3 Tips for Staying Sane

The world buzzes around us. Traffic, chatting, digital media, and there’s always something that has to be done RIGHT NOW. If you’re single, you probably have a full-time job and an active social life. If you have a family, you’re usually busy working and dealing with family things. There’s very little downtime, and if you are lucky enough to have two hours to yourself, you either catch up on something or are too exhausted to enjoy it.

So, what can we do? How do we balance a busy lifestyle with inner peace and happiness?

Game organization

3. Stay Organized. Have you misplaced your phone or keys lately? What about left home without something important. Don’t worry, we’ve all done it. The trick is to stay organized and have a place for everything. If you have a purse or bag, place it in the same spot every day when you get home. Use hooks or baskets for keys, phones, wallets, etc. to ensure they are always where you left them. To help with memory and to-do lists, set calendar reminders, and send yourself emails and texts (my favorite).

Keeping things clean also helps more than you realize. I use chores as a way to stay active while working at the computer. For example, write for 45 minutes, then get up and vacuum. Proofread for 30 minutes, then do some laundry. I always straighten things up as part of my nightly routine, too. Waking up to chaos can ruin a potentially good day. Tip: If you have kids, encourage them to do the same. This helps them learn good habits and reduces your to-do list.

Ocean City, MD

2. Find ways to relax. Not everyone has time to regularly soak in a bubble bath or attend an hour-long yoga class. But you have to take a break. Hobbies are a great way to relax and do something you enjoy. However, they should not be stressful or feel like work. They should serve as a reprieve from the daily grind and make you happy. If you’re hobby starts to cause you stress, it may be time to try something else.

And to those who enjoy a drink or beer at the end of the week; there’s no shame in that (wink). Sometimes that’s the only thing you have the energy to do. Tip: Some things I do are: painting, reading, watching my favorite shows and movies, turning everything off and enjoying silence, and listening to music.

Nashville Comic Con 2014

1. Have fun. The most important tip I have, and I cannot stress it enough. We all need fun, and little things can give us great pleasure. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for fun.” Bull stuffings. You have an hour to not work or stroll through social media feeds for personal fun.

Some things I do include going to concerts and movies, taking little trips, visiting my favorite places around town, chatting with friends, running out in the rain, and trying new things. It’s a proven fact laughter reduces stress, releases endorphins, and works the abdominal muscles. Some doctors even say it’s equivalent to a mild workout!

Honorable mention (and often the hardest thing to do): Don’t be afraid to say No. If someone asks you to hang out, and you’re tired, take a rain check. If you want to spend an afternoon on the couch instead of visiting family, do it. We often worry too much what people will think, when at the end of the day, we have to answer to ourselves. They may be disappointed or irritated, but they’ll get over it. And if not, you’re probably better off without them.

Let us know how you stay sane in the comments section! We love to try new things too!

Please keep in mind what works for me may not work for you, but if you think about it, I’m sure you can find your own ways to stay sane.

Off the Top of My Head: Neo-Retro

Off The Top of My Head

Neo-Retro

I recently had to explain what a MP3 player was to someone just a few years younger than me. I also had to explain what an MP3 was. Her music player was her phone; her music was “iTunes” or “Amazon.” This conversation made me realize that something as relatively recently widespread as MP3 players have kind of been passed by. And a lot of technology and trends have followed suit. This in my mind is “neo-retro”: items or fashions of very recent history that have briefly dominated a sector of the culture only to be replaced by the ever moving march of progress. Here were some of the ones that crossed my mind:

