If you took a few moments to sit down with a pen and paper and work out exactly how much you spend every month, you might be shocked. The cost of living is considerable, and often, the fact that we spend so much on bills and services is compounded by the fact that we don’t get our money’s worth. If you’re in charge of your family’s finances, here are some tips to help you ensure you get what you pay for.
When you pay out for insurance, you expect to be able to make a claim in the event that something goes wrong. If you need medical treatment, your car has been damaged in an accident, or your roof needs repairs after a storm, it’s logical to assume that your insurance company will pay out. If this doesn’t happen, you may be out of pocket. If there’s a clear reason for rejection, for example, the treatment wasn’t covered by your policy, you will be liable for the costs; but if you feel that you’ve been mistreated by the provider, it’s wise to seek legal advice. Check the details of your policy and see Darras Law for more information. To reduce the risk of problems, always take a look at the terms of the agreement before you file a claim. If you have queries, contact the company directly before you complete and send the claim form. If you’re not happy with the service you receive from your insurance providers, take a look around at alternative options. You can often save money by switching, as many firms reserve their best offers for new clients.
TV and Broadband
Many of us moan that our Internet is too slow or half the channels we pay for don’t work. If you’re guilty of doing this, it’s time to take your provider to task. If you’re paying for super-speed broadband, but your pages are loading at a snail’s pace, call and complain and ask what can be done to rectify the issue. It’s also worth asking if it’s possible to claim a refund for the services you’ve missed out on.
Have you bought products from the grocery store that have been past their best or have you tried new clothes on to discover there’s a stain or a hole? If you’ve paid money, you expect a certain standard of quality, and you have a right to request a refund. Take the product back to store complete with your receipt and ask about exchanging or replacing the item.
Home and Car Repair Services
If you’re paying an individual or a company to fix up your car or home, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t get results that meet your expectations. It can be awkward to say that you’re not happy, but the customer is paying the bill. Many of these service providers will be willing to work with you because they want your repeat business and references.
Most of us work very hard for our money, and there’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’ve been short-changed. If you’re taking control of your family finances, now is the time to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
It’s simple, taking care of your mental health makes your life so much easier and more enjoyable, and who wouldn’t want that for themselves or the people that they love? To that end, it is vital that you prioritize any mental health issues and deal with them in appropriate ways.
Know when something is wrong.
One of the most crucial things that people who suffer from mental health issues can do is establish a check to assess how they are doing. This doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it can be based on pretty simple things, like am I sleeping too little or too much? Am I eating too little or too much? Am I using avoidance behaviors not to feel or deal with something? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it’s a great indicator that things are not all well, and you can start to reach out for help before they get too bad.
If you know when you aren’t feeling yourself, you can catch a downward trend in your health before it becomes too bad.
Talk to someone.
In fact, one way that you can reach out for help is to tell someone how you are feeling. It is always best to pick this person with care from your friendship group, family, or support network.
Then you will be able to have a conversation with them about what’s bothering you and whether you need to seek additional help, or whether you can put in place some coping strategies that you already know.
Get some specialist help.
Of course being able to see a professional counselor is an integral part of reaching out and asking for help. In particular, a professional will have the expertise to guide you through your problem and refer you on for specialist advice if you need it.
However, some people are put off seeking such help because they struggle to find time in their busy lives or dislike the idea of being seen at a counseling practice. Luckily, with services such as Thrive Talk, this is no longer an issue because you can access counseling from the comfort of your own home. Online counseling might also make it much easier on an emotional level because you don’t have to psych yourself up to go to a session.
Be compassionate to yourself.
Last of all, but mainly for anyone struggling with a mental health issue, it is vital to learn some self-compassion. Mental health and mental illness are real things and just because they are not tangible like a broken leg or a fever doesn’t mean that they don’t cause a great deal of suffering.
In fact, many mental illnesses have their roots in perfectionist mindsets, so by being compassionate to yourself, it is possible not only to alleviate some of your suffering in the moment, but also you may be contributing to your recovery in the long term. Feeling better mentally is entirely possible for people who have mental illness to achieve, as long as they address it and don’t treat it only as an afterthought.
