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Go Out of Your Way to Watch Out for Others

How many times have we heard to watch out for our fellow humans, but how many times do we actually do it? And no, while watching out to not walk into someone is important, that’s not quite what I mean for this post. Go out of your way to watch out for others in other impactful ways. If you see your neighbor struggling with a bunch of heavy boxes or bags, run up and offer to help or even grab their door for them. If you see something that doesn’t seem right at your neighbor’s house, send them a text and double check it. You won’t bother someone by helping them when they need it nor will it ever be a bad thing to go out of your way to watch out for others. We’re all in this together.

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A Not-So Traditional Christmas

When I was younger, Christmas always held such excitement to me. I loved everything about the season, not just the presents. The first weekend after Thanksgiving was always the time we’d decorate, and we all had assigned roles in decorating the inside and outside of the house. I was usually in charge of handing my dad light clips while he climbed the ladder to the roof of the house while my mom and brother set up other decorations. Soon after that, my mom would start baking a million cookies, my brother and I would start searching for our gifts, and the holidays were officially upon us.

As we age, traditions change, as is inevitable. For me, Christmas got a little smaller. I still go see my dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas day it’s usually just me and my mom or the three of us when my brother joins us. My mom and I still bake cookies together because that’s a tradition we enjoy doing. We give them out to friends, neighbors, coworkers, and of course have a stash when my brother comes home for Christmas, even though he’ll say he doesn’t want to eat any. After we open the stockings and gifts, we’ll likely go to Christmas mass, then have some lunch, and go see a movie (this year it looks like it’ll be Little Women). The movie thing is only a few years old, when I was younger Christmas was all about playing with new toys we received. One year my brother and I got an air hockey table, that was a loud Christmas for my parents I’m sure. For some, these may not really seem like a traditional Christmas, while to others, some of these traditions are how they celebrate as well.

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Here’s the thing I’m learning about Christmas as we grow up. What is a “traditional Christmas” to one is completely different to someone else. Traditions can change, sometimes in ways that cause growing pains, other times in ways that make you wonder why you didn’t change them sooner. For some people, Christmas happens a week before the actual day. For others, it happens a week after the actual day. What makes it a traditional Christmas is that everyone is gathering together. Christmas is a time for family and friends to gather together, reflect on the year, look forward to the upcoming year, and most importantly, create memories together.

Whether you celebrate by going to the beach or building a snowman or having a Christmas movie marathon, your Christmas is traditional to you. If your family is not the kind to gather around the piano and sing Christmas carols, that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a traditional Christmas, it just means your traditions look a little different. As long as you are with people you love, whether your family by birth or family by choice, that’s the most important part.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope no matter how you’re celebrating this year, that you’re surrounded by love and laughter.

Let Go of the Perfect Christmas

As a society, we’ve pretty much had it drilled into us that we should have the perfect Christmas. The perfect tree, the perfect decorations, cookies, etc., y’all can see where I’m going with this. We all feel so much pressure at the holidays to have the perfect holidays and the perfect family photos, and really, it’s the little moments that aren’t perfect that make it so much better. Trying to be perfect can be draining, so it’s time to let go of the perfect Christmas that you see in magazines and Instagram.

So let go of the perfect Christmas and start enjoying the moments you have together. Don’t be stressing about having the house perfectly cleaned and decorated for your guests, because that’s not the important part. The important part is the time spent and the memories made together. Go look at Christmas lights or go out and try a restaurant’s holiday drinks together to celebrate the season. Enjoy the slightly crispy cookies that came out of the oven after a few minutes too long. Enjoy celebrating early or late, because you were able to get the time together, and really, the day isn’t important. Don’t stress about the party you’re throwing being “just right” because family and friends care about spending time together, not if the appetizers look like Grinch or reindeer.

Prepare Everything Early for Thanksgiving

Hey y’all one of my favorite holidays is coming up this week and are you ready? Whether you are hosting a bunch of family over for the day, traveling to be with others for the week or spending it on your own, you’ll want to start preparations early. For those hosting, that’ll start with doing chores one evening, the next making pies ahead of time, then preparing the stuffing mix, etc. If you split it up into a few tasks each evening leading up to the big day, you can enjoy the actual day of a little more without feeling so stressed out. For those of you traveling, the same thing applies! Pack your bags ahead of time, make sure your arrangements for your pets are done, get that rental car confirmed, and then make sure to take time to relax beforehand. Traveling can be super stressful, so take care of yourself and try to alleviate any extra stress that you can. For those who will be spending it on your own, prepare a smaller version of the big meal for yourself, and then find some time to relax. Whether you have to work Black Friday or are studying for a big test, get some of the other things done out of the way chore-wise so you can focus on that and not feel as stressed each day.

