Jay of Sunshine

It's Still a Beautiful World

Say “No” to Workaholism in 2017

The festive season should be a time for all to reconnect with friends and families, reflect on the year’s lessons and relax. Sadly, some of us do not know to relax and would rather work just because we like to be kept busy. There are all of 365 days in a year yet you refuse to take one day to unwind. Quite often, we are warned about the negative impact of stress on our bodies, feelings and behaviours. Here is a list of things to do that can help you to avoid a physical and mental breakdown:

  1. Read- Many of us have neglected the duty to read regularly. Apart from building our knowledge and vocabulary, reading allows us to exercise our imagination and helps us to forget about our own troubles, even if it’s just for a while. Ladies, many of you have been guilty of ignoring the fashion and beauty magazines that have been piling up on your coffee table. And men, do not think that you can get away with not reading that publication about cars. Take the time to read and you will rediscover that “reading is fun.”
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Somerset Falls in Portland, Jamaica. Twas therapeutic!

  1. Play a game/sport- With the plethora of video, outdoor and board games available, there is absolutely no excuse for us not to relax. Those who have assignments due next year may want to put aside the books for a while to sweat and have fun. There are some sweet benefits to be gained – you will acquire collaboration and problem solving skills, you will be able to think critically and you will get physical exercise. So go ahead and break a sweat.

 

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Sweat out toxins while having fun! Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

  1. Listen to music – There are some genres of music such as classical music that are therapeutic and soothing. If you like songs with lyrics, then opt for those with positive and uplifting messages. You may even light an aromatic candle while you are enjoying your favourite songs. Listen to music and you will love the fact that your mood will be boosted.
  1. Movies – Like reading novels, movies can temporarily help you not to think about your troubles. Be sure to opt for comedies or any flick that is not depressing. Why compound your already saturated state of mind with gloom? Fun, inspiring and entertaining movies are the way to go!
  1. Go out – It does not matter where in the world you are, you can go somewhere to relax for a short period of time. Rivers and beaches have calming effect on us and are wonderful options. There are also nature parks, theatres, restaurants, amusement parks and so many other places that you should visit.
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Mom, sis and I take a selfie after dining out. Family is everything.

  1. Socialise- When was the last you and Uncle Joe sat on the verandah and had a good laugh? Do you remember chatting around the dinner table with your family and friends? Please share your thoughts with friends and provide a listening ear as well.

Have a prosperous and stress free 2017! Nuff blessings!

Sources: mayoclinic.com, forbes.com and netdoctor.co.uk

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The Yuletide, Yum Yum and Your Health

It’s that time of year again when children’s eyes sparkle with expectations, the spirit of giving is alive and family and friends get together to spend quality time. It is also at this time when many tables are laden with savoury meals and treats – a high point of the holidays. However, food lovers ought to be mindful of the possibility of weight gain and the overindulgence in foods that are high in sugars, salt or fat. To maintain good health, we should consider healthy options, monitor our food intake, and be sure to include some exercise.

Eating healthy does not mean sacrificing our favourite foods with meals that are tasteless and unappetizing. You can substitute the ingredients. Skimmed, coconut or almond milk can replace the regular dairy milk that we use in the mash potatoes. Raw or steamed veggies are great substitutes for the mayonnaise laced pasta salad. Do some research on healthier substitutions. You will be happy you did!

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Don’t you want to dig in? No fried foods here, just Honey Jerk chicken, steamed callaloo (one of the most enjoyed vegetables in Jamaica) and diced baked sweet potatoes. Photo courtesy of http://bestjamaica.com/

Substituting regularly used ingredients with healthier options is good, but it does not give anyone an excuse to overindulge. You need to monitor the amount of food you pile onto your plate. Choose smaller plates and eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. You can enjoy your favourite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down and get comfortable. According to www.cmpc.com  if you overeat at one meal you should go light on the next.

In addition choosing healthier ingredients and monitoring the amount of food consumed, you should not forget to plan time for exercise. The Jamaica Gleaner article on ‘How to avoid overeating for the holidays’ states that exercise helps to relieve holiday stress and can prevent and combat weight gain. Brisk walking, skipping or jogging for 15-20 minutes every day can offset weight gain and poor health.

