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Fix It

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bump signEvery time I pass a sign like this, I wonder what stops us from just “fixing it”.  This idea is something that I believe can be carried to all areas of our lives.

How many things in your own life need “fixing”?  Perhaps we add “it” to our list promising to do “it” later.  There are always priorities and things that become more important or that will take precedence.

As I sit here writing this, many of my “to do’s” are popping into our mind.  I find there are many personal “to do’s” for my list like making time to exercise, or that appointment for the doctor or dentist, or emailing back a colleague or potential client, or there’s always that list of chores…

But, like the sign, I also think of the “to do’s” that we’ as a community, could work together to address that could improve quality of life for us all.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the studies that are done that just tell us information with no plan of correction.  Recently I read an article about the hardest places to live in the United States in the NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/upshot/where-are-the-hardest-places-to-live-in-the-us.html). What frustrates me about an article such as this is that it’s great someone took the time to collect this data, but what are we actually doing about it?  When you look at the map in this article, it is evident that there are more states that appear to be “doing worse” than “doing better”.  I can only hope that someone, somewhere, saw this article and has started a discussion in their community.

I find so many things we do to be in a reactive manner or in a crisis situation.  Working in a quality improvement mindset for much of my career makes me see  all types of areas where we should do something – together—to make things change.  I think that’s the key word.  Together…  Together we definitely get further faster.  Together…  Many hands make light work.

What’s happening in your community?  What is your wish list?  Who needs help?  I find that many times we know there are issues or problems but think, perhaps, the issue is too big; we just have no time to address it; someone else will take care of it; or how many times have we just thought “it’s just a shame” and then go back to whatever we were doing.  I have found, again and again, that people don’t pay attention to stuff that doesn’t directly affect them.  But, guess what.  In some way, everything eventually affects all of us.

Not one of us can single handedly “save the world”, but together… imagine what we can do.  I believe it’s time for us to band together to take action; not wait for others to do it; not wait for legislation to change it; and especially not just be a Facebook warrior.

This is the big idea behind the Enjoy Life Community Project, a way for us to work together in our own communities to make things change – for the better – for all of us – so we can all enjoy life.   I believe every one of us has something to offer that can help someone else.  Nothing is insignificant or too small.  We have all had experience or have some type of expertise to make change happen.

People helping people; Collaboration = success:  These are the principles that drive the time to play foundation.

It’s time to enjoy life.

Love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a 501c3 not for profit corporation inspiring everyone to enjoy life.  Please see www.timetoplay.com for more information.

Are You Ready to Change?

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change

change

Something I’ve identified in my lifetime doing quality improvement and providing education to different groups of people regarding life situations (for example, I recently have been lecturing on diabetes prevention) is the concept of forever counseling.  I’ll even go so far as to call it a cycle of failure.

Although I truly hate the word failure, and I’ll discuss that concept a little bit later in this article, I felt it would be the best word to use to convey the concept I’m trying to describe here.  I believe many industries in our economy bank on our failure – the failure to successfully diet, failure to exercise, failure to have money.  Just look at companies that offer weight loss programs, or the pharmaceutical companies, or gyms.  They hope you fail so you keep coming back and spending your money.  As a matter of fact, the self help industry has grown to be an $11 billion industry.  I’m thinking success is not really the ultimate goal.

With 28 years in healthcare seeing the “sick and sad”, I decided there had to be a better way.  I developed the Time to Play Philosophy with the hope to trigger people to “take their life back”, to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance.  My goal since I’ve started this project, and now through the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit with the mission to inspire everyone to enjoy life, was to “plant a seed”.  What does that mean?  I figured we could have wonderful people (the whole project is built on a “people helping people” idea) with experience in each of these areas (happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance) who could educate others with SIMPLE tips or thoughts that anyone can easily implement into their lives so they could have a better life.

I’ve learned that you can write, talk, tell people and spread all the good ideas or suggestions you want, but unless someone is ready to change, it will not matter.  I’ve seen people go to programs, counselors, courses… they are “in” for the time when they are there, and then fall back into the same routine when they leave.

People close to me even speak about hating their job, not having enough money, or being displeased with a life situation; but still they remain in the same day to day (not mentioning any names here – but, hint, hint — Gregory).

Why?  It’s easier.  Jim, my husband, and I have spoken about this numerous times and he always reminds me about the concept of the path of least resistance.  Think about that for a moment.  Everything in our world does take the path of least resistance. Even water flowing down a hill will go around an obstruction first.

That got me thinking about the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results”.  Think about that for a moment, as well.  I had written about that same concept in my book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” (www.ifIKnewThenBook.com) stating that history will repeat itself if we let it.

So, with that being said, I believe that, no matter what program, coach, seminar, book, class, or anything else you sign up for, nothing will change UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO MAKE THE CHANGE.  Even in the diabetes prevention class I recently taught, I would watch the participants come.  Week after week they had excuses why their weight did not change.  They would say they had a hard week, had an event, had no time to exercise, or didn’t have time to follow the program. Week after week they would have no results and become discouraged.  Week after week they did the same thing, expecting different results, but there were no different results.

There are no different results until you decide that it’s time for that to happen – that it’s time for a change.

This article was not intended to insult anyone or to make anyone feel bad or angry, but to spark a thought to consider what we each need to do to make our lives better.  Each of us, even if we live in the same community or even in the same house or family, needs something different in our own lives to enjoy life.  We are all living our own, different, experience, and we all have different needs.

