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Her Mentors

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  • Milestones Are Not Set in Stone

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014

    If you’ve recently celebrated a landmark birthday, you may be thinking about the milestones in your life. Crossing from one personal decade into another is a significant event and takes on a life of its own. Connecting with friends who are also making this transition can help focus on what you’ve gained over the years – memories, perspective, wisdom – rather than on what you’ve lost – agility, some energy, your youth!  

    Even though the signpost for an event may be firmly planted and unchangeable, our reactions to it are certainly not set in stone. We have choices to make about how we want to continue on the journey. As we each write our own life stories, here are some of the options that remain open:

    Choose which road to take.  At any age, we often have several different opportunities available – what interest to pursue, where to live, which job to take. These diverse paths may converge on the same endpoint or they may take us in completely different directions. We may not know the outcome when we begin, but we do have the ability to change course along the way if our initial choice does not seem to be working well.  

    Decide how to travel the path.  For some, being in control and knowing what to expect along the way create an environment of trust. This grounding can bring greater confidence and even the ability to bounce back after a letdown. Other times without overly planning, we can enjoy the result of serendipity and take joy in the unexpected.  

    Pick who will accompany you.  Do you enjoy spending time with old friends and family who know you best? Or do you prefer meeting new people along the way and learning about their differences? Do you resonate with those in your own age group or would you rather hang out with younger or older folks? Do you like to hang out with one especially close person or a group of friends? Perhaps you may prefer some solitude and choose to take a part of the trip solo.  

    Select how fast you will go.  You may be filled with ambition and motivation to accomplish a specific goal in record time. Or at this point in your life, you may want to enjoy the process of the journey itself as you 'stop and smell the roses.' Your experience along the way will be a result of how you choose to structure this part of your travels. You can focus like a laser on the task at hand or explore and encounter alternatives at the edges.

    When you recognize your part in the process, you can use these tips to guide you. The choices you make after a milestone event give you the freedom to direct how you might be celebrating the next significant occasion in your life. So get started and have the confetti nearby.

    © 2014, Her Mentor Center  

    Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. are consultants in family dynamics. If you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law, they have solutions for you. Visit their blog and website, [Link Removed] to subscribe to their free newsletter, “Stepping Stones,” and download complimentary eBooks, “Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals” and “Taking Control of Stress in a Financial Storm.”


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    0 Replies
  • No Need to Hibernate All Winter

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014

    Were you too busy on Super Bowl Sunday watching the commercials to notice that groundhog Punxsutawney Phil had emerged from his burrow? He saw his shadow and went back in to hibernate predicting that the blistery winter weather much of the country has been experiencing will last for another six weeks.  

    For many of us, winter weather does seem to drag on longer than we’d like. And being stuck at home in February and March doesn’t usually lend itself to the same kind of staycation you’d take in the summer. So here are 4 tips to help you cope during the next weeks.

    Exercise inside.  When it's really too cold or rainy to go outside, make it a point to get to the gym. To add some variety to your workout, join a new class or get trained in equipment you've bypassed other times – large balls, stationary bike, weights. Or if you'd rather stay home, roll out your yoga mat, practice your poses and enjoy the serenity of being alone. Put on some of 'your' music and dance as if no one is watching – because they're not.

    Restore the outdoor child in you.  Remember the fun of playing in the snow when you were a kid? If you're not in the middle of a Polar Vortex, put on warm boots and tramp around now, knowing that you can come inside for hot chocolate whenever you want. Remember how to make angels in the snow? Go for it. Or make a snowman with your kids – after you've had a tame snowball fight. Go ice-skating on that pond in the park. After a rainstorm, get your galoshes and splash in the puddles. Remember, being outside in the daylight stimulates serotonin production, improving your mood.

    Do something fun at home.  Make time to do something enjoyable that you've been putting off. Go through pictures from your last trip and pick ones for an album – virtual or hardcover. Let your creative juices flow and write a poem, pick up your instrument and practice a piece, or take photos of the snowflakes through the window. Cook up some hearty soups or stews and freeze the extra portions. Read – pull out that list of 100 books you've been meaning to attack and start one of the classics. You have time to catch up on old movies or surf the Internet.  

