By Jackie White
I know this person, and she is the most awkward chick, and OMG, her butt is far too big! With a wide load like that, she ought to have that thing registered with the county. She probably beeps when she backs up, too. I don’t mean to be mean, I am just speaking the truth. While I am at it, let me tell you, she is seriously as dumb as a rock sometimes, and I am embarrassed for her. She needs to start acting and looking perfect so that people don’t notice how ridiculous she is.
Ouch! Who talks about someone like that? Probably you. Whoa, before you knock me into next week, let me add that it’s me too, and about 80% of us who talk negatively to ourselves. Oh, and by the way, this affects women far more than men.
That is truly a painful statistic. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Depending on who you talk to you might hear different reasons, but one of the most pervasive reasons is the world of social media. Social media provides a perfect place where all of us can meet and do one of two things; bring each other up or tear each other down. Unfortunately, the latter can take a serious toll on us and result in how we view our own world and selves. Besides that, much of the blather online is unhealthy for your well-being because much of it is negative. Unfortunately, bad news sells.
So, I am going to suggest something sort of rebellious. Rebellion is always fun, isn’t it? How about you put yourself first this season? Yes, I know it’s the season of giving, but you don’t need to exclude yourself from that list! I want you to give yourself some respite from all the negativity. Here’s the thing, when you break from a continual diet of negativity, you break the stress it causes and you clear your mind from that negative self-talk. Consider this a gift to yourself and all it will cost you is a little bit of forethought and willingness to change.
Your Gift of Kindness to Yourself
Limit Social Media Exposure
Make a plan to get off social media either at certain times of the day or limit the amount of time you are on it. Fill that time with other things you like to do such as reading, exercising, chatting with a friend or doing something creative.
Fill the Feed and Your Life with Positivity
Begin to eliminate the negative black holes in your feed and your life by replacing them with positive sites like FindYourSoulshine.com or @SoulShine LIfe Connections on Facebook or Instagram, duh! And in real life, spend time doing the things you love, enjoy the holiday season for once and make time to hang out with those who lift you up!
Train Yourself to Seek out Positivity
When things start going to hell, and they will, just rise up above whatever the chaos of the day is and look to find something positive. This will begin to train your mind to not go down a negative thought pattern.
Give Yourself Grace and Start Again
When you hear a critical voice in your head, otherwise known as the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee, then acknowledge it by telling it to move on and fill that void with something affirming about yourself. For example, if you hear “Girl you are a fool to speak up in front of all these people” Tell the IBSC (Itty Bitty Shitty Committee) to shut their face and replace the negative inner critique with something like “Girl, you got this! You know what you are talking about. Speak loud and proud!” Note that these positive affirmations will have the chance to take hold and become a habit when linked with the conscious removal of the negative banter.
Rebel this holiday season and create some kindness for yourself. Take the time to clear out the negativity and look for the joy this season can bring.
Happy Holidays and Shine On!
Wonder. Believe. Believe Anyway.Holiday Life Lessons from Children to Embrace the Whole Year Through
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
I wasn’t the first person in my circle to have a bonus baby. If you aren’t familiar with what I mean by bonus baby, this would be a kiddo born when many assumed you were done having kids. One of my old neighborhood friends was the first to have a bonus baby, a spicy little daughter 7 years younger than their son and 9 years younger than their daughter. After watching them take turns chasing her around at the school holiday program, I asked my friend how it was having one so much younger than the rest. Her response was, “it’s really wonderful...she brings the magic back to everything”.
Six years later, I would be the one chasing a toddler around at the holiday concert, you know, if we could do such things. You know what? Her words ring true. My bonus baby, Lucy, now 2, is brimming with the wonder that Christmas and the holidays bring, and her wonder is magical and contagious, in a good way...lol. This got me to thinking about all three of my kids and where they are in their Christmas spirit. I realized I have three kids in three very different stages. Not only are these fun to consider during the holidays but I also realized there were life lessons to embrace the whole year through to infuse my life with fun and inspiration.