Today I welcome Wendy Brown-Baez, author of Catch a Dream, who is on a blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing! She has written this wonderful guest post below on motherhood and also being an adult with feelings, desires, and passions. What she says below is what I feel like I struggle with constantly and somewhat the same message that Brene Brown had in her latest book: Braving the Wilderness. Please read and comment, and then look at the information after the post about Wendy’s book! On June 3, I will post my review (which I have been working on during the pre-summer reading challenge!) so stay-tuned.
by Wendy Brown-Baez
In Catch a Dream, Lily struggles with balancing motherhood with her own desires, although not at first. As she travels with her best friend and their children, she describes their lifestyle like this: “People ask why we don’t put the children in school while praising their intelligence, their savoir-fare, their knowledge of their world, their innocence and wildness…They are loved, so we don’t feel that they lack for anything.”
Later, she admits: “Jonah never knew his father and has been yearning for one.” The profound link between Levi and Jonah is a thread through-out the obstacles between Levi and Lily in the book. Jonah’s anger at their separation is the start of his rebellion and soon he visits Levi behind her back.
At what point do we stop and consider if our choices for ourselves are the right ones for our children? I think this is the crux of parenting. My parents wanted me to go on to college, but I was a wild child; I wanted to experience life, and school had stifled my creative spirit. As a parent, I wanted my child to be free and to explore the world, but all he ever wanted was the security of the middle class lifestyle I left behind.
Relationships are both exhilarating and painful, and it is normal to go through misunderstanding and hurt as well as passion and exulted joy. Children feel the repercussions in our behavior and moods. It’s hard to be cheerful when our hearts are breaking. It’s just as hard to be steady when our hearts are rejoicing! It is not easy to wait until our kids are grown to follow our hearts, so we take a step forward. Sometimes it leads to forging a new family, and sometimes it is heart-breaking.
There was an incident in Israel that I don’t write about in the book. A rock was thrown at my son’s head. We had to go to the hospital for stitches and x-rays, and I describe it in a poem as “the longest hours of my life.” A few days later, we walked past the rock-thrower, a young Arabic boy. This was during the uprising, so tensions were high, but I scolded him, instinctually fierce: “Don’t you ever do that to my son again!” I think of my audacity in defending my child. It never crossed my mind that my life might be in danger.
On the other hand, there were plenty of times when I trusted my son to make good choices while I was occupied with my own thoughts, dreams, creative projects, and love affairs—and wish I had been more present. Was Lily a good parent? She tried to be. Do we ever stop evaluating ourselves or second-guessing ourselves as parents? Probably not.
Catch a Dream: (ABOUT THE BOOK): A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings, and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen, and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?
BIO: Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone’s support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women’s retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis, El Colegio High School and Jacob’s Well women’s retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation
showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students’ reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face’s writing instructor.
In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve nonprofit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in MN prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.
In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.
You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:
This contributed post is near and dear to my heart for several reasons. First, I 100 percent agree that it is still difficult for many women to open up about the subjects discussed below: hysterectomies, infertility, their bodies, etc. I had a hysterectomy two years ago, and before I was blessed with Katie, I had to see a fertility specialist. I think this post below makes an important point that we need to talk to each other and not stay silent.
Sometimes, as women, it is difficult to discuss intimate issues. And to be honest, it’s easy to understand why. There still seem to be a lot of social expectations that force women to believe they should only act in a certain way or discuss certain topics in public. Although it is much better than it was even 20 years ago, this issue still exists. So, when for any reason, women find themselves having to handle intimate issues that most people don’t talk about, it’s easy to feel at a loss. The main problem with these issues is that they are generally surrounded by silence. As a result, if you’re struggling with any of these topics, you might feel as if you’re the only person dealing with it. You might feel like a failure when everyone else seems to be managing their lives without any trouble. Here’s the thing about intimate issues: You are not alone. This is what a lot of women need to hear:
There’s no shame; things can go wrong down there too
Sometimes, your body doesn’t perform as well as it should. While there is no embarrassment in discussing catching a cold, you should train your mind to perceive intimate issues in the same way. If you’re not ashamed of your cold, why should you be ashamed of experiencing pain while urinating or even while having sex? That’s precisely why there are specialists such as https://www.urologygeorgia.com/, to help you understand the problem and find a solution. Ultimately, you need to be assured that doctors support and respect you.
When there’s no other choice
What defines a woman? Depending on how you feel about your femininity, you might refer to reproductive organs, silhouette or even parental situation to explain what makes you feel like a woman. So, for a lot of women, the idea of having a hysterectomy can be devastating as they often wonder if they are still real women after the operation. But you only need to look at charities such as https://www.hysteriauk.co.uk/ to see that there is massive support around the issues. In fact, for many patients, talking and writing about their feelings can help to redefine the way they perceive themselves.
