Renew Fading Friendships

A function of maturing and making your way through life is that you’ll occasionally leave behind someone you really care about. It might be your best friend from high school, your old neighborhood buddy, a college dorm roommate, or even a past co-worker you connected with.

Over time, you may find yourself yearning for another conversation, a lunch out or evening spent with a long-lost friend. But after so much time has passed, how can you renew fading friendships before they disappear completely?

Consider these suggestions to re-connect with a friend from your past:

  1. Give your friend a call. You might freeze up at the thought of calling because, after all, it has been so long. However, the only way of renewing your friendship is to make contact. Just do it.
    • Tell her you’ve missed her. Mention you’ve been thinking about the fun you had shopping and playing tennis together and that you want to maintain your friendship. Listen to how she feels about the relationship. Inquire about what’s going on in her life.
  2. Persevere. If you don’t have your friend’s telephone number, call his parents or drive by the last residence where he lived. Knock on the door and inquire of the residents if they know what happened to him. Contact a mutual friend and ask where your old friend is living now or how you might get in contact.
  3. Set up a rotating commitment. Once you contact your friend and discover he wants to continue your friendship, suggest the two of you get together on an ongoing basis to keep your relationship going.
    • For example, meet for dinner every other Wednesday evening. Get together one Saturday a month for lunch. A standing appointment keeps you both looking forward to spending time with one another.
  4. Be willing to make the extra effort. If your friend lives 90 minutes away by car, when you call, say you’d love to drive over and spend some time with him. Show you’re willing to do what’s necessary to see your friend occasionally. Hopefully, your friend will eventually be willing to drive over to see you as well.
  5. Write a letter and send it by snail mail. A hand-written letter shows you put some time and thought into what you wanted to say. Plus, your friend will have a tangible representation of your attempt to contact him, which means he’ll notice your efforts to get in touch.
    • This method is particularly helpful when you don’t have the person’s telephone or cell numbers.
    • Send a letter every other month for 6 months or so and include all your contact information, such as your cell phone number, home phone number, e-mail address, and home address. Doing so will make it easier for your friend to contact you using whatever method he prefers.
  6. Once you’ve established initial contact, use technology to stay connected. Find out from your friend if he uses e-mail and texting. If so, send him an e-mail every few days. If your friend prefers a quick text, use texting to stay in touch.
  7. Consider Facebook. After you’ve made your initial contact, find out if your friend is on Facebook. If so, “friend” him and use Facebook to keep in touch.

It’s a great feeling to discover an old friend wants to renew your relationship. Go ahead and be the one who takes the first steps to rekindle an old friendship. Use these methods to re-connect with that wonderful friend from your past.

Creating Nurturing Spaces in Your Home

When we nurture others, we help them develop or grow into productive, secure people. Everyone knows that we need this as children.

As an adult, you can still benefit from nurturing, so it’s helpful to determine how to encourage your own personal growth and feelings of security.

You have a lot more control over your own world now than you did as a child. You can choose multiple forms of self-nurturance. One effective way is to create sanctuary in your home.

Nurturing Spaces Defined

Nurturing spaces are places you truly love or that bring you pure joy. Some spaces might make you feel incredibly relaxed while others energize you or encourage your interest in something special.

Regardless of who you are, what interests you have, or the type of work you do, you deserve to create and relish nurturing spaces in your home.

How to Design and Create Nurturing Spaces

    1. Getting started. In order to create your sanctuary, first make a list of the things you love, enjoy doing, or are interested in. Knowing what makes your heart sing will help you determine how to construct special places in your home that reflect those interests.
    2. Remind yourself of favorite activities. For readers, try a small collection of magazines or books stacked by your bedside. They’ll be ready and waiting for you to browse through upon retiring for the evening.
      • Maybe the beautiful silk scarf you bought on your cruise or vacation would bring you joy, draped over your bed’s headboard. Or if you sew, hanging up pictures of your fashion inspirations could help keep you excited to work on your projects.
      • Whatever brings feelings of comfort and contentment can be strategically placed throughout your home to create nurturing spaces. 

Creating Nurturing Spaces Room by Room

Think about how you can create environments you love in every room. Below are some ways to construct special areas that may bring you comfort while relaxing or stimulate creativity while you’re creating or producing.

Living Room

If you love to play the piano or another musical instrument, set up a part of the room to play your music. Unless you use a large instrument, a small corner will do for most people.

Perhaps you’re an avid TV buff. You’ll want to have a nice television, comfortable seating and a remote control nearby. You might even want a stack of Entertainment Weekly magazines so you can flip through them.

