How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life: embrace this 1 word.

How to live your dream life starts with looking at one word in a completely different way, this one thing can be a huge game-changer in how you move forward. To help paint this picture let’s look at a movie.

In 2018 the movie I Can Only Imagine debuted and has made over $85 million. The song I Can Only Imagine hit radio stations 19 years earlier. The story behind the song is based on the life of the songwriter, Bart Millard. When the movie came out, I personally thought it would be a boring movie. Two years later, I finally watched it and my emotional response shocked me.

live your dream life

Why did the movie grab me so much?

In the summer of 2020, I was in a funk with the rest of the COVID world. We had just come off a 3-week vacation camping at a nearby campground…needless to say I needed a vacation after the vacation.

As I was flipping through movie options my finger stopped at “I Can Only Imagine”; it’s Sunday, so why not watch a Christian movie?   

The crazy thing about this specific movie was how emotional I found myself. My heart was jumping from one character to another. One minute I was sad for Bart, and the next I was upset about his mom. I was sad his dad was so confused. Then my heart ached for his dad when he was trying to figure out the Bible on his own. And then back to Bart of how he heard from God and pursued to live his dream life. But what was I really crying about?

When someone tells you it can't be done, it's more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.

The lie holding you down from your dream life

Deep emotions surfaced from my own past, and as I peered closer to the anchor which has kept me down, I saw a four-letter word written on it. Through my blurred teary eyes the word “can’t” became clear.

“You Can’t”

Throughout my life, I have heard “you can’t” from people I love and respect, from people I have trusted, and mostly from myself. With ideas and dreams I’ve shared, I was hopeful for encouragement and instead got, “That’s silly”, “You know how hard you’d have to work?”, “You don’t want to do that”, “Do you even qualify to do that?”… “You can’t”… these words were not only verbally spoken, but the Enemy whispered them in my ear as well. These people responded saying, “Don’t even try”.

Not only did I hear it from my family and friends, but I heard it in the media. “You can’t do that without this.” “You can’t lose weight without this system and support team.” And the list goes on.

To add more shine to the word “can’t”, my body was telling me I can’t! My digestive system got so messed up that I was unable to eat a “normal” diet. I have to think about what to order at a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for me to eat. Other ailments loitered and set up camp for months and then years crippling my ability to sit for long periods and walk without pain.

camping activity pages
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I was starting to believe I couldn’t do the things I had ideas about. It felt like no one took me seriously or believed in me…even me. Do you know what that’s like?

Keep moving forward

As I reflected on the movie and looked closer at the word “can’t” I realized something. As you know some people get motivated when other people tell them they can’t do something. The next thing you know they’ve achieved that very dream someone told them they couldn’t do! Not all people are like that, but maybe that can change right now. I want you to take a close look at the configuration of the word “can’t”. What do you see?

I can do anything with Christ in me

This movie showed me something I’ve missed for so many years. If you want to l live your dream life, the next time someone says you can’t, look at the letters of the word and be reminded of Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Gift for you!

Here’s a little gift for you to help you believe in yourself. Download my 30 favorite affirmations right now. And for more freebies head over to my freebies page and unlock numerous resources to get you moving forward.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I encourage you to watch it or watch it again, you may experience a breakthrough!

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected
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By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

How to simplify my life is more than just throwing my stuff out. We’re getting rid of stress and welcoming happiness into our home. Simplifying and organizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but we’re not going to organize today. We’re going to focus on simplifying our space by knowing how to do it without stress or frustration.

how to simplify my life 5 tips

If you want to have peace, experience freedom, and have more space, let alone functional space, it starts with who you are and how you operate. You are a smart person, you’re creative, and you have an amazing future. So this task of simplifying is going to need your mind, creativity, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of yourself.

Are you ready to reduce stress in your life? Come on, do more than exist, this will be a game-changer for your stress level. And you’ll feel good about it too.

The top 5 pieces of advice to simplify my life

1. Simplifying your life is a lot harder than you think.

To make simplifying work for you, you must include your brain. To make this experience a fantastic one, you’ll want to do two things: get in the right frame of mind and understand your motives.

Do you want to find things easier? What about getting rid of sour memories to make room for sweet ones? Do you want to create more space? Clean up? Do you want to live lighter? Or do you want to downsize? What is your motive for simplifying?

2. Ask yourself questions.

Grab a cup of coffee and get to work. Since I’m on a roll with questions, we’re going to keep going! When asking yourself, “How do I simplify my life?” Ask more questions. Let’s say you come upon your old t-shirt from high school, let’s ask yourself a few things:

– Why am I holding on to this?

– How is this going to change my life for the better?

– When was the last time I used it?

– Can someone else use it?

– Is this something I could sell this week?

– Is it worth the space in my house let alone mind?

– Are there positive vibes from this item or negative?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions when you run into something that might be hard to let go of. When push comes to shove, just remember you can’t take it to heaven.

Seeds you plant quote
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3. Simplify my life step by step, but not too slowly

Okay, so decluttering and cleaning isn’t a fun thing for you? We all have our dislikes but we still need to do them if we want something done. For instance, I don’t like washing the kitchen floor. However, what helps me get it done is scheduling it. Simple yet effective. I can then mentally prepare myself and start visualizing how awesome it would be to have a clean kitchen floor. With that said, take a look at your schedule and block off some time to start your decluttering project. Get serious about your space.

Yes, this kind of task is a big deal. Have you seen those shows about hoarding? There’s a little hoarder inside of us all. Go about this step by step. Maybe tackle the kitchen one day, then the bathroom another day, and so forth. You got this!

