Making Christmas Meaningful #UnwrapChristmas

making-christmas-meaningful

Like last year, a few bloggers got together for a Secret Santa Project called #UnwrapChristmas – it is our attempt at making Christmas meaningful. We will be linking our posts through the day. Stay tuned.

making-christmas-meaningful

Making Christmas Meaningful

I’ve thought a lot about this over the last few days and I’ve realized that if there is one central message of Christmas, it is love.

It’s about spreading love, giving love, being love. It’s about getting out of ourselves and into living. Terri St Cloud

Making Christmas meaningful is all about love in action – just as it was at the first Christmas. I’m borrowing  a few ideas that will help in giving and being love.

Write a Reverse Christmas List.

I thought this idea of Simone Mets was  great for children and adults too.

Everyone knows that it’s the season for list making, and for children, those lists usually include the gifts they wish to receive. This is fun, but try encouraging your kids to make a “reverse Christmas list” after they’ve penned a list of things they’d like to ask for. A reverse Christmas list will consist of a list of things they’d like to GIVE to others this holiday, whether the recipients are family, friends, or gifts for those less fortunate than them. If you have a theme to your giving tradition, creating the reverse list can be a lot of fun. –

Becoming Santa.

I loved this idea from Brad Aronson

We then have the child choose someone they know – a neighbor, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it –and never reveal to the target where it came from. Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.

Write Personal notes.

 Write to your children, your parents or other special people in your life telling them what they mean to you. You could also send handwritten notes to elders and sick children even if you don’t know them. Christmas is all about hope and many people could do with it.

Support a cause or a volunteer or volunteer yourself.

Raising funds, collecting things, donating to a charity, supporting volunteers or volunteering time at shelters and homes is a great way to spend Christmas.

Today I invite you to donate towards giving children a home by supporting Divya Disha, an NGO I work with. If you need any information about this cause, please feel free to ask me.

I wish you a meaningful Christmas.

I now pass on the #UnwrapChristmas tag to the lovely Sushmita Malakar.

Remember to keep checking the linky for more #UnwrapChristmas posts through the day.

Leaving A Legacy Of Love #FridayReflections

leaving-a-legacy-of-love

There comes a time when you think about your legacy and wonder if you are leaving a legacy of love.

The other day I mentioned to a friend that I’ve pledged to have my body donated after death. And if that didn’t happen, I’d like to be cremated, and not leave others with the responsibility of tending to my grave. This is especially so because we have no kids.

He responded by asking me, why I thought no one would care enough. No, I haven’t changed my mind about donating my body, but I’ve thought a lot about the legacies we leave.  I’m sure you know by now that I reflect on this quite often.

The world we live in today is one in which we are often so disconnected from each other, despite being ‘connected’ all the time. Sometimes, I believe we’ve forgotten the importance of truly paying attention to the people we talk to or connect with. How often, we’re on our devices while someone talks to us. I know I do it.

Today, I do believe that the words of Maya Angelou and the prophecy of the Hopi Elders is calling us to leave a legacy of love. To build hope. To make deep connections. To form community.

hopi elders' prophecy

#FridayReflections

If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Everyday Gyaan give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

Feel free to add our Friday Reflections badge to your post or sidebar! Follow us on Twitter @FridayReflect and join our Facebook Group. Share your post on social media with the hashtag #FridayReflections.

Everyday Gyaan

 

Prompts for 23 Dec 2016

1. What’s the meaning of Christmas to you?
2. Share some favourite Christmas memories.
3. Favourite festival to celebrate.
4. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou. Use this in your post or as an inspiration for your post
5. Picture Prompt (credit: Living my Imperfect Life)

friday-reflections-picture-prompt-2312-2016

Image credit: Red heart via Shutterstock

7 Steps For Perfecting Your SEO Campaign

7 Steps For Perfecting Your SEO Campaign

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a term that is extremely common in the online marketing world. There’s good reason why: the success of any blog or website will largely depend on how successful the SEO campaign for that blog or site is. SEO can be complicated. Let me attempt to simplify with 7 steps for perfecting your SEO campaign.

Let’s assume you run a lifestyle blog. If you want your lifestyle blog to be successful, running a successful SEO campaign is an absolute necessity.

