Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Little Help Here, Please

Every summer at least one wasp finds its way into my house. Though it's only April, we're getting a blast of summer weather with temperatures in the eighties today. So this morning, a wasp got in and was flying around the kitchen window, no doubt frantically trying to find his way out.

Being terrified of these things, I went about my business, avoiding the kitchen. I tentatively went back in after a while. The wasp had been silent, and I did not see him when I went in the kitchen. So I fed the cats, and soon after I headed to the store.

When I came back, I saw the poor creature crawling on the kitchen floor. After a while he flew to the back door. He ended up crawling around by the bottom of the door. Holding my breath, I carefully opened the door and watched as he slowly crawled out. I've done this before of course, but it never fails to be a tense and frightening experience. Once he was outside, I breathed a sigh of relief. For myself and for the wasp. I don't know if he made it, but he probably had a much better shot outside than in the house.

I like to be helpful when I can - even to scary insects - yet, I've always been kind of uncomfortable asking for help. I like to do things myself. But, every once in a while, I find myself incapable of handling something on my own (which I still don't like), and I break down and ask for help.

One thing I have had to accept in living with MS is that you can't always do everything yourself. Though it can be difficult, every once in a while you just have to ask for help. I have learned that having to ask for help does not mean you are weak or helpless. And I have learned that there are people out there who are willing to help. I know it gives me a good feeling when I help someone, so it stands to reason that others would want to do so for the same reason.

Though I enjoy the fact that I can still shovel snow, I know I never would have been able to get out a couple of days this past winter if my neighbor had not helped me clear the driveway. I was glad I asked!

I guess we all have those times when we get stuck in a situation we can't quite get out of by ourselves. Like the poor wasp - he couldn't figure out why he could not get through that window!

Sometimes we need a little help - someone to open a door for us so we can get where we need to be.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Everyday Ways to Boost Contentment

A lot of folks may not be very content right now. With all the troubles we're seeing because of the recession, everything seems to be going down the tubes. It's hard to feel good when things are so bad.

To be content these days, you may have to get a little creative, maybe do a little downsizing. What I mean is, find little ways to be content every day. If we can't quite reach the level of contentment that financial security can bring, we can at least try to feel fulfilled in other ways.

Some ways we can add to our contentment:

Cherish and enjoy the things we have. Right now we may not be able to get everything we'd like to have. Taking stock of what we do have and being grateful for it can make us realize just how fortunate we are. For example, folks who still have their job or their home have probably learned to appreciate those things more given these tough times.

Spend time with our loved ones. Just being around the people we love and care for, knowing how much they love and care for us and enjoying quality time together is the most fulfilling thing. Sometimes it's more important who you have than what you have.

Get out and enjoy the simple pleasures. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Just enjoy all the splendor that this world has to offer. You can listen to the birds or your iPod while you get some exercise and get some positive feelings going at the same time.

Share some smiles with a baby, play with the dog. I love to just go to the park and let my feet dangle in the creek (Not quite warm enough for that yet.) Just taking time to enjoy the little things in life can make us more content.

Treat ourselves. Ditch the diet for a bit and indulge in those chocolate chip cookies. Get your hair cut or rent that movie you've been wanting to see. It's okay to splurge once in a while, as long as you don't go overboard.

Until the financial crisis is over, we won't be able to rest easy or stop cutting back. But seeing as we really can't buy contentment anyway, it's something we can always have.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Simple Joys of Sleep

Who doesn't love to sleep? What better feeling is there at the end of a long, stressful day than collapsing into your bed and drifting off to the Land of Nod?

I know after a long day of doing battle with MS fatigue, my bed can be the most welcome place on Earth. Slipping under the covers can be the greatest feeling. And I love how after a while, I hear my little cat come walking into the room, and she jumps up and settles in next to my leg.

Whether you're down for the night or just a quick catnap, getting some shuteye is a must, and sleep is a natural mood lifter.

Think of how great you feel after a really good night's sleep. Especially if it's accompanied by a wonderful dream. You wake up feeling totally refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Dreaming of course is the best part of sleep. It's amazing how our mind can take us on these incredible journeys while we're lying safe in our bed. We can be anything in our dreams, do anything, go anywhere. Sometimes it's like watching a really cool movie.

Even more awesome is how our subconscious thoughts can manifest themselves through our dreams, using vivid images like wild explosions or having us being chased down dark alleys, to represent what is happening in our waking lives.

I love dreams and dream interpretation. It's fun looking up dream meanings to find out what your dreams are trying to tell you, and it can be very insightful.

I remember my mom had a book called 10,000 Dreams Interpreted or What's in a Dream, and I think that's the best dream book I've ever used. It's on my wish list right now since I have no idea what happened to her copy.

Another great thing about sleep - sleeping in. That feeling of relief that comes from knowing there will be no alarm going off to jolt you awake - nothing can beat that. You can stay in bed and dream all morning. It's especially great sleeping in when it's cold or raining outside. And speaking of rain - there is also the calming feeling of lying in bed listening to the rain on the roof and letting it lull you to sleep.

Though we may occasionally have to contend with insomnia, or get startled awake by a nightmare, or have to deal with snoring, sleep gives us so much more than rest. No one can get by without the obvious benefits of sleep. If we don't get enough sleep, we're sluggish and cranky all day.

So, seeing as I've had a long day and it's nearly midnight (yawn), I'm off to bed.