How to Be There for Someone Going Through a Rough Time

We’ve all found ourselves in a situation where the wheels come off unexpectedly for someone we care about. What do we do? What can we say? Because there’s no handbook on the subject, sometimes we feel so awkward, we do nothing. It’s in our nature to want comfort from others and to comfort people we care about when things go sideways. Let’s try to cut through the awkwardness so we can feel empowered to take meaningful action and be supportive.

“Promise me you’ll always remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  -A.A. Milne 

Connection and community are key elements of what I call sustainable happiness. We are made to be social, and we want to feel like we still belong when we are going through something. We need to understand that when someone is going through something tough, it is about them and not about us. When we focus on our discomfort around their situation and do nothing, that’s when we are making it about us. Understanding that distinction allows us to put our concerns aside so we can say and do things that express the compassion and empathy we feel for the person going through a rough time. 

Oprah Winfrey taught me that we can’t take anything off anyone else’s journey. The lessons in someone else’s experience aren’t meant for us, they’re meant for the person going through it. What we can do is walk beside them to soothe, support, validate and hold space. It’s important that we read the situation carefully, to know how we can offer the best support.  

If the person is comfortable talking, let them talk and ask questions that allow them to share without you having to inject your opinions or advice. Listening may very well be one of the greatest gifts we can offer another person. Let them know you’re listening by giving them physical cues like nodding your head or asking them to tell you more. Place your hand on their arm if it feels appropriate, to reinforce that you’re there for them. Repeat back to them what you heard them say to show them you are listening. As uncomfortable as it may be, resist the temptation to give advice, just be a good listener. That’s enough of a gift.  

If the person isn’t comfortable talking or talking with you, be respectful, don’t take it personally, rather find something you can do for them. Perhaps send a note, an email, a text, or a phone call to remind the person that you’re thinking of them. Just because someone isn’t comfortable talking don’t stay away; take some kind of action. Investigate how you can help by asking friends and family what that person might need. Preparing food can be helpful if you learn what they like or what food restrictions they might have and remember that flowers are always a beautiful symbol of hope. 

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” – Whoopi Goldberg 

Remember that being there for someone is about helping them get through it, not forcing them to get over it. Grief has no specific expiry date, and we need to feel whatever it is we’re feeling when we’re grieving a job loss, a relationship or friendship ending or a death. When we’re trying to comfort someone, we want to ensure that we don’t get into toxic positivity by reminding the person how lucky they are. Let them feel all their feelings without judgment. Down the road, perhaps you can help them reframe their situation so they can move forward but in the middle of a storm we really need a safe place to hold on to. People going through a rough time need us to be grounded in strength; not in the soup with them. 

“Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe.” -Yumi Sakugawa

Life can be messy and while it’s uncomfortable, that’s part of the adventure. Resist the temptation to say to someone going through a rough time “let me know if I can do anything for you.” It’s really an empty offer because while it sounds like you want to do something to help, you’re placing the responsibility on the person going through it; chances are they won’t ask. Instead say, “I’m sorry about whatever happened because you are”. It’s genuine and meaningful for the person. Then take some initiative and offer something specific or circle back at another time with a more tangible offer of help.

It’s important to remember that friends are meant to comfort and not necessarily provide counseling. Should you find yourself in a situation that is beyond your scope, help connect the person you care for with some professional help. 

What we really want to do for someone going through a challenging experience is to let them know that they are part of a community, that they’re important and they matter regardless of what’s happening in their life. Simply validating someone’s feelings when they’re sad or overwhelmed lets them know that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling and reminds them that they are accepted as they are.

