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.
How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

One of the pillars to a happy life is to know how to reduce stress in your life. If you think you’ve heard it all about stress management, think again. Get these 10 impressive tips on how to reduce stress in your life so you can live a healthy happy life. Seriously, you’re going to want to check these out.

We’ve all heard the key to stress reduction is to manage your time. Yes, that helps. But there is one thing that gets in the way of all the stress management techniques out here and it is this: we are all different. If you learn anything from this post it is this: understand who you are. When you do, you will know what stress management tip will work the best for you.

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What triggers stress?

How to reduce stress in your life starts with knowing what triggers the stress. Ask yourself what gets your goat. Is it time management, getting stuck in traffic, not being able to say no to people, what about what you’re eating? It also could be a who. Who is it that stresses you out? Your stress trigger might even be a certain time of year, like the holidays, or even a certain event. What about regrets?

I’m not sure it’s fair to say that stress and anger go hand in hand, but usually, when we are stressed, anger follows. Not a good combo. Take a look-see at these 3 Simple Anger Management Tips. Just FYI, when someone in your family is angry, they’re stressed. Take what you learn here and gently pass it on to them.

10 Impressive tips on how to reduce stress in my life

#1 Drink more water.

Drink at least one more glass of water a day. Doing this simple task helps give you more energy. Water also cleans out the toxins that linger in your body. With that said, make sure you have the right kind of water filter. Plus, who wants to be dehydrated…talk about stress!

Along with drinking more water, gradually start to clean out the processed foods. When our bodies are filled with crap, we’re going to feel like crap, let alone look like carp or crap. The processed foods mess with your digestive system and could leave you with leaky gut…which causes all sorts of issues including food sensitivities, allergies, and weight gain. Aiming for a clean diet is a fantastic goal. Experiment with going gluten-free or dairy-free. I’ve got some recipes to get you started. Here are a couple of other posts to help you out:

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

Food Combining Does What? Manage Stomach Acid Now!

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#2 Step on the scale

Another super effective way to know how to reduce stress in your life is weight loss. Touchy topic, I know. Just a suggestion here, you might want to explore the idea to know how to lose weight. Being overweight stresses our bodies out and how they function. The excess fat actually smooshes our internal organs. I get it, I experienced it. Being 20 pounds overweight did a number on me…talk about depression. Within 6 months, I lost all the weight and then some simply by making a few small adjustments. This was back in the 1990s, I’ve kept the weight off ever since. I’m telling ya, it’s not rocket science. The secret to losing weight is this…you gotta want to lose weight. If you want it bad enough, nothing is going to stop you from getting it.

Don’t forget to exercise. Tie up the walking shoes and get out there. Walking has SO many benefits. Get your body moving when you’re stressed out. Exercise gets the blood pumping, clears your head, and increases the feel-good hormones.

Get yourself on the right track to good health and stay healthy: How to Stay Healthy: 15 Simple Ways

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#3 Put on the organizing hat

Get organized. I recently moved, talk about stress in my life. Why? Our stuff was everywhere! I’m the kind of person who likes to have certain places for specific things, like the toothbrush, which should be in the bathroom not the kitchen. When we moved, I didn’t feel at peace until I got organized. Boy, I learned a lot about how to make moving stress-free.

Organizing isn’t just for moving or packing for vacation. Organizing is kind of like having a routine. Studies have shown that we humans like routine. This goes for your kiddos too. How to reduce stress in your life starts with a routine. When a routine is in place, our days are happy and nice!

One of the simplest ways to get organized, especially in organizing your time is to get a planner. Sure we can remember most things in our head, but when we write things down and see them on paper, we can be a lot more productive and purposeful. Writing things down includes a daily to-do list. Every day I have a make a list. My daily to-do list is like my compass for the day. Be sure to take a look at these posts for more tips:  

3 Problem Solving Strategies People Often Forget

The Best Daily Planner for Teens Ever! What to look for.

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Health in Youth

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#4 Declutter all together

This is an instant way to know how to reduce stress in your life. Declutter your environment. Along with organizing, decluttering is similar. With organizing, you are simply moving one thing to another place. Decluttering is actually getting rid of excess things and things you don’t need anymore. When we moved, I made a trip to the donation center, a trip to the recycle center, another trip to the dump, and a sold a few things. I can’t stress enough how FREE I felt when I got all the clutter gone. Decluttering is a fun way to get instant gratification in knowing how to reduce stress in your life.

