Sunday, April 25, 2021
Sunday, April 18, 2021
If I were to put out a survey on what is your favorite time of year, I would be willing to bet on the two favorites that would always come up as a close tie. Spring and Fall! Both beautiful seasons, and I would like to throw my two cents worth in simply because it is my blog. In the whole scheme of Mother Nature, each season has high points and low points. We can adapt to what is being thrown our way for the most part.
Try to find the good in the hot and humid summers by being grateful for air conditioning, convertibles, swimming pools and a saying that my Grandmother always told me. She said that when a Southern lady perspired, it made her glow and actually was better for her complexion than dry cold air. I often think of that when in the heat of the Summer. The cold bleak winter days also have things to be grateful for. It is a great time for skiers(of which I am not) but it is also a wonderful opportunity to shop for warm boots and great sweaters. Also, to be thankful for a warm fireplace to cuddle up next to and read some of the stacks of books that have accumulated.
Autumn also has lots of color involved as the leaves turn beautiful shades of orange, red and yellow. Sometimes I have to work on staying positive just knowing that soon we will be changing time and it will be dark at 5 and the North Wind will be blowing in soon.
Here are some reasons why I have chosen Spring as my favorite time of the year. The United States is a very large country and depending on where you live makes a difference on how you experience the seasons. Everyone finds their own way to survive. Spring in my area is usually quite delightful. It has been a little cooler than usual...60's for highs and 40's for the lows. It is quite doable dressing in layers. The sun feels so wonderful and it is lighter much later in the afternoon. I do need to remember sunscreen, even when driving in the car for my hands and arms.
With my area of the country completing their second Covid vaccination, more people are venturing out to eat, but many are wanting to remain with outside patio dining. It has been stated that the two places that are still not totally safe to be is inside dining inside of a restaurant working out in a gym. Luckily many restaurants are setting up places to dine outside. The other day it was to be mid 60's, sunny and a little breezy. I met some friends for lunch. The breeze was coming in from the North and it did get a bit chilly. The restaurant had the tall propane heaters and brought one over to us. It helped tremendously. It was just so marvelous to be out with friends at a restaurant after a year of lock down. Masks still must be worn and social distancing from others. But we were our own little bubble so we could safely sit together, wear our masks when not eating or drinking and just enjoy something that will never be taken for granted ever again.
This Charles Dickens quote sort of summed up how the days have been lately. We actually have not used heat nor air for two weeks. Today was the first day of turning on a little heat to take the chill off. Moderate temperatures and more daylight helps all of us feel better mentally. Just so good for the soul.
Spring is the time that many birds return and start to nest. Baby animals are everywhere.
We have some house finches who have built their nest in our Spring Wreath on our front door.
Fresh produce comes in the Spring and it has been proven that fresh fruits and vegetables are so good for our health, mental and physical. So bring on the Farmers' Markets.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
If you have received your 2nd vaccination then you will know the feeling that I am writing about. It is a feeling that there is now some light at the end of the long dark tunnel. There is hope that we will be able to get back to some kind of normalcy. We all will work that out as we go along. Masks? Yes, for now we will continue to wear our masks when out in public areas.
The feeling of sheer happiness when this Easter we were able to have our daughter and granddaughters over for an Easter Egg Hunt and a luncheon. And because we had our shots and she had hers we did NOT have to wear our masks when together in our home. Her husband could have come if he had not been working because he has been vaccinated too. Another son could have been with us, however, he was also working.
Other people I know were feeling as if they were on cloud 9 because as some of them shared with me they now feel safer to venture out. Some friends are now resuming their card games with others who have had their two shots. Others are going to public events that still have social distancing and masks but they now feel safer. Everyone has their own guidelines of how they feel safe within themselves. I am not ready to go inside a restaurant to eat. To sit on a patio with tables spaced six feet apart is where I plan on starting. There is something about having to wear a mask while at an outdoor public patio that is just not appetizing in my mind. Taking it off to have a bite of my salad or a sip of my iced tea is just not the way I envisioned going back to normalcy. It is a baby step to getting there.
Where is there? There will be a much safer place when we get to herd immunity. Everyone needs to cooperate with the vaccine so that we can get to a more normal way of life. With the new variant of Covid, it is even more important and is why we still need to wear masks when out in public places. There has been a jump in numbers of hospitalizations of younger people. Now that the age has dropped to 16 to be able to get the vaccine, hopefully we will see less young people hospitalized.
The number of people who are less likely to get the vaccinations are being drawn in to get the shots by offering treats and having celebrities get their shots in public. They either talk or sing while receiving the vaccine. The Rev. Al Green received his shot while singing, I'm So Tired of Being Alone, demonstrating that once you have your shots you don't have to be all alone. Mental health improves once you have a reason to be more hopeful.
The federal government sent in troops to help in the process of drive thru vaccination sites. After a day they had places running so smoothly that as hard as it was to get an appointment for a vaccine a month ago, now they have times that you need no sign up for an appointment. And there is no long wait. It is a no brainer. Go get your shot to remain healthy and get us to herd immunity. Most people do not have side effects from taking the vaccine. The few who do say it is minor. After the vaccine your arm may be a little sore or you may feel a bit tired. Nothing that a Tylenol and maybe a little nap won't cure. I am thinking of the pharmaceutical ads where at the end of the commercial some voice comes in stating all of the terrible possible side effects yet people still take the drug the doctor prescribed because it makes you better. This vaccine does not have all of the possible side effects like the advertised drugs do.
