7 Ways to Make Time for Yourself

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Let’s be honest with ourselves – life is busy. The days are filled with work, family, errands, appointments, and more. Sometimes we become stressed and tired, especially if we spend more time caring for others and neglect caring for ourselves.

Whether it is five minutes a day or an hour a week, make it a goal this new year to add self-care into your schedule. Some of the many self-care ideas are below. However, it is important to always choose an activity that is fun and relaxing for you.

  1. Exercise: Take a walk, join a gym, or participate in a fun class at the Y. Being active is good for your mind, body, and spirit. Research suggests aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Don’t consider yourself too busy to exercise. If 30 minutes seems too much at one time, break it into smaller increments. Try 10 minutes at a time and then build up to adding 30 minutes into your daily schedule.
  2. Schedule a digital detox: We are attached to our electronic devices and rely on them most of the time. However, when we are dedicated to a screen, such as our phones or computers, we are detached from those around us and from ourselves. Make it a priority to devote an hour or two per day to place your devices in a different room and not to touch them. Then, try it for an afternoon or whole day during the weekend. Think about it – don’t you feel stressed out by constantly checking your emails, looking at social media profiles of others, comparing your life to theirs? The more time you spend away from your device, the more time you’ll feel relaxed and more confident in your own life.
  3. Develop a new hobby just for yourself: One of the main things in self-care is making sure you are putting yourself first. It isn’t a time to feel guilty that you aren’t taking care of others or indulging in something you normally won’t do. It is a time to better yourself, so you can be a better person for your loved ones. A way to do just that is by developing a new hobby or restarting one that you had given up, one that is just for yourself. Maybe it is reading a book each night, sewing, coloring in a coloring book, or listening to a podcast. A hobby should be something you enjoy and want to do in your “me time.”
  4. Declutter: For me, I can get stressed out when things are all over the place and in a mess. To help with that, decluttering and cleaning up is the key. Every now and then, declutter a certain area in your home. It might be changing your wardrobe every three months and giving away pieces of clothing that you haven’t worn in a long time. Or you could use five minutes of each day to tidy up a corner of a room until it is done. When things are in place, our minds are calm.
  5. Educate yourself and learn something new: If you or a loved one are dealing with an illness, major life change, etc., research the situation and learn about all the different elements of how you are able to help. Sometimes being in the know about something takes away a great deal of stress. Also, learn something to broaden your horizons. Have you always wanted to learn another language or how to do a special skill? Now is the time.
  6. Change things up: Take a different route to work or go to that new restaurant you have always wanted to try. It is pivotal to have a routine, but every now and then, be spontaneous and try something new. An example could be making each Friday night the night to do something different. Do a new activity with your family and friends each week.
  7. Reward yourself after accomplishing a small or difficult task. Overcoming all types of obstacles should be celebrated. Reward these times with a pedicure, going to a fancy store, etc.

Self-care needs to be a priority for everyone and a part of a person’s to-do list. Find something that helps you and don’t feel bad taking the time to focus on you. As mentioned above, self-care makes you a better person.

xoxo,

Megan

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Becoming…A Better Me in 2019 (Part 1)

Last night, as the clock ticked towards midnight, I found myself crying. It was happy tears that came pouring from my eyes. 2018 was a tough year, but when I started thinking about it, the year was probably one of the best ones yet.

Just to give you an overview of what happened in the now “last” year…

  • In January, my grandmother battled the flu and pneumonia. My family heard twice in the course of two weeks that she might succumb to the sickness.
  • Throughout the year, especially in the fall, she had numerous hospital visits and rehabilitation stays. We almost lost her when they had to do emergency surgery to drain fluid from her heart. In addition, it has been hard to watch someone you love so much, be so much in pain. We have had multiple doctors’ visits and waiting for test results. Lastly, my family has felt the emotions and tough love of being caregivers.
  • There has been financial stress. At times, we worried how we would make it to the end of the month.

All these things out may not seem much to you, but to me, they are what made me stronger. You may also be thinking “why was this year one of the bests?” Well, because of this…

  • I received a graduate certificate in middle grades education and accomplished my goal of becoming a teacher.
  • The opportunity of student teaching and getting a job at two great schools have made that dream and goal all the more of a reality. In these positions, I have been challenged and overcame obstacles that made me a better educator.
  • My sister got engaged and married in a beautiful ceremony.
  • Above all, my grandmother survived all the health scares. She is flourishing and doing marvelous for an 85 year old.

In fact, we all survived. And we are all here; stronger and ready to take on the next 365 days. So, yes, 2018 was a pretty great year.

