No one said being a teenager was easy. For some reason, these years are filled with a lot of emotional and physical changes, which can be difficult to handle. Parents of teens may feel overwhelmed and/or helpless as to how to make their teen son or daughter feel more confident about themselves. However, the good news is that there are some ways parents can connect with their teens to give them that much-needed boost of self-esteem.

Communication

It is vital to keep an open line of communication with your teen. Be observant. Notice a change in your teen’s mood lately? Is he/she more withdrawn or quieter than normal? This is an obvious sign that something may not be right. Don’t be afraid to ask if something is wrong. Even if your teen isn’t ready to talk about it, make sure to reassure him/her that you’re there to listen when they are ready to talk. Avoid being too nosy, however, since this will only push your teen away. As long as they know they can turn to you, they’ll more than likely seek you out when they are ready.

Find the Cause

A lot of what teens go through deals with emotional and/or physical changes. For example, does your teenage daughter feel insecure about her acne? Then take the steps necessary to help her not only get her complexion back on track but feel good about herself as well. This entails more than simply going to the store and buying acne skin care products. It helps to educate your teen about her skin, how to properly treat her complexion and what she can do to keep her breakouts at bay. Not well versed in skincare? Then go online and do research together to learn more about this common skincare issue and what options are available. Taking these steps together with your teen will show true concern and help them feel like they have someone in their corner.

Don’t Just Say…Do

Similar to what has been explained above, teens have a higher chance of being successful at feeling good about themselves if they have one or both parents helping them through tough times when they are feeling less than confident in themselves. While having the support of their friends is a great help, when the parents also show an interest, this can make any teen feel good – even if they don’t show it at first. Parents of obese teens should go above and beyond to take the steps necessary to encourage healthy weight loss. In addition to buying more fresh fruits, veggies and explaining the importance of exercise, parents should also strive to set an example by working out with their teens and eating the same healthy meals. Not only do such actions help teens feel better about themselves, it will also make them more comfortable with opening up and talking to their parents about what they’re going through.

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Don’t Always Act Like a Parent

Aside from the physical changes, teens also go through emotional changes, especially when it comes to dating. A first crush and/or relationship can be scary for any teen. Instead of being too parental, show interest and support when your teen talks to you about his/her relationship. In the event of a bad breakup, argument or another mishap, don’t lecture – your teen will simply tune out and become distant. Instead, make an effort to listen and offer words of encouragement. This form of support will be appreciated more by your teen and make the transition through the rough patches in their relationship much easier to handle.

Whether your home is new or old, chances are there have been times when you’ve looked around your house and thought to yourself, “Boy, this place could use a makeover.” Of course, hiring an interior decorator is pretty expensive and unless you’re in the right place, HGTV won’t be able to help you. So what’s a homeowner to do? The answer is easy: do it yourself!

The idea of revamping your home yourself may sound overwhelming at first but if you do your homework, set realistic goals, and plan accordingly, you should have no problem with giving your house a much-needed facelift. The first step is to decide what part of your home you want to redecorate or revamp and what look you are going for. There are various ways to spruce up either the interior or the exterior of your home and using lifestyle and home and garden magazines are one of the quickest ways you can find inspiration.

You’ll want to plan how extensive the changes are that you want to make and what purpose you are redoing the room for? For example, you may have an extra bedroom that you want to convert into a really comfy and stylish guest room. Do you want to put new paint on the walls? Change out the furniture? Once you know your goals for revamping the room, then you can make a checklist of what needs to be done. Again, you can turn to magazines or shows on HGTV to get inspiration. Be sure to write down colors you like, types of furniture you think would go best in that room, and what stores you would purchase your materials from.

These days, homeowners are taking it upon themselves to revamp their houses, which can save a lot of time and money. Speaking of money, if you currently don’t have the best budget to revamp a room in your home, have a garage or yard sale. You can even take out the old furniture that needs to be replaced and put it up for sale.

