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Self-Care on a Budget

By: Emily Roberts

Self-care on a budget is possible. In fact, most acts of emotional self-care don’t cost a thing. Self-care is simply the practice of treating yourself with enough respect that you honor and fulfill your own needs as they arise. Self-care on a budget is entirely possible.

We often make excuses not to practice self-care because it’s too timely or expensive. We fall into the habit of putting others before ourselves and this weighs heavy on our self-esteem.

Self-care isn’t something that you can just put off until you have more time or money. Your brain, body, family and self-esteem suffer when you don’t take time to tune in to your needs. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. If that feels like it’s costly, remember it doesn’t have to be. You can engage in self-care on a budget.

It’s not always possible to get away for a vacation or spend the money on a day of relaxation, and you don’t need to. Self-care is a daily activity and you can incorporate it into your routine no matter how busy you are. Here are a few ideas that you can try for practicing self-care on a budget.

15 Ideas for Self-Care on a Budget

First ask yourself what are my needs? What would make you feel more positive right now? What is something that your brain and body need from you today? When you neglect these very basic and primal needs, due to money or guilt, you’re not serving others or yourself. A few minutes a day, just for you, can make a huge change in your well-being.

  • Make that doctors or dentist appointment you’ve been neglecting.
  • Go for a walk or enjoy your favorite workout if your body needs some movement. Any sort of exercise will release endorphins, your body will thank you and it clears your head which is very important for feeling relaxed and revitalized.
  • Connect with someone you care about. Call them, make plans with a friend or relative, or email someone you’ve wanted to reconnect with.
  • Do something today that will help you tomorrow. Pack your bag for work the night before, make your lunch, organize your planner. It may seem like work but it’s actually going to help you feel more at ease and relaxed the next day.
  • Find a scent you love. Aromatherapy can be under 10 dollars. Infuse your home or your car with a soothing scent that will improve your mood.
  • Buy your favorite food. Lots of parents fall prey to buying what their kids and families want to eat. But what about you? Do you want a particular cheese or fresh squeezed orange juice? Add it to the cart.
  • Read a book or article for pleasure.
  • Drink more water. Instead of beating yourself up for never drinking enough, remind yourself that water is something your body and brain love and need.
  • Block or hide people who bother you on social media. There is no shame in blocking people who hurt your feelings or who are filling your social media with annoying comments or pictures. You’ll feel better, and they don’t have to know (When To Get Rid of Social Media Relationships).
  • Give yourself a hug. Yes, this sounds silly, but sometimes the comfort of a three-second hug can help you appreciate yourself a little more.
  • Listen to an awesome song. Something that makes you want to smile, dance or helps you remember a positive time in your life.
  • Listen to a podcast. If the news on the radio or tunes in your car are boring you, don’t waste your time or mood on them. Find your favorite podcast to download, they are free.
  • Journal. It reconnects you with your goals and purpose.
  • Give yourself the gift of more time. Wake up a little earlier to meditate, breathe, read the paper, or do some yoga. If you plan ahead, it is always possible to find a way to give yourself some extra time. More time to sleep or a longer lunch hour.
  • Go to the park and look at the clouds. Meditate, practice mindfulness or just take a walk. Enjoy the luxury of being in nature.

You have to take time for yourself, it’s necessary for building self-esteem, feeling healthy and taking care of others.

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By: GameLearn

Game-based learning is revolutionizing learning. Beyond schools and universities, video games applied to corporate training are already a reality in HR departments of thousands of companies.

We live with video games

There are many factors that make game-based learning be more effective than traditional training. Currently, nearly 60% of the population is familiar with video games and the average age of the workforce in companies is around 30, of which over 90% have played video games in their youth. That is why the so-called Millennials carry so much weight, a generation that will make up 75% of the workforce in no more than 10 years. Do you need more reasons? Keep reading.

They increase engagement

Video games bring a number of challenges that require the student to be engaged in the adventure, in order to solve the problems that arise in a much more creative and subjective way. Unlike a traditional classroom course, game-based learning increases engagement because it offers an experience that is challenging and pleasant. Having fun and learning at the same time is actually possible.

