoughts are written down on paper, more so than typed, it’s like you’ve given yourself permission to let the hurt get out of you. Writing about your journey really helps process what’s going on. Journaling is a great exercise to help express emotions yet feel like they have privacy. When asked the right journaling questions, there can be a lot of healing. Plus it’s fun to shop for a fun journal.

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5. Head to a hobby

A hobby can do loads for mental health. It keeps your hands busy and your mind focused on being creative…and being you! Here’s a post on hobbies with a list of different ones to try. It’s time to get creative and feel the goodness enter your heart.

Anger Management 101

I could end on that, but it’s important to reiterate that a ‘lack of understanding’ usually gets us upset in the first place. Why? Because we don’t understand! That’s why fights happen and judgments lash. We don’t know why people act the way they do, because we don’t live in their shoes. For all we know, they could be sick, have a chronic illness, be abused, have social issues, or be on drugs. And when we don’t know how to manage those things, a mess of emotions implodes and then explodes on others.

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When we have anger about something, we usually want to do something about it. I’m not talking about anger towards a person when you want to lash out at them for saying something stupid, that’s a different post. The anger I’m referring to is about how we react to either ourselves or a cause that affects other people. Some call it anger, others call it passion. You can take it a step further and call it uniqueness. There is this great book by Matthew Barnett, “The Cause Within You”. I highly recommend this book to not only inspire your own life but to motivate how to help others. Super good! And your teen would love it and find it motivating.

Moving forward- mental health tips for teens

I’d have to say the majority of people try to ignore their mental state or try to numb it with something else like drugs, alcohol, shopping, or eating. You don’t need me to say those things just leads to other issues. You can also look at these things as signs that your teen is going through a tough season.

If you have tried some natural ways to manage mental health and it’s not helping, another route would be to find a therapist, a Christ-follower if possible. The only true healer and protector is Jesus. Your church would know of someone, or you can ask some friends. Be sure you straight-up ask them if they know Jesus, if they hesitate with their answer, walk out and find a new one. For more ideas, this post from Mental Health America is a good one! I hope this post about mental health tips for teens was helpful.

Just so you know, I’m happy to pray for you and/or your teen. Simply contact me with your prayer request.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

How to Make Camping Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips!

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

The Purpose of Creativity: not what you think

How to Build Self Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

How to stay healthy is a skill. To keep our immune system functioning at top speed during ‘sick season’ there are a few things we can do to ward off illness and increase health. I’ve got 15 simple yet powerful ways you won’t want to miss in preventing sickness.

When I got more conscience about germs.

Back in 2001, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. This meant my immune system was whacked, confused, or bored, I don’t know. My immune system was attacking healthy organs. I literally had a war going on inside me. It was me versus me. When something like this happens in our bodies steroid treatment is usually the first line of treatment. It surely has its side effects, but it’s what helped me get things back in balance. After a good eleven years with an amazing gastroenterologist and an adjustment to my diet, the war ended.

Since 2011 I have been steroid-free. However, immune systems can get pretty touchy with other factors like hormones or dormant genes, so I’m always on alert.

Germaphobe, not so.

Please know I am not a full-blown germaphobic. Yes, I pay attention to my surroundings and am aware of the little buggers, but I also know it’s important to develop our immune systems by offering hospitality to our bug friends. Throughout life, I have learned a lot about germs and how to care for myself, and I certainly want to pass this knowledge on to you. Whether you’re on steroid treatment or just want to remain healthy during outbreaks, keep these things in mind in caring for yourself and your family.

**First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This article is for information purposes only.**

15 Ways: How to Stay Healthy and Boost Immune System

1. Exercise

I read an article about longevity. And the number one action we can take to live longer is to move our bodies. Exercising keeps the blood flowing and pumping. It keeps us young and helps the joints loosen up and work like they’re supposed to. It’s also good for regularity, which is key to rid of toxins. Aim for at least 20 minutes, 30 minutes is ideal. Try breathing in your nose and out your mouth.

2. Use a humidifier.

In the winter months, my humidifier is my best friend. I LOVE my humidifier. In my book on how to stay healthy during the sick season, I use a humidifier to keep nasal passageways moist. Meaning with viruses, when a surface is moist it has a harder time sticking and penetrating through our body. Keep things slippery. Sleep with a humidifier and drink a lot of water. The noise of the humidifier will rock you to sleep as well. Here’s my happy little humidifier.

