Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, there are many people who love this time of year and others who do not look forward to this time of year. Between October, when Halloween is, and January, when New Years is, there are many holidays that are celebrated. Many people see this as a time to spend with their families and friends, which is wonderful.

On the other hand, there are many people who are stuck out in the cold not as fortunate as others. I find myself donating canned food, clothes, and other things to charities such as Goodwill. I have found that this is a wonderful way to develop your healthy lifestyle more. It is nice to know you are making a difference in others lives, as I have said before.

There are many different ways you can help others during the holidays to try to make their experiences better than expected. Many people assume this means donating money to families in need. Although this could be helpful, there are other ways that are just as valuable as money. Personally, I have gone and volunteered at charity that gives food out to the homeless. I have also participated in clothing drives as well as canned food drives. In the many times I have helped make others experiences better, I have experienced nothing but gratitude from the people I am helping. The adults are usually so grateful you are taking time to help them and the children get extremely excited.

Everyone always talks about a thing called “holiday cheer”. There is much talk about joy and peace especially in December and January. I have found that when I have volunteered I not only am helping other people but they help me. They show me and remind me what the holidays are really about and make me feel so good about making the decision to help out. This ties into the way I live my life and the type of lifestyle I am living. I really think it makes the life you are living a healthy one.

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Team Bonding

Being a part of a swimming and diving team, or any team in general, there are a lot of people you have to be around on a daily basis. Being around these people can be very stressful sometimes and really great the other times.

Combining these two very different sports can be hard. They are extremely different and many times you either do one or the other, not both. There tends to be a lack of communication between the swimmers and divers which can cause tension sometimes. Today at practice, our team was very surprised when the swimmers got in for warm up and the divers came to join us. It was a nice surprise and a great way to bond to help them with their swimming. We played a halloween racing game together and it was a lot of fun. After we were done, the swimmers decided to get up on the springboards to try to dive. It was very interesting which in turn created many memories we will never forget.

This got me thinking, many times people do not understand where others are coming from but think they can comment or judge people and their actions. Today I learned this was not true. Us swimmers constantly underestimate the divers on our team. They are extremely hard working and amazing athletes! In return, they did not realize what we went through in a practice and got a little taste of that today. It is important in your life to try and not judge the people around you. You cannot fully understand what they are going through unless you are in their shoes. I believe that if you try to not judge people, your life will be more relaxed and you will be happier in general. I know from now on I will try to make a point of understanding before I comment on others actions.  What experiences have you had when bonding with a team?

Coming Together

Last week I blogged about the people I have around me that contribute to my healthy lifestyle. I also talked about how we act towards the people in our community. I do believe that positive behavior can be spread from person to person.

Although this is a bit off topic from the purpose of my blog, I wanted to write a little about the natural disaster that took place and the aftermath people are dealing with now. There are many storms and natural disasters that cannot be prevented. It is devastating knowing that so many people’s homes and living areas can be destroyed and there is nothing they can do to help it. I believe in a situation like this, it is more important than ever to come together as a community, state, country, and a whole to fix the damage that occurred. There are many people who will be donating money, flying over to help clean areas up, going to help friends and family, and many many people who will just be praying for the best to come as quick as possible.

In my opinion, what ever you can contribute to the efforts is beneficial. This will help move the problem in the right direction. In addition, building off my blog called “community” being supportive of the people around you and the people experiencing the aftermath is a must. I was happy to hear that all the people I know are safe and doing well. However, there are many people who are struggling through this time. So saying this, anything you can do will make a difference. As said before, the littlest bit helps, even if it is sending positive thoughts that way. This is a time more than ever to put differences aside and come together as one.

In addition, it is situations like this that make people, communities, states, and countries stronger than ever. Getting through this will make people and their lives stronger than ever. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of hurricane Sandy.

Photo Credits: Google Images

Community

Recently I have been very aware of my surroundings trying to figure out what helps people live healthy lifestyles and what hurts their lifestyle. One thing I have become very aware of is how people act towards people they do not know in public. It is very easy to be annoyed or irritated with people around you especially in bigger crowds. Different people have different morals and values which makes each person unique in their own way. However, I believe no matter what your morals are it is always necessary to be nice to the people around you.

The other day I was in line at a sandwich shop. The line was quite long as this is a very popular place during lunch time. There was an older lady in front of me in line. When you reached the front of the line it split into two lines for the different stations where sandwiches were being made. This made the process quicker and more efficient. It was the popular thing to do wait until the next available employee was ready to help you. When we got to the front of the line the woman in front of me was waiting to be called. Once the employee called her she did not hear the employee and the employee motioned to me that he could help me seeing that she was unable to hear. It was even more tempting seeing that I had been waiting in line for quite some time. Although, walking past this woman and cutting in line because she was not looking up would have been extremely easy, I decided to follow my morals. I tapped her on the shoulder and let he know they were ready to take her order. She was amazed at my actions and was so appreciative of the decision I made. She must have thanked me five times within the two minutes we stood next to each other ordering our food.

