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Spring Cleaning Strategies

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. At this time of year, we begin to feel more open to inviting changes – both big and small – into our lives.

One type of change that can bring about a sense of optimism and enthusiasm is to undertake a spring cleaning for your home. Psychologists suggest that spring cleaning has a very valuable function: as we remove our home’s clutter of all the things we needed for comfort during the winter months, we make room for spring items that symbolize new beginnings.

Before you start, choose a reward for yourself for when you are finished – maybe a mani/pedi, a splurge on a restaurant that you have been wanting to try, or going to a movie the IMAX theatre. Then make a to-do list of what you want to clean. Once you are finished, you can check off the items on your list that you accomplished, and say, “I got a lot done today and now I am going to treat myself for a job well done!”

Spring Cleaning Strategies:

1-Get Rid Of The Clutter

Professional organizers suggest the “4 step method.” This means sorting your stuff into four categories: (1) trash, (2) giveaway, (3) store neatly, or (4) keep out on display.  Arm yourself with large trash bags before you begin. The items you put in the trash category may cause you to feel a pang of loss so experts suggest that you take a photo of the item so you can keep the good memories that are attached to the item. The items that you give away can be donated to Goodwill. Put away neatly the items you plan to store and wipe down or clean the items you plan to display.

Cleaning will be so much easier when the clutter is gone. And you will feel energized once all of the clutter that is weighing you down – literally and figuratively – is gone!

2-No need to buy lots of cleaning products

There are an overwhelming number of cleaning supplies. The problem of buying lots of different products is that you now have all the cleaning supply bottles cluttering up your cabinets! You really just need a vacuum, dishwashing soap, a good all-purpose cleaner and paper towels or microfiber cloths.

3-Time to Clean!

Gather cleaning products, a sponge, a bucket with sudsy water, and a few towels.

You’re going to start with the “top zone” of the top floor of your home. The top zone is any area above your head. Start here:

  • Dust above cabinets
  • Clean air vents
  • Dust or clean ceiling fans
  • Dust or wash light fixtures
  • Clean high windows
  • Change light bulbs and replace air filters

Next, move to the “mid-to-low-zone,” otherwise known as waist-level. These are the surfaces you probably clean weekly, but for today, give them a little more attention and an extra deep cleaning:

  • Dust surfaces
  • Polish wood furniture
  • Clean leather furniture
  • Vacuum and spot clean upholstered furniture
  • Wash sheets and change bed linens
  • Clean and wipe down bathroom sinks and counters
  • Scrub showers and bathtubs
  • Clean toilets

Finally, move to the “bottom zone” or floor-level surfaces. It’s time to pick up ALL that dirt and dust that’s shifted down toward the floor. Now it’s time to:

  • Sweep hard floors
  • Spot clean and mop tile or linoleum floors
  • Vacuum rugs and carpets
  • Wash small area rugs
  • Dust baseboards
  • Sweep front and back steps and/or porch

4-Create New Cleaning Habits

Now that your home is clean, you will want to keep it that way! A simple, daily clean up in the bathroom (wipe down shower, wipe off counters), a nightly clean-up of the kitchen (wash and put away dishes, clean stove top, sweep floor, throw out old food), and a weekly bedroom tidying (put clothes away, wash bed linens, straighten up) will keep your home neat and clean all year.

Congratulations – your home is now clean, organized and ready for spring! Now give yourself that reward because you deserve it!

If the thought of spring cleaning overwhelms you, Advance LA Life Skills Coaches can help! Our coaches help their clients to use executive functioning skills to create their to-do cleaning lists, their shopping list for cleaning supplies, and then they assist, support and encourage their clients as they clean. It’s more fun, and less daunting, to clean with a supportive coach!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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March Madness, Inspiration to Exercise!

 

Its March Madness month! For college basketball fans, this is the highpoint of the year. But for all of us, March is a great month to focus on exercise, health and wellness. Let’s call it March Motivation!

First, we need to put away the excuses. You don’t have the time? You don’t have the money to join a gym? You say you are too busy to exercise? Well, the good news is there are plenty of easy, no-cost ways to exercise and you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, the research says that it is beneficial to spread your physical activity throughout the week which means that you should do a small amount of exercise every day.

So, let’s do this! Here are some suggestions:

1)Walk and talk: grab a friend, a co-worker or your life-skills coach, and go outside for a walk. It makes the time go by faster when you are talking to someone. And if an exercise pal isn’t available, try listening to an interesting podcast or music while you walk.

2) Walk your dog: Your dog is always delighted to take a walk with you. 

3) Go to a new neighborhood and explore it by foot; browse the shops, have a bite to eat, get a cup of coffee – you never know what you might find!

4) Take a walk at the mall: If it is too hot or too cold outside, take a fast walk around the mall. You can window shop and people watch while getting in a good workout.

5) Shop for produce at your local farmers market: It’s a great way to get outside and walk around and the gorgeous produce may even inspire you to try a new healthy recipe!

6) Park farther away from your destination than you normally would: park in a safe spot and then walk to your destination. You might find you enjoy not having the stress of finding a place to park close to where you are going.

7) Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator: Even if it’s just for a floor or two or take the stairs two at a time.

