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How to be a Supportive Friend

How to be a Supportive Friend

Good times and good friends just naturally go together, but what do you do when hard times befall your friends? It’s easy to be a good friend during the fun times, but your friends need you most when life gets difficult, and they often could use your support and some words of encouragement. Here are some helpful ways to be the friend she needs through big changes, hard times, and everything in between.

Actively listen
Don’t just hear what your friend is saying, actively listen and validate her feelings with phrases like, “That must have made you feel so anxious” or “I understand you’re really hurting.” Your friend wants you to empathize with her situation and show that she’s understood. Don’t dismiss or minimize the importance of the problem by saying things like, “That’s nothing to be upset over.” You are not her, and she’s the one going through the ordeal, not you.

Don’t compare
Don’t compare your friend’s situation to one of your own, as this may appear to her that you’re changing the focus to you. If you feel she might relate to your past situation, mention it and quickly bring the focus back to her, such as, “I felt the exact same way when “x” happened, but it got easier as I talked it through and maybe you’ll find that happening for you as well.” This shows you sympathize with her situation, and relate to it, while keeping the attention on her.

Don’t be “Miss Fix It”
Your friend mainly wants to be heard and supported. She’s not necessarily looking for you to solve or fix the problem. Rushing in with ways to “fix” things may give her the feeling that she’s not capable of handling it on her own. She really just needs you to be her empathetic confidant.

Don’t ask—take action
When friends are going through tough times, it’s our natural reaction to say, “Let me know if I can do anything.” The trouble with this is that now we’ve given our troubled friend a task to do in addition to dealing with her situation. Plus, if she’s not one to easily ask for help, then this becomes a daunting task for her and chances are she’ll never reach out. Instead, take charge yourself and make a few meals for your friend and drop them off. A homemade dish is always a sign of comfort, no matter what.  Or, simply stop by with her favorite coffee drink or smoothie to brighten her day. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in showing support.

Be her cheerleader
When she’s ready, let her look to you for cheering up. One of the best ways to help a friend in need is to offer a strong dose of positivity by validating her feelings and also showing a brighter side. She’ll not only reap the benefits of your good mood, but it will make even the most challenging situations easier for her to cope with.

Hugs are healing
Never underestimate the power of a hug. Sometimes, there are no words and simply pulling her in for a warm hug can make her feel nurtured, calm, and safe. Research has even shown that hugging boosts brain chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin, elevating one’s mood and creating a sense of well-being—everything your friend needs.

 

How to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive FriendHow to be a Supportive Friend

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Letter From the Editor – Celebrating Friendship!

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!

Hello, Blue Mountain Friends,

Is it really August already?!  The long lazy days of summer we enjoyed as children seem to go by so quickly now.  But there are still lots of delightful things to appreciate in August—the days are warm and sunny, the robins are still singing and the calla lilies are in bloom.  August also dawns with two great days to celebrate—National Girlfriends Day on the first, and Friendship Day on the third.

What would we do without our friends?  We go to them with the questions that can’t be Googled.  They drop everything if we’re in trouble.  They laugh with us, cry with us, encourage us and remind us of who we are, when we forget.  They are kindred spirits who get us when it seems like no one else understands. Just the thought of them can make us smile.

It’s said that a friend is one of the greatest things we can have and one of the best things we can be.   Here at Blue Mountain we’ve been pondering how we can all be better friends and nurture these important relationships.  So we’ve created new Friendship eCards to thank our friends for the many ways they enhance our lives, let them know how special they are to us and remind them that we’re here for them, too. Since every friendship is unique, we have a range of cards featuring beautiful photography, whimsical artwork and beautiful hand-lettered designs.  The messaging ranges from light and funny to warm and heartfelt.  Later this month we’ll be introducing fun new birthday cards and talking cards for friends, and all of our blogs this month have a beautiful friendship theme.  Why not Brighten Someone’s Day today and celebrate your friends with a Friendship eCard?

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!
Caroline Leech, Senior Editor

Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!Letter From the Editor   Celebrating Friendship!

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Friendship…Your Timeless Treasure

Friendship…Your Timeless TreasureYou’ve got new ones, some cappuccino ones, and some older than dirt ones, but no matter what your definition, you’ve got some…friends that is…the most valuable asset to your life.  It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how many toys you have, or how many places you’ve traveled.  It doesn’t matter what your job title is, or how well you can bake a chocolate cake.  None of those things matter if you don’t have people who care about you.  Why?  Because friends hold you up, hold you close, and keep you standing whenever things fall apart.

Imagine waking up to face a new day without any friends.  The kids are off to school, you’ve reviewed your to-do list and you’ve made plans for dinner.  You’re feeling pretty good about things, but now it’s time for a coffee chat, a little break, but there’s no one to call.  You search your mind for a friend, certain you must have one, somebody somewhere who’s available for a chat.  It’s so odd…you can’t think of a single soul.

Fortunately, you don’t live in that little dreamscape, you are blessed with friends and whether they are dear friends from childhood, or new friends from your workout class, they bring added joy to your life.  These are the people who see you and love you just as you are.  They value your smile, your kind heart, and your words of wisdom.  You can talk to them about anything, knowing you’ll feel better once you’ve done so.

