Getting Connected, to You! A while ago, engaged in our LIFEChange monthly theme of "Get Connected," I very smartly chose to cover topics such as connecting with your spouse, your children and even your neighbor. However, a more balanced participant sent in a suggestion that we should first try connecting with ourselves.

What a concept! If you're feeling like a stretchy doll pulled in too many directions, too many times, on too many days of the week, read on for some great tips on getting connected with you!

1. Let go of "pinball living." We often live like we are being shot out of the pinball chute; that is, ka-ching, out we go at the start of the day, then ka-ching, ka-ching, to the dentist, karate, after-school activity, meeting and soccer game, finally losing steam as we roll down to the bottom (which would potentially relate to sleep, if you're familiar with that concept).

Then, KA-CHING, up the next morning to do it all over again!

Get back to what you feel and desire by taking time to be still. Reclaim a room or space in your home, yard or barn, and make it your own place of time out. Ignore sounds of children banging on the door. My children know that except for blood or broken bones, it is DO NOT DISTURB time, and woe to the child who breaketh that rule.

2. Go back to what you loved to do. I'll ask women what they like to do and I get the blank look, and maybe an, "I took an art class in 1975." At the very outset, go back to those things that you could get lost in; painting, photography, crafts, jogging, whatever it may be. Just a few minutes make a big difference. I once coached a woman on-air who was (and sounded) depressed, overwhelmed and a self-admitted perfectionist. I encouraged her to do three things, and one of them was to take 15 to 20 minutes a day to do something she loved. She called back two weeks later and the difference was audible — she was laughing! Going back to playing the piano just a few minutes a day, for enjoyment, had helped revive joy for life.

3. Get centered first thing with regular rituals. Whether it's just lying still and breathing, thinking of a happy memory or praying, take a few vital minutes to connect with your soul. This creates the calm you will need in the face of sweet children using you as a human Jungle Gym or big children at work acting in primitive jungle ways, whichever it may be. Get centered at your core and you will be at your best.

4. Give your best energy to the best. Ask yourself, on a given day, where does my BEST energy go? Too often we women randomly give up our energies for whatever fires come first. Consider what areas, say five, are the most important on a daily basis. Then focus your best energy on fulfilling those areas. For me, my hand represents those vital needs; each finger represents one area: God, me, my husband, my children and contributions to others. Every day if I do something in each area, I feel connected.

5. Remove one stress in your life. We are amazingly enduring creatures AND we can be amazing whiners. It's up to us to eliminate stress from our lives, and we can do it. Choose one stress that is killing you. Look at it objectively and ask, "How can I abbreviate, delegate or eliminate?" There is positive and negative stress; the good makes us eventually stronger, while the negative depletes and makes us more vulnerable to sickness or depression. Remove one negative stress from your life, such as PTA commitment, tutoring, an extra work assignment, being the family therapist, whatever it may be, just let it go, and feel the stress go with it.

Staying connected to what is vital for you means staying balanced. Try just one of these areas and get started on getting connected, with you!

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