Last week I spent thirty minutes tackling a task that has been disrupting my daily sense of equilibrium for approximately three years: I organized the cords underneath my desk. And this morning, before blindly setting out in thirteen different directions, I sat down and organized my to do list for the day in my calendar. It took about two minutes. But both tasks gave me a real sense of direction and calm. Those modem and printer cords are not the boss of me! I am baking cookies this afternoon! I am in control of my life!
When summer's in its wind-down and September looms on the horizon, many of us turn our attention from the beach and the barbecue inside. And we're not just looking inside our homes, we're scrutinizing our lives. What's working? What isn't? What do we want to do differently? Fall feels like a fresh beginning without the holiday season hangover of New Year's Day. And while summer is a season of free-wheeling outdoor fun, fall tends to makes us more reflective and
Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff
Last week I spent thirty minutes tackling a task that has been disrupting my daily sense of equilibrium for approximately three years: I organized the cords underneath my desk. And this morning, before blindly setting out in thirteen different directions, I sat down and organized my to do list for the day in my calendar. It took about two minutes. But both tasks gave me a real sense of direction and calm. Those modem and printer cords are not the boss of me! I am baking cookies this afternoon! I am in control of my life!Read More »from How do you keep your life organized?
In the "no, duh," study of the week, research has found that cosmetic surgery is no help for those with body dysmorphic disorder. And while BDD isn't your run-of-the-mill poor body image (it's a psychological disorder in which the affected person focuses so excessively on a real or perceived defect in their appearance that it causes them major distress--they might even be convinced they have a deformity), most of us know that the way we feel about our physical form is dictated largely by our brains, not our bodies. Anyone who has reached a weight-loss goal and still felt unsatisfied knows that. Losing weight can improve our quality of lives--we feel healthier, more vital, have more energy--but it doesn't fix us. An improved body image starts from the inside out. Here's how to get started on a positive body image breakthrough:Read More »from Make over your body image from the inside out
What does thin mean to you?
Sometimes we use "thinness" and diets as a metaphor for what we really want in life. We think, "When I lose weight, I'll finally be
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Tue, Aug 17, 2010 6:11 PM EDT
More so even than New Year's Eve, for many of us back to school signals a fresh start. And even when you're not the one loading up a backpack and riding your bike through fallen leaves, there is still that desire to start anew. With its uncracked books, shiny new shoes, and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, it's a season filled with possibility. But just because you're not filing into a classroom doesn't mean you can't seize the energy of the season for yourself. And the bonus of a lifetime of learning as an adult? No homework.Read More »from Learn something new every day (even if you're not going back to school)
Didn't get into Yale? Me neither. But anyone can listen to podcasts from the hallowed halls of learning, on everything from philosophy to literary theory. And it's not just Yale, of course. On iTunes U, you can explore a whole host of college offerings. Professors share the syllabus so you can read along, or you can just listen and be glad you don't have to trudge through an essay on hermeneutics.
INDULGE YOUR CURIOSITY
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Mon, Aug 16, 2010 5:43 PM EDT
Not the bodice-ripping kind of passion (though, hey, if that's what your life needs, that's what it needs). Today we're talking about the kind of passion that makes you feel alive, and like your life has purpose. It's the sensation that comes when you feel like you're caught up in the current of life: You're energized and happy. You feel like all synapses are firing. What are you most passionate about? And how can you make room in your life for more of that feeling? We've got a few ideas, so read on.
The three passion point questions
Grab your journal, boot up your blog, or chime in in the comments to answer these questions.
- What are you deeply passionate about? e.g., What makes you lose all sense of time? What are you drawn to again and again? What do you think about when you're lost in thought?
- What comes to you naturally? So many of us take for granted our own talents because they come easily. We don't think a skill is worth its salt unless it's something we have to
Here's one of my favorite stories: when one of my friends was a little girl, her mom took her out for one of those special mother-daughter days. My friend looked around the room of the restaurant they were seated in and said, "Mom, that woman is acting beautiful, even though she isn't." If there was ever any doubt about it, our behavior really does influence the way others see us. A child might notice a discrepancy between confidence and physical beauty (they say the darndest things!), but an adult would likely take the behavior as fact. Because she herself was convinced of it, the woman in the restaurant was a knock out. Here are three ways to get such enviable confidence flowing yourself.Read More »from 3 ways to boost your confidence
Set yourself an achievable goal.