These envelopes made every trip to the mail box like a trip to the video store…

Netflix Disc Delivery: In 2006 I was given a free month of NetFlix from a friend at work. I was hooked on the service and soon signed up as a regular customer. Sold by the cheap monthly rate that would give me unlimited movie rentals for titles you couldn’t find anywhere else. The service sounded ridiculous. I get a disc in the mail? Then send it back and get another one? But after trying it I was able to watch seasons of TV shows and new-release movies in marathons. You became a master of scheduling; you could calculate when you’d watch a disc so you could have the next one by the weekend. I eventually upped my service to include Blu-Ray discs, and eventually added the streaming service, because it was free with my subscription, despite the paltry video library available digitally. Then a shift occurred. The digital library expanded. NetFlix upped their prices so the digital service was cheaper than disc delivery. I eventually cancelled the disc service and now watch everything on Netflix streaming. During a brief period about 2004-2010 to “Netflix a movie” or “Netflix a TV show” meant you got all the discs delivered and watched them in quick succession. Now no one uses it that way. To “Netflix” only refers to the digital service and while disc deliveries still exist the convenience and vast library available digitally has shifted the rental culture. I still remind people, however, that while Netflix (and later Amazon Prime) changed the way we get movies…it was the disc delivery service that spelled the end of the local video stores. Yes. It was that big. But it has come and gone as the prime mover in movie services.

Don’t laugh. AOL changed the way people contact each other over the computer. Despite what people may say about them!

Email and IM: Yes email still exists. Yes it’s widely used. BUT. There was a time when email was the preferred way to contact people. Now email has been relegated mostly to business/commercial purposes. I use it all the time at work, I use it for internet purchases, and I stay hooked in through email for bills, etc. I even get the occasional email from a friend containing a link or something specific. But is it the most common and popular way I connect with friends and family? Absolutely not. Even though it is available on most smart phones. Now even my friggin’ insurance company offers the choice “enter email address” or “connect via Facebook.” Really? Really? My insurance is good with using my Facebook profile as my main contact info!? Similarly AOL began the wide-spread use of Instant Messenger services. All through high school and college I used IM to connect with friends more than any other form of communication. With the proliferation of affordable cell phone plans, text messaging, and services like Skype the classic instant message has been sent to retro history. So much that the venerable AOL IM sound gets guffaws of retro laughter…..for those who remember it.

MySpace: MySpace is still recent enough and its decline so public it’s not as long-lost as the others on this list. Though it was preceded by other similar concepts, MySpace really started the entire popular social media concept. I had a MySpace page and honestly I still prefer the customizability and personalization capable in a MySpace page. You could set backgrounds…music…colors…all kinds of things. When Facebook started to take over the world MySpace slipped into decline, or rather it went back to what it was created for, advertising bands. But, briefly, MySpace bridged that gap between “here’s my email address, write me sometime” and “here’s my Facebook name, friend me” to dominate social interaction.

Trends move quickly. So quickly sometimes they have come and gone before you can even get used to them. “Retro” has become hipster cool, so having records and tapes is considered fashionable…while using any of the above “neo-retro” items is usually considered “lame” or out-of-date.

So the next time you decide to move all your contact info to Facebook or its inevitable successor…remember nothing stays on top forever. The big thing of today is tomorrow’s has-been!

To see more about RevPub’s thought of tech trends check this post out!

New Technology? I’m Better Off Without It

RavenRant
To Whom It May Concern,

I proudly admit that I activated my first smartphone about two months ago. I also admit I own CDs and DVDs and buy them new when something good comes out. Sure, I have an mp3 player and stream from Amazon, but at the end of the day, I pop in a CD to relax or drive. I receive A LOT of grief about my practices, and people try to argue why their way is better. Well, this week I’m setting the record straight: I’m actually better off than they are. Here’s why:

The smartphone: Ok, they’re not that smart. The text features auto-fill incorrectly so often, I turned mine off. The batteries do not last a full day unless you buy an extended one; they constantly work to connect to wireless or 3 or 4G; and you have to buy separate heavy-duty cases in case you drop it. And if you do, you usually have to replace it. They are also harder to use because you navigate to what you need, whereas with a flip phone, you just flipped it open and away you go!