4. Get it out of your living space.

When you start to sort through things, get them out of your living space. By removing it from your living space you’ll get a taste of how much you miss it or not miss it; plus you’ll see how much stuff you are getting rid of. This is an easy technique that is extremely helpful. It helps brighten a room! Get more tips on how to brighten a room here.

This can be a big eye-opener and can even change your spending and collecting habits for the better! I have been known to make snow angels on the floor after a declutter day.

5. Make 4 piles.

Make piles: keep, donate, sell, and pitch. When you plan on having a garage sale, designate a space to keep all those things…like your garage or closet. Same rule for things to donate or to sell online. As for pitching, start a pile and fill your garbage bin every week until it’s gone.

6 questions to ask while decluttering

Wrapping up how to simplify my life

We’ve lived in the same house for over 17 years. Within those years we have had four garage sales and numerous trips to the donation center. Every garage sale blew my mind with how much stuff we were keeping and not using! With our quarterly clean-out, I still get amazed at how much stuff we accumulate in a matter of months!

When you get in the right mode for simplifying you’ll be surprised at the things you have kept over the years and the things you still want to keep. This is YOUR living space we’re talking about, make it the way you love it. When you enjoy how you’re living you’ll be a whole lot happier.

Stress-Free Moving: 2 Critical Steps

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

How to Have a Happy Family: 3 Revolutionary Steps

Benefits of a Garden: 1 Huge Reason to Take Up Gardening

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

Pride: How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers

Pride: How Cookie Dough Gave Me Super Powers

Pride. Good? Bad? Let’s see in play and start practicing how to manage it. Ironically, I’ve got 5 ways to feel like Wonder Woman and pride ain’t one of them. PLUS! You’ll get tips on how to reduce stress along with an amazing gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe!

how cookie dough gave me super powers how to deter pride
Get the recipe below, plus where I get the special ingredients.

Pride. What is it?

First off it was pride that got Satan kicked out of heaven. Yup. I’m starting with that. Secondly, pride is actually a weakness. How? One definition is this: pride is demeaning other people or feeling an aversion to others. It kind of sounds like pride has ingredients of envy, comparing, insecurity, being critical of others, disrespecting others, thinking you’re better than everyone else, and narcissism. I wouldn’t want that in my house either! Yet, because we live in a broken world, we’re going to find that in our house and in ourselves at times. So what do we do? How did we get it?

The setting, can you relate to?

Tears streamed down my cheeks. “Dear God, how am I going to do this? I have too much going on…too many hats to wear. Christmas is coming and I am the shopper, decorator, home manager, wife, mom, personal banker, blogger, volunteer, and now a student.”

Do you see what I see? This is what I see. I see my humanness in thinking I am a superwoman; that I can handle all these hats and do a great job. My expectations of myself are full of pride. Yet! I ask God to help me. Hmm.

There is nothing wrong with being busy and wearing many hats. Some people enjoy this kind of thing. But we must look at the motive behind our actions and agenda. Are the motives right with God? Or are the motives to prove to others that you are a superwoman and did it all by yourself and did a great job? Are you looking for that validation from others, that “wow” factor reaction from them? Or are you having fun and doing these things out of the joy of your heart for His Kingdom?

Oscar Wilde To live is the ratest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Let’s get vulnerable. I messed up.

That December, in 2017, I got carried away. I had a hard time sleeping, completing a thought, and taking care of my own physical ailments. I just existed. Don’t get me wrong it had its fun times with family and friends; but there were challenging, brain-draining, and humbling realities scattered throughout the month. The Enemy was at work and I didn’t see it.

“You let this little thing tell you what to do?”

– Diana (Wonder Woman)

Wonder Woman Activate

During the second full week in December, my expectations for myself were stupidly unrealistic. Not only did I have the usual Christmas preparations and home duties, but I started an online class! WHAT? “Wonder Woman Activate!” I would say to myself. “Wonder Woman Activate!” I pictured this tall, confident, strong woman with fists on hips seamlessly doing everything with a smile and wind blowing through her hair. Why did I take a fictional character and think I could be her?!

“Wonder Woman Activate! I can do this.” Then out of nowhere as I was looking outside for deep answers, a hawk landed on the back deck. Was this a sign? BARK! Bark, bark, bark! My dog saw the hawk… I snapped out of my dream. There I stood looking outside. My eyes stung. My arms crossed. And a golf ball-sized knot grew in the nook of my neck.

know where you're headed

“Wonder Woman Active”, came out of my mouth like a broken record. My mantra did not work.

I found myself on my knees. My dog looked at me and knew what was ahead. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Interlacing my fingers I bowed my head, “Dear God. Help. Help me manage all this.” After a few minutes of “sob-fest”, I sat there looking outside. It felt good to take a breather. Real good. So I gave myself a time-out. My praying hands unfolded and went to the kitchen to get my hands busy. A deep breath filled my lungs as I closed my eyes to envision my ‘go-to’ recipe… Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Wonder Twins

As my hands got busy, my tangled world loosened up just enough to welcome in some wandering. A heaping cup of flour, a pinch of salt, and a few hardy shakes of cinnamon were ready to be mixed. The beaters spun. My brain zoned in on the mesmerizing hand mixer. The hum of the beaters, the swirl of the dough, and the smell of sweetness filled my senses. Then it was as if time clicked into slo-mo. Thunk-a, thunk-a, thunk-a. Each beater spun with poise. Each beater focused on the job. Together they mixed the ingredients with accuracy. I watched them work. Thunk-a, thunk-a, thunk-a. Wait for a second…I watched them work. All of a sudden I was back in the Hall of Justice! This time I wasn’t looking to utilize the powers of Wonder Woman, but of the Wonder TWINS!