    Connect with family and friends.  Remember how you wanted to respond to those family holiday cards and letters? Now you have time to write a nice note to your first cousin twice removed about her daughter's recent wedding. Or give your brother across the country a call and talk about old times. Text your grandchildren who may be out of school for a 'snow day.' If your friends can come over, try out some new board games or bring out the old ones. Email those classmates you reconnected with at your reunion last year.  

    You can use these remaining winter weeks to your advantage by focusing on what you can do rather than what you can't. And remember that while spring may not be just around the corner, it will be here eventually. And as Saint-Exupery and The Little Prince  remind us: "To become spring means accepting the risk of winter."  

    © 2014, Her Mentor Center  

    Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. are consultants in family dynamics. If you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law, they have solutions for you. Visit their blog and website, [Link Removed] to subscribe to their free newsletter, “Stepping Stones,” and download complimentary eBooks, “Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals” and “Taking Control of Stress in a Financial Storm.”


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    2 Replies
  • Costa Rica: New Ways to Nurture Family

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013

    I recently traveled through Costa Rica, a small Central American country where peace of mind is a natural commodity. Visiting felt like a breath of fresh air with the slow pace of living and ecological mindfulness. The country has no need for a military presence and family life is a top priority.  

    High unemployment in the US continues to contribute to the economic downturn. And multi-generational households increase as millennials, along with grandparents, move in with their parents to alleviate financial stress. And lots of sandwiched boomers who have lost retirement funds are worried about the future.  

    As you face your challenges head-on, try to delay immediate gratification for future gain. And at the same time bring family values to the foreground:  

    Don’t forget where you came from. Dig deep to find your roots and understand who you are and what you want. Figure out how to care for your family and still nurture yourself. Set concrete and specific long-range goals about what you want to accomplish. And identify short-term objectives as you work toward achieving them, step by step.

    Make family a priority.  Love them and let them know on a regular basis. See parenting as one of your most important responsibilities. Appreciate the transitions your family is going through and find out information about how to manage change. Talk to others whose opinions you respect and who have gone through similar experiences. It's a chance to get realistic feedback and concrete advice.  

    History is prologue.  You can prepare for what lies ahead. As you look back, think about how you've dealt with major changes before. And what has worked in the past? Take what you've learned from those experiences and apply them to what's going on in your life now. A positive attitude can motivate you to stay on track and ultimately reach your goals.  

    Find something to believe in.  Is it strong faith, a spiritual path, confidence in you? Look at the ways you can continue to build on your assets. Evaluate your character strengths and how they benefit you in other circumstances. Are you fiercely curious or determined to find a solution no matter what? Discover community resources to help you deal with parents growing older and kids growing up.

    Be a positive role model.  Give your family reason to feel close to you and to identify with your values. Be authentic, nurturing and encouraging. When you are facing a difficult time recognize the importance of support. And don't be ashamed to ask for help. Getting an objective opinion from a family therapist or life coach can provide you with insight and direction.  

    Whether you‘re hit in the face with a crisis or transitioning into the next chapter of your life, expect a cascade of feelings - anxiety, the desire to hold on, sadness, fear and eventually a sense of freedom. The emotional roller coaster is normal. If you find the courage, you can’t help but grow from the experiences.

    © Her Mentor Center, 2013

    Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. is a consultant in family dynamics. Whether you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang millennials or difficult in-laws, she has practical solutions. Log on to her website at [Link Removed] and sign up for a free ezine ‘Stepping Stones,’ and complimentary eBooks, "Reaching Your Goals" and "Taking Control of Stress."


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    0 Replies
  • Millennials and the Holiday Spirit

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013

    Although it may be the holiday season, as far as presents go that doesn’t mean a whole lot to Millennials. Like so many other issues, they have their own ideas about gift giving. Apparently what they want is cash, mostly to pay down college costs and other debt.

    So much for the negative stereotype that those born between 1980 and 2000 are lazy and have a sense of entitlement. Millennials are laboring under a collective $1 trillion in debt from student loans and still struggling to find jobs. Yet a survey of 6,500 members of the so-called ‘Me Generation’ indicates that last year well over half of them made donations to charitable causes and volunteered their time.  

