From Cluttered to Clear: The Importance of Creating Space for Personal Growth

Creating space in our lives is essential for inviting in new opportunities and experiences. Whether we’re in a season of transition or simply looking to improve our current situation, making room for the next best thing requires a willingness to let go of what no longer serves us and actively create space for what will. In this video, we will explore the benefits of decluttering both physically and mentally and discover ways to actively cultivate the space needed to bring in new and exciting things in our lives. Click here to watch the video. 

Moving On To Create Space For Your Best Life

Happy New Year. May this year bring you much joy, kindness, and blessings too many to count. January always feels like a fresh start to me. It’s an opportunity to look at where we can edit out what no longer serves us and invite in new experiences.

Last fall, I spent some time looking at what’s in my clothes closet because it was time for the annual clear out. While I feel very blessed to have a lot of clothes, some of them have been waiting for a turn for far too long. My lifestyle has changed a little during the pandemic and some of my pants seem to have shrunk, so it was time to evaluate what clothing matched my current life.

Timing is everything because as I was thinking about clearing out my closet, I received a call from a local charity, offering to pick up any clothing or household items I didn’t need any longer. All I had to do was leave bags on my porch and they would swing by and pick them up. In a flurry, I edited my wardrobe and my surplus gift drawer, filling bags and my heart, knowing that the beautiful items I was parting with would be well received by someone else.

We humans have a habit of hanging onto stuff, people, and situations sometimes for too long. We’re attached to the past because it’s familiar, so even when situations, relationships and sometimes pants are no longer a fit for our current life, we hang on, allowing these things to take up space that we really need for something or someone more in line with our current circumstances.

I understand the courage it takes to edit people and situations in our life that aren’t aligned with our current needs. It’s been a personal project of mine, over the last ten years or so. Sometimes, those of us who are recovering people pleasers must learn that unless a situation or a relationship is an enthusiastic yes then it’s really a no or a not right now. That means setting healthy boundaries to ensure we’re not compromising ourselves any further.

“If we don’t say yes authentically, we say yes resentfully, and that leads to far more problems than if we’d said no in the first place.”
-Natalie Lue

In my experience, we must let some things and people go to create space for what truly reflects wherever we are right now. I love what Eckhart Tolle says about surrender: “To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and to do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action.

“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
-Eckhart Tolle

When we yield to the flow of life, in other words, when we accept our circumstances instead of wishing our life could be different, we’re creating space for new opportunities and we’re setting ourselves up to take clear action toward the next steps on our adventure. At this time of year, we’ve been conditioned (I say conned) into thinking that if we make resolutions to change our habits or introduce new ones, we’ll finally achieve our dreams and goals. Then there’s the inevitable lunch bag letdown that sneaks in because the pressure is overwhelming, and we feel disappointed in ourselves once again because we didn’t get something right. It’s such a waste of our precious energy and time. Wouldn’t it feel better and be more productive to focus on some healthy thinking habits and take small action in the direction we want to be going in? For those of us who are recovering people pleasers, choosing to focus on saying no or not right now to an invitation that we really don’t want to accept is empowering. Practicing even this one thing will help you to feel increasingly convinced that the decisions you make are right for you. Choosing to prioritize your own health, happiness and well-being by saying no is not a negative, although at first it may feel that way. Trust me, with practice and kindness, this gets easier.

Habits become habits because we choose something repeatedly until it’s an engrained part of who we are. I wasn’t always a grateful person, I lived in a lack mindset for many decades of my life, thinking I didn’t have enough, I wasn’t enough, and I couldn’t do enough. The result was that I lacked happiness, enjoyment, and satisfaction. Once I started nurturing the habit of focusing on what I’m grateful for in my life, the results shifted. I started noticing all the ways I had enough because I had learned to count my blessings instead of noticing what was wrong with everything. I learned that I am enough exactly as I am, and I am doing enough because I’m committed to doing my best. It’s remarkable how powerful we human beings are when we acknowledge that life is a beautiful, challenging, dynamic experience and every one of us is deserving of all the good life has to offer; all we have to do is create space to receive it.