Xoxo,

Megan

Help a New Teacher Out!

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I normally don’t post pieces like this, where I ask for donations. However, I’ve changed careers and have entered the world of teaching! I’m ready for this challenge and excited for what is to come! Yet, as a first year teacher, I don’t have the necessary supplies and materials needed for my students to succeed.

I have created a projector DonorsChoose.org for the needed items. Any donation amount is greatly appreciated and will go far. If you give by August 16, your donation will be doubled up to $50. Just enter the code RIPPLE on the payment page. Please visit the link below for more information.

Thank you so much in advance for your donation and support! You are helping make an impact in a student’s life!

xoxo,

Megan

https://www.donorschoose.org/project/help-stock-ms-taylors-classroom/3442430/?rf=directlink-dc-2018-08-ifproject-teacher_5497896&challengeid=21226893&utm_source=dc&utm_medium=page&utm_campaign=project&utm_term=teacher_5497896

Finding a Job at Any Age

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It’s a common task that almost everyone has to conquer at some point in their life: the task of finding a job. The reality of hunting for a job, going through numerous searches, and updating your resume and cover letters can be daunting. Then, add in your experience level, and unfortunately, your age, and things might get tricky. Some like to say that finding a job is a full-time job in itself. If you are in the market for a new job, here are some tips to help ease your stress and make your search a little easier, no matter your age.

In Your Twenties: 

You are fresh out of school and ready to take on the world with a new career. But you might come across a few problems, such as your age and experience level. To overcome this, start with polishing up your resume. You may not have much job experience at this stage in your life. To help fill your resume, list any jobs, internships, volunteer positions, honors, skills, and coursework. Be sure to tailor your resume to each position you are applying for and make it relevant to what qualifications the job requires. That way you are highlighting what you could bring to the job. Also, always proofread and correct any typos. Employers usually discard any resumes or cover letters with grammar and spelling mistakes. Lastly, continue learning new skills. The more abilities you have, the more hirable you’ll become. Part of finding a job is getting your foot in the door and networking, especially for the job searchers in their twenties. Bring your resume to various career and networking events held by your college or university, or in your community. Starting to build those professional relationships at the beginning of your hunt will help you secure a position when the time is right.

In Your Thirties and Forties: 

At this point in a person’s life, there are many reasons why someone would be looking for a new job. The first step in your job search in your thirties and forties is determining your strengths and in what career they would be beneficial. Think about what interests you, and what type of career would make you happy. Then, find professionals in that field and network. If you can, complete an internship or “job shadow” a leader in that position to get exposure to the company and job. Another option is to volunteer with a nonprofit in that career field. This opportunity allows you to network with employers, and vice versa, so they will get to know you, which can be helpful when a position in that organization or field opens up. An advantage of exploring a career field while applying for jobs gives you a chance to see if you need to further your education or get qualified for a certain occupation. There are many options available for continuing your studies while working, such as online classes offered through colleges and universities. One downfall to this part of the job search is the time an internship, networking, and job shadowing takes. Be sure to attend different events in your community where you’ll have the chance to network. Also, think about your family and friends. Do they have a professional connection that would help you? It never hurts to ask.

In Your Fifties and Sixties: 

It is a harsh reality that finding a job later in life can be tough and age discrimination does occur in the job search. Some employers view people in their fifties and sixties as being too expensive or not wanting to work or stay for long in an entry-level position. However, this is not true. People in this life stage can offer professionalism and usually have a strong work ethic earned through their maturity. A person 50 or older will automatically have more experience and knowledge, perhaps in a variety of fields. During a job search, this is a quality to highlight on your resume and in your cover letters. Emphasize your accomplishments and where you have been a leader in various occupations. However, you do need to explain in your cover letter any gaps in employment, or why you are applying for a job for which it may seem you are overqualified. Leave off years from your education and shorten your resume to focus on jobs held within the last ten years. Along with your abilities already acquired, show off your skills and interests in current news and events, and how to navigate technology. Try to stop thinking about your age as a burden in the job search, but instead, as an advantage you can bring to the job.

No matter what your age is, all of these tips can be useful in a job search. Be confident in your abilities, skills, and experience, and before you know it, you’ll find the perfect profession for you.

xoxo,

Megan

A No-Spend Month? Budget, Please!

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It happens to most of us – overspending one month and not having enough money for the next. There are many ways to alter your budget to fix this problem. One of those solutions is having a no-spend month. That’s right, you don’t spend money on anything, but the necessities. You might be thinking, “How can I do that?” Continue reading to find out.