Another way to know how to reduce stress in your life is by decorating with certain colors. You can find a lot of decorating ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. But when it comes to accent walls or pillows, choose colors like whites, greens, blues, and purples. Studies have shown that these colors and a few more help reduce stress. What else? Here are a few more posts to get you motivated:

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

The #1 Way to Simplify Your Life for Good

#5 Time to play outside

Get outside, daily. We are beings that need nature to survive and thrive. There is something magical that happens when you get fresh air and are amongst the trees. Take a break at work and step outside, even if you have to walk to your car and down the sidewalk for a bit. Look at the blue sky, walk around the parking lot, and listen to the sounds of what’s going on outside. Getting outside naturally resets your mental mindset. It breaks up your day. Here are some amazing posts about getting outside:

Nature quotes: the power of the outdoors

How to Make Camping More Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt Challenge

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#6 Time for a hobby

Dust your hobby off and dig into it. One super fun way to know how to reduce stress in your life is to get a hobby. A hobby is a healthy way to break up the pressure to perform and balance out the hormones. When people think of a hobby their first answer is typically knitting, gardening, or woodworking. I like to think of a hobby as something to get your creative juices flowing while keeping your hands busy. Here are some suggestions for you to explore: Hobby Ideas +13 Reasons Why You Need a Hobby NOW!

#7 Forget the drama

Say no to drama. One of my goals in life is to manage the drama that comes at me. Whether it’s the news, a family matter, or another relationship fiasco I will achieve a drama-free life!

One way to say no to drama is to meditate. I’m not a person who meditates. But I do enjoy listening to instrumental music when I’m stressed. Meditation helps a lot of people and I encourage you to try it. But if you’re not someone who enjoys meditation there are other things you can do. I already mentioned listening to instrumental music, notice I didn’t say Metallica. When we listen to music without words, our minds don’t need to process both words and music. Instrumental music naturally calms the state of being and allows free thoughts to flow, which lower those nasty stress hormones.

Another alternative to meditation is to simply enjoy the silence. Turn the background noise off for a few minutes. Talk to yourself. Open the window and listen to nature. Silence is soothing when you need to think and rest. Enjoy the silence.

Sometimes when there is an overwhelming amount of non-sense drama circulating around you, how to reduce stress in your life right then and there is to laugh. A good old belly laugh turns the stress hormones off and the happy hormones on. What’s even more fun is laughing with your family. There’s nothing irreplaceable than a good corny joke the whole family can enjoy.

Check out these 5 valuable ways to manage mental wellness in kids and us.

lee Iacocca quote on stress

#8 Get your volunteer game on

Give others what you need. Volunteer, be generous. Giving your time to someone else helps your mind shift from circling around you to helping someone else. When we give attention to someone who needs it, a.k.a. love, this releases those feel-good hormones which will melt away the good old stress hormones. Volunteering also helps with depression. When you’re feeling down and out about yourself, go help someone. Don’t know how to start volunteering? Ask your local church, search online at library events, ask your child’s or grandchild’s school, or head over to your community center. Heck, you could even voluntarily pick up garbage around your neighborhood.

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#9 How to manage money

Get a handle on your money. I know this is a sensitive topic, but if you understand how to manage money smartly then you will be set free from stress about money! The very first step in how to manage money is to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. At the end of the day, there should be a little money left over. In my Freebies, you can download a budgeting spreadsheet. Here are some great posts to help you make your money work for you.

How to manage money better!

How to Help Money Problems: 9 Must-Do Steps!

7 Surefire Ways to Save Money Grocery Shopping

Gift Ideas for Hard to Buy People

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#10 Know yourself better

How to reduce stress in your life final tip. To get to know yourself and your values. When you align your values to the choices and decisions you make, you will naturally have less stress. Talk to yourself. Seriously, talk out loud to yourself about your day, what you want to get done, what you got done; talk about your dreams, what you want for dinner, how amazing you are, things like that. There is nothing silly about talking to yourself.

Wrapping up how to reduce stress in your life

Simply put, learn how to relax. When you can get your mind and body to relax, you have a direct stress management technique to lean on. All this depends on your identity and understanding who you are.

Find what helps you relax that is not dependent on another person. This is your thing, not theirs. Things like going for a walk, taking a bath, reading a book, or for some people can be chores that serve as therapy; for instance, doing laundry, ironing, washing dishes, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn. If chores work for you, then keep it up! Keep your relaxing regimen clean without the use of drugs or inappropriate actions. After all, kids get stressed too and they may ask you how to manage stress.