They motivate with no risk

Games in general and game-based learning in particular have the potential to turn learning into a challenge. Through the game, concepts are introduced and students can develop and improve their skills without losing motivation. Fear of failure is greatly reduced because there is no risk during the learning process, but at the same time, it is possible to learn from mistakes and correct them. Thus, everyone can complete the level and move forward; there is a permanent mentality of improvement and development.

They improve performance and knowledge

The Federation of American Scientists [“A Meta-Analytical Examination of the Instructional Effectiveness of Computer-Based Simulation Games”, 2011, Tracy Sitzman] claims that games are the best way to learn. Thanks to the game, students improve their performance, increase their effort and develop their knowledge thanks to practice.

These are the specific figures:

Game based learning compared to traditional learning

  • Means an increase of up to a 20% in self-confidence of the student.
  • An 11% increase in conceptual knowledge.
  • A 90% increase in retention when learning.
  • A 20% increase in practical knowledge.
  • Up to a 300% increase in completed tasks.

Interaction with the student

Becky Renegar, a specialist in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), recently attended the STEMconnector in Washington, a specialized meeting. There, Renegar was representing the city of Piqua (Ohio, USA), to talk about game-based learning opportunities. For her, this kind of learning has been of great benefit to her students, partly thanks to the constant interaction offered by video games.

“The engagement has increased drastically,” said Renegar at the conference. The more interaction, the more students get involved and committed. The students of this teacher, who have participated in several projects for online games, have experienced an increase in motivation through the creativity involved in video games.

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Types Of Classroom Interventions

By: Matthew Lynch

What Is Intervention in Education?

In general terms, classroom intervention is a set of steps a teacher takes to help a child improve in their area of need by removing educational barriers. There are four key components of classroom intervention:

  • Proactive: Deals with areas of need before they become a larger obstacle to education.
  • Intentional: Specifically addresses an observed weakness.
  • Formal: Uses targeted methods for addressing specific needs and tracks progress.
  • Flexible: Adjusts methods based upon the needs of the student.

In the classroom, teachers may observe and identify problems with a student’s behavior or academic performance. Sometimes, the same child needs improvement in both areas. Although often connected, these issues are addressed using different types of interventions.

Behavior interventions address a child’s problem behavior at school, like disrupting class, refusing to do homework, unresponsiveness, inappropriate language and aggression. When using this method, teachers work to determine the driving force behind a student’s wrong action. They may use a functional behavior assessment to aid in this discovery process. Once the motivating factor behind the behavior is identified, teachers can construct an effective behavior intervention plan for teaching more appropriate behaviors while meeting the child’s needs.

Instructional interventions, also called academic interventions, deal with a student’s academic problem areas, like reading, math or another subject. For example, when a child struggles with reading skills, educators will employ reading intervention strategies. This type of intervention involves more detailed tracking of progress and frequent adjustments to reach a student’s optimal academic proficiency. The instructional intervention definition also includes Response to Intervention, which involves three tiers of intervention that become increasingly intense while attempting to address the child’s core academic need.

Special Education and Classroom Intervention

Although classroom interventions are frequently used in special education, they’re not a form of special education. Interventions help classroom teachers identify the early signs of learning disabilities, but that is not their only or primary use. Today, instructional and behavioral interventions are used to identify and remove obstacles that hinder a student’s academic progress.

Response to Intervention: 3 Tiers of Instruction

A popular form of instructional intervention is Response to Intervention (RTI)which uses a series of increasingly intense interventions until the student’s area of academic need is met or special education is recommended. Here is a breakdown of this three-tier system of support:

Tier 1

This level involves whole-class screening or universal screening that uses the school’s research-based curriculum. The curriculum includes periodic student assessments and behavioral screenings to chart progress. Once a student is identified as “at risk,” they are given a specific amount of time to make satisfactory progress. If the student doesn’t adequately improve, then they move to Tier 2 of RTI.