Here are 7 Steps For Perfecting Your SEO Campaign

#1 Research Popular Lifestyle SEO Keywords

Researching popular lifestyle SEO keywords should be your first step when running your SEO campaign. Keywords can be anything from skills to job titles to the names of companies to everyday jargon and so on.

Your objective here is to uncover the specific keywords relating to your blog’s niche that most people are typing into a search engine. By including these keywords into your blog’s content, it will rate higher on the search engine’s results page.

# 2 Place An SEO Keyword In Your Domain Name

Your online presence essentially begins and ends with your domain name, the name of your lifestyle blog and the identity of your brand. But the reason why researching popular SEO keywords comes before choosing your domain name is because it’s wise to include a popular SEO keyword in your domain name to begin with. Doing so is guaranteed to rank you higher on a search engine.

#3 Publish Content Rich In Popular Keywords

Writing and publishing content is undeniably the fun part of running a blog, and besides making sure the quality of your content is unquestionable, also make sure that you’re including enough keywords in that content as well. As a general rule of thumb, strive to include at least 2-3 keywords or phrases for every 300 words of content.

#4 Include Keywords In Your Meta Tags

Your domain name and content are not the only places to include popular keywords. You’ll further enhance your SEO marketing campaign by including them in each of your meta tags because it will be easier for a search engine to classify your pages in the search results.

#5 Request Your Contacts Link To Your Blog

The beauty of networking in the blogging world is it gives you more contacts who you can ask to link to your blog from their own blog (and vice versa, you can link to their blog as well). Cross linking is ultimately one of the most overlooked but also among the most effective methods for driving more traffic to any blog.

#6 Submit Your Blog to Search Engines

After you have built your blog and included keywords in your meta tags, the next thing you need to do is submit your website to each of the major search engines. There are many free web submission services that you can use to get this done in a matter of seconds.

#7 Make Improvements

Finally, there’s always room for improvement, right? Use a website analyzer to generate a report on the strength of your blog’s SEO campaign. You’ll be given information on which of your keywords are the most popular and specific errors you need to correct to increase your rankings.

Time To Get Started

Now that you know what you need to do to truly perfect your lifestyle blog’s SEO campaign, the next thing you need to do is get started applying what you’ve learned. By utilizing the tips in this brief guide, your blog will stand a much greater chance of attracting visitors and getting off the ground.

 

 Image credit: Female hands on the keyboard via Shutterstock

5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

The weather can play a major part in your day, including helping improve or worsen your mood. If you recognize the factors, however, you can prepare yourself to enjoy the good and deal with the bad. Here are 5 ways weather can affect your mood.

5 Ways Weather Can Affect Your Mood

Winter Blues

Whether it is the lack of daylight, or the generally overcast climate, winter tends to make a lot of people feel down. This is caused by the increased production of melatonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel tired. October through April are the months that one is most likely to experience these effects. If you are feeling blue during the winter months, consider checking your local radar weather app for a sunnier day and getting a bit more sunlight when it is available or simply put your house lights on a timer to trick your body into thinking it is waking up with the sunrise.

Beach Perfect Weather

Just as bad weather can ruin your mood, great weather can make your day. It can be beach weather, or just the perfect temperature for you to go outdoors. You will not want to take days like these for granted. You should get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight per day (without sunscreen). Vitamin D is an important because it helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Your weather app can give you a heads up a few days in advance so that you can make plans to enjoy the weather.

Ruined Plans

 An indirect result of abrupt weather changes, ruined plans, can quickly destroy your day. Nobody enjoys looking forward to something only for it to be cancelled. Disappointment doesn’t make anybody feel good! A quick look at your weather radar before you set out will let you know that an abrupt change is headed toward you and can help you prepare.

Traffic

 Bad weather is bound to make traffic, and your mood, worse. While both traffic and the weather are a part of life, finding a good radio station, with a quick look at your weather radar, will warn you of any incoming bad weather and traffic in your location, and along your route. This will help you better prepare for delays.

Something Special

Occasionally, the weather can help give to an amazing moment. It can be a romantic kiss in the rain after a date, or snow on Christmas morning. While the surprise is part of the magic, having a heads up can help you make the moment more special for you and your loved ones.

The weather can have a variety of effects on your mood. Ultimately, however, your mood is your decision. So no matter what the seasons bring, you can still enjoy your day by bringing your own sunshine.

 

Image credit : Smiling girl with umbrella via Shutterstock