Category Archives: Once Upon a Line

Remembering And Celebrating A Lost Loved One During The Holidays

Remembering your loved ones during the holidays can be difficult. Celebrating their life during the holidays can be a great way to honor them. Make this holiday season extra special by celebrating your loved ones. Start celebrating and remember your loved ones today!

The great memories you had can be a place to start. Pictures are always good, too. They may make you feel a bit sad, but there are usually times in that sadness where you’ll find yourself smiling over something silly or touching that you remembered. Incorporating that loving feeling into your holidays can help you to heal.

Let’s go!

Let Your Faith Guide You
No matter what your religious faith, you can use prayer and spiritual beliefs to help you get through trying or lonely times. Sometimes, those feelings are magnified at special times like holidays, and more time to pray or meditate is needed. Don’t be afraid to take the time you need for prayer.  Remind yourself the struggles they faced here in their lifetime are no more. There is comfort in those thoughts.

Dwell on the Happy Times
Of course you miss your loved one, but you also have the joy of having known that person for a period of time. Cherish what you had. When the holidays come around and you the feelings of sadness begin to creep in, think about all the times you did have. What would your loved one want you to remember about him or her?

Focus your energy on being joyful for what was. Whether you had your loved one a long period of time or a short one, you had love in your life for that time. That’s a very precious gift. Elevate the value of that gift by savoring the happy moments. Remember the good times. Everyone has memories of their loved ones that make them smile or that they re-live again and again. 

Honor their memory
1.Decorate in their favorite colors.
2. Put up photos of them around the house.
3. Make their favorite holiday dish.
4. Tell stories about them to your friends and family.
5. Light a candle in their memory on Christmas Eve or Hanukkah.
6. Donate to a charity in their name.
7. Volunteer your time in their honor.

Mourning is part of the healing process, but remember to celebrate, too. Everyone does things differently when it comes to how they want to show their love for someone who has gone on before them. Focus on a celebration that feels right to you. No matter what it is, if it’s right for you, then it’s perfect for the occasion. 

Because everyone is different, some people might question what you’re doing or why. That’s okay. Honor your loved one and celebrate their life in a way that brings you joy and peace this holiday.This holiday season, celebrate the life of your loved ones who have passed away. Remember them fondly and honor their memory by spending time with family, friends and loved ones. sharing stories, laughter and love. This is a time to cherish

Did you find this post helpful? Comment, share, and follow the blog for more posts to help you do life.

Happy Holidays. To Your Success,

Three Habits That Happy People Practice Every Holiday Season

So far, tips have been shared to help battle stress, now it’s time to take a deep dive into the most troubling concerns. Battling and overcoming stress during the holidays can be a challenge to anyone. Overcommitting, gift buying, and carrying on traditions, are three of the most stressful areas that can ruin a cheerful season

There are a number of things that can lead to this type of stress: family gatherings, coping with loss, busy stores, long lines, gift buying, conflicts, add to this list.  Last month I shared useful post regarding handling conflicts during gatherings.  Later this month, I will address handling loss. You may also have high expectations that add to the stress of your holiday season.

Long gone are the days in which the season was highly anticipated and there was a sense of magic in the air. As an adult, you may find the season to be more stressful than joyous. Unfortunately, these days, you may even consider holiday stress as a necessary holiday tradition! Here are some methods you can use to battle and overcome stress during the holidays

1. Are you overcommitted? The holidays normally come with many social gatherings that most of us feel we must attend. The fact is that you don’t have to go to every event you’re invited to. Saying “no thank you” to some of the invitations will free up more time for yourself! It’s important to remember and enjoy the spirit of the holidays.

If it takes saying “no” to preserve some of your sanity, go for it! Others will be more understanding than you give them credit for. Don’t become so burdened that you secretly wish for the season to pass quickly. Take time to be by yourself. Whether you take a yoga class or a bubble bath, allow yourself to do something enjoyable without worrying about the holiday stress.