BUT, I believe it is necessary, every once in a while, for us to take a moment to STOP and evaluate what’s going on in our day-to-day lives.  I believe we are put on this earth to love life and not be a “tortured soul” (explained in chapter 2 of my book).

Let’s expand on this concept of life evaluation.  I believe that we get so wrapped up in the day to day that, every once in a while, it becomes necessary for us to take a moment and look around.  Kind of like a performance review on our own lives by the most important person in the world to us (ourselves).

  • Ask yourself – are you truly happy, healthy, have money (at least enough to pay our bills so you’re not stressed out) and/or a work life balance?
  • Take a moment to evaluate your life situation and then take a moment to write down what things could make your day a little better.
  • Next make a list of possible things you can do (change / implement) to make those things happen.

You have to decide if you could commit to implementing the items on the list.  Sometimes the options are not realistic… I get it.  BUT, I believe that, if you do just one small thing to get from here to there, it could make all the difference.  Also, keep in mind that EVERY MOMENT of EVERY DAY is an opportunity for a “do over” in most cases.  So, take those “do over” opportunities.  Although I used the word failure when I began this article, I believe that, in reality, there is no actual failure, but just learning opportunities.  A learning opportunity that allows for that “do over”.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year”….

No matter what advertisement sounds good, or no matter who tells you that “you should do ___________“ (fill in the blank), in the end, it is up to each of us to decide if we are ready.

I have learned that there are no shortcuts or magic potions.  The answer is easy and lies within ourselves.

It is our own commitment TO ourselves.

So…. are you ready to make that change?  It’s time to enjoy life.

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life. – See more at: www.TimetoPlay.com

Congrats on Building Your Dream!

enjoy life for website

Enjoy Life Community

I woke up to this message on my LinkedIn this morning. “Congrats on Building Your Dream”.  What better way to start the day?

Yes, I do believe I’ve “built my dream”.  I’ll explain.

As many of you know, I’ve worked in healthcare since 1987, mostly in the field of quality improvement.  I have identified that so many of us, young and old, work so hard, or get so caught up in the everyday or in life problems that seem monumental, that we forget we need to also enjoy life.

I’m not exempt from that philosophy. A few years ago I recognized that I had forgotten I needed to enjoy life, too.  I lived always striving for more — more education, better job, etc., so I could be “good enough”. I won’t go into all the details here, but you can read the story in our book, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now”, in which 17 contributors share heart-felt stories of how they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and moved forward to enjoy life, (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com).  If you don’t want to read the book, you can contact me via email (doreen@timetoplay.com) or call 631-331-2675, ask questions, and I’ll fill you in.

I truly feel that, in many cases, we’re doing life “wrong”.  I know wrong is a strong word, but don’t know how to explain this in an easier fashion without going into many pages of text.  Short version is that we can look at statistics of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal ideation, unemployment of our college students, or debt, for example, and the root cause and ramifications of these issues.  The focus in our society, in my opinion, is the “band-aid” approach.  We are very reactive instead of proactive.  My husband and I debate this a lot. He asks, “How do I know I need education in something I don’t have”, and I explain that when we look at people and what they go through, we can give them tools and tips and “plant seeds” of information that they can utilize if they find themselves in a situation.

Hence, the Time to Play Philosophy was born… that is, you have to be happy, healthy, have money, and a work life balance to have quality of life.  People have noted “have money” is not important — I beg to differ.  If you can’t feed your family or pay your rent, you are not enjoying life.  You are stressed out.

So, I’ve been learning — a lot — over these past years.  But, this time it was for MY enjoyment and education in order that I could have the tools and resources I needed to put the Time to Play Foundation together.  The Time to Play Foundation, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit corporation with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  We have an amazing Business Advisory Board and Council of Professional Resources.

We have built tools and resources:  We have articles and information to provide resources so you can have a better life.  We have built Club Time to Play™ to provide learning without labeling, as I believe we are so fast to label.  I believe that, sometimes, labels hurt more than they do good. Sometimes labels create a “downward spiral” in our own minds and hold us back from enjoying life.  Club Time to Play™ is a big idea to encourage us to learn what we need to know so we can enjoy life.  We have created BExtraordinary® make-up and unisex fragrance. There’s a long story how this came to be, too, but it’s intention is to inspire people to BExtraordinary®.  Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are.  (If you want more info on this, go to www.BExtraordinaryfragrance.com and www.BExtraordinaryMakeup.com). We also have the Time to Play® clothing line, the intention of which is to remind not only YOU to enjoy life, but to spread the message to everyone who sees you.

The Pièce de résistance is our announcement of the Enjoy Life Communities™ project.  (www.TheEnjoyLifeProject.org)  This is truly a big idea — to bridge the good works of organizations already being done in a community, to enhance communication between those who live there, to eliminate duplication, to encourage people to work together, and to create a wish list of priorities that the WHOLE community can work together to achieve so everyone who lives there can enjoy life.  It’s a POSITIVE instead of a negative.  It’s a message of “Welcome to Our Enjoy Life Community” instead of living in a neighborhood watch community, anti-bullying community, anti-drug community, at risk youth community, anti-crime community, etc.  Not to diminish the importance of the work necessary to protect our people, but if we focus all of our attention on crime, drugs, at risk, bullying, etc., perhaps we’ll just attract more of this and bring people’s opinion of where they live down.  How much better to live in an Enjoy Life Community™?  Sometimes it’s just a little change in perspective. Everywhere a person lives can be the BEST community ever.  It may only take a change of perspective and new found energy to make things change.

