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Deep Breathing
Health, Self-Care

Deep Breathing for Self-Care

The greatest personal health tools we have access to today are completely free, and as obvious as the breath. Though the breath is a function that literally keeps us alive, we so often move through the day tuned-out from its behavior. Choosing to become more aware of how we are breathing from one moment to the next is a simple, and effective form of self-care. 

The human body is designed to breathe with fullness. We are equipped with a dome-shaped diaphragm that stretches down to the naval, and is intended to be filled with life giving air – filling this space is what it means to breathe with fullness. 

There are many factors that contribute to breathing against our inherent design – stress, lifestyle, and chronic worrying being at the forefront. Even the thoughts that occur inside the privacy of the mind generate stress responses in the body. It’s during these moments of stress, our breath has a tendency to go shallow. Meaning that instead of breathing into our diaphragm, we unconsciously breathe into the throat and upper chest. This is very stressful to the nervous system, and thus compromising to all other body systems. 

By taking in full breaths, we create an opportunity to invite more oxygen into the body. This in itself is incredibly supportive to our energy levels, our cognition, and longevity. Extensive research also credits deep breathing for boosting immunity, helping to manage pain, and improve circulation. 

Beyond physicality, deep breathing helps regulate our moods and responsiveness. This is because taking full diaphragmatic breaths sends out instructions to the brain to release endorphins, our naturally occurring “feel-good” chemicals. From here, the nervous system is able to operate more fluidly by creating a chemical response in the entire body that ultimately feels like more spaciousness, and less reactivity. 

The next time you find yourself feeling anxious or stressed, take a moment to evaluate how you are breathing. Stress is most often accompanied by shallow breathing, so by catching ourselves in its grasp we can utilize the most readily available tool we have – the breath – to course correct, and self-soothe. 

Here is a simple breath exercise that you can take with you anywhere: 

  • Place one hand over your navel, and take a deep breath in that expands your belly outward. 
  • As you exhale slowly, pull your navel towards your spine.
  • Try to make the exhale slightly longer than the inhale. 
  • Repeat this for 5-10 rounds, and note how this feels in your body.

You can practice this exercise while driving, while you wait in line at the store, or even while watching television. The convenient thing about the breath is that it follows us everywhere, making it a feasible, and wildly accessible tool to practice with.

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Article by Melissa Aparicio, contributing author

Caring Connections, Resources

Caring for Family in Quarantine Times

 quote-Mike Chen

As a caring community we all are coming together by staying at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. A big part of being a part of a community is caring for our families. A family can be people you are related to, friends, or even your co-workers. During this time, we can all reach out to ask how they are and share caring ideas when someone needs help. Unified Caring Association (UCA) has a Pinterest board that is filled with ideas for fun family activities, tips and tricks for setting up a new lifestyle while homebound, and even suggestions for schooling! We have been researching all of these and have suggestions to help us all as a family and a community that cares.

Empowerment through Health.

Empower yourself instead of stressing yourself out by getting physically active. Exercise can be in the form of walking, building a gym at home with an obstacle course, or routinely doing yoga and dancing. Self-care is a great foundation to build on while staying healthy and at home.

A big part of empowering yourself is eating healthy. Nutritious meals can boost your immune system and fuel a more resilient mind to work from home or help with your kids schooling while homebound. Eating well includes staying hydrated with water, teas, or other favorite beverages.

Routines

Making a routine is extremely important at this time. We are all learning new boundaries, how to work from home, and how to interact with others while staying 6 feet (or 2 meters) apart. Start with getting some good sleep. Create a schedule for yourself  by first deciding when you want to get up and what time you want to go to bed.

When deciding what you are going to fill your day with, take a look at balancing responsibilities with break times to recharge. When will you have your coffee? What time of day is lunch? Make a set time for the end of the work day when we close the laptop, put away school books, and connect with your caring community. During this time we might check in with the news, and try to keep that time in short stints to not overwhelm our brains. But go ahead and fill up on all the positive news you can take!

Be Kind & Have Fun!

It is becoming more apparent that we are needing to focus on being kind to ourselves and to others. Acts of kindness that we read about or do can help promote happy feelings. How does this look? If we are tired, we can take an extra nap or meditate to refocus our brains and boost our energy. If we want to share caring with others, we can create a fun video chat to hangout with others and celebrate our friendship.