The Optimal Hobby Guide: 50 Engaging Hobbies

Now is a fantastic opportunity to embrace those interests that you’ve always wanted to pursue. Whether you’re looking to discover fresh hobbies or rekindle past passions, this ultimate list of 50 hobbies is a perfect place to start:

  1. Gardening: A wonderful hobby that is both relaxing and rewarding. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors, grow your own fruits and vegetables, or cultivate beautiful flowers.
  2. Bird Watching: All you need is a good pair of binoculars and a bird guide to start appreciating the diverse avian life around you.
  3. Painting: Whether it’s watercolors, oils, or acrylics, painting can be a relaxing and creative outlet. Many community centers offer classes for beginners.
  4. Photography: With the advent of digital cameras and smartphones, photography has never been more accessible. It’s a great way to capture memories and the beauty around you.
  5. Yoga: Yoga is excellent for both the mind and body. It helps with flexibility, balance, and mental clarity.
  6. Cooking or Baking: Exploring new recipes or baking sweet treats can be a fun and delicious pastime. Plus, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
  7. Writing: From journaling to memoir writing, to poetry, writing is a wonderful way to express yourself.
  8. Knitting or Crocheting: These crafts are not only enjoyable but also result in warm, beautiful projects that can be gifted or used at home.
  9. Learning a New Language: With apps and online courses, learning a new language is more accessible than ever.
  10. Volunteering: Giving back to the community is a fulfilling way to spend your time, meet new people, and make a difference.
  11. Reading: From novels to biographies to historical books, reading is a timeless hobby.
  12. Pottery: Shaping clay can be therapeutic and also allows you to create functional art pieces.
  13. Hiking: A great way to enjoy nature and stay active. Always remember to pick trails that match your fitness level.
  14. Genealogy: With online resources, tracing your family history has become much easier.
  15. Fishing: This calming hobby can also help you connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors.
  16. Astronomy: Stargazing can be a peaceful and fascinating hobby. All you need is a telescope and clear night skies.
  17. Chess: This classic game is great for keeping the mind sharp.
  18. Dancing: From ballroom to line dancing, dancing is a fun way to stay active.
  19. Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints and good for the heart.
  20. Traveling: Exploring new places, whether near or far, can be exciting and enlightening.
  21. Book Clubs: Join a local or online book club to engage with others who share your love for reading.
  22. Cycling: A great way to stay fit and explore your local area.
  23. Quilting: This traditional craft is excellent for creating beautiful, practical pieces.
  24. Tai Chi: This ancient Chinese martial art is a gentle way to stay active and decrease stress.
  25. Learning to Play a Musical Instrument: Always wanted to play piano or guitar? Now is your chance!
  26. Origami: This Japanese paper-folding art is meditative and results in beautiful creations.
  27. Puzzle Solving: Crosswords, Sudoku, or jigsaw puzzles can keep your mind sharp.
  28. Scrapbooking: A creative way to preserve and share your favorite memories.
  29. Blogging: Share your experiences, stories or expertise online through your own blog.
  30. Wine Tasting: Learn about different wines and develop your palette.
  31. Meditation: A practice that can enhance relaxation and mindfulness.
  32. Model Building: Whether cars, planes or trains, model building is a rewarding pastime.
  33. Magic Tricks: Impress your friends and family by mastering a few magic tricks.
  34. Calligraphy: Learn the art of beautiful handwriting.
  35. Bonsai: Cultivating these miniature trees can be a rewarding and meditative hobby.
  36. Bridge/Card Games: A fun way to socialize and keep your mind active.
  37. Antiquing: The thrill of the hunt can be fun, and you might find some treasures.
  38. Home Brewing: Brew your own beer or make your own wine at home.
  39. Philately (Stamp Collecting): A great way to learn about different countries and their history.
  40. Geocaching: A real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.
  41. Sculpting: A creative outlet that can be done with a variety of materials.
  42. Jewelry Making: Design and create your own unique pieces.
  43. Flower Arranging: This creative hobby is perfect for those who appreciate the beauty of flowers. Learn the art of creating stunning bouquets and centerpieces, which can be used to beautify your own home or be given as thoughtful, handmade gifts.
  44. Bowling: Join a league or play just for fun.
  45. Pickleball: A racket sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis.
  46. Podcasting: Share your thoughts, experiences, or stories with the world.
  47. Candle Making: A fun craft that results in a lovely, usable product.
  48. Digital Art: Use software to create stunning pieces of art.
  49. Golfing: Enjoy the outdoors while playing a leisurely game of golf.
  50. Exploring History: Visit museums, read history books, or watch documentaries to learn more about past events and eras.

