Children and Electronics

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Recently I was talking to my cousin about the amount of time he allows his two-year old to be in front of the screen. This started a conversation about how I don’t let my 10-year old watch any television during the week. Our conversation turned into whether or not the amount of time in front of the screen makes a negative impact. This prompted me to put some research into the subject and find out what the professionals suggest. I really always went to my sister, a speech therapist and my go to guru for what I should and should not allow my daughter. I trust and respect her input and her knowledge.

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So first, here is what screen time means, watching television, being on computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

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I found out that too much screen time has been linked to health problems in kids including obesity and emotional problems. Experts say using media while in the classroom can be helpful, but too much use outside school decreases academic performance. Using it at bedtime has been shown to disrupt sleep. Technology can also get in the way of family time. As with anything in life balance is key.img_6336

Here is a family media use plan that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Mealtimes should be screen-free.
  • Homework should be done without any electronics.
  • If homework requires a computer, have kids work on it in the kitchen or other common area.
  • Don’t use electronics during the school week; this will help avoid creating a dynamic where kids rush their schoolwork to get to their screen time.
  • Have kids earn screen time by equal time spent on physical activity or chores.
  • Make bedtime screen-free.

Here are the limits of screen time for kids in different age groups according to experts:

  • Ages 0-2, no screen time
  • Ages 2-3, 30 minutes per day
  • Ages 3-5, 1 hour per day
  • Ages 5-6, 1 and a half hours per day
  • Ages 6-12 2 hours per day

So now we know that too much screen time is harmful, but it’s important to also think about what our kids are doing online. Content matters! We can use screen time to learn, create and challenge ourselves or simply to veg out. It’s important that our children’s screen time emphasizes the first three.img_6337 img_6338

Obviously technology is here to stay and we want our kids to thrive in this digital world. They can do this with our support and involvement. Start a conversation on the risks of technology use and how much screen time Is too much.

Good luck, they aren’t going to like it now but they will thank you later in life.

Oh the joys of parenting!

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Time is Fleeting

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 Let me love you a little more before you’re not little anymore. I want you to be my little girl forever but at the same time I’m excited about all the great things you will do in the life. In the meantime I cherish every minute I have with you because I know it will all end way too soon.

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You will have a newborn for a month…

An infant for a year…

A toddler for two years…

A preschooler for two years..

A child for five years…

A preteen for three years..

A teenager for five years..

And then they are off to college and life.

Be mindful and present in what you do with the years that you have with your children.

They are few. And then you’ll have to let them go. So until then, listen to them when they want to talk, hold them tight when they want a hug. Play with them even when your tired. Read to them, take in their innocence and show them that everything they do interests you. Breathe in their sweet smell, love them. Take note of how very lucky you are to have them and pay attention to how much they teach you. Appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga for Kids!

 

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If you’ve ever tried Yoga, you have already felt the benefits of it. Why not try it for your children? My ten-year old has been taking yoga from the very beginning. I first exposed her to it when she was just an infant. We took Mommy and me yoga together. Since then, she has been practicing yoga on and off for years. I also practice meditation with her.img_9735

I recently signed her up for a series of yoga classes that my friend teaches right in my town. Both Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve physical and mental health in children.

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Yoga can be fun and beneficial for kids. It improves balance, strength and endurance.  In fact, research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, classroom behavior and can even reduce anxiety and stress in kids.

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Another benefit of yoga is self-awareness. Through this practice kids begin to listen to their internal cues and emotions. By shifting self-awareness inward, a buffer forms between the yoga student and the many negative outside influences that promote poor body images.

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Thousands of schools across the country are now offering yoga. If your school hasn’t implemented the practice yet, you can always find one in your neighborhood. So go ahead and look for it at a studio near you. You will see for yourself just how great it can be for you and your child!

Namaste

 

Lavender Feilds

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Forgiveness is the smell that Lavender gives out when you tread on it.-Mark Twain

img_9311Every second of every day is an opportunity to be grateful. Grateful for the air we breathe, the beauty that surrounds us, our health, the children we are fortunate enough to raise, our loved ones, our friends. Every situation in life good or bad gives us an opportunity to grow and to be grateful. Even in the worst of times we can find something to be thankful about.  Live this way and you will see your life change for the positive.