My “Wonder Woman Activate” affirmation was wrong. I laughed out loud about my realization of my confusion. Let’s try this: “Wonder TWINS Activate!”

I quickly found a picture online of the Wonder Twins. Oh my gosh! Remember Gleek the monkey? Zan and Jayna’s purple bodysuits? Whoa…I have Jayna’s same haircut. Ba ha ha ha!

While cleaning the cookie dough bowl…with my finger…I still laughed about the superhero mix-up. As I detached the infamous dough-draped beaters my thoughts went back to my reality. What was I trying to prove with this juggling of hats? That I could do it all? That I could be that strong woman who holds everything together?

A pride blow to the gut

For one last lick, I swiped my finger in the umbrella of the beater. As I was enjoying the flavors I felt a brick hit my stomach, not because of the raw cookie dough, but because I understood my madness.

I was trying to achieve all these things to prove to myself and others that I could do it all. And do it…all…by…myself. Why?

It was at that moment I realized there was a little something telling me what to do…i. The very letter that is at the center of pride, anxiety, and exist! Pride was getting in my way. Anxiety was stealing my joy. To just ‘exist’ was sabotaging my goals. This letter I was holding me BACK!

It wasn’t the tasks I needed to manage; it was my motive that needed attention.

What did I do next? Five things that made a difference in pride and stress.

  1. I asked God for clarity and perspective.
  2. I found my Wonder Twin, my spouse. And called on him when needed. This wasn’t a competition.
  3. Took things one small step at a time, step, by step, by step.
  4. Made time to hang with my family and put aside the “I”.
  5. Gave myself permission to take a time-out every once in a while and baked cookies.

All n All

For the remainder of the month, my Wonder Twin and I worked together.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work…” Ecclesiastes 4:9

That December taught me something unexpected; my real superpower came from putting the “I” aside.

The cookies I baked that day didn’t last long. I made another batch that coming weekend. Who knew cookie dough would be so powerful?

gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe
Print

Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free chocolate chip cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, cookies, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-fat, nut-free, soy-free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 10 cookies
Calories 145kcal
Cost $3.00 for batch

Equipment

  • Glass mixing bowl
  • Handmixer
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil do not melt
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar do not pack down
  • 1/4 cup Cane Sugar
  • 1 egg Prefer organic egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix Baking mix. Use a heaping cup.
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips Mini These are allergy-free, read package.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 370. Tear a sheet of parchment paper and put it over the cookie sheet.
  • Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and cane sugar to glass mixing bowl and mix with hand mixer until mixed together
  • Add egg, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Mix until together
  • In a separate bowl, add a heaping cup of King Arthur's Gluten-Free Baking Mix, salt, and cinnamon. Hand mix with a fork.
  • Gradually combine both bowls while mixing with the hand mixer. Mix until all together.
  • Fold in Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips Mini with a wooden spoon.
  • Scoop dollops of dough about the size of the wooden spoon and place on the cookie sheet. Allow 1-2 inches between dollops.
  • Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set the timer for 11 minutes.
  • While cookies are baking, clean-up the dishes. Please don't eat raw cookie dough due to the egg. We don't need tummy aches.
  • When cookies are done, slowly transfer them to a cooling rack if you have one. Otherwise, remove the cookies from the cookie sheet in a minute.
    gluten-free chocolate chip cookies

Notes

Calorie count is a guesstimate for one cookie when baked. It depends on the size of the cookie. Also the cost of the batch of cookies is also an estimate.

My favorite baking tools and ingredients

Here are some of the ingredients I use for my cookie recipe. Don’t forget to use a glass mixing bowl! Plastic bowls tend to add unwanted flavors to the cookie dough, plus there are chances of chemicals or plastic leaching into your delicious cookies. I use these, you can find them on Amazon.

Click the picture to head to Amazon.

Click on the picture to buy on Amazon.

Best allergen-free chocolate chips on the market! Get yours on Amazon.

Before you go, check out these other great posts!

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

How to Get Motivated: 4 Critical Tips to Start Anything

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

5 Important Ways to Measure Success Without Numbers

The BEST Gluten-Free Granola Bars EVER!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

More recipes!

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

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

5 Simple Mental Health Tips for Teens. Don’t Miss this!

5 Simple Mental Health Tips for Teens. Don’t Miss this!

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

mental health tips for teens

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

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

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

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

Mental health tips for teens: the beginning

For young children knowing how to manage mental health starts with them watching you do things. They aren’t going to naturally know how to manage depression, they need you to encourage them, show them, and walk alongside them. How you react to circumstances WILL affect them positively or negatively. Their eyes are on you! React well.

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

Martin Luther King Jr. quote walking
More inspirational quotes here

The brain and nature balance: a little thing with a BIG impact

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

how to build self esteem
Read the post now.

What’s next?

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

5 Mental health tips for teens

1. Get outside

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

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

Sometimes when you feel alone...the best thing is to be alone in nature. It is there where unexplainable hope penetrates your heart and brings healing to your soul. Christy Troy
More nature quotes & the power of the outdoors

Other outside activities for teens and kids

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

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

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

2. Do something kind for the body.

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

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

Pray together

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

John 14:27

3. Eat foods for your brain

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

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

4. Journal

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

Love God Back. Do More Than Exist.

