With the approach of the holidays come emotional challenges, stressors within the family dynamics, and unease about unhealthy behaviors that may crop up during this time of year. Yet there are real ways to not just "survive" the holidays, but to actually make this season happier than ever before. Here are some ways to create long-lastng memories well after the holiday season is over:
1. Keep Expectations Realistic: Even before Halloween is over, we get bombarded by the media with ads, commercials and the like painting the holiday season as a time filled with joy, family gatherings, and celebrations. For some, this is just not reality. Understand that some people face a level of challenge during the holiday season. Therefore, trying to manage your expectations without judgement can help decrease feelings of anger and disappointment if things don't turn out to be picture-perfect.
2. Maintain Self-Care: Yes, there is a way to feel balanced during the holiday season! Even with family and friends around, it is still important to take some "me" time. No matter where you are, continue with your yoga, meditation, exercise, or other practices that make you feel grounded and calm. If weather permits, go for a walk. Listen to some soothing music, take a warm shower or bath, or simply steal away a few minutes to find a quiet place to read.
3. Give to Others: This one is so important! It's so easy to get wrapped up in our own holiday commitments, which may feel stressful and taxing. Engaging in volunteer work to help those less fortunate in your community, assisting at a soup kitchen or food pantry, giving your time at an animal shelter, or gathering toys for kids can make you feel good about yourself and the holidays.
4. Practice Gratitude: More and more studies are showing just how much of a positive impact on our physical and mental well-being focusing on gratitude can have. Take the time to jot down everything you are grateful for, whether that be people, pets, circumstances, or anything big or small that brings you joy in your everyday life. Doing this can elevate our mood and offer us many reasons to celebrate.
I like to write a blog every year to recognize those Thetas who are celebrating their 25-, 50-, and 75-year anniversaries. While sitting down to write this, I realized this is my fifth blog about anniversaries! What should I write about this year?
So I went to Theta's heritage website and decided to search for a quote for inspiration. I stumbled upon the one below from Elizabeth Garrett Haselton. She was initiated at Beta Epsilon/Oregon State in 1921 and received her 50-year pansy pin in 1971.
"Thanks for my pansy pin. I suppose it's fine to have a 50th, as they say. However, this rather crept up on me! ... Theta did make a tremendous difference in my college life, as I transferred and attended three universities. ... I felt as though I always had a place to hang my hat and the possibility of making friends without too much agony. A good many of the people I knew then I still know now and it's certainly been a basic plus. And it's still a good fraternity!" Elizabeth Garrett Haselton, Beta Epsilon/Oregon State
Even though the world was a very different place when Elizabeth was initiated, her words are timeless. I'm sure many members agree that Theta has given them a place to hang their hats and helped them make friends. I'm also sure there are many Thetas who can't believe they are celebrating an anniversary, too! We definitely want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
One of the traditional symbols of the American Thanksgiving celebration is a cornucopia, overflowing with an abundance of food. There's something for everyone in a cornucopia, and—by extension—on the Thanksgiving dinner table. The same might be said for the Autumn 2015 issue of the Theta magazine: it contains a little something for everyone.
If you're an artistic sort, you can enjoy photos of the newly renovated Beta Gamma facility at Colorado State. If you're a history buff, you can learn some fun facts about the Theta magazine, which is celebrating its 130th year of continuous publication.
And if you're in the mood for a festive celebration, you can find out how we're kicking off Theta's sesquicentennial, her 150th anniversary. Beginning in January, we're dedicating each of the next four years to one of our founders. In 2016, we will honor Bettie Tipton Lindsey and her commitment to service with a special campaign called 150 Days of Celebrating Service. You'll hear more about 150 Days very soon.
Until then, we hope you enjoy the current issue of the Theta magazine. If you're receiving the print version of the magazine, it should have already arrived in your mailbox. If you're not, an explanation of our distribution system can be found on the Magazine page of this website.
Today, December 1, is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. For Theta Foundation, #GivingTuesday will see Thetas coming together worldwide to invest in Give to Lead, Give to Learn, a milestone campaign working to endow two of Theta's most-pressing human capital needs: the need-based scholarship and Educational Leadership Consultant (ELC) programs. To reach our $5 million Campaign goal, we aim to raise $100,000 (or more!) in 24 hours to support these two programs. The best part? Donations made on #GivingTuesday will double—meaning Theta Foundation has the potential to raise $200,000—because of a $100,000 matching gift from a very special leading woman, Sara Scholes Morgan, Alpha Mu/Missouri.
Like many of Theta's loyal alumnae, Sara believes strongly in the importance of giving back to Theta Foundation. Doing so, she says, "insures our traditions of sisterhood and service continue for many years to come." When asked why she wanted to make such a significant impact for Give to Lead, Give to Learn specifically, Sara said, " The importance of this initiative was made clear by a wonderful, tireless, (and persistent!) Theta volunteer here in Houston." That volunteer is Dinah Hampton McClymonds, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma, a Theta Foundation trustee and chairman of the Campaign Steering Committee.
