Tag Archives: balance

15 Things Emotionally Fit People Practice

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Do you know an emotionally fit person? Emotionally fit people are often viewed as the “go to” person, a leader, someone others can depend upon. They can handle challenging situations with inner strength, wisdom and insight. They are well respected by others and can appropriately handle conflict. Are you emotionally fit?

15 Things The Emotionally Fit Person Practices: Continue reading

Why Can’t Work Be More Fun?

workFor many, work is a 4-letter word. Songs are written about how much we hate it. There are television shows that share how awful some jobs are. The source of our greatest complaints in life are either about our family or our work.

But what if instead of seeing work as a sentence, we saw it as an opportunity to do more of what we do best? What if we actually found work fun? Unthinkable! Impossible! Stop kidding around and get back to being serious – this is work we are talking about. Our “work ethic” says that work is supposed to be tough, challenging, complicated and demanding. What if we had it all wrong?

If we could use more of our talents and live more of our passions, we could raise the enjoyment, engagement and fun in our work. But most of us get pushed into work situations instead of intentionally choosing them. We think money matters most when it comes to work.

However, talk to those who are exceptional at what they do and love doing it and they will share that they used fun, engagement and impact as criteria for selecting work, a job or a career – not just money. After all, you choose what you will have to do each day. It seems reasonable to choose something that engages and inspires you, not one that will be a challenge to get out of bed for each morning.

Besides being a workplace and life coach, I am an adjunct professor for a college in South Florida. Most of my students have no idea of not only what they want from college, but what things they should be studying to be ready for life after college. They have not been taught how to look within themselves to see their unique abilities and passions, and how to review their world for the places that will let them do what they do best. They are setting themselves up for work that they won’t find fun, exciting and engaging. We are creating the next generations of those who will continue to write and sing about how bad work is and how we have to just put up with it until they get to come home – or die. Every moment of life is one worth living wisely and with intention. And if work uses the greatest number of the moments of our lives, isn’t it worth it to find a way to build fun AND impact into our work?

This makes me want to ask 2 questions:

  1. If you could realign to a field, job or position that would activate your greater talents and passions, what would it be and how could start to make the change?
  2. If you can’t make a job or career change because of your current situation or commitments, how can you look at what you do and find more things in the workplace that feed your spirit, soul, talents and passions?

Here are some examples.

Steve is an entrepreneur – his work is to evaluate business ideas in which to invest. His job is so much fun for him, he told me he can hardly stand it. He is excited and “on” every moment.

Marie waits tables – work is fun for her. She can’t wait to meet the next person, share stories and hear theirs. She takes on extra shifts, not for the money, but for the time with new people.

Bob is the CFO for a company. Month end is his favorite time of month as he reviews the performance of the company, prepares reports and makes presentations. For him, it doesn’t get better than this.

Tess is an administrative assistant. Though she is good at what she doe, it isn’t her favorite work. She is intensely creative so she asked to coordinate the office events and write the company newsletter. These raise the fun meter in her role.

We choose our level of happiness and fun. If it isn’t as we like it, we must change it. There are always things we can do to improve how we see the world, and what we do in it. As George Bernard Shaw shares, “Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” Make the moments matter. Make the most of everything. Don’t wait for things to change, change them.

Love life. Love work. Have more fun. Make more fun. It is possible. It is up to each of us to make it happen.

After the Diagnosis: Life with Breast Cancer

breast cancer ribbonAnytime someone uses the world “cancer,” stomachs drop and brows furrow. When the word breast cancer is uttered, minds start racing with worries about the worst-case scenario. Leaving the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the hardest parts, as you are literally taking your first steps toward treatment. Breathe — it’s going to be okay.

Get to Know What You’re Dealing With

If you need to break out a recording device to remember everything the doctor said, then do it. Take time out to research all the terms that he or she used. Research the different stages and start finding answers to common questions so you can be better informed. Once you know the basics, you can start asking your doctor the more advanced questions about the cancer and about your treatment.

Start Building Your Support System

Moving forward, you’re going to want a two-tier support system. The first tier should be a significant other or a parent who can hold your hand the entire time and stand next to you during doctor’s visits. The job of this person isn’t easy; they’ll know everything about breast cancer and all of your specific treatments, and they’ll be the second opinion you seek when you make the hard decisions. They’ll also need to be a hand to hold and shoulder to cry on.