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
First Step to Losing Weight: 5 Effective Questions

First Step to Losing Weight: 5 Effective Questions

The first step to losing weight isn’t cutting back on calories, it’s much simpler than that. To be successful with weight loss and the management thereafter, it’s going to take a pencil and paper. There’s more to weight loss than weight. That’s why the first step in losing weight should be to answer some questions. Clarity gives you a pathway. This can seriously be a total game-changer for you!

first step in losing weight foot print in the sand

Where I came from

In 1992 I was 20 pounds overweight. I know this was a long time ago, but that’s important to know. Listen up, I wanted to lose weight, but all the things I was trying to drop pounds weren’t working. It was like walking in the sand; every step seemed so hard and it barely felt like I was going anywhere! Then something clicked and changed my weight destiny into a reality. When I did this first step in losing weight, the weight came off.

My weight story is an interesting one. At that time I was a freshman at a small college. As months ticked by in this new setting, the weight inched on. However, I noticed that sitting and studying weren’t the cause of my weight gain, it was actually depression! I’m not saying that all weight gain is due to depression, but this was my story. I was living in a toxic environment where judgment after judgment was passed on me and others. As if high school was bad enough, this was worse! Something had to change. I wanted to be happy, to find myself, to be free.

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My ‘ah-ha’ moment came when my roommates and I were watching TV in the common area. We happened to be watching an Indiana University basketball game. One of my roommates said something that stirred my inner core. She said, “I’d love to go to Indiana.” I looked at her as she watched the game and asked, “Why don’t you?” She responded, “Because I don’t know anyone and I don’t think I can get in.”

Her answer struck a chord in me. You’re letting the fear of not knowing, stop you? It was as if I was asking myself that question. As I watched the game and the exciting fans…I began to want to be a part of that picture. I wanted a large university experience.

Be true to yourself

What does this have to do with the first step in losing weight? I’m getting there. In the fall of ’93, I was officially an Indiana University student. I was in a new setting, with new people, and new goals. I faced fear and made things happen, not knowing what would happen.

Within six months, I lost 20 pounds and then some; all because I looked at my thought process first. On the surface, I wanted to lose weight, but deep down I wanted to explore who I was and be true to myself. When I understood my motives, the weight naturally came off.

Are you asking yourself the right question/s before you start your weight loss plan? Do you have a picture of what you want to be a part of?

This is the first step to losing weight:

This leads me to the core: it’s not what we’re eating or doing, it’s what we’re thinking. It’s not the weight on our bodies that give us frustration; it’s the weight we carry around in our minds that trip us up.

First off, I’m not going to tell you how to lose weight; you’re going to do that. Why? Because I want YOU to see results in more areas than one. I want you to live in harmony with your body, mind, and heart for the rest of your life…not just during swimsuit season. And only YOU can make that happen, not someone telling you what to do.

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5 Questions You’ll Want to Answer.

1: What is your WHY?

Why do you want to lose weight? I’m not talking about surface answers here. Peel that off, look under that. WHY? Write this down in a journal.

2: What are you WRESTLING with?

What’s blocking you from making this happen? What are you carrying around with you? Stress? A belief? Fear? Identity crisis? Loneliness?

3: What is your WAY?

In other words, what method works for YOU to reach your weight goals? What are you going to do EACH WEEK to make this happen?

4: What will you WIN?

By reaching your goal, what is it going to do for you? Freedom? Confidence? More energy? More outgoing? Motivation? Purpose?

5: What is it WORTH?

What are you going to gain? Can you visualize how you’re going to feel and what kind of freedom you’re going to experience?

Wrapping up the first step to losing weight

I’m happy to say I’ve kept the weight off ever since my Indiana days; even after having a baby and going through steroid treatment for an ailment. I have managed the weight; not the other way around. There is no better feeling than saying, “I finally figured it out.” To learn more about my weight loss strategies you will definitely want to check out my eBook: Simple Happy Wellness Strategies.

Before you go check out these other great posts!

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

Food Combining Does What? manage stomach acid now!

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

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

Chronically sick? Choose the right water filter

3 Essential Tactics for Holiday Eating

13 Natural Stress Relief Products for Anyone!

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

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

The only way to change is to change. If you want to feel better and lose weight then grab these tips for weight loss. Here’s the thing, weight loss doesn’t have to be hard or depriving. I have a simple philosophy that will bring you relief and motivation; plus it’s backed up by science. Simply put: TAKE. IT. SLOW. Remember the saying, ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’. Read about my four game-changing tips that change you without feeling like a change.

Changing the diet isn’t something I could do cold turkey. In fact, I’m allergic to turkey! Hence the going slow part. The most successful thing with ‘change’ without feeling like it’s a change is to take it slow. With a gradual approach, you’re more likely to stick with it for longer if not forever! Chris Kresser uses the words, “shrink the change“.

