6 Ways to Enrich Your Life – Starting Today!

6 Ways to Enrich Your Life – Starting Today!

 You deserve to make the most of every 24 hours you are given, so use the steps below to begin to enrich your life and create harmony.

1. Find time to relax
True quality of life begins when we have time to contemplate, slow down and prioritize our thoughts. To enrich your life today, take a bubble bath, enjoy a walk or settle in with a good book. According to Harvard Health, taking these moments to unwind enables the body to fight the effects of stress by relaxing the muscles and reducing blood pressure.  I love to relax by getting into a good story, either through a book or a movie.  With a book I can take my time, dream about the characters and set the pace of the story.  With a movie, I often reflect afterwards and always enjoy when I can really feel in-touch with the characters. This time away from the busyness of life really helps me feel more at peace in my day-to-day life.

“Relax, Recharge and Reflect. Sometimes it’s okay to do nothing.”

Izey Victoria Odias
Bath salts and essential oils are a great way to enhance the experience of relaxation

2. Mind your Stressors
Having a mind-body connection can be a powerful tool in enriching your daily life. Try writing out the times you feel most stressed so you can readily identify when stress might occur. Stress can come from multiple places, our relationships and/or home life, workplace, internal stressors (anxiety and worry) and life concerns. Identifying what brings you stress can help you determine how to handle that stress. Some stress can be controlled with simple changes. For instance, if deadlines are causing stress at work, look for ways you can set yourself up for success. Organize your desk, get a calendar, set reminders on your phone or desktop. These small actions can help reduce stress in your day-to-day tasks. If you need further help or if stressors are outside of your ability to control, then reach out to a professional, such as a counselor, therapist, a pastor or mentor.

3. Get Enough Sleep
There cannot be enough said about letting yourself rest! Sleep is the time for our bodies to recharge and repair. Most normal adults need 7-9 hours sleep, according to WebMD. However, the specific amount of time can be adjusted to fit your own needs. Ultimately, be aware if you are lacking sleep for any extended period of time. Lack of sleep can cause impaired judgment, delayed reaction time, memory issues and even a weakening of your immune system. Having a bedtime window works well. Tell yourself, “I will aim to go to bed between 10pm and 11pm tonight.” That way you have a cushion of time to allow yourself to prepare.

4. Prioritize Nutrition
Food is literally your life source and what sustains you. It is very important that you make nutrition a priority to enrich your life. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed and loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and things like antioxidants and amino acids. (Trust me, your body needs these!) Calories are just measurements of energy, so consume wholesome calories in a rainbow of colors – leafy greens and celery, orange carrots, red tomatoes, yellow squash, purple beets, blueberries…you get the idea! Limit processed foods, high-fat foods and excess sugar. Select recipes ahead of time, then grocery shop for these specific ingredients. I love to meal plan and create a menu board on my fridge each week. It helps me stay on track with diet and my budget – double win!

5. Meditate or Pray
Being in-touch with our inner-self is just as important as our relationship with the world around us. Taking time to meditate, being mindful or spending time in prayer helps enrich your life connection to our true selves and our creator. I find that I enjoy prayer time in the evening. I like to reflect on the day and chat with God for a few moments before I go to bed. I also try to make time to reconnect in prayer on my way to work in the mornings. Often the sunrise reminds me of the magnificent beauty in life and that there is an entire force at work so much larger than myself! God designed this day for us, he put this world in motion. Each sunrise reminds me of this and sometimes it’s as simple as a “thank you” to make me feel at peace. If you can, at whatever time of day feels best to you, find a quiet spot, turn off distractions and allow yourself to just be in the moment. To read more about Meditation and Prayer, click here!

6. Own Your Environment
The immediate space around you can have a profound impact on your mood and the feeling of contentment. To enhance your environment, take 5 minutes to de-clutter or reduce visible chaos. Light a candle or turn down harsh lighting. Music is also known to have stimulating effects. So, occasionally I turn on some tunes while I’m cooking to elevate the experience of relaxing after a long day. I love soulful worship music from Lauren Daigle, Selah, Hillsong, NeedtoBreathe, David Crowder Band, For King & Country, Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, Jars of Clay and Elevation Worship. Even though I’m still on my feet, I begin the process of unwinding this way. Scent is a great stimulant to boost your surroundings, too. An electric diffuser for essential oils is my chosen method and I find the ability to vary my scents is a fun way to incorporate the element of aromatics. Select scents for relaxation such as lavender and jasmine if you like florals, or bergamot and sandalwood if you prefer spicier aromas.

Rachel Says: Don’t hesitate to put these ideas into effect today! Simple changes can enhance the way we experience life, from reducing stress at work to creating our own home sanctuary. Be intentional with your actions – you deserve to live your best life today!

Have other ways you prefer to enhance your daily routines?  Comment below!