Bringing the Sparkle: Simple Ways to Brighten Someone’s Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration, but it can also be a stressful and overwhelming time for many people. In this video, we will explore some easy and practical ways to bring a little extra sparkle and cheer to the lives of those around us.

Whether it’s a thoughtful gift, a kind gesture, or a heartfelt message, there are countless ways to spread joy and lift the spirits of those we care about. So let’s get started on bringing some cheer to the world and lighting up the holiday season for all!

Click here to watch the video. 

Resilience: The Secret Weapon for Success in Life

Welcome to our video on resilience! Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to handle stress and challenges in a healthy and effective way, and to adapt and thrive in the face of change. It’s a critical skill to have in today’s world, where we are constantly faced with new challenges and uncertainties. In this video, we’ll be exploring the concept of resilience in more depth, and sharing some strategies and techniques for building and strengthening your own resilience. So join us as we dive into the topic of resilience and discover why it’s our ultimate superpower. Click here to watch the video. 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like the Holidays

December is an exceptional month and one of my favourites. It marks the end of the calendar year, the return of more daylight and many gatherings for religious and family celebrations. It’s a time of both reverence and joyfulness. We all have ways to mark the special occasions we celebrate and outside of the more formal religious traditions, it’s a good idea to make sure our rituals match our lifestyle.

It’s been said that the festive season is the most wonderful time of the year, and it can be. I’ve chosen to stop making the full turkey dinner for our Christmas celebration; instead, my gift to myself is purchasing the meal already made, requiring some easy reheating in the oven. When you add up the time and effort it’s a fair trade with the added benefit of more time for me to enjoy the day.

If the Pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to have a deeper appreciation of what’s important to us, choosing to invest our precious time wisely. It’s not so much how many friends you have but the quality of those friendships. The Pandemic reminded us that we’re all in this together and helped us feel more comfortable caring for each other. These are the things to celebrate during the festive season.

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
-Hamilton Wright Mabie

The Danish and Norwegian cultures set the mood for feelings of well-being and pleasure with their tradition of Hygge (pronounced hew-guh). It’s a general living concept that focuses on coziness and enjoying the good things in life with good people. If you’re on your own, simply enjoying your morning cup of coffee or tea in a cozy setting or dressing warmly to enjoy a walk outdoors would do the trick. Perhaps taking a bubble bath will help create that comfy feeling.

Gathering with people is a feature of Hygge, given the long cold winter days. We can create a welcoming atmosphere to share food and drink with friends but consider doing it during the day for lunch or snacks instead of in the evening for dinner. It’s a way to connect over festive food and uplift one another, in a season where some of us may struggle. 

May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.”
-Mary Anne Radmacher 

Nostalgia can take hold in December, when we’re reminded of family and friends we miss or traditions we long for. Recently I learned from an ageless 97-year-old woman at Wellings of Corunna that it’s better to focus on what we can do instead of complaining about what we can’t do anymore. It may be the perfect opportunity to start some new activities that will light you up this festive season or re-ignite some of the traditions you loved before the Pandemic started.

If you long for the gatherings you used to have, organize a gathering with a few friends, where everyone brings some food to share or have everyone contribute to having it catered. Instead of missing all the baking you used to do for family and friends, come up with one or two things you love to make and share your goodies with people around you. How about a special sweet gift for that person who might be challenging to love or who might be struggling in some way?

Consider creating your own holiday cards or purchasing cards and sending them in the mail or dropping off at someone’s door, to lift their spirits and let them know you’re thinking of them. Again, consider someone who might be stressed about something because they need our kindness now more than ever. In fact, kindness is the best one-size fits all, everyone needs it kind of gift.