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Try to estimate how much the new furniture, paint, and/or accessories will cost and then make that your sales goal for your garage sale. This is also a great time to chuck all your old clothes, accessories, children’s toys, books, and other items in your house that you know you won’t be using anymore. With a successful garage sale, you’ll not only get extra cash in your pocket, you’ll have effectively cleared up room in your home, including the room(s) to be revamped.

With a little knowledge and practice, you can expertly paint your own rooms and with some extra muscle from family and/or friends you can also move your furniture in and arrange it as you desire. To add some style to your newly revamped room, shop at antique stores to find accessories (such as lamps, curtains, or little knick knacks) that you won’t see anywhere else. If you want a cheat sheet of sorts, you can choose a page right out of a home design magazine and simply replicate what’s on the page.

As a parent, you may have been dreading or eagerly planning for the day when your children leave your home. Empty nest syndrome is one that many parents experience every day. However, your experience with having an empty nest doesn’t have to be a negative one. More and more parents are finding ways to make the most of this new stage in their lives and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating.

One of the first steps towards dealing with an empty nest is to let Nature take its course. Allow yourself to emote freely, whether the feelings are good or bad. You are human after all and there is nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to reflect and let the idea sink in that you’ve now got an empty house. However, you’ll want to do your best to not let your emotions rule you. You may be feeling a bit sad or depressed after the first week but if you’re still feeling this way after the first few weeks or a month, then you’ve got to make some serious changes to bring you out of your funk.

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Once the initial shock has worn off, start making plans. Get together with your significant other and figure out what you both want to do that you weren’t able to do before when the kids were home. Maybe you’ll finally be able to renovate and redecorate now that you have rooms that aren’t being used. This is a great project for you and your significant other to work on together. Remodeling your home can also signal the start of a new stage in your lives. Now that you don’t have extra mouths to feed, you can save up some money and take a vacation. Getting away for a week or two is a wonderful way for you to do something you enjoy – not to mention that you’ll no longer have to deal with finding a babysitter.

Find a new hobby to pursue. Or if you have a ton of hobbies that you put on the backburner, bring them out and tackle them with renewed vigor. You’ve now got all the time in the world to do things that you want to do and you’ll be on nobody else’s schedule but your own. Think of it as a rightfully deserved reward for the years of time and effort you put into parenting and raising your kids. Another way to enjoy your empty nest is to invite over other parents that are in the same boat as you. Host a brunch put together a fancy dinner or plan an outing with another couple. It’s always helpful to have the company of people that can relate to your situation. The possibilities for enjoying your newly empty nest are endless so make the most of it while you can.

In the end, if you’re still having trouble grasping the idea that your children won’t be returning home, remind yourself that you did a great job raising them. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Replace those feelings of sadness and loss with pride and joy and you’ll look forward to creating new memories in your home for many more years to come.

Being in college for the first time is a new experience that many young adults look forward to. However, many don’t realize what a lifestyle change it is and not being properly prepared can make or break not only your school life but your personal life as well. The good news is that it isn’t impossible to manage a college life and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. All it takes is a little know-how and practice.

Life for a new college student tends to be more of a challenge if you happen to go to school out of state or aren’t able to commute to and from school from your parents’ house. Living in dorms or on your own off campus requires a lot of changes in your lifestyle. Dormitories tend to take care of everything for the student but because of the close living quarters and the number of student bodies crammed into these living accommodations, sticking to a fairly healthy lifestyle can be difficult. If you find yourself in this situation the best thing to do is stick to a daily routine that works for you.

Once you’ve figured out your schedule of classes, breaks, etc. talk to your roommate and make sure you are both clear on when you’ll need quiet time in your room for studying, taking a nap, etc. It helps to communicate with your roommate so that you both can establish guidelines that will allow you to live together without any problems. If your dorm is too busy or noisy, then learn to find places on campus where you can study in peace.

A library is a great option. As difficult as it may be, do your best to get plenty of sleep each night. Or schedule your classes with long enough breaks in between that will let you squeeze in a cat nap so that you are able to attend the rest of your classes refreshed and better focused. Avoid eating at the cafeteria or sticking to takeout. Instead, go grocery shopping and get a mini fridge filled with healthy snack foods like fruits and vegetables you can easily munch on during or after classes.