5. Head to a hobby

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

Anger Management 101

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

Find on Amazon

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

Moving forward- mental health tips for teens

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

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

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

17 Road Trip Essentials to Simplify Your Trips

How to Make Camping Comfortable: 7 Critical Tips!

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

The Purpose of Creativity: Not What You Think

How to Build Self-Esteem: 3 Tips to Be Yourself

5 Best Pieces of Advice for How to Simplify My Life

Do More Than Exist Stay Connected

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Food Combining Does What? Manage stomach acid now!

Tired, bloated, indigestion after you eat? Let me fill you in on a little secret, it probably has something to do with food combining. Our stomach is known for acid. Stomach acid, along with the help of enzymes, helps break down food. Not only that but it helps support the body in absorbing protein and vitamin B-12, which we only get from protein (meat). In this post, you’ll find tips on how to feel better and get more bang for your nutrition buck! How to reduce stomach acid, how to increase stomach acid, how to test which one you have, and why food combining has a lot to do with stomach acid is in this post. Plus! You can download my free easy to easy-to-understand food combining chart!

Food combining does what? woman holding smile ballon

Let’s jump into the stomach.

If you have high levels of stomach acid you’re probably experiencing one of these symptoms: acid reflux, burping, or you may even feel nauseated. If you have too little stomach acid you may feel bloated, experience diarrhea or constipation, have food intolerances, osteoporosis, leaky gut, malnutrition, and heartburn. It’s kind of confusing, eh?

If you have either too high or too low stomach acid it puts stress on the digestive system which can lead to further problems down the road, for instance, if you have heartburn (GERDS) and don’t pay attention to it, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and upping your chances of precancerous cells. If the stomach acid is too low and left untreated it can lead to hair loss, GI infections, anemia, lupus, allergies, chronic autoimmune disorders, and thyroid issues to name a few. Yikes!

How do you know if you have high or low stomach acid?

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. I keep things simple and give you a nutshell version of what I’ve learned. *Consult your physician before jumping into new things.*

There are several things you can do to figure this out:

1) You could visit your doctor and have them order a test. Most likely it will be a CBC (complete blood count) and CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel). From the test they’ll look at a variety of factors, including iron and phosphorous levels.

2) The other test is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test, this test requires fasting for 12 hours and swallowing a tiny electronic capsule. You will need to drink a baking soda solution and then the capsule will record how long it takes your stomach to restore normal acidity levels. Cool!

3) If you don’t like doctors or want to spend the extra cash, there is a simple at-home test is called the Baking Soda Acid Test. The accuracy of this test is not 100%, so it’s best to do this test regularly to get a better idea of where you are on stomach acid.

Here’s how to do it: Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda in four ounces of water. In the morning before you eat or drink anything else, drink the concoction. Next, start your timer on your phone and time how long it takes to burp. If it takes more than five minutes or you experience no burp at all, it’s a sign of low stomach acid.

IBD Triggers and what to do
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Tips on how to reduce gastric juice:

1) Understand what food combinations cause high acidity. See my chart on freebies.

2) Eat smaller meals. Overeating can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter, which causes it to open and leak acid into your esophagus.

3) Try a low-carb diet. When our system can’t digest carbs well, we get gassy and bloated, which then leads to GERD. Numerous studies support this idea. Looking into amylase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down carbs may significantly help you when you can’t say no.

4) Limit the guilty pleasures of caffeine and alcohol. The alcohol relaxes the esophageal sphincter and the caffeine weakens the sphincter. They basically have the same effects on the sphincter. Try decaf coffee instead, that’s what I do and my body has adjusted well after the caffeine withdrawal ended.

5) Chew gum. This helps increase saliva production and helps clear the esophagus of stomach acid. It helps with symptoms but doesn’t solve the root cause. No wonder my son loves gum!

6) Cut back on carbonated drinks and citrus juice. Again both of these kinds of beverages weaken the esophageal sphincter.

7) Mint is a no-go. Mint chocolate chip ice cream should take a backseat if you experience symptoms. This refreshing herb is so relaxing that it also relaxes the sphincter. Peppermint tea, peppermint chocolate or candies, and peppermint-flavored gum have the potential to fire back, literally up your esophagus.

Some other tips to help alleviate symptoms are not eating too close to bedtime, elevating your head while sleeping, and avoiding laying on your RIGHT side. These tactics help calm the acid and keep that pesky sphincter closed!

banana fact

4 little ways to increase low stomach acid at home

1) I wouldn’t hit the meat & potatoes to fix your low stomach acid, instead, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar that includes the Mother. This is an easy way to help your stomach acid get ready to work before a meal. Mix one tablespoon of the vinegar in water and drink before a meal. Make sure you get the right one. You can see it here.

2) Like honey? Try Manuka Honey. This honey comes from New Zealand and has amazing antimicrobial properties. It helps with IBS, indigestion, stomach ulcer prevention, and oral health, and like most honey, helps with wound healing and sore throats. Get more details on Manuka Honey here.

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3) Chew. “Chew, chew, chew.” When we’re hungry, we tend to eat fast and take big bites! It’s like a welcome mat for a stuck burp. Chew every bite so it turns into mush. There is no need to eat your food fast. Simply use a smaller fork to help with bite-size.

4) Digestive enzymes also do the trick. Unfortunately, the first time I tried these they gave me diarrhea. They can cause constipation in some people too. But don’t let this discourage you. Digestive enzymes play an important role in vitamin and nutrient absorption. As you age or if you have a digestive disorder, or have pancreas issues, your enzymes deplete and lead to uncomfortable symptoms. For instance, one sign is a change in bowels and/or seeing undigested food in your stool. Yes, you should look at your poop! So before I completely gave up on digestive enzymes, I gave them another try. This time I played with the dose. Instead of a whole pill before a meal, I only took a pinch and it worked a lot better. After your body gets used to them you can move forward from there.

