Taking It On

You’ve been RACK’d! (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness)

It’s finally the holiday season!!! I love the holiday season, don’t you? It’s my favorite time of the year for so many reasons, but the one I’m focused on today is giving! Giving, giving, giving! Giving makes my heart sing! (Haha) There is absolutely no better feeling than when you give, often time something small, to someone who didn’t expect it. I love the pure look of joy. Giving even the smallest of things can turn someone’s day from a frown fest into a joy fest.

I also love seeing my daughter give. It is so wonderful watching her learn giving is more rewarding than receiving.  That is why one of our favorite holiday activities is RACK. We started this a couple years ago, I have to admit we slacked last year, but we are back in full force and ready for this year!

If you haven’t heard of RACK, it stands for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. We did a RACK calendar in lieu of an Advent calendar and my daughter loved it. However, I’ll be honest it was quite a challenge to get in all the items. So this year we are going to approach it a bit difference. This year we are going to do 12 Days of Christmas. Our goal will be to get 12 RACK’s in before Christmas. We are going to keep it simple and post our RACK ideas on the wall and mark them off as we complete them.  Typically weekends were the easiest days for us to complete RACKs, since school days are usually filled with activities and home work.

If you haven’t tried RACK, I highly suggest it! It is so much fun.

Here are some of our favorite ideas for RACK:

  1. Teacher’s snack
  2. Extra Chore to help mom and dad
  3. Buy a stranger a meal or coffee
  4. Pay for someone’s order in line at checkout ahead of you
  5. Leave a dollar in the dollar store hidden on a shelf
  6. Tape popcorn to the screen of Redbox for someone to enjoy with their movie
  7. Candy Cane Bomb cars in a parking lot
  8. Buy a friends snack at school
  9. Angel Tree
  10. Donate to Toys for Tots
  11. Help someone with the door
  12. Help someone reach something from a shelf
  13. Help senior citizen unload groceries
  14. Offer to help grandparents with a chore
  15. Send a just because I love you care package to someone special
  16. Make a list of top ten things you love about someone close to you and send it to them.
  17. Help at a soup kitchen
  18. Donate to a food bank
  19. Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child
  20. Do something unexpected for someone
  21. Pick up leaves in the neighbor’s yard
  22. Give a stranger a free coffee gift card
  23. Make breakfast in bed for a family member.
  24. Leave an anonymous gift on someone’s door step- it can be something as simple as a sweet snack and a wish for a nice day.
  25. Clean out toys and fill a bag with toys for charity.
  26. Random contribute to someones GoFundMe account that wasn’t expecting it! (S

 

We like to include a gift tag that says “You’ve been RACK’d” and explains what it is and wishes them well. We haven’t designed this year’s tag yet. I’ll be getting on it next week, I hope! When I do, It will be posted here as a free download.

 

Do you have any RACK ideas to share?

 

Talk Soon,

Tonya

Motivation, Taking It On

Ten Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with all the stuff you have going on in your mind and on your to do list that you can’t even focus?  Sometimes I get so stressed. I feel like I can’t handle one more thing or I’m going to snap. I feel like the world is closing in around me and like there is no way out, like everything is going to crumble. This is what happens when I try putting everything on my own shoulders. I realize I do this to myself. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this, am I?

Well, I’ve been practicing ways to squash the anxiety and stress that I create for myself and I’d like to share what I’ve learned thus far. If you find this useful, please share and please let me know.

Ten Tips for Minimizing Stress and Anxiety

Tip #1 Do a brain dump. Make a list of all the things that are on your mind. If it crosses your mind write it down.

Tip #2 Go through your brain dump and create categories, sometimes I do this while writing them down. I sometimes create sections like home, work, random thoughts, projects.

Tip #3 Look for the items you can delegate. Is yard work on your list, is it possible to have someone else in the house handle it or what about hiring an outside service?

Tip #4 Identify most meaningful items that are actionable.  It is amazing how much it helps with stress and anxiety to make progress on something important. Thus make sure for each day you have at a minimum one meaningful item on your list, up to three is max. These are items that help you reach bigger goals, not the mundane stuff that weighs us down.

Tip #5 Schedule the mundane items. One example of this is my Saturday morning cleaning schedule. I schedule 7-12 to clean. I use to do this religiously and it made a huge impact and thus I’m going back to it. Having a deadline made me focus more and it was amazing what I could get done. As soon as 12:00 hit, I was free to be with family and do fun things without guilt or nagging chores calling. This method works great with all kinds of tasks, just don’t get carried away scheduling yourself.

Tip #6 Patience, remind yourself that Rome was not built in a day, and the challenges in life won’t be solved in a day either. Take it one task and one day at a time and focus on what you can control right now, not tomorrow.

Tip #7 Make self-care a priority. It is amazing how something as simple as coffee with a friend can help alleviate stress. Make time for you, it is important.

Tip #8 Keep clutter at bay. It makes a difference. Studies have shown that clutter increases stress and anxiety, so do your best to minimize clutter.

Tip #9 Avoid perfectionism. Sometimes we want to obsess over completing a task versus recognizing when we have hit good enough and can move on. It feels good to let go.