The other day someone called me a “tree hugger”.  That’s not exactly an accurate term as I’m not an environmentalist, but I actually took it as a compliment.  I would rather be a “tree hugger” and some people think I was annoying than be a pessimist, or “go with the flow” to believe that things can’t change and have to stay as they are.  I’d rather be a “tree hugger” than think where I live, and the whole country, sucks.  I would rather be a “tree hugger” and have hope that our children can have a better life — because if we leave things the way they are, we really are on a downward slide.  Yesterday, one of our Business Advisory Board members told me that his daughter was at a store getting rung up and the cashier was exasperated.  Somehow they got to speaking about the “mess” our children will be left with.  I actually wrote about that in our book!  I am tired of people saying, “What a mess we’re leaving for our kids”.  Why leave it a mess? How about if we work towards making small changes to make things better?  Just look at the news – or don’t if you want to have a nice day. There’s rarely a good story being reported.  As a matter of fact, the other day, the news reporter said, “There’s a lot of sad news to report today”.  I, for one, believe there is something good happening out there.  Unfortunately, the good just isn’t as important as inciting fear, hatred, or riots.  If it’s not a deadly illness that you will contract, it’s another story of horror or news that is slanted in a way to create pain, stress and division in our people.

After years of working on the Time to Play project, yes, I’ve “built my dream“.  After giving up and quitting many times, yes, I’ve “built my dream”.  After feeling like I’d never make it, yes, I’ve “built my dream”.  Tree Hugger and all!

But, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of people to reach.  The goal here is “people helping people” and “collaboration = success”. There are tons of people, not for profit and for profit organizations out there doing great things.  We can all work together and get further faster.

There’s much to  be done to encourage those who are discouraged that they have the power within themselves to enjoy life.  I believe this with every fiber of my soul.

We’re all in this together.  It’s Time to Play.  It’s Time to Enjoy Life.  If not now, when?

With much love,

Doreen

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of the Time to Play Foundation.  See www.TimetoPlay.com for more information.  You can also contact her at doreen@timetoplay.com or call 631-331-2675.

Inspire Someone

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Inspire Someone

Inspire Someone

The articles I have written for the past months have all centered on how to empower yourself and how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward, no matter what the situation.  Usually I base these articles on some type of personal life experience I have had or a thought that comes to my mind due to something in the news or something I have seen.

This article is a little different.  It’s more about looking at things outside yourself and actually seeing what is happening outside of your own daily experience.  That overview statement is not meant to be rude. I just know that we become so busy in our everyday that sometimes we don’t “see”.

How many people have you ever talked to, or met, who you thought had an amazing talent or potential.  Have you ever “taken that person by the hand” to help them aspire to be all they can be? We’ve all heard those sayings and phrases like “diamond in the rough”.  The concept here is seeing that diamond and helping it shine.

My son Gregory (he’s a psychology major in NYC) and I speak about people who have dreams and desires and wind up in “dead end” jobs instead of pursuing their passion.  I know that we all get stuck sometimes and have to take a job to feed the kids and pay the bills; however, from personal experience, (it took me 20 years to get my Master’s degree) and seeing others achieve that “life-long” dream, there is possibility for each and every one of us to do what’s in our hearts.

Sometimes, I’ve learned, we just have to chip away at “it” until “it” becomes reality – even taking those 20 years to accomplish.  I read something many years ago by Ann Landers – many of you may never have heard of her.  She passed away years ago and was an advice columnist that had a daily column in the newspaper.  Someone had written to “Dear Ann Landers” and said they were considering going back to school but that it would take them 8 years to complete.  She answered by writing back something like, “The 8 years will pass whether you go to school or not, so why not go?”  Truly, I’ve lived by those words.  I know you can make anything happen that you want to, and I do know the years will pass whether you do it or not.  But, when you choose NOT to do it, there may be regrets.  I choose to live life so I will have NO REGRETS.  What do you choose?

Inspire others is the hope to create awareness to look at the positives, to see the potential, and to stop labeling people as sick, sad, depressed, “no good”…  Perhaps it is time to look at the “diamond” and to see what they can be, to take them “by the hand” and encourage them to go for it.  In my experience this has been the absolute opposite of what actually happens.  I have experienced more people saying why they can’t or telling others why they can’t than actually making it happen.  Maybe it’s easier.  Maybe, deep down, they don’t want others to achieve what is in their hearts.  Maybe that’s tough to say or tough to hear.  Maybe we need to stop believing things can’t be done.

I believe the awareness, or a reminder that WE CAN, is all anyone needs.  Sometimes all someone may need is to take a moment to stop, take a step back, and look at the possibilities.  Sometimes, I’ve realized and I’ve seen, all it takes is the time to objectively look at and evaluate a situation, objective, or goal in order to find paths that will take us to where we want to be or to what we want to achieve.

That’s one of the driving forces behind Time to Play and the Time to Play Foundation.  To encourage people to not have regrets.  We only get one shot at this life, and there may not be an opportunity for “do-overs”. 

Today, when you go to work, the store, school, or anywhere else, don’t disqualify the people who do even the smallest tasks.  Take a moment to stop and talk to them.  What do they love, what is their passion, what do they dream about.