This is the word that best describes a 2 year old at Christmas time. Lucy really has no idea what is going on but everything is AWESOME!! Here’s what I imagine the running dialogue in Lucy’s brain is saying: holy cow, there is a TREE in my house. And, it has LIGHTS and toys on it! I know they keep saying those red, sparkly things aren’t apples but I don’t know what else to call them. They are AMAZING. There are presents under the tree. I can’t open them but I can carry them around. There are lights on my HOUSE and my neighbors houses. This one person has this HUGE reindeer balloon. We made cookies and decorated them and got to EAT them. THIS IS AWESOME!!! What’s really cool is that everything in life is this exciting to Lucy; Christmas with all the lights and sparkles just really have her attention.
As adults, we have a tendency to overlook the joy and beauty that is around us every day. It is my wish for you to join me in reveling in the wonder of life around us, small and big, to bring the wonderment and joy of a 2 year old at Christmas to our everyday life.
My 9 year old, Liam, firmly believes in, ahem, that guy in the red suit who brings presents and, like Lucy, embraces all the wonder that Christmas offers...he is my present-wrapping helper, card stuffing assistant, cookie baking and decorating sous chef, and hall decking extraordinaire. Interesting, he has also been equally interested in discussing our faith, which is Christian based, and has taken an interest in discussing what other people believe...always thinking, that little fella. He doesn’t need to see the proof; he just believes.
Whoa, Liam, thanks for the important lesson. You know that phrase “seeing is believing”? Throw that out immediately! This seemingly innocuous phrase is crushing your dreams and goals! Here’s the thing, anything that you want, that you really, really, really from the bottom of your soul want, can’t be seen because you haven’t achieved it yet. Living by seeing is believing will stop you before you even start. Instead, believe it will happen. Liam firmly and unwaveringly believes Herbie the Elf will return to his spot in our decorated tree after Thanksgiving, that Santa will bring him his heart’s desire and that the Christmas story about a baby being born in a manger is true. He doesn’t need proof that any of these are real; he just believes. Be like Liam; believe in your heart’s desire, focus on them happening, and bring those dreams into reality.
Here’s the most important one. Ethan is 12. I assume he knows the elf doesn’t have magical powers and who is really behind the gifts that appear on Christmas Eve. Why do I say assume? Because he has never actually said he doesn’t believe. Why? I was the same way...believing is more fun. So, despite the doubt and evidence to the contrary, he chooses to believe anyway.
This is where I want to leave you, DreamChaser. Believe anyway. Believe even if the cards are stacked against you. Believe even if that goal, that dream, is too big, too far away. Believe you can. Your belief is the only thing that is stopping you from having EVERYTHING you want in life, instead of just thinking or dreaming about it. If you don’t believe, it is impossible to do. It’s that simple. So, be like Ethan, and believe anyway.
Wonder. Believe. Believe Anyway. Until next time...Shine On!
By Jackie White
This year for the holidays, many of us will be missing out on celebrating together as we have in year’s past. Holidays have always been the one excuse to bring together the family to visit. With busy lives, it can be difficult to get together, but holidays always seemed to be the opportunity to get caught up again. As of this writing, we are closing in on ¾ of a year where we have been separated from our families and friends, and for this year, holidays will not be the chance to see each other again.
This year more than ever, it is our presence that should be the present, but how do we do that when we literally cannot be together? How can we make this season bright with the restrictions we are facing? The answer is three-fold: First you must decide that this year you will enjoy the holidays. Having a positive mindset that says, come hell or highwater, you will have an enjoyable holiday is key. Here is how you make that happen:
Secondly, you have to get creative in how you will be doing that. Just because you can’t be together, there are other ways to connect and make your presence known. Here are several ideas to get you thinking out of the box.
Finally it will do your soul good to do something for someone else. Here are some ideas for you:
1. Provide a donation of a meal.
2. Sponsor a family in need.
3. Make cards for people in a nursing home or hospital.
4. Bake cookies for neighbors, police, fire or hospital workers.
5. Make homemade dog biscuits for your neighbor’s dogs.
As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. You might have to squeeze the hell out of them this year, but you can do this! It’s all about getting creative and choosing to make this 2020 holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. Heck, Heaven knows, we can all use a little wonderful right about now!
Enjoy your holidays and Shine On!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Who caught the reference to the legendary movie Dazed and Confused? This classic movie is a way many of us can feel as the holidays start to unfold. With all the things to do and plan for, it can feel like the holidays are happening to you rather than something you are participating in. And, what follows this feeling of outer chaos? Inner chaos better known as stress!