The 4 Tips for weight loss

#1: Weight loss Tip #1: Go Gradual

The trick to losing weight is to eat a healthier diet so the body can clean out the bad stuff, call me Sherlock-Homes. I repeat, when you take a gradual approach, this gives your body time to adjust and not be shocked. If you lose weight too fast, it could backfire and you’ll be headfirst in the bag of cheese puffs…not to mention gain even more weight! The cool thing about gradually reducing the bad stuff, like sugar, is that your body will start to crave healthier foods. You’ll feel better and the sugary snacks will start to taste bad. Interesting, eh? The bottom line is that our bodies will feel better with cleaner foods and they’ll want more of that awesome clean energy. Stick to simple ingredients and ingredients that you understand.

Tip #2: Awareness is key!

Awareness. Sugar was my number one weakness. It still is, but I’m now aware of my consumption and I know my limits. When I adjusted my intake of the sweet stuff I finally understood the ‘less is more’ philosophy. My taste buds became more content and my body was a happy human. Did you hear that? I didn’t give up sugar completely, I just cut back immensely. Toxic foods can do a number on our bodily systems, in other words, bring on inflammation. I wrote a short ebook on digestion and what things might trigger our inflammation. Once we remove the trigger, the inflammation heals. Check it out here: Triggers and What to do for IBD.

What’s for lunch?

Back in the day of wanting to lose weight, I would only eat a salad for lunch. It contained greens, Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and maybe fresh broccoli. I didn’t have any protein or cheese. Just veggies. I chose whatever salad dressing sounded good, however, I would dip my fork in the dressing before I stabbed a helping of lettuce. Not too shabby of a lunch; but for me, it didn’t hold me over, which lead to a Snickers Bar in the afternoon, and then a hefty snack after work. Can we say blood sugar on the fritz?

The small change I made was to add protein to my salad in the form of lean protein, I’m not talking cheese or other dairy products; but things like nuts, eggs, or grilled chicken are good choices. At lunch, I still aim to have more greens than protein, yet with a little protein, the Snicker Bar isn’t needed at 4:00.

4 tips to change up weight loss
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Tip for losing weight #3: Know your body

Know your body. If you need protein, get protein with every meal. Whether its nuts, clean meat, or low-fat dairy (if you can tolerate it) make sure you get enough protein into your diet. If you don’t, you’ll be hungry all the time and your blood sugar will yo-yo. Let me reiterate, protein helps you feel satisfied longer, it gives you energy, and need I say meat is an excellent source of B12, B6, zinc, and iron to name a few?

A little bit more about protein

Protein builds muscle mass, and it’s especially good after a workout. Add a little vitamin C to the mix and you’ve got a digestive helper and a helping hand at iron absorption. Listen up! The meat won’t make you fat unless it’s highly marbled or fatty; you also want to keep in check your portions. Choose lean beef, grilled chicken, grilled or baked fish, nuts, legumes, eggs, or pork loin. Don’t be scared to add it to your diet or your salad. Remember portion control is king.

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Tip 4#: be prepared

Okay, okay, okay…you’re at work and can’t make lunch. That’s okay! You have a couple of options for a healthy clean lunch; the most obvious is to make it the night before. The other is to choose simple, limited, ingredient dishes when eating out. For instance, a 100% beef burger without the bun paired with a side of steamed veggies or a cup of clear broth soup, is a great lunch. It’s not heavy in carbs (bread or pasta) and it’s high in protein. You can also opt for an “unwich”, a sandwich without the bread. I eat this all the time but use lettuce instead of bread. Some people use a gluten-free wrap. Turn the sandwich inside out…lettuce in the center and lean ham for the wrap. If you want this weight loss thing to work, you need to be prepared and stay on point. Pack ahead or have a plan when eating out.

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All in all: Keep it simple

Think ‘simple’ when at a restaurant and think portion control! As for drinks, you know what I’m going to say…water without ice. Hey, it may be a little boring, but your body will be quieter and happier. You may not even need to drink water with your meal. Too much aqua with food will cause a lot of vitamins to flush through your system, plus it will take longer to digest the yum yums. I hope you found these tips for losing weight helpful. Remember to take a gradual approach, be aware of what you’re eating, know your body, and be prepared. You got this if you want it. Keep moving forward!

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Before you go, check out these other great posts:

First Step to Losing Weight: 5 Effective Questions

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

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!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly, LLC 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. 