3. Drink lots of water.

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Remember, keep things slippery in your body. Viruses like to stick to things. They like dryness. Don’t give them a foothold. Because our drinking water out of the faucets and plastic bottles is somewhat questionable, it’s more cost-effective and valuable to our health to install a water filter on the kitchen sink. My family uses this kind of water filter. If you can’t do this with your sink, get one of the water filter pitchers or a Berkey

IBD Triggers and what to do
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4. Wash your hands.

This is common sense, but many of us forget to wash our hands with soap! Ever since my son was a toddler I have drilled into him to wash his hands every time we walk in the house. Now I don’t have to ask him to wash his hands because he automatically does it!

This goes along with hand sanitizer. There are a lot of opinions on hand sanitizer. I get it. But if you have a compromised immune system, my opinion is to use it. Put a squirt or a spray on your patty cakes. Especially so if you’re in a place where you just shook someone’s hand who is clearly sick, use hand sanitizer when they’re not looking.

5. Keep your humor.

Keep the mood light. There have been studies about how humor can help heal and how to stay healthy. The mind and body work together, and when one is off it usually affects the other. Being funny isn’t that hard around the family. One idea is to tell a corny joke at the dinner table or in the car. Kids love these things, even tweens and teens! To help you out I have 120 family-friendly jokes ready to go!

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6. Wipes.

The hand wipes (not the cleaning wipes) come in handy in traveling situations or times when a bathroom is not available. Similar to hand sanitizer they clean up most germs but wipes also get the dirt off.  When we’re on a road trip, I use wipes to wash our hands before biting into our burgers. Or when I hop on a plane, I always wipe down the armrests and table in my airplane seat. Simply look at the surfaces you’re touching and wipe.  

7. How to stay healthy, keep fingers off your face.

This is one of the main causes of sickness. Picking our noses without thinking, rubbing our eyes, putting our pen up to our lips, and picking our teeth can be a welcome mat for germs. To keep our digits from messing with our face it’s best to train yourself to not touch your face. Simply make it a game to see how long you can go without touching your face. If you have an itch, use your arm, tissue, or sleeve.

9 easy to find foods to ramp up your immune system

8. Eat immune-boosting foods

Here are some simple foods that increase your odds of how to stay healthy.

Broccoli. This green veggie is packed with vitamins A, C, and E. It has amazing antioxidants and is full of fiber.

Bone Broth. Bone what? This is broth from boiling chicken bones or beef bones for long periods of time. The collagen and amino acids is cooked out of the bones. And it’s these hidden gems that help repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation. Not to mention help our joints.

Garlic and Ginger. These antibacterial powerhouses have the ability to be like a hand wipe but for inside our bodies. The list of benefits is way too long to list here. These yum-yums also boost up our lung health.

Vitamin C Foods: citrus fruits, kiwi, bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, pineapple, tomatoes, spinach. I don’t think you need an explanation of vitamin C. Just know your body doesn’t accumulate it, so you’ll need to consume it every day.

Vitamin E. This vitamin is equally important as vitamin C. It is a fat-soluble vitamin which means it needs to have fat to absorb properly. Sources of vitamin E include almonds, avocado, butternut squash, and wheat germ.

More great options

Yogurt. Bust into the probiotics. For yogurt to be effective choose Greek PLAIN yogurt. If there is sugar added to the yogurt it defeats it purpose. I know there are delicious flavors out there, but save those as a dessert, not for your daily probiotic. Use berries or honey to flavor your yogurt.

Turmeric. It’s filled with curcumin, this is what makes it a bright color. Turmeric has massive amounts of anti-inflammatory properties that help with all sorts of inflammation. It’s like a superfood. Check it out here.

Zinc. This micro-mineral is essential for a healthy immune system, although it is touchy. If you have too much you could get sick, and if you have too little you can get sick. It’s best to get your zinc through foods. High sources of zinc are found in chicken, chickpeas, clams, crab, eggs, grass-fed beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and plain yogurt.

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9. Sleep.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep to recharge your body. It’s when we’re sleeping that our body does the most of the healing. Have a bedtime routine. And get your room ready for slumber. Things you’ll want to consider are room temperature, the number of blankets, humidifier, pillow comfort, and sound machine. These are my must-do’s for sleepy time.

10. Clean your home.

Clean your house. Seriously, I know this can be a drag, but a clean home is a healthy home. I’m not just talking about vacuuming, I’m referring to wiping things down with disinfectant wipes or sprays. You’ll want to do countertops, kitchen cupboard knobs, faucet handle, refrigerator/freezer door handles, microwave handle, stove and oven knobs, all door handles, and more. I have a checklist for you to download right here: Disinfecting Checklist. You can also find it in Freebies along with some other amazing tips.

