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Easy Tips to Incorporate Wellness into Your Day (from FireSpring)

Work, family, kids, activities, hobbies… there’s a lot going on in our lives. With so much to do and so little time, it can be pretty difficult to take a moment and really focus on you. How are you doing? How do you feel? How can you take care of yourself?

Wellness is all about living a complete, healthy lifestyle and incorporating smart choices into your everyday life. It means taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When things are busy, wellness often takes a backseat to other priorities. Luckily, today we thought of a couple ways to bring it back to the forefront of your life. Here are some easy tips on how to incorporate wellness into your day.

Stick to the same bedtime.
One way to make sure your body feels energized and relaxed is to stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Bad sleep doesn’t necessarily come from staying up late, but rather from inconsistency—long nights here, short nights there, sleeping during the day then not being able to sleep at night, etc. Pick a time that works for you, then try to stick to it as much as possible. When you make sleep a priority in your schedule, your body will thank you for it.

Eat breakfast.
We get it. You’re rushing, the family’s in a hurry, everybody is running late. But, like most experts say, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and make sure to incorporate a delicious, nutritious breakfast into your morning. If morning time really is a significant rush, invest in some breakfast bars or on-the-go snacks so you can still get something in your stomach. You will have more mental and physical energy to start your day off and keep it going throughout.

Do easy exercises.
Have a few minutes over lunch? Go for a walk around the building, a quick jog around the blog or even just some light stretches. Exercise is important, but it can be difficult to be involved when life is already crazy. Figure out some ways to incorporate easy exercises into your everyday activities. For example, if the kids are watching TV, do some quick stretches. As tough as it is to make a habit, exercising now will make you feel better later.

Keep a journal.
Have you ever kept a journal before? Experts say that keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts or feelings can have significant mental and emotional health benefits. It helps you get everything out on paper, where you can make sense of it or choose to simply let it go. Choose a time every day to sit down and jot out a few ideas, whether that be in the morning when you’re just waking up, or at night as you’re processing the day. If you want to incorporate the feeling of wellness in your life, journaling is a great first step.

Try meditating.
Take your mental, emotional and spiritual health even further by practicing some meditation in your spare time. Meditation can simply mean sitting down, relaxing, taking deep breaths and focusing on being present in the moment. Meditation will help you to feel more at peace in your everyday life, and fully accept everything around you, for a more well-rounded self.

When life is busy, personal wellness can often be our last priority, but it doesn’t have to be. There are simple steps we can take every day to fully incorporate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness into our lives. Try out some of these ideas next time life is crazy and see how you feel.

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Volunteers Beautify ADAPT Clubhouse Garden

Brain Injury Services is grateful for Volunteer Alexandria and their annual Spring for Alexandria event that took place this past month. Spring for Alexandria is an event where employees from the City of Alexandria are organized into different groups that volunteer around the county. During the 10-day campaign, city employees and community members visited the ADAPT Clubhouse, a program of Brain Injury Services, to volunteer their time to beautifying the location’s garden.

“The biggest project the volunteers from the city completed was installing a new shed in our garden” said Kimberlee Baugh, Director of the ADAPT Clubhouse. “The shed our members were previously using was falling apart and it was time for a new one to be installed. It is important that the tools our members use stay secure and dry.”

The ADAPT Clubhouse garden is maintained by the Clubhouse members who use it as an environment where they can work on skills as well as relax. Along with building the shed, the volunteers from Spring for Alexandria painted the railings on the front entrance ramp of the property.

There are many ways to volunteer at Brain Injury Services! If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities then visit our website at www.braininjurysvcs.org.

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5 Reasons to Run for a Charity This Summer

Summertime is here, which means it’s the season of swimsuits, tank tops and flip flops. Everyone is out and about, having fun in the summer sun. This time of year, a lot of people try to get in shape for their upcoming vacation, or even just to have that extra boost of confidence at the local pool. But how can you get in shape while also living an altruistic life?

Turns out, exercising and living an altruistic life don’t have to be mutually exclusive. There are lots of ways to give back while still getting fit. One way is through a local charity run. If you’re looking for a way to get in shape and get involved in the community, we’ve got you covered. Here are five reasons to run for a charity this summer.

1. A charity run will motivate you.
Let’s be honest: running is tough. But what makes everything worthwhile is knowing that you’re running for something greater than yourself. Nothing helps motivate an exercise quite like doing it for the benefit of someone else.

Knowing that you’re helping to raise money and awareness for a cause you care about is a great way to motivate yourself to work hard and run the best race you can. Running for a cause gives you a purpose—a mission greater than yourself, which will ultimately push you in those last legs of the race.

2. A charity run is open to everyone.
The best news about charity runs? They’re open to everyone! You don’t have to be a professional runner or even particularly good to participate in a charity run and help raise money for your favorite local nonprofit. You can start at whatever level experience you have and make a difference for a cause. Plus, since most charity runs are open to everyone, it’s an awesome opportunity to get your friends and family of all ages and abilities together to participate.

3. A charity run is a great bonding activity.
That being said, a charity run is also a great opportunity for a bonding activity. Getting together and raising money for the same cause is a fun way to bond with friends, family members and even complete strangers. When all of you care about a similar cause, and are going through the same challenges to support that cause, you bond together like nothing else ever could.

4. A charity run is good for your health.
Of course, the obvious reason to run for a charity: it’s good for your health! Charity runs are a great opportunity to get out and start exercising for something worthwhile. Whether you’re practicing to warm up for the run, the run itself or cooling down for the following weeks, it’s a chance to get off the couch and get active. Try it out to see how you start feeling better, healthier and more engaged in an altruistic life.