5 Easy Ways: How to Build Confidence & Courage

5 Easy Ways: How to Build Confidence & Courage

In 2007 my confidence collapsed and my heart panted for fullness. My independence, which I held on to so tightly, attached to others. The attitude to do more than exist went to merely existing. I desperately needed to know how to build confidence and courage once again. Have you ever felt this way? Our adversities are not only confusing but paralyzing. However, there are 5 antidotes to help resurrect us.

how to build confidence wolf running on bridge

A little background

My hardship started in September of 2007 with a pregnancy disease that birthed at five weeks and proceeded to torment me for 31 weeks thereafter. During that anguish my skin was pale green, my mind a twisted mess of nausea, and relief was too far to be seen; I literally was fighting to just exist. Being dependent on others to help me function, let alone trust, made me feel like a failure. Things like I can’t even take care of myself, swarmed my thoughts. Any physical excursion or consumption, or even water, was a cautious and fear-provoked decision. My ribs pierced from wrenching, and dehydration was the foremost threat.

The instant my healthy 7.1-pound baby boy was born, the sickness disappeared. Yet, the mental anguish was far from healing. Have you experienced an event like this in your life? Was it an illness, an unexpected break-up, a massive hit to your bank account, or a loss of something that meant so dear to you? I think the worse of it all is when it’s done, when we think we made it through, after-shocks sucker-punch us with unforeseen triggers we didn’t see coming.

When things don’t go our way

Those days still impress on my psyche today, how can it not? Yet immediately following the birth of my son, the fear of pregnancy halted our family plan. Two years later I knew I had to fight it. I knew I had to give it one more try; after all, every pregnancy is different. This is where I’d like to tell you the second time around was easier, but friend, it was far from that and left our arms empty. I have a post on infertility if you want to read it.

Answers to ‘how was I going to recover my confidence and courage’ slowly inflated my hope. Those answers didn’t come from a special diet, therapist, or medical doctor. The true answers came from one source, Jesus.

You see when I prayed before our second pregnancy, I didn’t hear a “Yes” as I did with our first. With our first baby, my husband and I waited eight years before I drummed up the courage to even pray about it. And when I did pray, I heard a clear “Yes!” But the second go around, I heard a solid “No”. Of course, I didn’t want to believe it, a no to another child? That doesn’t make sense! So I took my destiny into my own hands. And it didn’t turn out as planned…

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Subtle answers

Bit by bit I had to rebuild my confidence and courage using my anguish as building blocks and my faith as mortar. Jesus didn’t come down from a cloud and profoundly say, “You are healed, child”. I certainly would have accepted that if He did! It was through His followers who physically passed His love on. He used other people in subtle ways to comfort my broken heart and body. Jesus equips us to love, and honestly, that’s all he wants us to do, is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Paul says, “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)  

I needed to not only learn to love who I was now, but I needed to learn how to use love to become the confident and courageous person I sought out to be. Moving from just existing to living a life of fullness isn’t about accomplishing amazing feats or earning a special degree, and so forth; it’s about loving others the way Jesus does. It sounds easy, but it’s the doing that’s hard.

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5 easy additions to building confidence & courage

Since God is love. Who do you think we need to connect with to learn how to love? Rick Warren says, “When you are disconnected from God, you’re not really living; you just exist.”

So, how do we connect with our Heavenly Father? How do we hear clear answers? I go to church. I pray. Isn’t that connecting? Yes, friend, it is. But there are some easy additions which can lead us to live a do-more-than-exist kind of life that will naturally build confidence and courage. Let me share with you what I have learned so far in this journey:

1. Emotion

When clarity is the question, I don’t hold the emotion back. I pray with strong emotion, whether it be anger, sadness, joy, or excitement. Expressing it to Him helps keep things real. Emotion develops a relationship with Him, a trust.

2. Music

Listening, singing, humming, and dancing to music that is good for our souls, brings us closer to our Creator. In this day and age Christian music isn’t just hymns. It has developed to feed all our genres. The writers and bands have done a great job at helping us fend off the Enemy and open our hearts for answers and comfort. Give it a try. I really enjoy praying and listening to instrumental music. My favorite is Soaking in His Presence.

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3. Nature

Our beloved Anne Frank says, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” 

Numerous studies show that… simply sitting and looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones. And the University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation.” Maybe we should think about spending more time in God’s creation. Here are some nature quotes to get you in the mindset.

4. Church

There is something to be said about being around other Christ-followers. It’s kind of like a family reunion. Being surrounded by a common denominator encourages us, comforts us, and brings us closer to Him. We all have the same goal so to speak. The hard part is finding a church that fits you and your worship style. Keep hunting until you find it, you’ll know when you found it.