  • First, keep it simple. Try giving up only one luxury for the month. This tip is especially important for starting out. For example, try avoiding shopping for clothes, shoes, etc. for a whole month. This can be a drastic change, and it is best to start with what you are most comfortable with in terms of eliminating expenses. If you feel like giving up multiple expenses for the month, start with decreasing one at a time. Maybe it is the coffee you get on the way to work each morning, or maybe it is cooking dinner at home for a whole week, instead of eating out. Then, build up the amount of purchases you eliminate, until you aren’t spending money on unnecessary expenses by the end of the month. Lastly, you can also alter the time frame for how long you are doing this undertaking. Give it a go for a week. If that works, add on another week and so on. The main idea about the no-spend month is to truly keep it simple. Do what works for you and the plan won’t fail.
  • One option to help motivate you to stick with the no-spend month is to set a goal or give yourself a reason to save up for something. You might be wanting to add an X amount of money to your savings account for the future, or you might want to contribute a certain amount to your favorite cause or organization. This challenge can get tough. It is helpful to have a big picture in mind as to why you are doing this task.
  • Can it be a complete no-spend month? Yes and no. You need to still pay the bills and will have to do some planning ahead of time for the other expenses, such as groceries, gas, toiletries, etc. Think about this goal in terms of not spending money on things that can be considered “luxury” items. Do you really need a new pair of shoes this month? Do you need to see the latest movie in the theaters or can you wait until it is available to rent? There is no exact way to have a complete no-spend month because things happen and expenses come up. Just don’t go overboard on buying items that aren’t needed at that time or could wait another month or so for purchasing. For the needed expenses, try finding deals before spending the money.
  • Use what you have at home before going shopping. This is huge for groceries and toiletries. Remember that pantry full of products or extra shampoo you bought some time ago? Use those items first before purchasing more. Get creative and cook some fun meals for you and your family. You never know what will taste good together until you try it. As for the unused toiletries just sitting there? Think about the money you spent on purchasing those items. Not using the product is really wasted money. Another option is utilizing the items to make other items. For example, low on household cleaning products? Make a homemade version. Most DIY cleaners take ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and dish soap. Recipes can be found through a quick online search.
  • Stay at home, instead of going out. Date nights and family nights don’t need to be nights on the town. Try spending a day or night at home, watching your favorite movie, reading a classic book, cooking a meal together, playing a game outside, or doing absolutely nothing, but relaxing. There is no shame in spending a day or night at home. Plus, it puts more money in your pocket. If you feel the need to get out of the house, spend your time doing free things in your community, such as taking a walk in a park or volunteering.

A no-spend month can be tough. Create a plan and stick with it. Know exactly where you need to spend money and where you can save. At the end of the month, you might be surprised by how much money you saved.

xoxo,

Megan

Dear Mom, Thank You and Happy Birthday

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Today is my mom’s birthday! In honor of her special day, I decided to share an article I wrote for the May issue of Forsyth Woman. 

Dear Mom, Thank You:

On Sunday, May 13th, many people will honor their mothers and grandmothers. Every year on Mother’s Day, we celebrate the women who have raised us and taught us about life. Mothers spend time teaching their children, cleaning up after them, staying up all night when a child is sick, and making sure we have food to eat and clean clothes to wear. Growing up, they were our chauffeurs, chefs, nurses, cheerleaders, and life planners. No child will ever understand what a mother goes through for 18 years, all the worry, joys, and tears. One of the biggest things a mother does for her child is teach them lessons about life. These lessons are different and vary from family to family. We also learn knowledge from our grandmothers. Most of this knowledge has been passed down through the generations and is timeless.

I was raised by the hardest working single mother I know. She always made sure my sister and I had what we needed, even if it meant she went without certain things. Growing up, we lived with my grandparents. To me, my grandmother is more than just a grandmother. She is an inspiration, just like my mother. There are many lessons that these two women have passed down to my sister and me, and I have picked out a few of my favorite to share below.

