How To Make the Most Of Thanksgiving

As I start thinking about Thanksgiving, I am filled with A LOT of mixed emotions.  Growing up, it was a day filled with football games (Neptune vs Asbury), family and lots of food.  Then, life changed and I don’t really remember much of the time between family gatherings and being a mom.  I know we celebrated but they are some of the memories lost in my brain.  Then came Belinda and recovery.  Reuniting with my dad and the other side of the family.  Thanksgiving was one of the two holidays which were “dad” holidays.  This year, is filled with LOTS of emotions.  I am celebrating eighteen months clean and blessed to be having TWO thanksgivings.  Hubby took Wednesday off so we will celebrate with mom on Wednesday and then Thanksgiving Day with Patti and the crew.  I’m sure I will cry lots of tears.  Sad Belinda will again not be home for the holidays and for those who are no longer with us (definitely going to miss Dad’s mashed potatoes.)

The best advice I can give it to take time out to truly appreciate this special day of thanks.  Here are some tips to make this year’s Thanksgiving the most festive and fun-filled yet.

1. Plan ahead for the day you want

It sounds simple, but your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Maybe you envision a formal Thanksgiving dinner complete with centerpieces, nameplates and an elegant menu. If that’s your plan, spell it out ahead of time. If you want potluck, paper plates, jeans and football, plan it and let people know. Share your desires openly with family, i.e. “I hope you will stay all day so we can have lots of time together”—to create the day you want.

2. Think about timing

It may sound like a no-brainer, but the timing of your dinner can impact the entire day. If you call your mealtime too early, you might get stressed with the-time crunch of meal prep (unless you’ve done most of it in the days before). Some like to eat later in order to enjoy appetizers and the anticipation of the holiday meal all day. Or maybe you have guests who are going to be glued to a particular football game during the day. Growing up dinner was always at 5PM, it gave everyone time to get home from the game, rest and be ready to eat since mom-mom very seldom let us in the kitchen to help (or at least I don’t remember her letting us).  Be sure to consider all of these variables and plan accordingly.

3. Relax your expectations

When I have company, this is the toughest thing for me to do!  Without dwelling on it, acknowledge something will likely go wrong with your day, but that’s OK. A quirky uncle might say something, well, quirky. Someone might not show up who said they would. If you want to have the best possible holiday, roll with the punches. (Rest assured: No one’s Thanksgiving is perfect.)

4. Set up a kids’ table

LOL.  A random memory of when we had family dinners at our house.  The kids table was ALWAYS in the kitchen but close enough to the dining room.  I know this isn’t the kin of table they are talking about but it was a great random memory.  How about letting the kids help make construction-paper place mats for their special table. It’s fun for kids to eat away from the adults, and you are likely to hear lots of giggles, too.  We still have two tables when we eat Thanksgiving – one in the dining room and one in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many little ones (yet) to have kids and adults at separate tables.

5. Take a moment to observe

Take a moment during the festivities to stop doing and just notice what is happening all around you. Watch your family as an observer; what do you see? When we stop scurrying around in host (or guest) mode, we can absorb our blessings: family, friends, a nice home, good food, our health, a break from work, laughter and more. When you stop to pay attention, we enjoy the day more fully and create vivid memories.  This has been one of the greatest gifts of recovery…. being present in the moment!

6. Take a walk

So much food, so many people, so much indoor time—you could really use a little fresh air to slow your day down and take a moment to breathe in the crisp air. Walking after a big meal wakes you up and helps you digest. Even if it’s cold, bundle up and enjoy your holiday with a brisk walk.

7. Don’t clean up right away

Thanksgiving dinner can take hours to prepare, and if you start cleaning up as soon as your meal is finished, when do you actually get to enjoy it? Cleaning up also can send the unintended message it’s time for guests to stop conversing and start helping or even leave. Enjoy the conversation fully before you pick up all the plates. Consider having dessert an hour or more after dinner to encourage family members and friends to relax, connect and stick around for a while.

8. Remember what the day is about

It’s isn’t just turkey, football and pies. Thanksgiving is truly about coming together as a family to give thanks. Focus on your blessings, and your own happiness and appreciation will infuse your holiday and guests with joy.

Share your favorite Thanksgiving memory with us…. Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Mistakes

A mistake is defined as “an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong.” .  We have all made them from the little ones to the ones which wreck our lives or those around us.  Do you think of them as leaning lessons and are grateful for the mistake?  OR do you beat yourself up swearing to never do anything “stupid” like that again?

I will admit, depending on the mistake – I can go between the two.  No matter how you handle the mistake, you are not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another and reacted differently each time.  The truth is if we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.

