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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Take the Challenge: Practice Random Acts of Kindness


‘Tis the season of giving! During December, we naturally think of ways to show our family and friends that we care. Whether baking cookies and mailing them to a grandparent who lives far away or buying a child a special gift they’ve been eyeing, December is a month of kindness.


To cap off our year of Holistic Living Challenges, this month we encourage you to expand on the spirit of this time of year and practice random acts of kindness every day. Go beyond dropping your spare change in the nearest bell-ringer’s bucket, embrace the power of kindness, and watch the ripple effect - both what it inspires in you and what it inspires in others!
Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.” ~ Robert J. Furey
Are you ready to touch the lives of strangers and make this world a little better? Whether you already try to live this way or not, take our December Holistic Living Challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!
Here are the details:


Challenge: Practice Random Acts of Kindness


Directions:


  • Brainstorm some ideas. Take some time to write down ideas for things you can do. Here’s a list to get you started:
    • Shovel someone’s sidewalk. Get up bright and early after it snows and surprise a neighbor by shoveling their walk.
    • Let someone go in front of you in line. Moms with squiggly toddlers and fussy babies are especially appreciative of this simple gesture. 
    • Give care packs to the homeless. Put together a package containing things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, food, clothes, a blanket, and other necessities. Keep it in the trunk of your car and give it to a homeless person the next time you see one.
    • Pay for the next person in line. If you’re getting a coffee or tea, pay for the drink for the person behind you at the same time.


    • Send flowers to a lonely shut-in. Visit your nearest retirement or nursing home and ask a staff person if there’s a resident who doesn’t have regular visitors or packages in the mail. Send that person some flowers or a small gift to spread a little holiday cheer. If you want to go a step beyond, see if that person would like to chat for a bit or play a board game.


    • Smile - a lot! It’s easy and contagious!


    • Be generous with compliments - especially with people who likely don’t hear them often enough. Tell your school janitor or garbage man you appreciate the service he performs. Tell the receptionist at the doctor’s office thanks for always being so helpful.


  • Get others involved. Talk to your children about practicing random acts of kindness and ask them what they’d feel comfortable doing. Tell friends and family about your ideas and experiences and encourage them to join in.


  • Share your ideas and experience for a chance to win great prizes!





Saturday, November 2, 2013

Take the Holistic Living Challenge: Express Gratitude Daily

With November being the month we celebrate Thanksgiving, gratitude becomes an implicit theme in the days leading up to the holiday. So, it makes this time of year the perfect time to transform an annual ritual into a meaningful daily practice.


Practicing gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you” (which is typically a simple exhibition of good manners), it’s a deeper acknowledgement of our blessings - big and small - and it can have wide reaching benefits for overall health and happiness.


Experts at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, cite recent studies finding those who practice gratitude have:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
  • Higher levels of positive emotions;
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness;
  • More generosity and compassion;
  • Fewer feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Are you ready to reap these rewards and more? Take our November Holistic Living Challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!
Here are the details:


Challenge: Express gratitude daily.


Directions:
  • Commit. Kick-off your month by sitting down and writing out 5-10 things you’re grateful for. At the end of your list, write “I have so much to be grateful for and this month I will recognize those things every day.” Hang your statement somewhere as a reminder.
  • Keep a journal. Writing down what you’re grateful for every day is a great way to make it a habit. No worries if you’re no poet or don’t feel like writing a page or a paragraph every day. Even just writing one word is powerful and puts your heart and head in a place of deeper gratitude. Consider involving your whole family by making it a dinner-time practice to go around the table and ask what everyone is thankful for each day. Then, your journal is not only a way to record your blessings, it’s also a beautiful reminder of your lives together and you can look back on your entries to remember all the good times.
  • Download the app. Seriously! There’s an app to help and it’s called “Unstuck.” Check it out here.
  • Feel it. Beyond just writing it down, feel the gratitude. Whatever you’ve chosen to be thankful for that day, think about it and let yourself be truly happy about it for a while.
  • Share it. Vocalizing your gratitude to others not only increases the psychological and biological benefits for you, it also tends to have a domino effect - inspiring others to be more thankful, as well. Want to see it in action? Grab a tissue and prepare to smile while watching “The Science of Happiness: And Experiment in Gratitude” from SoulPancake.
  • Share your ideas, goals, and experience for a chance to win great prizes!