Family Room

Depending on how you use your family room, possibilities for nurturing spaces are endless. For avid readers, maybe that sunny corner of the room is a great place for a comfy chair and a stack of books you want to read on a side table.

Those interested in drawing or other artwork might use a well-lit area of the room to practice their art. Some special tools or canvases may put you in the mood to create. Regardless of your interests, place elements of them in your family room.

Kitchen

If you love to cook, you might like a shelf or bookcase with your favorite cookbooks and recipe files. Consider placing an unobtrusive chair nearby to sit and browse recipes at your leisure. Each time you enter, you’ll see this nurturing space and feel comfort and joy.

Bedroom

For people who seek comfort in the bedroom, consider having plenty of cushy pillows. Place cherished photos, knick-knacks or decorations on the bedside table. Surrounding yourself with possessions you love helps to create nurturing, relaxing spaces.

Bathroom

A large glass decanter filled with an assortment of seashells may call to mind your last adventure at the beach. Or use a table lamp that harkens back to the time you went to a flea market in your favorite vacation spot. Take advantage of relaxing aromatherapy with scented candles or potpourri and let luxurious bath oils, bubbles, or salts pamper and nurture you with every bath.

You’ll be very satisfied as you take the time to compose places in your home where you can feel secure and experience growth. When you create nurturing spaces in your home, your life becomes richer. You’ll be filled with joy, peace and serenity!

6 Ways to Develop Greater Optimism for Your Future

Do you struggle to believe that good things are coming your way? Cultivating optimism when you’re feeling depleted from life can seem exhausting, or even impossible. But all is not lost! Even in your darkest times, you can look forward with anticipation to a bright future.

Keep these ideas in mind to help you recover your optimism: 

  1. What does reality indicate? It’s easier to be most optimistic when a positive outcome is likely, but sometimes you need to know when to let go or to make a change. 
    • Taking positive action to produce a better outcome also boosts your optimism because you cease being a helpless victim of life’s circumstances.
  2. Prioritize. Start by determining the most appropriate issues, situations and times to be optimistic about. Instead of chasing after many things, some of which may be unlikely, try focusing your energy on what’s most important.
  3. None of us knows the future. How many times in your past has a situation yielded an unexpected outcome? Plenty of times! And many of those were probably positive experiences, too.
    • Even if life seems full of situations that look less-than-promising, you never know what may actually end up happening. When you open your mind, you’re in a better emotional position to find optimism. And you’re wise to expect the best, because new possibilities lay around every corner.
  4. Stay intent on your own passions. When we do what we love, we feel joy, and joy generates optimism.
    • Whether you play a musical instrument, love working on cars, or enjoy pursuing any other activity, be sure to set aside time in your week for your hobby. If you can, enjoy some “me” time each day.
    • Practicing your craft, hobby, or passion will help prevent you from hanging your hopes on another person, place, or thing. All the joy you need is within you and you’ll rediscover this moment by moment as you do what you love.
    • Following your bliss also helps keep you in the present. The past has already passed. And the future hasn’t come yet. All you have this moment. Don’t you want to make the most of it? When you do, your future almost invariably turns out to be more to your liking also!
  5. Open your mind to new possibilities. Maybe you were expecting a promotion that never came. Or perhaps you even lost your job. Now is a great time to explore other opportunities.
    • Although you undoubtedly were looking forward to whatever didn’t happen, or were happy to avoid what did, the truth is that the future is in your hands.
    • Maybe you always wanted to try freelancing, or making something with your hands for a living. Now is the time to run in that direction. Nothing is stopping you anymore, not even waiting around for a different dream to come to pass.
  6. Remember, there’s always help. Whether you make use of your social network or see a licensed counselor, other people are there to support you as you move toward your next adventure.
  • If you find yourself really feeling depressed, and nothing seems to work to banish it, you may want to check out professional counseling services. Therapists are trained to walk people through all sorts of life transitions and can definitely assist with yours.

Although Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal,” you may also find it wise to recognize where to place your optimism and how to rediscover that feeling when you’re down.

If you open your mind to new possibilities and explore the tips above, you’ll be pleased to find that, once again, you’re looking toward the future with optimism and excitement!

Effective Time Management Tips

Time is the one thread that runs through all of our lives. Whether you’re always early for an event, arrive as scheduled, or prefer to be fashionably late, you’re probably also watching the clock. Wouldn’t you love more time in your day to squeeze in more activities?

So how can you get more hours out of your day?

Consider these time management tips to enhance your productivity:

1. Preview your schedule for the day the first thing in the morning. Use your calendar effectively and you’ll be able to spend your time more judiciously.

* With practice, you’ll learn to recognize which tasks need more time to be completed and which tasks’ scheduled time can be shortened.