The good news is, you can learn from your mistakes. Then, instead of repeating them again, you’ll gain valuable wisdom to help you in the future.

1. Acknowledge Your Errors

Regardless of the size of the mistake or who it has effected,  you have to accept full responsibility for your role in what happened.  You need to ask yourself, “What role did I play in this?”.  The answer can be uncomfortable sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but you need to own your part.  Once you have said “I messed up,”  you can start to learn from it.  This is all part of changing and hopefully, not making the same mistake again.

2. Ask Yourself Tough Questions

You don’t want to dwell on your mistakes (this is a tough one for me) BUT reflecting on them can be productive. I don’t know about you but when I dwell on mistakes, I tend to beat myself up a little bit.  So, if you ask yourself these tough questions, it can turn a bashing session into a productive one:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I do better next time?
  • What did I learn from this?

Write down your responses and you’ll see the situation a little more clearly. Seeing your answers on paper can help you think more logically about an irrational or emotional experience.  Let’s face it, we have all had them at one time.

3. Make A Plan

Beating yourself up for your mistakes won’t help you down the road.  It’s important to spend the bulk of your time thinking about how to do better in the future.  Make a plan to help avoid making a similar mistake. Be as detailed as possible but remain flexible since your plan may need to change  No matter how you track your progress, find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Remember what works for one person might not work with someone else.

4. Make It Harder To Mess Up

How will you be sure not to mess up again?  Does willpower alone prevent you from taking an unhealthy shortcut or from giving into immediate gratification (I want what I want when I want it). Increase your chances of success by making it harder to mess up again. Find creative ways to become more disciplined. If using credit cards is your struggle – cut up the cards or freeze them.  Yup, in a big block of ice.  Whenever you try to thaw the block of ice, you will realize how ridiculous the situation is and stop spending money you don’t have.

5. Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Make The Mistake Again

We all have weak moments and the next thing you know, we have made the same mistake again!  Why not create a list of all the reasons why you should stay on track and be self-disciplined,  you can refer to during tough times. Put the list some place where you can see it – if shopping is a problem, put the list in your wallet next to your debit/credit cards.  If flirting on social media is a thing, post your list on your computer so when you start scrolling or are tempted you see the list.  Is it a guarantee?  NO but it may help you to resist the temptation.  Self-discipline is like a muscle. Each time you delay gratification and make a healthy choice, you grow mentally stronger.

Mistakes aren’t always one big blunder. Sometimes, they are a series of little choices leading to failure.  So pay attention to your mistakes, no matter how big or how small they might seem. Recognize each mistake can be an opportunity to build mental muscle and become better.

Have a blessed day!

Avoiding Burnout

How To Make it a GREAT Day

No…. it isn’t Monday but I do love this picture!!!!!

Mornings are not my best time.  I used to LOVE them.  Yup, I was one of those crazy people who was on the go from early in the morning till I crashed at night.  Then I got OLD!  LOL.  No actually MS hit. Now,  I wake up in an MS fog which takes like an hour to fade away.  I used to say, “Don’t talk to me until I had my coffee”, now it is “Don’t talk to me until I can clear the fog”.

Despite the fog, I do everything I can to make it a GREAT day!  Some days are easier than others but I am determined to make the most of it.

How do you start your days?  Do you set the alarm to get up early (maybe an hour before everyone else)?  Are you full of motivation and anticipation for the day ahead or are you dragging and dreaded what might be.  Despite the struggles which come with MS, I usually have my days planned out in some detail – where I’m going, who I will meet, what work I will get done and even some white space on the calendar for those unexpected curve balls called life.that-wonderful-monday-morning-feeling-L-56cqQ9

Yup, it is all about the Law of Attraction.  The reality is your negative (dreading) thoughts are killing your productivity before you even start your day.  I know some days are tough.  Some times it feels like every day is a Monday.   I try to keep a positive attitude.  Do you let one bad day, set the tone for the rest of the week or even the next few days?  So, are you looking to make a change?

To be honest, when I decided to make the most of every day, I actually took control of my life’s direction.  Now, before you start the negatives of why you CAN’T do these things, give them a chance.  Remember baby steps are what help change the chaotic into the manageable.  I don’t always do them all perfectly BUT I give them my best shot.

#1 REST

Allow yourself to really slow down and unwind.  Maybe it is a glass of wine or reading a book or a bubble bath or a massage or watching endless episodes on Netflix?  Why not, right?  I know, you have a MILLION reasons but a little self indulgence lets you take some well earned rest.  Your weekends (days off) should be different then your work week.  It allows you time to forget the stresses and strains of being a busy woman on the go.  You get to recharge so you are ready to start all over again.

