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How to Decorate Your Home for the Holiday Season (While on a Budget)

The holidays are quickly approaching, and with that comes spending money, decorating, and buying gifts.  Unfortunately, spending money often creates a lot of stress and puts strain on you.  So, looking for ways to *save money*, but still have your home feel like it’s the holidays?  I’m sure you’re not surprised, but we have some tips to help you inexpensively decorate your home for the holidays!

  1. Candles are very inexpensive and will ensure that your house not only looks and feels like the holidays, but also smells like the holidays.  The smell of fresh baked cookies (or cookie scented candles) will also ensure that your house is filled with all kinds of lovely aromas.
  2. A Christmas tree. Christmas trees can be so, so expensive.  I bought a tree last year for a whopping $24 from Target.  I know, I could hardly believe it, and it wasn’t a Charlie Brown Christmas tree either.  But in all seriousness, a Christmas tree twinkling in your house is the most effective way to fill your home with holiday vibes.  You can get cheap ornaments and lights for the tree as well!
  3. Again, cheap and a great way to decorate!  Even if you don’t have a fireplace mantle, you can hang stockings from anywhere and they make awesome holiday décor!
  4. They can be inexpensive, and they can add holiday vibes to your home.  You can even buy one with a winter-theme, and it won’t be weird to have it out after Christmas is over.
  5. Get crafty. DIY trends are all the buzz these days.  Jump on Pinterest and search “holiday crafts”.  There are a ton of holiday crafts that will be sure to give your house the holiday vibe you are looking for this season.

Be sure you enjoy the holidays this season!  I promise, you can do it… even while you are on a budget!

Why You Should Stop Procrastinating!

Not only is procrastination terrible for your health, but it is terrible for your future too.  Even though it is easier to just push things off until “later”, it is not wise, and I would advise you stop.  Here’s why:

  1. When you procrastinate, there is so much less time for fun. Get an assignment?  Do it now!  Have a big project?  Do it now!  Have to write a blog for the week?  Do it now!  If you “do things now”, you will have time for more fun “later”.  Seriously, I have found that “doing my projects now” is so freeing.  When I have time, I get it done and out of the way so there’s one less thing to stress about.  Then, later, when fun comes up, I can enjoy myself instead of worry about a deadline I have to meet.
  2. Sloppy isn’t good. Sloppy work is an outcome of procrastination at its best.  Typically when we push things off, we are sloppy when we actually do them.  Sloppy work leads to bad grades (if you are in college) and bad reviews (if you are in the workforce).
  3. Who likes stress? Go back.  In the first sentence, I talk about procrastination being bad for your health.  This is because 99% of the time, when you procrastinate on a project, you create stress for yourself and your situation.  Not procrastinating=less stress.
  4. Something can always come up! If you have a month to do your project, and you wait until the third week to start, you could have an emergency that week that would require all of your attention.  Guess what?  Teachers/Bosses won’t understand your situation when they gave you a full month to work on whatever it may be.

Nike says it best… Just Do It!

Key Components to Being a Team Player

The difference between success and failure is a great team. Do you know how to be a great team player at work?

Meet Deadlines.

Whether you have them assigned to you or they’re self-imposed, meeting your deadlines is crucial to maintain good work relationships. When you make your deadlines, you build trust and credibility with your teammates. However, when you miss your deadlines, your teammates are negatively impacted and may begin to resent your lack of concern for how that affects them.

 

Be positive.

While honesty and transparency are vital ingredients for a successful work environment, people thrive in places where positivity is promoted and nagativity (yeah, that’s totally not a misspelling) is squashed. If you have complaints to wage, be sure to balance them with positive vibes. It also helps you keep your own head clear of constant negativity.

 

Value others’ differences.

When we appreciate that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, it makes it easier to understand that it’s more than okay that we’re all not just cookie cutter images of each other. Strength comes in diversity of thought. It’s truly a great thing when you have teammates that think and act differently than you (even if that does mean they drive you a little batty from time to time).

 

Be flexible.

You may be the most structured person in the world, but occasionally flexibility will be needed of you to be the best teammate you can be. Being flexible isn’t the only the only factor that will make you a great team player. Being flexible with a good attitude is what’s needed.  People don’t want to feel indebted to you when you begrudgingly dropped that task you were working on to pitch in on an unforeseen high-priority project that popped up. So be flexible—without making others feel guilty.

 

Practice humility.

When you act humbly at work, you are acknowledging your own limitations and accepting that you cannot go it alone. Thus, the need for teammates! And no one wants to work with “know it all’s.” No. One.  Also, no one wants to work with people who are too good to chip in on last-minute projects when the S.O.S. call goes out for “All hands on deck!” Be the person that is willing to step in and lend a hand when your team needs you, and always look for a way to offer servant leadership to your teammates! (P.S. Bosses love that and look for those qualities when considering people for promotions!)

