An interview with our current AmeriCorps Volunteer about the past, present, future and food.
The ball has dropped, parties have come to an end and you still don’t have a New Year’s resolution! Here are 10 resolutions you can actually tackle.
1. Meditate for five minutes each day.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. When you consider taking 5 minutes from your day to clear your mind and relax, you’re taking less than 1% of your day. The benefits of meditation range from decreasing stress, increased control over emotions, mindfulness, physical health and best of all it’s free. It’s like a mini vacation for your brain.
2. Turn off your phone for one hour every weekend.
Did you know the average person will check his or her smartphone approximately 150 times in a working day of 16 hours, or once every 6.5 minutes? It’s safe to say we are addicted. Turning off your phone for a short period of time allows you to connect with people on a more personal level, gives you time to do things that matter and gives your eyes a break from staring at a screen. If you find an hour is too easy, try it for two.
3. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
Grocery shopping is a time when one can be most indulgent; grabbing treats while walking through aisles and craving everything you see. This lead to unnecessary money being spent on food you really don’t need. Take time before you plan on grocery shopping and build a list of necessities on a piece of paper. If you find that you hadn’t planned on grocery shopping but realized it was a must, make a list before you go into the store on your phone or scrap paper. You’ll only be doing your wallet and your health a favor.
4. Write down one thing you’re thankful for each day.
It’s important not only to strive to achieve new goals but to remember gratitude for the things you already have. Grab an old pasta sauce jar or a mason jar and decorate it however you like. Then, keep strips of paper nearby so you can document something you’re thankful for each day, you can even date them if you’d like. At the end of the year, empty out the jar and read things you’ve written. This will teach you mindfulness and remind you to be thankful for even the little things.
5. Change your hair.
Have you been itching for a change but aren’t sure how to achieve it? Change up your look! Whether it’s a haircut you’ve been thinking about for a while or you just want to part your hair to the other side, it can lead to a much needed confidence boost. It’s all about embracing change and being in control of it. And remember, hair grows back so if you find your new look isn’t for you, it’s only temporary.
6. Get a head start on your morning.
The desire to hit that snooze button but then have to rush to get everything done in the morning is an exhausting pattern. Try waking up at least an hour before you have to leave the house. This will give you the opportunity to have a decent breakfast, get your priorities for the day in order, and enough time to present yourself to the world. Your morning will set the tone for your whole day, which is important when trying to get things done. And remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
7. Unplug an hour before bed.
It’s a compulsory habit that we all take part in, electronics before bed. Minutes flipping through Facebook turn into hours watching YouTube videos, the time just gets away from us. Not only that, after a while your eyes start to strain from staring so closely at a screen. Shutting down laptops, tablets and smartphones at least an hour before bed has benefits such as weight loss, reduce in stress, mood swings and depression, longer attention span, and an immensely improved quality of sleep. Turn the power off and let your mind calmly drift into REM cycles.
8. Start walking.
Besides the physical aspect, walking has so many other benefits to you. Walking can boost your mood, elevates your energy, provides vitamin D and even prevents dementia. Grab a friend, a pet or go on your own for a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood or in the park. Explore your surroundings and get a breath of fresh air in the New Year.
9. Donate more.
While making resolutions for yourself, keep others in mind. If your resolution is to get your house more organized, donate the things you don’t need anymore. If it’s to clean out your closet, donate unwanted clothes and shoes. If you find that you’re financially able, donate money to an organization of your choosing. And if you have no material things to give, donate your time as a volunteer. Not only will that organization be so appreciative but you’ll feel great that you’ve helped a worthy cause.
10. Indulge in something for yourself once a month.
A little indulgence isn’t bad, as long as it’s in moderation. For example, if you’ve been really good about keeping a grocery list and sticking to it, add a pint of ice cream to that list as a treat. Or if you’ve donated a bunch of clothes, treat yourself to a new item of clothing. Rewarding yourself after achieving something will motivate you to continue your good work and keep you on track.
The New Year is about bettering yourself so take advantage of the excuse to enhance your habits. If none of these resolutions appeal to you check out http://bembu.com/100-new-years-resolutions to find one that works for you. As for donating time, money or unwanted items visit us at http://www.kennethyoung.org/ to learn more about mental health and senior services.
Thank you to all of our staff for their hard work and our clients for believing in the work we do! Here’s to another successful year in 2016.
Take this short quiz to find out how much holiday stress you have.
1. Your holiday shopping is______.
a. Done. I finished that weeks ago!
b. Almost finished, just a few items left to buy.
c. Not done, where do people find the time?!
2. Your in-laws are coming to stay with you for a week. How do you feel?
a. Great! I love seeing my extended family!
b. Eh. They’re alright, as long as they don’t critique my cooking this year.
c. Terrible! The house has to be cleaned top to bottom, I have to find the perfect gift for them, and the kids have to be on their best behavior! Where do I start?
3. It’s time to decorate the house! Where do you start?
a. I’ll start with the lights outside; it looks so festive this time of year!
b. Maybe I’ll help the kids decorate the tree, but the stockings also need to be hung…
c. Decorate? I have to go gift shopping!
4. You forgot to buy a present for your great-aunt Denise but you’re running low on funds. What do you do?
a. I’ll get her a nice card with her favorite candy bar. It’s the thought that counts.
b. Maybe I’ll return grandma’s gift for something smaller and then buy Aunt Denise something. But then I have to go to the mall and wait in the customer service line.
c. Oh no, how could I have forgotten? I’ll have to break into my emergency savings!