Tier 2

This level involves targeted instruction related to a specific skill. These students have lessons in smaller, group settings and receive more attention and guidance as they learn and practice using a different method. The instruction is more frequent and lengthier than Tier 1. Students still receive their Tier 1 classroom instruction but break off into small group sessions several times a week for Tier 2, usually during electives. Progress is monitored, and if there’s enough improvement, the student may return to Tier 1 instruction. If the student doesn’t improve and their performance devolves, they will move to Tier 3.

Tier 3

At this level, the student typically receives daily one-on-one customized instruction, , but they may also work in very small groups. Some schools will involve an intervention specialist to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the student and get help with more personalized curriculum, including how to more effectively tailor instruction to this student’s needs. The student will continue to spend most of their day in a general instruction classroom. If they don’t make satisfactory progress, they may be recommended for further evaluation and special education services. Otherwise, they may move back to Tier 2 or Tier 1 instruction.

Benefits of Classroom Intervention

The goal of RTI is to restore students to the general education classroom. When schools and teachers implement and follow effective Response to Intervention strategies, a larger number of students meet grade-level expectations at the Tier 1 level.

RTI also conserves special education resources. Because many students who perform below grade level do not have learning disabilities, classroom intervention strategies frequently reduce the number of students who are referred for special education evaluations. When classroom interventions address both behavioral and academic issues and restore students to proficiency in the general classroom, schools can focus their special education resources on those children who genuinely need them.

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By: American Psychological Association

Most people are creatures of habit. When things go as planned, we feel in control. But when life throws a curve ball, it can leave us feeling anxious and stressed. For many Americans life feels particularly uncertain lately, with an unconventional presidential administration, social protests in the news and uncertainty in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires.

Findings from the most recent APA Stress in America Survey highlight other common ways that uncertainty stresses us out:

  • More than a third of Americans cite unexpected expenses as a source of stress related to money.
  • Nearly a third of Americans say economic uncertainty is a source of stress when thinking about the economy.
  • When it comes to health-related issues, around two-thirds of Americans cite uncertainty about the future as a source of stress. A similar proportion is stressed about possible changes to healthcare policy.

Research shows that people react differently to uncertainty, and that those with a higher intolerance for uncertainty may be less resilient and more prone to low mood, negative or down feelings and anxiety.

No one can avoid the unexpected. But these simple steps can help you better face life’s uncertainties.

  • Be kind to yourself. Some people are better at dealing with uncertainties than others, so don’t beat yourself up if your tolerance for unpredictability is lower than a friend’s. Remind yourself that it might take time for the stressful situation to resolve, and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
  • Reflect on past successes. Chances are you’ve overcome stressful events in the past – and you survived! Give yourself credit. Reflect on what you did during that event that was helpful, and what you might like to do differently this time.
  • Develop new skills. When life is relatively calm, make a point to try things outside your comfort zone. From standing up to a difficult boss to trying a new sport, taking risks helps you develop confidence and skills that come in handy when life veers off course.
  • Limit exposure to news. When we’re stressed about something, it can be hard to look away. But compulsively checking the news only keeps you wound up. Try to limit your check-ins and avoid the news during vulnerable times of day, such as right before bedtime.
  • Avoid dwelling on things you can’t control. When uncertainty strikes, many people immediately imagine worst-case scenarios. Get out of the habit of ruminating on negative events.
  • Take your own advice. Ask yourself: If a friend came to me with this worry, what would I tell her? Imagining your situation from the outside can often provide perspective and fresh ideas.
  • Engage in self-care. Don’t let stress derail your healthy routines. Make efforts to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Many people find stress release in practices such as yoga and meditation.
  • Seek support from those you trust. Many people isolate themselves when they’re stressed or worried. But social support is important, so reach out to family and friends.
  • Control what you can. Focus on the things that are within your control, even if it’s as simple as weekly meal planning or laying out your clothes the night before a stressful day. Establish routines to give your days and weeks some comforting structure.
  • Ask for help. If you’re having trouble managing stress and coping with uncertainty on your own, ask for help. Psychologists are experts in helping people develop healthy ways to cope with stress. Find a psychologist in your area by using APA’s Psychologist Locator Service.