What to know more about the science and practice of gratitude? Please see the resources recommended by the Greater Good Science Center:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Take the Challenge: Live More Holistically!


October is Holistic Living Month, an annual celebration that honors holistic lifestyle choices and raises
awareness for natural health and green living. So, our Holistic Living Challenge this month is to amp up your efforts to Live More Holistically! Life gets busy, we lose our focus, and sometimes we drift off our path of good intentions. Take this opportunity to re-align yourself with your values and re-connect with your tribe.

Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes! Here are the details:

Challenge: Live more holistically.

Directions:

     Choose what you’d like to do. Here are some Holistic Living Month events that would help spark a renewed commitment and support for living more holistically:
     Join us on October 12th in New Jersey for our 10th Annual Natural Living Conference!  This year’s event will be packed with amazing speakers and topics.  Keynote Speakers feature Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychologist, expert on mindful living, and author of the award-winning book, “The Conscious Parent,” prefaced by HH The Dalai Lama) AND Jeffrey Smith (Renowned advocate and expert on GMOs, international bestselling author and filmmaker, and executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology).
     Meet some of the leading pioneers in holistic and green living at our Holistic Living Awards Gala! This event, featuring experts like Peggy O’Mara (Editor and publisher of Mothering magazine), Jeffrey Hollender (Author, activist, and co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation), and Gary Null, Ph.D. (Talk radio host, author, and expert on alternative and complementary medicine and nutrition), will also be in New Jersey on October 12th.
     Check out the HMNRaising Auction - Bid on great natural products and services in our HMNRaising Auction, a fabulous event where you can get great deals AND support holistic parenting at the same time!  Starting October 11th, you will have ten days to place the winning bid on natural and organic products, services, gift baskets and more!
     Participate in our nationwide Open House!  Join us at your Local Holistic Moms Chapter during October, connect with a growing community of parents and individuals who are passionate about healthy living.  Become a member of the Holistic Moms Network during Holistic Living Month and save!  We will offer a special annual membership fee for new and renewing members all month long – save $10 off your membership with coupon code HLM2013 from October 1-31st!
     Join us for weekly Twitter Parties on Tuesday evenings at 10 pm EST at #holisticmoms with amazing guest experts, powerful information, and giveaways from our Sponsors!

     Make a plan. Write up what you’d like to do and some goals you’d like to reach.
     Record your experience. Was it easier or harder than you thought? What did you learn?
     Share your ideas, goals, and experience for a chance to win great prizes!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Simplify Your Life: Take the Challenge!


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Do you find yourself sprinting through the day from the moment you wake up, racing to get everything done and still feeling as if there are not enough hours in the day?

You’re not alone.  And, there’s a certain irony to this modern lifestyle - the busier we are, the less time we feel we have and the best way to “find” time is actually by doing less and slowing down.

Would you like more time and less stress?  Join us this month for our newest Holistic Living Challenge: Simplify Your Life.

Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!

Here are the details:

Challenge: Simplify Your Life.

Directions: Simplifying your life is largely about identifying what’s truly important and eliminating what’s not. Try to be conscientious of this concept on a daily basis, regularly stopping to ask yourself, “is this important?”

