friendship

Best Friends Day

Did you know that June 8th is Best Friends Day? It’s a time to celebrate the social connections we have made as well as recognize the benefits that building strong social connections has on our lives.

It’s no secret that friends do so much for us–spending time together, celebrating the good times, and comforting us in the hard times. But having a social connection is also beneficial for our well-being and mental health.

Friends can:

  • Boost happiness and reduce your stress. 
  • Improve self-confidence and self-worth. 
  • Increase your purpose. 
  • Help you cope with challenges you may face. 

On this day we can also remind ourselves of the power of social connection. Research indicates that a lack of human connection can be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. The pandemic has decreased our in-person connection while also increasing our online interactions.  While technology can help to connect us in new ways, excessive screen use also disconnects us from nature, from our own thoughts, and from others. We need face-to-face interaction in our lives and losing that piece of our society over the last two years has not been healthy.

If you are searching for ways to expand your social connections and make new friends, try some of these suggestions from the Canadian Mental health Association

  • Join a new club, or try out a group activity
  • Reach out to an old friend you’ve lost touch with
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about
  • Eat lunch in a communal space
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbours
  • Ask someone for help when you need it
  • Do a random act of kindness

Now is the time to check in with friends and acquaintances and let them know that they are important to you. 

For more resources, check out the links below. 

7 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate National Best Friends Day

Connect With Others | Mental Health America

The Power of Friendship

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World Kindness Day – November 13th

November 13th is World Kindness Day! 

This international holiday was created to highlight and encourage good deeds in your community and to remind us that simple acts of kindness have great power.  Let your friends, family, and even strangers know that you appreciate them.  Saying thank you for an act of kindness can improve someone’s day. This day was created to help you realize that you can make a difference, one act at a time.

Here are some ideas for acts of kindness that you can try from inspirekindness.com.

  • Smile when you walk by others
  • Write positive messages on post-it notes and leave them for people to find
  • Call a relative you haven’t spoken to in a while 
  • Pick up trash you see on the ground outside and throw it in a garbage can
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Chat with a stranger and ask them about their day
  • Pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal
  • Compliment someone
  • Send a positive or encouraging text to five people in your contacts
  • Surprise someone with flowers
  • Tell a family member or friend you love them
  • Write a note on the receipt at a restaurant for your server 
  • Offer to help with someone’s errands
  • Give a surprise gift to someone you care about
  • Send a kind card or note to a friend
  • Surprise co-workers with home-baked cookies or treats
  • Plant a tree
  • Spend less time on your phone and more time with people you care about
  • Organize a workplace giving campaign
  • Offer a classmate help with homework
  • Talk to someone new
  • Practice gratitude
  • Volunteer
  • Give someone a hug

 A small act of kindness can go a long way. 

For more information and ideas, check out these websites:

https://nationaltoday.com/world-kindness-day/

https://inspirekindness.com/world-kindness-day

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Getting to Know The Real You

Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly changing.

You are not the same person you were this time last year.

As time goes on, our values, goals, and ideas tend to evolve. 

You should never force yourself to participate in something that doesn’t feel right. 

But at the same time, you can never know how you feel about something unless you try (sometimes more than once). 

Setting Goals

Setting new goals and diving back into older ones can teach us a lot about ourselves.

Imagining your future self is just as important as discovering your present self.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

What can you start doing today that will help you get there?

We can’t expect great things to magically fall in our laps. 

We have to put the work in to make those dreams a reality. 

Describe Yourself

How would you describe yourself to a complete stranger?

Would you start listing your personality traits, family, goals, job, all of the above?

You are so much more than your job or your hobbies. 

Every single piece of you makes you who you are. 

List Your Values

What do you value in others and yourself? 

Do you care about community, authenticity, generosity?

Take a moment to write down the values you cherish in life. 

Putting these values down on paper can help you look at them in a new way and help them feel more tangible. 

Keep in mind – this list does not have to be a set-in-stone thing.

You can easily add new items to the list or even erase some as time goes on. 

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6 Hacks to Transform Your Work From Home Routine

When you work from home, there will always be little distractions that pop up. 

Everything from kids to pets to dirty dishes can be very distracting and take up a lot of time and energy.

Oh, and let’s not forget about social media and the TV! If you’re ready to say goodbye to those distractions, you are in the right place. 