One great way to celebrate kindness is to do something creative. UCA has a great way to connect by coloring the stress away and sharing those pieces of art to create a gallery of kindness. Coloring and being creative is a great way to connect and have fun!

Reassuring Children 

Many of us have younger family members or children who are feeling the strain of being homebound. “Encourage children to express their feelings… Provide them with information. Be honest, but be sure to emphasis the positive. And of course, remember that children may need extra love and attention.” (ParentInfo)

It can be hard to remain socially isolated. The additional kindness and communication can assure kids that everything is being done to help them feel safe and they have a community that cares for them as well as every person. If we all follow the rules to stop transmission of the virus together, there is no reason that we cannot beat this sickness together.

Family is a community that cares!

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections, Feel Good News, Sharing Caring

Uplifting Stories from the Frontline of the Pandemic

Uplifting Stories from the Frontline of a Pandemic

There are so many news articles and stories on the internet today that reflect the insanity of the global pandemic. What we at Unified Caring Association (UCA) have seen many beacons of hope, caring, and kindness shining through headlines each day. We decided to compile a few that highlights how business and people are banding together to help support the heroes who are on the frontlines.

Starbucks Partners Bring Coffee & Comfort to COVID-19 Frontline Responders

Cheers to Starbucks

One Starbucks manager’s heart went out to those in his local area, and had inspiration to bring joy and comfort to front line responders. The manager cares for his community, and found ample support in his decision. “Now more than ever, the world needs places to come together with compassion and love…We provide consistency to create a sense of certainty in an uncertain world.” The Starbucks team gathered and filled coffee travelers. Each coffee care package was completed with a personalized note conveying gratitude and encouragement. The manager then delivered these to police officers, City Hall, the fire department, etc. This action inspired Starbucks locations around the world to show their support in the same way. Cheers to all of these Starbucks partners! You all are examples of how a community cares for its heroes.

Tesla is using its logistic network to deliver ventilators to hospitals.

Telsa

With the need for medical supplies, we have been seeing calls for help from those on the frontlines. We are excited to read that Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that the automaker has ventilators. Additionally, Tesla will be using its logistic network to deliver them to hospitals for free. This is just in time, because several hospitals in the US are in need of ventilators to help save patients! Many of these patients are badly affected by the virus, and in need of that support. Tesla cares, thank you!

Officer Gives a Face Masks Instead of a Ticket.

frontlines supporting each other

Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua was pulled over for speeding, and was surprised to receive a facemask instead of the expected ticket. “He went back to his patrol car to look up my license, and when he returned, quite firmly told me it was very irresponsible of me to be speeding, especially since I would not only take up resources if I got into an accident, but would also not be in a position to help patients.” (Janjua) The doctor was let off with a warning. “As I sputtered to apologize and say thank you, he reached in to hand me what I assumed was my license back.” This officer, Brian J. Schwartz, cares for fellow frontline heroes as well as others in the community. To show this support he handed Dr Janjua five new N95 face masks from his personal state-supplied stash. “[He] shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking…The veil of civilization may be thin, but … we are going to be ok.”

Tavern Owner Sets Up Virtual Pub.

Virtual pub, Cheers!

An English lady set up a virtual pub to entertain local townspeople while they are practicing self-isolation to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the regular events are live music, quizzes, DJ sets, open mic, and comedy nights. The virtual pub had been a hit, and she now employs bar staffers to cope with her 14,500 online customers. She has a team of 10  “bar staffers.” This team works together to talk with customers; there are even “bouncers”, who act as moderators and allow people into the virtual pub. ““It’s really nice to be able to bring people together in these difficult times in the most British way possible. It is pretty much like going to a pub, but doing it from your living room or back garden.” (Bowtell) We love the idea of getting together virtually and sharing support in a fun and family friendly environment. And as always, “we’re encouraging people to drink responsibly though. We have coffee mornings as well.”

Restaurants Giving Free Food to Hospital Staff Fighting on the Frontline.

