Creating Work Life Balance

4105356_lA lot of people complain that they don’t have time to do what they love to do after work, or that they are constantly checking emails and placing the all the housework on themselves. This eventually causes stress to get everything done in a short time and feeling overworked and burnout. You might even be internalizing the negativity to the point where you are hurting yourself.

We have many roles in our lives. We are workers, maids, chefs, coaches, mothers, fathers, and more. By creating a balance between work and life, we can feel more relaxed and enjoy the moment. This is sometimes easier said than done, but we can and slowly make changes to create more balance to our work and personal life. Try some of the tips below to help create more work life balance.

Embrace the “off” button.

Meaning your computer, your phone, and emails! Technology has a great way to have us stay connected, but when you’re connected all the time, you lose the present of being with friends and family. Set a boundary that work stuff stays a work, or during work hours. Once your work day is done, turn off the technology and focus on your personal life.

Learn to say NO.

We are caring creatures and are willing to help others. Taking on more tasks than we can handle increases our stress level. By learning to say no to extra assignments at work or lead the PTA meeting, again. You can free your time to do other things you had on your list. Saying “No, I have work I need finish first”, or “Thanks for thinking of me but, I want to spend an evening with my  family” is an acceptable response and shouldn’t feel guilty for taking on more.

Prioritize what work needs to be done.

By making a list can help you organize your day. You’ll be able to see what tasks needs to be done. Another way to organize and set priority is making a chart of what is important, not important, urgent and not urgent. Like this:

prioritiespriorities 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List tasks and see where some of those tasks are place. Are they pressing? Are they time-wasters?
By learning what is important, you can plan your day. Box #2 is where you want to be planning your family dinner, preparing deadlines for reports and etc. 

Caring for yourself.

Here are a few self-care practices you can try:

  • Exercise
  • Spend some time outside
  • Spend time alone.
  • Use your vacation and sick time
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Forgive yourself & others 
  • Pamper yourself! Get a massage, manicure or pedicure

Eat healthy.

Eat a clean, real food diet—which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, cooked whole grains and protein. Reduce processed foods, fast food and excess sugar and alcohol. 

Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep increases stress. It’s also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.

Make time for fun and relaxation.

Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends—such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/work-life-balance/art-20048134?pg=2

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/work-life-8-little-tips-to-achieve-a-better-balance/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20540/forget-work-life-balance-heres-how-to-win-at-life-your-way.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14321/15-self-care-tips-for-anyone-who-works-too-much.html

 

Compassion or Control?

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Compassion or Control? Have you ever compassionately helped someone out of a bind and felt exhausted or depleted? Have you offered advice that wasn’t acted upon and felt angry? Have you given something that wasn’t utilized and felt used? Me, too! And I didn’t like it; not one bit. But it kept happening – over and over – and I had to start to look at the common denominator – me.

As I’ve ambled through my journey of self-discovery, I picked up a copy of Iyanla Vanzant’s “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” (at my friend’s gentle encouragement), and boy, did she hit me with some zingers! When I got to the topic of compassion – which, I thought – by my continuous out-pouring of ‘help’ –  I would glide through – I was stopped in my tracks. It hit me like a ton of bricks – and I didn’t like that either, but the Truth was so loud that I could no longer ignore it.

Compassion, she says, is not helping others get out of their messes, but supporting them through their messes until they come out the other side. Helping someone do something they should be doing for themselves is not compassion, but a quest for power and control. Power??? Control??? Me??? Ummmmmm…yes. That was my (sad) Truth. Man, that Iyanla tells it straight!

But the more I read it, again and again, it started to make sense. If I was really acting with compassion, I would not be carrying their load and the responsibility for the fixing. Compassion doesn’t feel like that. Control sure does. She goes on to say that compassionate people do not take other’s power away. And isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m making the calls for you? Scheduling appointments for you? Paying the bills for you? Shoving my (unsolicited) solutions down your throat? Yep. I’ve taken on the role that believes ‘I know best and can do it better, and you should – and will – be grateful’ (which usually doesn’t happen).

“A compassionate person wants you, as a universal being, to realize your wholeness. Your wholeness has nothing to do with being nice, and a compassionate person recognizes that your journey to wholeness may not look nice. Compassionate people have the ability to nurture, comfort, and provide nourishment to others at various stages. They heal without making themselves sick”

Since I’ve been practicing the art (and it is an art because it takes lots & lots of practice) of compassion, I find myself more at ease; more able to discern where I end and you begin. I’m able to be truly compassionate and demonstrate empathy, and sometimes sympathy, while supporting others through their crises’. It allows me to be more loving and kind, and it allows them to stand on their own two feet and solve their own problems. In other words, I’m supporting them while they find their own power. And that’s something we can both feel good about!

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me discern between compassion and control:

  • Is this something they can/should be doing on their own?
  • If I do this, will it deplete or exhaust me in any of the following ways? Energy? Money? Time? Peace of mind?
  • If they don’t/won’t accept my help, can I be at peace about it?
  • What’s the worst that can happen if they do it on their own, even if they fail?
  • Can I let others fall down and learn their own lessons, or do I insist they avoid that pain at all cost and just let me handle it?

I think you get the gist. If letting people manage their own lives causes me any distress at all, it’s time for me to retreat. There’s a reason that the airlines suggest we put on our own masks before helping others with theirs.

 

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Laura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.