 

What Speaks Loudly

What Speaks Loudly

I open the fridge to find it just sitting there.

Delicately packaged, neatly arranged, ready and prepared for a new day is my husband’s lunch. I sigh, immediately slump my shoulders and feel the weight of defeat. Regrettably thoughts rush through my mind. Why do I even try? What’s the point?

I had come home from work the evening before after a long day of stopping at the repair shop for the car, rushing to work because of the delay, leaving late trying to get everything accomplished, stopping at the grocery store to ensure ingredients were on hand for the week, only to arrive home far past dark and 20 minutes before the little one’s bed time.

Does he even understand everything that demands my time?

Husband had prepared dinner for the kids and kept a bowl warm in the oven, a healthy morsel awaiting my arrival after the day. I appreciate him for these things. For the small acts of kindness that fill in the voids that time demands and the day seizes. Left to my own devices I probably would have eaten a handful of peanuts.

However, to my delight a warm bowl of rice and seasoned pork sat on hand, the perfect temperature and deliciously prepared. I consumed enough to quiet the sounds of hunger gnarling inside and without taking a seat or pause, began preparing for the next day. Lettuce to peel, radishes to slice, tomatoes to quarter. Meat folded neatly on bread and wrapped just the same. Yogurt and berry cups prepared for the morning. Lunch cases organized and placed on the middle shelf, I felt accomplished and finally went to change for the evening, ready to shake off the days ventures.

Now, here it sits.

Not forgetting his own sacrifice of time and love the night before, I had purposefully appreciated it and offered words of gratitude to him.

Encountering the forgotten efforts the next day left me feeling a little deflated.

The little one and I loaded up in the car and headed for her school drop off. I messaged him about the abandoned meal. He messages back a sad face and intent to get a granola bar from the vending machine to hold him over. Immediately my heart softens and my frustration melts away.

It wasn’t purposefully ignored, just simply forgotten.

I considered my agenda for the day and realizing I had enough time to help, I made a new plan.

Little one now in class, I head for the store. I carefully examine prepared meals until I find one that appears diet-friendly and that he might enjoy.

Veggies, lemonade, yogurt and a fruit bar later, a new meal is ready to go. I stop by the coffee station on my way out and pick him up a medium roast. A gesture of love on what was is usually a busy morning of meetings and hectic schedules for him. I head east and swing past his office. He greets me with a kiss and a heartfelt thank you.

Nothing else really matters than this. This is marriage. The delicate balance of support and concern, of friendship and gratitude, of making life happen together.

I desire love to be the loudest voice in my life.

I hope it echoes off the walls of insecurity and finds its way into the smallest crevices of my heart, like a flood searching for a turbulent exit. May it twist and wind, rush and flow, surge and roll until every last susceptible nook and cranny are overflowing with its abundance.

May it tear at the roots of frustration and discontent, washing it far away from the new buds of concern and affection.

May I always be willing to love first and demand last, to hope with abandon and run fervently towards compassion.

This usually requires a removal of self, the awareness of emotion that is offered for others and not wrapped tightly around the center of my own desires. It is sometimes a daily occurrence, this allowing of the satisfaction of others to satisfy myself.

Yet, its the sweetest taste of life I have ever known.

Intentional Attitude

Intentional Attitude

There are two shiny, red corvettes.  I’m not entirely sure of the year, but from the cut of the fenders, the glisten of the cherry paint and the muscley-muscleness they represent, I’d say they are a 70’s model.  Sure, they are probably from the 70’s.  My step-children are intent on arguing which one is theirs, however.  The little one insists the one in her brother’s hand is IN-FACT hers and the other, identical one on the counter belongs instead to him.

It doesn’t matter, I admonish.

They are the same car.  We bought them on the same day, at the same time, from the same store.  They came in the same style box and you both liked the same car. For goodness sake, each take one of them and go play.  She sighs a huge sigh, shoots her brother a death-look and takes the other car from the counter, likely to create some sort of Evel Knievel-style launching system from which to shoot it from. 

It’s tough, this game of possession and the level of importance we assign to the objects, the things, the stuff that “belongs” to us. 

As a matter of fact, I’m of the persuasion that we really own very little in our lives.  I feel we are more gifted an authority over things and we get to choose how to execute the stewardship of those things.

This stewardship is ours to command, from work to home and back again.

I have a home.  A home I purchased and work for and pay for.  However, when I am done with the use of this particular dwelling, when it has served it’s purpose in my life, or I decide to move on from this place, I will relinquish ownership to the next purchaser and it will no longer belong to me. 

So, rather than get prideful about the place that I own, I try to honor it for the thing that it is, a place of shelter, a quiet place to read or study, a place to share a meal with family and friends, my safe harbor and the place in which I may rest my head at night. 

