Taking the U Out of Stress for 2019

If you are like me, the last few days of the year are spent organizing, cleaning and planning for a new year that will be better than the last.  All of us come to New Year’s with a new hope, dreams of a more successful and peaceful year and we make lists of what we want to accomplish.

So instead of stating my resolutions, my hopes and dreams, and promises for 2019, I have decided to make a list of what I am going to do to have less stress in my life.  Namely, let’s take the U out of stress for 2019.

1. Plan A Time Out for Every Day

Whether it is first thing in the morning or after dinner cleanup at night (whatever time works better for you), plan on spending 5 to 10 minutes with no thoughts in your mind.  Sit  quietly and remove any technology within your reach.  Close your eyes and breath deeply and slowly.  When you exhale, let all the stress of the day just leave your body and give you a new feeling of calm and relaxation.  This may take awhile to perfect but it’s one day at a time and we can only work to make our lives better just one day at a time.

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2. Learn How to Say NO

Practice saying No over and over again…no, no, no , no….until it becomes an acceptable word coming out of your mouth with no regrets.  I am not telling you to say “no” all the time but rather when you don’t want to do something or you don’t have time to help or go somewhere, say it loud and clear:  NO!!!! You can, of course, say “Although I wish I could I have to say No because……”  Practice with minor requests.  Try not to over obligate yourself this year.  Spend  quality time with family and friends without doing three different things in one day!!

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3. Play Your Music Loud

Whether you have Amazon Music, Alexa Echo or Google Home, do not hesitate to request a feel good song when you are in the mood or a very traditional soul-searching tune when you are thinking about chores, jobs and commitments.  Let music become more a part of your life.  We often talk about all the music we love and often we do not listen to it as often as we should.  Music can change a blah mood to a dancing, happy feeling.  Perhaps there are certain times of the day where you need an uplift or boost.  Or maybe just to sing while you are cooking.  While doing menial tasks like cleaning, cooking or paying bills, add some of your favorite tunes to ease you through.

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4.  Sip slowly

At the end of the day or in the middle of a work at home project, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea or hot chocolate.  When relaxing after a long day at work pour yourself a crisp Merlot or fruity Malbec to take some tension away.  Sit there sipping and just release all of the anxiety of the day.  Sip while making dinner.  Sip while in the bathtub.  Sip while on the phone with an old friend.  Sipping slowly adds to destressing that we all need.  Once the holidays pass us and we are back on our routines, we often need to remind ourselves that we need to recharge our batteries and just relax.  And yes, sometimes the calories are fine.

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5. Work It Out

Whether you enjoy a Zumba class, some yoga or Pilates or simply walking the treadmill, moving your body releases stress buildup.  We often need to push ourselves after a long day of work to go to the gym or meet a friend at an exercise class, but once you get there you will reap many benefits.  Your heart will be pumping, you will burn calories and stress will leave your body.  The hardest part is always getting there but once done we feel rejuvenated and feel like anything can be accomplished.  Working out builds self-esteem and heart health, as well as add to our emotional well-being.  So no more excuses this year.

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6. Talk to A Friend

At the end of the day your spirits can be lifted just by chatting with a friend and catching up on life besides work.  You get to re-establish your connection to each other and also realize that the rest of the world has the same kind of day that you do. Hearing that familiar, non-judgmental voice at the end of the phone boosts your ego and spirit.  This is a refreshing end to a long, hard day.  Often, we get so busy and make excuses to not be connected.  Make it a priority this year!!

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7. Remind Yourself How Important You Are

Every day when getting ready for work, go over the day in your mind and remind yourself why you are important part of this day and what you want to accomplish.  Remind yourself of your qualifications, your dreams and what you see yourself doing a year from now.  Smile at your reflection in the mirror and then you will smile at whoever you run into during the course of a day.  Forget that it’s Monday.  It’s just another day to be grateful for and live to the fullest.

So many of us will go on and on with resolutions but think about you this year.  Less stress, more devotion to important parts of your life, and more dedication to taking care of you this year.  I wish all of you a Happy and Healthy 2019.  May you find your inner strength to grow this year and to appreciate yourself and all that you are grateful for.

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Me First – Elaine Gallagher

The Unsanity Blog

We are so accustomed to doing things for others without a second thought, but when it comes to ourselves we just keep putting it off.  That was me my whole life until I started to feel walls closing in and realizing I needed to make some positive changes.  I had gained weight, stopped exercising and had gotten into some unhealthy habits.