You struggle to get pregnant
As a woman, you’ll find that society expects you to have children. You might even be dreaming of having children. So, it can be devastating when you try to get pregnant without success. Many women feel so ashamed about it that they prefer not to address the issue in conversation. But don’t think that you’re the only one. There are many reasons why you might be struggling with pregnancy, from infertility to blocked Fallopian tubes. Talking to your doctor and friends can help you to find support and help.
You don’t want children
What if you don’t want to have children? As surprising as it might sound, a lot of women find themselves under fire for choosing not to have children. In reality, it is your own decision, and there is no need to feel guilty about it. You don’t owe the world a child, and more importantly, you are too valuable to let others decide your life. In the end, you’ll find that you can open up about your decision to those you trust.
The bottom line is that a lot of women feel isolated when it comes to their intimate choices and life. Don’t ever think you”re on your own. If you start talking, you’ll find that most women around you can sympathize with your problems, and you to theirs. Spread the word and help destroy the shameful isolation.
We often hear about the term “superfoods” and how we need to incorporate them into our diets. But in reality, what does a superfood even do? The key to the term is that they are multi-taskers. They do more than one thing and are full of a variety of disease-fighting nutrients. They are usually fairly low in calories too; and at the end of the day, they are usually packaged in a form that tastes good, which really is what is going to make us eat more and more of them and incorporate them into our lives every day.
Some of the superfoods, may be a little quirky for our everyday diets, though. Can you imagine any of your children munching on goji berries? They are good for you, but not something you (or the kids) would be wanting to have every single day. They can be hard to find and pricier than many other alternatives too. So it is good to find out what superfoods can be added into your day, each day. Here are some super simple superfoods that you can have that are easy to find, easy to eat, and taste great.
They say that the brighter and more colorful your plate, the better it will be for you. So adding things like berries into your diet everyday is a good way to add plenty of color. Berries, like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, are full of fiber, as well as being filling. They are full of antioxidants too, which can keep you healthy and even help to keep your memory sharp. They are versatile too, which makes them a great staple in every household.
Vitamin C & Vitamin K
Two vitamins that are particularly important for our bodies, as well as for things like ecchymosis (or bruising) to heal, are Vitamin C and Vitamin K. The former helps with tissue repair, and the latter, vitamin K, plays a big part in blood clotting. Both of these are found in fruits and leafy green vegetables. So if you find that you bruise easily, then it may be your body’s way of telling you that you need a more nutrient-rich diet. The foods these vitamins are found in are low in fat, high in fiber, and have other goodness in them, like iron and magnesium.
Protein is something that we need in our diets as it helps our bodies to repair and to grow. There are plenty of ways to get protein into our bodies, including sources that aren’t from animals. One of the cheapest sources of protein, as well as being a high-quality protein source, are eggs. They are also low in calories, at around 70 calories per egg. They are packed with antioxidants that take care of our eyes, and the lutein in eggs can also help to protect our skin from UV rays. The humble egg is a super-nutritious powerhouse.
Oats are a superfood in several different ways. They are an easy and digestible food to have in our diets, and are a good way to increase your intake of fiber (something that many of us lack enough of). Having a breakfast that is full of fiber can help us keep full until lunch, which is always a good thing, especially if we are looking to watch our waistline. Oats are also a whole grain, meaning they have been unprocessed, and they don’t have any added sugar. So they are the perfect alternative to breakfast cereal. You can use them in oatmeal, overnight oats, breakfast bars, baked desserts, and even into energy balls, and making your own milk.
Sweet potatoes are another testament to the saying that the brightest foods are the best for you. They are full of color because they are full of carotene, which our bodies use to make vitamin A. This vitamin can help our immune systems, as well as helping us to have strong bones. In fact, one sweet potato has around four more times vitamin A than the recommended amount. So they are great to add to your diet. Roasted, baked, or made into your own fries, are all good ways to go.
Do you have a favorite food that you and your family like to have in your diet? As you can see, for foods to be super, they don’t need to be expensive, with a name you can’t pronounce, or bought in a health food store. It would be great to hear what you think!
I start with that poll because it’s what inspired this blog post. I was scrolling on Facebook at my daughter’s bedtime, like I usually do, and I saw a post that said: “I’m Team Laurel.” I was thinking: Is this a How To Get Away With Murder thing I don’t know about? Is there another season of Bachelor already? What is Team Laurel? So I go on to read the comments, and I see that most people know exactly what he’s talking about and they’re saying either: “Me too” or “Team Yanny”
First, I commented: What are you people talking about? And then I googled. Even after reading the explanation of the Laurel and Yanny craze, I was like: How is this a thing? It’s just like the dress debate a couple years ago, which I also didn’t get. So then, another friend of mine told me to google the Yanny/Laurel debate, and I told her (still all on Facebook because who has real conversations any more? This stuff is much more important): “I did google.” She said, “Well, what did you hear?” And I said, “I didn’t listen. Am I weird or what?”