If you’re considering what to give your family and friends, why not ask them what they need instead of giving them more stuff. Maybe they need help paying bills or they need a night off from taking care of children; your gift could be to pay for a babysitter. One Christmas my husband and I were gifted with a three-month soup subscription and another year we received a three-month cheese subscription. Being creative with gift giving is lots of fun and makes the person receiving your gift feel special.

I find twinkle lights so festive; I have them glowing in our living room, all winter long. They’re inexpensive and rather magical to me. I’m sticking with two traditions that have deep roots in both my husband’s and my family.  My mother-in-law’s white fruit cake is something people line up for and the treasured plum pudding that my Mum and Godmother made will grace our table and will be shared as gifts. These limited-edition homemade treats evoke the spirit of Hygge (which makes me think of a hug) bringing up warm, cozy memories we all have of the festive season.

This year, as you reflect on what’s important to you, enjoy sharing the spirit of the season with others and remember to be a gracious receiver. Appreciation and kindness are two of the most needed gifts of all. Wishing you much joy, peace and Hygge this holiday season.

Graceful Aging

Aging gracefully is about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to appreciate it. With care, you can mature like wine. Here are a few tools we love that you can add to your life toolbox of resources to keep you happy and living well with us at the Wellings.

1. Be skin-friendly
Protect yourself with sunscreen and clothing. Try getting yearly skin checkups with your doctor, and drink plenty of water to make your skin happy. It helps keep skin healthy and reduces indications of aging.

2. Get fit
Regular exercise lowers your heart disease and cancer risk and prolongs your mobility. Exercising reduces stress and improves sleep, skin, bone, and mental health. Plus, many studies link a sedentary life to chronic illness and early death. Active choices include walks, hikes, vacations, and group workout programs.

Five hours per week of moderate-intensity activity, 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or a mix of two or more days per week is recommended.

You can consider aerobic exercises: walking, dancing, and cycling. Muscle and bone-strengthening activities use weights or resistance bands: balance training, and cardiovascular and muscle-building workouts.

 
3. Mental wellness is key
Being joyful and managing stress helps you live and age healthily. Why it’s important to see friends and family. A robust social network improves mental and physical health and longevity. People with a positive perspective about aging live longer and recover from disabilities better. Learning to accept aging can make a difference. 
 
Enjoy life. Spending time doing things you love will make you happier. 
 
4. Reduce stress 
The impacts of stress range from premature aging and wrinkles to heart disease. Among the proven strategies to reduce stress are: Meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. 
 

5. Sleep enough
Good sleep is good for your body and mind. Also, it’s good for your skin. Getting enough sleep: reduces heart disease and stroke risks
it will also help you reduce stress and depression and helps improve focus and concentration by reducing inflammation.

6. Try new things
New and meaningful activities can give you a sense of purpose and keep you motivated. In addition, those who indulge in hobbies, leisure, and social activities are happier, less depressed, and live longer.

Finding new activities might give you a sense of purpose.

7: Be mindful
Acceptance and living in the moment are crucial to mindfulness. In addition, practicing mindfulness has various health advantages that might help you age better.

8. See a doctor
Regular visits can help discover problems early or before they develop. Your medical visits depend on age, lifestyle, family history, and health.


At The Wellings, we know that aging gracefully is about health and happiness, not wrinkles. So, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, surround yourself with affection and positive energy. Stay well, my friend.

Cut Your Cable Bill

My husband and I have been reluctant to change our cable package for years. He has his favourites and I mine, but it was more about what a pain it would be to do.

Well, last month we took a leap of faith and cut off the cable. It felt great to do; to finally make the decision and it was so easy, thanks to the help of our son! The good news is, we still have the channels we frequently watched and there isn’t as much mindless TV watching going on either.

Right at Home provides a few more tips on the way we can save money on our essentials. Click here to read the article. 

Resilience Is Our Superpower

The widely accepted definition of resilience explains our ability as human beings to adapt well when times are tough. In my view, resilience is not only about our astonishing capacity to endure difficult experiences, but also about our ability to adjust and cope with situations in a way that empowers us to emerge stronger, to thrive in the aftermath and to integrate the lessons learned. We do all of this without thinking much about it; it’s more proof that we are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.