Over the past weeks I have been working to coordinate the I CAN BExtraordinary® Fashion Show to benefit Special Olympics at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY that will be held this Saturday, 9/13.

Why did I choose Special Olympics Athletes to be models?  These athletes inspire me.  They are amazing examples of not seeing an obstacle, of making something happen, of “going for the gold”.

These Atletes don’t let anything stop them from achieving their goals.

They are absolutely extraordinary, and absolutely a learning example to those who think they can’t do something.

They Can.  YOU Can.  Others Can.

Look around today.  Who is that diamond in the rough that just needs a little encouragement? 

Inspire someone.  Go for the gold.

Love, Doreen

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Doreen Guma is a person who has believed in “people helping people” her whole life, leading to the founding of Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com) and the Time to Play Foundation, a not for profit organization with the mission and purpose to enrich the lives of others through programs, public awareness outreach activities, events and learning opportunities that further the concept of enjoying life.  See more at www.TimetoPlayFoundation.org

Attitude

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AttitudeEvery once in awhile (actually more than once in awhile ever since I’ve worked on becoming more present in “the moment” I am in), I find I learn things just by watching or listening to others — whether it is something a person will say in conversation or in passing, or while observing the actions of another.

Recently I learned something very important from my daughter.  We can learn from our children, and, perhaps, they can provide us with the best lessons and guidance…

A few days ago I drove my daughter Jackie to the oral surgeon’s office to have all four of her wisdom teeth surgically removed.  It was her decision to have the procedure, as she was experiencing pain from her teeth.  I was prepared to take care of whatever she needed for the procedure and recovery. 

We arrived at the oral surgeon’s office and a paperwork issue caused a delay in starting the procedure.  I should mention that Jackie was absolutely mentally and physically prepared for the surgery.  She had NO fear or reservations about it in any way.  Actually, she was even excited about it.  I’ve spoken to others who also were excited to have procedures done expecting the pain following the surgeries to be less than what they were experiencing currently.  She was in that frame of mind.  When the dentist’s office noted that they may have to reschedule, she matter-of-factly stated that that was not even an option and that she was there to have her teeth removed.  At that, they proceeded to do the extraction.

She came through with flying colors, like she just went in for a regular cleaning — totally fine, ready to go home.  She tackled her recovery in the same manner – like it was “no big deal”.  She took her antibiotic, ate mushy food that she chose and, for the most part, cooked herself.  She got her own ice packs when she needed them… She absolutely took care of her own business.  There was no pity party here, no attitude of “woe is me”.

Attitude.

I was amazed at her positive, strong, no issue Attitude.

In retrospect, I believe that if she had been fearful about the procedure or had a different expectation about her recovery she would not have had the same experience.  As a matter of fact, that same evening she even took a shower and went to a wake of a friend who had passed away.  She had been totally determined to go, and she did.

Watching her and observing her Attitude and actions brought me to writing this article. 

I believe Attitude and a positive outlook are probably the most important mindsets we need to be aware off within our day… every day.

Hey, I’m certainly not perfect.  We’re all human.  I get tired or overwhelmed at times. I also tend to over-think things and create scenarios and “what ifs”.  Jackie had no “what ifs” in her experience.  She just went with the flow. 

My current daily goals include striving to be positive and to have the best Attitude possible. My goal, and the goal of my family who constantly remind me if my behavior shifts otherwise, is to become aware of an Attitude shift as soon as possible.  Becoming aware of an undesirable behavior allows me to stop, reevaluate the situation or experience I am facing, and make a change in my behavior; a change for the better so I can enjoy my day and my life.

Having a good Attitude is work on my part!  But I’ve definitely acknowledged that my life is so much better without the old “doom and gloom” going on.  And, I believe that having a positive Attitude sure beats the alternative, which may include feeling poorly, down, sad and/or depressed.

Going one step further, I decided to Google the definition of “Attitude”.  Here’s what I found: “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior; example: ‘she took a tough attitude toward other people’s indulgences’”.  There was also a second definition of, “a position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.”

Let’s just review the definition for a moment:  “A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior” – it’s all right there.  What we think may directly affect our behavior. What we feel may directly affect our behavior. I don’t know about you, but the main goal I have every day is just to have a nice day.  At the end of the day, I want to get into bed each night with a smile and knowing that I had a great day — every day.  If what we think or what we feel is not positive and proactive, if what we think or what we feel makes us feel sad or bad, then, hopefully, we have an ability to make some sort of a change in our day or in our lives in order to feel differently, and, hopefully, better. 

Think about the second part of the definition of Attitude for a moment.  “A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state.”  This part of the definition really tells me how what we think or what we feel not only comes out in our mental state and behavior, but in our body mechanics.  How do you feel when you have a bad Attitude — when something is bothering you?  I believe it does come out in our bodies – in our posture and/or in pain like a headache or backache.  Our Attitude affects more than just our behavior.  Our attitude also affects our health – positively or negatively.

Life is not always a bowl of cherries.  Last night I had an opportunity to see someone I hadn’t seen in years.  He was working two full time jobs and was so exhausted.  He had the hopes to move out of State in a few years to retire.  I asked him what would make him keep going in a displeasing situation and wait for “someday”.  Certainly I have realized, over and over, that we stop objectively seeing what is going on around us and to us.  Sometimes we become almost like robots in our actions and our lives.  Many people live “on the hamster wheel” not enjoying life, but dealing with life and not really living.