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Me getting ready to break a sweat at a 5k walk/run

We know that the season would not be complete without the scrumptious food and luxury of relaxing. It is easy for anyone to go overboard around the dinner table and it is difficult to get up and go jogging. Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also a time when we should take our health into consideration. You do not have to compromise your health during the holidays. Choose healthier food ingredients, monitor your food intake and exercise and the matter of health will be one less problem to carry into the new year.

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All I Want for Christmas are Style and Comfort

Last Christmas my tips for wearing stylish and comfortable shoes were featured in the Caribbean Wellness & Lifestyle magazine. These tips are absolutely timeless so I saw no harm in posting the article on my blog during the 2016 Christmas season. Scroll down to enjoy or click on the link https://issuu.com/melwitter/docs/online_cwl_holiday_issue_2015 and go to pages 30 and 31 for that “glossy” feel. 

It is fair to say that your attire is incomplete without stylish shoes; after all, high heels can transform us into vixens. We glamourous and confident while wearing sexy foot wear but are hesitant to admit that some of these stylish items cause us discomfort. It is for this reason that we often hear, “Beauty comes with pain.”

General Practitioner at Hargreaves Memorial Hospital in Mandeville, Jamaica Dr Azzard Comrie warns that bad footwear choices can do a lot more harm than good. He posits, “I know ladies like to look their best especially for special occasions, however they should be cautious when purchasing some shoes. Bad footwear choices can lead to a myriad of problems such as bunions, poor posture, injury to pelvis area and poor alignment of toes and arthritis.” He continued, “Some people even find it painful to walk without shoes as a result of wearing heels too often.”

Don’t let your stilettos steal the joy out of your holiday events. Instead of grimacing, let’s aim to be jolly and comfortable in the spirit of the season. Here are some dos and don’ts for wearing footwear:

  • Opt for shoes that are close to the shape of your feet. While pointy shoes are hot, they may not be the best option.
  • Wear shoes that allow your toes to move freely. If your toes are too restricted then you may experience some pain and fatigue.
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  • Your shoes must have arch supports. These are needed to prevent flattening of the foot. Lack of arch support can lead to your feet rolling inward.
  • Stilettos give our calves toned appearances and lifts our backsides (I can picture the smiles on men’s faces). These pieces of art should however be worn in moderation. Understand your body’s limitations and do not wear heels over four inches high for long periods (no more than two hours) especially if you have to be standing or walking a lot. red
  • Avoid shoes that are totally flat. Sure, there are so many pairs of cute flats on the shelves but if they don’t have cushioning and are very thin then they will fail to absorb the shock your feet feel when they are when hitting the ground.
  • Buy flip flops and sandals that have contoured arches that fit to the shape of your feet. The flat flimsy ones do nothing to support our feet.flats-support

Shoes may be a girl’s best friend but if we continue put sexiness before our wellbeing then we will soon realise that a true friendship must be mutually beneficial. While we are making fashion statements at dinners, parties and other festivities, let us bear in mind that like Christmas cake and sorrel, fashion and wellness are a match made in Heaven.

Sources:

Basic Information: OSH Answers-http://www.ccohs.ca  and Are your shoes killing you? http://www.cnn.com

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Protect Our Children

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Awww so adorable! Photo courtesy of illawarramercury.com

Jamaicans observe the month of May as Child’s Month. It should be Child’s Month all year round, right? To echo this sentiment, I’ve written an article to celebrate our children.

Every country has members who belong to royalty. Most don’t wear crowns or designer branded clothes. Maybe one in a million of these persons live in gigantic castles or mansions. Many can’t even relate to the few who have access to the finest tutors and schools. Who are these members of royalty? In Jamaica and everywhere else we know them as children.

Children are royalty and ought to be treated as the princes and princesses that they are. Seeing them smile (even the smiles with few teeth missing) is absolutely priceless. Hearing them go from “goo goo ga ga” to performing well at Spelling Bee or as brand ambassadors singing in the school’s choir makes us gleam with pride. And isn’t it adorable when they find various means of self expression? The moments of joy and sheer innocence that they exude reminds us that they are indeed treasure.