Feeding the Frontlines

Like the Starbucks story above, many companies are helping support frontline heroes with free goodies. “Starbucks will be providing the free coffees to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and hospital employees until May 3rd.” Additionally, on National Doctors’ Day, Krispy Kreme is also offering boxes of donuts to health care workers each Monday. To help protect the frontline heroes feet, Crocs is also giving doctors, nurses, etc. free pairs of shoes through their online site. A fourth company mentioned in the Good News Network’s article is Tropical Smoothie. This smoothie drink eatery has locations giving away 100,000 smoothies to US healthcare workers. We agree with Tropical Smoothie’s comment that, “The 100K smoothie giveaway is a simple, but impactful example of one way we can show our gratitude and bring a smile to their face—one sip at a time.” 

Parents Pooled Money as Thank You Gifts to Janitorial Staff Who Sanitize Schools.

Safe and Clean

Often when we talk about frontline heroes we are talking about doctors, emergency responders, and teachers. There are many more people whose profession and jobs are necessary to support the community and put them on the frontline. The janitorial and sanitation workers have been tirelessly cleaning and sterilizing offices, homes, and facilities so that people can remain healthy. This particular article celebrates the janitors who are making sure school facilities are kept clean and sanitary during the COVID-19 outbreaks. We are moved to hear that appreciative parents have raised thousands of dollars for their district janitors. These parents and communities care for their school custodians who are going the extra mile with each cleaning. “I said we need to recognize that these staff members who are going into potential contamination and a disaster zone, really, and putting themselves at risk… It’s already an under-appreciated job as it is, and not one that gets a lot of respect. It was a feel-good way to get people to recognize that.” (Thomas)

Support from a community the cares!

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections, Feel Good News, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Share Your Story

Share Your Story

Unified Caring Association (UCA) is reaching out to its awesome Caring Community of members who are daily overcoming the lifestyle changes of the current pandemic. Many of us have discovered upbeat, inspirational or even humorous ways to deal with the challenges. We would love to hear these stories from you!

We believe we can all learn from each other story.

We’ve created  a new section of our website called “Share Your Story.” Each week we will publish some of the member’s stories that demonstrate the encouraging ways people are coping.  

If you would like to join this caring community outreach effort, CLICK HERE!

We invite you to share your story by writing 1-2 paragraphs and clicking submit. Our excitement is filling the air as we hear, witness, and write about acts of kindness and caring community efforts during this global event.

Thank you caring community

The call is out for us all to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether homebound or providing critical services, everyone is stretching to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Research, Health

Laughter and Your Immune System

Laughter and Your Immune System

While some may struggle with finding something to laugh about, it is important now with the current global situation more than ever.

Laughter isn’t called the “best medicine” for nothing. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the short-term benefits are impressive. The upsurge in oxygen not only increases endorphins, but it can also soothe tension and relieve stress.

On the longer term benefits side, laughter offers a critical bonus to our day to day lives. Laughter can improve our immune system overall along with enhancing our mood and personal satisfaction. Believe it or not, even a fake laugh will have a smaller effect. But, that effect can easily grow stronger and more permanent as we learn to flex our giggle muscle and get serious about adding laughter in our day.

Do a search on “silly videos” and you will find a whole new world of things that make you laugh. From animals to babies to funny life situations where we could all find ourselves someday. There are plenty of cat videos to watch and laugh at for long moments at a time. One of our favorites is of babies laughing, for their laugh is pure comedy gold. Babies have a very contagious laughter and we highly recommend it when you are feeling blue to find one or two and laugh along with them!

With the current COVID-19 pandemic shelter at home order in effect, the Getty Museum has a challenge where you recreate a work of art with objects and people in your home. Trust us, the creative genius in some of the submissions is hysterical. There are many apps offered on smartphones.  Try “fun facts: laughter and learning” or one of the many laughter sound apps. It’s uplifting to just try them out!

One of our team member’s personal pledge is every January 1st is to find one million things to laugh about during the year. She sets herself up to find the funny everywhere. We can’t honestly tell you that in the last 15 years she has actually met her goal, however, she says it has been a lot of fun trying.

Giggle on, people!

We are all sharing!