This situation got me thinking. There are many times in public where people around me are struggling and I try to help them. Some of them drop something they were carrying and I pick it up, others forget to take their change and I catch them to let them know. I believe that by influencing the people around you with nice actions we can make for a better community. In turn it will make you a better person. When I help someone and they vocalize how appreciative they are of me, it drives me to act this way more often. It increases my confidence in the person I am and the decisions I am making. I know it has a huge impact on the lifestyle I live as well. What do you experience when being nice to the people around you?

Family

Although friends are very important family plays a huge role in my life. My family has been there for me through thick and thin. No matter if they support the decision I am making or not, I know they are there for me to fall back on if I need it.

One of my favorite things to do is get together with my whole family and just have dinner together. It is wonderful to catch up on what everyone is doing. Coming from a family of a large size, it is difficult to get everyone in one place at one time. However, when we do, there are hours of laughter and smiling. It can get very loud between playing games and telling jokes and stories, but we always know how to have fun together. There are a variety of ages which makes it even more enjoyable. Through out my entire life, I have been extremely close with my immediate family as well as my extended family and I believe this aspect of my life has made it easier for me to live a balanced healthy lifestyle. They have taught me many different things which has led to me developing good morals and values as a person.

These morals and values I have developed, with the help of my family, have opened many doors to success for me. When I try something new or am attempting something in my life that is challenging, I can count on my family to be a couple of steps behind me cheering me on. With my family, I feel as though, they always want me to succeed and become the best person I can be. I feel as though friends are my adopted family who are always welcome to join me and my relatives in what ever we do. With my friends and family beside me, I know my life will be balanced and healthy. I am confident in this because I know when I get too overwhelmed and stressed, these are the people who will help me overcome my challenges in order to be the best I can be.  I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

 

Photo Credit: Google Images

Friends

Many times we get so caught up in our own world that we forget about what is going on around us. One important aspect in my life are my friends. I think it is important to surround yourself with good people who are going to inspire you to achieve greatness. In addition, it is extremely important to be a good friend in return.

My friends are amazing. They strive for greatness and push me to do the same. Some of them are athletes like me and some are not. Some I have been friends with for many years, while others I have just recently befriended.  I have a wide variety of friends who are living different lifestyles which in turn opens my eyes to many different cultures and ideas. They are always there for me when I am having a tough day and remind me of why I have made the choices I have in my life. Many times I will come home stressed about school or swimming and need to talk to someone. When talking with my friends they remind me why I am in school and why I stuck with swimming for so long. They remind me of the simple pleasures in life and how lucky I am to be living the life I am living because in reality, my “hard” day is not hard compared to others.

In return I love to reciprocate towards my friends. When someone asks me for help I am always trying the best I can to be there for them. This not only benefits them, but teaches me valuable lessons in return. I am truly blessed to be living the life I am and want to help others strive for greatness. It is important for your healthy lifestyle to make time for your friends to clear your mind and keep up on good relationships. To me friends and my family are a major aspect of living a healthy lifestyle and have really impacted the balanced healthy life I want to be living.

Sweet Tooth Cravings!

There are many times I find myself with a huge sweet tooth and craving sweets such as ice cream or cookies. Everyone knows these are not the most amazing items to eat, especially late at night. I am always on the search for any healthy recipe for any meal or time of the day.

Over the summer, when participating in my running group, my coach would always bring us “healthier” desserts for us to snack on after a hard work out. Now seeing that these were desserts, they are not completely healthy, but are perfect for when you have a sweets craving. Many times, our treats after practice would consist of items such as chocolate covered strawberries, and we would eat one because eating in moderation is extremely important as well.  One recipe that really stuck with me was an oats granola bar with dried fruit mixed. They are easy to make and delicious as well, which I think can be a very hard things to find together.

To make these granola bars you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1.6 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 table spoons fat-free milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-grain granola
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried fruit mix
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

**NOTE: Any opportunity I have to get fat free, low sodium, low fat, organic, etc. I take it. You can now start to make your delicious treat!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: Coat a 13×9 inch medal baking pan with cooking spray;dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour. (Dump excess flour out)

Step 3: Weigh or lightly spoon 3 ounces all-purpose flour and 1.6 ounces whole-wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir. Combine sugar and next three ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in granola and fruit. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut.