Remember, the best hobby is one that brings you joy and enriches your life. Whether you want to stay active, keep your mind sharp, express your creativity, or connect with others, there’s a hobby out there for you. So why not explore something new today? The possibilities are endless!

Happy hobby hunting!

Lucy’s Hilarious Commercial Adventure: A Must-Watch Classic TV Moment

Get ready to bust a gut with the ultimate throwback TV gem! If you’re a fan of classic TV, we’ve got a treat for you. Today, we’re inviting you to join us in watching the iconic episode of I Love Lucy, “Lucy Does A TV Commercial.” In this hysterical episode, our favorite red-headed queen, Lucy (aka Lucille Ball), finally lands a gig as a spokesperson for a hot new diet supplement. But brace yourself, because things get wild and wacky as she takes one too many shots and gets a little too loosey-goosey on set. Don’t miss out on the laughs! Click here to watch the video. 

The Power of Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Fun in Adulthood

Welcome to the Good Life with Kat & Nat. This week they discuss the importance of play and how it’s not just for kids. They explore the benefits of play according to the National Institute for Play, such as promoting optimism and a sense of belonging. Kat & Nat share their personal experience of rediscovering the joy of play in adulthood and encourage viewers to prioritize play and fun in their daily lives. They suggest various activities that can be considered play, such as board games, crafting, and dancing, and emphasize the importance of connecting with others through play.

So, sit back, relax, and join Kat & Nat in exploring the power of play and fun. Click here to watch the video. 

How Play Can Change Your Life for the Better

Were you one of those kids who went outside to play with your friends and the only rule was you had to be home before the streetlights came on? Or if you were underfoot in the house, your Mum would say go outside and play and you did. Happily. Nobody had to teach us how to play, we were ready for any adventure and willing to try new ways to enjoy playtime. That’s kids for you, right? 

According to the National Institute for Play in the United States, we can all benefit from play. The unfortunate part is that we’ve been conditioned to believe that play is for children. It’s time to set the record straight. The NIP states that “play is the gateway to vitality.” According to their studies, play makes us more optimistic, it promotes a sense of belonging and community, among other things. In her recent TED Talk on the power of fun, author Catherine Price says that fun is not frivolous or optional; fun is the secret to feeling alive at any age. 

A few years ago, Wellings’ VP of Marketing Natalie Tommy and I were touring some Wellings communities. I remember so clearly when we were visiting Goderich, Ontario. There was an outdoor play and exercise area on the lakeshore. We hopped on swings, a teeter totter, an elliptical and both giggled while we played on the equipment. We were experiencing the freedom children feel when they play. It was both energizing and inspiring; we felt so alive. That’s what it is to have fun and play. When we share the experience with friends, it increases our delight, we let go of perfectionism and simply enjoy the moment. 

Sure, adulting is hard. We have a lot of pressure with our to do lists, the demands of family, work life and the stress we can feel around the use of our electronic devices but somewhere in there, there must be time for play and fun. Play creates connection, encourages lightheartedness, often induces laughter, and makes us resilient. Play makes for good relationships and it benefits our health, especially our immune system.  

“Play is training for the unexpected.”
– Marc Bekoff 

Consider walking, jogging, gardening, and yard chores as play instead of work to get the ball rolling. Are there games you like to play? I’m a secret Scrabble lover and I’ve been known to lie well when playing Balderdash. LOL. Board games are good play, so why not invite a few friends to join you for an afternoon or evening session? Forget the competitive aspect of game playing and you’ll have more fun. Karaoke is hilarious but maybe that’s just when I try to sing. LOL. Participate in a dance class, take up a musical instrument or if crafting is your thing, invite some friends to join you in making crafts around the holidays or doing some baking together.   