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What are digestive enzymes?

In a nutshell, there are three main types of digestive enzymes: proteases, lipases, and amylases. Here is a list of the enzymes and what they do. Helpful Hint: Pancreatic enzyme names usually end in “-in” (like trypsin or pepsin), while other digestive enzymes usually end in “-ase” or “-ose” (like lactose, sucrose, fructose).

The trick for making digestive enzymes work for you is to first determine if you are a candidate for supplementation. Know your body, and pay attention to how it reacts after you eat. Are you burping, bloated, having to run to the bathroom, heartburn, stinky gas and a lot of it, or cramping?

The next step is to determine what kind of enzyme you need. Asking your doctor, a nutritionist, or a functional medicine doc for their recommendations is the way to go. Just note the FDA does not regulate digestive enzymes, so everyone will have their own opinion, but you know your body best. You want clear ingredients from a reputable manufacturer.

Third, you’ll have to experiment to find the right dose. Remember this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. I’m not a doctor. Seek advice from a qualified health provider before trying something new. This post is to help you investigate how to help heal your body and ask the right questions to your healthcare provider.

digestive enzymes list

Stress can increase stomach acid?

Does stress increase stomach acid? That’s a great question. The answer is debatable but most likely. Stress affects our muscles, our immune systems, and our minds. All of those things work together to keep our bodies functioning. When one is off, it affects the other. If your muscles are tight around the stomach, it might push your stomach contents around and increase pressure. It doesn’t hurt to manage stress. For managing stress you’ll want to check out this post: How to Reduce Stress in your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips.

Food Combining 101

Back to Food Combining. Yes, combining food makes a difference with stomach acid. Food combining gives you a little bit of control. When certain foods are put together they can either wreak havoc on your stomach or can give you energy. For instance, the classic steak and potato with melted butter, well it’s going to spoil in your stomach. You will most likely have bloating, stinky ‘wind’, and indigestion. This combo could also contribute to weight gain. And the melon salad with grilled chicken, well that’s going to do the same thing. This is not to confuse you, it’s just the opposite.

Keeping a diet with a few simple rules will reap benefits in the short and long term. I made a simple, easy-to-understand food combining chart to help regulate your stomach acid. In my kitchen, I tape it to the inside of one of my cupboards. Don’t forget to head to Freebies to download yours today. All in all, remember to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach and only eat proteins with non-starchy vegetables. We’ve covered A LOT of information. Keep this post handy to reference for a quick guide.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

Better Belly Steak Recipe

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

4 Amazing Tips for Weight Loss

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

9 Easy Ways to Learn More about Yourself

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By CT Copyright © 2020 Do More Than Exist. All Rights Reserved.

5 Simple Stress Management Tips: Habits to Break free

5 Simple Stress Management Tips: Habits to Break free

Stress has touched everyone; knowing how to manage it is something we can all get better at. Just look at our world in the early 2020s. Ouch. Let’s get this straight from the get-go, stress management is a skill. Managing stress is something we learn and practice over and over again. Whether we need help with managing work stress, health stress, stress with parenting, social stress, or stress when moving; let’s hone in on how to get better at it with 5 of my favorite stress management tips!

5 stress management tips woman looking at stars

Fix it, please

Years ago I accidentally deleted my entire website. Yeah, ‘File Not Found’ stared at me in the eyes. My stress level went from three to a hundred in a matter of milliseconds. As a result, about 5 seconds later Worry settled in, and in a matter of 60 seconds, anxiety settled in.

Furthermore, because I did my own website work, I couldn’t just call a web person and say, “Fix it please”. All this hard work…GONE. The “undo” button or back arrow was pointless in this case. I tried it. Do you ever have times like these? When you ask yourself, “Why did I just do that? Did that happen?” Wishing there was an “undo” button?

It’s funny when these stressful mistakes occur and we believe for a split second, maybe it will go away and fix itself, or everything will go back to normal if we just close our eyes. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this.

Winston Churchill quotes

Hubby? Are you awake?

Above all, what really put the icing on the cake was that this website disaster occurred right before bed. Like sleep was going to happen! My brain was fried. Knuckles locked. Fingertips deaden. The courage to push the keys on my keyboard was in deep jeopardy. As a result, when I did find the strength to push buttons, I immediately checked my backup. Well, guess what, it wasn’t working! My ears got hot and my gut started to cramp.

Talking this situation out with someone is a great stress management tip to start with. My husband was sleeping already…not that he knows anything about websites…but I needed someone by my side, to listen to my predicament. Through the years I’ve found healing when I talk to someone about an issue. When we “vent” it’s like we release the problem from our minds and put it out in the world for the world to figure out. Maybe the listener can relate to how to deal with the subject. I see stress as a pressure cooker. When there is too much pressure, we need to open the cap to let some steam out.

When no one is there

Since my husband was sleeping, I didn’t want to disturb him; he has enough sleeping issues as it is. With no one available, I folded my hands and closed my eyes tight, “God, I’m freaking out. I made a mistake and I’m not sure how to fix it. Please help me dig deep and figure this out.” And then I prayed again. God is always awake and He’s available.

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What’s next? The size of my problem.

After giving it to God, I needed to do something else for a minute. All I wanted to do was escape, to get out of the room, away from the keyboard. In the black of the night, I slid on my slippers, grabbed a towel, and walked outside. The dark sky was peppered with a twinkle. It was a welcoming reminder of how small my problem was and how big the world stands. “Was anyone else in their backyard stressing out like me? Probably.