Here are some ideas and resources to put this concept into action:
  • Purge clutter.  Start with one room or even one closet or cupboard.  If you don’t use it, need it, or love it, consider getting rid of it.  Check out unclutterer.com for tips, advice, and daily uncluttering inspiration.
  • Try a little minimalism.  A minimalist house only contains absolute necessities, and not much else. Minimalist houses are calming spaces with less to clean and care for.
  • Buy less stuff and go for quality, not quantity.  Not only does this help simplify your life, it’s also far more sustainable for our planet. As Elizabeth Ann Seton said, “Live simply that others might simply live.”
  • Create schedules and routines.  Organized systems of living create efficiency and efficiency means you’re spending less thought and time navigating the demands of everyday.
  • Automate.  Simplify bill paying by setting up auto-payments connected to your bank account.  Simplify e-mail by setting up inbox filters that automatically organize incoming mail.  Use technology.  Automate.
  • Evaluate your commitments and learn to say no.
  • Read Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter by Elaine St. James
  • Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter!  Not a member?  Sign-up today!

Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Be More Mindful: August Holistic Living Challenge


There is an interesting conundrum once you have kids. On the one hand, you want time to slow down so you can enjoy every cuddle and kiss.  On the other, the days seem to fly by in a frenzy of laundry, messes, playdates, sports, school and - you get the point.

But, life is short and unpredictable.  It’s so important to enjoy the moment. And, if you can’t enjoy it - simply be in it.  Be thoughtful.  Be aware.  Here.  Now.

It’s called being “mindful” and the practice of it leads to myriad benefits for health and well-being, including lowering stress, increasing focus, increasing compassion, and helping you sleep better.  All of which are connected to reductions in disease and illness.

Join us this month for our newest Holistic Living Challenge: Be More Mindful.
Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!
Here are the details:

Challenge: Be More Mindful.

Directions: Try to be conscientious about being in the present and embracing every moment.
Here are some ideas and resources:

●     Give yourself a minute in the morning. Before you get out of bed, take a few deep breaths and give thanks for the day. Create some intention for the day by thinking of what you’d like to do (beyond the to-do list) and what you’ll be especially attentive to in regards to gratitude, respect, and communication.

●     Sign-up at Headspace.com to learn how to meditate, try their 10 minutes for 10 days program, and get tips and tools delivered to your inbox or smartphone daily!

●     Put post-it notes around your home and office that say “Breathe.” When you see them, take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing and to feel the rise and fall of your belly.

●     Notice what you eat. Tune into your senses by examining the color and texture of your food, smelling it before you eat it, and really feeling and tasting it once it’s in your mouth. 

●     When you lie down for bed, breathe deeply and clear your mind. Feel your breath and your body and focus on the sound of inhaling and exhaling. Continue this practice for around five minutes.

●     Despite how much laundry is piling up or how many emails you have in your inbox, don’t fill every moment with doing. Take some time to simply be.

●     Notice where you tend to zone out (e.g., driving, brushing teeth, reading bedtime stories, bathing babies, etc.). Try bringing more mindfulness and attentiveness to that activity.

●     Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter! Not a member? Sign-up today!

Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Get Connected: July Holistic Living Challenge!

As our society grows ever more connected to our devices, technology, and online social networks, are we becoming more disconnected with “real life”?
In an eye-opening TEDTalk, Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, discusses how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication - potentially in a way we really don’t want. "From social networks to sociable robots, we're designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship," she says. As a result, "we slip into thinking that always being connected is going to make us feel less alone," but "actually it's the opposite that's true."
How often do find yourself presumably in a conversation with someone, while also texting or reading emails or checking Facebook? Do you find yourself spending more time on social networks than at “real life” social events? Are you looking at screens more than you’re looking at people or nature or the world?
Join us this month for our newest Holistic Living Challenge: Get Connected!
Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!
Here are the details:

Challenge: Get Connected!