 

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By: Raising Children Network

No matter how old your children are, your praise and encouragement will help them feel good about themselves. This boosts their self-esteem and confidence.  Sometimes rewards can be useful too, especially if you want to encourage good behavior.

Praise

How praise works
Praise is when you tell your child what you like about her or her behavior. Praise nurtures your child’s self-esteem, confidence and sense of self.

By using praise, you’re showing your child how to think and talk positively about himself. You’re helping your child learn how to recognize when he does well and to pat himself on the back.

What to use praise for
You can praise children of different ages for different things. You might praise a younger child for leaving the park when asked, or for trying to tie her own shoelaces. You can praise teenagers for coming home at an agreed time, or for starting homework without being reminded.

Descriptive praise
Descriptive praise is when you tell your child exactly what it is that you like. For example, “I like the way you’ve found a spot for everything in your room”.  This helps your child understand what you mean. It’s also more genuine than non-specific praise like “You’re a good boy”.

You can’t give too much praise. But praise can lose its impact if it isn’t specific or if you use it when your child hasn’t done anything. This might teach your child that she doesn’t have to do anything to be praised.

Using praise to change behavior
Children are more likely to repeat behavior that earns praise.  This means you can use praise to help change difficult behavior and replace it with desirable behavior.

The first step is to watch for times when your child behaves the way you want.  When you see this or another behavior you like, immediately get your child’s attention. Then tell your child exactly what you liked.

At first, you can praise every time you see the behavior.  When your child starts doing the behavior more often, you can praise it less.

If you’re using praise to change behavior, you can praise effort as well as achievement – for example, “It’s great how you used words to ask for that toy.” or “I like how you did your chores without being reminded.”

Using praise can seem like an effort, and some days it might be hard to find reasons to praise your child. But if you praise your child regularly, it’ll soon feel natural and normal.

Encouragement

Encouragement is praise for effort – for example, “You worked hard on that math homework.”

Praising effort can encourage your child to try hard in the future – it’s very motivating.  But you can also use encouragement before and during an activity to help your child do the activity or behavior.  For example, “Show me how well you can put your toys away.” or “I know you’re nervous about the test, but you’ve studied hard. No matter how it turns out, you’ve done your best.”

Some children, especially those who are less confident, need more encouragement than others.  When praise is encouraging and focused on effort, children are more likely to see trying hard as a good thing in itself.  They’re also more likely to keep trying and to be optimistic when they face challenges.

Rewards

A reward is a consequence of good behavior.  It’s a way of saying “well done” after your child has done something good or behaved well.  It could be a treat, a surprise or an extra privilege.  For example, as a reward for keeping his room clean, you might let your child choose what’s for dinner or have company over to play games.

Rewards can make your praise and encouragement work better.  Most behavior is influenced by the consequences that follow it, so when you praise your child’s behavior and then reward it, the behavior is more likely to happen again.

Rewards can work well at first, but it’s best not to overuse them.  If you need to use them a lot, it might help to rethink the situation – are there any other strategies that you could try to encourage the behavior you want? Or is the task or behavior too hard for your child right now?

Note that bribery and rewards aren’t the same.  A bribe is given before the behavior you want, and a reward is given after.  Rewards reinforce good behavior, but bribes don’t.

Sometimes it’s easier to criticize than it is to compliment.  Bad behavior is often more obvious than good behavior – for example, you’re more likely to notice when your child is yelling than you are to notice when your child is quietly reading a book.  Try to pay attention to the good behavior too!

Help build your child’s self-esteem and encourage good behavior with these tips:

  • When you feel good about your child, say so.  See if you can give your child some words of encouragement every day.  The small things you say can build up over time to have a big effect on your child.
  • Try to praise more than you criticize.  As a guide, try to praise your child six times for every one time you say something negative.
  • Look for little changes and successes.  Rather than waiting until your child has done something perfectly to give a compliment, try to praise any effort or improvement.
  • Accept that everyone’s different.  Praise your child for her unique strengths and encourage her to develop and feel excited about her particular interests.  This will help her develop a sense of pride and confidence.
  • Surprise your child with a reward for good behavior.  For example, “Thank you for picking up the toys, – let’s go to the park to celebrate.” or “Good job with getting a positive interim report from school.  Let’s go get pizza.”
  • Praise effort as well as achievement. Recognize and praise how hard your child is trying – for example, “You worked really hard on that essay.” or  “Thank you for remembering to hang your coat in the closet.”
  • Try to make your praise dependent on your child’s behavior, rather than your feelings. You might find that the more you look for good behavior to praise, the more positive you’ll feel (and the more good behavior you’ll see).
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By: Nataly Kogan