The second tier is made up of your friends and family, who will drop by to brighten your day and ask about your well-being. They’ll bring books to read while you recover, gossip to keep you in the loop, and jokes to make you laugh. They’re like breaths of fresh air in a world of medical jargon and stuffy hospitals.

This is actually one of the hardest steps as you start telling those who are close to you about your breast cancer. It starts to feel real, and you have to say it out loud over and over again.

Find Your Voice and Start Asking Questions

Some doctors and hospitals make a patient feel rushed, especially if the cancer seems minor and easy to treat. This might be good news for you, as you’re not a case that the staff is highly worried about, but it can make a patient feel like their not valued or important.

Don’t let the doctor or nurse leave until you have every possible question and concern addressed. You’re already going through a difficult time in your life; you don’t want to be left in the dark in regard to your treatment plan. Ask what test results mean, look at your chart, and have the doctor give explanations of the treatment process.

Treat Yourself

One of the first things you should do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer is to treat yourself to cupcakes, that purse you’ve had an eye on, a manicure, or whatever else makes you feel good about yourself. The road ahead won’t be easy, so take a little time to make yourself feel good before you have to face it.

Fighting cancer isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat it. Use it to build strength, not weakness.

photo by: TipsTimes

Does Family Time Stand a Chance Against TV apps?

family tv appsBy Alexis Caffrey

Not long ago, programing schedules tethered us to our televisions.

You’d leave a dinner party early to catch Grey’s Anatomy. Wake up early to watch Wimbledon. Sneak out during the sermon to watch a Seattle Seahawks game.

The advent of TV apps – the mobile-living answer to the VHS video tape and DVR power – has spawned an untethered age in which you can bring TV shows with you to the bathroom or cheer on your favorite team while you power walk or cook dinner.

Awesome, right? Especially when you can stream shows for free through most TV providers: Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, and Comcast all have apps with streaming and On-Demand content now. These networks allow users to download entire movies or even seasons of TV shows in a flash.

But if mom’s got The Bachelor on her tablet while dad tunes in to wrestling in the den and each kid has a small shining screen streaming Nickelodeon, what does that mean for family time?

Here are three ways to navigate screen-heavy waters, and prevent anyone in your family from becoming a bleary-eyed stranger.

1.    Don’t make solo screen time evil

We all need our fix.

A little Mad Men might appeal to you, but your spouse would rather get lost in a little Scandal. The baseball playoffs are religious for one parent and two kids, but the other parent and youngest child don’t know a designated hitter from a designated driver.

Dedicate a timeframe in your busy days in which it’s OK to take a smartphone on the porch to binge a little on TV. When school’s in session, this time can serve as a reward for good grades or if homework is finished.

Takeaway: Not all screen time is bad, and it should be treated as a reward.

2.    Place limits – on yourself, and your kids

Just say no.

One way to cut down on the rat race is to cut a little of the racing. Only you know what’s manageable to your family, but when kids have more than one after-school commitment, it can impact not only how well they can perform in it, but also how they behave outside of it.

Softball practice squeezes time to practice piano which compromises homework time. The first casualty is usually leisure time. How can a teen keep up with Glee when the other commitments push her late into the evening – especially when no one else in the house can stand her show?

Takeaway: If a kid can pour his heart into chess club, then come home, have a snack, do his homework, and relax by watching a show before dinner, make sure they are leaving some time for family, too.

3.    Gather round the same TV

The evenings of story time by firelight in the frontier days are long gone. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy quality family time. Sharing TV is better than sitting in silence around a dinner table.

Here are a few ways your family could embrace the age and gather around the TV together.

1.    Find common ground

Everyone’s favorite programs seem so … out there. Unrelated. But when you can identify common ground, you have a place where everyone can at least give Merlin a chance. If an NFL star is on Dancing with the Stars, you have a built-in hook for family sports fans.

Parents might even want to give an episode or two of Good Luck Charlie a chance if they can find something relatable in the plot.

2.    Share the love

Does no one else understand your fascination with Doctor Who?

Try this: Find an episode that you think at least one other family member could identify with. Challenge everyone in the family to find something about their favorite show or sport that the whole family might find interesting, and share it with everyone else.

It’ll at least be a lesson in tolerance; at most, you could gain an ally for the shows you love.