Friends come in and out of your life all the time, but each one adds something special and unique to the mosaic of your existence.  Some come “just in time” in that they show up just when you need their particular background or sense of humor.  Some were such instant friends you can hardly remember a time when you weren’t in each other’s lives.  Some are just happy accidents of life and you’re thrilled to have bumped into them.

La Rochefoucauld wrote, “A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.”  Give warmest thoughts to your precious friends today and think of them as your personal ambassadors of joy and good will.

Friendship…Your Timeless TreasureFriendship…Your Timeless TreasureFriendship…Your Timeless TreasureFriendship…Your Timeless TreasureFriendship…Your Timeless TreasureFriendship…Your Timeless Treasure

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Salute to Friendship

Salute to Friendship Let’s celebrate our friendships, the ones we’ve had for years, the ones we’ve just made, and the ones that are just around the corner.  We share degrees of friendship with each person in our lives.  We may have a kind of friendship with the person who serves us coffee at Starbucks, or the person in the neighborhood who stops to say hello as we walk by.  These are the buds of friendship, the kind that may or may not blossom into late night chats, but are still important to our daily lives.  They give us a reason to smile.

 For most of us though, friendship is like fresh air, the thing that helps us breathe life in more fully.  We’re committed to each other.  We hold up the light of possibility when things are uncertain.  We listen, we laugh, we seek to understand and when we don’t understand, we let it all go.  We shop and we explore and we keep the music playing because friendship brings a song to our hearts.  We are connected and fully visible and it feels good.  Three cheers!

 C.S. Lewis said that friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:  “What?  You, too?  I thought I was the only one.”    We don’t want to travel the world alone and so we count on our friends to serve as mirrors, to reflect back to us what’s important, or to give us a chance to laugh at ourselves when we fall down.  Friends walk with us, no matter what.

 As Albert Camus said, “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.  Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.  Just walk beside me and be my friend.”   Friends may bump into you now and then without meaning to, but they won’t throw you over or off the tracks.  They may get slightly miffed about something going on between you, but they’ll always find a way to make up over brownies and coffee.   Friends need each other and that’s a good thing.

 You’ve probably noticed with cherished friendships that no matter how long you may be apart, even if years pass by, once you’re together again, the connection you have is solid.  You’re plugged in, ready to give and receive more of what you share.  Friends are forever and that’s the real truth.

So, let’s celebrate all our friends, the new ones, the-couldn’t-live-without-you ones, and the ones yet to be discovered.  There can be no loftier title, no degree achieved, or no equation stronger than the one that is summed up in the word “friend.”  Hug your friends today and give each other a round of hearty applause. 

 

Salute to FriendshipSalute to FriendshipSalute to FriendshipSalute to FriendshipSalute to FriendshipSalute to Friendship

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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s ResolutionsEvery year, we make New Year’s resolutions in order to “put away” the old year and welcome in the new. But while we may start off with a go-getter attitude and lots of motivation, those resolutions seem to fall by the wayside too soon. Here are some tips for keeping and conquering two of the most popular resolutions: 1) spending more time with family and friends, and 2) losing weight.

Spending More Time With Family and Friends

With the age of email, Facebook and other forms of social media, we’ve become complacent in our relationships. It’s simply easier to text someone rather than reaching out with your voice, or posting to a Facebook wall rather than asking “what’s up?” in person. Some simple things to help you get a bit more of “you” back into your relationships can include:

1) Send an ecard, a paper card or handwritten note.

2) Instead of texting, make an actual phone call.

3) Make a date with your friends once a month – a regular “girls night out” or meet-up anywhere keeps bonds strong.

4) “Unplug” your computer once a week and take that time to take a relative to a movie, or go for a walk in the park.

5) Sit down to a meal with your family – at the table, not in front of the TV. Whether at home or in a restaurant, regular meals together help with communication.

Losing Weight / Getting Fit

Whether your resolution is to lose weight or simply to get in shape, resolving to get healthy is an important but difficult goal for many. Stay on track and motivated by incorporating these tips into your routine.

1) Start a food / exercise journal to track your eating and activity habits. Seeing these things written down can help you see where there’s room for improvement and where you’re succeeding! It’s your “proof” of effort.

2) Go slow! You didn’t gain the unwanted weight in a day or a week, so don’t expect to lose it that quickly. Go into your resolution knowing that this is a longer-term commitment.

3) Set measurable goals. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Instead, make a plan to lose 5 pounds by January 31st, or whatever that goal may be. Be specific and realistic – no one healthily loses 20 pounds in two weeks! (see “Go Slow”).

4) MOVE! Increasing your activity will burn more calories and boost your energy. Consult your doctor or a trainer for the best routines that deliver the most results. A mix of stretching, cardio and strength training is a good plan, but realize that even if you can’t get to the gym every day, simple things like taking short walks will help move your body towards your goal.

5) Clean out pantry. Get a new attitude on food and clean out the “junk” that may be hiding in your cupboards and fridge. Replace junk food with fresh veggies and fruits, and ditch the soda for low-sugar fruit juice and water.

6) Take a photo of yourself at the beginning and then another every four weeks – this can help you see your progress and motivate you to keep up the good work. Don’t just rely on a scale – take stock of how you actually look.

7) Get some help from your friends. If you have a buddy with the same goals, use them as a support system. Having someone to exercise with will keep you on track and honest in actually getting the physical work done.

What are some of your tips to keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

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