Day 82: March 23, 2013
Play a song you love as loudly as you want
Since I’ve been unemployed, I’ve had my Saturday mornings all to myself. My sisters go to class in the mornings, my fiance goes to work and my dad does all the grocery shopping. I know it won’t last long, because my sister finishes her Humanities course in two weeks. So today, I took advantage of the privacy, and blared music as loud as I wanted to. I sang along as I cleaned my room. It was nice to listen to music without worrying about the volume and disturbing others.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy music as it was meant to be - completely loud and obnoxious and without interruptions! That time to ourselves is very important for self care. So whether it’s meditating, listening to music, or watching a favourite television show - take part in some uninterrupted self care today!
Day 81: March 22, 2013
Buy a nice water bottle, so you’ll be less inclined to buy plastic bottles
Happy World Water Day! In Canada, we are so lucky to have access to clean water. Lack of access to clean water results in 2.2 million deaths a year. That’s a little less than Toronto’s entire population. And even though we have access to fresh water, we still buy bottled water, and drink from water coolers, instead of drinking from the tap. We still take extra long showers and leave leave the tap running while we clean dishes or brush our teeth. We should reduce the waste and conserve our water.
Today, I did my part by buying a water bottle from Me to We. I drink water all the time, about a bottle a day. So, instead of contributing to the waste, I can just refill my reusable water bottle and contribute to the cause!
Me to We sponsors many projects to help communities who don’t have access to clean water. Plan Canada also gives us the opportunity to sponsor a water project.
For more information click the links!
Me to We Clean Water Project
Plan Canada Water Project
Day 80: March 21, 2013
Ask “How are you?” and really listen for more than “Fine.”
Something we can definitely say we do every single day is ask: “how are you?” - no matter what culture, neighbourhood, gender, job, anything. It’s a polite way to say hello. However, it’s become so clockwork that I’m afraid the meaning is completely lost. Very seldom to we ask the question and actually listen for the answer. Today, I asked my supervisor how she was, and listened as to why she felt stressed. Even though I can’t help her, I allowed her to vent.
We must understand that we’re allowed to not be fine. It’s okay to be in a bad mood, it’s okay to feel something different other than “fine.” I encourage you to ask someone how they are and listen to what they have to say. Our tone of voice will give away our intention, and invite others to be honest about their feelings. Open your ears and listen today!
Day 79: March 20, 2013
Be understanding and truthful
Although this deed seems easy enough, it’s actually surprisingly challenging. To be understanding of another person, but staying truthful (i.e. not sugar coating or lying about personal feelings and opinions) is very hard. It’s usually one or the other. But it can be done! My brother told me some interesting news today, and I was able to tell him the truth, but be completely understanding at the same time. It’s about phrasing things to withhold judgement, but to also be honest. It’s not in their best interest to lie - it’s in ours. To me, that’s what being selfish means.
Unfortunately, I can’t go into details without breaking my brother’s confidence. But I can say that it wasn’t easy! It takes practice to develop this skill, and I will continue to do so when the opportunity comes up. I encourage everyone to develop the skill of being understanding and truthful.
Day 78: March 19, 2013
Compliment someone’s new haircut or shoes or hat, etc.
It’s been a whole week without the students, and while not much changed for me, a lot of students came back with new haircuts, shoes and clothes! It gave me an opportunity to compliment them. Their beaming smiles and momentary boosts of self confidence was all the thanks I needed.
We all remember what it as like going to school with something new. We were excited to show off, but were embarrassed when our peers made a big deal out of it. And it was heartbreaking when no one said anything at all to us. It gave us a chance to be someone new, different before the break. Passing on a compliment ensures that feeling lasts a little longer and also increases the interest in change for children. Keep your eyes open for change and compliment someone’s new do, wardrobe, or whatever!
Day 77: March 18, 2013
Hold your tongue
First day back to work after March break! It was incredibly hard to get out of bed this morning, but I did, and went to work happy to see the students again. I probably can’t say the same for my supervisor today. She yelled and scolded all day long. I held my tongue , despite wanting to tell her to cool her jets. Although I feel a strong injustice for her students, I also don’t know what’s going on in her life. While it’s unprofessional to ask personal questions, at least I can treat her with compassion and respect. Today, holding my tongue was the best I could do.
The bottom line is that while we try to walk in others’ shoes, it’s never a perfect fit. We’ll never know exactly what is going on in that person’s life. Sometimes we need to keep what’s on our minds, in our minds. There’s usually a better way to handle things, and speaking while emotionally charged is not one of them. Think of others, and hold your tongue today.
Day 76: March 17, 2013
Thank someone for something you usually take for granted
Sometimes I forget how awesome my fiance is. It happens though, after dating for so long, extraordinary things become ordinary. But that’s how we know that we’re truly on an adventure - and that is something to be grateful for. Today I thanked my fiance for being understanding, accepting my weirdness, and for loving my dark side. We never fight, he always helps me to see the bright side when I find it hard. He’s pretty awesome!
Although we appreciate things every day, sometimes we just need to say it out loud. Not only does it demand our attention to things to be thankful for, but it allows the other person know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. Nothing’s worse than feeling unappreciated Tell someone you’re thankful today!
Day 75: March 16, 2013
Record a message or video and send to one of your grandparents
It’s probably an understatement to say that I’m camera shy. I loathe cameras and avoid them at all costs. I wasn’t blessed with being photogenic, and, unfortunately, going to a 60th birthday party means tonnes of cameras. My fiance’s aunt hired a photographer for the festivities, so I put aside my fear and agreed to record a video message for her. I’m sure it was really nice for her to see video messages of her loved ones giving her love and support. She must have felt truly blessed.
Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for things that seem insignificant to us. We may not understand the importance of getting messages from nieces, or grandchildren, but it’s because we’re not there yet. We must try to walk in others’ shoes. Send a video to one of your loved ones today - they’ll appreciate it. And one day, we’ll appreciate it too!
Day 74: March 15, 2013
Take off your cranky pants
Last official day of March break! It went by very quick. I planned on relaxing and doing nothing, but my little sister had other plans. She decided to leave all of her homework untouched until today. And guess who was asked to help out? Of course, it doesn’t help that she’s studying Shakespeare for the first time, and I’m an English major. So, today, I took off my cranky pants and helped her out. I watched and read Romeo and Juliet with her (for over 5 hours) to point out key themes.
Since my mom died, I’ve been raising my sister. And I’ve learned along the way that raising children means that we must make sacrifices. It’s part of the job description. But it involves so much more than that - we must make sacrifices and look like we’re enjoying it the whole time. There’s nothing worse than feeling guilty as a child. Try to take off those cranky pants and do things with a smile - your loved ones will appreciate it!
Day 73: March 14, 2013
Take your partner out to lunch on a workday
My work schedule is pretty average: Monday-Thursday I leave for my internship at 7am, and get home at 5pm, and on Fridays I’m home from school by noon. My fiance’s schedule is anything but average: Monday-Thursday he leaves for work at 2pm and gets home at around 10pm, and on Saturdays he leaves at 8am and is home by 4pm. So it’s safe to say that today’s deed is practically impossible to do. But it’s March break! So, I took full advantage and took him and his sister out for brunch at Cora’s before his shift started. It was nice to spend some quality time with loved ones on a workday!
Honestly, working can get crazy, we lose track of the hours, and most of the time we forget to take a break all together. Although it doesn’t feel important, taking a small amount of time out of your busy day really does make a difference. It’s a nice breather between deadlines, frustrating coworkers, unreasonable clients, and strict bosses. Take the time today to enjoy lunch with a loved one!
Day 72: March 13, 2013
Don’t take offense
Sometimes people tell me that I’m too sensitive, especially when it comes to jokes (at my expense, or at others’). So it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that I take offense easily. For whatever reason, maybe an insecurity from childhood, or how I was raised, sometimes I just can’t take a joke.Today my friend was rather rude to me. He’s been going through a lot, and I guess today was a bad day for him. Instead of taking offense, I managed to shrug it off within the hour, and was able to actually call him out on it. I was able to do it calmly, and he was able to open up about it. We had a great conversation.
Sometimes the key to avoiding conflict is having an honest conversation. Unfortunately emotions can get in the way of that. We’re usually defensive or aggressive when we feel offended by someone. Try to take things less personally, and your communication will open up!
Day 71: March 12, 2013
Bake your favourite kind of cookies, and share
My teenage sister is already bored on day two of March break. To subside her complaints of not going somewhere exotic, I decided to bake cupcakes with her! Cookies aren’t as fun - there’s more decorating possibilities with cupcakes. We decorated them to look like Elmo (her favourite Sesame Street character). It was easy! We used the flower icing tip and red icing for his hair, white mints & black icing for his eyes, an orange jelly bean for his nose, and black icing for his mouth. When we were done, I brought some over to my neighbour’s house. She enjoyed them very much!
It doesn’t take much to dissipate boredom. It doesn’t have to be a big thing - just something. A little activity with siblings or friends can go a long way. It’s an added bonus if you can share the tasty results with others! Share a favourite baked good with loved ones today.
Day 70: March 11, 2013
It’s the beginning of March break! I have a lot of work to get done for next week. But today I made the decision to reward myself. I did absolutely no paperwork for the entire day. I painted my nails, did some crosswords, watched some Criminal Minds, and browsed online for wedding dresses and ideas. And I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty about either. The day was long, calm and enjoyable - just as a break should be!
All too often does a break zoom by and we’re left feeling more tired than we were before it started. This March break I’m rewarding myself with actually being on break! Whether it’s March break, reading week, summer holidays, or just a week booked off from work, we all deserve to relax, unwind and enjoy doing nothing. Ignore society’s branding of lazy or unproductive - a break is a break. Reward yourself today by taking a true break - from everything.
Day 69: March 10, 2013
Leave someone a handwritten note to “have a good day”
I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but I’ll say it again: telling someone to have a good day can change everything! This is especially true when you put care into it. A small gesture, or handwritten note can go much further than the usual nod or text. I snuck into my sister’s room while she was sleep and wrote a message on her white board wishing her a fantastic day. When she woke up, she was pleasantly surprised.
When others know that you’ve taken the time and put in the effort to do something nice for them, they really do appreciate it. Writing someone a handwritten note requires more effort these days. With ecards, emails, text messages, and Facebook, it’s rare to get anything handwritten. It’s nice to get a handmade birthday card, a letter in the mail, or a small handwritten note once in a while. The pen definitely is mightier - when it comes to wishing someone a good day!
Day 68: March 9, 2013
Empty the dishwasher before anyone in your house or office has a chance to ask you to do it
There are various tasks around the house/office that are in constant need of completion. Of course, emptying the dishwasher is one of them, and for whatever reason in my house, no one ever wants to do it. I think we’ve managed to go two days before emptying the dishwasher. So today, I decided to empty it right away in the morning. It took 5 minutes, and the kitchen counter was free of clutter. The first thing everyone asked when they entered the kitchen was, “Who emptied the dishwasher?”
Waking up to pleasant surprises is a refreshing way to start the day. It doesn’t take much, or long, to surprise a loved one by doing a special (or ordinary) task. It not only shows consideration, but how fast you can get things done when everyone else is sleeping / away! Surprise someone today by completing a daunting task before they realize it even has to be done.