We see resilience in action every day at Wellings, as folks adapt to living in community. Over the past couple of weeks, Natalie and I were blessed to visit several Wellings locations and were struck by the many life stories members wanted to share. We hear resilience in many of them, like the gentleman who was living alone in a five-bedroom home, doing his best to maintain it before choosing to give up the space in his house for space in his life to enjoy. Not long after moving into Wellings, he broke his arm and has found great support from his new community to do simple everyday tasks.

Too often we think we can’t do something or we’re too frightened to take a risk to see whether it will work out. It’s interesting to observe the air of confidence our community members have after moving into Wellings. One woman shared with us that her blood pressure and anxiety were both high, while she did her best to take care of the family home alone, after her husband passed away. After three months of living at Wellings, her mood has completely changed: her blood pressure is down and she’s enjoying life. 

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
-Betty Friedan


There’s the couple who had been experimenting with different ways to right size their lifestyle, after giving up their family home. They moved around in a motorhome, so that they could see the country and spend the winter away from the snow. Once they heard about Wellings, they decided to take the plunge and see if our style of community living was a fit for their active lifestyle. Now they’re leaders in the community, spreading positivity and forging great relationships.

There’s the farmer who lost his wife and wasn’t used to going to events on his own. About eight years ago, this music lover decided to go to a concert alone. He was standing in line waiting to go in when he met a lovely woman in line behind him. She had also lost her spouse and while neither of them had purchased a ticket in advance the music was magic that night and brought them together in marriage and eventually, they chose to make their home at Wellings. They were looking for a Carefreedom lifestyle and what they found was a welcoming community, where they can thrive.

One of the most amazing stories I’ve heard from our community members is from a woman who started by saying that she is the most blessed person. She went on to say that on her birthday at the beginning of the Pandemic she wasn’t feeling well. After loving nudges from her family, she asked her partner to take her to the hospital. She had a heart attack in the car and died. Fortunately, she was revived in just a few minutes by the hospital’s medical team. This happened twice more on the same day, for a few minutes each time. She lights up when she shares her story and now that she and her partner are living at Wellings, she’s sharing her joy of living in the moment with everyone she encounters. She sure shines bright.

We meet people who have moved from other cities to live at Wellings because they recognize the power of having positive social connections. Initially it’s scary not only because of a geographical move but a shift in lifestyle. Once settled into the community, they tell us it was the best move they could have made. New friendships are forged and there’s the all-important feeling of being part of something that feels familiar yet fresh and invigorating.

“Resilience: we all have a lot of it, but we don’t think about it because fear always dominates. Change is good but fear always dominates.”
– Kathie Donovan 

Resilience is not something we’re simply born with, it’s an adaptive process that can be learned. If you want to nourish more resilience in your life, here are some ideas to inspire you.

-Recognize that life’s challenges and setbacks are temporary and are setups for the next chapter.

– Choose to be optimistic and look for the silver lining in every situation.

– Recognize that some things in life are out of your control and act on the things you can manage.

– Participate in new activities.

-Ask yourself what is most important right now and act on those items.

– Make stress management practices like exercise and breathing techniques part of your daily routine.

– Control your thoughts; don’t let them run wild with worry. 

–  Make it a habit to help other people.

– Accept help from other people.

One of the greatest gifts I’ve received from our members is a woman who approached me after one of our talks in the community. She said that she wasn’t expecting what she experienced and was happy to share with me that she learned something about herself. I asked her what it was, and she replied, “I learned that I’m important.”  We are all important and we matter at any age or any stage of life. The beautiful thing about getting older is that we have plenty of experience and hopefully lots of wisdom to help us see that connection and community are important pillars. 

 I hope that you feel inspired by some of the stories I’ve shared here and recognize that the connections our members are making in their community bring joy to their lives, which has a ripple effect. Choosing to live at Wellings is truly a fresh start for many and after speaking with members of our communities, it’s clear that the future of aging looks bright. Thriving in community is one of the secrets to success in this next brilliant chapter of life.