So I decided to change.  First of all, I started a new healthy eating regimen, after my doctor told me I needed to even though I was on cholesterol meds, because of my family history of heart problems, I decided to listen to his advice.  This coupled with the fact that my daughter was getting married and I wanted to look and feel beautiful that day.  So my new journey began….

First, I started cleaning my eating completely.  No more junk or processed foods.  It meant more planning of…

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Classic Rock Mornings

Classic-Rock-Mornings-Koral-Dawn (1)

Hello everyone! I’m Koral Dawn, a social media manager and marketing professional from Washington, USA. No, not Washington, DC; the other Washington on the west coast by California! You can find my blog here. But if you prefer to find me elsewhere, my Instagram is where I spend most of my time: @willowedawn

I’ve been recently going through some rough times with depression and anxiety after being laid off from my job that I moved 2800 miles away from home for. I had less than 24 hours’ notice that I didn’t have a job, and my manager didn’t even know until I did, about 10 minutes before. I think you’d be a little off if you were in my situation as well. Things could be worse… we all say that. 

To make this story even more unfortunate, the following day, we were supposed to have our inspection of our new home that we had put an offer in on and actually won. We had to back out of everything. No more house, no more mortgage approval, almost lost our earnest money we had put down because we really wanted that home… nothing. Everything was gone, and we had to make a decision to stop the home buying because we didn’t know where we were going to be in a week, let alone 3 months. 

Most days we spent it in bed after this happened. Laying there. Tired, unable to move. No motivation to really get up and do anything for a good solid 2 weeks. We didn’t know what to do. We had a planned vacation back home to PA coming up in 3 weeks, and no one was going to want to hire us if we were leaving for almost 2 weeks to spend with family. We were going to have to wait until we came back from that to really start the hunt for jobs. At that point, I was the most miserable person of myself that I have ever been.

Fast forward to now, I have not landed a job yet with an employer, however, my fiancé has. He finally got a call for a job interview and is now selling cars at the Ford dealer a few towns over and is so far winning at it. So the good news is we can stay in WA for now… and hopefully buy a home next year instead. It’s a little more complicated since we’ll be married by then but that’s okay – we’ll work it out! 

So, what I’ve done is compiled a playlist that helps me wake up on Sunday mornings when I’ve had a rough week or even just a rough day: Classic Rock all the way! Now, I wasn’t born in the 70’s or 80’s but my mom lived through it, and this is the music I grew up listening to day in and day out and it reminds me of the good old days with no worries, no responsibilities and no problems to care about except what to wear to school the next day. (Don’t we all wish that could be the main problem in our lives now? Adulting sucks.) I hope you enjoy it and can find some relaxation/good memories in the songs as well. 

For those of you that have Apple Music – I’ve made my playlist shareable so you can download to your iPhone and listen along with me Sunday Mornings. Find it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/sunday-morning-classic-rock/pl.u-2aoqq0eUVppqNV



1. Travelin’ Man – Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
2. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
3. Slow Ride – Foghat
4. Riders on The Storm – The Doors
5. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
6. Crazy Love – Van Morrison
7. Peaceful Easy Feeling – The Eagles
8. My Home Town – Bruce Springsteen
9. Jack and Diane – John Mellancamp
10. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh
11. Lay Down Sally – Eric Clapton
12. I’m Alright – Kenny Loggins
13. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
14. This Is the Day – The The
15. Paradise by The Dashboard Light – Meatloaf
16. Here Comes My Girl – Tom Petty
17. Long May You Run – The Stills-Young Band
18. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield

Pin Expo

Pin Expo

Saturday, November 3, 2018  10a.m.-3 p.m.

Life Skills House – Southern Houston, TX

Another mimosa please!!!  Life Skills House in Southern Houston is using mimosas and yoga to bring single moms together to feel part of a community and blossom.   The Pin Expo features local businesses and vendors for all things decor, fitness, self-care, cooking, style, and crafts. Get inspired by the Make-And-Take classes, show off your DIY skills, or learn some new ones, and browse the gorgeous, authentic booths sprawled across the lawn and indoor shopping area as your Pinterest boards come to life. The goal of this event is to make each and every one of their group feel like they are moving forward in their life dreams while overcoming some obstacles.  It will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 10 am-3 pm. Outdoor Yoga provided by Beatnik Studios begins at 9:30 am.  Bring your yoga mat!  

Life Skills House was founded as a Texas not for profit organization  that provides transitional housing and Christian based life skills training for up to two years for multicultural young women, including but not limited to, those who were victims of human trafficking, those who are pregnant and single mothers from economically challenged backgrounds, ages 15-25, who are serious about breaking free from a lifestyle of impoverishment. They will offer assistance to young women as they move from dependent, often abusive relationships, into independent self-sufficient lifestyles.  They can also provide housing for the young children of the mothers residing at the facility. 