If you make exercise a priority, you will find lots of opportunities to be more active every day. A great tip is to not think of exercise as something you have to get dressed in exercise gear in order to do or something that you have to pay for. Try to incorporate a little exercise into every day. Remember, every step counts!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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Dating for Young Adults with Diverse Challenges

 

Oh, February – the month where the focus is on romance and dating. For all of us, dating can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. For neurodiverse young adults, dating can be particularly challenging due to a lack of self-confidence and insecurities.

A lot of people get nervous about dating and end up staying home and thinking, “I really want to date.” So it is important to get yourself to informal social situations that will allow you to meet other young people. You can try going to a club l.a event, or joining a bowling league, going to a church or temple event, or trying a new hobby like an art or cooking class.

So what to do if you are at a social event and you find yourself wanting to meet another person? Here are some tips to help you get into the swing of dating:

1.) Some people need to know someone as a friend for a while before they are comfortable enough to go on a date. So how do you get more comfortable with each other? You have to talk to the other person. This is the beginning stage of dating when two people see if they have common interests; what are their favorite activities, what are their favorite foods, and what do they want in the future. If you find out you both love pizza, then going out for pizza is a great date!

2.) It can be tricky finding out if the person that you like feels the way about you. One sign is the person wants to talk to you and wants to find out more about you as a person. Remember, a lot of people get nervous talking to someone they like so the conversation may be a bit awkward at first. But if they ask you for your number or ask if you want to go to a movie or out to lunch, that can be a sign that they are interested in you. Or you can invite them to do something with you and if they say “yes,” then that may be the sign you are looking for!

3.) Try to be open to trying something new. Often times a person will want to share their favorite activity with someone they want to get to know better. For example, a person who loves their bowling league may invite the person they like to go bowling. You might be surprised how much you like doing something just because you like the person you are doing it with!

4.) It might take the pressure off if you don’t think about your activity as a “date” and instead just think about it as two people sharing an activity. And it’s ok if you find out that you like each other but don’t always like the same activities. For example, some people like to cook and some people don’t like to cook but they love to try new foods. This could still work out really well!

5.) If you meet someone online, get to know the person really well before you first meet in person. If you decide to meet them, then meet in a public place where there are lots of people around. Let a family member, good friend or coach know that you’re going to be on a date so that they’re aware of it, and even check in with that person during the date to make sure everything is going okay. Don’t get into your date’s car or go to their home or apartment the first time you meet. It’s a good idea to have your date meet your family member, good friend or coach so that the people you know can get to know your date as well.

6.) Preparing for your date might reduce your nervousness. Make arrangements for how you will get to the date and bring money to pay for the activity. Think about what you might talk about. You might try role-playing with a friend, coach or parent to practice having a conversation. Make sure to share the conversation so you both get to talk.

7.) Be honest with the person you like. And be sure you are both comfortable and happy doing the things you decide to do together.

And after being with the person you liked for a while, you might find that you have changed your mind and you no longer like them romantically. That is fine! It might be best if you both just stay friends.

And keep in mind that you do not have to go out with a person just because that person wants to go out with you.

And what happens if the person you like decides that they prefer to just be friends with you? That is okay too. Your feelings may be hurt for a bit which is absolutely normal. It happens to everyone. It just means that the person you are meant to be with is still out there waiting for you to find them!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services? She can be reached at jrochman@thehelpgroup.org.

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10 Tips to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay for Young Adults

Holidays bring fun and joy – and also a fair amount of stress! Decorating, holiday visits, and shopping for gifts can be overwhelming for all family members. You may notice that your adult child with special needs is feeling overwhelmed and stressed out but they are having trouble articulating how they are feeling. It can be helpful to have a conversation about how feeling anxious during the holiday season is a very common experience.

WHAT IS STRESS?

Something you can’t see or touch but can definitely feel.

The name for Tension in your mind and body.

A Reaction to things that are new, different or overwhelming.

It’s Especially common during the holiday season.

A Source of headaches and stomachaches.

Something you can learn to handle!

A little stress isn’t bad. Sometimes stress is good because it can energize you to get up in the morning and get to work or school on time. But too much stress can make you feel sick, tired, sad and worried.

The following are strategies when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out:

STRESS MESS: Everything annoys you and you want to scream

STRATEGY: Take some time alone, put on headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are in your favorite place in the world.

STRESS MESS: Your feel restless, frantic and jumpy.

STRATEGY: Do something positive with your energy; go for a run or a long walk. If you are at work or in school, take a bathroom break or get a drink of water.

STRESS MESS: You can’t stop worrying, even about unrealistic things.

STRATEGY: Do something creative like draw or paint, bake cookies, listen to music, go for a walk.

                        10 DAILY WAYS TO KEEP STRESS AT BAY:

  1. Be active – exercise lifts your spirits and helps you feel relaxed.
  2. Eat healthy foods – a healthy body fights stress better.
  3. Avoid caffeine – it makes a person feel more edgy.
  4. Get enough sleep each night – you will feel more relaxed when you wake up.
  5. Laugh!
  6. Be neat – being organized helps you feel in control.
  7. Express your feelings – unlock your voice and unlock your stress.
  8. Be a planner – it will help you feel in control of your day.
  9. Talk to someone about your problems – you will feel better.
  10. Take a moment each day to feel gratitude.