  1. Always say “I love you.” One time I remember being on the phone in the same house as my mom. We were in two different rooms at opposite ends of the house. As we hung up, she said “I love you.” I didn’t think much about it at that time, because it was a common phrase we said as we hang up phone calls. However, thinking back, this little phrase can mean the world to someone and make someone’s day. It is a little phrase one can say at any time to just show someone they are thinking about them.
  2. Always celebrate birthdays. My mother goes all the way for birthdays. She decorates the house with a theme, days before the actual day, allowing the birthday person more time to enjoy it. Go overboard for this person because, after all, it is just one day a year and everyone deserves their special day.
  3. Always stay strong and never give up. I could write a book about all the trials and tribulations my mother and grandmother have gone through and are still standing. My 85-year-old grandmother is a two-time cancer survivor and stroke survivor. Her doctors call her the “energizer bunny.” Their actions are perfect examples to always keep going, no matter what life throws at you, and that you are stronger than you think.
  4. Organization is the key. My mother is always organized with everything she does. On the other hand, I am not. I’m always learning ways to keep my papers, forms, and life in order from my mother. There is no shame in color-coding, having separate notebooks, and a place for everything in the house.
  5. Family comes before everything. My family is very close-knit and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After my grandfather passed away, my grandmother, mom, sister, and I relied on each other for strength. We have an unspoken motto that whenever someone battles anything, we battle it together. They are “my tribe.”

I am lucky to have a mom and grandmother who are also my friends. My mom is one of my best friends and I know nothing will change that, no matter how many times we disagree and see things differently. Like my grandmother, my mom is my role model and one of the strongest women I’ll ever know. Because of that, thank you Momma!

Happy Mother’s Day!

xoxo,

Megan

7 Life Skills Everyone Should Know

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Throughout life, people learn many lessons and skills. At a young age, we learn to walk, talk, read, and write. Most of the time, in early adulthood, we are taught how to balance a checkbook and how to properly do laundry. The list of all the tasks goes on and on, but there are a few that everyone should learn how to do as they become an adult.

  1. Cooking: It doesn’t have to be a five-course meal, but learn how to cook something. Freezer meals and take out only go so far. Get proficient in a few simple, go-to meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, you’ll be able to impress your family and friends by cooking them one of your signature dishes. Also, when it comes to cooking, everyone should learn how to cook an egg, how to properly cook meat, and what fruits and vegetables are in season.
  2. Basic Home and Car Repairs: You can save lots of money by teaching yourself how to fix the small home and car problems that occur. If you are unsure how to stop the leaky faucet in the kitchen, unclog the toilet, or how to replace a flat tire, a quick Internet search will show you. A piece of advice for all minor problems, if you think you can, try to fix it yourself before enlisting professional help. Also, if you ever get stuck, either in a pinch or out in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be able to get the job done without having to wait for help to arrive. Lastly, by having an understanding of basic home and car repairs you will have the knowledge to decide whether or not a professional is being fair in price and quality of service. For car repairs, DMV.org is a great resource.
  3. Basic First-Aid: It never hurts to have the ability to perform CPR, bandage a cut, and handle a burn. Always have a first-aid kit, filled with Band-Aids, gauze, alcohol wipes, gloves, and more at home. You never can predict when an injury or emergency will occur. Other first-aid skills you should have are recognizing the signs of a heart attack, stroke, allergic reaction, and a concussion. Check with your local Red Cross, community center, and community colleges to see if they offer classes in first-aid and CPR.
  4. Writing a Resume and Cover Letter: This task can be tough for many people and can be a dreaded one. However, it is a skill everyone needs to learn and is a must when looking for employment. Many employers don’t spend a great deal of time reading resumes and cover letters. These documents need to be well-written, professional, and to the point. Think of it as being your 30-second elevator speech on paper. Community colleges and career centers in your area, as well as, Goodwill, are willing to assist and answer your questions. Also, there are multiple resources online to consult.
  5. Organizing Important Documents and Financial Records: Sometimes I’m guilty of throwing away receipts that might be needed later, especially during tax season. It is important to have documents, such as your birth certificate, social security card, and insurance information, in a safe place that you can easily reach. Also, store any receipts and tax documents in that same spot, as well. You never know when you’ll need something, but this will especially come in handy during tax season. A good way to store these documents is to invest in a fireproof box.
  6. Tasks We Rely on Our Cell Phones to Do: It might be a harsh reality, but sometimes you won’t have internet access or a way to charge your cell phone’s battery. Teach yourself how to read a roadmap, in case GPS is down, learn the phone numbers of close family members, in case you can’t reach your address book, and how to compute simple math equations, without the help of a calculator. Utilizing these skills will help pull you out of difficult times, if needed.
  7. Emergency Preparedness: No one wants to think that they might have to deal with a fire, flood, or tornado during their life, but sadly, some people do. Whether the power goes out or an accident strikes, it is vital to have the knowledge on what you should do and the supplies to stay safe. Part of being prepared for emergencies is having the ability to keep yourself safe. Take all precautions to avoid any unnecessary situations and how to handle the moment.

As a person goes through life, they acquire many skills and lessons that can be useful. Always keep learning something new and you’ll be confident knowing what to do when a situation calls for a specific skill.

xoxo,

Megan