Directions: Connect to your children. Connect with your friends. Connect to nature. Connect to community. Connect with real life!
Here are some ideas and resources:
     Make your dinner table a device-free zone. If you’re eating together, you should be focusing on your food and one another.
     Make a commitment to stop having distracted conversations. If you’re talking to someone - your mate, your child, anyone - they deserve the respect of your full attention. (If it’s a household problem, make everyone commit. Create a “Get Connected” jar and any time someone breaks the rule, they have to put a quarter in. At the end of the month, use the money for an activity that promotes family togetherness.)
     Plan a “date” for each week of the month. One could be time with your kids. Another could be a night out with friends. And, maybe one could be volunteering at a local soup kitchen. Whatever you choose, make sure you do something that fosters conversation. (Going to a movie, doesn’t really cut it.)
     Try some attachment parenting techniques babywearing or co-sleeping.
     Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter! Not a member? Sign-up today!

Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes! Enter for a chance to win!

Monday, June 3, 2013

It’s Great Outdoors Month, So Get Outside!


June is not only the start of summer, it’s also Great Outdoors Month - a national celebration of the amazing landscapes and waterways of our expansive country!  



For generations, America’s great outdoors have ignited our imaginations, bolstered our economy, and fueled our national spirit of adventure and independence. During Great Outdoors Month, we rededicate ourselves to experiencing and protecting
these unique landscapes and treasured sites.

From sea to shining sea, the U.S. is full of spectacular sites to explore and enjoy. Join us this month for our newest HolisticLiving Challenge: Enjoy the Great Outdoors!
Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!

Here are the details:

Challenge: Enjoy the Great Outdoors!

Directions: Make plans, big or small - whatever works for you and your family. The one thing we strongly encourage is that regardless of what types of activities or vacations you might plan, take a little time each and every day to get outside. Whether it’s a walk around the block or a picnic in your backyard - enjoy whatever bits of nature you can every day this month.

Here are more ideas and resources:
     Use the National Wildlife Federation’s NatureFind tool to help you locate fun places with cool wildlife that will connect you with nature and reduce the stress in your life.
     Try Geocaching! GEOCACHING is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online.
     Plant a tree. Learn which trees are right for your area, how to plant them, and more from the Arbor Day Foundation.
     Do some cloud watching or stargazing.
     Learn about the types of clouds and where to spot them from The Cloud Appreciation Society (or just watch them and use your imagination to find fun shapes in the clouds!)
     Check out the One-Minute Astronomer’s Guide to Stargazing for some basics about the night sky. And, on June 23, enjoy the biggest full moon of 2013 when the moon will arrive at its closest point to the Earth, making it a “supermoon!”
     Have a nature scavenger hunt. Go Explore Nature has a great tutorial for customizing your own fun hunt.
     Go camping. Find a location and learn tips from Go Camping America.
     Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter to learn what other moms are trying and get tips for your challenge. Not a member? Sign-up today!
     Join the weekly #HolisticMoms Twitter Parties on Tuesdays at 10est/7pst to connect with other moms and learn what they’re doing!

Here are events happening across the nation that you can participate in:
     June 1-9: National Fishing and Boating Week. During National Fishing and Boating Week find a fishing and boating spot near you so you can hit the water.  Learn to fish or improve your skills by checking out their how-to information. 
     June 8: National Get Outdoors Day - a new annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. Participating partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and nontraditional types of outdoor activities.
     June 22: Great American Backyard Campout. Join thousands of people across the nation who will gather in their backyards, neighborhoods, communities and parks to take part in a one-night FREE event that will provide an experience for all generations to connect with nature.
     June 24-27: Great Outdoors America Week. Great Outdoors America Week is the preeminent event celebrating our collective connection to the great outdoors while advocating for its future. As one of the largest annual conservation and outdoor focused events in Washington DC, GO Week raises awareness around outdoors issues, brings together hundreds of diverse organizations and activists to meet with lawmakers and administrators to advocate for our outdoor way-of-life.

Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes! Enter for a chance to win!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May is Time to Take Care of YOU!

They say in case of emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first, and then your child’s.  But that bit of advice you hear every time you board a plane goes totally against our mama bear instincts. Still, it’s terribly important to take this simple advice to heart (whether you’re on a plane or not). You need to take care of you, so that you have the strength, patience, and energy to be the best mom (and woman) you can be.   (Read that again, just in case it didn't sink in!).  If you give yourself away all the time, you’ll end up with nothing left to give.