It feels great to receive a compliment.  Research shows getting a sincere compliment gives us the same positive boost as receiving cash. The health and happiness benefits of the compliment giver are also well-documented.  Compliments really are one of the easiest two-way streets available in terms of spreading happiness around you and increasing your own.  The more you compliment, the better you feel. Here are a hundred ready-made compliments to try out for yourself.

Complimenting Positivity 

These compliments focus on the joy, fun, and positive outlook the person brings.

  • Your smile is contagious.
  • I bet you make babies smile.
  • You have the best laugh.
  • You light up the room.
  • You have a great sense of humor.
  • If cartoon bluebirds were real, a couple of ’em would be sitting on your shoulders singing right now.
  • You’re like sunshine on a rainy day.
  • You bring out the best in other people.
  • I bet you sweat glitter.
  • Colors seem brighter when you’re around.
  • You’re more fun than a ball pit filled with candy.
  • Jokes are funnier when you tell them.
  • You always know how to find that silver lining.
  • You’re a candle in the darkness.
  • Being around you is like a happy little vacation.
  • You’re more fun than bubble wrap.
  • You’re like a breath of fresh air.
  • You’re someone’s reason to smile.
  • How do you keep being so funny and making everyone laugh?

Complimenting Personal Traits

These compliments acknowledge different qualities the person exhibits.

  • You have impeccable manners.
  • I like your style.
  • You’re strong.
  • Is that your picture next to “charming” in the dictionary?
  • Your kindness is a balm to all who encounter it.
  • You are brave.
  • Your insides are even more beautiful than your outside.
  • You have the courage of your convictions.
  • You’re a great listener.
  • You were cool way before hipsters were cool.
  • That thing you don’t like about yourself is what makes you really interesting.
  • You’re inspiring.
  • You’re so thoughtful.
  • When you make up your mind, nothing stands in your way.
  • You seem to really know who you are.

Complimenting Intelligence, Creativity, and Resourcefulness

These compliments show that you appreciate the person’s abilities.

  • You’re a smart cookie.
  • Your perspective is refreshing.
  • Your ability to recall random factoids at just the right times is impressive.
  • When you say, “I meant to do that,” I totally believe you.
  • You have the best ideas.
  • You’re always learning new things and trying to better yourself. That’s awesome.
  • If someone based an Internet meme on you, it would have impeccable grammar.
  • You could survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • When you make a mistake, you fix it.
  • You’re great at figuring stuff out.
  • Your creative potential seems limitless.
  • I bet you do crossword puzzles in ink.
  • You have a good head on your shoulders.
  • Everyone gets knocked down sometimes; only people like you get back up again and keep going.

Complimenting Accomplishments

It is often good to compliment a specific action or achievement.

  • You should be proud of yourself.
  • You are making a difference.
  • You deserve a hug right now.
  • You’re a great example to others.
  • Actions speak louder than words, and yours tell an incredible story.

Complimenting Personal Relationships

These compliments focus on how the person relates to others.

  • You’re an awesome friend.
  • You’re more helpful than you realize.
  • Hanging out with you is always fun.
  • That thing where you know when someone needs something? That’s amazing.
  • Being around you makes everything better.
  • You should be thanked more often. Thank you.
  • Our community is better because you’re in it.
  • Someone is getting through something hard right now because you’ve got their back. Nice work.
  • You always know just what to say.
  • The people you love are lucky to have you in their lives.
  • Any team would be lucky to have you on it.
  • Defenseless animals are drawn to you.
  • The way you treasure your loved ones is incredible.
  • You’re a gift to those around you.