Hold on a minute. Now, companies and cities are offering other incentives to get your vaccine. Individual sport teams are getting in on the action. The Cincinnati Reds offered discounted single game tickets to fans who showed their COVID card. Krispy Kreme is offering a free glazed doughnut to any who flash their vaccine card. MEMpops, a local company is at one center offering free treats when people come to get protection from this deadly virus. Free beer at ball games and in the UK they have opened up a 13th century cathedral for people to walk in and request a song from the organist to play while they get their shot. Creative incentives are all over the place. I surely hope it works.
Companies are making their own pitches to the unvaccinated. The age limit has been lowered to all who are 16 or older. It is so very important for every one of us to encourage others to get vaccinated because this is the only way we can reach herd immunity. Jaren Jackson Jr., a Memphis Grizzlie player was in a photo getting his shot with the caption saying, "Roll up your sleeves everybody. For your friends, family and yourself." The city of New Orleans has a slogan, "Sleeves - up, NOLA!"
Some places are requiring you show your shot record to be admitted. There are people who use the same excuse for not wearing a mask. Telling others it is their right to choose not to wear a mask or get a vaccination. We all believe in freedom and the American way. So if they want to risk the health of everyone else, not to mention themselves by saying that it is their freedom with no proof otherwise is simply ridiculous. (my own opinion)
Now it is coming up for debates on the legality of requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to participate. There has even been talk of having it as a requirement to attend school. Parents must show their children's vaccination card for other diseases. It should be interesting to see where this is headed.
Back in 1905 the Supreme Court ruled that citizens would be fined if they did not get the smallpox vaccine. Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, "A community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease." The fact is that in today's times common sense is extremely controversial. There are fights breaking out when it comes to wearing a mask.
It seems that it will be at the will of local businesses to decide whether or not that their employees and customers prove they've gotten one of the vaccines. We do know that 70% of Americans say they are already vaccinated or plan to be as soon as they can. On the other hand I have read that 20% say they would be less likely to get vaccinated if businesses required proof whereas 10% say that it would make them more likely to get vaccinated.
The Biden administration launched a national ad campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated with one of the ads having Willie Nelson singing, I'll Be Seeing You." One way to help persuade more to get their shots so that we all can be out and seeing each other more.
In order to achieve herd immunity, a large portion of the population has to be vaccinated; this according to the Mayo Clinic. Only then will things really start getting back to normal, though what our new normal will truly look like remains to be seen. Let's be grateful for all of the new things that we have learned while being at home and now that we all soon will be able to be with others who are vaccinated. Just knowing that two of our four granddaughters and that two of our children, we can see in our home or theirs is such a happy gratitude. New Orleans children and grandchildren will be soon. Can hardly wait! Meanwhile, please mask up when out and about in public places.
Saturday, April 3, 2021
IS HAPPINESS A SCIENCE?
Choices! I have always believed that we are all in charge of the choices that we make. If you feel yourself being happy and can settle in to the life choices you make, then it can turn your life around. Happiness is truly the best makeup a woman can wear.
There actually are studies and research being done by scientists that prove the point of happiness is when one has satisfaction and meaning in their life. Being able to recover from negative emotions quickly while holding a sense of purpose; contrary to popular belief. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It is not constant pleasure. Turns out that it is much broader than that. It is the ability to connect with others and have meaningful relationships within a community. That is more or less the recipe to happiness.
It is true that more money will make people happier to a certain degree. There is data out there that covers the last hundred years, which includes the era of depression and world wars, as incomes rose there was an increase in people's self-reported happiness. Their happiness was achieved once they went from a place of real threats of poverty to a place of being safe. After that point, more money did not seem to add to happiness. Nobel laureate psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman showed in his research that money increased happiness until about $75,000 annually. After that, emotional well-being did not seem to increase with income.
It has always been my belief that if I could just try having a big lottery win, then I could join in the study just to see if it did or didn't make me happier. It is not that I am unhappy now, in fact, quite the contrary. So the studies that have gone on seem to be true in my case. Still...I would love to know the feeling.
Do we really need research to tell us that there is a strong relationship between our health and happiness? Of course, we know that being ill causes unhappiness. In fairness though, happiness can enhance health. It is not quite that simple minded. There is a science of happiness. If our health disrupts our daily functioning it can affect our happiness. What does matter is that after the diagnosis if we are able to adapt and compensate by deriving pleasures from other parts of our lives we can still have the "well-being with illness." Another name for this is resilience. This is not to make anyone feel that they are full of gloom and doom if they can't make that transition when illness is seriously disrupting every day life functioning.
Science does demonstrate that we can have an impact on only 12% of the things that determine whether we are happy or not. The happiest people among us understand that if we make the right choices, that small sliver is enough. This is from an article that I found written by Bill Murphy, Jr.
Genetics can have an effect on about half of our happiness. External events can become involved and that is where we own that little sliver of 12% of our own happiness by the choices that we make.
Happy people tend to choose to exercise. Even small amounts. We don't have to be marathon runners or spend hours in the gym. Just a small period of time throughout the day to be moving around. Being outside tends to make people happier. Even for a twenty minute walk around your garden, your office, or your neighborhood. Soak up the vitamin D.
Even better if you can be outside with family or friends. Making time for others is good for the soul. We are contributing to our community by doing so, whether it is our family and friends community or our work community. Balancing work and family is a major part of being on the upper end of happiness.
One last major focus of being happy is to always get enough sleep. Lack of sleep will ruin our lives. It can turn us in to irritable maniacs. And the BIG lie that many people tell themselves is that taking a nap is for "old people." It is not. There not only are whole cultures who believe that a little afternoon nap is good for us, there are famous people who swear by their afternoon naps. A few of them are Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Albert Einstein. This is to name only a few.
Happiness is a science that you can choose to be a part of or not. It is not up to those around you. We get to decide.