Set Fixed Hours

Working from home does give us a lot more flexibility hours wise, which can be both a good and bad thing.

Have you ever had one of those days where you were in the zone and the day just flew by? As much as we love those days, they can also throw us a little off course.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to go above and beyond.

But at the same time, life is all about balance.

Working unrealistic hours is not healthy, and can lead to frustration and burnout.

Study Your Creativity

We all have our own focus styles. Some of us are more creative in the afternoon, while others are more creative in the mornings. As we stated earlier, working from home does give us a lot of flexibility.

If you prefer doing difficult tasks that require a lot of creativity in the morning, then plan your day around those tasks. That way, you can spend your afternoons doing more mundane tasks such as catching up on emails. 

Let Your Family Know When You’re in Meetings

Almost all of us have had our children interrupt a very important meeting at least once.

The only thing is, that sometimes it can be tricky to get back into the zone after being interrupted. The next time you have an important meeting or strict deadline, don’t be afraid to give your family a heads up first. 

Spend Time Outside

Getting out of the house at least once a day is so important for our overall creativity and energy levels. You can take a walk around the block or read a book on your porch. 

Get Organized

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

When we have so much going on, it can be tough to know where to even begin. Writing out all of your to-do’s in order of importance can help prevent a lot of guesswork and decision making during the day.

Take Plenty of Email Breaks

Don’t get us wrong – email is an incredible thing.

However, you don’t want to become glued to your inbox. Replying to emails can be incredibly time consuming and exhausting.

Yes, some emails are urgent – but not all of them! 

Before answering an email, ask yourself if the email can wait a few hours, or if it needs to be taken care of right away. Prioritizing your email correspondents can potentially save you hours, if not more every month.

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You Can Still Network During COVID-19 – Here’s How

Networking events are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, grow your network and hand out business cards. 

As you know, in-person networking events and conferences have been put on hold for almost nine months now.

Just because we can’t actually get together with people face-to-face does not mean networking is off the table. 

We just have to go about it in a slightly different way. 

Keep on reading to learn how you can safely network during COVID-19.

Log Into Zoom Events Early:

Several speakers have been organizing virtual events via Zoom during the pandemic.

However, having solid one on one conversations via Zoom events isn’t always an option.

That is if you join the event on time…

A great way to sneak in some one on one time with the speaker is by attending the event 5 – 10 minutes early.

Chances are, the speaker will already be logged in to ensure everything is set up correctly.

You can take that opportunity to introduce yourself and even ask them a question if they have time. 

Follow Up:

Forming solid relationships takes time, energy and effort.

The simple act of following up only takes a few minutes but delivers results! 

Keep in mind, your follow up techniques don’t have to be fancy. 

A couple of days after the first meeting, you can send them a short and sweet email thanking them for their time and advice.

And about 2 – 4 weeks later, you can email them again to touch-base.

Be Active On Social Media:

Posting on social media is amazing, but it’s not always enough to form solid relationships with like-minded people.

Networking online does take some time and energy, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

Taking even 10 minutes out of your day to like and comment on popular content can help get your name out there. 

Don’t be afraid to start conversations with people who don’t know. Every friendship and business relationship has to start somewhere!

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When to Call and When to Text

Here’s something for you to think about.

How many hours a week do you think you spend talking on the phone?

And how many hours a week do you think you spend texting?

Chances are you spend many more hours a week texting. And you are not the only one. Texting is very easy, and you can reply basically whenever you’d like. While talking on the phone requires you to be completely present.

These past several months, most of us have been texting a lot more than usual. 

Texting has been one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with friends and family while social distancing.

The only thing is, texting is not always enough.

Of course, texting friends and family is far better than having no communication at all.

But there’s something special about hearing someone’s voice and/or seeing their face.

Sometimes text messages can get misunderstood or lost in our inbox. 

Here’s an example. Have you ever vented to a friend via text after a bad day and didn’t get the response you were looking for?

Maybe you felt like they didn’t understand. Or maybe you felt like you weren’t there for you.

Chances are, your friend didn’t fully understand the situation or misread something in your text.

Phone calls make it much easier to get your point across and clearly communicate emotions. 

Don’t get us wrong. Texting is great too.

It’s a very practical and easy way to pass on a quick message or confirm small details.

But solely relying on texting can make it much harder to maintain strong and healthy social connections during COVID.

Simply picking up the phone and calling a friend just to chat can go a long way.

