What are Elderberries and What Can They do for Me?


Elderberries for Health
Elderberries are one of the “hot” nutritional items these days. Perhaps you haven’t even heard of this plant until recently. I have great childhood memories of picking elderberries off roadside bushes in rural southern Wisconsin. The berries, after being painstakingly stripped off the stems were made into wonderful pies and jelly by my grandmother and mother. The bushes slowly disappeared as roads were widened and other factors affected them. I always loved the flavor and was thrilled to find the jelly at farmers’ markets in more recent years. I had no idea of the health benefits as I spread the delicacy on toast and biscuits!

Elderberries are seen as beneficial to health in many ways and are now cultivated widely. The focus of this article is on how elderberries boost immunity and can alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

Everyone wants more antioxidants in their body, and during flu and cold system this is especially important. Elderberry, like many other fruits and herbs, provides an exceptional amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants work to keep you from getting illnesses and fight off infections since they protect your cells from free radicals. These free radicals can do a lot of damage to your body, lowering your immune system, and making you susceptible to illness.

Elderberry also has vitamin C, which is another great way to raise your immunity and keep you from getting illnesses and chronic diseases. Elderberry has about the same amount of antioxidants as other berries, including goji berries, blackberries, and blueberries, also with a high amount of flavonoids. Additional immune-strengthening compounds also exist in elderberry, another great bonus.

Taking a dosage daily of one of the elderberry syrups or juices on the market can be a preventative measure during flu and cold season. If you feel symptoms coming on, up your intake of the handy medicinal elderberry syrup.

Research has shown that elderberry syrup works wonders for various symptoms related to these illnesses, including congestion and headaches from both the cold and flu, inflammation, and digestive issues as the result of the influenza (flu). You can try a little elderberry syrup alternating with traditional cold medicine, or try just the elderberry with other natural remedies for a day or two to see if you notice any changes.

I have found elderberry syrup quite effective in fighting off the first symptoms and diminishing the time of a cold if I wait too long to start taking elderberry syrup.

As always, consult your doctor before trying any natural remedies. With a flu, if you have a high fever or dehydration, get medical attention right away.

There is an incredible amount of information available for your perusal. In the meantime, I suggest a couple of products that I have tried and which have been helpful. (These are my affiliate links; as always, you never pay more to use them.)

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Extract  –  Not as sweet as the syrup

Elderberry Lozenges

There are also dried elderberries available for you to use in teas and to make your own syrup, etc.

Dried Elderberries

 

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Taking a Much Needed Break

Long Beach, CAMost of us have times when we want to take a much needed break –  get away from our routines, our involvements, even some of the people in our lives. Is this true for you?

This fall I had the incredible opportunity to do just that for 10 weeks. It was truly a miracle, a synchronistic happening, or whatever term you might use for something that was outside normal expectations. I was a house-sitter for friends who were out of town for an extended period of time. They felt more secure having someone stay in their home for at least part of that time. Guess where they live? Long Beach, California – 5 blocks from the ocean.

After having a very challenging several months on a couple of levels, I was eager to step out of drama, disappointment, frustration and more. I did what was necessary to leave my house unoccupied for that period of time with the help of dear friends. That included emptying and unplugging the refrigerator, turning off the water and water heater, and having those friends agree to check on the house periodically.

My intentions were to first relax and unwind, and then to spend more focused time working on my online business along with visits and adventures with some friends. I continued part time work virtually, which is so incredible to be able to do. I was also experimenting with actually living in southern California, since my family now lives there, and looking at housing possibilities. The time culminated with taking care of my grandchildren for nine days while their parents were on vacation.

What I Experienced and Learned

Some of the things I experienced and learned during what I called my “Sojourn in California” were the following:

+ An extended time away can truly provide relief from stress and issues that seem intractable.
+ Time passes more quickly than I imagined possible; 10 weeks seemed like such a long time but before I knew it, it was over.
+ Being in a new setting, especially one which is so different from where I live in Nashville, provided great opportunities to see my surroundings and enjoy them. In our everyday settings, we go into autopilot and miss so many things.
+ Experiencing a new setting without having a car was a wonderful experience – walking so much felt good and allowed me to experience the neighborhood in a way driving everywhere could not have.
+ Using a ridesharing service (Lyft) when I did leave the neighborhood to visit people, etc. turned out to be a fascinating way to  hear the unique stories of each my drivers. What a way to meet such a variety of people!