2. Carrying on traditions. Growing up, we may have seen our mothers cook a full course Christmas dinner. Perhaps it was routine to host a lavish holiday party. Maybe your family baked hundreds of Christmas cookies to give to friends and relatives. Tradition is good but don’t allow yourself to become so wrapped up in tradition that it consumes you. 

If you find the routine you normally follow for the pure and simple sake of tradition is weighing on you and resulting in more stress than you can deal with, break away from it! You will be happier. Rather than living up to the expectations of years past, start your own, easy-going traditions. Instead of throwing a lavish party, have fewer friends over for tea and cookies. Allow other family members to bring side dishes to the holiday meal rather than cooking it all yourself.

3. Finding the perfect gift. There’s too much pressure to purchase the perfect gift for each person that it takes all the fun out of shopping. Remember, people are generally appreciative for whatever gift they receive. They don’t expect you to go to every corner of the Earth to find them a spectacular gift. Save time and money by skipping the wrapping! Creativity is the main focus.

You can give gifts that can be used throughout the year. For example, you may give a coupon in a card for a free night of babysitting, one day of yard work, or other special things. Shopping online has made searching for gifts much easier. It might also be more cost effective to buy online because many stores offer special sales or free shipping near the holidays. 

I hope you agree that these very simple, yet effective habits can help giftyou overcome stress during the holidays. The key is to determine what’s causing your stress so you can eliminate it. In the end, you’ll see that most of the stress you experience is a result of the expectations you impose on yourself. 

I hope you found these three simple suggestions useful. How will you implement them this year?! Comment below, or share with your overworked and stressed out friend or relative.

To Your Success,


    Biofeedback As An Effective Stress Management Tool

    Did you know that Biofeedback can help us manager stress and other ailments?

    Biofeedback is a tool that gathers information using specialized instruments that measure one or more physiological markers including muscle tone, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, brainwaves, skin temperature, and sweat production.

    We experience biofeedback all of the time. When you watch a scary movie, your hands might become sweaty and your heart rate increases. If you move your attention away from the movie and think about something pleasant, these physical responses diminish. This is a simple, but valid, example of biofeedback

    There are different types of biofeedback devices available:

    1. Clinical. These devices are generally only available to professionals and require training to use properly. It can be useful to receive biofeedback therapy if you have the time and financial resources to do so.
      • Home interactive computer programs. There are sensors that can be plugged into your computer or mobile device. These sensors often attach to your finger or ear or are worn like a headband. The software often provides verbal prompts or other instructions to help you relax and provides feedback regarding the results.
      • Wearable. These are more mobile and less intrusive to use. They often consist of a watch-type device or sensor that goes around your waist. They can provide alerts if your stress levels are above an acceptable level.

      You have more control than you think over your stress response:

      1. Breathing. Slow and relaxed breathing can reduce the severity of stress quite significantly. A biofeedback device can help you discover the best way to breathe and reduce your stress response.
      2. Muscle relaxation. Helps can also reduce the amount of stress you feel. 
      3. Your thoughts. They can either be stressful or peaceful. Maybe thinking about the beach is more effective for reducing stress than thinking about puppies. Biofeedback can show you.

      Biofeedback devices allow you to measure your stress in a variety of ways. You can systematically determine which breathing techniques work for you. You can figure out which muscles you need to relax and the best way to relax them. Which thoughts are the most calming for you? Biofeedback can teach you.

      Biofeedback is a non-invasive way of dealing with stress that doesn’t require medication. It requires some equipment and a willingness to practice.  Learning to relax yourself is a skill that takes practice. As you practice the best techniques for you, you’ll become more skilled at applying them.

      Most home biofeedback devices have not been reviewed by the FDA, but a few have. Do some research before purchasing .  Although it takes some practice, you’ll see that it’s definitely worth the time and effort as your stress melts away.

      Meditation, exercise, yoga, etc are all ways of handling stress, and with the availability of biofeedback on the market, we have another tool at our disposal.

      What do you think about this tool? Have you used one before? Did it work, and will you recommend it to your fiends and family?

      To Your Success,

      Clutterly Stressed

      Photo Credit: Todd Kent

      Deadlines, financial difficulties, and competing responsibilities are some well-known causes of stress in our lives. Research shows that clutter can also be a hidden cause of stress at home and work. 