What is your daily Attitude?  Is it one of positivity, or one of frustration and stress?

Do you wake each day ready to conquer the world, knowing it’s going to be a great day, with a smile on your face?  Or do you start each day dreading the situation where you are in life and just “existing”?

Even if things aren’t perfect in our lives, our Attitude can make things so much better.  We’ve heard the stories of the people who have survived less than ideal situations in their lives because of their Attitude and how they knew they were going to make it through.  Their positive outlook got them there.

Today, perhaps, do an Attitude check, and don’t forget to take a moment to smile.  It’s time to Enjoy YOUR Life.  It’s Time to Play.

Can Food Intolerance Cause Behavior Issues in Children?

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food intoleranceYou may not believe it, but that seemingly innocent glass of organic milk in your refrigerator may have been part of the culprit leading to your child’s meltdown this morning before school.  But how can a food like dairy cause this to happen?  And are there other foods which can cause this?

According to many researchers and nutrition experts the top common food intolerances include:

 

1-      Dairy

2-      Eggs

3-      Gluten (protein in wheat, rye, oats and barley)

4-      Sugar (particularly if your child has Candida, a yeast overgrowth which can effect behavior which is common in children with compromised digestion and/or disorders on the spectrum, like Autism and ADHD, etc.) 

5-      Shellfish

6-      Soy

7-      Foods high in Salicylates

8-      Food Dyes, preservatives, pesticides, GMO’s (genetically modified foods)

The reason for the behavioral problem and its association with food is interesting.   If you are intolerant to a particular food, what occurs is called an IgG reaction.  This reaction stems from the immune system and causes the body to product an inflammatory chemical, called cytokines.  These inflammatory chemicals can inflame the gut, brain or respiratory tract.   Think about how that:

A:  Effects how we feel physically and

B: How that effects us emotionally

Food intolerance differs from a food allergy, because it causes an immediate reaction which signals the body to produce histamine.  A food allergy or an IgE reaction, requires prompt medical attention in some cases.  While neither reaction is fun, the tricky thing with an IgG reaction or food intolerance is that, unlike a food allergy, in which symptoms occur rapidly, it can take 1-3 days for a reaction to a food to occur.   Therefore, if you are not tracking your foods or working with a professional, you may not notice the reaction in which is occurring and/or which foods are potentially affecting behavior.

Behavior challenges come into play when a child consumes a food in which he/she is intolerant to.  If your child has a glass of milk and the body begins to product cytokines, we can see inflammation in the brain which can cause meltdowns, irritability, anxiety, depression, brain fog and more.  If your child already has compromised digestion, eating a food in which one is intolerant to can also cause further damage as it can cause leaky gut syndrome, a phenomenon which promotes malabosportion of nutrients.

My advice:  If you suspect you or your child have food intolerance, you should seek out the advice of a professional or try to keep a food diary for at least 7 days and log all symptoms and behavior.  Sometimes there is a clear pattern, but sometimes testing is required to ensure which foods are the true offenders.  Remember, you are what you eat.  Many people are shocked to learn how much a food was affecting them and how it made a huge difference to remove the food from the diet.   

CHOICE

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choices in life

This week’s article is a general discussion on choice and some things I’ve become more aware of as I’m learning. 

For those who don’t know the story about how Time to Play (www.TimetoPlay.com) started, about 4 years ago I realized I had an amazing life, but that I wasn’t “enjoying” life – I was just going through the motions of getting up, going to work, taking care of what I could fit into a 24 hour day and repeating the same thing the next day.  Then, as now, I have had a WONDERFUL family, kids, husband (together 31 years) and a great job.  I can’t say I have had a bad living experience in any way, but just felt like I wasn’t noticing the “right stuff” as I went along, that the days just flew by, and that I felt like I was missing something. 

Time to Play was founded when I decided to start re-learning how to enjoy my life.  I came up with the Time to Play Philosophy – you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  I’m not going to go into the specifics of why I chose each area in this article; perhaps I’ll do that for next week’s article.  But, the underlying thought here is that I believe we need to learn what we need to know to enjoy life and the goal of Time to Play.  To provide different resources for different people, as I know that everyone’s circumstance is different, and that different people have different needs.  But, each of us REALIZING something needs to be learned or that something needs to change is the most important thought here.  We can only ignore things for so long.  They will always resurface.

The following are the two most important things I have learned, so far, that have made a HUGE difference in how I feel and my general happiness.

The first was learning that I was never in the “NOW”, meaning I was always looking towards tomorrow, not really taking notice what was happening in front of my face.  I realized I did not always take notice and enjoy my present experience; I was always thinking of my “to do” list, what was next, and where I had to be.  I’m sure many of you can relate, and I believe we’re really conditioned for future-thinking in today’s society.  For goodness sakes, there are now Christmas trees for sale in stores in what – September?  It’s no wonder why we’re always thinking about the next thing.

The other thing I have learned, and that’s what today’s article is about, is that I have a CHOICE of how I am able to feel at any given moment.  This was a HUGE revelation and something everyone is capable of realizing.  The most important thing I learned is that it is my choice to remain in a situation.  Whatever I was experiencing at that time could enable me to feel GOOD or BAD.  I have learned that we do NOT have to stay in a situation, whatever it is, if it makes us feel bad. 