We asked Dinah what it was about Sara that makes her a leading woman for Theta. Dinah shared that Sara is known nationally for her advocacy of the arts. Sara has taken the lead in creating opportunities for artists of all kinds, notably those who are talented but not widely known. She thinks big, and if something is needed, she will find a way to create it. Sara always makes sure her philanthropic contributions will provide momentum and encouragement for others, hence her $100,000 matching gift to Give to Lead, Give to Learn. "It was an honor to work with Sara, and one of the highlights of this Campaign for me," says Dinah.
Sara reflected on her gift to Theta Foundation, and shared that her Theta membership holds a deep personal meaning and many memories. For Sara, Theta represents family, friendship, and service.
On family, Sara shares, "I come from a family with many Theta members. My mother, her cousin, my sister, two of our cousins, and one of their daughters are all Alpha Mu members at the University of Missouri. My sister's daughter is a Theta at the University of Michigan." Family ties, both blood and Theta, clearly play a large role in Sara's family!
"The friendships I made while at Mizzou were a very important part of my college experience; some of my best friends to this day are Alpha Mu members, which has greatly enriched my life," said Sara. "Coming from a very small high school, it was important to me to be able to have a place where I felt comfortable and welcomed at such a large university. It was also valuable to form relationships with women from urban areas as well as other states."
Regarding service, Sara shares she was brought up in a small Missouri town "believing that one's responsibility is to family and community. The idea of service to the community was reinforced by my years at Kappa Alpha Theta." Service and philanthropy are strong values within Theta, and Sara clearly embodies these traits of both service and philanthropy to our Fraternity!
Sara is not only a leading woman for Kappa Alpha Theta, but a leader wherever she calls home. Throughout eight moves among seven cities, Sara has and continues to be involved in her local community. Her proudest volunteer achievement is founding the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, a not-for-profit organization showcasing museum quality craft and housing artists whose studios are open to the public. In addition to her tenure as chapter president for Alpha Mu, Sara's proudest personal achievements include her 50-year marriage, three children (including a daughter-in-law who is a Theta!), and three grandchildren. When we asked Sara her advice for the aspiring leading women of Kappa Alpha Theta, she said, "Believe in yourself while always being open to new ideas and people; find your passion; choose wisely; then go for it!"
When Sara agreed to making an impact at the Champion level for Give to Lead, Give to Learn, it was with one stipulation: that her gift be used to encourage other women to give, too. With less than $450,000 needed to reach our $5 million goal, every gift matters. Your gift on #GivingTuesday makes Sara's $100,000 matching gift possible and puts our Campaign goal within reach. To take advantage of Sara's generosity and to help us raise $100,000 (or more!) in just 24 hours on #GivingTuesday, please make a gift on December 1, at www.GivetoTheta.org/Give.
Visit the Greek Licensing website featuring products from almost 600 different Greek licensed vendors. You can search by vendor name, location, or product.
Have fun finding that perfect item for your favorite Theta!
This summer, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), of which Kappa Alpha Theta is one of 26 members, and the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC), which has over 70 member groups, endorsed the Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act, which were both introduced in the US House of Representatives on July 29. The impetus for this action—as I wrote in a blog post in August—was a desire to address the problem of sexual misconduct on US campuses. The statistics are appalling and unacceptable: there are too many occurrences and too many victims. The status quo must change. Kappa Alpha Theta supported the efforts of NPC and NIC to utilize our collective position of leadership to make a positive change on college campuses through a multi-faceted legislative approach.
Recently, after collaboration with two senators (including a member of Kappa Alpha Theta) who have led the charge in offering legislative solutions to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, NPC and NIC agreed to withdraw their endorsement of the current form of the Safe Campus Act. The senators agreed to collaborate with NPC and NIC to continue to support a legislative agenda that, in addition to offering solutions related to sexual assault adjudication, focuses on protecting our right to organize as a single-sex organization, preventing organizations from being penalized for allegations of criminal misconduct which do not directly involve our organizations, and respecting the vital role alumnae play in supporting our students who rely on confidential counsel from their mentors. Kappa Alpha Theta continues to support the efforts of NPC and NIC.
Of ultimate importance is eliminating the problem of sexual assault altogether, and unfortunately that cannot be achieved through legislation alone. Theta has a long tradition of offering not only support for survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence, but also a commitment to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts. Through our award-winning Sisters Supporting Sisters initiative, we connect members to a comprehensive program of educational resources addressing interpersonal violence, healthy relationships and communication, emotional well-being, and more.
Our Fraternity also has a long tradition of respecting the voices and opinions of our members. We are proud of the Thetas who continue to lead discussions on this important topic, and we remain committed to working with our sister groups, NPC, campus professionals, and victims' advocates to develop effective solutions.
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