      A 2011 study at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute examined the effect of clutter on the brain. According to the study, “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex,” clutter does more than take up space in our homes and offices. Clutter limits the brain’s ability to focus and process information.
      Individuals that limit clutter in their home and work environment are less irritable, less distracted, and more productive.

      Try these steps to pare down and organize your belongings:

      1. Start small. If you’ve been living with too much stuff for a long time, you probably feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through your things.  Get started by setting small cleaning and organizing goals.
      • Avoid setting an unrealistic goal of cleaning your whole house overnight. One small space at a time. It will give you the boost of confidence you need to continue your efforts.  
      • Once you’ve established order to a small space, keep going. Build upon your success. After your drawers and closets, focus on cleaning an entire room. Clean and organize one room at a time until your entire home is filled only with necessary items that you use on a regular basis.
      • Keep your closets and drawers organized by adopting a “one in, one out” rule. Get rid of one old item each time you buy something new.
      1. Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn or used an item in a year or longer, do you really still need it? Get rid of duplicate items, as well as worn out and broken items that you haven’t fixed.
      • Items received as gifts from loved ones can be particularly difficult to part with, especially if the loved one is now deceased. Take the time to acknowledge your loss, but realize that holding on to your loved one’s possessions won’t bring them back.
      • One option that may make it easier to part with an item and honor your loved one’s memory, is to sell the item and donate the proceeds to their favorite charity.
        1. Straighten the focal points of your bedroom, living room, and kitchen at the start of each day. Set the tone for your day by spending 15 minutes straightening the central areas of your home each morning.
        • Make your bed, wash any dirty dishes, and eliminate clutter from the living room, counters, and kitchen table. Reverse this strategy at work, and clear your desk before you leave at the end of the day.
        • By removing the clutter from these key areas, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed when you return.

        Having too much stuff is visually distracting and it adds to your daily stress level. Following these simple steps will contribute to greater feelings of serenity in your life as you say “goodbye” to clutter.

        To Your Success,

        The Relationship Between Money and Stress: What Research Says

        We all know the feeling: you’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through social media, when you see it. That friend from college who just bought a new house, or the coworker who just got a new car. And suddenly, the little voice in your head starts asking questions. “Why can’t I have nice things like that?” “What am I doing wrong?”. It’s unbelievably easy to get caught up in keeping up. Sometimes at our own very peril

        Finances are one of the leading causes of stress in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can take control of your finances and reduce your stress levels. So let’s get started!

        The financial burden: how finances cause stress
        If you’re already struggling with other issues in your life, such as a divorce or dealing with a serious health condition, the last thing you need is to worry about money.

        A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 72% of Americans report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22% say they experience extreme stress about finances.

        Financial stress can come from a variety of sources, including job insecurity, debt, unexpected expenses, financial planning and more. And it can have a major impact on our mental and emotional well-being.

        When we’re under financial stress, we may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, including trouble sleeping, irritability, lack of focus, strained relationships and more. This stress can also lead to physical health problems like headaches, stomach problems and high blood pressure.

        Our relationships. Although money is not the root of all evil, it is a significant source of stress for many couples. Money troubles can cause arguments and breakups and divorce. It’s not limited to intimate relationships. Partners  feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. When you borrow money from a friend or family member, and cannot repay on time, it can create strain. 

        Our health. Money troubles can also take a toll on one’s mental and physical health. A 2013 study found that financial strain was associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety and sleep problems. A 2012 study found that people who were stressed about money were more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

        The impact of financial stress on work is well documented. A 2016 survey by the American Psychological Association; fmoney is the top source of stress for Americans, with 72 percent of respondents reporting experiencing significant stress about money at least some of the time.

        Work performance.  A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found that workers who reported experiencing financial stress were more likely to have poorer job performance, more absenteeism, and more difficulty concentrating at work.

        The follow up post will offer suggestions for each aspect of your lives. Let me know below if this post helped!