We as royal subjects should know that the needs of Their Majesties are top priority. We live to serve and we understand the meaning of commitment, therefore we should know that there is no place in children’s lives for neglect, sexual, physical or verbal abuse. It doesn’t matter if we are parents or not- we are their royal subjects and we ought to protect our children because:

They need our strength

Anyone who likes to demonstrate how powerful and strong they are should know that kicking a man when he’s down will only proves that he or she is a weakling. Children are not as strong as adults. Children are not physically or emotional mature to handle sex and should be allowed to enjoy their innocence. Their bodies are off limit. Their skins bruise easily and it is harder for them to fight back so do not resort to using instruments that will leave them battered and bruised. Kicking a man when he can’t defend himself is one thing but an adult who abuses a child has busted through the bottom of the barrel.

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Priceless! Photo courtesy of thinkvirtues.com

They rely on us for guidance

Children’s minds are like blank slates, therefore it is up to us to instill values that will mould them into decent, upstanding leaders. They should be shielded away from elements of immorality such as non- G rated programmes and music as well as other activities that are not age appropriate. Protect them from actions that promote deceptiveness, sexual immorality, greed and disrespect. Our princes and princesses live what they learn so boost their self-esteem by telling them how beautiful and smart they are. Tactfully correct them when they err and remind them of how special they are every day.

They are the future

The men and women of tomorrow will be the ones to care for us when we are old. The strong values that we would have instilled will be passed on to other generations long after we are gone. They didn’t ask to be here- it is through our actions that they are with us. We must ensure that we nurture them and provide them with all that they need to enjoy life.

They are gifts from God

Have you ever noticed that the Bible seems to only refer to children in a positive light? Psalm 127 verse 3 says, Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. If you should google, children Bible verses, you will find lots of verses that that prove that children are extremely special to God. The good book also gives tells us that we are responsible for children’s well being. Many parents often say that their little ones give them a sense of purpose. That is spiritual!

Their Majesties ought to be cherished and deserve all the love and respect that we can give. Even those who aren’t parents need to remember that it takes a village to raise a child. Affirm them whenever you interact with them. Speak sternly to those who linger on the roads after dark. If you know or suspect that a child is being abused then report it to the relevant authorities.

Long live the princes and princesses!

 

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Get a Head Start in Shaping Your Life

Advice to teenage girls and anyone else who is need of these tips

I understand that no matter what stage you are in life, you will not know everything. Ignorance was not always bliss for me as a teenager as I missed out on a few opportunities for personal development. While it is not too late for me to play catch up, I often think about how far ahead I would be right now if I had mastered a few things.

These days we have greater access to knowledge, including guidelines on how to grow and enhance our lives. Here are my two cents on personal development for young ladies and other persons who may find these helpful.

Accept that not everyone will like you

Gold is one of the most precious and valuable metals in the world. It has been deemed suitable for royalty over many centuries yet there are some people who aren’t fond of it. When it comes to accessorizing, some people go for silver, platinum, beads etc. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with gold. In the same way, there may be peers, teachers, or even relatives who just don’t like you. Sometimes your personality and/or opinions clash with theirs, they may envy you, or they probably just have an ear infection, I don’t know lol. Trust me, you will waste time trying to please them, so focus on your dreams and stick to those who like you for you.

Photo courtesy of rehabcenterforwomen.org

Show them that you are thick skinned. Photo courtesy of rehabcenterforwomen.org

Become involved in sports

When I first started high school, every new student wanted to join the tennis club. Maybe it was due to the huge turnout at the first training or the fact that I was a “nobody” but I receive very little attention from the trainers that Friday and the one after. I felt discouraged and gave up. If I had known better, I would have continued to attend training so that they understood that I was serious, tried another sport and befriend an older student who would teach me or take up my neighbour on his offer to teach me tennis.

If your body allows, take up a sport or two and reap benefits such as enhanced level of concentration, a stronger appreciation for team work and boost in confidence. Find someone who is willing to teach.

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Football a.k.a as soccer, like many other sports, is not just a physical game. Players often use strategy to increase their chances of winning. A lot of these strategies are applicable to life off the field. Photo courtesy of more4kids.info

Do more church / community related activities

My daddy wasn’t much of a church goer, which is probably the reason he didn’t scold my sister and me when we stopped going during our teenage years. So not only did we rob ourselves of fellowship with the church family, we missed out on youth fellowship, various inter church competitions and other activities that would hone our skills and talents.

