Are You a Helper??

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Are you a helper?? You know what I mean right? You are the one that is always there for those in need. You selflessly give your time and energy to your family, your friends or anyone you see in need! That’s a good thing right? Helping can help us feel good about ourselves. It makes us feel needed, wanted, loved. While all these things are true, and I often tell people the best way to feel better about your problems is to go help someone, just being a helper is not always a good thing.

Recently it seems I keep encountering (mainly women) who are such great helpers, that they can’t seem to stop to let people help them, even when they really need it. I’m here to tell you, it is OKAY to let others help you, even if you are a helper. As a reformed “helper only” I learned this lesson a long time ago from a good friend. You see, I too never wanted to let anyone help me. It didn’t matter if I was sick, overwhelmed, or just plain needed something. I was the fixer, the helper, the “needed one!” My friend asked me this question one day. “Do you know how good you feel helping others?” “Yes,” I replied, wondering just what she was getting at. “Well, she said. Every time you DON’T let someone help you, you are robbing them of the joy of the feeling of helping others.” Hmmm…wow. Now that was something to ponder. Over the years I have gotten a lot better at it. I can admit when I’m in over my head and I need help. It is not a weakness to need help!

As a mental health therapist I am coming across this a lot. People with debilitating illnesses that feel guilty that they have to ask their families for help. People who will just shut down and suffer because they don’t feel they have the right to ask for help. They are helpers, not helpless, which is how a lot of people feel when they have to ask for help. So I would like you to ponder on this. Are you only a helper? Or do you also let people have the joy of helping you? By all means, being helpful is a wonderful thing, but it is equally as important to let people help you when you need it with no strings attached! People help out of love. Don’t forget that sometimes you just need to let others do the loving!

Have a great weekend!

Julie

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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On my way home from dropping Little One off at school today, I noticed an elderly neighbor shoveling the end of her driveway.  As I drove past, I considered stopping but felt kind of awkward about it.  I pulled in my driveway and thought about my own Mom and how I would not want her out shoveling her driveway, so I turned around and drove back.  Turns out, she was shoveling  because she had received a notice from the post office that they wouldn’t deliver her mail until she cleared the snow by her mailbox.

She was so thankful for my offer of help and as I shoveled, we chatted and learned a bit about each other.  She shared that her husband had passed away last year and that she was learning to do many things by herself such as taking care of the yard, bills etc. for the first time.  I am very blessed to live in a neighborhood where I know most of my neighbors.  Our children play together, running from yard to yard, we have impromptu backyard gatherings,  an informal “neighborhood watch” and we help each other out.  I had not met this particular neighbor yet, but I was so happy to meet someone new and get to know her.  I could hear the relief in her voice when I gave her my number and told her to call us if she ever needed anything.  I would hope that someone would do the same for my Mom if she ever needed help.

In this day and age of people driving straight into their garage, shutting the door and not coming out, I realize I have  something special in this little neighborhood of mine! If I am ever in a pickle, like the time Hubby was traveling and my garage door broke with my car trapped inside, I knew there were several neighbors I could ask  for help.  I had no problem finding a neighbor who came right over and held up the door so I could get my car out!  I love the feeling of community and watching out for each other that we share.

I think we could all benefit from some of those “old-fashioned” practices of front porch (or back patio) gatherings, taking a plate of cookies to a neighbor, making a meal for someone who is sick or has a new baby, or just watching out for each other.  All of these things help us feel connected and give us a sense of community that is so important in this busy world we live in.

How about you?  Do you know your neighbors? If not, I encourage you to take that step and say hello or offer a helping hand.

~Blessings

Jen

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs!

The cold, ice and snow seem to have a strong grip on us this year here in Michigan and in many other parts of the country!  So if the weather is getting you down, I thought I would offer a helpful list of ways to distract yourself from the frigid temperatures and stir craziness of this winter.  So grab a hot cuppa something, browse this list and hopefully you will find something that inspires you and jolts you out of the Winter Blahs!

1. Haul out those old summer vacation photos, whether they be on your computer or in a photo book, and snuggle up on the sofa for a trip down memory lane!  Just looking at those photos of warm weather fun will bring a smile to your face and is a guaranteed feel good activity! Here is photo from my album of Little one enjoying the summer    4-H Fair!

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2. Get your “reggae” on!  Tune in to some tropical music on Pandora or another on-line music station, close your eyes and dream of the summer days that will eventually come around again, or get up and DANCE to it! Here is one of my personal favorites!

3.Hop on Pinterest and do a search for Spring or Summer Fashion!  It is like window shopping, without having to leave your house or spend any money!  Here are a couple of my favorites:

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4. Bring out the board games!  A good old fashioned game of Uno, Candy Land or Dominoes will distract you from the howling winds!

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5. If the temperature permits, bundle yourself up and go for a walk.  The still, soft quietness of a winter day can give us a feeling of calm and peace. (Picture by Jules)

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6. Follow that walk with a steaming hot cup of chocolate!  Go ahead and indulge, dark chocolate has been proven to offer some health benefits!  Here is a recipe for “Healthy Hot Chocolate”

7. Try to enjoy the TIME  these winter days give us.  Time with our families, to read a book, make a home cooked meal, watch a movie, do a craft, complete a project, or to just “be”.

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8.If you’ve looked at all of the summer vacation photos, move on to home movies!  The kids will love watching themselves when they were “little”.  Maybe you could even record some new movies!

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9. Doing something for someone else in need will ALWAYS make you feel better!

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10. Finally, make a list of five things you are thankful for!  The cold, winter days won’t be able to keep you down if your mind is on the blessings in your life!

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Hope you found something on the list to brighten your day!

~Blessings,

Jen