Holly and Heather's Helping Hands

Inspirational Heartfelt Hints

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Welcome Spring!

 

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We might still have some snow on the ground in our part of the country but this week we welcomed Spring with open arms! Even with some cold temperatures around, when Spring officially arrived it was a happy event, more so psychologically if not physically. We can look forward to longer days with sunshine and warmer weather with a change in the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the activities we enjoy.

So how did we welcome Spring this year? A good house cleaning started things off – putting away scarves in the closet, mopping floors that seemed to endlessly track in ice melt this winter, and pruning indoor plants of dead leaves among other things. It is still too cold to pack away turtleneck sweaters, coats and warm comforters but changing out and washing curtains is in order. And with the psychological shift came talk of Spring and summer planning – coming up with vacation ideas, where to spend Easter and saving for new purchases that crop up.

How did you welcome Spring this week?

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Relax

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Take a deep breath, right now. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Feel anything happening? Take a few seconds for yourself and relax. It’s no good to keep up a stressful pace, for hours at a time. Numerous studies have been done to show that when you are at an elevated stress level for too long…hours, days, weeks, it takes a toll on your body. High levels of cortisol constantly running through your veins regularly is not good for your nervous system. It is also linked to a host of medical problems from high blood pressure to being overweight. Our bodies are not designed to be in a constant state of “on” all the time. Personally, sometimes we don’t even realize that our shoulders are hunched or our jaw is clenched. Even if you can’t avoid a high stress job, a personal problem or are always just on the run for home and family, it’s vital to take some time each day to be at peace.

Here are some helpful things to do, whether you have a few seconds, minutes or an hour:

* Sit still in a comfy chair, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths.

* Drink a cup of tea, chamomile is calming.

* Make yourself a warm bath with a nice scented soap.

* Try mediation. There are lots of apps that guide you from 1 minute on up, with relaxing music, right in the comfort of your own space.

* Take a yoga or stretch class.

* Go for a massage (even just a foot rub is peaceful).

You get the idea, it’s all quiet, mostly alone, peaceful things.  And it’s very important for your health and well-being.  Pick one thing and see how you feel!

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Bring in the Joy!

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There are so many things in this world that can make us feel anxious. Uncertainty, crime, finances, disease…too many issues to list are prevalent in our world and lives. It is so important to make your home and life peaceful and joyful. The following is a list of simple ideas to help bring moments of beauty into our every day lives:

*Hang an inspiring picture in your home
*Light a scented candle or buy an aroma diffuser filled with a calming fragrance
*Play your favorite music
*Cook and eat a scrumptious, healthy meal
*Grow a plant
*Clean a room or two and admire your effort
*Take a walk and observe the sky

It is not difficult or expensive to bring joyful experiences into our lives. We need only to make the effort!

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Detach With Love

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The season of lent is upon those who believe and partake in it. Traditionally it calls for participation in three areas: fasting, giving and praying. We have blogged about these things in the past but would like to explore another concept also appropriate to the season – detachment. Typically in lent, our efforts focus on giving something up, saying special or extra prayers and volunteering to help the poor in some way. While these are still true (and really are beneficial year round ideas), detachment can be helpful to practice as well.

What is detachment? It is a way of separating or distancing yourself from something/someone. While many believe it to have negative connotations, it can be a very healthy process that does not involve cutting yourself off from things or people at all. It involves setting up internal boundaries for yourself so as to protect yourself from situations that may be harmful for your spiritual or emotional growth. During lent, practicing detachment can help put matters into perspective and help you focus your attention on what’s truly important in your life for your spiritual and emotional well being.

Detaching with love is the best way to engage. Practically speaking, if one chooses to “give up” gossiping, for example, purposefully removing oneself from those who engage in gossip does not mean to never have contact with them again. It means to stay firm in the boundary you have placed for yourself, redirecting the conversation or walking away for a minute or two. It does not mean you should begin judging those who still gossip or get “preachy” about it but rather see the situation with eyes of love and live by example so the relationship grows positively.

Holly & Heather’s Helpful Hint: Make Healthy Desserts!

After blogging a slow cooker recipe last week, we thought it’d be fun to share a few desserts as well.  We love to have something sweet every now and again and are trying to heed all the warnings about the negative health consequences of too much sugar. In that effort we are always looking for a delicious dessert that is on the healthy side and is super easy to throw together. Here are a couple that fit the bill!

Heather’s Strawberries & Cream:

strawberry-dessert

16 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup honey, 1 pint of fresh strawberries, 4 rectangles of graham crackers.

Put ricotta cheese and honey in a blender and mix for a few seconds.  Mixture will be very smooth and creamy.  Put 4 dessert cups out and fill each will hulled cut up strawberries.  Pour cream mixture into each bowl over the strawberries, evenly divided.  Crumble graham crackers and sprinkle over each dessert cup.  Refrigerate for a little while or serve immediately.

* As a side note, some healthier sweeteners for your dishes include dates, honey and maple syrup which comes in granulated form too.

Holly’s Pistachio Cake:

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1 box white cake mix, 1 box of sugar free pistachio pudding mix, 1 1/2 cups water, fat free whipped topping

Mix first three ingredients with a blender.  Pour into a cake pan and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 40-45 minutes.  Top a serving with whipped topping when cool.

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