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Here are some other ways to live a positive life

  1. Spend time getting to know yourself
  2. Appreciate what you have
  3. Accept and love yourself 
  4. See the positive in every situation
  5. Live in the moment
  6. Travel to new places
  7. Stop worrying about the future
  8. Spend quality alone time with your spouse
  9. Enjoy every second of your children, they grow fast
  10. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, spend time with them
  11. Make time for friends that want to spend time with you
  12. Be a positive role model for your children by living authentically
  13. Teach kindness and compassion by practicing it yourself
  14. Do something for others on a daily basis, you will be surprised how much happiness this will bring you
  15. Keep on learning, a new language, knitting, dancing, cooking, something that will keep you reaching for goals
  16. Take time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones
  17. Forgive, love and let go
  18. Stay away from negative people
  19. Live your dreams and take risks, life is happening now
  20. Connect with your source, learn to meditate, pray

In all things in nature there is something of the marvelous -Aristotle

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Take time to be present, stop and smell the flowers.

 

You Are Magnificent!

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You are not your stories, you are not your past!

You are a magnificent being with unlimited potential.

imageEverything in life, good or bad, happens to bring you into something greater.

Love and embrace yourself for who you are.

Be present and available for every experience in your life.

-Panache Desai, Spiritual Teacher

 

Expectations

In life we have a lot of expectations. We expect to grow up and find the perfect job. We expect to meet the right person, get married, have children and live happily ever after. We expect to have certain friends in our lives forever. We expect to be able to change people. We expect people to love as we do, to have the same heart as we do. We expect too much.edc7092b092876388276cb81f3fe89d5I’ve learned that expectations lead to disappointments. It’s a heartbreaking experience. Instead of expecting life to go a certain way, it’s better to live in what’s happening. Take every disappointment as a lesson learned. It teaches you something about the person involved or even about yourself. Expect nothing and appreciate everything in life. Sometimes the most difficult lessons to learn are the ones you need to learn the most. It may surprise you and force you to move in the direction that will bring you happiness.

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So be at peace, expect nothing, appreciate everything and live the life that you want. No exceptions!

SHENPA

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Shenpa is Tibetan and it defines obsessive feelings and urges you just can’t seem to release. Feelings like resentment, failure, anger or urges like addiction and cravings. Tibetan Buddhist, Pena Chodron, says that’s how we get taken over by a negative experience. A death of a family member takes me directly to Shenpa. I feel sad, so sad that I can think or feel nothing else.

The Tibetan Buddhist says that the best thing to do when we feel that way is to remove ourselves from the situation. Give ourselves some space. Take a walk and just be aware of what you are saying to yourself. Notice your thinking and come back to just being present. Keep on doing that and you will learn to live in the present more often.

Chodron says the negative feelings are really our ego. Once you realize that it’s your ego you can notice it, allow yourself to have the discomfort of suffering, then let it go allowing evolution to happen.

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Change is inevitable, if we don’t learn to embrace it our life will be an unhappy one. I’ve always battled change. When I was little I didn’t want to grow up, I hated it when we moved and I had to change schools. I always fought it and even though I was always able to find my footing, I just hated change and I still do .Losing someone I love is the biggest and most painful change for me to endure. I now know that I have to learn to embrace change, be open to what God has in store for me.

In a blink of an eye our lives can change and it will continue to change for decades to come. We have to focus on the now. To enjoy it, embrace it and be grateful for the ride. Easier said then done for some but all we can do is try, otherwise happiness will elude us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Positive Strength

 

A much-anticipated makeover from the good folks at Essa Salon for my wonderful friend.

This is a strong beautiful woman at the end of a difficult fight with cancer. She is an example of what strength, dignity and the power of positive thinking looks like. She is my friend and my inspiration. Today and everyday I celebrate the power of strong beautiful women. It’s just a day in the life of many women I am blessed to know and love.

 

How to get yourself out of a funk

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We all have times when we get into a funk and feel sad. Now that the weather has changed I already feel a change in my mood. It’s a bit chilly but that doesn’t really bother me. What really gets me is how quickly it becomes dark.  For the past fifteen years I’ve had an issue with getting enough sleep. It started when I was working the morning shift at News 12. I was unable to sleep until about 10 or 11 pm and I had to be at work by 3am which meant I had to wake up at 2am! This gave me about two or three hours to sleep.

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After ending a decade of working the morning shift I still have trouble getting enough sleep. I fall asleep at around 2am and wake up exhausted at 7. Five hours of sleep has really affected me and I realize that this has to change. That’s one way that I can help myself feel more healthy both physically and mentally. Yet, it continues to be an uphill battle.