    Money is but one venue for generosity. Kindness is an even more valuable currency. Alan Cohen, author

    As the parents of Millennials, no matter what gifts you‘re giving this year, you probably want to spend holiday time with family. Here are ideas for you and your Millennials that include the spirit of giving back:

    Give the gift of connection. Put heart in your relationships. Make a weekly date and take your own parents to lunch, a museum or the movies. Send a card to an old friend you've lost contact with - enclose a photo, your email address and a promise to keep in touch. Drive an elderly neighbor to run errands, the grocery store, a doctor's appointment.

    Give to a worthy cause.  Get the family together and help cook the holiday meal at a homeless shelter. Pass forward unused gifts or toys. Make a donation to your favorite Aunt's charity of choice. Buy a present for a street person you pass regularly and make eye contact when you give it.  

    Give of yourself.  Invite friends over for a potluck and an evening of fun. Why not cook the main dishes and have them bring an appetizer or dessert? Cut down on expenses by exchanging memories instead of gifts. Create a coupon book filled with orders for good deeds. Add a personal touch by baking cookies with the kids. Show others you care with an IOU for babysitting so they can enjoy a much-needed date night.

    Attention is the purest form of generosity. Simone Weil, philosopher

    Isn’t it time for change in your gift giving rituals? Millennials have the right idea - focus on more connection and less stuff. All it has to cost you is time. Take heart as you give a little that means a lot. And in these challenging times, that's a good lesson for all of us.  

    © Her Mentor Center, 2013

    Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. is a consultant in family dynamics. Whether you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang millennials or difficult in-laws, she has practical solutions. Log on to her website at [Link Removed] and sign up for a free ezine ‘Stepping Stones,’ and complimentary eBooks, "Reaching Your Goals" and "Taking Control of Stress."


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    0 Replies
  • Navigating Life's Twists and Turns

    Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013

    Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D.

    Remember playing car-racing games at the arcade, trying to stay on the virtual road while going as fast as you can? In those videos, sharp curves keep switching and obstacles suddenly appear, causing you to crash and burn if your reactions aren't fast enough.  

    It may be fun to play a game, but what about when life itself mirrors this wild ride? Whether you‘re actually on a dangerous road or navigating the twists and turns of life, you don’t always get advance warning of the risks ahead. When these do occur, they can put your carefully orchestrated plans in jeopardy.  

    Do these unforeseen hazards sound familiar? You’ve just gotten your finances under control when you bite down on a hard candy and break a tooth. How will you fit the cost of a crown into your budget now? Or you’ve worked hard to make your new exercise routine a habit but, over-doing it, you tear a muscle that will take months to heal. So now you‘re back on the couch, trying to recover. And the diet you carefully followed after the holidays was derailed with the arrival of your weekend guests. Will you be able to get back on track once they leave?

    If you find yourself in the midst of a constant stream of challenges that threaten to overwhelm you, you may be looking to tone down the level of your emotions and reactions. Here are some ways to begin:    

    Give up the illusion of control.  If you're a sandwiched boomer, you may have already noticed you don't have control over how your growing children or aging parents behave. Juggling work and family, do you still hang on to the belief that you can determine the way they act? It's time to let go of unrealistic expectations and the idea that you can create a perfect outcome. What you can change is how you react to what comes your way. Focus on looking inside as you shift to more positive emotions. And turn the challenges into a time for growth.

    Relinquish the guilt.  Do you blame yourself when things don't turn out the way you expect? Are you having trouble maintaining a balance between work and family or your partner's needs and your own? Try not to beat yourself up for your choices - learn from them. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, forgive yourself, let go of negative feelings, regroup and try something else. You're doing the best you can, so give yourself some credit and ease up. After all, you're human and deserve another chance. Friends will give you perspective as you share your feelings and concerns.

    Act as if you're committed.  Make a plan outlining the objectives you need to meet in order to accomplish realistic goals. You're more likely to succeed when you're optimistic and enthusiastic about working hard to bring your aspirations to reality. For motivation, give yourself reinforcements along the way. Draw on your strengths - both personal and spiritual - as you act to break through barriers. Use all the support and resources available to bolster your own efforts.    