Step 4: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

**This recipe is healthier than eating ice cream, cookies, cake, brownies, etc. but it still is not the healthiest thing you could eat. I enjoy using a small piece of a bar to please the sweet tooth cravings I get every now and then.

Healthy eating=Healthy living

There are many times you can read magazines and watch the news to see people saying being skinny is important for your “image”. It is no secret that eating healthy will keep you in good shape. However, I see a different reason why it is important to eat healthy.

Eating healthy has many different benefits that come along with it. One of these benefits is to give you more energy. When eating healthy, working or attending school, and working out you need as much energy as possible. Healthy foods give you nutrients that keep you awake and energized. More importantly eating healthy can save you money you might spend on hospital bills. Keeping your heart healthy means living a longer life. All of these aspects lead to a higher levels of productivity and even organization.

Any swimmer will tell you that at one point or another during their swimming career they had to do morning practices and double days. Practices, in the morning, usually start around 5 or 6 a.m. and last about two hours. Then you attend school and go back for another challenging practice before going home to do homework. After having this schedule for a while, you and your body get adjusted to it which makes it easier, just as with any other busy schedule. However, with all the extensive exercise, school, and having a life at home, it is key to you make sure you have as much energy as possible and in addition, you are keeping your body healthy. Lack of energy can lead to laziness, shortness of breath, exhaustion, and much more. I am not saying that I do not love an unhealthy snack every now and then but, I can see a difference in my health when I start to deviate off my regular healthy eating schedule.

There are many challenges that come along with eating healthy. I find myself being tempted all the time by unhealthy food. This is why I am constantly searching through the Internet, friends or family, and magazines for healthy recipes. Make sure to check back to my blog so I can share some of these recipes with you!!

A little R and R

To end my week I decided to get a facial. Many know that going to a spa can be extremely relaxing and make you forget all your worries, temporarily of course. I made an appointment at a little local spa called Lime Spa. They refer to it as an urban sanctuary. The thing I love about this place is they always remember who you are and really make you feel welcome and at home. You do not feel like another “client” in their busy day. When they are working with you it is about you and your experience, not what is going on around you.

Immediately when you get there, you are asked to wait in waiting room and asked if you want anything to drink. There are little snacks available for you to eat if you choose. After that, your feet are treated to a nice foot bath to start the relaxation process. You may choose to read magazines, just relax, or talk with people around you. It is my favorite to go with people I know, it can be a wonderful way to catch up on each other’s busy schedules and events taking place you may be unaware of. When it is time, you are called into a dim lit room and asked to lay on a table. This is when the facial begins. The mood lighting, relaxing scents, and low volume acoustics establish an environment nearly impossible to recreate at home. There are many different types of facials for you to choose from, all depending on the situation of your skin and stress level. Lime Spa makes it very hard for you to think about something other than relaxing.

In my opinion, I think everyone deserves a relaxing trip to a spa occasionally. I would recommend searching for a spa similar to Lime Spa. It is in everyone’s best interest to take time to yourself once a week whether it is taking your dog to the dog park, shopping, attending a spa, or something else. It is important to live a healthy lifestyle and this is certainly a very important part in living a healthy life!!!!

What do you think??

Dogs are man’s best friend…

This week seemed like a wonderful time to take some time for me. Coming up on a weekend when I have nothing to do, I thought this would be appropriate seeing that I do not know when this opportunity will present itself again. Everyone has different hobbies that they enjoy doing on their free time. Some may like working out, shopping, or in my case it is taking my puppy Peyton to the dog park. Peyton is a chocolate lab approaching his first birthday on the 19th of this month. He is smart, loving, and LOVES the dog park.

Going to the dog park is not a quick task when taking Peyton. The minute you say the words “dog park” Peyton’s ears perk up and he becomes curious. It gets even worse when he hears the sound of the car keys. When he hears this noise, he immediately runs to the front door and sits down because we do not let him out of the house before he sits and we tell him it is okay to go out. Once in the car, he calms down and lays in the back until we enter the park. When we are about 100 yards away from the entrance of the dog park he starts wagging his tail and whimpering. He cannot wait until he is able to get out of the car. As soon as he is out of the car he runs to a little creek right in front of the park goes for a little dip and runs into the park. He sits and waits for us to throw the ball with the “chuck it”. If it were up to him he would stay at the park for hours.

Bring Peyton to the park to play with other dogs is so fun. He is always so loving and so it is fun when you get to see him excited. It is also relaxing because when you are there you are so focused on what is going on around you that you forget about all the other things you have to do.

What do you do with your pets to spend time with them?