Anyone feel a little stressed this year? Talk about a 2020 thing to ask, right? To say we have all been experiencing more stress and other negative feelings is an understatement. We all know that the holidays are going to be different. Change in itself brings stress. Compound that to the stress of 2020 and holiday stress and you have a recipe for disaster.
Whether you feel a bit extra right now, or just the usual holiday stress creeping in, SoulShine wants to help you out of the holidaze, calm that chaos, and bring back the fun to your holidays with a few quick tips!
#1 - Feel the Feels
Sad? Mad? Frustrated? Secretly joyous but don’t want to let on? A roller coaster of all of these? The first step in pulling out of the holidaze is to feel the feels. Pushing them down or ignoring them just adds to the feelings of stress. However, whatever, you are feeling is justified and okay. Feel the feels so you can move on!
#2 - Reality Check
The holidays will look different this year. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome and special. Get creative on how to celebrate with family and friends through Zoom or other online meetings (I have already seen people doing baking together this way). Just because you aren’t physically together, doesn’t mean it can’t be special or fun...and, one benefit to online meetings is no drive time, which means more time to be together!
#3 - Quit the “What’s Next” Thinking
This simply means be present. Stop worrying about the next thing on your list and enjoy the beautiful moments unfolding right in front of you! Spoiler...this pertains to all moments in life, not just holidays...you’re welcome!
#4 - Keep It Healthy
Gulp. There’s a reason the most common New Year’s resolutions revolve around some version of getting healthy. It is so easy to get off track with healthy decisions over the holiday! Guess what? Making effort to keep it healthy with what you are eating and drinking as well as keep moving helps your energy and reduces stress. Even small efforts in this department will pay off in spades!
#5 - Make a Budget...and Stick to It!
Everything about the holidays is designed to entice you to spend, spend, spend. That’s all fun and games until the credit card bills roll in. Do yourself a favor. Make a list of everyone you want to buy something for, decide how much you can spend without adding financial stress to the pot, then commit to sticking to this! The flash of joy in the moment of purchasing pales in comparison to the stress of overspending. I know, this isn’t sexy or fun but it will serve you well.
#6 - Take Time for Yourself
Self-care isn’t selfish and should be part of your every day routine, not once in a while. When entering periods of increased stress, you need to up the self-care accordingly. This will help balance it out.
#7 - Recognize the Unexpected Gift from 2020
Huh? A gift from 2020? Yes! I am willing to bet that you have wished for time to slow down, for commitments to disappear, to perhaps NOT have to do (fill in the blank). 2020 answered you (be careful what you wish for, in case you ever find that mystical genie in a lamp, just saying). Seriously, 2020 has given all of us a reset and reprieve from a packed, overcommitted schedule. This includes the holidays! You can now redesign your holiday as well as your day-to-day schedule to align with your priorities and values. Time is our most precious commodity and now you can take it back and dish it out the way you want it. Don’t waste this gift!
DreamChaser, take a moment and pull yourself out of the holidaze, calm that chaos, and bring joy back to your life and this season. Shine on!
P.S. Did we miss any tips that you would like to add to calm the chaos of the season?
By Jackie White
I refuse to let time turn me into an old person. Some of you may goff at such an assertion, but I am telling you, I refuse. I have given this a lot of thought and researched how the hell I am going to dodge this bullet and I have a plan. I am going to share that with you today and I hope you find it to be inspiring enough that you jump on the “I ain’t getting’ old train” with me!
Let’s first make sure you can identify with this. None of us know when it starts setting in (Why is it that things “set-in” for old people?) Has this ever happened to you? You are in the store and you get a little annoyed thinking they could enlarge the font size on some of these labels. Or, how about this, you get a text and suddenly your smart phone’s font size is like mice type. You are really getting ticked now thinking why do they insist on making the font so small? And then it hits you, the font size hasn’t changed, but your eyes have! Gulp, you need readers. Sorry to let you know, Grandma Moses, it’s all downhill from now on.
Or, how about this fun realization. You are walking down your stairs and you hear an odd creak. You make a mental note to check out what’s going on only to realize that the creak isn’t the stairs at all, it’s your own damn knee! True story! Break out the Ben-Gay for your bursitus Bertha!