Not only that, but the more you run yourself down and let stress and exhaustion take over, the more your whole family suffers.  "If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!," as they say.

Join us this month for our newest Holistic Living Challenge: Take care of you!  In May we celebrate Mother’s Day and what better way to extend the importance of this day than by trying to incorporate a little self-care every day?

Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!

Here are the details:

Challenge: Take care of you!

Directions:  This is all about you, so do whatever feels right for you! Here are some ideas to get your gears going:

  • Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter to learn what other moms are trying and get tips for your challenge.  Not a member? Sign-up today and get $10 off (making your membership less than $3 a month!) AND a bonus subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine!
  • Cross a couple of things off the to-do list.  Trust us, life will go on!
  • Make time for yourself - you are important.  Block out 30 minutes a day or a larger chunk of time once a week for some “mom-me-time.”  If there’s no one to watch the kids for you, set a timer (for a reasonable amount of time based on their ages) and let them know they need to entertain themselves while you take a time-out.  (And, during those moments, do something relaxing or enjoyable. “Mom-me-time” is not time to catch up on laundry).
  •  Let go - it’s okay to be less than perfect.
  • Accept yourself.  "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” ~Christopher Germer
  • Empower your children.  Start working yourself out of your job when your children are young. Give them responsibilities and clear direction.  The time spent will be well worth it as they become more adept.
  • Ask for help.  There is no weakness or shame in asking for help - it’s human. 
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re wonderful.  It sounds corny, but it works.
  • Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths.  Even moments of mindfulness are beneficial.
  • Make plans to meet with a friend in the coming week (without kids!).
  • Take a walk.  Even if it’s just around the block.  It will give you perspective.
  • Give yourself a 15-minute facial.  Wash your face.  Coat it with mashed-up avocado.  Let dry and rinse off.
  • Join the weekly #HolisticMoms Twitter Parties on Tuesdays at 10est/7pst to connect with other moms, share, and just enjoy some good company!
  • Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!
Enter for a chance to win!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Don’t Just Be the Change You Wish to See, Create the Change!


You’re probably familiar with Gandhi’s quote “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  We agree wholeheartedly!  But, this month, we challenge you to go one step beyond - don’t just BE the change, help MAKE the change in others.

Join us this month for our newest Holistic Living Challenge: Help Others Go Green!  It’s Earth Month and what better way to celebrate than by helping others live greener?

Take the challenge and share your experience for a chance to win great prizes from holistic companies that will further support you on your holistic living journey!

Here are the details:

April 2013 Challenge: Help Others Go Green

Directions:

     Choose what you’d like to do. Here are some ideas to get your green gears going:
     Visit Change.org and choose a petition (or create your own) and spend the month promoting it and getting as many signatures as you can.
     Help your child’s school go green using the Center for Health and Environmental Justice’s (CHEJ) free toolkit and program. The Green Flag Schools Program for Environmental Leadership provides a framework for schools to engage in environmental advocacy and empowers students to take charge. 
     Lead a cleanup of a river, beach, or park in honor of Earth Month.
     Start a recycling project at work.
     Check with your local school or community center to ask about starting a community garden.
     Work with a local school or faith community to organize a household hazardous waste collection drive. Almost everyone has old paint, pesticides or other toxic materials stored around the house. Contact your local government’s environmental department to learn how to dispose of those items properly.
(If your kids are older, get them involved! What would they like to try?)
     Make a plan. Write up next steps, who you could reach out to for help, etc.
     Record your experience. Was it easier or harder than you thought? What did you learn?
     Share your experience for a chance to win great prizes!

Tips & Tools:

     Join the weekly #HolisticMoms Twitter Parties on Tuesdays at 10 EST/7 PST
     Join the Facebook chat (details to come!).
     Connect with your local Holistic Moms Network chapter to learn what other moms are trying and get tips for your challenge.

Enter for a chance to win!