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Connections, Self-Care

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

How People are Re-finding Natural Balance

We have passed the Spring Equinox.  The days are growing longer than the nights, the sun is warming the earth, and flowers and animals are returning.  And yet, we humans find ourselves in a unique situation trying to re-find our natural balance in life.  Some are searching for their “new normal.” With so many people under stay at home orders, we are seeing nature is in fact re-finding its balance.  There are animals returning to places they haven’t been in a very long time. The dolphins and swans have returned to the canals of Italy, elephants are roaming free through garden groves in India.  Other changes, like pollution being lowered all over the world because of the closure of factories and people not driving hours to work and home every day are also brightening our outlook about this pandemic.  But what of our own balance? Most of us have had to make major changes to our daily social routines.

Being Social

Being Social

Humans are social creatures.  And with such a task as self-isolation and social distancing being required of us, we find ourselves in new uncharted territory.  But humans are highly adaptable. And people are finding ways to be social even while home and practicing social isolation and social distancing. We are seeing a return of community that we haven’t seen in a very long time, perhaps not since the invention of television. People are walking their dogs, playing with their kids or siblings in the front yard, riding their bikes, and visiting lakes and beaches.  People make it a point to say hi from their porches and introduce themselves from a distance. On a nice day you may see people tinkering in their garage or with their cars, playing cornhole on the lawn, or flying a remote-controlled helicopter. In more rural areas, people have a chance to ride their horses, visit lakes and streams and fish, and hike.  In cities we are seeing folks singing and exercising with each other from their own balconies. Musicians are doing balcony performances. And almost everywhere, family members in different households are video chatting and sending letters to each other.

It looks like we are indeed re-finding our natural balance during difficult times. We are staying connected, staying social, and getting closer, in the midst of social “distancing.”

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

Caring Action, Self-Care

Compassionate Boundaries

Compassionate Boundaries

There is a lot of information out there folks!  The definition of a pandemic is an outbreak of a new disease. So by nature, we don’t know a whole lot about it.  On top of a pandemic, we are also dealing with an entirely new way of life living. For example, living under the shelters put in place to help stop the spread of this new virus.  New on top of new! And lots of information out there, so it’s hard to make heads or tails of it. One thing we can do to help soften the blow of fear and anxiety is put up Compassionate Boundaries. 

Compassionate Boundaries

Compassionate boundaries are a form of self-care that enable us to live our fullest lives even during these challenging times.  It could mean turning off the news for a period of time, or not going on social media as often.

Sometimes it is a bit more specific than that.  Sometimes it means having to unfollow certain people on social media because their posts invoke anxiety in you.  Or perhaps mute messages from certain people. This distance can help put you at ease because constant news just adds to the fear you already feeling.  Or maybe don’t click on that link to the article your mom sent you if you have a feeling it may topple any sense of security you have been carefully building up.

Whatever it is you need to do to be compassionate with yourself, do it! Help yourself get through these unusual times with a decent quality of life.  You don’t have to be a shoulder to cry on for everyone. (Okay, maybe save it for your children, or even just yourself.) We have to give ourselves the room we need to feel some sense of peace in this changing world.  If you can lend a helping hand, do it. But don’t feel obligated to read every message or take every call. Put up the compassionate boundaries that allow you to have peace and maintain a hopeful outlook. It may help others when they see you making choices that reinforce hope instead of fear. It is a strong possibility that you are inspiring them to do the same thing.

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association and keep up to date on UCA’s caring acts?

Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Other ways to keep up with UCA activities are on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Children, Resources, Sharing Caring

HeartMath Keen on Teens

Keen on Teens

There are so many challenges in the world, especially for children and teenagers facing new challenges today. Unified Caring Association (UCA) has many caring tools and resources to help parents and teens during these tough times. We recently got a note from our friends at HeartMath that there is an upcoming online event to help teenagers. We are brimming with excitement to share an awesome free telesummit gear towards helping teenagers. 

The best opportunities and guidance for teens to succeed.