Academic achievements and prestige are remarkable and are priority for most of us; however these are insufficient in fulfilling personal growth and development. Extra -curricular activities will help us to be well rounded and multifaceted. Get involved.

 Accept Your Introversion

It wasn’t until I went to university that I learned to accept my introversion. I used to think that I needed to be outgoing and bubbly in order to get noticed or to excel. Insecurity allows one to accept garbage so of course when teachers or peers made me feel inadequate due to the fact that I wasn’t effervescent I accepted their lies. So when a well-respected friend in college said, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You are reserved. That’s just your personality, not a flaw” I was instantly comforted. Cherish perks of being an introvert.

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Think it loud – I’m an introvert and I’m proud!

Will you make mistakes after incorporating these and other tips into your life? You probably will. Stumbling along the way to self-development is part of growing up. It still doesn’t hurt to use these guidelines from now. Create memories that are a beautiful blend of failure and triumph.

Info on personality types:

http://introvertdear.com/

Source:

http://www.healthline.com/health/mental-benefits-sports#3

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Just Chill!

 

To say that I’m a worrier would be an understatement. Maybe the term, worry freak, suits me best. I worry about money and the lack of it, the items I need each month, my things to do list, my life being stagnant as it relates to career goals, family members, my weight, proclivity to procrastinate and the list goes on. As a result, I sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep and when I do, I wake up at way before dawn and the worry mania resumes.

 

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Why so glum, Jew?

I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of this, especially the dark eye circles and low energy. For this year I have employed a few strategies to help me put worry and stress to rest. So far they seem effective so you may try them too.

Express your feelings through writing

Using a journal, diary, phone etc to make note of your worries allows you to vent or get matters off your chest. When something is bothering me I pour it all onto paper or on my phone and this has been so therapeutic for me. I hold nothing back and afterwards I find myself thinking clearly. It also gives me a chance to create strategies that can be used to solve some of my problems.

Listening to music

I listen to a wide array of genres, from the 90s Kirk Franklin songs that remind me that I am worthy of Jehovah’s love to the Taylor Swift songs about breakups (by the way, Man Enough by Toni Braxton is, in my opinion, an anthem for women who want to get over past relationships!). You are probably thinking that for de-stressing purposes one should only listen to gospel songs but man, roots reggae, hip hop and other upbeat genres get me in a good mood (positive lyrics, of course!).

Up for two, down for two

Along with keeping you in good shape and physical health, exercise has been known to increase concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. It also releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria and has been proven to reduce anxiety. In addition to reaping these benefits, I usually feel proud right after exercising because it symbolizes the fact that I can overcome laziness and get wonderful results. I also worry less about my weight.

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Me getting ready to break a sweat at a 5K walk/run

Go to bed!

I usually feel drowsy at 9:30 p.m. but I fend off this off because I tell myself that it’s too early. By 10 p.m., I am very alert and ready for the next episode of one of my favourite TV series. By 1 a.m. I’m sleepy and guilty because I’ve robbed myself of precious sleep and may not be productive at work in the next few hours. These days, I get rid of all distractions at 10 p.m. (laptop, light, phone) and try to go to bed, even if I don’t feel sleepy. Sometimes it takes awhile to fall asleep so I imagine myself counting sheep or counting to 1000. It works!

Ain’t nothing better than Prayer

I’ve saved the best for last! Nothing beats talking to our Heavenly Father who always lends a listening ear. Also, we have to accept that there are some problems that aren’t within our control. By accepting this, I’ve learnt to place all matters in His hands, even those that I think I have a handle on. Knowing that He has our best interest at heart is very comforting to me.

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Image courtesy of http://www.fggam.org/

There are many other ways to de-stress and I may add a few to my routine later on.  I haven’t fully mastered my de-stress routine as yet, because like many worriers, I spend a long time stressing about my problems before I remember that I can use the strategies listed above. I will get there soon. Peace of mind is what I seek and may even get the T-shirt soon 🙂

Source: 13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise- www.shape.com

 

 

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Divine Beauty Reminders

Yesterday, he was mesmerized by her beauty: velvety smooth skin, eyes that sparkled like stars, lips that are sought after by lipstick companies, Marilyn Monroe body and hair that he wanted to touch. Today, he is repulsed by the condescending manner in which she spoke with those less educated than her, her habit of tearing others down with vicious rumours and her ability to scheme to get whatever she wants, even if others get hurt in the process. He is unable to fathom how someone so physically attractive could be so ugly on the inside. For him, her unsavoury personality had somehow erased the fact that she was a looker.