Choose Compassion Over Judgement to Thrive in Community

Judgement says, “I see you; you’re different from me.” Compassion says, “I see you and we’re in this together.”

Judgement makes us unavailable for new information; compassion opens our hearts and minds.

We spend a lot of energy being concerned about other people’s judgement of us for any number of reasons. Too often, our worry prevents us from doing things we might really enjoy like meeting new people or having new experiences. What we forget is that other people’s judgement of us reflects something in them and has nothing to do with us.

People are going to judge us; that’s a fact of life. It’s how we respond that makes the difference. When we choose our response, we must remember that we don’t have to take everyone’s opinion on board because their view isn’t about us at all. However, if we feel their judgement is warranted, we can ask ourselves what we can learn from it.

People have judged me because I’m short in stature. Truth be told, being small has been a ticket to the front of the line more times than I can count, and I’ve never felt that my height was a disadvantage. You know what they say about good things coming in small packages, right?

When I worked in mainstream television, I had someone tell me that I was too short to work on TV. I mean what do you do with a comment like that? Truthfully, I was offended and what I learned from that encounter was to lighten the moment because I understand that people don’t necessarily intend to offend. It happened quite a bit over my career because our beautiful imaginations project all kinds of qualities onto the people we see on television that don’t necessarily match with reality. When someone would say, “I didn’t expect you to be so short,” I’d say “well you have to be small to fit into the box” when televisions were shaped more like a box. It lightened the moment and diffused any awkwardness for the person making the comment. That’s employing compassion in the face of judgement and for me it is always the right thing to do.

“We cannot always do great things on this earth.  We can only do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa

As much as we find it easy to judge others, we have an equal supply of compassion we can call on. It may not be our first thought but remembering that we’re in charge of our responses to other people, we can choose again and select compassion instead of judgement any time. It takes practice but it’s a habit I strongly recommend nurturing, especially when we’re living in a community. You never know how the compassion you show someone else is going to impact their day. One small act of kindness, instead of judgement, can make the difference between someone feeling alone or feeling included.

When we care about other people and act from an intention of compassion instead of judgement we benefit because we feel good, our family, our friends, and our community all benefit too because the intention and the action coming from compassion help to lighten the moment and diffuse any awkwardness, just like I did with the people who said silly things to me.

“Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”Pema Chodron

There is one very important piece about compassion and judgement that we can’t overlook. Nobody is more judgemental of you than you are, and I think that needs to go. I wouldn’t want your fear of making a mistake, saying the “wrong” thing, or failing at something to prevent you from enjoying your life and trying new things. When we’re compassionate toward ourselves, we stretch what’s possible in our lives. If something difficult or painful happens, think of how you might comfort someone you care about and say those things to yourself. Take good care of yourself; when your body wants rest, listen, and give yourself a rest. Cultivate a habit of speaking kindly to yourself about yourself. Accept yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings as they are without trying to change anything. This practice of being nonjudgemental softens us and increases the compassion we feel for ourselves, which in turn makes it easier to be compassionate toward other people.

Here are a few ideas to help nurture the habit of being compassionate:

  • Listen. Being a good listener means asking questions and listening without having to talk about yourself or offering advice.
  • Put yourself in someone else’s place. Imagine what it must be like to be new in your community for example and invite someone new in by making them feel welcome. If someone in your community is going through a tough time, send a card or drop off a thoughtful gift to let them know you’re thinking of them. Ask them how they’re doing and just listen with compassion. If someone is celebrating something, the same thing applies. You never know the impact you can have on one person or many people just by letting someone know you’re thinking of them.
  • Say encouraging things to others and know that they feel better for having been in your company. 
  • Use the words thank you as often as possible.

Compassion is one of the keys to living well. Remember we’re all human, we all have a story, we all have feelings, and we are all in this together.

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