Complimenting Appearance

These compliments can be problematic as complimenting appearance can come across as flirting, and so they should be avoided in many business and social contexts.

  • You’re gorgeous—and that’s the least interesting thing about you, too.
  • You look great today.
  • Your eyes are breathtaking.
  • How is it that you always look so great, even if you’re in ratty pajamas?
  • That color is perfect on you.
  • You smell really good.
  • You may dance like no one’s watching, but everyone’s watching because you’re mesmerizing.
  • You have cute elbows. For real.
  • Your bellybutton is kind of adorable.
  • Your hair looks stunning.
  • Your voice is magnificent.
  • Your name suits you to a T.
  • You’re irresistible when you blush.
  • Has anyone ever told you that you have great posture?

Complimenting the Whole Person

These compliments may be a little too general. As with complimenting appearance, consider whether they are appropriate or may be bordering on being flirtatious.

  • I appreciate you.
  • You are the most perfect you there is.
  • You are enough.
  • You’re all that and a super-size bag of chips.
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, you’re an 11.
  • You’ve got all the right moves.
  • Everything would be better if more people were like you.
  • When you’re not afraid to be yourself, that’s when you’re incredible.
  • You’re wonderful.
  • You’re better than a triple-scoop ice cream cone. With sprinkles.
  • You’re one of a kind.
  • If you were a box of crayons, you’d be the big industrial name-brand one with a built-in sharpener.
  • Who raised you? They deserve a medal for a job well done.
  • Somehow you make time stop and fly all at the same time.
  • In high school, I bet you were voted “most likely to continue being awesome.”
  • If you were a scented candle they’d have to call it Perfectly Imperfect (and it would smell like summer).
  • There’s ordinary, and then there’s you.
  • You’re even better than a unicorn because you’re real.
  • You’re really something special.

Start complimenting and find out for yourself how great it makes you feel. If you pick any of these, be sure to personalize it so it truly reflects what you appreciate about the person you are complimenting.

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By: Amy Morin

Sometimes, it’s hard to be happy when you think about what’s going on in the world. It’s harder still when the people around you constantly complain about all those things that are happening.

That doesn’t mean that you have to join ranks with the pessimists, though. In fact, it means it’s more important than ever to look on the bright side as much as possible.

Benefits of Being Optimistic

Choosing to be optimistic offers surprising benefits. A study from the University of Pittsburgh concluded that women who had an optimistic outlook had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease.

A University of Michigan study linked optimism to a lower risk of stroke.  Additionally, research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that optimists are less likely to experience disabilities as they get older and end up living longer than pessimists.

Optimism Is a Choice

If you think you’re a natural-born pessimist and there’s no way you can turn your mindset around, think again—research published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry compared two groups of people to test their thinking patterns.

The first group completed a 5-minute exercise that involved thinking positive thoughts about their future, while the second group just went about their daily lives without making effort to think optimistically. The first group significantly increased their optimism over the two-week period, with many of them feeling more optimistic after just one day.

Decide to Be Optimistic

You have choices in your life.  You can spend the day cleaning or spend the day reading. You can go out to dinner or cook at home. You can have coffee with that long-lost friend or you can blow them off.

And, finally, you can decide to be positive or you can just go on living like you are.  Being an optimistic person in a negative world begins with the decision to be positive and choosing to live that life every single day.

Avoid Positive Energy 

You might refer to them as “whiners” or even “toxic,” but however you refer to them, pessimists suck the positive energy out of the room.  These people think the world revolves around them, and they often lack any sense of empathy for others.

It’s important to establish healthy boundaries with people who chronically choose to stay stuck in their own misery. That may mean having to say things to a friend like, “I notice every time I offer you an idea about how you could make your situation better, you insist nothing will work. I am not sure I’m able to help.”

It may also mean distancing yourself a bit from a relative who insists on sharing his latest predictions about the end of the world.

Limit your media intake as well. Watching too many tragic stories on the news or consuming too much political news on social media can decrease your ability to maintain a “glass half full” outlook.

Recognize Your Negative Thoughts

It’s OK to acknowledge that bad things might happen. After all, ignoring reality isn’t helpful.