I take pleasure in beautifying myself. I place heavy emphasis on hair and skin care, sometimes I work out and every now and then I apply makeup to rock a ‘beat’ face. I have subscribed to a few beauty blogs and Youtube channels just to make sure I keep up with the latest products and trends. Any news item that is beauty related is bound to catch my attention. I do these things because I feel good when I look good. I also am cognizant of the fact that while our attractiveness is important, nothing beats inner beauty. I like to think that I have inner beauty and I’m aiming to enhance it some more.

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Image courtesy of http://annrusnak.com/

The Bible serves as an excellent guide for those who want to be beautiful on the inside. Here a few verses that show that a winning personality is invaluable.

 

1 Peter 3:3-4 New International Version (NIV)

  1. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 4. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

 

Proverbs 31:30 English Standard Version (ESV)

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

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Image courtesy of http://www.thatitgirl.com/

Psalm 139:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 

2 Corinthians 4:16 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

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Courtesy of http://www.freshmorningquotes.com/

 

Proverbs 3:15-18 New International Version (NIV)

15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honour.

17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

There are many more where those came from. The more we act on what is outlined in the Bible or other sources of inspiration, the closer we will be to achieving inner beauty. We are created in God’s image, therefore we are closer than we think 🙂

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16 for 2016

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January is significant because it is the time when many people plan to turn to a new leaf in their lives. Although it is not mandatory in this particular month, it represents the ‘official’ start point (a new year) to create a new and improved you. You may think that you are at your ‘best’ now, but there is always room for improvement. Here are 16 goals that you can pursue to upgrade yourself.

  1. Talk to Jehovah more frequently

Psalm 145 verses 18-19 says “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” There are many obstacles that litter the road called life; some seem unbearable. We should not forget that our burdens will be lifted once we talk to God; after all, He is our Father, Friend and Confidante rolled into one.

  1. Advance yourself academically, periodically!

No matter how old or educated we are, we should never forget that learning is a lifelong process. Become a more rounded individual by learning skills such as cooking, computer science, and customer relations, or even learn a new language or how to play the piano.

  1. Monitor your health

Now is the time for you to get in shape, not tomorrow, next week or somewhere in the future. Join a gym or find someone who exercises regularly and ask him or her to motivate you. Also, refrain from eating fast foods on a regular basis, instead include more fruits, vegetables and water in your diet. Sleep for 6-8 hours every night and avoid stressful situations as much as possible.

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  1. Become an ardent reader

According to lifedev.net there are many benefits to be gained from reading such as improved vocabulary, enhanced writing skills and improved memory. Practise to read some form of literature every day, whether it is the Bible, a blog, a magazine, a web article or a novel to improve the many aspects of your life.

  1. Go on more outings

There are so many places to visit in your country such as nature parks, rivers, beaches, and historical sites. Go watch a movie or attend the football matches in your community. Unless you are under house arrest, you have no excuse.

  1. Reach out to those you have not seen in awhile

Remember that nice woman with squinted eyes who supplied you with sweets when you were little? Or that teacher who showed interest in your performance at school and encouraged you even when you did poorly? What about that burly old man who, every now and then, would drop you off at school at no charge? Go visit them, they will be happy to see you.

  1. More family time

Make time for your family members because you do not know how long you or they may live. Hug them more, give them a listening ear when they want to vent, enjoy meals together and affirm them when they have done well.

  1. Outline new goals in your field of work

If you perform the same tasks every day for every year you will become bored. Take the initiative to outline the objectives that improve your organization. Gently nudge your boss and share your ideas with him or her.

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  1. Monitor your finances and save

The economic recession has hit us hard to say the least, but there is no excuse for us not to save a portion of our earnings. It does not matter if you have a low paying, temporary or holiday job. Also, be sure to make a budget every month. Organizing your expenditure will grant you peace of mind.