5. Gratefulness

Being grateful changed my game. For me to love myself and to pass the love on to others, I had to learn how to be grateful even when it didn’t make sense. Gratefulness brought me out of adversity. Before we move forward, understand I’m not grateful for the hardships we face in life. I’m talking about the little things that surround us, those things we don’t even notice; like clean water out of our faucets, cozy beds to rest our bodies, medical help at our fingertips, and grocery stores to feed us. I’m talking about the love He gives us in delicate ways like music, flowers, and comforting smells.

Yet, what about those moments when you step out and help someone? When you smile at someone even though you don’t feel like it…and they smile back? Sometimes to get what we want we have to give it first. I’m grateful for those promptings where we use our gifts to brighten someone’s day even when our life is a mess. It takes courage and confidence to make those things happen. And I’m grateful for the time He gives us and the freedom to choose how to use it, especially if it involves our calling.

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In conclusion

If you’re hurting for confidence in a specific area of your life I encourage you to begin with being thankful for each comfort you receive every day. When we recognize the little things, the small achievements, the flickers of love passed hand to hand, then our courage and confidence surface and we begin to see what life is all about…love. 

Don’t miss out:

Download my favorite affirmations to help make you stronger. You can get them here.

10 Amazing Courage Quotes + 3 Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

No More Money Problem: 9 must do steps

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence 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

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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.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to be Yourself.

How to build self-esteem is so critically important, that it WILL affect your future. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. In fact, the people who have the greatest self-esteem are those who listen more and talk less. I have 3 tips to help us know how to build self-esteem right now.

how to build self esteem

Lately, I have been reviewing my life and asking myself if I’m happy with how I’ve been living. In most areas of my life I can confidently say Yes, I love it. But in others, I can’t say yes. And when I can’t say yes, I start comparing myself to others in that particular area. And then I find myself with low self-esteem that seems paralyzing.

Comparing and Self Esteem

Yes, I’m jumping right to the Bible. There are many Biblical truths about self-esteem, we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we are chosen (John 15:16) to name a few. But there is one verse that really strikes me. Before I mention it, I want you to know that when we start comparing and trying to be like everyone else… just to be liked…that’s when low self-esteem makes its way to our thoughts, words, and actions. Is that what you want? I, personally, do not want you in this place. I’ve been there and it made me gain weight, brought on depression, and affected my path in life. Live in the freedom with who you are today and everyday in moving forward.

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A good verse to memorize

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

This verse is a good one to memorize, especially if you find yourself comparing and going along with the crowd. Not to mention how to build self-esteem. Claim this scripture as yours. Pray it, say it, and be aware of what you are putting into your mind. I was finding myself comparing my pattern of life to others’ patterns of life. The reason I started to even do that was because of one area in my life that wasn’t like everyone else’s, my career. 

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The comparing game

Seeing other people climb the corporate ladder, own a thriving small business, and stay in the job for years on end, can make us feel icky. The problem was comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, we don’t know what happens at home, and we don’t know the problems they deal with, so what right do we have to compare or judge for that matter? We don’t have a right. In fact, these “successful” people may be comparing themselves to you and want what you have!

So what do we do?

We mind our own business and focus on the goals we are passionate about. Our job is to enhance our talents, abilities, and gifts and to know how to love others by using what we’ve got. Our Creator (God) made us to be us and no one else. We need to trust in Him to embrace who we are and love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, there is one thing we must have to move forward, motivation.

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3 Tips to help stop comparing and how to build self-esteem:

1. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the talents, abilities, and gifts God has given you to be revealed and for your mind to be renewed.

2. Remind yourself that everyone is different… every day. Comparing is not helpful at all! Read affirmations daily. When you talk to yourself in a loving way, your self-esteem grows tremendously. This is a powerful exercise that will help you to love yourself. Get to know who you are. By the way, loving yourself isn’t selfish or conceited. You can download a list of my favorite affirmations in Freebies.

3. If you want something to happen, YOU need to make it happen. We can dream all day, but executing those dreams is scary. Ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” If you want it bad enough, you’ll need to pull your big girl pants up and go get it. You got this. Please keep moving forward without regrets. Take things step by step.

All in all

God is with us every step of the way, He wants us to enjoy life and flourish. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, instead help the world come alive by being YOU. Your uniqueness is an amazing gift, use it while you have it.

Be sure to check out these other great posts to build confidence.