There’s more! You notice that there are more highlights in your hair, ok, maybe it’s grey, but you are not admitting that. You wake in the morning and you have pulled a hammie, yet the only thing you did was sleep. How can one sleep and hurt themselves? It can happen when you advance in age. Oh boy, here’s a real tell-tale sign of getting on in years: Have you caught yourself commenting on the kids “these days”, or are you constantly referring to “back in my day”. If any of this feels painfully true, I hate to tell you, but you are an old fogey.
It’s ok, just because time is passing, doesn’t mean you need to become the poster person for Geritol. If you need to ask what Geritol is, then you really aren’t that old!
The Plan to Foil Aging
Ok, here it is my plan, the plan you need to beat aging. Let’s start with a mind-blowing fact that you need to get your head wrapped around: 70% of all aging is voluntary. What? Who is raising their hand to join AARP? In the book “Younger Next Year”, it is explained that many of us get to an older age and we become apathetic.That's pathetic with an A, you don’t want to be that! This means you believe that getting old is inevitable and along with that comes becoming an old person and this where you would be wrong. Yes, things do age, like the body itself and yes, you get wrinkles (unless you live in Hollywood, then you just get plastic surgery and you look like a waxy version of the old you trying to look young). Whoops, getting snarky! Back to the point, there is a lot you can do to stay young. It is a choice. This is where you need to raise your hand and not sit by and let aging take you down.
Here’s what the choice entails: adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes:
Exercise: Exercise is the golden key to aging younger. According to Dr. Henry S. Lodge, you must exercise relatively vigorously almost everyday and lift weights 2-3 days of the week. Note: vigorously means check with your doctor, but you have to get some cardio in.
Nutrition: Eat what you are supposed to be eating (no, that’s not a staple diet of pizza, burgers and only rarely ingesting a vegetable. You need to drink water (a lot more than you think) and keep your weight in check. Again, check with your doc for the best guidelines for you.
Commitment: Commitment is about staying connected with other people, having a purpose and continued learning.
Let’s Break it Down (Not Break a Hip!)
Let’s get physical
Hey, even Olivia Newton John is getting old now and we need to heed her advice and get physical. Healthy aging is going to require you to get your butt up and start moving. When you don’t move as you get older you get stiff. Remember your grandpa doing that rocking thing as if he was trying to launch himself off the couch to get up? That is because his muscles were stiff and possibly weak. You don’t want to be rocking your old age like that!
Eat food, not too much, mostly plants
Michael Pollen, the author of “In Defense of Food”, has summed up the eating plan we should be following and that is “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Go ahead and stamp your foot and go have a big double cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake, it’s the American way! Hey, I want that too, but at some point we have to decide if we want to be sticking around for a long time or if we want to be a patient in cardiology. Ouch. It’s the gosh-danged truth. You can have your all-American meal sometimes, but do the right thing at least 80% of the time. Only you can decide if that is a deal worth keeping.
Commit to staying connected in life
Studies have shown that people who live their longest happiest lives are those who stay connected to others. It’s important to get out there and get involved, make the phone call and reach out to others. It’s life enhancing. Equally as important is to have a reason for living. What is your purpose and how can you help others with that? Finally, keep your brain young by learning. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks, of course, not to imply that you are an old dog!
I would add one more very important aspect to living young and that is having the right attitude.
The right attitude
I inherited my attitude for not wanting to grow old from my mother who lived to be 86 years old. She too, refused to grow old. She had the best attitude. She never saw herself as old, in fact she told me she didn’t want to hang out with “old people” and by that she meant those who acted like old people. She surrounded herself with light-hearted, fun people, many times decades younger than herself. Add in more fun, laughing and enjoying life to it’s fullest as part of this attitude. Remember laughter is the best medicine!
One last thing, this time in your life can be the absolute best because it’s time for you to just be you! I say celebrate and embrace your weirdness! If you don’t do this now, then when? You can see the joy in people’s demeanor when they express their real selves by living their authentic life out loud. Those are the people who are defying gravity! Hit the gas because getting older gives you the green light, to just be you! So, adopt the things you need to do to take care of yourself and to avoid becoming an old, foot-shuffling, fuddy duddy. Grab this freeing opportunity to really begin living your life on your terms and join me in refusing to get old!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Have you ever played this? If you haven’t been introduced with this popular ice breaker, I will quickly explain the rules. Everyone takes a turn telling 2 truths and 1 lie about themselves while guesses are thrown out about which is the lie. Once you get over the hardest part, which in my opinion is actually coming up with something to say, it’s quite entertaining and a fascinating way to get to know people. Like the real, interesting stuff about people.