        To Your Success,




        How To Effectively Handle Workplace Stress: What You Can Do Right Now

        Photo Credit: wocintechchat

        Workplace stress is a growing problem in today’s fast-paced, constantly connected world. If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of your job, it’s important to take steps to manage your stress. 

        Let’s dig in. First, try to set realistic goals for yourself and your team. Secondly, make sure you’re taking time for yourself outside of work.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There’s no shame in admitting that you can’t do everything on your own.

        The role of employers in managing workplace stress
        Employers play an important role in managing workplace stress. By fostering a healthy work environment and supporting employees’ well-being, employers can help reduce stress and improve productivity. By taking steps to address workplace stress, employers can create a healthier, more productive workforce. A few suggestions include:

        • Identifying and addressing potential sources of stress in the workplace
        • Providing employees with resources and support to manage stress
        • Promoting healthy workplace habits and practices
        • Encouraging open communication about stress and its impact on work and well-being

        YOUR role  in managing workplace stress
        While employers are responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe and healthy, employees also play a role in managing stress at work. There are a number of things that employees can do to help themselves manage stress, including:

        • Taking regular breaks, both during the day and on weekend
        • Eating healthy meals and snack
        • Getting enough sleep
        • Exercising regularly
        • Taking vacations and days off when possible
        • Connecting with family and friends outside of work Support available for employees experiencing workplace stress
        • Talk to your HR Manager about what is causing the stress
        • Does your job have an EAP-Employee Assistance Program? Time to use it!

        -Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offer confidential counseling and support to employees experiencing personal or work-related problems. -Workplace health and wellness programs can help you manage stress and improve your overall health. -Stress management training can teach you techniques for managing stress in the workplace.

        Conclusion: Managing workplace stress for a healthier workplace
        Workplace stress is a concern for employers and employees alike. There are other ways to manage workplace stress. Some employers may provide employee assistance programs (EAPs), which offer counseling and other services to help employees deal with stress. Other employers may offer on-site child care, flexible work schedules, or fitness facilities to help employees balance work and life demands.

        Employees can also take steps to manage their own stress. Some tips for managing workplace stress include: Identifying sources of stress, setting realistic goals, creating a support network, taking breaks, practicing relaxation techniques.

        What is your takeaway? Do you now feel more empowered to move forward in your 9 to 5?If this post was helpful, let me know below! 

        To Your Success,

        Workplace Stress: Cause and Effect

        Photo Credit: Elisa Ventur

        While millions continue to work from home, millions more have either returned to the cubicle, or never left to begin with. We all know the feeling: You’re sitting at your desk, trying to focus on your work, but your mind is racing and you can’t seem to calm down. Your heart is pounding, your head feels like it’s going to explode, and you can’t focus on anything. You’re experiencing a full-blown case of workplace stress.

        While some stress is normal and even necessary for peak performance, too much stress can be debilitating. If you’re struggling to manage your workplace stress, here are a few tips to help you get back on track.

        1. Identify the source of your stress
        2. Develop a positive mindset 
        3. Take a break. No matter how short
        4. Manage your time wisely
        5. Get organized
        6. Seek professional help if necessary 


        If you’re finding it difficult to cope with workplace stress, remember you’re not alone.

        Defining workplace stress
        Workplace stress is defined as a harmful reaction employees have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. An important distinction can be made between pressure and stress. Pressure at work is a situation where demands are placed on employees, which can be motivational, stimulating and enjoyable. Stress occurs when these demands are excessive and unreasonable, leading to feelings of anxiety, overload, tension and worry.

        There is a range of factors that can contribute to workplace stress, including long hours, tight deadlines, demanding bosses or clients, unrealistic workloads, lack of control or autonomy over work tasks, lack of support from colleagues or management

        The causes of workplace stress
        There are many factors that  contributes to stress in the workplace. Job insecurity, unpredictable work hours, heavy workloads, lack of control over work tasks, lack of support from supervisors or co-workers, poor working conditions, violent or threatening behavior from clients, patients, or customers. Does any of these causes apply to you?!