In fact, being realistic could be the key to doing your best.  If you’re excessively positive about an upcoming interview, you might not spend any time preparing because you’re confident you’ll land the job.

If however, you have an exaggeratedly negative outlook, you might sabotage your chances of getting hired. Thinking, “No one will ever hire me,” will cause you to look and feel defeated when you walk into the interview room. Your lack of confidence may be the reason you don’t get hired.

A healthy outlook would be to remind yourself that all you can do is your best and you’ll be OK, regardless of the outcome. Being optimistic helps you believe that brighter opportunities are on the horizon and you’re able to put in the effort to earn those opportunities.

When you’re thinking negatively, take a moment to assess how realistic your thoughts truly are. Re-framing your exaggeratedly negative thoughts into more realistic statements can help you maintain a healthy dose of optimism.

Bestow Positivity on Others

While it’s not your job to make everyone happy, it doesn’t hurt to perk up someone’s day. Once a day, share positive feedback with someone.

At work, compliment someone about a good question raised in an email or salient points that they brought up in an important meeting.

At home, praise your child for how hard they worked on their math homework. Or, tell your partner how much you appreciate them.

Making other people feel positive has lasting effects on your own life.  With that, don’t forget to bestow positivity on yourself. Before bed, think about what you did during the day. Even if it was a generally lackluster day, there’s bound to be something you can praise yourself for, whether it was keeping your cool when a driver cuts you off or wrapping up a project that has really been a challenge for you.

Imagine a Positive Future

It sounds kitschy, but writing down your ideas of an optimistic future can truly make a difference when it comes to your overall outlook.

If you need a primer, here’s what to do: Spend 20 minutes on four consecutive days on writing down what you want to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year—feel free to dream big.

You can also consider a serious challenge you have in your life right now and think about possible positive outcomes.

Practice Gratitude

Thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for, from warm sunshine to clean water, can give you an instant boost of optimism. You might even decide to keep a gratitude journal, in which you write down everything that makes you crack a smile during the day.

If nothing else, take a moment to stop, smile and be grateful for the good things in your life. Savor the moments that make it possible for you to have a good life.

It’s hard to be optimistic without feeling gratitude toward those that helped you get to that happy place. While thinking about how grateful you are is helpful, sharing your gratitude with others provides added benefits. You’ll spread a bit of joy and cheer when you tell others how much you appreciate them.

Write a letter to someone who made a positive impact on your life, whether it’s a teacher, a former boss or even your mom. If possible, deliver that letter in person.

 

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By: National Institute on Aging

Even when you know what healthy foods to choose, being able to pay for them can be hard, especially if you are on a fixed income. Start by deciding how much you can afford to spend on food.

There are websites that can help you plan a food budget. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture supports Iowa State University’s Spend Smart-Eat Smart. This website also has inexpensive recipes based on the Dietary Guidelines.

Once you have a budget, find store ads in the newspaper or grocery store websites to see what is on sale. Try to plan some meals around featured items and pick up some extra canned goods or staples that are on sale. And check the expiration or use-by date. A product might be on sale because it is almost out of date. Choose items with dates farthest in the future.

While shopping, make use of these budget-wise 10 tips.

  • Ask about discounts. Ask your local grocery stores if they have a senior discount or a loyalty or discount card. Besides getting items at a lower price, you may also get store coupons.
  • Use coupons when you can. Remember, coupons only help if they are for things you would buy anyway. Sometimes, another brand costs less even after you use the coupon.
  • Consider store brands—they usually cost less. These products are made under a special label, sometimes with the store name. You might have to look on shelves that are higher or lower than eye level to find them.
  • Be aware that convenience costs more. You can often save money if you are willing to do a little work. For example, buy whole chickens and cut them into parts, shred or grate your own cheese, and avoid instant rice or instant oatmeal. Bagged salad mixes cost more and might not stay fresh as long as a head of lettuce.
  • Look at unit prices. Those small stickers on the shelves tell you the price but also the unit price—how much the item costs per ounce or per pound. Compare unit prices to see which brand is the best value.
  • Try to buy in bulk, but only buy a size you can use before it goes bad. If you buy meat in bulk, decide what you need to use that day and freeze the rest in portion-sized packages right away.
  • Focus on economical fruits and vegetables like bananas, apples, oranges, cabbage, sweet potatoes, dark-green leafy vegetables, green peppers, and regular carrots.
  • Think about the foods you throw away. For less waste, buy or cook only what you need.
  • Resist temptations at the check-out. Those snack foods and candy are put there for impulse buying. Save money and avoid empty calories!
  • Sign up for meal delivery. While some older people have trouble finding enough money to buy food, others need help preparing meals. There are a variety of groups around the country that deliver meals to people who have trouble getting out of their homes. These groups usually offer one hot meal a day. One of the largest is Meals on Wheels America.
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By: KidsHealth