After all, <3 Teamwork makes the dream work! <3

4 Simple Steps to Relieving Stress & Anxiety

We all live busy lives.  Amid all of the business… it is so easy to get caught up in constant stress and anxiety.  I know it is easier said than done… but in order to live a healthier, longer life… we should always try to reduce and relieve the major stressors and anxieties from our lives.  Read on for 4 simple hacks to relieve stress and anxiety in your life.

  1. I know it can be hard to find time… but do it anyway!  You don’t have to go to the gym, or do any major workouts.  All you have to do is move!  Get out and ride your bike, or go for a small walk.  Find a friend to do it with you and it won’t even feel like exercise, it will feel like more of a social event that you can look forward to every day, or 3 times a week.
  2. Reduce your caffeine intake. It is no surprise that caffeine increases your energy and thus can also increase your anxiety.  Although caffeine can be healthy in moderation, it is not always for everyone.  In addition, reducing caffeine doesn’t mean removing it completely.
  3. Surround yourself with family and friends. Emotional and social support can get you through stressful times.  A lot of times talking about what is bothering you relieves a lot of stress and anxiety.  If you are constantly surrounding yourself with people you trust and can talk to, when things come up… don’t bottle them up.  Let them out and relieve your stress.  Literally get the stress off of your chest.
  4. Laugh! I know, seems simple.  But truly, laugh it up!  Laughing brings more oxygen into your body, stimulates and relieves your stress response, and relieves tension and relaxes your body.  In addition, laughter also increases your mood… which leads to a decrease in anxiety.

Living a stress-free life is not always obtainable, but reducing stress is always an option.  I hope these tips help!

Stop Online Bullying

Since this past Wednesday, October 11th, was National Stop Bullying Day, Southside wants to make sure that we do our part and help you yield caution when spending time online.  We know that there are so many perks to online access and the benefits of having everything at our fingertips, but we also know that spending time online can be dangerous if you’re not cautious.  Don’t let someone bully you while you are spending time online, help to stop cyberbullying!  Here are our tips to protect yourself – and others – online:

  1. It’s not your fault. If someone starts to pick on you, or comment mean things on your images, know that it is not your fault.
  2. If this happens to you, and someone seems to be picking on you, or is being hateful, do not respond. Let them comment, and make sure you step away and don’t retaliate.
  3. Save the evidence. The internet has a great memory.  Make sure that you save what was being commented and if it is something that is a threat to you/puts you in harm’s way, be sure to tell someone- the authorities, a teacher, a parent, etc.
  4. Protect your accounts. If you notice that one person seems to be persistent in spreading negativity across your social media forums, delete or block them from your social media profiles.  When there is negativity, eliminate it.
  5. If you know someone else is being cyberbullied, share this information with them.

We love that you surf the web and have come across our information, but please be safe out there!  We care about you. <3

Recipe for Roommate Harmony PT 3

#3 Prioritize Peace

 

Whether your roommate is your best friend or a complete stranger, for roommate harmony you’re going to have to put some effort into the relationship. Peace between roommates should be a priority.  It is important to enjoy your living situation.  As I am sure you would agree, the last thing you want is to come home from a long day at work or school and walk into a room oozing with tension.

 

If you make peace a priority, less problems will arise and sharing your living space will be smooth sailing! Do not underestimate the importance of roommate harmony, or the effort it will take. It will be worth it and it will always require some amount of work, no matter the circumstance.

 

If you are rooming with a good friend, for example, it will require effort to re-establish your relationship as roommates. Sometimes rooming with good friends can create extra challenges because your friendship is at stake and can possibly be compromised whenever issues do arise. If you do choose to room with a good friend, make sure you both put your friendship first and don’t let little things, like dirty laundry, get in the way!

 

Now, the same goes if you are rooming with a stranger.  It’s still important to make a great effort.  Again, everyone wants to be happy in their homes and not dread going there.  So, if you are rooming with someone you don’t know very well, it is still extremely helpful to try to get to know them and make peace a priority.

 

Don’t remain strangers with your roommate! Learn about them and learn from them. Having some form of friendship with your roommate will help to keep things peaceful and harmonious.

 

~By Colleen McCrum

Recipe for Roommate Harmony PT 2

#2 Learn each other’s Love Languages

 

You may have heard of the Five Love Languages: quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, and gift-giving. Author Gary Chapman and others write about these and suggest that people have their own ways of giving and receiving love.

 

The five categories are helpful, but the broader idea is what’s most important. The idea is that sometimes when you try to show your friend love, it still doesn’t make that person feel loved because they might feel love differently than you. This happens all the time, and it constantly mystifies us. But, the simple truth is this: many of us speak different love languages and long to be loved in a unique way.

 

When it comes to roommates, it is helpful to understand their love language. For example, maybe you appreciate acts of service. To make your roommate feel loved, you do her laundry and pack her lunch because that is what you would want her to do for you. Meanwhile, your roommate is a quality time person. While she appreciates you packing her lunch, she misses spending time with you, and wishes that instead of spending time packing her lunch, you would make it a priority to spend a few minutes touching base with her in the morning.