As I folded my towel into a neat square, I anticipated sitting on it to just be. The shadowy trees surrounded me, but not in an intimidating way. No bugs, no noises, just stillness. I watched my breath let go. The quietness blanketed my shoulders. The earthy air filled my nose. And I felt a peace embrace my soul. There at the moment was God telling me all was going to be okay.

fall trees quote

Selective Perspective

The value of this stressful night revealed to me the power of perspective. If I didn’t get stressed out, then I wouldn’t have prayed, I wouldn’t have felt the nudge to go outside, I wouldn’t have encountered nature in its nightly glory, and I wouldn’t have experienced the healing powers of my backyard.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, like your backyard, 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.” Nature can heal and soothe the soul. Going outside isn’t just for kids to play in, but for us to pray in. You’re going to want to check out my post on Nature Quotes: the power of the outdoors.

Focus on the calm

Consequently, I know this is hard, but when you encounter a stressful situation, I challenge you to focus on calming down immediately. In doing so; you will gain a better perspective of the issue and will respond more wisely. After a good 15 minutes, I wasn’t worried anymore. Whether I had to start from scratch or come up with a different solution, it was going to be alright. That night in my backyard I stood up, shook my towel out, and walked back inside. My feet slid out of my slippers and I went to bed. I actually slept.

5 Stress Management Tips

#1 Talk it out.

#2 Pray without ceasing

#3 Go outside and take a breather

#4 Rest to be your best

#5 Back up everything that’s important to you.

My take away

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I got up extremely early to mend my mishap. With a well-rested body and mind, I was diligent in figuring this out. Hence, venturing into the back end of my website was scary but I succeeded and found an older backup. Thank the Lord! Later that day I took a long walk amongst the trees while being grateful for my state of being. Practice how to manage stress. Next time you’re stressed out, take out these 5 stress management tips and see how you do. You may be surprised at how simple it works.

Before you go, check out these other great posts on stress.

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life: 10 Breakthrough Tips

4 Simple Reduce Stress Strategies for You & Your Kids

3 Simple Anger Management Tips: Lion to lamb

5 Stress Fighters Most People Forget

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By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

How To Be Creative: Step 1

How To Be Creative: Step 1

If you want to know how to be more creative it starts with understanding the purpose of creativity. How to be creative is meant to be yourself. Taping into our God-given talents and abilities helps us naturally be creative. A big part of how to be creative is permitting yourself to let go of the world and unlock the abilities God gave you. Doing that can be scary, however, getting the right frame of mind might help ease you into your creative side. Holley Gerth, the Christian author, said it perfectly, “Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him.” This involves creativity!

Your dream is a gift God gives you. What you make of it is your gift to Him. Holley Gerth
how to be creative

Don’t get discouraged in how to be creative

I’ll never forget when I was 10 years old; I reached for the flour in an overhead cupboard. My fingertips were millimeters away from the canister. One… more… bit… CRASH! I was successful in getting the flour down, but it wasn’t in the canister. I stood there and sulked as my older sister laughed at me and called me “Casper”. Creativity can get messy.

Back then my dream was to become a baker. I loved baking cookies, muffins, and quick breads. Mixing simple ingredients with my signature twist was so fun. Unfortunately, it’s harder for me to bake these days. Since I’ve gone gluten-free it makes it more challenging to bake, but I still try and experiment with what I have. 🙂 My baking dream might have gotten messy with my diet restrictions but it hasn’t terminated my need to create.

How to know if you’re being creative

One way to know when you are using your creative side is when you lose track of time. It’s those moments in between clock numbers when you truly feel alive. Whether it’s cookies, a garden, a writing piece, or simply drawing a picture on your child’s lunch sack. It’s gratifying to see what your creativity can create.

Why creativity is important: don’t miss this!

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Creativity isn’t just for fun. Creative thinking can solve problems, help us perform better at our jobs, help with depression, and help make a difference in people’s lives. Look at music, art, dance, and literature… what are those talents trying to do? Matthew Barnet has a great answer from his book, The Cause Within You.

He says, “Fulfilled artists do not paint or sculpt for the sake of creating more art. They do it to move people and challenge them to see the world differently. “

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The scary part about creativity

From CreatingMinds.org they say our creativity fades away when we don’t use it. As in the Bible, it says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…” Matthew 5:13. (NIV)

In our busy lives, it’s important to take a time out to be creative; and to take a small step in becoming the unique person we were intended to be not just for ourselves, but for the sake of others. More importantly, using our creativity is an excellent way to love God! He gave you the ability and talent, use it to give thanks to Him.

All in all

The creativity flame still glows in us. Feed the fire within. There is no better time to get our hands busy; our minds will love it, our hearts will feel good, and we may spark something in someone’s minutes.

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist 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. Talk about a simple act with big impacts! Do more than exist today by working on your confidence and self-esteem. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. 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 confidence and 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. Ugh, friends, I hate this when this happens!

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 every day in moving forward.

be fearless in who you are

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 and confidence. 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 two areas in my life that weren’t like everyone else’s, my career and family size (I had a miscarriage). 

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 affect us. The problem is comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Sham on me! Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, their physical health, 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. 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.

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 lovingly talk to yourself, 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.