As the ultimate in gratitude holidays, Thanksgiving, is about to unfold this week, I thought I might be able to serve you in 2 important ways. One, you might have something entertaining to play at the Thanksgiving table. As many of us are doing more intimate celebrations this year, feel free to put a Thanksgiving twist on it with 2 Dreams, 1 Fail or something like that. This might be particularly warranted if you don’t want to learn interesting details on family members' lives. Some things are best never known by your mother, if you catch my drift. Secondly, learning or refreshing on gratitude is a lesson that never goes out of style.
Without further ado, cue the game show music, it’s time to play 2 Truths, 1 Lie - Gratitude Edition!! (The crowd goes wild!!)
Gratitude Improves Your Physical and Mental Health - TRUTH
Study after study after study has consistently shown gratitude improves both. People have reported less aches and pains and general feelings of better health when practicing gratitude. Interestingly, people practicing gratitude are more likely to actively take care of their health through exercise and nutrition. Gratitude has shown to reduce the toxic negative feelings like envy, resentment, frustration, and regret, replacing these feelings with happiness. That’s positivity repelling negativity in action, DreamChaser!
Gratitude Increases Mental Toughness - TRUTH
Again, good ole study results indicate gratitude helps your mental toughness by reducing stress and increasing resiliency. Those practicing gratitude also report less feelings of depression, too! Even more reason to work out that gratitude muscle!
Gratitude is Hard to Practice - LIE
Well, sort of. Here’s the thing. Gratitude is super easy to do, but it’s also super easy NOT to do. To benefit from all that gratitude has to offer, which is way more than what I listed here, you just have to be grateful. Thanks, Erika, but how do I BE grateful?!? So glad you asked! The simplest way for me to start practicing gratitude was to write down 1 thing every morning that I was grateful for and why. You don’t have to write them down but I find it makes it easier for me to do. You can also use gratitude prompts to help you start. And, obvi, we got your back there, too! Grab the SoulShine 21 Day gratitude journal here →
The hardest part about practicing gratitude is like any other habit; it’s remembering to do it. I have an empty journal and pen sitting at my bedside table. When I wake up, I grab that journal and write down my 1 thing I am grateful for and why. This is how I intentionally set my day with a positive, happiness vibe. And, on days I feel down, I grab that journal and read all the things I am grateful for...it’s an instant mood elevator!
By the way, we are grateful for YOU being here, DreamChaser. We are grateful to be able to serve you on your journey to living your best life with fun, inspiration and intention. Thank you for trusting us in guiding you and journeying with you!
Have a Happy and Grateful Thanksgiving! Shine on!
P.S. We would love to hear what YOU are grateful for! Drop it in the comments!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
It’s right in the name. NO-vember. What a perfect time to practice that all important time and energy protector...saying no. This is so important to live your very best life but, alas, it is used way too infrequently. John Maxwell hit the nail on the head when he said to “say no to the good so you can say yes to the best”.
The truth is we typically don’t say yes to horrible things...those are easy to say no to. If we are being completely honest with ourselves and where our time goes, we say yes way too often to ‘meh’ things. Things that aren’t horrible but do not serve us the best. Things that do not add to our joy, fulfillment, purpose. Things that drain our energy and take away from our lives rather than add positivity and joy to it. By saying 'yes' to the ‘meh’ rather than saving it for the best means our precious time is taken up. So, when that best yes does appear, that thing that will be a light in our lives, we have no choice but to say no because we can’t fit it in. Ugh. Tough but truthful pill to swallow.
That’s the bottom line, DreamChaser. We only have so much time, and it’s time to be intentional where we are spending it. This is one way to get on the path to our best lives! NO-vember is as good a time as any to get started with this practice. Why? A mind hack is very helpful to remember to act differently, to interrupt that automatic response of saying 'yes' before we can think about if that yes serves us. Thinking it’s “NO-vember” allows us a moment to pause and assess so we can be intentional. Being intentional means we are participating in our lives, we are choosing our adventure, instead of going into automatic mode.
Need a little more help? Here is the SoulShine Best Yes Checklist. Before you say ‘yes’, ask yourself these questions:
Does this commitment...