Also on staff is a Biblical counselor that will help the residents receive spiritual and emotional healing from their painful past to be set free and embrace their future. Their belief is that it is imperative to portray Christianity as a lifestyle in a family oriented atmosphere. They are committed to help these women become successful and productive citizens while overcoming present day obstacles.

Come early and join us for outdoor yoga by Beatnik Studios at 9:30 AM. All you need is water and your mat! Grab coffee from Grounded Roasterie’s coffee bar, a homemade brunch from our food lounge, and be sure to stop by Surfin‘ Rita’s on-site Mimosa Bar to sip while you stroll the magnificent grounds.

Events cater to young moms and their children in Brazaria County and the Greater Houston area.  At each event, there is childcare provided to make it accessible for those with young children with no babysitting options. 

Visit LifeSkillsHouse.org/events to purchase tickets for this life-changing event. General admission is $8.  Children ages 3-17 are $2 (under 3 are free).  

Staying Healthy During Back to School Craziness

Do you find yourself totally exhausted every night? Now that you are back to a routine after summer leisure, do you often feel as if it is Friday on Tuesday? Most of us can answer yes to these two questions.

It is so important at this time of the year, before all the holidays start rolling in and the temperature changes, to feel as if your body is working at its peak. We must make an extra effort to eat healthy, take vitamins, rest whenever possible and have some moments of nothingness to regain strength.

Taking a moment or two at the end of the day to reflect on the happenings of the day, making mental notes of what you have to do tomorrow and just relishing in a quick cup of coffee or tea, will revitalize you. This will prevent you from losing patience with someone who has nothing to do with the your stress levels. Take that exercise class, go for a walk, call your mom, and just breathe deeply.

If we do this relaxation exercise for 15 minutes every day we will see a big improvement in our overall wellbeing. We will be ready to take that exercise class, cook dinner for the family, take a walk with the dog, and just refuel your body and melt the stress away.

Taking time for yourself will not only benefit you, but your family and friends as well. They will see you as a happier person who is content and ready to take on the challenges of each day. Breathe deeply, be mindful and take care of your own wellbeing.

Christmas in August?

We are used to seeing Halloween decorations in August but Christmas? Really? Why have we become a society that rushes our years and looks ahead instead of enjoying the present. Yes, I do buy Christmas presents in September sometimes, but that is only if I see something special. I do not want to rush shopping and just buy presents as an obligation. It is so important to put thought into it.

But decorations????? We get bombarded by these beautiful Christmas displays while most of us don’t even remember what we have stored away. So often we buy something that stands out only to find that we have the same thing or just about the same in our growing number of Christmas bins. That happened to me a few times so I make it a point to not look at these decorations. In fact, sometimes they annoy me so much I turn my head the other way.

It is the middle of September and my thoughts are on decorating the house in a fall theme. Some colorful leaves, pine cones, lanterns, candles and so on. Just a start to the school year and our last bit of hope before the bitter winter. I am not thinking about Halloween costumes, pumpkins, or hanging up ghosts or goblins.

Oh and by the way, did anyone remember that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. If you are like me, I try to extend my pumpkin and leaf decorations through November, adding a few turkeys and Giving Thanks signs. Its a reminder to be thankful for our families and friends, and not just running into the gift buying season. Thanksgiving was my father’s favorite holiday because there were no presents, just precious family time. Thanksgiving is just one of the days I miss him terribly. So enjoy the fall, breeze through Halloween and be thankful for all that you have before getting into the craziness of the holiday season!

Lets be thankful for all that we have in our lives … all the people we love and blessings we need to count…….

Our Precious Penne

Five years ago we were married and were given the most precious gift by our pastor, our Bichon Frise, and we named her Penne. Penne is a special dog who loves unconditionally and even in her defiant moments, is still the cutest dog that melts our hearts.

From the moment we brought her home she has given us unconditional love and faithfulness. Like most Bichons she can be very spiteful and often gets into things that are not meant for her. She is not the best listener and we often have to call her numerous times before she stops ignoring us. But that, I have heard, is the nature of the Bichon. She is playful, loves company and children especially, and faithfully waits by the window for us to come home.

When we first got her, she fit in the palm of my husband’s hand. Barely 5 pounds and just the sweetest thing you could ever come home to, she immediately became a part of our family. Perfect timing as 5 years later, we are complete “empty nesters” so we look forward to spending much of our time with her and spoiling our little “child”.