    Have a Plan B ready.  Your path may not be a straight line but you don't have to feel defeated by slip-ups if you've worked out a contingency plan ahead of time. Take the opportunity early on to brainstorm novel ways of reaching your goal and continue to refine your strategies as you learn from your mistakes. Be flexible. When your reactions aren't set in stone, you can improvise as you discover what works best and then modify your behavior based on the feedback you get.

    There may be limits to what you can accomplish when threats materialize, but give yourself permission to begin the process without expecting perfect results. You’ll develop resiliency as you meet the challenges head on and turn your setbacks into opportunities.

    © 2013, Her Mentor Center

    Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. are consultants in family dynamics. If you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law, they have solutions for you. Visit their blog and website, [Link Removed] to subscribe to their free newsletter, “Stepping Stones,” and download complimentary eBooks, “Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals” and “Taking Control of Stress in a Financial Storm.”


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    1 Replies
  • GEMS for Working Moms

    Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2013

    Is your life an endless cycle, revolving around work and taking care of the kids? If so, you're not alone. In a recent study by the Families and Work Institute, ½ of American women say they don't have enough time to spend on themselves and to choose the activities they enjoy. We all know that saying 'yes' to more responsibility can make us feel safer with the boss and help us avoid conflict in the family. But too often 'yes' is our default mode with just about everything.

    In a world of relentless demands, saying 'no' is highly underutilized. Of course, you can't abandon the never ending to-do lists around work and domestic duties. But don't you think you also deserve to identify your other, more personal priorities? Start now with these practical GEMS - Give it up, Evaluate, Move ahead, Savor - can help you put more sparkle in your life.

    Give it up: As the gatekeeper, are you sometimes frustrated, stressed out or resentful about your workload and home chores? Recognize that some of the barriers are in your own head. And learning how to shift your standards is critical. Let go of the idea that you can do it all. And don't beat yourself up about it. Guilt is a prevalent emotion for those who worry that they‘re not doing enough. Remind yourself that it's ok to do less or to delegate, given the realities of your situation. Know that you're dancing as fast as you can.

    Evaluate here and now: You'll make better choices if you step back and assess what you're doing. Are you already exhausted by volunteering in your kids' classrooms, coaching their soccer team and heading up the school fundraiser? Decide what makes the most sense for you and then prioritize. The same holds true with chores around the house. As long as you're willing to do it all, others likely won't step up to the plate.  

    Move ahead: Think about what you wanted to do today but couldn't find the time to enjoy. It can define your priorities for tomorrow and help you stay on track in the face of the inevitable distractions. Mark this as the beginning of creating new rituals. Figure out specific activities to integrate into your regular routine - taking a walk during your lunch hour, meeting a friend for coffee once a week, writing in your journal or reading before bed. Carve out this time just for you and keep it sacred.

                        

    Savor your selfhood: Society sends mixed messages when it comes to taking care of yourself. On one hand we're taught to go after what we want, yet if we fight too hard we're seen as selfish. Integrate your self-fulness as you practice saying 'no' to what may be presented as greater opportunities. Because yielding to outside pressure and taking on more responsibility can amount to ignoring what may be in your own best interests.

    The time-frazzled woman has become a common archetype. We're socialized to be available to our spouse, children, parents, friends and boss. And the price we pay to please others is high. At what point do we learn that charity begins at home? Self-esteem comes from having the courage to make tough choices, even if they're unpopular. After all, if a long-term goal is to have our kids find personal fulfillment, shouldn't we lead by example? Put yourself at the top of your to-do list and act as if you're the person you love the most.  

    © HerMentor Center, 2013

    Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. is a consultant in family dynamics. Whether you‘re coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang millennials or difficult in-laws, she has practical solutions. Log on to her website at [Link Removed] and sign up for a free ezine ‘Stepping Stones,’ and complimentary eBooks, "Reaching Your Goals" and "Taking Control of Stress."


    Mentors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


    0 Replies