Typing is one thing. Voices are another. 

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What Scientists Have To Say About Boredom And The Brain

Think about it. Your brain never gets a day off.  Every single day our brain works hard to listen, make decisions, and keep us safe. The brain is so devoted to protecting us that it never takes a break.

Even when we’re sleeping, our brain is still running. Keep in mind that getting enough sleep is extremely important for our brain, and it’s health. When we don’t get enough sleep, the brain can’t function properly, which can lead to problems down the line. Believe it or not, sleep isn’t the only gift you can give your brain. 

Wondering what the other gift is?

If you guessed embracing boredom, you are correct!

Benefits of Embracing Boredom 

The idea of sitting down and doing nothing can seem quite counterintuitive. However, it can actually work wonders on our productivity.

When we are constantly on the go, we are much more likely to experience burnout and decision fatigue.

Several studies show that boredom can increase productivity and creativity. 

Just Be

When life gets busy sometimes, we can forget to take a minute to just be and do nothing. 

Many famous writers have said their best ideas have come to them while taking a shower or organizing the house.  It just goes to show how powerful the brain can be, and how ideas can come to us anytime. So many of us have a daily to-do list. But, it may be time to think outside the box and start a to-be-list. 

Taking a casual walk around the block or stretching for as little as 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference! What are you waiting for? It’s time to embrace boredom and give your brain the rest it needs. Learn More

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Coping With Back-To-School Uncertainty

It’s no secret that this school year will be far different than most. Children haven’t stepped foot in an actual classroom for many months now, and it’s been quite a unique summer.

The unknown can often be scary, and right now, no one knows for sure what this school year will look like.

Most children love the first day of school. It’s always so nice to catch up with friends, play games and chat about summer. 

This year, children can still have an amazing first day; it’ll just be done virtually. 

Every child is different, and there is no right or wrong way to feel about the first day back. If your child is experiencing some back to school nerves, here’s what to do! 

Talk About It:

Remember, your child has never experienced a first day back quite like this one. 

They may be feeling a little confused, anxious, or scared. 

Talking about our fears and worries can help us better understand and come to terms with them.

Getting Used To The New Normal:

If your child is young, they may not fully understand what the “new normal” means. Sit down with them and let them know exactly what they can expect this year to look like, and encourage them to ask questions.

Once they have a better understanding of what’s going on, you can create a game plan together.

Focus on the Positives:

Whether your child is nervous, afraid or confused, it’s so important to focus on the positives.

You and your child can sit down together and make a list of all the things they are looking forward to this school year. Remind them how fun it will be to experience a new grade, learn new things, and spend time with family. 

Establish a Daily Routine:

Kids thrive on structure. Even though your child will be learning online, it’s still incredibly important for them to go to bed on time, have fun, and connect with friends. 

Now, it may take some time to get back into a routine, but they’ll get there.

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Finding Your Purpose

Looking to find your purpose, but aren’t sure where or how to start? Well, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading to learn more. 

Know What You Care About:

Identifying what you truly care about is one of the first steps to finding your purpose. 

You may not know the answer right now, and that’s okay. After a little brainstorming and reflection, the answer will find you.

Here are a few personal questions that can help you get started. Feel free to write down your answers in a notebook so you can look back on them. 

1) What are you good at?

2) What do you care about?

3) When was the last time you felt proud of yourself? 

Reflect On What Matters To You:

Many of us have a long list of things we care about, which is great! However, landing on one or two things that matter to you the most can help you realize what’s important in life. 

It can also help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the little things.

You can start by writing out a list of things that matter to you in no particular order. Once the list is complete, you can organize the list in order of importance.

Keep in mind that your values may slightly change over the years, so feel free to re-arrange or add items to the list as needed.

Recognize Your Strengths:

Every single one of your strengths and talents helps make you, you!

When we’ve been good at something for so long, sometimes we can underestimate just how talented we are.

Opening up to people who know you the best, like friends, family, or colleagues, can help you recognize and appreciate your talents.

Here are a few great questions you can ask the people in your life. 

1) What do you think I’m great at?

2) What do you think I love doing?

3) How do you think I’ll make a difference in the world?

Find People You Admire:

Having someone to look up to can help you in so many ways. Remember, you don’t have to know someone personally to admire them. You can admire authors, public speakers or people in your community. Learn More

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