I need to digress a moment.  I recently read a book by Florence Schovel Shinn called The Game of Life and How to Play It.  This book was written in the 1920s.  In our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.IfIKnewThenBook.com) I discussed how history repeats itself if we let it.  Since starting Time to Play I’ve become educated through the experiences and teachings of authors including Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peal, Dale Carnegie, etc., who wrote books in the 1950s.  Through these and my recent read by Ms. Shinn, I continue to marvel at the wisdom of learning from people who have been here before us.  That’s pretty much the basis of our book, as well — “Don’t do what we did – pick yourself up and dust yourself off – we made it, you can too — move forward… “, important lessons we can glean from others every day.  I believe that everyone has something to offer that can help another.

O.K., back to our discussion – Ms. Shinn’s book, another I just finished reading, “Ask and It is Given”, by Esther and Jerry Hicks, and awareness and teachings by our own Rebecca L. Norrington, Happiness professional on www.TimetoPlay.com, it is emphasized that we are in control of our situations; that we have the option to feel good or bad.  There’s really no other choice.  Think about it.  If you are depressed you feel bad.  If you are lonely you feel bad.  If you are sick you feel bad.  If you are frustrated you feel bad.  If you are calm you feel good.  If you are happy you feel good.  If you feel love, you feel good.  What would you prefer? 

OK, so I hear you asking, “How is this MY choice?  I can’t control the circumstances of every day that I am involved in”.  I believe, at this point in my learning, that we may not think we have control over our day and our situations, but I truly believe we do…  In line with this, I also now believe we have control over our REACTIONS to ANY occurrence we become faced with.

Stay with me here, and you’ll see why I’m introducing this exercise.  We always say “life is short”, but I, for one, had a hard time trying to grasp that concept.  Time is, kind of, not tangible.  Each day that passes is a day, but what exactly is a day?  I had come up with an idea a few weeks ago that helped me make this tangible.  Take a dollar out of your pocket.  DO IT – I’m watching you (only kidding).  Now, look at the dollar.  Think about paying for this very second of your life with that dollar.  Now let’s go a little broader.  Think of this day which contains 24 hours.  There are 86,400 seconds in 24 hours.  Now, think of paying $86,400 for living this very day.  Did you enjoy spending your “money”?  I realize that life is more precious than that one dollar; even $86,400.  You can’t get back your seconds.  There are no refunds.  I will go a little further and introduce the idea that every day we wake into a situation that is negative to how we want to feel (if we choose that we want to feel good), we are wasting “money”.  Perhaps that will make the concept that “life is short” more tangible for you… it has for me.

Take a quick inventory of your life… your living situation, the things you complain about, your weight, your job… everything.  What makes you feel good?  What makes you feel frustrated or bad?  What do you complain about?  What are your “problems”?

We can complain, blame, or accept responsibility to change.  Unless you are 100% happy with the way things are, the awareness that we have a choice is the key and the first step towards daily and constant happiness.  Studying quality improvement for many years in my healthcare career, I believe there is always room for improvement in ANY situation.

As of this day, I am far from perfect.  My goal is to realize when I start to feel contrary to how I want to feel and to be able to alter my reaction or the situation I am in.  Funny as it is, this awareness has become transient.  My family now helps me “catch” myself when my reaction is not in line with my goals.  My determination to be happy has provided them with more awareness about their own day, as well.

All I want, and strive for, is to have a nice day.  We all deserve the same.  We all deserve the opportunity to enjoy life.

Love, Doreen

PS:  This is the topic of discuss on our Empower Half Hour Podcast, live on Wednesday, July 16 9:30 am EST or recorded and archived – link / listen here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/timetoplay/2014/07/16/choice-empower-half-hour-sponsored-by-timetoplaycom 

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC:  Is the author of If I Knew then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (www.ifiknewthenbook.com). Doreen holds a Bachelor of Science in Management, a Masters in Business and Policy Studies, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Certified Professional Coach, a Certified Life Coach, and a New York State Department of Health Lifestyle Coach.

Doreen is the founder of Time to Play, a place to find resources for a better life.  She came up with the Time to Play Philosophy that you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work / life balance to have quality of life, and believes everyone has the right and the ability to enjoy life.

Contact her by calling 631-331-2675 or email doreen@timetoplay.com.

RESPECT – We all want it

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Respect Time to Play

Respect

I woke this morning with the word “RESPECT” running through my mind.  I realized that getting respect and being respected is a huge priority in my life.  I also believe others feel being respected is necessary in theirs.  I choose to write this article to provide an opportunity to bring awareness to unconscious actions we may have – to spark a change that will eliminate frustration and create more happiness in our lives and in the lives of others.

Let’s look at some ways we may be disrespected and you can see that I may be on to something here…

Let’s look at our family.  Do your family members respect you?  Do they arrive on time* to dinner or show up when they promise to be there (or do you wait frustrated for them to show up or call)?  Do they jump to conclusions without giving you the benefit of the doubt in a situation?  Do they speak with you the way you would like to be spoken to (and vice versa)?  Do they leave things on the floor or not clean up after themselves? The clean up part — we can excuse this behavior as “lazy”, but I believe it really is a respect thing, especially if there was communication to explain expectations.  Did you ever stop to think WHO has to clean up behind us when we don’t do it ourselves?  (This is valid inside and outside of our homes in public places like parks, restaurants, parking lots, public restrooms, etc.).