The same must go for the place I occupy at work. I fill a role, command a position, and represent a brand. It is my commission and my duty to execute my commitment to this role with all intention, passion and fervor.

I feel we can give such attention to the things in our lives and the people, as well.  I must remember as a wife that I do not “own” my husband.  As a supervisor I do not simply “command” my employees. 

Rather, I feel in this journey of life that we are called to enhance the other’s existence. This is the true essence of living and leading with intention. I am called to encourage others around me in a way that does not overtake or abuse their position in my life.  Rather, I am entrusted to foster their development, inspirit their growth,

I do not wish to take for granted this marvelous responsibility I have been given. 

We can deliberately cultivate our work relationships by remaining committed to intention. Sometimes this is quite challenging when turnover in a role has occurred, especially if that role is paramount to your success in your own role. Establishing communication, taking time to listen, growing that relationship on a daily basis takes time.

Being open to realize another individual’s potential or recognizing them for what they bring to the table can go a long way in giving solid foundation to important alliances.

I help my step-children with small pieces of the idea that things are meant to be shared…space, time, objects and ideas…by providing them a donation box in which they can also release some of the ownership of their things in order to share with those less fortunate.  They sort through their toys and belongings and look for items to share. 

They do not have authority over another person, or the responsibility of managing a team of individuals. However, their understanding of guardianship and ownership rests in the physical things they possess.

I challenge them to intentionally desire a will of goodness, compassion, empathy, kindness, support and generosity through actions like sharing.

Although her sharing box consists of items that have memories for her, my step-daughter has come to terms with relinquishing her command over these objects. For now she keeps that little, red corvette and that is okay, too. 

She is enjoying it for this moment and perhaps will have a moment in the future where it is no longer hers.  Cherish the moments, baby girl, instead of the things.  I will enjoy more watching you create those loops and jumps, rather than basking in the pride of what items we can afford or not afford for you.  If you must posses, then posses the moment.  If you must own, then own the responsibility. 

And, if you must insist, then insist on intention.

This lesson goes for me, too. I want to encourage you to take stock of your own intention. Perhaps you can insist on being the rock in your department. Even if you feel overlooked, realize that managers are aware of potential.

Good leaders depend on individuals who are patient to learn a new project, who are open to sharing new ideas, who make space at the table for the new face among the group.

Be the person who cares.

Give a little kindness back into the world and allow it to booster your own outlook. Your stress level will feel more managed. Your work relationships will blossom. New opportunities will open. And maybe, just maybe, you will find purpose through your intention.

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What Role Am I In Today?

What Role Am I In Today?

If I had a hat for every role life has asked me to play I would have a wall of hats. There would be big floppy ones for the carefree girl that I am. There would also be one with a feather for the sophisticated woman I desire to be. I would wear a construction hood for the harder moments, a cap, a fedora, a beanie, and a snow toboggan. There would be big hats, little hats, hot pink and sequin hats. I would have a hat to match my favorite black heels and maybe a patchwork hat with buttons for these converse tennis shoes currently living on my feet.  I would have so many hats for so many roles. 

How do we balance this?

For instance, I am a wife, a step-mother, a business manager, the family chauffer-chef-doctor-therapist-counselor and rememberer-of-things.  I am a dog mom, cat mom, little red fish mom to Bubbles the 2nd. (It must be pronounced this way, full-title, at all times.) I’m also a spider mom to Mr. Cuddles, the tarantula. (This was a moment of questionable judgment in attempt to let the kids learn more about nature and science. Turns out he’s a very nice, albeit hairy little fellow and so was dubbed accordingly by my step-son.)

It can all be so hectic to manage!

Changing hats is hectic enough, but sometimes I literally cannot remove one before adding another.  And so here I stand with unkempt hair that I promise was curled earlier. I’m wearing hats like a circus performer, one stacked precariously on top of the other until they are out of my reach.

Thank God for grace.

Thank God for the tribe around us who uplift and support. For my husband who lovingly offered the other day, “What can I do to make this week easier for you?”

For my team at work who rallies beside me to make the day happen, for ladies at church who offer hugs for no reason. I’m also grateful for friends who send random texts of uplift and encouragement, for words of wisdom that call out from the pages of scripture, and for podcasts of enlightenment I can listen to on my commute. Not to mention, family who are always cheering from the sidelines, and all those who pour into life so that others around them may live. 

I’m thankful for the tribe around me.

If you are not experiencing these things, then I hope you find them here.  I hope that you find a wellspring of love and support, of encouraging words and compassion.  I hope you find inspiration to fuel your passion, no matter what hat the day has asked you to wear or what role you are required to play. 

Pull it down tight and press on ladies.

I am here here to help sort through the chaos, to set new goals, to redefine your current path, to help you establish your trajectory and to bring it all together in a beautiful song and dance. Let’s do this!

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Disclaimer:

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.  For more details, click here.