11. Vaccines.

This is such a touchy subject. Again everyone has their own opinion of vaccines, so I’ll leave this one up to you.

12. Steer clear of smoking and limit alcohol.

I know these are fun things to indulge in but if you’re serious about becoming stronger and healthier, these can’t be ignored. Pay attention to how much you’re using and consuming. Remember less is more.

13. Facemasks.

Again, this is a touchy subject. Do what you want, but in my experience, I have found these helpful in highly contagious situations. Herd immunity is a great thing, but if you just got done being sick with something and need a break before joining the herd again, wear a facemask to give your immune system a time-out. You can make your own mask at home. Here is the pattern on YouTube. And here is a great article on what type of fabric is the most effective. It’s very surprising! I made this silly video when COVID first hit the planet.

14. Cover hands after the bathroom

 Do you know that door handle in public restrooms? After you wash your hands, keep the paper towel you dried your hands with and use that to open the door. No paper towel? Use your sleeve.

15. Gargle salt water

If you feel a tingle in your throat or have a hunch you may be coming down with something, gargle saltwater. Salt can kill those pesky bugs and viruses if you get at it in time before it’s too late. In how to stay healthy, this trick is a great yet simple weapon. It may not be task pleasant, and you may accidentally swallow a little bit, but gargling salt water helps.

How to gargle saltwater starts with warm water and table salt. I mix 2 tablespoons or 1.5 tablespoons of salt with 1 cup of warm water. Make sure you stir it. Take a small sip, tilt your head back and gargle for about 20 seconds then spit it out. Repeat this until all the water is gone. You want to make sure you’re getting the back of the throat, but try not to swallow. I repeat, DO NOT swallow the saltwater.

In conclusion with our immune system

Out of all these 15 suggestions on how to stay healthy during the sick season, there is one that is super important: keep your fingers off your face. I know that sounds ‘toddler-ish’ but it really is the most important factor. Use common sense too. Drinking from someone else’s drink or using the same spoon for a taste is not a good idea. Neither is kissing a sick person. Use the brain to protect the body, and the body will then protect you. Stay healthy, be mindful, and teach your family how to stay healthy.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

First Step to Losing Weight: 5 Effective Questions

Quick Healthy Meals On a Budget? 5 Criteria

How To Be Less Busy: #1 Mistake People Make

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

Corn on the Cob Song Fun

Corn on the Cob Song Fun

Corn on the cob. A vegetable that gives you a rich buttery taste and a little crunch. Who doesn’t enjoy this golden treat? It’s so delicious and versatile! Why not sing a song about it? This song was a fun mom-and-son activity I did years ago. It’s been hanging out on YouTube, I’m just sharing our corny creation with you. May you be inspired to write your own jingles. Simple, clean, happy fun!

Corn on the Cob Song Fun!

A MUST for road trips

When you think of a road trip do you think of singing family songs like She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain or I’ve Been Working On the Railroad? Well, you’re in luck with a new song to add to your road trip mix or the dinner table. When you’re driving through Iowa, Illinois, or Nebraska bust out the vocal cords. In honor of being the states that grow the most corn, this song should be the national corn song of America!

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The song write

I created this jingle back in 2013 while driving along a road in Michigan lined with cornfields. My son was five-years-old and we had a ball singing this song. The song talks about how it grows, what uses corn has, and more. Super kid-friendly and corny.

After the song was written, it was just too good to keep to ourselves; so my niece, son, and I created a music video and put it up on YouTube. With over 25,000 views…not too shabby for a corny jingle…I still enjoy singing the song during the corn on the cob season.

Corn on the Cob Song Fun Copyright © 2013 DoMoreThanExist. All Rights Reserved.

Please note!

This amazing song can get stuck in your head, kids love the video and they will want you to play it over and over again, and you’ll always think of this song when you eat corn on the cob. Enjoy!

Corn, Corn, Corn on the cob!

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Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Kid Activities at Home: 10 Things You Can Do Right Now!

8 Best Children’s Books for 4-year-olds

How to Make Camping Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips!

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

How to have a happy family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

7 Firefly Facts & How to Care for Fireflies

The History of 13 Family Games Worth Playing

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

Road trip essentials make the journey not only easier but more fun. What items are considered essentials? When it comes to road trips there are two things that make it great: being prepared and memories. I like to think of it as if I were on the road and got stuck, would I have all I need to get by.

Whether we’re going to Florida for Spring Break, heading to a campground across multiple states, or simply hopping in the car en route to the nearest metropolis, I’ve got a list you’re going to want to check…literally, check.