5. A charity run makes a difference.
Charity runs help make a difference in the community. The money they raise often goes toward an important cause in need, and you can be a part of that. You can help fund research to cure pediatric cancer, bring awareness to a disease that has affected your life or raise support for domestic violence victims in the area. Whatever you care about, chances are there’s a charity run for it close by that you can get involved in.

This summer, live an altruistic lifestyle while getting in shape by running for a local charity. Check out nonprofit organizations in your area to see what events are available, then start training! Have fun, get fit and get involved to support a cause you care about.

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Give Dad the Gift of Altruism this Father’s Day

Father’s Day is just around the corner on this coming Sunday, June 18th. On this day we celebrate the men in our lives who have filled the role of “father” through their love, kindness and positive role modelling.

Yet for some, Father’s Day can be an especially hard day. Some individuals may not have enough resources to get gifts for Father’s Day, their father may be absent or the role of their father may have never been filled. How can we celebrate this day while remembering those among us in different situations? Today we’re going to talk about how to give Dad the gift of altruism this Father’s Day.

1.Respect those whose fathers aren’t present.
One of the hardest yet most valuable things you can do to celebrate an altruistic Father’s Day is to recognize that many people may not have a paternal presence in their lives. Whether their father has passed away, is serving our country or is not a part of their lives, Father’s Day can be a difficult time for many.

While this certainly doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to celebrate the day yourself, it does give us an opportunity to respect people from different situations. Be careful in how you word phrases, share posts or even treat others on this day. Recognize that this day may create contrasting feelings for people, and respecting these feelings is a way to share compassion.

2. Consider those who have different kinds of fathers.
Along with those whose fathers are not present, there are also different kinds of fathers. Some people consider their grandfather, uncle or even mom a paternal figure in their lives. Some individuals may have an adopted father or multiple father figures. This Father’s Day, spread the gift of understanding by recognizing those who celebrate their different kinds of fathers.

3. Give your dad a gift that gives back.
For the father figure in your life, celebrate an altruistic Father’s Day by giving a gift that gives back. Check out different programs both locally and nationally that have the option to buy a gift while also donating money or services to a cause.

Oftentimes, both nonprofit organizations and charitable businesses will have gift choices where proceeds support a cause close to your heart. Check online or in your community to see what gift you can get dad that supports a mission he believes in.

4. Spend time doing what he wants.
Of course, one awesome way to celebrate Father’s day is by spending time together as a family doing activities dad is interested in. These may not always be the “most interesting” ventures, but having everyone together to celebrate is worth it. Dads provide a loving, stable force in the family, so celebrate his commitment this Father’s Day by spending time doing some of his favorite hobbies and pastimes.

5. Get involved in the community.
Finally, have an altruistic Father’s Day by getting involved in the community as a family. Find a nonprofit cause your dad cares about and volunteer or donate to celebrate the day. This way, your family gets to enjoy the day and share that enjoyment with others in the community.

This Father’s Day, give Dad the best gift: a caring, compassionate life. See how you can support others around you and give back this Sunday. Together, we can create a more altruistic world.

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Interacting with People Who Have Disabilities

According to the United States Census, nearly one in five individuals live with some kind of disability. That’s a pretty high number. Yet for some reason, for those who don’t have a disability, it can still be difficult to interact naturally and normally with those who do. Why is this?

Awkwardness or uncomfortability when interacting with people who have disabilities can be traced all the way back to when we were little children. Parents often tell children, “Don’t stare!” or “It’s rude to ask questions.” While these suggestions may be well-intentioned, they can end up having negative consequences later on in life when connecting with people with disabilities.

While every individual is unique and has their own preferences, there are some general guidelines to follow when interacting comfortably and respectfully with people with disabilities.

Just relax.
Oftentimes, the biggest issue when interacting with someone who is disabled is not wanting to be offensive. Able-bodied persons try so hard not to be rude or make a mistake, that they end up getting flustered, awkward or even completely avoiding the individual who is disabled. The first thing to do in situations like this is just relax. If you treat the individual like any other person, he or she will know that you’re trying to be respectful, even if you slip up sometimes.

Use “person-first” language.
Many (but not all) individuals prefer what is called “person-first” language. This simply means recognizing the person for who they are, rather than by his or her disability. If you must acknowledge someone’s disability, some examples include “Katie has cerebral palsy” rather than “disabled person” or “that girl in a wheelchair.”

Avoid patronizing.
No one likes being patronized or treated like a child. Never talk down to a person with a disability. This means avoiding child-like vocabulary, pet names or talking unnecessarily louder than normal. Phrases such as “You are so cute!” or “Wow, look how brave you are” should be avoided. Waking up in the morning and going to the store is not “inspirational,” and patronizing remarks or phrases such as this can have an especially negative effect.

Ask before helping.
Most individuals with disabilities know how to take care of themselves, or have someone who is trained to help. While automatically helping someone may seem kind, it can be frustrating or even dehumanizing for a person with a disability. Things such as taking a person’s arm and steering them in “the right direction,” putting on their jacket for them or pushing someone’s wheelchair can be very invasive. If you see a person who appears to be struggling, ask his or her permission first before offering your help.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Finally, when you’ve established a relationship and the situation is appropriate, don’t be afraid to acknowledge the person’s disability and ask respectful questions. Avoid making assumptions, engage in meaningful conversation and make an effort to get to know the person for who they are, rather than just their disability.

Follow the Golden Rule.
Or better yet, follow the Platinum Rule: treat others how they would like to be treated. Take your lead from the person you’re interacting with to see how they prefer to be acknowledged, treated and described. Share in their perspective to gain valuable insight.

Remember: every person is unique and has his or her own preferences. These guidelines are not universal, but can be a great start for bridging the communication gap and interacting across different abilities. Try these next time to see how you can learn and grow in an altruistic lifestyle.