One core question that this summit is trying to answer is, “Why do some parents feel challenged in guiding their teens to success?” Today many teens face challenges such as pressures from school, bullying, body image, and social media. Unfortunately, these challenges can lead to issues such as anxiety or depression. Teenagers need caring tools to help build resiliency. With a good foundation in caring tools and techniques, teens can reach their highest potential, and have an easier time bouncing back from adversity. The goal for the Keen for Teens telesummit is to learn how to best guide your teen to lead happy and healthy lives. A key speaker is HeartMaths’s Director of Education, Jeff Goelitz. He will be speaking on March 18, 2020. His goal is to share strategies to help teens deal with self‑management, stress, and how to prepare and cope with challenging events successfully. 

Join in the caring!

Keen on Teens Telesummit

March 14‑27, 2020.

Free 

Keen on Teens Topics
Keen on Teens Video

Click Here to visit the site and watch the introductory video!

Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association and keep up to date on UCA’s caring acts? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Other ways to keep up with UCA activities are on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!

Animals, Caring Action, Caring Beyond Borders, Caring Connections

Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You

Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You

Cute, fierce, and awe inspiring are some of the feelings that many of us feel when we see animals. Sometimes our furry and crawling friends need a little help. An example that Unified Caring Association (UCA) loves to do is have UCA member benefits that help pets. Other organizations that help animals hold a favorite place in our hearts. One such organization is Conservation Ambassadors and their Zoo to You program.

Who are Conservation Ambassadors and what is the Zoo to You?

Conservation Ambassadors and Zoo are a rescue zoo. This is a place where un-releasable and unwanted wild animals could have a permanent loving home. These animals have a second chance at life by becoming animal “ambassadors” through an outreach education program. At the sanctuary there are about 230 animals, and about 8 employees. Largest of the animals are the camels, black bears and tigers. What the team loves is that all the animals are well cared for and accustomed to people. This helps them become ambassadors for education.

Conservation Ambassadors have rescued hundreds of animals and educated many children for years. Over the years, the sanctuary has been growing and is currently planning further developments to house the growing animal population. Conservation Ambassadors are giving a caring voice to wildlife by providing a stable and loving home. Many of these animals are displaced, exotic, abused, abandoned or permanently injured. Their second life is full of fun and TLC as they are able to participate in outreach programs with school children. These learners, young to old, are educated about conservation, can become connected to the wild world, and inspire them to protect and conserve animals and their habitat.

Zoo to You is a specific program that helps inspire many people all over California. This unique style of education is a blend of relevant storytelling and fun, enlightening messages through meeting live animals. With the efforts of Conservation Ambassadors and Zoo to You, these children grow into informed, caring adults. Often these children call and write to the sanctuary about how much they have learned and enjoyed the programs, and want to bring their kids to learn as well. This is such an inspiring organization brimming with caring, inspiring others to see the natural world as an important and necessary part of life. 

Video Conservation Ambassadors

Learn more about Conservation Ambassadors by CLICKING HERE to watch a short video!

Meet some of the Animals

Recently, we had a chance to meet some of the caring team members and their animal ambassadors. We are happy to see them all, and want to celebrate them!

Izzabu

Izzabu is a 5 year old camel who used to work in the movies. She is gorgeous with her long eyelashes!

Rhetta

Rhetta is an Augur Buzzard from Central Africa. She enjoys eating small prey like lizards and snakes or small birds. She loves to chill all day when she is not hunting.

Emeril
Spike

We met Emeril, who is 5 years old, and Spike, who is much larger. Both of these alligators are happily hanging out with full bellies. 

Nick

Next we have Nick the reindeer. He is 7 yrs old, and lives in the Midwest most of the year. He loves his grain snacks, and gobbles them down at every chance! November through December his antlers fall off. But before that, during the middle of the year, he will often rub the fur off his antlers.

Marcel

At one point we were quickly introduced to Marcel the monkey. He gave a quick squeak before being whisked away for a snack.

Pockets

Pockets is an opossum who is 3 years old, which is old for her species. Interestingly, we learned that opossums are more closely related to monkeys, and their bodies are too cold for carrying diseases. We were having fun watching Pockets wrap her tail as she descends from shoulders and branches.

Bluebell

A chinchilla named Bluebell was snoozing in her ash bath as she was waiting for night to fall. We learned from her that chinchillas see best in the dark, and if their fur gets wet it will begin tol mold. We were enjoying petting Bluebell because she is SO soft. This soft silky fur is because of how dense and fine their fur is; we can only describe this as petting a cloud.