3.    Show them the classics

Perhaps today’s kids won’t identify much with the children’s lives on Little House on the Prairie, but comedy and drama are ageless, and the differences between then and today might be enough to keep the kids engaged in a few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Takeaway: Alternating nights of Happy Days and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody might lead to a night you turn off the TV and talk about your favorite shows instead of watching them.

 ***

Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer with a focus on technology. You can reach her via @alexiscaffrey or alexiscaffrey.com

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Recharge Yourself Daily for Optimal Use

iStock_000002911722XSmallBy Jan Bruce

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge—ever. No matter what phase of my life or career. I hold ambition, drive, and resilience high on my list of values, without question. But I’ve also experienced first hand what it is to drive too hard, demand too much from myself and others. There is a sweet spot between ambition and anxiety, the point at which you operate optimally. You know what that feels like: the adrenalizing challenge of being spurred on, but not so much so that you’re weighed down by exhaustion.

This is an ongoing challenge for me, and for you, I presume: Knowing when and how to push harder—and to back off. The key isn’t to just get bigger, tougher, stronger, nor is to eradicate stress (good luck with that!). It’s to recalibrate and recharge, which are often overlooked or postponed, until it’s too late. In fact that is why I’m so passionate about the work I do at meQuilibrium—because I believe there is a formula for managing your response to the world out there and the thoughts in here.

Given how connected and driven people are (or feel they need to be) these days, making time to rest can feel like slamming on the breaks when you’re going 70 miles an hour. Moreover, as we “work” longer and longer hours, the idea of taking time off to rest and recharge can become increasingly daunting, especially if this time off serves as a total contrast to our normal routines.

I love vacation, and I make sure to take them—but I, too, know the dread of walking away from your email, your desk, knowing it’s all going to pile up in your absence. If you’ve ever needed a vacation from your vacation, then you know what I mean.

It’s tempting to think that a day spent lounging in sweatpants, eating whatever you want and watching back-to-back episodes of your favorite TV series is the perfect antidote to six days of non-stop business. But instead of following the “feast or famine” framework of rest and effort, I challenge you to think about one little thing you can do every day to ground and renew yourself.

Case in point: My brother regularly pulls 12- to 15-hour days at his work, and I can’t remember the last time he took more than two consecutive days off, let alone the last time he had a vacation. I was always baffled by this. How did he keep it going without an escape?

I finally understood his secret when I visited him one weekday and observed his daily routine: He’s fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area and makes a point of spending a few hours outside each morning, swimming, running or just enjoying the solitude. In those few hours, he gets the benefits that most of us associate with a vacation: time unplugged, outdoors, away from the demands of the day.

Here’s the kicker, though: He does this every day, and that’s why the rest of his busy, high-pressure life is sustainable. For him, normal life and vacation cease to function as the two binary options for how he spends his time. Because he has found a way to get the benefits of a little vacation every day, he’s not caught between the competing pressures of rest and effort.

Stop thinking about rest as the opposite of effort and start thinking about it as the foundation of effort. What can you do every day to build in a little more relaxation or pleasure, to draw you out of the moments that wind you up and leave you so tight you feel like you might snap? It could be as simple as indulging in a really good latte every morning or a walk with your dog. Find something energizing to come back to every day or every week to help you to recharge without forcing you to disengage. You’ll be well on your way to finding a more sustainable balance.

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Jan Bruce is the CEO and founder of meQuilibrium.com 

Is Stress Stressing You Out? 5 Tips to Help You Chill Out

sex_talkThe holiday season is typically seen as a happy time of year when stress, worries and anxiety magically give way to happiness, love and a sense of good will to all. While this is a nice thought, it is simple not a reality for most people. The holiday season is one of the most stressful over the year as people struggle to find the right gift, host the perfect party or create the best ever holiday season.

Top this off with having to interact with relatives and family that may you may not have the best relationship with and you definitely have a recipe for increasing, not decreasing, stress.