#2 LIVE POSITIVELY

You need to practice this one daily.  I know those inner gremlins are screaming at you.  I know you have bad days.  I have them too.  The first thing I do is remind myself my life is not this one day.  STOP and be grateful for the things in your life.  It will help you  to appreciate how good life really is. Your thoughts, your words, your status’, your tweets, your Facebook posts should ALL be positive. You wont be perfect but if you do your best; it will have a huge impact on the way you live your life.sunshine1

#3 RISE EARLY

I have talked about this before…Getting up early is the most motivating and self satisfying thing you can do.  When I used to wake up before 6am; I knew it was going to be a really great day. Devotions done by 6:30AM. Coffee and a shower and I am at my desk by 7:30am.   Why so early? So I can be done in my office by 10 to enjoy time with hubby.  Days like these, I am unstoppable. My mood is upbeat and I feel energized because I have been productive.  Okay, so things have changed slightly with the onset of MS BUT on those days when I am up early and am ready to go – my outlook is so much brighter.

#4 MAKE LISTS

This is more a part of my life since the MS but I have to admit, I LOVE seeing things checked off.  I make lists to ensure I don’t miss any thing and everything gets done.  It is also a great way to set-up my planner so I don’t over schedule or over commit myself.

#5 TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

Yes, this actually is the key to being productive on any day.  By taking a regular break, I get fresh eyes and enthusiasm.  Planning all my tasks out in small increments helps too.  It ensures I am not working non stop (or running around) for long hours.  This is how I avoid the afternoon sugar and feeling lethargic so my productivity suffers.   Take a tea break.  Go for a short walk.  Take a power nap.  Read a little in your favorite book.  You will see a huge difference in the rest of your day.

So, what are you going to do to make a difference in your day which will ripple into making a difference in your week?  Share your ideas with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

How To ROCK Your Business During the Cold Winter Months

 

 

Predictions of snowy weather often have many cancelling their events and parties.  How are you prepared to keep your business going?

.Since I rely on my business to pay my bills, I am always working on a plan to keep things consistent while I (and my customers) are snuggled warm at home.  Last winter, I was able to hit my goal as was my team with some planning – I always have a plan B….

Here are some tips to help you keep your sales up during those cold winter months…

1.Flash Sale Fridays (or any day)IMG_3907.jpg

Pick a product or a bundle of products and offer them at a discount for a 24-hour period only.  Let your customers know by sharing the products LIVE on Facebook or via an email or even in a text message.  Encourage them to share the flash sale with friends – the more the merrier.  Thankfully, Thirty One offers us a chance to give our customers a discount without it effecting our pocketbook  – an AWESOME consultant perk.  If a 40% discount off, isn’t in your budget, utilize the specials offered by your company to create bundles for your customers.  By creating a sense of urgency (today only) you can encourage people to shop.

2. Facebook LIVE parties

Facebook LIVE is a great way to demonstrate products, do drawings, and have fun. By letting your customers see you LIVE, they establish a connection with you, and see your personality shine.  Encourage attendees to share the video with friends.  Ask simple questions like where do you live so everyone checks in.  Acknowledge those who check in with a greeting or comment.  The more interaction, the more people will see it on their Facebook newsfeed.  The end result is to take orders by sharing solutions to their every day problems with your products.  This is definitely on my TO DO list for the winter months.  Even if it isn’t a party, just going LIVE to share products and tips will help your sales.

3. Show on the Go parties

Pack up some samples of your products, catalogs and share them with 6 of your friends. Encourage each of them to collect $100 in orders.  Give it a fun name and split the hostess benefits between them.  Chances are they will collect more than $100 in sales.

4. If it’s just a flurry

Have a flurry sale offering, get rid of retiring prints and products or excess inventory – we in direct sales always have excess inventory.  Have a home party, offer a discount or special gift if the party holds and guests attend or order.

5. Hold a Mystery Host party

Text, email, phone or facebook message past/ current customers for orders.  Anyone who places an order will be entered in a drawing to win ALL of the hostess benefits.  The more orders, the more benefits.

Be sure to OVERBOOK your calendar in the winter months.  One date is the party date and the second date is a snow date, just in case the original date is postponed due to weather. If a home party is cancelled, switch it to a ZOOM or Facebook LIVE party. You were scheduled to work, so work your business.  ZOOM is a fun way to get everyone on at the same time.  You can see them and they can see you.  Then you can download and share it those who couldn’t attend.

Another fun idea to get people out to a wintery party is with a theme party – have them thinking warm with a summer or tropical theme. Encourage guests to dress based on the theme and have your hostess focus her snacks (simply and easy) on it as well.  It’s a fun way to bring hope the winter will soon be over and allows everyone to dream a little.

What is your best tip for keeping your business consistent during the winter?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!