-Give me a sense of purpose?
-Fill me up?
-Add to my feelings of worth?
-Give me enjoyment?
-Align with my priorities?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, say no to the commitment. It really is that easy...don't overthink it! I encourage you to take it one step further. Too often, a feeling of guilt of letting people down fuels our ‘yes’ to commitments. It’s okay to say no - there is no guilt to be had in your pursuit of your best, most fulfilled, fun, inspired, intentional life! So, once you have said no, let it go! The SoulShine Best Yes Checklist can also be used to assess current commitments, those meh yes’s of the past. Want time back in your life? Use this checklist to assess your current obligations and let go of those that are not serving you, those that are not your best yes.
Let’s get our NO-vember on and practice saying no to ‘meh’ so we can say ‘YES’ to the best! Shine on!
By Jackie White
Coronavirus has taken a lot. It has taken all that we once knew as our everyday life. Quite literally, every aspect of the life we knew before has changed. For some, it has taken much more. It has taken the lives of loved ones, and for that, I am truly sorry.
The Loss of the Life We Once Knew
There is something going on we may not be realizing and that is we are living with a sense of grief right now. We are grieving the loss of the life we used to live. Our jobs, schools, and everyday tasks like shopping or dental appointments have been altered. The gatherings with families and friends have been drastically reduced with many special events like graduations, weddings and even funerals being canceled. Glimpses of normalcy surface now and again, but all of this has left many of us grieving the loss of the life we once lived.
Grief is usually associated with the loss of a loved one. However, people can experience grief for other reasons such as a major disruption in life. It’s an understatement to say that our lives have been disrupted. They have been turned upside down and rattled in almost every way possible,so, it is no wonder we are all feeling some grief about that. It is important to recognize the stages of grief, work through them and find the acceptance, hope and gratitude on the other side.
The Stages of Grief
Shock and Denial: This is when the event occurs and feelings are often significant. Disbelief and denial are expected responses.
Guilt and Pain: Once the denial subsides, the guilt, regret and pain of the situation can be felt. Remorse for the loss can set in as well.
Anger and Bargaining: During this stage anger sets in about the situation. Because reversing the situation is impossible, frustration can also be apparent. In an attempt to control the situation, many will try to bargain with a Higher Power. Many try to make a deal with God that if only you could have your life back (or the life of a loved one), you would be a better person. Because cutting deals like this aren’t realistic, the next step of grief, depression, can be apparent.
Depression: Depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed during the pandemic because people are having difficulty dealing with their feelings and situation. Many are isolated because of social distancing which has added to this unfortunate situation.
Testing and Reconstruction: These stages work together in that a person begins to realize the toll their grief is taking on their life and they begin to identify ways to reconstruct and rebuild their lives. Seeking ways to deal with grief and setting goals for the future are helpful to move onto the next stage.
Acceptance and Hope: This stage allows for the opportunity to acknowledge how the grief has affected us and it’s time to choose to rebuild your life.
It is almost 7 months into this situation, and it’s likely time for many to accept and acknowledge what has happened. With that acceptance, we need to make room for hope and gratitude. For it is nature’s way for the sun to shine after the rain and this experience is no exception. The coronavirus and it’s ramifications may still be with us for some time, but we need to relieve ourselves of the loss.
Finding Hope and Gratitude
To find hope you must have a desire to persevere and the faith that good will come. Maybe that’s asking a lot right now, but the other choice is choosing to feel badly about what has happened. To move on, you must choose hope. What will help you along with this is making a conscious effort to be grateful for what you do have. Each day find 3 things to be grateful for. Write these down, so you can refer to them later. Once you see there are things to be grateful for, your attitude will begin to shift. Your mood will become brighter, and the hope for the future will be stronger.
Finding hope and gratitude will lift your spirits and help you to recognize that you can move forward with your life, albeit maybe in a new direction or definition of what you thought it might look like. Choosing to look at the pandemic as an opportunity to move your life forward is going to be the silver lining and good in the grief.
Hang in there.
Hold on to hope.
Choose gratitude and
By Jackie White
Dang, don’t you hate waiting? Waiting for someone who is late is totally aggravating. Waiting for the weather to change, you know, like for us sunshine-needers, we need sun, we can’t wait for those rays to warm our faces! Or maybe we are waiting for a bus or an uber. Could they just hurry-up already? Then there is the dreaded waiting in line. I mean who enjoys waiting?