Stress can cause significant emotional as well as physiological responses. People under stress may have several of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty sleeping, relaxing, concentrating or focusing
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Increased illnesses, rapid heartbeat, digestive problems
  • Anxiety, irritability, atypical anger or irrational types of behaviors
  • Feeling overwhelmed or experiencing racing thoughts
  • Having difficulty staying positive
  • Feeling lonely, unhappy, isolated o

Coping with stress can include both mental and physical options. These can include:

  • Learning breathing techniques to allow you to take control of your physiological responses and relax. Yoga is terrific for this.
  • Increase your physical activity in a structured exercise, walking or weight training program to boost energy levels and positive brain chemicals associated with exercise.
  • Learning relation techniques such as progressive relation to enhance your ability to stay calm and to get to sleep.
  • Make time every day to do something you enjoy. Make this a priority not sometime you do if you have time.
  • Find someone to talk to that will help you manage your stress.

It is important to identify what is causing you to experience stress and then plan a way to minimize or eliminate that source of stress. To get started stop and reflect on what is happening that is causing you stress. Once you have identified the source you can then start to develop a plan to enhance your ability to cope, manage and thrive even in times of stress.

What causes you stress and what are the strategies or techniques that you use to cope and manage?

Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life, Love & Recovery Coach is featured   Celebrity    Rehab   on  VH1. Sherry is the  author  of “The Law of Sobriety” which  uses   the    law  of  attraction to  recover from any   addiction.    Please   download your free E book   “Filling The Empty   Heart”  and  your “Are You    a  Love Addict Quiz?” at www.sherrygaba.com Contact Sherry   for     webinars,  teleseminars,  coaching   packages and speaking   engagements.  Take  Sherry’s quiz for a free eBook   Filling  the    Empty  Heart: 5 Keys to    Transforming  Love    Addicti

Rebuild Your Life After a Crisis

When your life as you know it falls apart, it is a great blessing. Give thanks.

In that moment realize that your life is actually falling together even though you might not see it. If your life falls apart then you are ready for something bigger. It falls apart because it was too small for who you are becoming. It falls apart because there is something more that is seeking to express itself in and as your life. It falls apart because what you were living is no longer in alignment with who you are. It falls apart because life is letting you know that perhaps you have gotten too comfortable where you’re at and need to grow to the next level.

Life is change. Life is growth. Life is a cycle of Creation-Life-Destruction. Every birth is another form of death. And every death is another form of birth. Often when things fall apart we become afraid, we panic, we resist and fight life. We hold on to what we know, even though it no longer works or serves us. This only keeps you stuck.

Holding on to the old will not bring what is new. Resisting what is new will not transform or change what is old. When life falls apart you can resist or fight, which ultimately only leads to suffering and struggle. So, what do you do when your life as you know it falls apart?

Simply, LET GO!

Perhaps it’s a relationship, job, or a house. Let Go! And Trust.

Trust that what no longer remains in your life is no longer meant to be there. And that the Universe is just making room for what is more in alignment with your highest good. When things fall apart the Universe is trying to make space for something greater. When life as you know it stops working and falls apart this is the moment to let go of your ego, as it can only take you so far. This is the moment to let go of your ego’s attachment of how your life should be, and surrender. In every crisis is an opportunity to let go of what is inauthentic and live with more integrity. In every breakdown is the blessing of a breakthrough. In every challenging situation is the gift to help your soul evolve and become who you were really meant to be. So if your life as you know it is falling apart give thanks and…LET GO!

***

 If you are ready to experience freedom and live your true life purpose then join me on www.boundlessblissbali.com

Managing the Chill Mindfully

Screen shot 2013-12-17 at 4.31.33 PMClose that door, it’s freezing out! has been the most often heard command in my house this week.  It has edged out, No candy canes before dinner!, Don’t throw ice at your sister!, and even the recurrent Put-on-your-snow-boots-we’re-gonna-be-late!!!!!

Welcome to winter in New England – five plus months of chattering teeth and cracked lips, drippy noses and numb fingertips.  The cold here is called biting for a good reason.  The wind has teeth and its nips can hurt.

This morning I took a quick drive downtown to run errands, nestled cozily in my car’s seat warmers.  I parallel parked and pushed the door open, gasping as a frigid shock of air flooded the driver’s seat.  Heaving myself carefully onto the slippery pavement, I skated to the curb, searching out salty spots to plant my feet.

Making my way to the bank, I skidded over the brick sidewalk, involuntarily tightening my lower back muscles with a shiver and tremble, reflexively recoiling from the cold, adjusting my balance to stay upright while defending a blast of wind.  I hustled into the bank and scuffed the salt off my boots, relishing a few minutes of warm reprieve before heading back into the bluster.