Disco

Lastly, we met Disco the Fox. Disco is a rescue from a lady who was illegally raising him. He is 12 years old, and is looking forward to many more years as an ambassador because foxes can live to be 20 years old in captivity.

We had a blast meeting the animal ambassadors and the caring individuals who help care for them. Nothing makes our hearts sing than seeing others sharing the caring and helping educate others on how the world can become a better place for all to live.

Zoo Animals

Want to check out more about Unified Caring Association? CLICK HERE to visit our website! If you would like to read more about caring the UCA way, sharing caring, and/or topics on caring action check out all of our blogs. Not able to check in on the blogs each day? Follow us on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to get notifications from us. We look forward to connecting and sharing with you!

Scholarships, Sharing Caring, Unified Caring Association

Scholarship Themes: Awareness and Empathy

Scholarship Themes: Awareness and Empathy

Unified Caring Association (UCA) celebrates caring and acts of kindness. One way is by celebrating the UCA Scholarship winners! Throughout the years we have held many scholarship contests, and are constantly in awe about how caring students are, and what new and innovative ways they bring caring into our communities. We have been blogging about various themes that have arisen in the recent submissions for the Fall 2019 scholarship contest. Many of the submissions had awareness and empathy in common. Below are some caring quotes from the essays and a scholarship essay that displays the unique skills that these caring ambassadors have!

Grace E Shay

Grace Shay

Ritika Managuli

Ritika Managuli

Jenna Dubbelde 

Jenna Dubbelde

Bella Brannon

Bella Brannon

“Since I can remember, my mom would recite this mantra to me. She would reference these “secret battles,” when young me was quick to judge another. No matter how many times she recited these words, I didn’t fully understand.

How could someone endure hardship and not wear it on their sleeve? Surely, not everyone can be fighting a battle. I knew a girl at school who was so stereotypically perfect. I had never seen her work for anything. I was sure that she was not fighting any battles. And if this example existed within my range, surely there were more.

So my mind continued on with this thought.  I lived in a picture perfect world, I was naive and free of hardship. I selfishly assumed that everyone was the same. I never stopped to consider that there may be more than meets the eye.

One day, the meaning of my mother’s words set in. They didn’t seep in like water. It wasn’t slow and gradual. It was a flood. One day, my mom’s words were engraved into my skin, like a burn left from an open flame. To this day, I have the scar from that burn.

The day it all clicked for me was the day I began fighting a secret battle of my own: one no one knew about.

I was diagnosed with an invisible illness, Type One Diabetes. The disease is relentless. From multiple injections a day, to waking up nightly for low blood sugars, to cutting my favorite foods out of my diet, to seizures and the stigma that surrounds the illness. It was hell and the hell was invisible.

As much as I hate my diagnosis, I know I’m not alone. Sure, I am the only diabetic on my team or at school, but I am not alone. Because everyone is fighting a secret battle.  No one is truly alone, our battles may be vastly different. The girl I thought was perfect may not have the most stable home life. Another student may have parents that only see them as a GPA.  Another student may not have parents at all.

However vastly different they are, our battles unite us. They create our collective humanity. If we take this “perceived empathy” and apply it to every situation, the world will become a much more caring place.

What if instead of getting annoyed at the lady taking forever in the grocery store checkout line, we considered her perspective? Maybe she has severe social anxiety, and this is a stretch for her? What if she just got a phone call about her dad and is struggling to not break down? You don’t know. Don’t judge. Instead, understand that she may be fighting a secret battle you know nothing about.

I know that when you first read the phrase, “secret battle,” the first that came to your mind was your own. Everyone has had that unique experience. Empathy is learned like wisdom. It can be obtained through conscious effort. That effort, that will leave the world caring and united.”

 Annie Suenram   

 Annie Suenram

“In a world of instant gratification and social media it is easy to find yourself isolated from others. Many people believe that young people in this world are not going to be successful because we have so much at our fingertips, yet we do not know how to carry on a face to face conversation. Today’s society is full of people who genuinely care for others, however they go unseen because of all the violence in today’s world. To make the world a more caring place people must start small and then branch out. If I were to change one thing in the world I would be more open to people and to be more caring myself. 