Certain activities help with our brain function and memory like card games, chess, puzzles; any game that challenges the mind. There’s golf and one of the fastest growing sports for seniors: pickle ball. If you don’t like sports or don’t feel up to getting out on the course or the court, try sitting outside on a beautiful day and looking for animal shapes in the clouds. Our beautiful imagination has no limitations, and it loves to have fun. 

During the Pandemic some of us became socially isolated and now that we’re resuming more normal activities, we can focus on connecting with other people to keep ourselves socially fit. Get-togethers are good fun and too often, we wait for someone else to arrange them. Why not organize a coffee or tea party for no reason (or make one up) and invite a few friends to bring their favourite sweet treat to share? 

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
– George Bernard Shaw 

A good conversation can feel like play if you keep the topic light, which you can do by steering the discussion with questions about each other that prompt positive memories. Laughter is good medicine, especially in these strange times, so movie nights to watch a comedy with friends or going to a comedy club should help increase the feeling of having fun together. Too often we humans are eager to share our complaints but complaining does nothing to improve the situation. It’s just a signal that something needs to shift, and it may very well be your mindset. 

I encourage you as I encourage myself to make play and fun a priority every day. As often as possible, share your play time with others to increase the benefit. It’ll make for more joy in your day which will make you a better friend and a better partner. I don’t know who started the rumour that life is serious business, but I can tell you that the power of play and fun will light you up on the inside and help transform your life for the better. 

Enjoy this short video clip of Nat and Kat having a blast. Click here to watch the video. 

The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Celebrating the Life of Margareta Magnusson with Maria Shriver

Celebrating her life in her 80’s, and taking a frank look at it infused with humour creates a secret sauce for her version of the good life.

I think we can all agree, embracing your age and living with a positive mindset adds so much to life. I am blessed to have a front row seat to this at Wellings.

Friends lifting each other up, and quick tour around the community on an electric bike, a song or two on the Karaoke machine and let’s not forget the baking! There’s always baking.

In what ways do you bring the sparkle to your day and those people who light you up? 

Click here to read the article.

The Good Life: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone; The Best is Yet to Come

Are you feeling stuck in your comfort zone?

In this video blog, Kat and Nat explore why it’s so hard to push out of our comfort zones and why it’s important to do so. They share their personal experiences and offer tips and tricks to help you take small steps toward growth and personal development. By embracing new experiences and challenging ourselves, we can expand our horizons, build confidence, and live life to the fullest.

So join us on this journey to break free from the confines of our comfort zones and unlock our true potential. Click here to watch the video. 

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone; The Best Is Yet To Come

Human beings are creatures of comfort, aren’t we? We love it when our life circumstances feel comfortable, safe, and familiar. We’ve got a long list of reasons why we don’t want to give up what’s easy in exchange for what might be difficult even though science tells us that there’s great reward in that trade. 

The comfort zone is a mental state where we feel safe, where we’re not being questioned. It’s life under a cozy blanket; we like it because nobody is challenging us, we avoid feeling anxious and life feels certain. Because it’s not enjoyable to feel uncertain or anxious, our mind tells us to stay put but what it doesn’t tell us is what we might be missing out on. Personal growth and having new experiences all require us to get uncomfortable before we can realize the reward.

The comfort zone is the great enemy of courage and confidence.
-Brian Tracy

Why is it so hard for us to get out of our comfort zone and why should we bother? It’s so hard for us mostly because fear of the unknown can be enough to have us procrastinate. Uncertainty and procrastination are the stepbrothers of fear. Terms like I can’t, I’ve never done that, I’m not good at that or I’m not sure are all expressions of fear and uncertainty. It’s our mindset convincing us to avoid challenge or discomfort. The second part of the question is why should we bother pushing out of our comfort zone? Even though new encounters can feel unsafe, pursuing different experiences helps us learn about ourselves and about life. We expand our horizons and reinforce that we can do hard things. Ultimately, embracing new experiences whether they work out for us or not helps expand our comfort zone in the long run.