10. Become more cognizant of world affairs

How many of us knew about the deadly attacks at a university in Kenya? Or, that the language with the most speakers in the world is Mandarin Chinese? Get to work.

  1. Pamper yourself

There is no one who has more inside knowledge about the stresses that you endure more than you. Treat yourself every now and then. Get that pair of shoes or cologne you have always wanted. Eat out sometimes if you can. Spoil yourself whenever possible.

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  1. Take more pride in your appearance

Now I’m not suggesting that we become vain, lol. It is my hope that we all realize that while we are beautiful in our own ways, beauty requires maintenance. No one needs lots of acne scars, especially when there are so many natural and store bought treatments available. Wear clothes that flatter your body type, start a healthy hair journey, drink more water for clearer skin etc.

  1. Understand that procrastination is a sin

Very rarely does procrastination benefit anyone. You know what I’m talking about – you’ve been thinking of starting your blog but you keep putting it off. Your neighbour could have completed that welding course but he couldn’t be bothered. I’m guilty of procrastination because I tend to wait on inspiration to get things done. Then the years go by and I mope around because I could have done this and that. Not anymore. Like Nike, I will “Just Do It!”

  1. Develop a craving for inspiration

Enrich your mind with inspirational books, blogs, YouTube channels, movies, music etc. Remember that what you put in is what you get out.

  1. Give

It is not always about you. Yes, we all are hustling for some extra coins and sometimes it seems that we don’t have much but for many of us, this is far from true. We all can do something for each other. We can make donations to that child who needs surgery, invite a church brother to dinner, volunteer at a nursing home, adopt and care for a pet etc.

 

  1. Forgive and forget

Life is too short for you to hold grudges. It takes up too much energy to remind yourself not to speak to that person because he or she had hurt you in the past. Do yourself a favour –pray about it and ask God to help you to let go. The sooner you let go, the less chances you will have to develop hypertension, and if you already have it and you refuse to let go, your condition may worsen. Let go.

Have a great 2016 and a wonderful life.

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Life Can Get Better After High School

For many of us, our insecurities skyrocket during high school. I enjoyed the latter years of my pre-high school life as I was always in the top three as it pertained to academic performance, actively represented the school in various culturally based competitions, wrote poetry and recited on stage, teachers loved me and surprisingly I had friends even though I was reserved. However, high school (Grades 7 to 13) was an intimidating period for me as I was now interacting with peers who were a lot more outspoken, cultured and more academically competitive than those in the previous school. I’m sure lots of persons can relate to this and probably felt no sense of belonging. For those who feel this way now, I’m here to assure you that life can get better as you grow.

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Characters from the TV series, Gossip Girl. Blair (front) who was extremely popular, ruled the student body with the help of her minions (back) who always followed her instructions to avoid banishment from the clique. 

My observation has led me to believe that these personalities were the most befriended in high school: the affluent, those with influential parents, most beautiful according to European or Asian standards (many of these ladies are truly pretty and would still be if they had mostly West African features), the rebels, those who dated popular boys, those who were always in the middle of scandals, talented dancers, singers or athletes and to some extent, those who were academically outstanding. I didn’t fall into any of these groups, perhaps the only criterion that comes closest is academic performance. I did well, but I wouldn’t say my grades were newsworthy. Anyway, I cowered instead of taking little opportunities to build and showcase talents because I was fearful of being ridiculed. I had a few friends but most of them were also like me – quiet, got A’s and B’s, no boyfriends, just not popular.

Now I’m not saying that there’s something wrong if your presence wasn’t felt in high school, it’s just that many of us were so overwhelmed by our insecurities that we didn’t bother to shine. If you tried your best in various activities but were unsuccessful then I applaud you because you tried and I’m sure you became stronger as a result. Many of us didn’t have teachers, coaches and other motivators to push us to come out of our shells and make our mark. Many of us didn’t even know that we could be our own motivators. Worst of all, many of us didn’t realise that being good girls who were studious, focused and spiritual doesn’t mean that you weren’t interesting. (No, Rushina, this applied to you lol. You definitely left an indelible mark even though you were one of us).