Seriously, I am a mostly patient person, but if I have to wait too long, I might blow a gasket! Yet curiously, I have noticed many of us are doing a lot of voluntary waiting these days. I am actually disappointed to report that I too have been playing this waiting game!
You are saying, what is going on? What waiting game? You hate waiting too. You are not a time waster! Those are all the things I say to myself yet, people, we have all fallen asleep in the Scarlet Field of Poppies, just like Dorothy and her friends on the way to Oz!
Here’s what I am talking about. One day back in March 2020, the world was shut down. We complied and waited for the restrictions to lift and the virus to dissipate. That is when it started. That is when Corona started robbing you of your time.
7 months later, we are still waiting! I have realized, I have been doing nothing but waiting for months on end! Oh, the horror!
I have been waiting to
...get back to life as it was
...check in on my goals
...get back to life as it was
...reschedule that doctor appointment
...get back to life as it was
...go on that vacation
...get back to life as it was
...get back on my healthy eating plan
...get back to life as it was
...visit my friends (socially distanced, of course)
...get back to life as it was
And now I realize that I have let more than a half of a year pass me by while I have been waiting for things to change, you know, go back to normal. I have been waiting for my life to get back to where it was. Here’s the thing, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon! So, for those of you who are still sleeping in the poppies, WAKE UP! Hey, life is still moving forward, and we need to as well!
We need a plan! A plan is always good. We need a plan not to get back on track, but to forge a new track. Yes, for all you “I hate change” people, we have to change. We just HAVE to.
So, here we go into unknown territory. We can do this. We aren’t wusses! Let’s get t-shirts made that say that! I am excited! Let’s show the world that we can live successful, fulfilling lives despite a pandemic!
Where do we start? With any adventure, we should always start with the end in mind. Huh? Well, like the old adage, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else. That is not going to be us because we have wasted enough time as it is.
Start backing into the dream peeps…
So, for this portion of the adventure, I would like you to pretend I am a cheerleader. Just go with it, it'll be fun! Ready? Ok first I shout:
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Now it’s your turn, what do you want out of life? Go ahead, write it down and don’t shout back because I won’t hear you. Duh.
Ok, my turn now. I am shouting again…
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET IT?
Your turn, think through how you are going to get it. What steps? Make them snappy, too, because, Girl (or in the event you are not a girl, Man), you have lost a lot of time sleeping through the pandemic! Make sure to write it down!
Ok, the cheerleading portion of this blog is now over. Well, at least the shouting part. I do, however, want to cheer you on and light a fire under your butt to get back to doing your life. Hey, maybe you really weren’t happy with parts of your life before anyway, so what a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean and do something new!
So, let’s get to it my friends. We can imagine we are pioneers blazing the trail of a new and improved life! We are galloping towards the horizon...Oh, c’mon, I need to put some dramatic imagery in here once in a while! Regardless, however, you envision it, just move forward. Wake up and stop waiting because you don’t want anymore of your life passing you by!
Now get up off your butt and Shine On!
Not Just an Annoying Pick Up Line -How I Turned A Time Wasting Aggravation into the Ultimate in Self-Care
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
We all have pet peeves, right? You know, things like open mouthed chewers, double dippers, or tailgators (and, I am not talking about the fun, pre-game festivities fun kind of tailgating). Those things that instantly get your blood boiling, taking you from chill to seeing-red irate in a hot second. Wanna know my biggest pet peeve? The elementary school drop-off and pick-up line. It shocked me to find out my biggest pet peeve didn’t make the top 20 list! Obviously, the list-makers have never experienced the lamest and most obnoxious of all pick-up lines!
Every year, right before school starts, the school district sends out an email correspondence outlining expectations on proper drop-off/pick-up line etiquette in an attempt to make everything go smoothly and quickly. I will confess that our new district is way nicer than the district we moved from four years ago. At our previous school, the principal was pretty hard core; the gold standard for drop-off was pretty close to tuck-and-roll. Everyone followed the rules so as not to get emails or phone calls from the principal for holding up the line. At our new school district, however, the drop-off expectations are seen more as loose suggestions rather than hard core expectations; the amount of parents getting out of the cars in line as well as student “dawdling” is remarkable. Fortunately, my husband started taking drop-off as his morning duty.