Drama-Free Life? A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for

By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved

How to Manage Depression: 3 Surprising Ways

How to Manage Depression: 3 Surprising Ways

How to manage depression is something everyone should be aware of. It is not a fun thing to talk about; but we all, at one point in our lives, will feel its slippery slope. It’s an exhausting cycle and at times we just can’t see the top. But how do we climb out once and for all? Learn three surprising ways to manage this uninvited downer.

What is depression actually?

Depression is a common illness that negatively affects how we feel, the way we think, and how we act. It can last a couple of days, a few months, a handful of years, or a lifetime. It is a perplexing state of not knowing how to shut it off.

For five years+ I suffered from depression due to infertility. To make matters worse I became frustrated during those years because depression was messing with my identity. I felt like I just existed.

People don’t like to talk about depression. But people don’t talk about it enough. These days depression is swallowing up our children, yes children who are already on depression meds. It’s heartbreaking on many fronts.

How does depression happen?

There are a number of factors…too many to list, but usually, it’s when one event piles up after another. We’ve heard social media is a player (or layer) in depression. Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, says, “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades…it’s largely because of Smartphones.” Social media is a false measure of our identities, she is totally right!

This isn’t just for iGen, it’s happening to other generations. Why? We want to be accepted yet be ourselves and for people to ‘like’ us no matter what. When this happens our values collide. Could this desire alone be the root of all depression?

If you can't fly quote

Depression makes you stronger?

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: Depression can make you stronger. This post isn’t about how to get through depression or manage Smartphone apps; it’s about what to do with depression when you’re climbing out of it.

Our dark days can either bring strength or weakness; it’s how we see it. Do you know how I said I just existed? I’m going to feel that way. But as I look back, I noticed this period of life wasn’t to hurt me, it was to strengthen me.

When we’ve ‘been there’, we start to see the eyes of people differently. Let me reiterate, depression can make us stronger or weaker by how we use that experience in our life.

Using our troubles to help rather than hide-in produces strength. Our strength in moving forward, in doing more than existing, is having the courage to help people who are going through the same trials we’ve been through. This heals.

james baldwin quote

3 ways how to manage depression

1- Seek God, seek the Truth

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will” -Romans 12:2.

God is love, He is light. The Romans 12:2 verse gives me permission to step away from the world, its expectations, and false hope; and to instead seek the truth, strengthen myself, and use my experiences to do God’s will for my life. Reading a short daily devotional can help. I recommend Jesus Calling. Reading a study Bible is super helpful. And don’t forget the Bible App which has a lot of great study plans and more.

2- Look for someone who gets it

This isn’t easy. People don’t talk about this stuff. We need to take the first step here. As hard as it is, pursue people who have gone through the same thing and talk with them about it. Talking with someone who ‘gets-it’ brings comfort. This can be scary and vulnerable, but also very healing. If you belong to a church, ask them about a group to join.

If you need more than a conversation with someone, please seek out a professional, but make sure it is someone you trust and who is a follower of Jesus Christ.

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3- Explore your identity

One other way to know how to manage depression is to dig deeper into who you are. Your identity matters. There is no better place than to ask your Creator. Pray and stand firm with Ephesians 2:10, For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared for me to do. Listen up, you are valuable. The talents and abilities and the gifts God has given you help shape you and equip you to do some pretty amazing things. Tap into those things. Explore. Find joy.

In John 15:11 Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” He’s saying come to me, know me, and I’ll sustain you when adversity hits.

Get your personal values working. Abiding by your personal values will instantly bring you a sense of peace and direction. I have a freebie about how to know your personal values here.

Take better care of your body and understand how the best way for you to manage stress. We will all occasionally be visited by Depression. But at least we know how to climb out a little faster and stronger than we did before.

Disclaimer

Wrapping up how to manage depression

Depression ain’t no joke. There are many layers of depression, the key is to keep moving forward to heal those layers and to revive the core of your existence. Seek Jesus to navigate through this season. He loves, he heals, and he has equipped you to stand firm in the faith. Have hope friend, and continue to go after it, for HOPE will get you through step by step.

*** I’d be happy to recommend a certified counselor or therapist who I trust and respect. Contact me.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

How Cookie Dough Gave me Super Powers

5 Important Ways to Measure Success without Numbers

13 Ways to Naturally Help the Winter Blues

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget About.

Stress got you? Stress can make us do funny things with our actions, words, and even our bodies. But I’ve found some stress fighters that are packed with a punch. They’re so simple that ANYONE can do it TODAY.

stress fighters

Stress happens

Stress can be sneaky or it can be a slap in the face. My face stung after I accidentally deleted my entire website. The uninvited hot, prickly stress-wave crashed on my face when I saw ‘File Not Found’. It’s in these stressful moments when we start talking out loud to ourselves, “WHAT THE? NO!!”