Everyone cannot have ten weeks away; I encourage you to think about how you can get some of the benefits in other ways. Even much shorter periods away from your routines with specific intentions can be really helpful. Your intentions might be to totally disconnect, to immerse yourself in a different locale mostly on foot, to meet and share stories with as many people as possible, to isolate and write, etc. Choose what you think will help you the most. And most of all, when you need a break, figure out a way to make it happen!

Gratitude is a Powerful Force!

Gratitude helps you growMany people are in a gratitude mode during the days of November leading up to Thanksgiving. The real challenge for some of us is to carry it beyond that day as so much around us switches to Christmas and beyond. The pressure increases to purchase, produce events, perform in many ways, and it is easy to lose our attitude of gratitude! I invite you to pledge to yourself to carry that attitude through the entire holiday season and into the new year. I believe it can have benefits for you during this busy, demanding time of year.

So often these days, the negative is sensationalized and the positive is ignored. You see it in the news, in magazines and newspapers. You hear it in the grocery store, at work and even from family and friends. All this negativity can be overwhelming to the point of wearing a person down.

It can be really difficult to avoid feeding into all of it. If you’re focusing on the negative rather than the positive, you are doing yourself a serious disservice. You are harming your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical body. You could be straining your relationships, hurting your career and much more.

Use this FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal to get your started with this practice. http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal

Each day there will be a reflection on a particular topic and an invitation for you to write about it – brief or extensive, it’s up to you. This format will take you deeper on 30 topics, and you of course can add other things that come to mind. There are blank pages at the back of the journal for that purpose. It’s your journal to use as you wish! Print it out and decide on a time of day to use it for the next 30 days.

DOES THIS WORK?

Maybe you are skeptical about the hype you hear about the positive effects of gratitude. By incorporating gratitude you will find a new or renewed balance and energy. Gratitude is an emotion that comes from appreciation. It’s an awareness, a thankfulness for the good things in your life, in you and in the world around you. Gratitude is a powerful thing. It can turn a negative into a positive. It can be the fuel for taking on things that are important to you with renewed energy. It can change how you feel inside. It can bring hope and happiness. It can improve your health, your relationships, your career and your ability to make a difference in the world. It can literally transform your life.
When you express gratitude, it diminishes the negativity in a powerful way. Studies show that practicing gratitude leads to:

• A feeling of optimism, joy and satisfaction.
• Less stress, anxiety and depression.
• A strengthened immune system.
• Lower blood pressure.
• The ability to bounce back quicker after a traumatic event.
• Stronger relationships.
• A feeling of being connected to your community.
• Feeling less victimized by others or by life.
• Being able to recognize and appreciate what you have rather than what you don’t.
• Becoming more compassionate and empathetic.
• A better quality and more rewarding life.

Access your FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal here: http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal

Practicing gratitude changes your perspective on life. Whether you choose to journal in the morning, or at night, or both, is up to you. Choose a time and be consistent. Spend a few minutes thinking and writing about the topic of the day. May this become a habit that goes far beyond the 30 days! I believe you will see some great results.

Reduce Overwhelm Fog With 10 Minute Tasks

ListTo-do lists, planners, planning pages – hard copy or electronic – are tools we use to manage the many details of our lives. The more segments of our lives there are, the more things there are to remember and to do. Home, school, work, volunteer commitments, side business, personal care and development… and more. Sometimes it is all pretty overwhelming. All of these things cause us to experience overwhelm fog.

There are major projects and undertakings that we need to do over weeks or months as well as simple tasks that are urgent and lots in between. The major projects have many smaller parts and tasks that ideally will be spread over time to avoid last minute overload, panic and less-than-ideal quality. How do you deal with all of this?

Are you someone who adopted a system of keeping track of and accomplishing things years ago, found that it worked at least adequately and have continued to use it to the present time?

Are you someone who tries different approaches and systems as you hear about them and never settle on one consistent way to operate?

Are you someone who eschews systems and may make simple lists but not much more?

Are you someone who absolutely writes down everything that you want to do and has voluminous lists all the time?

Looking at options to manage the details of life can be very beneficial to our focus and ability to feel at least moderately in control and to have some peace as we move through our busy days and weeks. There are multitudinous options available that are geared toward different people’s ways of thinking, organizing information, and even personality.

Rather than examine those major options, which is a huge undertaking, I suggest beginning with a short-term approach which can help with the tasks that really don’t take that long to do. Having a way to manage that seemingly unending volume of items, whether they are in the daily/weekly tasks that always need to be done or are steps to larger projects, can help clear the overwhelm fog.

I remember the idea of writing each of those tasks on a small slip of paper and putting them in a large jar. Then, as you have time to do a simple item or two, you reach into the jar and grab one out and get it done. I always thought that was a pretty good idea, but never actually did it.