 

Paying attention to your roommate’s love language includes paying attention to what they like and dislike. It could be simple things like learning their favorite food and least favorite type of music. Once you know these things you have the tools to help keep your roommate happy, which is an important part of roommate harmony.

 

Everyone desires to be loved.  We just have to figure out what the other appreciates the most.  You can do it!  <3

 

Recipe for Roommate Harmony PT 1

#1 Communication is Key

When you are living with someone, you will get to know them on a very interesting level. It is only when you live with a person that you discover all their crazy quirks, like being obsessed with decorative urns, sleeping with their hair in pigtails on top of their head, and having way too many pairs of pajamas, to name just a few examples from past experiences…

Roommates are fun for so many different reasons. But mostly because you get to share a lot of unique experiences together, like protecting one another from stink bugs and answering awkward text messages for each other. You also get to have some sleepy-pillow chats and de-brief the day with someone who can’t escape your endless chatter.

However, along with discovering what your roomy looks like without eyebrows and how adorable they look with their bedhead, you are bound to come to learn about some less endearing traits as well. Maybe they have a pet peeve about keeping the shower floor and walls immaculate, or maybe they require complete silence, where you bloom with background music.

Whatever the case may be, there are bound to be at least a few bumps in the road because of different living habits, personal preferences, and personalities. However, those bumps can be minimized by clear communication about your own thoughts and feelings. If your roommate is doing something that bothers you, tell her in a clear and kind way. This gives her the opportunity to change the habit that bothers you, or explain to you why she does it that way. Even if she doesn’t change what she is doing, at least she knows that it bothers you and should try to be sensitive to that. Expressing your expectations and desires also sets an example and lets her know that she is free to communicate whatever is on her mind as well.

Roommates are fun, I promise!  Just be you, and be honest at all am times! Stay tuned for next week’s blog à Recipe for Roommate Harmony PT 2!

 

~Written by: Colleen McCrum

4 Ways to Treat Yourself This Fall Season

Fall time is here and we want you to treat yourself this season.  Truly, we are all about women at our center!  So, here are 4 ways to treat yourself this Fall season and feel good about being Y-O-U.

  1. Allow yourself to buy a fall-flavored Starbucks drink. Pumpkin Spice Latte anyone?  We know they can be expensive and they aren’t always the healthiest drinks, but at least let yourself have it once this season.  You deserve to splurge!  And while you’re drinking it, be sure to enjoy every moment of it!
  2. Visit a fall festival. I know our lives get so busy, especially with college in session and the constant grind of studying and always having homework.  However, it is important to make time for you and take a mental break.  So, go out and enjoy nature during this beautiful time of year!
  3. HIKE! Again, I know this time of year is busy with school and there is always added stress from approaching finals.  But go out and enjoy the weather!  It is important to get all of your studies done, but it is just as important to stay active and get exercise so your mind is refreshed later on.
  4. Bake your favorite treat! Again, fall only comes once a year.  So, treat yourself to your favorite fall treat.  Make this treat a guilt-free sweet.  Don’t worry about the calories or the sugar in the snack, just enjoy it!

Be YOU this fall and make sure you treat yourself every once and a while.  <3

6 Steps to Success

Feeling “stuck” in life is a familiar feeling we have all dealt with at times.  Whether it’s school, relationships, finances, or even family… we’ve been there.

So, what can we do to ensure that we don’t stay “stuck” in one place in life and we are successful and always moving forward in life?  Follow these 6 steps for achieving success in life:

  1. Don’t focus on motivation. Focus on commitment.  When looking towards a goal, if we focus on the commitment and dedication we have, the motivation and drive will come.  Passion and commitment drive success.  Are you passionate about what you are doing and where you want to go?
  2. Don’t focus on results. Focus on knowledge.  Knowledge is power.  If you stay focused on the knowledge, the discovery, and the importance of improving yourself , your motivation will be fueled and results will soon follow.  Focus on the path to success, not the destination.
  3. Look back and make notes about failures. We all make mistakes.  It is a way of life.  But don’t dwell on those mistakes.  Figure out what went wrong, and don’t make the same mistakes again.  Learn from your past, don’t relive it.
  4. Make a plan. I just talked about leaving your failures in the past and moving forward… a plan will absolutely make sure that you do just that.  Plan for what you can, and not what you can’t control.  Fill your calendar with what you will do, when, and how.
  5. Manage money. A lot of times people feel stuck because they are financially restricted.  Money management is so important to take seriously while in your 20s.  Start saving.  Every little bit you can save just put away.  Your future self will thank you.
  6. Recharge. Burnout is real.  Whatever you are doing, if you do it day in and day out without stopping… it’s so easy to get burned out.  Take a step back, relax, read a good book, and drink some coffee while enjoying the weather.  Recharge your body and your motivation.

#7 is my favorite and I think the most important:  Focus on what is important, but make sure you take time for yourself.  <3




3759 W. 95th St.
Evergreen Park, IL 60805




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