Take On Extra Work

I know, I know, y’all were not expecting me to suggest adding even more work onto your already full plates, but that’s exactly what this weekly tip is about. Taking on extra work in all areas of your life shows not only initiative, but it also shows a desire to get ahead and to make changes in your life.

So what does this take on extra work mean exactly? It could mean anything you want it to. For some, it’s asking for more responsibility at work, for others it could mean pitching in with household chores more. Take things on slowly, and see what you reap from it. You’ll never regret working hard.

Offer to Babysit

Any new parent can get a little overwhelmed, and one of the nicest things someone can do is offer to babysit for a few hours. You don’t have to spend all night there, and the parents don’t even have to leave! This can be a great opportunity for them to enjoy a nice shower or nap or some time together just enjoying the fall weather, while you watch their little one.

Beat the Summer Blues

Summertime is a wonderful time of the year, the kids are out of school, teachers are on break, the sun is shining, and there is always so much to do. The downside is if you work full time, you can feel like your summer is passing you by! The summertime blues are a real thing, but luckily, I’ve got some tips to help you beat the summer blues, even when you work a full time job and don’t have a lot of vacation time.

Let’s face it, seeing everyone living their best life on a tropical island while you’re in the office can be downright depressing. Seeing kids at theme parks while you can barely afford a walk in the park isn’t fun either. But, before you stay down about it the rest of the summer, check out these options for beating the summer blues.

  • Schedule a “me” day. This involves no friends, unless you want to try coordinating with someone you’re close with, and it’s focus is everything you want to do. Take a sick day, we’ll call it mental health day, and go out for a manicure or pedicure, get a massage, sit in the tub for a while, whatever it is you want to do and enjoy to do, make time for it. This is a perfect tip for those working a full week or moms or dads running around doing everything for their kids and not having much time for themselves. Make “me” time and chase those summer blues away.
  • Create a new tradition. Plan ahead and set a weekend, maybe Labor Day weekend, to create a new tradition with your friends or family. It can be a family BBQ or one last pool party to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall.
  • Get outside. We all need Vitamin D to stay happy and healthy, so make sure you’re getting some of it, even if you work all day. Take a bit of time during lunch to head out or take a walk in the evening or morning before you head in. You’d be amazed what a good walk can do for your mood.
  • Make plans with friends. Yes, I know, I know, you’re super busy with catching up on everything on the weekends, but trust me, those chores can wait. If you can plan a day during the weekend with your friends to head out to a water park or check out a local waterfall, DO IT! Have some outdoor fun, and enjoy the season.
  • Look ahead to fall. If you love fall weather and are just trying to get through the summer, don’t fret, it’s almost there. Plan ahead your fall decorations and maybe start putting together some fun fall activities for you and the family to participate in.
  • Try a stay-cation. I wish we all could afford to jet off to Bermuda for a week in the summer, but if like me, that’s just not financially possible for you right now, then try something a little bit cheaper. A stay-cation is a great way to get away for the night, while not leaving your town or only going an hour or two away. You won’t have to buy a plane ticket, and you can likely get a deal for being a local. If you don’t belong to a reward program with a hotel, now would be the time to start, those points can add up and help you with your stay-cation for next year.
  • Take yourself out for ice cream. It’s a simple thing, but nothing says summer like fresh ice cream. Whether you prefer the rolled kind, the fro yo filled with toppings or a fancy artisanal flavor that you can only get at this little hole-in-the-wall place, go ahead and treat yo self! You deserve it, and even if you’re focused on health goals and keeping up with your beach body, one ice cream cone isn’t going to hurt. Enjoy the summer vibes.
  • Spend a day at the beach. Nothing says summer like the beach, and if you’ve been struggling to get that summer time feeling, go out to the water. The beach is one of my happy places, and there’s nothing better than hearing the sound of the waves. Everything is so much clearer out near the water.

I hope these tips on how to beat the summer blues help, and that you can find some fun activities to help get your spirits up. Don’t forget, a fun activity can be seeing a movie or reading a good book. My suggestions for a good movie are Spiderman: Far From Home and the Art of Racing in the Rain comes out in a few weeks, it has Milo Ventimiglia and dogs, why wouldn’t you go see it? As for a good book, I’ll be putting out a list of my favorite summertime reads that I’ve gone through this summer in a couple of days, keep an eye out for it!

Talk It Out

Keep yourself from reaching a mental breakdown point by finding a trusted family member or friend who you can talk to about everything going on. Bottling up your emotions can lead to breakdowns later, it’s easier to talk it out.

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