        The effects of workplace stress
        Chronic workplace stress can have serious effects on your health and well-being. It can contribute to a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems and weight gain. Workplace stress can also lead to absenteeism and decreased productivity.

        There are a number of things you can do to reduce the amount of stress you feel at work. These include developing a support network of colleagues, family and friends, eating healthy meals and getting regular exercise. You can also try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. If you find that your stress levels are consistently high, it may be time to seek professional help.

        Not ready to seek professional help just yet? Come back in a few days to get advice on  effective strategies on how to manage the triggers, so you don’t end up being consumed by your 9-5

        To Your Success,


        Let’s Talk About Stress

        Growing up, you heard friends and family lamenting about being “stressed out”. Then came the moment you experienced it first hand. Stress is a part of life, but where does stress come from?  What is the origin of stress?.

        Where Does Stress Originate?
        If you ask 10 people where their stress comes from, they’re likely to mention kids, family, work, and especially money.  These are stress factors that are common.  Yet, these are causes of stress but not where the stress actually comes from.  

        There are many different schools of thought. The fact of the matter is that stress is our body’s response to the demands that we place on it.  The demands may be physical, mental, or emotional in nature and when we place these demands on our body, chemicals and hormones like Cortisol and Neuropeptide Y are released into our bodies and then we feel stressed. 

        Stressful Thinking Leads to Stressful Feelings
        Some believe that stress can stem from our own minds.  This is true to some extent because we can cause stress through our worries, fears, and anxiety.  

        We often get into the habit of negative thinking where we can somehow convince ourselves about things that are untrue. For example, have you ever convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to do something? This negative self-talk creates stress within our own minds. Unfortunately, these thoughts are going on unbeknownst to us because we have come to accept our negative thoughts as truth, even when it’s far from it. This is precisely why we need to begin to tame our negative thoughts and replace them with positive truths.

        Stress is a normal part of life so we’ll never be able to escape it. What really matters is how we deal with stress, but we all experience stress differently; hence there’s no universal stress treatment!

        Dealing with Stress
        As we now know, stress is a bodily response to the pressures and demands that we place on ourselves in every day life.  To limit the negative effects of stress – such as heart attack, breathing problems, reproductive problems, and stomach problems – you need to learn how to actively manage your stress.  There are many simple stress coping strategies that you can employ such as:

        •  Getting more exercise
        •  Using positive self-talk
        •  Getting more restful sleep
        •  Eating a healthier diet
        •  Knowing your work limits
        •  Saying no when you need to
        •  Asking for help
        •  Creating time for fun
        •  Using positive imagery
        •  Employing deep breathing techniques
        •  Listening to calming music
        •  Clearing your life and workspace of clutter
        •  Keeping things simple

        These are all effective ways to deal with the stress in your life, however, you need to remember that the goal is to proactively manage your stress.  If you react to your stress, you’ll be spending most of your time putting out fires.  Instead, if you constantly implement just a few of these stress management techniques, you will live a healthier, happier, and more productive life!

        Over the next several weeks you can expect more articles on the subject, including how, in some instances, stress can be good for you! Other topics will include ways to manage and limit the amount of stresses in our daily lives. Hope to have you.

        To Your Success,



        Finish What You Start


        Do you often struggle to complete  projects/goals you if though you have every intention of finishing them? All my life I have struggled with the shiny object syndrome. At times, it got so bad, I resorted to scheduling my entire day, hour by hour , if I wanted to get anything done! Believe it or not, this is a common problem. After taking stock of myself, and trying different approaches, I discovered that luckily, you can I can follow a few steps to ensure, that we can become the type of person who finishes a project once we start it.  Let us get you set up for success!

        1. Make A Plan

        The first step to finishing a task is making sure you have a plan at the beginning. It needs to be a plan which you write down. A mental note isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on. You may want to jump in and start something in your excitement, but you might not realize all the work and challenges you will face. When you take the time to make a plan, this will better prepare you for the task at hand, and you’ll be able to spot problems much more easily.