Let’s look at work.  We spend the majority of our day at work.  Feeling satisfaction and appreciation are most important in the workplace.  These feelings can be synonymous with feelings of respect.  Do you feel taken advantage of or not recognized for your knowledge or abilities?  I think this is all connected… we are emotional beings, after all.  I believe being recognized for your accomplishments and feeling good about being in your workplace are major parts of having job satisfaction.  This could also include fair pay for your service.  Knowing there may be economic hardships in today’s workplace, I know of situations, and have personally experienced, where staff “goes to bat” and actually takes cuts in pay to keep an organization together.  The basis for such an event would have to come from a feeling of respect and satisfaction – or else, truly, they’d “bail out” instead of staying during a turbulent time.

One thing that is, perhaps, my biggest pet peeve is people who don’t return calls or follow-up as they said.  This is a huge phenomenon in business – there seems to be a “game” that people play that all parties may not agree to prior to the beginning of a relationship.  Any sales person can understand what I’m talking about.  Personally, I always go out of my way for others.  I drop anything at hand to help out, and I always see the big picture, perhaps sometimes bigger than the person who I’m meeting with can see.  There’s so much potential in everything that we do – every project we start, every vision we have, every book we write, every story we share.  I see the end, the possibilities, perhaps to a flaw.  I see the dreams people have and what they can offer to another, and I want to make their dreams happen. 

I can give tons of examples where a person will call in distress.  Jim (my husband) and I will usually drop everything to accommodate a meeting, always coming armed with research and suggestions.  How many times have you gone on a sales call or attended to a customer or a client, work really hard to accommodate their needs, and they don’t return calls back?  They’ve apparently fallen off the face of the earth.  My sister, who has been in sales for her whole career, says this is the story of her life.  She works really hard for a prospect, gets them all the info they need, and never hears from them again despite fruitless attempts for follow-up. 

Or, how about when you go on a date –

Why do we have to “hurry up and wait” and guess what the other person’s thinking or doing.  We eventually get the message that they’re not interested in a work or personal relationship; but, OUT OF RESPECT, a quick call or follow-up email should be made.  I do my best to do this.  I, personally, know how bad one feels waiting for a call that may never come.  There are terms to support this, for example, “poker face”, or “games people play”.  I just believe, in consideration of the feelings of another, these games are unnecessary and create significant hard feelings and tremendous frustration in the one waiting.  Sometimes people are on timetables or have things they need to accomplish and they are really waiting on that phone call or email.  I believe respect and consideration for another go a long way.

AND… here’s another one.  Did someone say they were going to do something and then not do it?  Respect comes into play with this, too.  No one likes to wait for something that a person promises that never materializes. 

This is something that causes hard feelings and frustration that is super easy to eliminate. 

I know that sometimes people may “bite off more than they can chew” and become inundated with responsibilities to a point where they cannot physically accomplish what they said they would do.  In that case, just a quick phone call or email to follow up to the other person who is waiting for the “something” would be most welcome.  I NEVER promise someone something and do not follow-up.  NEVER.  That is a super priority of mine; one of integrity and conscious.  You need me, I’m there. I’ll go out of my way to support another and their endeavors.  Think of yourself, think of your actions, think of the actions of others.  If we all consider and respect another, this world would be such a less frustrating place.

I can recall countless situations where I felt I was slighted in my past, and I know I took these actions personally and wound up with terribly hurt feelings.  Still, to this day, I wait for people who say they are going to do something and the “something” may not ever materialize.  The most important recent growth factor I can acknowledge in myself is that now something may bother me – when it happens – and then I will realize it and, within a few minutes, re-rationalize it and let it go.  I work on this every day and am far from perfect.  I try not to take things personally and rationalize that it’s not necessarily an intentional situation of disrespect purposefully done TO me, but perhaps unintentional on the behalf of the other party.  They may not even realize they did something to hurt my feelings or hold back a project I’m working on.

My goal, every day, is and always has been, to take into consideration how other people feel.  To know what my actions will do to them, to realize what I should do or how I should approach something to make someone feel good about themselves.  Am I perfect? Absolutely not; but my intentions are true and I do my best to be aware of how my actions affect others.

I believe respect and consideration go a long way to make amazing relationships… personal and business.  Acting without respect and consideration causes significant hard feelings and conflict.  I believe it may be, truly, one of the largest priorities that should be considered prior to our actions throughout the day.  Perhaps we can try to preface our thoughts or actions with questions like, “If I do ________, then _________ will happen”, “If I do ________ then that will make this person will feel like ________”, “If I do __________ that will make someone feel good”, “I will be taking advantage of _________ if I do _________”. 

No one likes being taken advantage of or feeling badly.  Our actions can easily cause that to happen.  If we’re aware of the ramifications of our actions, we can totally change the course of the day, week, or life of another.

*A quick disclaimer to all my family who read this:  I’m always running a little late.  It’s not a respect thing or done in any way maliciously, but caused by continuously trying to fit 25 hours into a 24 hour day.  It’s something I’m aware of and working on, which is a step towards change.  Hey – I’ve got lots of things I want to do!

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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC is the founder of Time to Play:  www.TimetoPlay.com = Resources for a Better Life.  It’s Time to Enjoy YOUR Life!

Who said? It’s Time to Enjoy Life. It’s Time to Play.

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Time to PlayMy daughter, Jacquelyn, amazes me sometimes.  She’s 19 years old and I believe that she is very worldly and insightful.  She’s got a lot of common sense and insight.  Pretty much, I think she’s taken after her father in this area! (LOL).  I learn from all of my children, and learned something very important from her that I’d like to share with you.