During 6th form I did become friends with a few popular ladies who matched the criteria outlined above because it turned out that we shared similar interests. I am still in touch with some of these ladies. It wasn’t until I went to University that I became friends with more like-minded girls who had a voice (even though one or two are introverts), were fashionable and beauty conscious, confident, very God- fearing, a little boy crazy but still knew how to prioritize, driven and to top it off, caring. Maybe I just didn’t interact with that many persons during high school but I never knew that people with all of these characteristics existed. I continue to look up to these ladies as they are truly inspiring.

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(From l-r) Me, Becky, Tash, Dae Dae and JJ put group assignment on pause to smile for the camera. This photo was taken sometime between 2008 and 2009 while we were pursuing undergraduate degrees

So for those of you in high school who feel as though you don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t despair – life gets better. If you don’t know how to play tennis but want to learn then by all means do it. If the tennis club members at your school show no interest in training you just because you are a “nobody” then find someone else who can. Explore hidden talents and be the best version of you. Be true to who you are. Maybe you are afraid to hone some skills and talents now. That’s ok, just take baby steps and be patient with yourself. If no one wants to associate with you right now, don’t worry, the older you get, the more you will meet like-minded people who will appreciate you for being authentically you.

So for those of you in high school who feel as though you don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t despair – life gets better. If you don’t know how to play tennis but want to learn then by all means do it. If the tennis club members at your school show no interest in training you just because you are a “nobody” then find someone else who can. Explore hidden talents and be the best version of you. Be true to who you are. Maybe you are afraid to hone some skills and talents now. That’s ok, just take baby steps and be patient with yourself. If no one wants to associate with you right now, don’t worry, the older you get, the more you will meet like-minded people who will appreciate you for being authentically you.

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Oh the Mind

Try this:

Say the word ‘silk’ ten times

Say the word ‘bilk’ five times

What do cows drink?

Here’s another:

What do water trucks carry?

What do marl trucks carry?

What do garbage trucks carry?

What do fire trucks carry?

How many of us have fallen for these tricky questions? Don’t lie, I see you, raise your hands! I too have innocently provided some incorrect answers. And of course the chuckles, giggles and hearty laughter follow. This was certainly the scene in the office last week when a co-worker asked each of us the question that was posed at the 8:25 mark in the attached video (I gave the right answer by the way lol).

After the laughter ceased I had a discussion with two co-workers about these types of questions. At first one pointed out that the people who answered incorrectly were not very smart but she changed her tune when another argued that their responses were as a result of mind conditioning. I added that it is very easy for anyone to think they way they did when the questions/statements that preceded the main question are structured in that manner. It then dawned on me that these tricky questions are just another example of how the mind works – what we put in is what we get out.

For a long time I’ve had a negative outlook on some aspects or events in my life. Sometimes I would condition my mind to expect the worst because I thought that if I had high hopes I could be shattered by disappointment. Sometimes this mindset worked especially when I was pleasantly surprised but in hindsight I now realize that I was doing myself a major disservice. I’ve made a promise to myself that I will remain positive and view challenges as opportunities. I’m not there as yet but eventually I will be.

power-of-the-mind-Wallpaper__yvt2

Photo courtesy of http://wezandtreshawallace.com/using-your-mind-to-achieve-your-goals/

Previous mindset- I may not be selected for that scholarship because all the other candidates seem so polished and qualified so why bother?

New mindset- That scholarship feels like mine and even if I’m not successful I’m sure God has another scholarship lined up.

Previous mindset: Why doesn’t he like me? Maybe I’m not pretty or smart enough

New mindset: Everyone has their preferences. His perception of me doesn’t devalue my worth. His opinion is not a fact and besides there are many men out there who would give an organ to be with me lol

Previous mindset: Man, I’m poor

New mindset: Poor? I don’t know that word. It’s not in my vocabulary!

You get the gist.

If the mind can be so easily conditioned why not fill it with uplifting thoughts? Download apps that give you inspirational quotes or watch tv series that have you smiling throughout because the good guy is winning or listen to music that doesn’t make you feel angry or depressed. Remember, you are what you eat.

If the mind can be so easily conditioned why not fill it with uplifting thoughts? Download apps that give you inspirational quotes or watch tv series that have you smiling throughout because the good guy is winning or listen to music that doesn’t make you feel angry or depressed. Remember, you are what you eat.

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