Victorious people were never meant to settle for normal. - Lysa Terkeurst

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

God's Promises

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By CT Copyright © 2016 Do More Than Exist All Rights Reserved

How to Achieve Goals: Top 4 Sabotages You’ll Never Guess

How to Achieve Goals: Top 4 Sabotages You’ll Never Guess

Off-track? Want to know how to set goals and achieve them? When our goals and declarations stutter to a stop, our proactive self immediately turns into a reactive being. We get into a vicious cycle of reacting to our circumstances instead of making things happen. I’m here to help you prevent that from happening. Learn my 4 repair tricks to knowing how to achieve goals!

How to achieve goals: 4 sabotages you'll never guess

What ain’t gonna work

Forward is the right direction, no? As with anything moving forward, it’s a lot easier to use a flashlight than to stumble in the dark. A key to knowing how to achieve goals is to understand what throws us off. What are your triggers and how do you defeat them?

Picture this; we start the year off strong. The first week we’re super motivated. The second week it gets a little harder. The third week something happens; we’re not sure what…but we veer off course; so much so we decide to set up camp. I’ve personally been there many times. Frankly, my old patterns are comfortable, they’re easy. But friend, there is something else I’ve learned; “comfortable” and “easy” ain’t gonna getcha where ya want ta go. So let’s learn more about what trips us up in the first place.

Gandhi quote about shaking the world in a gentle way

Here are the top stumbling blocks:

L = LIES we believe.

It’s too hard. Let’s face it, when things are hard ‘quitting’ comes to mind. This year quitting is not an option. Your goals need to be challenging, but they don’t need to be hard. There’s a difference. It’s called pace and workload. It’s too hard is a lie. Are you looking for an excuse to stop? When things get hard it is SO easy for us to quit. Here’s the thing, when you quit you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, and you just missed it because you gave up. Keep moving forward. When hard things are taken step by step it’s heck-of-a-lot easier to make things happen.

THE FIX: Break down your resolution and put a plan in place. Write down what you want to do every week, then every day, then every morning and evening. Get into a routine that helps you win. I don’t care how small the step is, you’re still moving forward. Make the day count. I created a mind map that will help you take things one step at a time. This is actually a great family activity to do; you’ll hold each other accountable!

A = ACTIONS WE DON’T TAKE.

There’s a lack of motivation. When I’m unmotivated I procrastinate. I wait until I FEEL like it. Well if I waited until I FELT like it all the time, nothing would move forward and I would have regrets. There are a couple of things I’m talking about. In order to know how to achieve goals, the first is to understand the purpose. Why must this get done? What space does it fill? What piece of my goal does this satisfy? The second is the FEEL part. This is a time when you pull up your bootstraps and put the emotions aside.

THE FIX: Ask yourself, “How am I going to feel when I get this done?” If your answer is ‘relief, amazing, good, a load off’, then that means it needs to happen…make it so. This is so incredibly good for your mental help and confidence.

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Z = ZOMBIE GOALS. Sabotage #3

How to achieve goals is to have specific goals. The sabotage is that our goal is not specific. It’s like we’re walking around like zombies. Let’s say my resolution is to manage my finances better; I declare “I’m going to save money this year.” Then what? Ask yourself these questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Who is going to help me? What changes am I going to do? When am I going to review these things? Where am I going to go if I need help? How am I going to succeed? When you have the answers to these questions you have a better view of how it’s going to happen.

THE FIX: be specific when writing your goals, something like this: “I’m going to review my cash flow and budget every Thursday after work.” To help you out in the goal department I created a printable that you can get for free. Head to my Freebies.

Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. - Michael Jordon 
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Y-YELLERS get our attention.

We get distracted. Distraction is a HUGE sabotage! When our focus isn’t on our end goal we flounder around in circles. Some people get stuck in this pattern and find it harder and harder to break free. To break through this twister, we must intentionally turn away from the distracting force and focus on what lies ahead.

I read an article a few years ago about the power behind just seeing the word “FOCUS”; it said that it can mysteriously snap us back on track. It sounds crazy, but I tried it and it worked for me. 

THE FIX: when you find yourself getting distracted, recognize what is happening and remove yourself from the distracting environment. Write the word “focus” and place it in areas where distractions linger. Take it a step further and declare your time and space to be free of distractions in Jesus’ Name. Darkness wants to throw you off course. Stand firm next to Christ, and command the negative ju-ju to leave.

And…there it is…how to achieve goals

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, the acronym I used for goal sabotages was LAZY. Our goals fall short because we get lazy. Been there, done that! Another way to look at it is that you might say we get a “lazy eye”, not physically, but mentally. We lose sight of our WHY, why am I doing this anyway, we might ask.

The word “lazy” means: unwilling to work or use energy. Talk about a knife in the wound. Lazy isn’t a bad word, especially on your day off. But it can be used against you in all other states of affairs.

My perspective about personal goals and resolutions is this: no one is going to do it for you. If you want it, YOU have to go get it. Staying reactive to things in life isn’t life, that’s existence…you just exist. But when you use your knowledge, resources, talents, strength, and creativity to go after your own goals…that’s not only productive, that’s doing more than existing.

Take things step-by-step, check your motivation, use specifics when setting goals, and FOCUS. May you be filled with dreams, plans, and amazing goals for your soul.

Before you go check out these posts!

11 Quotes on Success to Be Successful

3 Problem-Solving Strategies People Often Forget

How to Get Unstuck in Life: 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

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By CT Copyright © 2021 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

Winter Blues? 13 Ways to Naturally Beat It

Winter Blues? 13 Ways to Naturally Beat It

Come January and February the winter blues gradually sneak up on us. Winter blues disorder is a thing. According to Cleveland Clinic having the “winter blues” is actually normal. You’re totally fine to feel a little down during the colder months. They refer to it as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Um, yeah, I know I get it. No matter where we live we’re bound to crave sunlight. But it’s not all about sunlight.

how to help the winter blues

What can we do about the winter blues? 13 Tips

Here are the best 13 ways to naturally reduce the ‘winter blues’. I go from the most common to the most unique. My personal favorites are #9 and #13.