Does that make me weird? Does it make me NOT curious enough?
Here’s something else I discovered yesterday. I don’t like air conditioning. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for it. I live in St. Louis, where the humidity is ridiculous in the the summer. I also don’t have a good cross breeze in my home. But I mentioned this dislike to one of my friends, “I don’t like air conditioning.” And he said, “Why not?” (as in–are you crazy? How can you not like air conditioning?)
I didn’t really have an answer for him, but the biggest thing I kept thinking is: It makes me feel closed in. (I also don’t like air conditioning when it is on so cold in a place that you have to bring a parka in the summer either.) But, a furnace and heat don’t make me feel closed in during the winter. I guess it’s because on those in-between weather days (temps in the 70s and 80s) when my dog is panting and begging me to turn on the air conditioner because the temp in the house is reaching 77 degrees F, I like the windows open and the breeze hopefully coming in, and it feels like I am more productive and energetic.
Does that make me weird?
And here’s the last one I’ll share with you today because goodness, I hope you come back and read this blog again, and don’t think: She’s weird. Why would I listen to her advice/opinions about parenting or self-care or finance or dating?
I love writing. I love working on my novel. Whenever I do, I feel good–I get lost in the words, and I’m not constantly thinking about my problems, like I usually am. But I don’t do it on a regular basis. If I didn’t have my lovely critique group, I probably wouldn’t work on my novel at all. WHY DO I DO THIS? Why don’t I make time for something that brings me a natural high?
Does that make me odd?
Being a parent can be tough, we all know that. And as much as you love your children, and as much as you wouldn’t trade this blessed job for anything else in the world, you’re still a human. As an adult, you really do have to be able to put them first, but also cover off your own needs too. Whether you are a single mom or not, this is essential. You know the saying about putting your life jacket on first before helping anyone else? Well, that comes into play a lot here. It’s great that you want to be a wonderful mother, and you want your children to be happy, but you also need to be happy too. And not only that, healthy as well.
If right now, you know that you’re not really doing enough to put your own needs first, then you may want to think about changing things. You’ve probably got yourself into a bit of a rhythm with how you care for your kids, and that’s okay. But if you know that you’re neglecting your own needs, then things need to change. Or worse, if you’re stressed out, tired, overworked, and just generally unhappy, then you really do need to take action. Of course, even if you are happy (or you think you’re happy enough) some of the ideas we’re about to walk through may apply to you too. So let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to start taking care of your own needs better.
Think About Your Future
First of all, you need to start thinking a little more about your future. And this is incredibly important. If you want to be able to be happy in life, you need to make sure that you’re on the right track. Yes, you’re a mom, but that’s not all you are. And when your kids grow up, you don’t want to feel like you missed out on doing something that you love. So plan your future and figure out what you can do today that’s going to get you to where you want to be in ten years time.
Give Yourself An Hour
When it comes to physically looking after yourself on a day to day basis, you just need to be able to give yourself an hour. There are lots of different ways to find time for yourself, no matter how busy you are. So shift your schedule and make sure that you get an hour each day to just be you, relax, and do something that you love, like take a bath or read.
Balance Your Work Life
Next up, you’re going to want to focus on finding a balance with your work. Now, this isn’t always easy, but you can’t just be an employee and a mom, and then go to sleep. You’ll be exhausted. So you have to have boundaries and be able to slot your work in with everything else. Don’t feel too pressured to keep on working when the kids are asleep, you need time for yourself too.
Create A Social Life
One of the main reasons you need to keep your work life balanced is because you need a social life too. And this is essential. Even if you’re a single mom – well, even more so! A rewarding social life is something that we all deserve and it doesn’t have to be impossible to find. When you build the right network around you, you’ll feel like you’re finally putting your needs first.
Pursue Your Passion
Next, you’re going to want to make sure that whatever you want to do in life, you make time for it. If you want to write or paint, then make sure that you accommodate more time for this in your life. Life is too short for you not to do the things you love, even as a busy mom!
Take Better Care Of Your Health
But at the same time, you also need to focus on your health. Because you are only human, and if you don’t take care of your body, it will show. So above all else, eat well and stay active. When you’re focusing on your health, you will always feel great too.