To feel emotionally well we have to balance everything in life. Here are some things that help me.

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep (I’m working on this.)
  • Eat more nutritiously, eliminate all processed foods and sugar.
  • Make time to focus on yourself, read, spend time alone doing something you enjoy.
  • Acknowledge negative emotions but then release them.
  • Journal every day. The idea is that you write freehand first thing in the morning every day for about 20 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write, just put down whatever comes to your mind. This has an incredibly clarifying and freeing effect.
  • Create something. Using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring an understanding to the parts of your life that you can’t logically understand.
  • Spend your energy in a positive way. Work on a project you’ve been meaning to finish, clean out your closet. Getting rid of clutter can help you shift your own energy
  • Try getting a massage every month or as much as you can. It can be extremely helpful as you navigate life changes and difficult situations. Releasing tensions in your body helps in also letting go of tensions and anxieties in your mind.
  • Learn to meditate. It’s an amazing mind-body exercise to help you release stress and restore internal balance.
  • Give to others. When you begin to feel sorry for yourself, make a point of doing something kind for someone else.  This will take your mind off of your own issues and open the world up to you just a bit.
  • Keep a gratitude journal, it can rewire your brain for happiness when you focus on what you have to be grateful about.
  • Get outside for some fresh air and a walk in nature. This really helps bring you closer to your source.
  • Play, yes I said play. Take time to just have fun with your children, do cartwheels, or watch funny movies. Laugh, do whatever activity that makes you happy.

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Having periods of happiness and unhappiness is a part of life. Know that it’s normal and everyone goes through it at some point. Know that it’s a normal part of life. There is nothing wrong with you. It’s important to have times of reflection to make the changes you need to progress in life. Give yourself plenty of grace, and reach out and ask for help when you need it. Don’t just suffer in silence,  do something to help yourself out of the funk. If you find yourself feeling down for long periods of time it’s a good idea to reach out to a professional for help.

I hope these tips help you keep your life happy and balanced. How do you keep the blues at bay in your life? Please don’t hesitate to share.

 

Finding Your Way Out of The Fog

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Do you ever feel blue for no apparent reason? Are you low on energy and motivation? If you are feeling this way for more than a couple of days, you may be experiencing depression. Anyone that has gone through depression knows that overcoming it isn’t quick and easy. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. In my personal experience the key to beating depression is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself.

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In order to get out of depression you need to take action and that’s not easy to do when you are blue. In fact sometimes just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting! So basically the things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do but not impossible.

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When you are depressed you don’t have much energy, but you can do small things like picking up the phone to call a loved one. This may seem like a small step, but it will quickly add up. Here are some other ways that can help you get out of a slump.

  • Cultivate emotionally close relationships
  • Schedule a weekly dinner, or coffee date
  • Volunteer at an organization that works for a cause that is important to you
  • Exercise, it’s a powerful tool for dealing with depression
  • Change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts

Changing your negative thoughts to positive thoughts is one of the most important things you can do. We believe whatever we tell ourselves. So if you are living your life according to a set of beliefs you’ve held for most of your life, you take those beliefs as the gospel truth. The truth is that the lens through which you are seeing the world may be distorted.

What we think shapes our lives. So if you are constantly self criticizing,  you need to stop. So many of us think pessimistically without even realizing it. It’s important to pay attention to your thoughts. One of the best ways to do that is to journal daily. This is something I was asked to do by my spiritual mentor and friend, Dr. Sultan Abdulhameed, the author of “The Quran and the Life of Excellence”. It’s an amazing book and I recommend it to everyone, no matter what religion you practice.

Dr. Abdulhameed asked me to sit in a quiet place and write down whatever enters my mind every day for 20 minutes. It’s called free writing. Wait a couple of weeks before you look at what you have written. Then read though your journal and you will find a pattern of negative thoughts. Once you know what you are thinking, then you need to switch that thought with a positive one.

I’ve been doing this for some time now. It helps give insight to what I am focusing on subconsciously. Some other things that help are the following.

  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect
  • Socialize with positive people
  • Stop looking at things in black or white. There is a middle ground
  • Get 8 hours of sleep
  • Eat healthy
  • Expose yourself to sunlight every day
  • Practice meditation
  • Pick up a hobby that you enjoy

If you find that your depression is getting worse then you need to seek professional help. It doesn’t mean that you are weak, just that you need help to get better. Depression can be treated but you have to take steps to help yourself. It doesn’t go away by itself.