Building my own website and blog was my choice. I wanted the challenge. Doing something like this requires time, perseverance, learning, and creativity. It has been a journey of gratifying moments and ‘oh crap’ sessions. That night was one of those “why am I doing this?” sessions. One accidental click, GONE!

Stress is like a leech that won’t detach.

Stress saps the life out of us. So how do we manage this life-sucking Jabba the Hutt from our bodies? First of all, I hate leeches. Years ago I went on a fishing trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. It was an amazing trip, but guess what we used as bait? Leeches! I screamed every time I TRIED to bait my hook. The leech latched onto my finger…not cool! Do you think vigorous shaking of my hand and screaming got the leech off? Apparently, leeches don’t have ears. My husband had to pull it off for me… every time.

What if we could see stress attached to our bodies? We’d probably do a better job at managing it. Stress is the cause of many ailments. It’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, has a hay-day in our bodies. Chronic high levels of cortisol contribute to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), heart disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, sleep disturbances, and the list goes on.

Your stress fighters working?

The way to detach stress is to naturally fight back with things that decrease those levels, right? Easier said than done. So get this…some people will use things to manage their stress that actually causes MORE stress! I’m talking about eating a pint of ice cream, sugar-filled gluten-rich desserts, a bag of salty snacks, alcohol, smokes, or pills. Sure, in the short run those things might help; but in the long term the leech is feasting off those inflammatory substances.  All those foods inflame your innards. Without awareness or portion control, that inflammation can lead to physical issues = STRESS! It’s a vicious cycle. Believe me, I know!

I wanted to fix my website immediately.  But all I could do in that moment was intertwine my fingers and pray. I needed someone to pull the leech off. So why not ask God. As calmly as I could I prayed, “Dear Gracious God…wait a second, OH GOD. AH! I DELETED MY WEBSITE!! HELP ME FIGURE THIS OUT. PLEASE! AMEN.” Not the best prayer, but who is judging?

My Awakening

beauty and the beast hand

It felt as if my fingertips went numb. Whoa, what is happening to me?  God is that you? An angelic song filled my house as divine power struck my body. Light beams shot out of my fingertips. I started levitating. Wait. Wait. That’s Beauty & the Beast. See how stress can make you think of funny things. As much as I wanted the Beauty and the Beast resurrection, I knew it wasn’t in the plan.  In fact, God did answer my prayer; but in a way I didn’t expect.  He nudged me to move.

Christy, manage the stress, before managing the problem.  I closed my eyes. Inhaled a deep breath and exhaled slowly. I was afraid to touch the keyboard, so I took that as a sign to step away. My desire to go outside to sit next to my favorite tree was unstoppable. Strange? Eh. Kind of. But with good reason…

lunchbox note jokes pinterest
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Why nature helps reduce stress

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep. And you wonder why I craved to get outside…

The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces…stress-related hormones… Looking at pictures of trees has a similar, but less dramatic, effect.” Get outdoors and if you can’t sit and imagine you are in nature.

I trusted that instinct and sat next to my blue spruce. Its soft yet firm pine needles combed my sweaty palms. The sky was black and peppered with stars. My body relaxed. Heart quieted. I was reminded of how big our world was and how I was making this little mistake bigger than the world! Within a matter of minutes, a calm came over me. “Hi God, it’s me again… thanks for getting me outside. I needed that.

Here are 5 stress fighters most people forget about:

  1. Admit it. Say, “I’m stressed out. ___ is causing my stress.”
  2. Say a prayer… Your Creator may need to remind you of something.
  3. Find your happy OUTDOOR place and go there… the beach, woods, prairie, park, yard…Go barefoot a.k.a “Earthing” and SMILE.
  4. Create an environment at work that promotes peace. Pictures of the beach, mountains, trees, sunrise, a garden…whatever nature scene speaks to you. Put a picture or two in your office, cubical, or wallet. Have it handy.
  5. Start incorporating an outdoor recess at work or home, whether it’s exercising, reading the paper, walking the dog, playing with the kids, a lunch break, just get outside.

In conclusion

This may sound too simple, but you’ll find it’ll make a BIG impact. The next morning I mended my website mishap. It so happened, I found a backup on the server. But I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out without a clear head, a good night’s sleep, and a little time outside with my trees. Do your existence a favor, get outside. What is one thing you can do this month to make that happen?

Before you go, check out these other posts about stress:

4 Simple Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Finding Grace in the Cards We’re Dealt – 3 Tricks

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

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

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