Next, you need to make sure that you are taking control of any situation that you might be in right now. If you need to handle settlements or get compensation, speak to the right professional like Muth Law and take action. Now’s the time to do it. When you do, you’ll feel like you have so much more control over your own life.
Focus On Relationships
From here, you should also start to think about your relationships a little bit more. It’s important that you’re able to develop great parent-child relationships and not just be their mom. At the same time, you should want to think about strengthening the bond you have with others around you. It’s so important to be able to have good relationships with those around you if you want to be able to feel your best.
Do Something Just For You
At the same time, you have to ensure that you’re doing things just for yourself. Not because you feel like you should, not because someone else wants you to, but because you’re taking care of your own needs. Maybe you want to take a class or you want to start a course? Whatever it is, just make sure that you take the plunge.
Always Aim To Live Your Best Life
Finally, you should definitely make sure that you’re living well on your own terms too. Remember, this is your life. You won’t ever want to feel like you didn’t live it your own way. So look how you want to look, dress in a way that makes you feel confident, take care of your appearance and feel good about yourself. Make sure that you act in a way that makes you feel like yourself. Do the things that make you happy. Because you should never look back and regret the things that you didn’t do!
Self-care and emotional health are two very important topics to me. I recently saw this quote on a quote calendar I own:
“You must love and care for yourself because that’s when the best comes out.” ~ Tina Turner
So true, right? And as we all know, it is not always easy when you’re a parent, especially. So here is a round-up of the top 5 articles on my blog that have to do with self-care and emotional health. I chose this round-up thanks to everyone who took my poll on what topics readers would like me to focus on next. So here we go…
Life Is All About Your Reaction and Your Tribe (This post is about surrounding yourself with people who make you better and how you can’t control others, but you can control your reaction!)
Parents: Taking Time For Yourself (This post is about a trip I took with my girlfriends and why it is important for all parents to fill their well.)
The Thing About Change and Not Giving Up (This post was inspired by a book I read about ways to NOT become unglued and making imperfect progress toward goals.)
5 Things I Learned About Living In 2016 (From “balance is key” to “parenting is hard and give yourself a break”, this post shares my personal experiences while trying to improve my emotional health.)
Make This the Year You Start Taking Care of Number One (Three tips for taking care of yourself and why you should! )
The following contributed article has four really good tips that we have all heard before but that are so true. One of my goals this year is to stop using credit cards and to pay for things with cash. We have stopped eating out as much and are looking for free and inexpensive (but fun) activities to do this summer while we save up money for future better vacations. Anyway, when this article came in, it really hit home for me, so I hope it does for others, too.
Being a family that is living off one income can be tricky, but it is possible to do it and to thrive as you do so, rather than just survive. The key is to get serious about your finances and keep track of them, which may seem tedious. But it can help you to stay on top of things and to not feel like each month is such a struggle. There are plenty of families that out there, living off one income, whether as a single parent family or a family where only one parent works. So here are some of the tips and strategies to help your family do just that.
Plan a Precise Budget
When it comes to money and making sure that you have enough to go around, you need to have a budget that is specific and precise. It is no use just looking at your income and guessing what the bills are that you owe. Check your statements and bills, so that you know exactly what you do owe each month. From there, you can set a specific budget for groceries, clothing, entertainment, etc. When you’re specific and precise, you know exactly what money is going where, and what you should be left with at the end of each month.
It pays to shop around in all aspects of your life. Take your mortgage (or rent) as an example. No doubt this will have been set up a while back, and not looked at since. But you can change your mortgage provider, even when you are still owing. The debt gets “transferred” to the new provider. So shop around to check that you’re getting the best deal possible. Are there mortgage brokers that perhaps offer cash back or guaranteed low rates? Shopping around works for other things too: from your cell phone provider, to your grocery store, to where you buy school shoes. Shop around, don’t just take someone’s first offer, and you will save.
One of the best things that you can do to really thrive as a single-income family, is to reduce the amount of debt that you owe. You can never truly thrive as a single income family if you have debt around your neck. So as part of your precise budget, make sure that you look at paying off credit cards or other loans as a priority. It may mean some sacrifices to start with, but it will be so much better all around when you are consumer debt-free.
Using credit cards can be tricky for a number of reasons. One of which is that you don’t “see” the money going, so you can kind of get out of hand as you spend it. And for things like groceries, you just buy what you want and put it on a card. But using cash, and not having cards with you, makes you pay more attention to your budget. If you’re in the store, you can only buy what the cash in your hand will cover. So there is no overspending unnecessarily, and you’re more conscious of what you’re spending.