My flip phones were awesome. Nine-key texting that auto-filled (usually correct). It seems I’m always at a computer, so why do I need to be connected all the time? And when I’m not working, I’m not connected. It’s a well-deserved break, and I’m good with it. No one should be connected all the time. When I dropped my flip phone, I dusted it off and continued using it. No cracked screens, no replacing, and they were more affordable. How much money have you spent on phones the last two years? I’ve spent $30.

Digital music: The difference is compression (thanks, James). The files are compressed (made smaller) so they can fit on the device. Guess what? The sound quality suffers. Most probably don’t realize it, but there is quite a difference in a CD in the car and plugging in your iPhone to listen to music. There’s real bass and clarity. Also, sites go down, devices break and get lost, and believe it or not, the Internet could one day not be there. I’ll still have my CDs though, so I don’t depend on a cloud network or connection for music. Being able to share music so easily is definitely awesome, but we should still buy CDs.

Streaming videos/movies: Same concept. If the connection is slow or there’s bad weather, it spins and buffers and tries really hard to work. But sometimes it doesn’t. With a DVD, you don’t have to worry about it. You place it in the device, and it works – assuming you’ve not abused it, of course. What if Amazon or Netflix takes a movie or show off? You don’t get to watch it and may have to buy it anyway. When you buy a DVD, it’s forever yours.

E-readers and tablets: I love the idea of these, but I prefer hard-copy books for one reason: They are easier on my eyes. I read an average of 30 hours a week, and eye doctors have proven that screens are terrible on your eyes, and cause eye strain, neck pain and headaches. Reading a hard-copy doesn’t cause that damage. You can read in any position and don’t have to worry about glare from the screen or sun. There’s no charging a book, and it won’t break. Once you’re done, you can pass it on or donate it – everyone wins! You don’t have to spend money on special glasses or protectors, and I read faster with hard copies. I bet screens actually slow you down.

To all of you who argue with me about my ways, there’s my argument. I don’t have everything at my fingertips, but walking into the other room or across it is good for me. I don’t lay around or sit for too long, and I enjoy more peace of mind than most I know. Given the choice between connectivity and peace, the latter will win every time.
Feel free to comment below, and I look forward to hearing from everyone!

4 Ways to Stay Young at Heart

By: Joey Petty (guest writer)

With healthy diets and workouts sweeping the nation in efforts to live longer, it’s important to remember those won’t necessarily keep you young at heart.

I am fast closing in on the big 40 and am still in great touch with my youthful side. So, I thought I would share some tips that will keep all of us from turning into that old geezer we swore we would never become.

  1. Try some new music. We all have favorite genres and artists, however, try something completely different and see if it fits you. Recently, I have become hooked on female-fronted pop-core or punk-pop. Paramore was the first band I tried. After realizing how much I enjoyed this upbeat, feel-good music, I found similar bands that were harder (Picture Me Broken) or softer (Darling Parade) that provided me with an energizing youthful feel. I am among the older fans at the concerts, but I am never the oldest!
  1. Read a young adult book. If you have not read Harry Potter, shame on you! Books can help you remember the problems you faced as an adolescent and all the joys that followed. As I got older, I became more work and family focused. Not that it is a bad thing, but I love getting lost in a fantasy that reminds me of my past aspirations. It also helps me realize it is never too late to follow my dreams.
  1. Watch cartoons. There is nothing that simple, slapstick, nonsensical humor can’t cure. Cartoons are one of the best stress relievers. A simple episode of SpongeBob can make a bad day disappear into laughs. “It could be worse, you could be bald and have a big nose,” is my favorite quote whenever someone is having a bad day.
  1. Play a game. If you’ve ever watched Tabletop, then you see how board games can help you relive the “glory days”. There are numerous simple card games as well (Flux, Munchkin), and they will have you laughing and hanging out with friends like you used to. If you are a hardcore gamer, there are now more ways to connect online and play than ever before. If you are the athletic type, try an adult athletic league (even kickball) to rev up your engines.

You may feel younger, and be surprised when you better understand your kids and his or her friends when you can remember that it is alright to let out a bit of your wild side.

Feel free to share your tips and comments below!