Tip #10 Processes and routines. This is sort of related to schedules, but a bit different. If there is something you can create a process or routine for than do it. For example during your scheduled 7-12 cleaning time create a routine for what you will do first, second, and so on. By doing this when it’s cleaning time you will find you are actually more relaxed while doing the task. You might even find you go on auto pilot. This takes practice to implement and to be honest it is something I want to do during my 7-12 cleaning.

These tips have really helped me improve my stress and anxiety levels. I still have my days where I totally freak out, but a lot fewer. I’m still working to master these tips myself. It takes time and practice. I hope this helps!

 

 

Self Acceptance, Taking It On

Shhh…its a secret.

Everyone has fears, right? Some are completely rational and some are completely irrational and we usually know which category they are in, right? And some are really no big deal and don’t impact our daily lives so we just carry them with us, perfectly normal. Then there are the ones that are so deep, we don’t tell anyone about them and many of them don’t face them. They are our own dirty little secret, our shame.

Well I’m about to let my guard down and get vulnerable, and tell you about mine. Talk about anxiety inducing! I have one big fear that holds me back and I’ve had it my entire life. I’ve done well hiding it and I’ll bet to some it will actually be a surprise. I have a massive fear of being seen and judged. Sounds silly, right? I think so too, but it’s true.

What do I mean by being seen? No, I don’t have a fear of seeing people at the store or a friendly hello in the hall. No, I have a fear of all eyes on me and being the center of attention and in my head what comes next are attacks. It absolutely petrifies me and as a result, I find an odd since of comfort in being invisible.

I am pretty sure I know exactly where my fears originated and I think I came by them pretty honestly, but this particular one has plagued me my entire life. Especially since it is at odds with my personality and I find it requires I keep myself small.

In my professional life, I have conducted training classes and I’m typically fine with that situation. I’ve been put in the situation to give presentations to a group of 200 or so people and I’ve muddled through, super nervous and held back. I tempered my passion, I hid my personality and I let the nerves win. I do this all the time. I think I’ve actually developed a bit of a social anxiety because of it.

I am trying to get over my fears and let me tell you it’s not easy. This blog is actually part of my attempt to start the process of getting over my fears. Can you believe people actually reading my blog petrifies me? Oh, and comments…. yep totally scary. Most scary part, what if someone I know reads it and comments! Ah!

So that is why I’m doing it. I’ve done some pretty hard things in my life. I am constantly researching and learning new ways to be better and reach new goals. I love sharing what I learn. As cheesy as it sounds, I want to make a difference. I want others to know they can do hard things too. I want my daughter to know she can do hard things. I want to be an example for her. I want to share what I have learned and share what has helped me get through some of life’s challenges. I know my grammar sucks, and I know people are going to judge and some may have nasty things to say and you know what that is ok. That is why I am here. How can you get over a fear if you don’t face it head on? So that is what I’m doing.

I’m taking a small semi safe step to quit hiding, to have an outlet to talk about things I find interesting and helpful, to maybe make a difference. So, if you read this comment, or share. Help me get comfortable with being seen.

Do you have fears? Have you overcome them or do you let them hold you back?

 

Thanks for reading,

Tonya

Parenting

Getting Real

So It seems like every where we turn there are images and graphics to show us how perfect everyone’s life is. Right? I mean Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr… and like a thousand more it seems all provide us a place where we can post things we want to share and remember. And it’s only natural to post the good things, our “A side”, our hits. Occasionally you see some B sides, but let’s face it the majority is A side. Don’t you think?

Well my life, as wonderful as it is, it is far from all A side. I truly am grateful for the life I have. I worked hard to get here and I love it. But it’s not perfect. Like one think you will notice if you look at any of my social media pages is there are no pictures of me from the chest down, that is if I can help it. Why because I need to lose like 75 lbs.

In addition, one of the reasons I seldom post pics is because my house is such a wreck I can’t find a clean spot to have as a back drop. Matter of fact, my kitchen just this morning is the background of the graphic I’ve attached.


Our weekends are filled with a relentless cycle of trying to dig out of our mess. We are masters at foreboding joy until that day when we have it together. So wrong!
We moved in October and we still have boxes. Matter of fact, I still have a Christmas box sitting in my living room. Why? Because I’m lazy and don’t want to deal with it.

My daughter comes home with a school folder and every night we are suppose to initial and acknowledge we see the G that shows she has behaved well. We have so many blanks where we haven’t initialed. Truth be told my daughter, who is seven, told me she started signing her dad’s initials since we never sign it. When I looked at the initialed page, I couldn’t tell which were hers.

When I come home from work I often want to stick my head in the sand. We are suppose to come in do homework, dinner, reading, bath, bed. I am tired. My brain is zapped from work. I suck at resisting the whining. We get through the homework best we can. We get the bath. For dinner, it’s usually something horrible and quick. We have like horrible eating habits and my seven year old is learning them. Yay parent of the year!

Do we see these issues and want to fix them, of course. Sometimes we make steps forward and sometimes we make steps backwards and I’m ok with that. It’s life. Some days I feel like I’m failing at everything. And so there are times I withdraw from the world and as much adulting as possible and just veg. But after that I get up, re-engage, and start moving forward.

How about you? Do you only share the A side?

-Tonya