As many people may know by now, I am a huge proponent for education.  I believe education is power, and do agree with many I have discussed this fact with – education alone is not enough.  I believe you need to learn what you need to know so you can enjoy life (what I say all the time about why we provide the resources and articles that we do on www.TimetoPlay.com); AND, you need to take what you’ve learned and take action to make your education work for you. 

That being said, Jackie told us the other day that she did not feel she was benefiting from attending college for right now.  She said that she wasn’t learning things she enjoyed.  She said that she needed to figure out what she wanted to “be” first, before wasting time and money to attend school at this time in her life.  She further noted that, between working almost full-time and going to school she had no time to enjoy her life.  She said the way she was going, she had no time to learn how to play the ukulele, take photos, exercise, or go to the beach.  She just wasn’t enjoying herself and felt exhausted.

Wow.

Neither her dad nor I became upset.  I was actually quite impressed that she was able to realize this and make a decision to take action towards change.  I guess she’s been listening to me “preaching” the concept of Time to Play – that you need to learn what you need to enjoy life and that it’s TIME to enjoy life – before it’s too late.  Hey, you never know what tomorrow will bring, and my biggest hope is that people will take advantage of every moment so that they will have no regrets.

I, myself, started www.TimetoPlay.com to re-learn what I needed to enjoy life.  I had gotten so busy on “the hamster wheel” running here and there, doing “stuff”, working so hard, and (etc.)… that I truly felt I had forgotten how.  As I talked to so many other people, they had forgotten how, too, which is why the concept behind this endeavor is so important.  I’ve truly set out to help 1 million people realize they need to consider the Time to Play Philosophy (you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to enjoy life) and to provide resources to them so they can pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move forward. 

I live and breathe the Time to Play Philosophy.  Nevertheless, I am only human and, at times, find myself slipping back into old habits of working so hard or for long hours, and becoming tired. 

Jackie’s discussion with us really hit home.  She’s 1,000% right, and it’s so important – and necessary – to keep reminding ourselves what is important to us, each and every day.

Ask yourself if you are currently happy, healthy, have money to pay your bills without stressing out, and a work life balance.  If you are, keep it up, keep growing, and keep moving forward.  If you’re not, start learning what you need and start looking for ways to make changes.  You don’t have to change everything all at once, but changes can be small and progress towards a goal. 

Who said we need to go to college, get a job, work till we are so tired, retire with “a few good years” left to do what we “always dreamed of doing”, and then just die. 

WHO SAID???

I think many of us need to revisit our preconceived vision of a “normal” life that so many of us adopt.  I don’t believe taking those once a year vacations are enough.  I also hate that so many of us wish our days away waiting for the weekend.  I believe that we need to plan something wonderful into each and every day to create relaxation in our lives, to make us smile, to make us feel fulfilled.  The adoption of this way of life is not easy.  Start by taking a few minutes of each day and do something you enjoy.  Work up to making every day count, and then work up to making every second of every day count.  After all, every second is actually precious, even though we may forget…

“I’m too busy – I can’t do this now”, I hear you saying. 

I ask you – if not now, when?  It’s hardest to start to implement changes, but it is rewarding once we do.

It’s time to Enjoy YOUR life.  It’s Time to Play.

Responsibility

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As a woman, all my life, I’ve coddled and placated people when things haven’t gone right for them, saying things like, “I understand”, or “I know how hard it is”.

Until today. 

I have reached my limit for being able to listen to the blame game.  I woke up this morning aggravated, which caused me to alter my approach.  No more sugar-coating.  We seem to need a reality check we need responsibility back.

Truly, I understand that things occurred in our society that have caused our new woosy-like, entitlement way of thinking.  I’ve decided not to list specific examples here today; however, it just blows my mind how we overanalyze everything instead of addressing the root cause of the problem.  Where did the question “how does that make you feel” come from, anyway?

Our society has changed, in many ways, taking us from being independent to dependent. Where is our sense of responsibility? We wait for people to fix things instead of us going out there, rolling up our sleeves, and doing it.

I started www.timetoplay.com, first, for myself.  I had become tired and overwhelmed.  I started to become soft.  I realized I needed to learn things so I could take my life back, and then decided to build this project where resources could come under one roof to help others learn – the concept of people helping people vs. the “me” mentality.

The intention for www.timetoplay.com is to provide resources that enable people to take responsibility for themselves.  To learn what they need to know to enjoy life.

A long time ago I realized that people stopped being proactive in this society.  It was always someone else’s fault they were in the situation they were experiencing.  Poor health?  Not their fault.  Depressed?  Not their fault.  Not enough money?  Not their fault.  Doing bad at work?  Not their fault.

Guess what.  It’s our fault if we don’t have the ability to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and fix it.

Maybe things didn’t come along as easy as you thought they would.

Maybe things aren’t always going your way.

Maybe “times are tough”.

Face it.  There are no shortcuts or leprechauns at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold.

Hard work and determination built this country.  Look at the greats that came before us.  People were determined to succeed, to explore, to blaze new trails.

We seem to have gotten away from that philosophy.

Toughen up, people, and stop having a pity party.

Learn what you need to know so you can take control of your life.  After all, we’re only here for a short time.

www.timetoplay.com – resources for a better life.  It’s time YOU enjoy YOUR life.