If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of cat this post is not for you. But if you enjoy being prepared, but not overly prepared, this is the post you’ll want to pin or better yet download my Independent Road Trip Check List. For more great free downloads, sign into my Freebies!

Road Trip Essentials

1. Car Insurance and Registration

Check to make sure your car insurance and registration are current. There is nothing worse than getting pulled over in another State and you can’t find your registration or you happen to see that it expired. This happened to us. Ouch.

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses! Make sure you have a pair of sunglasses for everybody in the vehicle. Not sure your dog needs them, but everyone else should have their own pair.

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3. Phone charger or USB Cord

Phone Charger/USB Cord. Now that paper maps are on the way out, and GPS on our phones are an essential app, make sure you don’t run out of phone battery. Need a USB cord? Check out this one from Amazon.

4. Umbrella

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Umbrella. Simple, yet super important, especially if you’re changing a tire in the rain. Been there, done that.

5. Blanket, but not just any blanket.

Blanket. I always have a blanket in my car, specifically a Mexican blanket because they are super warm and durable. Not only it is there for emergency slide-offs, but the dog can sit on it, the kid and use it, or I can sit on it.

6. LapLander Cushion, what’s that?

the LapLander
Watch a video. Click on the picture.

LapLander Cushion. This is a must when it comes to eating in the car. This cushion has a non-slip strip that helps sandwiches stay in place. You can also use it as lumbar support or sit on it. Simple but VERY helpful! This is seriously a game-changer. Go to Etsy to order.

what is a laplander
The LapLander Cushion!

7. Water.

Water. When we road trip, we simply buy water bottles at the grocery store. It’s so much cheaper and easier to hand someone a water bottle when they need it.

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8. Hand Sanitizer and Extra Face-Masks

Hand sanitizer and extra face masks. These two items are not only essential during virus outbreaks, but they help us tremendously in the Rest Stop bathrooms. The mask helps with blocking the smell, and the sanitizers give us a little extra germ protection. Hey, I found these awesome disposable black masks on Amazon.

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9. Emergency Kit

Roadside Emergency Kit that includes Jumper cables and First Aid Kit. There is a kit that is easy to use. You can check it out here.

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10. Portable Air-compressor

Portable air compressor. I love this thing. Not only does it help with tire pressure, but if you’re camping it’s great for basketballs, air mattresses, and beach floats. This has been so handy on the road and off! A portable air compressor is the way to go. No more searching for air!

11. Towel. Don’t use your blanket.

Towel. Unlike the blanket, the towel is great for unexpected spills or a quick dry-off running through the rain…when you don’t want to bother with your umbrella. It’s also great for Fido to sit on.

12. Tissue.

Tissue. I can’t count the number of times I’m using a tissue to blow my nose. Make sure you get some before you leave the house. Napkins or even a roll of toilet paper works well too. Another good one to add here is butt wipes.

13. Snacks.

Snacks. This is essential. Snacks save you money and they save you from gorging on your next meal. Some great road trip snacks include trail mix, grapes, cereal mix, popcorn, meat sticks, or celery sticks.

14. Paper and Pen.

Paper and pencil/pen. As a passenger, I’m always thinking of my to-do list or my next great idea. Have paper and pen ready to jot down your thoughts.

15. Games!

Road Trip games. If you have kiddos and don’t want them to get tech-neck, grab a few games. Of course, the Alphabet game is super fun for everyone. There are three versions. The classic version is to find the letter of the alphabet in any form. The second is more challenging, find a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet…good luck on Q and Z. And the last version is to find an object that starts with the letter…this is super hard. Don’t forget to add Corn on Cob Song Fun to the trip!

16. Snow Scraper and Mini Shovel (weather dependent).

Depending on where you are going, you better throw in a snow scraper, a mini snow shovel, and a small bag of kitty litter. When I was in college and traveling out to Colorado, I always had my portable mini snow shovel in my trunk, and I used it! You never know when you’re going to hit black ice and end up in a snowbank or ditch. Mini snow shovels work a lot better than your hands!

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17. Weapons!

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Weapons. Yep. I said it. At least carry a pocketknife or pepper spray, heck, get a taser. A pocket knife is good to have on hand for lots of reasons. Pepper spray buys you some time, as does a taser. As for handguns, it depends on your opinion of them, where you’re going, knowing what States allow them, having your permit, and understanding the safety of them. Be smart, not stupid

All in all.

That does it! It sounds like a lot but it isn’t really. Most of the stuff is already in your vehicle. It’s always best to be prepared, rather than getting stuck and depending on some creepy guy. The best advice I have to offer any road tripper is to simply be aware of what’s going on around you. Pay attention to the road, know what’s happening around you when you make a rest stop, and be safe. Use that head of yours at all times!