Here’s a similar approach that I recommend, using a “10 Minute Tasks” tool. This is shorthand for tasks that are quick to do, usually 10 minutes or less. If it takes more than 10 minutes but is still brief, it can be completed. Or if once you start, it is clear that for some reason it will take longer, you can consider putting it off to when you have more time. The idea is to accomplish those short tasks and check them off. It can be amazing the impact this has on the overwhelm fog.

You can try this out with a sample journal page, which you can download and copy.  The sample also includes a list of 100 10 minute tasks to stimulate the creation of your own list.  Click here to get your samples:

10 Minute Tasks List

10 Minute Tasks Sample Sheet

Would you like the full set of pages to work with?  Email me at carol@carolbrusegar.com and request them. You can make multiple copies and use them as much as you would like.

Regrouping for the Rest of the Year


Time to Regroup
Can it really be the middle of 2018? Six months completed, six months remaining.  Some of us may be feeling like the first half of the year was productive and satisfying. And some of us, myself included, may be nearly in shock that at the midpoint of the year so little of what we hoped to accomplish is a reality. The good news is that this is a good time to make a fresh start. Regrouping for the rest of the year now can bear much fruit in the months to come.

Here are five steps  that each of us can take to get a fresh start and make the rest of the year great.

Step #1: Take a brief time to list the things that you believe got in the way of making the past six months what you had hoped.  Some would call these excuses, and there are no valid excuses.  Others view them as just a reality: life happens, and as it does, we make choices.  So that we can focus on the future, let’s get these excuses/reasons out on the table.

Step #2: Again briefly, think of ways you could have done things differently so that you could have moved forward despite the factors that got in your way.

Step #3: Commit to using these strategies if these or similar things threaten to derail your intentions for the rest of the year.

Step #4: Decide on your intentions and goals for the next six months, through the rest of the year.

Step #5: Use this resource to help you accomplish your priorities: The 12 Week Year – Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Other Do In 12 Months

This resource not only provides easy to follow strategies, it actually gives a whole new perspective on time and how to use it to get where you want to go. It is effective in the workplace and personally. The process and framework focuses us on 12 week time periods. We have two remaining 12 week periods in the rest of the year. Think how much we can accomplish!

Here are comments posted on Amazon about this resource:

+ The book is an excellent guide for how to compress our goals into timeframes that allow us to get more done, sooner. Three authors clearly establish WHY the 12-week will help you and more importantly, HOW to implement a 12-week year.
Case studies across verticals show how the concepts can be applied both individually and corporately.

+ I accomplished more with this program than I ever would have without it. I am applying this not only to my business, but our homeschool year and my homemaking/home improvement efforts.

I highly recommend you check out this book through my affiliate link and join me in making the rest of 2018 spectacular.  I would love to hear from you as you use this framework and process! Here’s the link again: The 12 Week Year


12 Week Year

Losses, Closures, Lessons

LossChange is a constant in our lives. It happens on many levels and in many ways. The passage of years in itself changes us physically, mentally and emotionally. The people around us, by choice or habit or situation, change us. The family we have – biological and chosen – change us. The jobs or professions, the organizations we align ourselves with and the places we live all impact us.

We make choices and decisions because of our situations, and those choices and decisions move our lives in different directions and change our futures. Many times, we look back and see losses that precipitated our decisions – and losses that resulted from those same decisions.

As we move into and live in our 3rd Act, it can be helpful to look back at some of the major changes we made and the role of loss in those changes. Then we can look at closure if it is needed in those situations, and examine what we learned in the process. This is not to ignore the gains and the positive things that initiated the change, or those that resulted from the change. Instead, the purpose is to see if there are “holes in our soul” from these losses, bring closure to them, and to see what we can learn.

Here are 5 steps to take that will provide some insight as you examine a situation:

1) What was the loss that pushed you toward a decision or sped up implementation of a decision?
2) Describe that loss in terms of its impact on your emotions, self esteem, and sense of accomplishment.
3) Do you still have feelings about that loss?
4) What did you learn from the loss and from your decision based on or hastened by it?
5) From this distance, what conclusions would you draw about how you handled it and what the eventual outcome has been?

Think of one situation in your life where loss was involved – either it pushed you toward a decision or it caused you to move more quickly to do something you had already intended to do.

Walk through the 5 steps with that situation in mind. Write down your responses and thoughts. What insights come to you? Consider doing this with other situations that come to mind.

I hope you will give this tool a try as you move into the next part of life. Your comments, as always, are most welcome.