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Winter Motivation Tips

Written by Lisa Jillanza

When the weather outside is frightful, it's easy to get lazy and to lack the motivation to even get out of bed some days.  So how do you stay motivated when everything is keeping you down?   Try some of these tips:

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  • Set goals and document them. By keeping a list you will see this daily and you will feel more inclined to want to check things off this list.
  • Set clear dates of when you need to complete things by, whether they are long term or short term goals. By giving yourself a deadline, you will work harder to keep them.
  • Reward yourself for meeting your deadlines and reaching your goals.  Whether you allow yourself to buy something nice or a day of pampering at the spa, you will work harder to do things when you know there is a reward at the end.
  • Listen to motivational tapes and/or read motivational books to help gain some inspiration to keep going.
  • Learn to breathe correctly.  You will feel more relaxed and when you are more relaxed you will also be more apt to stay motivated than when you are stressed.
  • Keep a positive attitude.  Even though it is easy to be depressed when the long, cold winter months drag on, try to remain positive and you will notice that motivation comes along with being happy.
  • Remind yourself that progress is what is important and not perfection.  This is especially important when you are looking at your long-term goals, as they may seem like the most unreachable.  Remember all of the short-term goals that you have met and you will be more successful.
  • Build a support system of friends and family members that are typically motivated.  By keeping like-minded people close to you, you will become motivated by just being in their presence.

Six Tips for a Stress-less Holiday Season

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The holidays can be the most joyous AND the most stressful time of the year. Instead of driving yourself crazy and worrying your way through the season, use the following advice to help de-stress this year.

1. If you exchange gifts with friends, family or co-workers, decide ahead of time a pre-set spending limit that you will spend on each other. By keeping this amount in mind when you are shopping it will be less stressful to you when you are searching for that perfect gift as you can eliminate certain gifts if necessary.

2. Don't try to do all of the cooking for your get-togethers. Instead delegate certain dishes to your different family members or guests and let them help take the stress off of you when it comes to the meal. You will not only get a break, but your guests will feel like they contributed to making the holiday special.

3. Watch your sugar intake over the holiday season. Taking in too much sugar will not only lead to bloating, but it could also lead to depression. By watching what sugary treats you eat this season you will also avoid having to lose those extra pounds that you may put on by eating those foods.

4. Teach your children the value of gift-giving and the “reason for the season.” Children do not need an abundance of gifts, instead by getting them a few memorable gifts you will be instilling in them happiness for what they do get. This will also alleviate the stress of shopping every day for those items that will only be forgotten in a few days.

5. Don't sweat it if things aren't “perfect.” Believe it or not, your friends and family aren't interested in critiquing your tree, your decorations, your food or your gifts. Stop stressing about making everything perfect and realize that this holiday is about the joys of spending time together and not the other minor details.

6. Give to a charity this season. This season isn't about what you receive, but what you can give and what better way to give than to give to those in need? Whether it is by giving food and donations to a food bank or by donating some toys to those in need, you will feel such a calming and happy feeling knowing that you are affecting the lives of people who may do without otherwise.

Happy Holidays to you and wishes for a non-stressful season!

Getting a Good Night Sleep is Healthy for Your Brain

Written by Lisa Jillanza

According to a recent article featured on cnn.com, losing just one night of sleep can make your brain unstable and prone to shutdowns.

In a day and age when many college students and over-stressed adults are pulling all-nighters to try and get ahead, a study in the Journal of Neuroscience has shown that these shutdowns occur even when one night's sleep is missed, which makes it even more important to get a good night's sleep.

This research has shown that due to sleep deprivation the brain can function unpredictably, it can turn on and off spontaneously even when you are trying to focus on something and it can result in some pretty serious brain lapses.

Experts suggest that you should be sure to listen to your body and recognize the signs when you are physically tired and are in need of sleep. Be sure to avoid long haul drives or big life decisions when you are sleep deprived.

And remember that even if you cannot get a full night's sleep, some is better than none and will benefit you in the long run.

Four Tips for Keeping Your Holidays Simple, Lovely and Sane

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the idea of sitting around a tastefully decorated fireplace with your loved ones while chatting and eating homemade goodies and drinking eggnog. However, none of my Christmases ever actually turn out like that. From stressful calendars to weird family baggage, Christmas doesn't often end up perfect,.and that's ok.

Amidst the twinkle of holiday decor, it's easy to fill our plates to overflowing, and inevitably transform our lovely celebrations to stress-induced rampages. So how do you keep your holidays sane? Here are a few tips from Incourage.me.com to keep in mind if you would like to make this year's holidays more manageable.

1. Meet the needs of your spouse, kids, and yourself first- Focus on your immediate family's needs first, and ultimately do what's best for your household. This might mean not traveling five hours away to Aunt Mary's house like everyone else in your extended family. This might inadvertently lead to hurt feelings. But what good is it to please these people if your household ultimately suffers? No one's happy in the end.

2. Don't spend more than you have- Draw a line in the sand to never, ever use credit. It's tempting during the holiday season, but the many months that follow of paying it off is never worth it. You'll sleep so much better at night. You may want to try making purchases online to avoid going over-budget or make your own gifts.

3. Do what you can and don't worry about the rest- Don't neglect your responsibilities, of course. But find creative ways to do what you have to do in an easy way, so that you have time and energy to do what you love. For example agree to only attend 5 holiday events so that not all of your evenings are full or buy from a local bake sale or bakery instead of feeling like everything must be homemade.

4. Make a big deal out of those little things that are fun- Make popcorn and turn down the lights for your family's favorite Christmas movie or play your favorite Christmas tunes and drink hot chocolate while you wrap gifts. It's these small things that make this season special.

Christmas is for us to enjoy with those we love, not to stress us out. By keeping things simple and positive you will be able to have a more peaceful and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!


Straight From the Headlines Just Five Minutes A Day Outdoors Can Boost Mood

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Research conducted by the University of Essex and  highlighted on MSNBC.com shows that just five minutes a day spent outdoors can improve mental health as well as increase self confidence and contribute to a sense of overall well-being.

Researchers found that as little as five minutes of a "green activity" such as walking, gardening, cycling or farming can boost mood and self esteem. Prior to the study, experts were unsure of how much time was required to make these changes in individuals.  But the study revealed that just five minutes is plenty of time to have an impact on a person's mood.

Jules Pretty and Jo Barton, researchers at the University of Essex who led this study, looked at data from 1,252 people of different ages, genders and mental health status taken from ten existing studies in Britain. They analyzed activities such as walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse riding and farming.

They found that the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally ill, although people of all ages and social groups benefited. The largest positive effect on self-esteem came from a five-minute dose of "green exercise."

"We believe that there would be a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to self-medicate more with green exercise," Barton said in a statement about the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

All natural environments were beneficial, including parks in towns or cities, they said, but green areas with water appeared to have a more positive effect.