As I walked out the door and stiffened immediately, I realized I was fully engaged in an internal battle against the cold – clenching my body so much my back felt achy.  The discomfort triggered my mindfulness practice.  I don’t need this discomfort.  It’s only here to tell me something.  And I’m listening carefully to what it’s saying. 

I took a deep breath, inhaling frigid air into my warm lungs, releasing it as steam through my mouth.  Warm steam.  I could produce warmth.  I relaxed my tense muscles and took a few steps, continuing to walk that way until I noticed my lower back aching and mindfully melted the contraction again.  Thich Nhat Hanh would’ve been so proud of me.

This time I envisioned warm blood flowing freely through my body, heating up my skin and keeping my muscles loose.  Cold isn’t bad.  It’s just another way of being.  Be comfortable, I thought over and over.  I considered my young children who dive into the snow hatless and spend hours digging out forts from the plowed white heaps along the driveway.  Why is it they don’t seem to battle the freezing cold like adults do?  Maybe it’s because joy trumps discomfort.  They’re not surviving the storm; they’re reveling in it.

I walked with this thought for a block or so, doing my best to fill up on joy, when another blast of wind surged, stopping me in my tracks.  My head lowered, my watery eyes squeezed shut, my hands plunged deeper into my coat pockets.  Be one with cold, be joyful in the cold, I urged myself, this time out loud.  I looked up and caught the eye of another soul braving the single digit temps.  “Brace yourself,” he warned.  “The Almanac calls for a harsh winter.”  I smiled and tried to feel thankful for all of the opportunities I’ll have to practice mindful freezing this year.

I climbed back into my car, the radio tuned to Christmas music.  “I really can’t stay…  Baby, it’s cold outside.”  You can say that again.

Juggling Glass and Wood: How to Prioritize Your Life

Screen shot 2013-12-17 at 1.51.48 PMMy father likes to explain life using a juggling metaphor. “Life is all about juggling glass and wooden balls. Sometimes you can’t keep all of them in the air. The trick to being successful is that if you have to drop any balls, make sure they are the wooden ones.” If a wooden ball drops on the floor, it’ll just roll away whereas the glass ones will break and cause an even bigger mess. So now not only do you have to juggle, but you have to watch your feet so you don’t step on any of the shards. Inevitably that will cause you to drop all the balls – and that’s a full fledged level 5 disaster.

I’ve always found that metaphor useful when I’m starting to feel stressed out. Like recently as I’ve been trying to finish projects for the end of my first quarter of school, scheduling blogs, making appointments with my over-priced personal trainer, writing stories for my storytelling seminar… It gets to be a bit much. And I’m not even trying to pretend to be like many of you who are juggling jobs, children, relationships with everything else.

Those responsibilities can grow exponentially during the holiday season when you add buying gifts, cooking family meals, sending out Christmas cards, making that pot luck dish for the office party – it never ends. So how do you deal with it? Get out a piece of paper and start identifying what balls you have in the air.

How do you tell if something is a glass ball? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it’s glass.

Is this essential to me paying my bills at the end of the month (aka keeping my job, etc)? 

Does not doing this negatively affect my health or the health/safety of those around me? 

Is this essential to the happiness and stability of my family (or for you personally)? 

If it does not fall into one of those categories, no matter what pressure anyone else is putting on you – it’s a wooden ball. This means the world isn’t actually going to end if one of them drops, even if it seems that way. However, there are still more important wooden balls than others and prioritizing them will only help you further. Try these tips for figuring out the most important tasks.

  • Order the tasks by timeline (what has to be done the soonest?)
  • Tackle the tasks that will take the most time and effort first (as you complete one hard task it’ll only energize you to tackle the others)
  • Are there any tasks that completing them will make the others easier? These definitely go first! 
  • Which tasks reap the largest rewards? Whether that’s time with family (or for yourself!), financially, or space in your calendar – line them up in order of payoff. 

At this point you should have a good idea of the essentials and know the order of your task list. Now you can get started, and if the clock starts winding down and you know you aren’t going to get to everything – start dropping from the bottom. It’s all wood, you’re going to be okay. Breathe. Keep tossing and catching. Toss and catch. One at a time and steadily the list gets smaller and smaller until you get down to only the essential balls that hopefully will feel by instinct at this point so you can rest.

How do you determine your glass and wooden balls? Leave your tips below! 

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