I’m an introvert who has developed skills that allow me to meet new people, speak in front of audiences in person and on television. It has been such a great education and I have certainly benefited from stepping outside of my comfort zone. I was once a person who feared her own shadow and by taking many courageous steps, I developed a confidence that still surprises me some days. In the process of learning more about myself, I’ve learned that most of us are afraid and while I have great empathy, I also know the joy that lives on the other side of fear, and I know that courage is the superpower to take us through.

Getting to know more about ourselves our likes, and dislikes, learning about different lifestyles, cultures, expanding our knowledge base in areas of interest or new topics all provide fuel for conversation, open new opportunities for connection and friendship, help develop our character and teach us how to manage fear.

Fear feeds all the negative qualities that make you feel bad about yourself: doubt, self-hatred, and despair. Faith feeds all the positive qualities that make you feel good about yourself: self-confidence, self-love, and hope. When you choose faith over fear, you create a positive destiny for yourself.”
Darrin Donnelly

To switch out of our comfort zone we first must be willing to shift something. Notice I don’t use the word change here. No surprise that my brain doesn’t like change because just like you, I’m wired for safety. But if I say that I want to shift something, I can usually sneak under the radar and start implementing small alterations in my behaviour. Yes, micro shifts are where it’s at for me and I encourage you to resist getting overwhelmed by something new to you and take any small action. This way you’re demonstrating to yourself that growth is possible. This is a great place to start. 

Get out of your comfort zone and bring comfort to others.
-Ravi Shankar

Do you have a list of things you’ve always wanted to do? If not, why not invest some time in creating that list because this activity signals to your brain that you’re interested in checking out some new experiences. Then select one thing on that list and research it by speaking with other people about it or exploring online. If you can, take one small step toward experiencing whatever that activity is even if it’s watching videos online about it. Our brain really doesn’t know the difference between a physical experience, a video experience, or an imagined experience. Enjoy playing around without pressuring yourself to do anything.

The road to success is always under construction.
-Lily Tomlin

Change your routine to get out of your comfort zone. Take an alternate route, order something new at your favourite eatery, try a different exercise. If you’re used to being alone, contact someone and ask them to meet for coffee. If you’re not used to writing notes, do that. If you’re not used to giving compliments, try it. If you’re not used to asking other people how they’re doing, do that. If you’ve never volunteered, why not give it a go? You have so much gold to offer this world and tending to your own personal growth creates a ripple effect. Your courage not only demonstrates what you’re capable of, which increases confidence; it also gives other people permission to stretch what’s possible for them. Let’s vow together to live without regret, to challenge any negative or limiting beliefs and to get out of our comfort zone so that we can live life fully, knowing that the best is yet to come.

Sustainable Happiness: Nourishing the Natural Chemicals in Our Brain

Welcome to The Good Life with Kat and Nat!

Today we will explore one of the top goals for us human beings – happiness. Many of our behaviours are driven by the quest for happiness, but the feeling we get from positive experiences is often temporary. So, how can we nourish more sustainable happiness in our lives?

In this video blog, we’ll discuss the chemicals our brain produces that flood our body with good feelings: serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine. We’ll explore what these chemicals do, how they contribute to our well-being and happiness, and ways to increase their production in our bodies.

Let’s get started! Click here to watch the video.

Palentine’s Day: Celebrating Friendship and Inclusivity

Welcome to our video blog about Palentine’s Day! This special day is all about celebrating the amazing friendships in our lives and promoting a sense of inclusivity and community. Instead of focusing on romantic love, Palentine’s Day is an opportunity to appreciate the love and support of our friends and show them just how much they mean to us.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or somewhere in between, Palentine’s Day is a chance to spread love and positivity to those around you. So grab your besties and get ready to celebrate!

And speaking of celebrating, have you ever had a secret admirer on Palentine’s Day? This year, we encourage you to think about who your secret admirer might be. Who in your life deserves some extra love and appreciation? Is it a friend who always has your back, a coworker who makes you laugh, or a family member who you admire?

Whatever you choose to do this Palentine’s Day, remember that it’s all about celebrating the wonderful people in our lives and spreading love and positivity. So let’s get started and make this Palentine’s Day one to remember!

Click here to watch the video. 

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