2. At work, if you’re responsible for leading a meeting, be prepared. Write the meeting agenda in advance.

* Stick to the time allotted for each agenda item.

3. Keep your focus on the task at hand. If you need to finish writing a report, stay with it until the report is completed.

4. Take active steps to screen out distractions. If you work better with soft music playing in the background, arrange to listen to your tunes while you complete your tasks.

* If you’re on the job, close your office door to deter people from stopping in to say, “Hi,” or ask a quick question.

5. Stand up. If someone calls you into their office for a minute to get your opinion on an issue, avoid sitting down. Impromptu meetings are shorter when at least one of you stands.

6. Have confidence about limiting chitchat at work. Don’t be afraid to tell people you can’t talk right at the moment. Rather than getting perturbed, your associates may praise your work ethic of finishing your projects before taking time to chitchat.

* You’re also setting a great example for the other employees.

7. Get comfortable with saying “No.” Being assertive is the hallmark of effective time management.

* When you take on more projects than you have time for, the quality of your work may suffer. Plus, your most important tasks don’t get addressed in a timely fashion if you have too much to do. You’re more likely to get more work done – and do it well – if you aren’t overwhelmed by taking on too much.

8. Use your planner at home as well. If you’re struggling during off-work hours to manage your time, feel free to also use your planner there. Write in your schedule when you want to work on certain home projects, like washing your car or cleaning the living room.

9. Set timers or alarms to keep you on task. For example, if you plan to clean your bedroom for an hour, set the alarm on your cell phone. Stop working on the chore at hand when the timer goes off, but not until then (unless you complete the task).

* Playing “beat the clock” can be highly motivational. Plus you’re likely to get more done.

* For particularly troublesome tasks, set your alarm in smaller increments – even 15 minutes – and take a short breather when your alarm sounds before you re-focus on your task. In particular, you may find that physically challenging tasks are much more manageable if broken into smaller, more do-able “pieces.”

Managing your time effectively will make you more satisfied and productive. Practice these tips to get a handle on everything you want to complete. A well-managed life is within your reach!

A Life of Intense Purpose

Hitting the bullseyeNot having focus in your life – a purpose or goal – does not serve you or others well. Aimless living creates frustration and keeps you from your true direction. This takes time and reflection. Spend time reflecting on what your hidden desires might be. Your passions matter in life – make sure what you do lines up with your true passions.

Finding Purpose

Most importantly – take note of what you love and don’t lose it. Letting go of your interests and/or passions can be detrimental. Knowing and understanding what drives you is so important. Use your gifts and talents in the best way possible and take note of how it energizes you.

Doing what you love or are passionate about is a way to re-charge your batteries. Make sure you focus on this area – we cannot live with dead batteries – we must recharge. Many people who are miserable have simply not found a way to recharge their batteries.

Surround all activities around your purpose

Find your purpose and then act on it. All that you do should be measured by how it supports your purpose or detracts from it. All actions need to be geared towards your purpose – everything you do can be fulfilling. If you find yourself doing a task that does not suit you well or drains you – make sure you stop that activity or delegate it to someone else.

Purpose in life can be to provide or to plan activities for loved ones. These are several examples of purposes in life:

Cooking - Creating and designing foods can greatly put you in touch with your creative and tactile traits – if cooking fuels you then delve in and cook. You are the boss; you prepare what you want with the ingredients and flavor combinations you choose. How you prepare the food directly relates to your family’s health and enjoyment as well.

Tidiness – Cleanliness is next to godliness – it makes you feel comfortable and happy. Washing clothes, cleaning surfaces, organizing your things, all make you feel connected and in control of your life. All you have to do is prepare and create the environment you choose. This affects health as well.

Movement – All movement moves you towards health. Encouraging your family and yourself to move and explore is one of the smartest things you can do. This creates a healthy mind and body. Having a healthy weight and outlook create a stronger family platform for your life and your family’s.

All of these activities are examples of things that add to your purpose in life. They support your purpose, drive, and goals. These things in balance do not detract from your purpose in life. Unlike laziness, over-eating, spending beyond your budget, and other negatives like these.

Negativity and doing things that do not build your purpose in life can be replaced with activities and choices that build you up. Make sure you are living out your purpose at your place of employment as well.

Planning or participating in social events can really affect your outlook and purpose at work. Being part of the bigger picture can help grow your interests at work. Start an activity group in order to plan for upcoming events and festivities at work.

Start living your purpose today. Live intensely, with passion, with purpose, with focus, and without things that hinder you and your goals. You will find renewed energy and passion for life and will be the best you can in your life. Go for it – it’s worth your time and investment. You are the best one to take care of you!