When we first tried to train her using the pee pad, she just thought it was another mat or blanket to sleep or sit on. She always loved to make herself comfortable on the pee pad but never did anything on it. She now has at least 3 blankets and probably 5 beds around the house. Whenever I buy a new mat or throw rug, she immediately takes it over thinking its hers of course.

There is no greater love than the love of a dog. It is unconditional and loyal. We have many outside friends and acquaintances that we plan events with. Your dog’s entire life centers around you. It is a feeling that cannot be explained and can never be duplicated. I never thought I would have another dog when I lost my mini-schnauzer 7 years ago, but Penne has added to that void in my life. You never forget your pet and how they made you feel.

I sincerely hope that you have the opportunity to have this kind of special love in your life. It cannot be compared to any other love, yet it such an addition to your life and I truly believe it adds quality and years to your own life.

Viva Puerto Rico

This was my third vacation to the island of Puerto Rico. I haven’t been there in over 15 years, but always remembered the culture that made this island so very special to me. It wasn’t just about sand and blue water but it has so much more to offer. I was curious to visit the island after its horrible brush with a hurricane that left people homeless and without power for up to a year.

I stayed at the Marriott in San Juan at Condado Beach which was still a beautiful place not devastated by the hurricane. The hotel was exquisite, with wonderful staff and beautiful beaches. This made our stay relaxing and refreshing.

In our travels, we we took a Catamaran to another beach off the island which was beyond breathtaking. The clear, light blue water entranced you. You wanted to stay there forever.

We had a delicious lunch, many Pina Coladas, swam in the turquoise waters and even tried some snorkeling. Some other passengers even ventured to jump off the boat a few times. Overall, the day was magnificent and the air was salty and healing.

One day, we visited the fort used to help win the Spanish American war in 1898. The fort was set on the water and had history everywhere, highlighted by the wildlife that moved in, namely iguanas and parrots, and even some small crabs. Every corner of the fort intrigued us as we took in the history and the beauty of this historical landmark.

One evening we shopped in Old San Juan, ate in indigenous Puerto Rican restaurants and just relaxed and enjoyed the happy sounds of this beautiful island. I discovered Mufango, which is a plantain surrounding the food of your choice — grilled skirt steak, chicken and even seafood. On our last night in Puerto Rico I enjoyed a dish I never had before – Ropas Viejas which is a shredded beef deliciously seasoned in a sweet plantain presentation. The word delicious does not give this dish justice.

We met many Puerto Rican’s who are so grateful for our visits as they are working hard to rebuild their island which is still recovering from the aftermath of the hurricane. They offer great deals right now, so if you need a quick 4 day getaway, please check out Puerto Rico. You will never forget this island of paradise!

Take a look at my other article on vocal media: https://vocal.media/wander/the-magic-of-puerto-rico


I have become more aware of the importance of making healthy choices in life. And, of course, that is easier said than done. We need to realize that our choices and habits create our reality.

Your goal can’t be to reverse what you have done to your body in your life, but rather to start where you are. Leave the past behind. Today is a new day that will be shaped by your choices and attitude starting NOW!! Focus forward on how you can improve instead of worrying about the past.

As you strive to meet your wellness goals, it is vital that you hold yourself accountable for making healthy choices. One way to do this is to effectively track your daily activities and journal your health and wellness goals. Research proves that people who track their daily activities are more successful at reaching their goals than those who don’t. Tracking reveals the blind spots in your daily habits that are sabotaging your efforts to reach your goals.

Do I still eat chocolate ? YES But I consume less, and I have now have self-awareness that choosing to have a few pieces versus an entire bar or box. If you want to increase your accountability and self-awareness.toward your health and wellness goals, try experimenting with various trackers and see what works for you. Using a journal can be a fun and inexpensive way to track your activities. You can also explore some digital trackers and apps to help you track your food and exercise.

When you start consistently making and practicing changes in your life, you’ll start noticing a difference in how you look, feel and think. Celebrate these changes. Celebrate your successes.

In my movement to live a healthier life, I have changed my outlook on eating, exercising and plan each day as much as I can. Yes, I do have cheat days but as long as I go back to “my plan for success” I can continue to be focused the next day. In my changes, I found a company named Melaleuca. Melaleuca is a health and wellness club that carries over 450 products that you use in your home all the time. From cleaning products, health and nutrition, to beauty and hair care, to just name a few — Melaleuca has it all. For a small membership fee, you can have access to all of these products. Visit Melaleuca.com to take a look at the products we offer. If you would like an application for membership, or additional information, please email me at HealthEliving713@gmail.com. Let’s be partners and help each other achieve our goals.