1- Get Outside…even if it’s cloudy.

There is power in the outdoors even when it’s cloudy. Stepping outside to get the mail can even help fight off the winter blues sad symptoms. Stepping out in nature helps you feel like you did something today, that in itself, a feeling of accomplishment can mend the blues of winter. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself a change of scene, even if it’s a stroll in your neighborhood. Get some fresh air. Yo, getting outside may even help you sleep better at night. Here are a few nature quotes to get you motivated.

2- Open up the shades and pull back the curtains.

Increase the amount of sunlight in your home, again, even if it’s cloudy. Open the shades and curtains! Being closed off to the incredible beauty of creation is depressing. Stop it! Simply opening the curtains or shades during the day is so incredibly healthy for your mind and well-being. This little act makes a huge impact on your psyche. Say goodbye to the winter blues disorder!

3- Take Vitamin D

There are a lot of benefits to vitamin D. One benefit is it improves mood. Taking vitamin D3 also reduces upper respiratory infections. Other vitamin D benefits include bone health, helping the immune system, managing blood sugar levels, fighting heart disease, helping regulate hormones, contributing to memory, supporting skin health, and more. Dr. Axe has more info here. “D” gives you a dose of goodness.

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4- Exercise

Beating the winter blues means working hard and outsmarting it! Who cares if it’s cloudy and gray outside? Bundle up and get out there. A bit of fresh air does a body and soul good. There have been studies on how exercise can boost mood. Have you heard of a runner’s high? It exists. But what if you don’t run? Lace-up the walking shoes or slip on the biking shorts! Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes, an hour would be fantastic. Winter blues sad symptoms have no room in your everyday minutes when you’re heart gets pumping. I like to visualize the negativity leaving my body as I work my body.

5- Set a sleep schedule

When you’re on a sleep schedule, your body will naturally flow with it. It takes a little time, but within a week or two, you should be feeling the positive effects. Stick to all-natural ways to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Things like avoiding electronics an hour or two before bed, dimming the lights, taking a hot bath, setting a routine, reading before bed, exercising in the morning instead of the evening, and avoiding caffeine after the lunch hour. I went as far as changing out my LED light bulbs to incandescent; yet, it’s hard to those light bulbs these days.

Psalm 46:5

6- Look at what you’re eating.

A special diet to help the winter blues? Yeah, kind of. Change up your diet and eat more Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, flax seeds), berries, dark chocolate, and bananas are beneficial too. Source: Healthline. These types of foods give off happy vibes. I’ve got a great recipe for salmon in a skillet, find my recipe here. What you put into your body does affect how you feel. Get clear with cleaner foods and reduce inflammation with foods that calm. If you have digestive issues, be sure to check this post out, it has great information coming from someone who knows! (me).

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7- Try Light Therapy

Light therapy also helps manage the winter blues, but talk to your doctor first. There are a few lights to look at on Amazon. Here’s one that’s inexpensive to try: Miroco Light Therapy Lamp.

6 More Fun Things to Calm the Winter Blues

8- Add plants to your indoors

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Some other fun things we can do to brighten our blue months (January and February) are to bring green plants into your living space. Having plants, even if they’re fake, gives off a fresh feel to the room. Try putting a houseplant or two in your kitchen. If you don’t do well with plants, and what I mean is keeping them alive, head to your favorite hobby store or hop on Amazon and pick up some fake greens. Find other ideas on how to brighten a room here.

9- Light it up inside!

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Move your Christmas lights from your tree to other areas of your home. I have a fake tree in my house; year-round I put a string of white lights on it and turn them on in the evening and early morning. The fireplace mantel is also a great spot to have a string of lights. A few lights can go a long way! If you don’t like the typical dark green string, get the white one! You can find them on Amazon.

10- Turn your nose on

Fill your home with lovely smells. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about the smell of banana bread baking, but it brings warm hugs to my soul. Chicken soup does the same thing. Whatever your childhood favorite smell, make that smell happen! This is a low-cost method that goes a long way.

Lunchbox Note Jokes
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11- Get into nature…with your ears

Play nature sounds. There are a lot of great nature sounds you can download. My personal favorites are the ones with birds, something that mimics my backyard in the warmer months. If the ocean is your favorite spot, tune into the sounds, and close your eyes.  

12- Embrace the season

Welcome the stillness of the winter. Every year I find myself craving time alone when it’s snowing outside. Since I live in Michigan we get our share of snow. The snow has this magical way of quieting life down. Enjoy the silence of nature. One of my favorite places to be in winter is sitting in the snowbank at night…especially if it’s snowing!

13- Warm up the bones

Don’t forget to warm up your bones. If there is ever any sunshine, grab a camp chair and camp out in front of the window or door where the sunbeams shine through. I did this just the other day and my soul immediately felt better. No sun? Try your fireplace. No fireplace? Light a candle. No candles? Take a hot bath. No bathtub? A cup of dairy-free hot chocolate or tea works too…with a pair of cozy socks.

4 tips to help the winter blues

Victory over the Winter Blues

Let’s beat the winter blues at its game. Shine light where you can and warm up your soul using all your senses. Be aware of your surroundings and how you can change them. You got this!

Before you go, check out these other great posts:

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

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