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is keeping parents and kids home — and away from others — to help stop the spread of the virus. Adjusting to a new routine is stressful for everyone, but especially for children with autism who have trouble with change.

Find ways to help your child understand what’s going on and what to expect from day-to-day. This will help your child adjust and even thrive during this time.

What Should I Tell My Child About Coronavirus?

Kids with autism may not know what is going on, or might not be able to express their fears and frustrations.

So it’s important to talk to your child about coronavirus in a way that’s simple to understand. Be clear, direct, and honest. For example, “Coronavirus is a germ. It can make people very sick. We have to stay away from others to stay healthy.”

Then, explain that children will stay home from school and do schoolwork at home, parents may work from home, and any activities or family trips will be put on hold.

Go over important rules, and help your child to:

  • Wash hands well and often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Try not to touch their nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Wear a cloth face covering or face mask in public places.

Give your child space and time for questions, but don’t offer more detail than your child asks for. For example, if your child asks about people who are sick, answer the question. But don’t bring up the topic if it doesn’t come up.

How Can I Help My Child Understand?

Kids with autism may need extra support to understand what’s going on around them, and what’s expected of them in some situations.

Social stories are stories that teach kids what happens in some situations, and explain what kids should do in those situations. Many social stories have pictures to go along with them. Use social stories, pictures, or other visuals to help your child know the steps for:

  • washing hands and other ways to stay healthy and safe
  • social distancing
  • distance learning
  • new routines at home

You know how your child learns best, so use learning methods that have worked in the past.

How Can I Help My Child Adjust?

Routines are comforting for kids with autism, so do your best to keep as many of them as you can. Stick to regular bed and wake-up times, meal and snack times, screen time, chores, and other household routines.  Build in new routines to include school work, breaks, and exercise.

When possible, help your child take control by giving a couple of choices. For example, you could let your child choose what to eat for lunch. When doing school work, you can ask what your child would like to do next.

Visual schedules and to-do lists can help kids know what to expect, while timers and 2-minute warnings can help with transitions.

Having a set routine and clear expectations will help lower the anxiety that can happen when things change.

How Can I Help My Child Stay Calm?

Kids with autism who feel frustrated, worried, or scared may have more repetitive behaviors (like hand flapping or rocking), tantrums, and other challenging behaviors.

Find ways for your child to express feelings. To help kids work through strong emotions, try:

  • talking together
  • doing crafts
  • writing
  • playing or acting out fears
  • for kids who are nonverbal, using augmented (or alternative) communication devices

Also try calming activities, such as deep breathing, music, or watching a favorite video throughout the day. Exercise also can help ease anxious feelings.

Limit the time kids spend on social media or watching scary or upsetting news reports. When kids do hear or read something upsetting, talk about it to help ease fears.

While caring for your child, be sure that you take breaks and recharge too.

What Else Should I Know?

Your child’s health care provider, teacher, or behavior or learning specialist can offer more tips to help your child during this time.

Talk to your provider if you notice changes in sleeping or eating habits, or if your child seems more worried or upset than usual. These may be signs of anxiety or depression.

For non-urgent health care or behavioral health visits, a provider might be able to see you through a telehealth visit so you won’t have to leave home.

For more on how to help your child, visit the Autism Speaks website and AFIRM’s COVID-19 online toolkit.

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