        1. Take A Break

        If you find yourself getting overly frustrated or beginning to loathe the project because you’ve been working on it for so long, it’s okay to take a short break. This break will help reset your mind and focus. You might even be able to solve some of the problems you are facing while you take this little breather. Just make sure that when you set an endpoint to your break, this way you can hold yourself to it and not just abandon the project.

        1. Make Small Goals and Rewards For Yourself

        As you plan how you will conquer your task or project, break your goal into smaller mini-goals. Then, cross them off and reward yourself as you complete them. It will help keep you on task, and you’ll be able to feel as if you are making progress, even if it’s small.  This progress will do wonders to keep your spirits high while working on the project. The little rewards you are giving yourself will probably help too.

        So next time you get excited about a new project or goal in your life, slow down a bit and make a plan, complete with smaller goals and rewards for yourself. Then, as you pursue the project, don’t be afraid to take small breaks if you need to recuperate. Chances are, thanks to these three steps, you will be much more likely to finish your new goal than leave it abandoned. 

        To Your Success,


        To Give You An Idea or Nine

        Drinking is a socially accepted coping mechanism. It’s an acceptable way to deal with a breakup, stress at work, or social anxiety. But maybe you’re starting to find that drinking alcohol is affecting your family or work relationships. Or maybe you’ve reached a point where you realize you don’t actually enjoy drinking.

        As National Recovery Month draws to an end, here are some ways (9), in which you can Are you can kick the habit

        1. Identify your goal. Are you striving for complete sobriety or moderation management? Why do you want to stop drinking? Identify your goal and write it down.
        1. Review your drinking habits. Take a few minutes to think about why you drink in the first place and how often you do it. When you are more aware of when you feel compelled to drink, you can make a plan to prevent yourself from drinking when the triggers come up.
        • Why do you drink? What triggers the drinking habit? Maybe you find yourself drinking when out at dinner with friends or as a coping mechanism when you feel stressed.
        • How often do you drink? How much do you drink when you do?
        1. Create a plan. Once you’re aware of your drinking habits, you can start creating a plan to stop drinking – especially during the moments you find yourself drinking the most.
        • What will you do instead of drinking when you start craving alcohol? Maybe instead of drinking to relieve stress after work, you can exercise for 30 minutes.
        • Who will you call if you need in-person support? Let that person know what your plan is and what kind of support you might need.
        • Are there any activities you can do instead of drinking on the weekend? Maybe you can replace Friday nights at the bar with Friday nights playing board games. 
        1. Practice how you will respond when offered a drink. Now that you know what situations in which you are likely to drink, practice how you will respond to others in social drinking situations.
        • Find a new drink to enjoy.
        • Decide how you will answer when someone asks you why you don’t drink.
        • Practice your firm yet polite “no, thank you” if someone suggests you drink just one.
        1. Find support. Talk to family and friends about your intentions, as well as what you want to accomplish. Find a community (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) that can support and relate to you while you change your drinking habits.
        2. Reward yourself. Studies show that rewards help train your brain. How can you reward yourself when you choose not to drink? Maybe you can buy yourself chocolate with the money saved from not buying alcohol.
        3. What’s in it for you? Write it down. Research also shows that when you keep reminding yourself of the benefits that you’ll receive from achieving your goals, the actions you regularly take to achieve them lead to permanent change. Remind yourself about the benefits and enjoy them as you experience them.
        • Some benefits include reducing your risk of alcohol-related illness, saving money, more energy in your everyday life, and closer relationships.
        1. Develop a self-care routine. Get to the point where you’re too busy being productive and healthy that you believe a drink of alcohol would ruin it for you. Start exercising more, reading, and eating healthy! Learn or revisit a hobby. Start finding fun ways to take care of yourself.
        1. Don’t give up. You’re bound to have periods where avoiding alcohol is harder than usual or you fall back on your old habits. When this happens, look back at the benefits you’ve written down and reach out to a trusted friend for support. Take a deep breath, remember you are human, and try again.

        Remember that big change takes time.  Whether you want to quit drinking completely or reduce your drinking, you’re making a big change in your life! The steps you take can dramatically impact your health, relationships, and quality of life for the better. 

        You’ve got this!

        To Your Success,