Congratulations, you’re part of the small percentage that is not overwhelmed by the upcoming holidays. It’s great that you’re so prepared this year but why don’t you spread that holiday cheer with neighbor? While you may be ready for Santa’s visit, some people around you may be struggling under the stress. So help out a friend so that everyone can have an awesome holiday.
While, you may not be completely done with the tasks that need to be done in these next few weeks, you’re not worried because you know that everything will work itself out in the end. Take time to smell the roses (or the Douglas Firs) and take this time to spend with the most important people in your life.
It’s safe to say the holidays are getting the best of you. Remember that the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, appreciating what you have and that it’s not all about material items. Thankfully we have some tips below to help you out.
10 Tips for the Holidays
1. Watch What You Eat
Your mood is closely tied to what you put into your body. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed try not to reach for that plate of cookies and grab a piece of fruit instead. Bonus Tip: Don’t starve yourself for anticipation of a big holiday feast. This will lead to irritability and over eating when the time comes.
2. Budget Yourself
If you haven’t started your present shopping yet, or even if you have a few more people to buy for, set a reasonable budget for yourself before you hit the mall. That way you can keep track of your finances as you go along. Bonus tip: Download a money managing app on your smartphone like GoodBudget to allocate money to holiday shopping and stick to it!
3. Create A Schedule
If you’ve got a lot on your plate this year, take 10 minutes to create a schedule when things should be done. For example, you can mark down when the tree needs to be put up and decorated, when all the grocery shopping has to be done, when you need to pick up relatives from the airport or when all the wrapping has to be done. Bonus tip: if you’re finding that you can’t be in two places at once enlist a friend, neighbor or relative to help out.
Volunteering is a win-win situation; you’ll feel great about yourself and you’ll be helping make someone else’s holiday better. There are great opportunities from soup kitchens to animal shelters to resale shops you you’ll have a lot of options. Bonus tip: KYC is always looking for more volunteers to help out. Contact Colette Young at (847) 524-8800 ext. 182 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
5. Try Something New
If you associate the holidays with a painful past or just have feelings of sadness, try something new this year. This could mean taking a trip or spending time with a new group of people. Adding some variety gives you the chance to make new memories and traditions. Bonus tip: Meetup.com is a great way to meet new groups of people and try new things. Create a profile and explore away!
6. Break A Sweat
It’s been scientifically proven that exercise relieves stress. It also releases endorphins (happy neurotransmitters), causes you to forget daily irritations, and improves your mood. This winter try some new ways of working out like skiing, snowshoeing or just go on a jog. Bonus tip: For the cold weather try some yoga; it’s indoors, easy to do at home and when the weather gets nicer you can do it outdoors!
7. Take Some Time
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take an hour out of your day to not think about anything and relax. Whether that means listening to some music, taking a nap or doing something you love. Bonus tip: A growing trend with adults with stress is coloring. Hit your local craft store to pick up an advanced coloring book and let your mind wander.
8. Ask For Help
If you’re finding that everything you’ve tried hasn’t helped don’t be afraid to talk to someone whether that is a close friend or a professional. Sometimes just by talking to someone can take a weight off of your shoulders. Bonus tip: KYC provides services pertaining to all mental health needs; give us a call at (847) 524-8800 to see what we can do for you.
9. Remind Yourself
The thought of the holidays can be devastating for some; sometimes you just have to remind yourself that the holidays are only temporary. In the meantime, try some of the strategies above until the holidays come to a close. Bonus tip: Rather than cooping up at home in front of the T.V. spend some alone time outside; take a hike, go for a walk, play in the snow, or try ice skating. The possibilities are endless!
10. Find the Silver Lining
If you find yourself in a difficult situation, try to find the positive that can come out of it. Studies show that when one is optimistic, stress levels decrease. Bonus tip: Each morning force yourself to smile for 1 minute; this will lead to a great start to your morning and an increased mood.
Kenneth Young Center (KYC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, provider of community based mental health and senior support services. For over 40 years we have worked to help individuals in need build new beginnings to successfully face life’s challenges. Our mission is to help people feel good, do better and find solutions. We do this by providing information and referrals, resource coordination, assessment, counseling, prevention, treatment, mentoring, in-home support, employment services and crisis intervention. Our service area extends primarily throughout the Northwest suburbs with a heavy concentration in Elk Grove and Schaumburg Townships. We attempt to serve all people regardless of income and insurance. We also have a wide variety of volunteer opportunities and a wonderful resale shop located in Schaumburg, IL. For more information, please visit http://www.kennethyoung.org or call 847-524-8800.
Although stress cannot be completely avoided, there are ways to manage or lessen stress. We have provided a few tips that can help students to improve their mental health.
Plan Time to Study-There are increasingly more nontraditional students attending college. These students often have families and other obligations that play a major role in their life. Additionally, rising tuition costs and concerns regarding money have made it necessary for traditional students to bear new financial responsibilities and work more than in years past.
Many DIY (Do It Yourself) enthusiasts flock to these stores to find great deals on items they can repurpose and make their own. With the boom of sites like Pinterest and Etsy more people have embraced their inner crafter. The Kenneth Young Center Resale Shop not only offers an opportunity for people to do great things for their community but the shop has become a go to spot for residents of Chicago’s northwest suburbs looking for the perfect item to repurpose.