As if drop-off wasn’t bad enough, the pick-up line response is “hold my beverage ‘cause it’s my turn”. Here’s where the real insanity starts. While the morning drop-off line might go as slow as a turtle in peanut butter, it at least moves. Eventually. Not at pick-up. The cars don’t move at all in the pick up lines. Not only that, but the lines aren’t wide enough to get around a waiting car once you have retrieved your own precious snowflake. To get the best spot in the line, meaning being at the front causing the hold up, you need to be in line at least thirty minutes before school is out; from start to finish, this is a good 40 to 60 minutes of wasted time spent in my stressful place. Ugh. In an attempt to avoid the pick-up line debacle, I started parking and waiting outside, battling the elements for my pokey little puppy to finally appear. That worked great until bonus baby, Lucy, arrived and waiting in the Wisconsin bipolar weather was not an option. I did the pick up line dance a few times with baby in tow then it was time for a new plan. Sorry, kids, bus it is...even if you don’t get home for over an hour after school is out!
Plan solved, moving on, chaos calmed. Phew.
Cue sinister music, enter the pandemic from stage left. So far, we are fortunate to have some in person schooling. One part of the plan to keep school in session and social distancing a possibility was requesting that the bus only be used for kids with no other alternative to get to and from school. Guess what that meant, friends? Not only was it back to the drop-off and pick-up lines circus, compound the crazy with ten times more people using them. The only way to describe this spectacle concisely and accurately is absolute shit-show...sorry, not sorry. (Props to the school district and local police for making adjustments to speed it up in those first few days...and to the parents for mostly following the rules after it was made clear stepping out of line was no longer tolerated.)
Like everyone else during this time, my coping mechanisms seem to have severely diminished. I have very little reserve before I am pushed off the proverbial cliff. I knew that for me to not turn into a raging lunatic, screaming my head off at every infraction, I needed to figure out a plan to regain the calm in the chaos and personal hell that was the drop off/pick up line. My sanity, and possibly a future criminal record for assault, depended on it.
In the past, whenever I was in the car for longer than 10 minutes, I often turned to audiobooks to occupy my time. Audiobooks are an awesome strategy for transforming wasted time into the ultimate in productive time. When we lived in the Madison area, just about everywhere I went was more than a 10 minute drive. Here in the EC (Eau Claire for those not familiar, calling it the EC sounds cooler in my head. Reminiscent of the OC, Orange County. Stop judging and give me this little joy...lol.), everything seems to be 5 to 10 minutes max from door to door. Since this is too short a time for me to get into the audiobook groove, I have gotten out of this habit. Now that the pick-up line has turned into a minimum of a 20 minute commitment, perhaps, my saving grace was found!
This has been a game changer! Now, this stressful and complete time-wasting aggravation has turned into, get this, one of my favorite times of day. I am as shocked as you are, friends, to be admitting this. I get twenty to thirty minutes of enjoying my latest personal growth and development audiobook, mostly by myself. I mean, Lucy is with me but she’s facing backwards in the second row, strapped into her carseat, usually playing with a book or toy. As in, contained and not causing her normal toddler tornado that requires constant supervision and intervention to prevent catastrophe. This snippet in my day has become the much-needed and oft-forgotten self-care time, allowing me to recharge and destress, all the while working on becoming the best version of me.
You might be saying, that was entertaining, but so what...what does that have to do with me? Friends, DreamChasers, if you would have told me that the item on the very top of my pet peeves list could have an extreme makeover into my favorite part of my day, I would have rolled my eyes and responded with something super sarcastic. The actual drop-off and pick-up situation actually worsened from when it made my pet peeve list. So, what changed?
Me. I changed. I made a different choice. I chose to find a different way, to transform an aggravating life situation into one that served me. Guess what? So can you...and, you might be as shocked as me to realize it isn’t that hard to do. It’s as simple as intentionally changing the situation to serve you, rather than happen to you. With a little intention guiding your choice, you might just find fun and inspiration in the places that aggravation and stress once were. Life is too short to dwell on regrets, rather, I choose to use that feeling of regret as a catalyst to evaluate a potential life lesson. So, instead of regretting that I didn’t bring audiobooks back sooner, I am grateful for the opportunity to bring them back into my daily life.
You got this, DreamChaser! Shine on!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.