Lets face it. However nice it may seem to say, “Oh we can fix the world and make it more caring by [insert colossal change of the world here]”, it is naive and almost impossible. To really change our society to become a more inviting, caring place we need to start small. Even just going through your day and smiling at someone makes a difference because even such a small gesture is sometimes rare in society today. It’s not to say that trying to make the world a more caring place by making a big splash is necessarily a bad thing, but it is more feasible to do small things every day. When people open up even a little, it means they feel safe around that person they shared with. If said person is unresponsive or rude to them, that person will probably never open up to another person. When this happens, the world becomes a more boxed in and closed off than ever. As humans, we are social creatures, but if there is no trust between people, the society will not care about others. A way to remedy this problem is to be someone that people trust and to be attentive to their needs whether it be just listening or giving advice. 

Although being a more caring person can be uncomfortable, it is a necessary step in peruste of a more caring world. Often people think “It is so hard to be caring to this person because they have done x, y, or z.” This is exactly the reason to be nice to them because maybe they had a rough day or they just got the bad news that someone close to them died, in essence you have no idea what they are going through and if you are rude just because they were mean to you just perpetuates the cycle of anger and pain. If just one person were to be nice to the person who is mean it may make the difference between life and death. Being the bigger person is always hard because it is human nature to get mad when someone messes with you but it is a necessary step in making the world a better place. 

In order to make the world a more caring place, I want to be a light in darkness, to be a smiling face in the crowd and be someone that people feel comfortable to talk with. By striving every day to do a little better than the day before, people can easily make a difference in society and the world.”

Kei Magloughlin

Kei Magloughlin

“In today’s world, it’s easy to become cynical. Every day on the news and online, we learn about the horrible things people are doing. As we see this more and more, it becomes ingrained, even subconsciously. Many of us start to distrust people as a whole. The very concept of “stranger danger” reflects this. Children are taught from a very young age that strangers aren’t to be trusted. 

Public transportation is an excellent example of how deeply ingrained the wariness of strangers is. On subways and buses, striking up a conversation with a stranger is something that rarely happens. People sit as far away as they can from everyone else. In crowds, whether on a subway or at a concert, people are taught to keep an eye on their pockets and valuables. 

But the reality is that the chance of being robbed in that way is extremely low. That chance is what scares people though, and it’s what leads us to distrust strangers. But the vast majority of people are perfectly kind. If they’re not willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger, most of them will politely decline. It’s commonplace to hold the door open for strangers, so why aren’t greater things accepted? Something as simple as offering to buy a stranger their morning coffee is looked at askance. People start to expect you want something in return. If someone’s card gets declined at a grocery store and you offer to pay for their $15 of groceries, other people think it’s some sort of scam. Can we not trust other people to be kind because they want to brighten someone’s day? 

These sorts of issues are just the expression of the much deeper problem in society: the problem of distrust. There are many factors, everything from the modern connected world to the way children are raised. News sources gain money through watch time and clicks. The best way to get those things? Headlines that scare you into paying attention. Headlines about good or ordinary things don’t captivate our attention the same way. 

We can’t change it overnight, but we can do small things now. Pay-it-forward lines in drive-throughs can last for hundreds of cars. Although each person is going to be paying a similar amount, just the thought that a stranger was willing to make their day better is huge. One small act of kindness can, at the very least, make someone’s day less bad, and can even go as far as saving a life. 

Every action we take to support one another, however small, reminds us that individuals aren’t the same as the society they seem to make up. They’re better than what we’re led to believe. If we trust in other people, and believe that the vast majority of people will act kindly, we can help each other realize that people are worth believing in. By believing in and supporting one another, we can spread kindness and compassion, and small actions can spread further than we know.”

These amazing students help bring more empathy and awareness to the world! We are happy and proud to be able to help support them and their continuing education by awarding them with a scholarship. We have more themes to celebrate in upcoming blogs, such as self-love, that we are looking forward to sharing. Thank you to all of our scholarship applicants, you truly are caring ambassadors!

Want to read more about UCA 2019 scholarship winners and get an extra dose of positivity on your news feeds? Read our other caring scholarship blogs, scholarship blogs on gratitude. Or follow us on social media: Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. We are looking forward to sharing more with you!