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Living off campus in an apartment or house with roommates? Then you’ll want to make sure to establish house rules and create a daily routine for yourself that you can handle. Talk with your roommates to make sure it is understood when quiet time is needed and when it is okay or not okay to have visitors over or throw a party. When grocery shopping, learn how to make healthy choices and try your best to avoid only eating meals that come in a can or box.

Take advantage of your new lifestyle experience by purchasing ingredients and learning how to cook meals for yourself. Even if you aren’t a chef, you’d be surprised by how great it feels to eat a meal you’ve prepared yourself. Carry a bottle of water with you to class and stay away from too many caffeinated drinks as well as snacks filled with sugars and fats.

Being a college student often calls for late nights, little sleep and a lot of stress. Instead of opting for easy solutions like junk food, energy drinks, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices, seek out healthier alternatives. You can find many natural approaches to common lifestyle issues (lack of sleep, stress, poor diet) online. Give these a shot and see how your body responds. If your college has a gym, start using it to keep your body in shape and your mind clear and focused.

workaholic

Are you a workaholic? One in four people say work is the last thing they think about before going to bed and over 40% say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. It’s becoming harder and harder for people to disconnect from the office more than ever. Why? Technology is definitely a huge part of staying tethered to the office since we can connect remotely almost anywhere.

An expectation is often set that we are reachable and available at all times, especially if you have a company phone. I also think job security also plays a big part for many people. If you don’t respond to an email, text or phone call immediately, especially if it’s from your boss or someone senior in the company, you may have anxiety and fear.

I’ve witnessed so many people that are slaves to their job; they put so much internal pressure on themselves based on perceived external expectations.

We have allowed work to bleed into our downtime with family, friends and even our “me” time. I work with a lot of people that stay connected because they want to; it’s a choice, rather than an obligation. And from some of the articles and research I’ve read, these folks are also more stressed on any given day.

So why do it? I think the economy is still unstable and employees continue to feel insecure in the future of their jobs. Additionally, they put the expectation on themselves. Work becomes their life.

Not disengaging from work can have some huge health risks, including a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression. Scary! It also isn’t good for work in general since research has shown that overwork causes a decrease in cognitive skills, leading to mistakes and errors in decision making.

So how can you break the workaholic habit? It’s all about setting boundaries and expectations. From my own personal experience, before I set my own work-life boundaries, my continuous connection, thoughts, and stress about work not only hurt my relationships, but also made me sick more often.

I believe working longer hours also made me less productive and prone to making more mistakes. It ended up being a downward spiral since being less efficient and making mistakes, led to working more to make up for it… which then led to more stress and anxiety about making additional mistakes, and wanting to maintain a good reputation with my boss and co-workers. (However, I’ve since learned everyone makes mistakes and you will remember your own mistakes more than anyone else will.)

You almost have to start over with a clean slate. For me, that was getting a new job. I took a significant pay decrease and a lower level position, and in doing so set internal work boundaries immediately, which I try to follow the majority of the time.I will only work 8 to 5, unless there is an urgent need to stay later.

I will not stay late to “be seen” by others or to work on random projects.I will create timelines, to-do lists, and deadlines to ensure my due dates for projects are met.I will not take a work computer home or login to work from home, unless absolutely necessary.

I will create a routine that helps me disengage from work. (I will either go to the gym or go running after work almost everyday, and I always take Coco for a walk and read for pleasure for 15-20 minutes when I get home.)

Start small with little things that will help you disengage at the end of the day. For example, create a to-do list for the next day, so you aren’t thinking of it on the way home, at night, or when you wake up in the morning. Once you start setting boundaries and creating new habits, you will see the benefits, such as:

  • enjoying your workday more knowing you have a finite amount of time at the office
  • feeling more confident in the work you dobeing physically and mentally healthier

It’s always about replacing bad habits with good habits.

What do you do to disengage from work? What obstacles stand in your way?