Be sure to download my free Independent Road Trip Check List, for more great (and free) downloads join my e-mail list and you’ll have access to all my freebies! Get access to my Freebies here.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Make Camping Comfortable

The BEST Homemade Granola Bars EVER!

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

How Smiling Reduces Stress

How Smiling Reduces Stress

Smiling is more than an expression of how you feel. Simpling reduces stress! A smile can also have positive effects on those you smile at, and could even set the course of your day. It’s crazy how a simple action can have huge rewards. Learn more about how smiling reduces stress and the benefits smiling has on others. A little smile will do you good.

smiling reduces stress

The expression on our face

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In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book every young twenty-something should read, Dale says “The expression on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” Not only that but Dale also mentions what Professor James V McConnell, a psychologist at the University of Michigan says about smiling, “People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children.”

A campus visit, what I saw shocked me!

A while back I visited my alma mater. When I was there I noticed something strange…no one was smiling. I even did the ‘smile test’ in the women’s restroom, you know, when you smile at someone and they smile back? Well, that’s what is supposed to happen, but it didn’t work! I felt invisible. And shocked for that matter. So I tried again in the hallway. Still nothing! When I went outside, I tried again. Not even a look in the eyes! This was getting quite comical.

When I got home from my campus visit, I told my recruiter friend who visits many college campuses what I experienced and how sad I was about the emotionless students. She told me that it isn’t just happening there, the ‘no smiling’ thing is happening on other campuses too. What the heck? Life isn’t that bad, you’re in college!

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Smiling and stress relief

Stress is a crazy and life-altering thing. We all know that stress can cause us to make poor decisions. It can make our bodies ill and imbalanced. How can we reduce stress naturally and simply? First, we need to understand how some hormones work.

Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ hormones’. They are produced in your brain to help reduce stress, relieve pain, and improve your mood. What naturally releases endorphins? Exercise can help improve your mood and reduce stress. But what if you don’t want to exercise? You can simply smile or even force a smile. Intermountain Healthcare says, “When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins come into play too. The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, whereas the serotonin is an antidepressant.”

What’s the big deal about a smile?

Smiling is a natural, automatic expression we reveal when we are happy or when we feel good. Psychology Today says we pretty much need to smile to stay sane! I don’t know about you, but after a pandemic, political warfare, and pure evil, I think we all better get our Smile on.

Here’s a minor example about smiling; when I was in college I remember a time when I was walking through the Arboretum. On the way to class, a stranger smiled at me. As a natural response, I immediately smiled back. In fact, I remember my smile was over-exaggerated because I was so shocked he smiled! Throughout that day I thought of the smile moment and it honestly made my whole day! I even remember telling my roommates that some random guy smiled at me, not like a slimy-lets-go-on-a-date look, but a ‘hey, hope you’re having a nice day’ kind of smile.

Smiling makes us feel good and it boosts our confidence.

I didn’t know how to smile!

In Kindergarten I didn’t know how to smile. Yep. I had no idea. My sisters tried to teach me but I just couldn’t get the corners of my mouth to go up on cue. Who knows, maybe I was stressed as a kid? Anyway, school picture day was coming up. I desperately wanted to smile, but every time I tried, my lips clamped shut and the corners of my mouth turned down.

How did I learn to naturally smile? With lots of tickling by my sisters in front of the mirror, I finally understood the smile. By 3rd grade, I was smiling on demand. Yes, it apparently took me that long to get it down. Who would have known in my Senior year in high school I got voted ‘best smile’. 🙂 

Smile and watch what happens!

If we simply smile more often, we’re going to be happier, less stressed people. Smiling around your kids is a big one. They need to see that you are happy more often than angry. You may have to force a smile at times too, and that’s okay! You deserve to feel good and they deserve it too.

Smiling reduces stress in not only you but in others that receive your smile. Smiling says many things beyond what words, e-mails, tweets, texts, or instant messaging could say. Don’t discredit the smile. Keep on smiling before you forget how to do it, it really does make life a lot more rewarding.

All in all

When you smile, people will be curious about who you are because you look happy. People seek happiness and they want whatever is making you show your teeth. Let’s put our phones down, take our earbuds out, and pay attention to people walking to class or in the grocery store, heck even in the car next to you. Smile and see what they do in return. A little smile will do you good.

Before you go, check out these other posts about reducing stress naturally

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Learn How to Relax: 5 Essential Must-Have Tips

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

No More Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

My Top 10 Quotes on Overcoming Challenges

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