Confidence comes from competence (at least that's one of the places it comes from). Set yourself up for success with an achievable goal, like running a 5K or organizing your digital photos. Or give yourself several smaller goals, like cleaning out a junk drawer,
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Thu, Aug 12, 2010 4:22 PM EDT
Ah, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and the feel of a new backpack. You may not be the one going back to school (and if you are, congrats!), but when you're the family captain, you have to be even more organized than the kids shuffling off to the school bus. There are soccer practices, piano
You're probably thinking, "there's a holiday for everything," and you, my friend, would be right. But the reason Lazy Day is one that gets my vote of approval more so than Create a Vacuum Day (huh?), is evident in who we are: human beings, not human doers. If the ambitious, striving, workaholic, perfectionist part of ourselves need a holiday to embrace the joy of being lazy, who are we to argue? Let's just kick off our shoes and do nothing.Read More »from The holiday we're so glad exists: Lazy Day
I'll never forget a speaker who came to give a lecture at my college on the value of leisure. What he said made such an impression on me, I scribbled it down in my notebook. Many of us are so focused on achieving and scratching off every item on our to do list that we've overlooked a simple truth: we reveal ourselves in leisure as much as our work. Our Puritan work ethic is mixed in with the American soil; people go halfway around the world just to learn how to do nothing. But our deepest held values and personal truths are evident in the way we
- Sarah McColl, Shine staff | Makeover – Mon, Aug 9, 2010 5:44 PM EDT
Last week wasn't a good one for weight-related news. First, there was the news that obesity had reached "major public health threat" proportions, and now new research shows that as our weight rises, our quality of life declines. The study shows that Americans are losing healthy days off their lives due to obesity, and that number has doubled from 7.5 in 1993 to 17 in 2008.Read More »from Has your quality of life improved since you lost weight?
"The gains being made on the burden on our health-care system by decreases in smoking could be eroded by the progression of obesity if we don't have lots of interventions in place," said Dr. Erica I. Lubetkin, co-author of the study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. "Getting junk food out of the schools, having more recess and gym, discouraging television and computer use" would all be a good place to start, she said.
We're about nothing if not quality of life on Real-Life Makeover, so this news cut us to the quick. What use is it thinking about how to be happier and
Eat Pray Love / Sony PicturesLet's play a really exhilarating game of pretend, shall we? Imagine you have money enough and time to take off on a life-changing adventure. Where would you go? What would you do?Read More »from What would be your version of Eat, Pray, Love?
When it comes to a Real-Life Makeover, asking questions like this can help you see what you really, truly want from life. You don't have to actually set your plan in motion. Sometimes just the very act of imagining a dream life can bring to the foreground parts of yourself you've been neglecting.
Advertisements for the film feature women sharing their own version of Elizabeth Gilbert's adventure, and to imagine your own, let's for a moment put aside any feelings you might have about this book, its author, the movie, or its star (although if you have ill will towards Javier Bardem, you can just move right along).
Here's something important to remember before we begin: taking care of yourself is never selfish. You're never going to be as great as a mom, partner, employee, or friend as you could be if your
Yesterday I was in a shop being rung up by a lovely woman about my age. She was waiting for the credit card slip to print, and we were just kind of looking at each other smilingly benignly when, without my thinking about it, my innermost subversive thoughts came tumbling out onto the counter between us: "I'm over the summer," I declared. From here, it could have gone either way. She could look at me like I just offered her a puppy for dinner. But she didn't. "I know, right?" she said. "I can't take another day of this humidity." The wilting types had bonded.Read More »from The upside to being in a rut
The truth is, I believe in making the most of what's at hand. Your usual Girl Scout-Little House on the Prairie resourcefulness. But every season has its growing pains, that moment when it feels like it's gone on just a little too long. And August, at least this August, is that time. It might be different, the shopkeeper pointed out, if she lived on the seashore and could dip her overheated limbs in the ocean everyday. But we live