Taking Your Own (Good) Advice

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On any given day, I find myself advising clients on how they can complement their massage sessions by performing some type of self-care. Depending on the situation, I may suggest exploring any number of options: yoga, improved nutrition, deeper breathing, perhaps seeking out another professional to address their unique concerns. And while they agree that investing more time in themselves would be beneficial, they just don’t seem to have the time. Or perhaps they, (i.e., WE) just don’t make the time. Hmmmm. It got me thinking….

My clients share some commonalities. The one that stands out to me is their trait of giving…and giving and giving. They do, do, do and go, go, go! They’re responsible and strong and caring and in most instances, people depend on them. In short, they’re a lot like me. Inevitably, I learn that they take better care of others than they take of themselves. (Hello!!??) And while benevolence is an admirable trait, I’m of the mind that too much of a good thing is – well – not so good.

Fast forward to me – at the end of yet another long week of working on clients & offering golden nuggets of wisdom – I head home with an aching back. I wonder when I’d ‘find the time’ to take my own advice and perform some self-care when I’d rather just hit the couch. As they say, ‘when the pain gets great enough, change will occur’, and my back is screaming! Quickly, before I change my mind, I pull out an oldie-but-goodie workout DVD and begin to hobble around my living room floor, attempting to keep up with the routine. In no time, I’m keeping in step, working up a sweat and finding that my muscles sing a happy tune when I’m using them the way they’re meant to be used (one of my golden nuggets)! It goes without saying that the high after a workout is a wonderful thing, and the benefits to my body, mind & spirit are amazing. But my biggest take-away is to recall something that I conveniently tend to forget – ‘We all make time for the things we WANT to do’ (pending any life crisis situations). If I’m not making the time to care for myself, it’s usually my choice and not because of (fill in the blank). I’m perfectly capable of shifting things around to care for myself; in fact, I’m actually better prepared for those other responsibilities as a result of my self-care efforts.

Do yourself a favor: Take some of your own advice today and do something nice for yourself: workout, have some herbal tea, rest, meditate, laugh, have fun! Do what you would want your best friend to do for themselves, then call to tell them about it. My guess is you’ll get a big ‘atta boy – and you’ll have earned it!

 

20140218Enliven-10758-CropLaura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.

 

As You Breathe, So You Live

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As You Breathe, So You Live. What type of reaction does that instill in you?  Did you hold your breath & think about it?  Or did you breathe deeply & calmly, perhaps a gentle smile crossed your face, as you continued to read on?  For many of us – in fact most of us – breathing is not as simple as it sounds.  As we continue to toil in our daily lives, we rarely give much thought to our breathing and how it relates to the lives we’re living.

When this statement was first presented to me almost 3 years ago, I was deeply discouraged; it was a true ‘ah ha moment’ for me.  I had to confess that I was in a constant state of overdrive, worrying about one urgent matter or another, both in my personal and professional life.  I noticed that my shoulders were creeping up close to my ears, I rarely breathed much deeper than my shoulder blades and as a result, I had constant neck & back pain. I realized that my shallow ‘fight or flight’ breathing mirrored my life.  Horrors!

So what to address first, my life or my breathing?  Well, I couldn’t quickly or easily change the matters that were present in my life, but I COULD start to pay attention to my breathing – especially when I found myself rushing or worrying – again!  I decided to put into practice what I had learned in my yoga classes.  I began to breathe deeply into my lungs, down into my lower rib cage first – so that all four sides of my body expanded – before filling my upper chest.  When exhaling, I emptied the top of my lungs first, then, compressed my diaphragm as I pushed all of the stale air out completely.  (It’s kind of like filling and emptying a water balloon.)  I started counting to 5 on my inhale and to 7 on the exhale.  Even if I only made time to do that 3-5 times in one sitting, I found that I was able to slow down a little; it had a calming effect.  My neck felt some relief and I had an increased sense of well-being.  I even had to give myself a little chuckle, recalling how the old adage “take a breath” suddenly took on a new, powerful meaning.

While I don’t always practice what I preach, I have to admit that hearing the truth: ‘As you breathe, so you live’ was a bit of a life saver for me.  I now check my breathing on a regular basis because it does accurately reflect what’s going on in my life.  Today, I enjoy making time to breathe deeply and experience the benefits; I consider it my secret weapon against stress.  And when things are going well, it just feels really good to pay attention, take a breath, and be grateful for the positive change in my life.

20140218Enliven-10758-CropLaura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.

Deep Emotional Stress: What I wanted to do was eat for comfort

Inspiration Boards

Inspiration Board Patriots Day 2013

Have you ever had a time in which something really takes you by surprise and causes great upset emotionally?

I experienced this on Patriots Day 2013 when I heard about the Boston Marathon bombings.  I am from New England, and I have run the Boston Marathon with my husband back in 2004 for a charity called New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans.  I can’t truly begin to describe to you the emotions that flow as you are running that race.  There are people all along the course, everyone is cheering you on, and the energy in the air is so positively powerful. Somehow, even through the dreaded “Heartbreak Hill” you get through it!

It is an experience that I cherish and will never forget.

So, when I heard about the bombings this year, my heart literally sank and I felt a deep sickness in my stomach.

I was not home at the time and I did not have access to a television, so I could only go by hear say.  However, when I arrived home about an hour later, I got the full story and was able to see it on TV.  My sorrow turned to tears and deep sadness.  From there, I wanted to drown my sadness, and found myself at my refrigerator.

What I wanted to do was eat for comfort.

I really wanted ice cream.  We did not have any in the fridge, and I said I was going to go get some at the market right down stairs.

Then I stopped.

I realized at that moment, drowning my sorrows in food was not going to make the pain stop or change what had happened.  I needed to find a positive way to deal with what I was feeling.  So I decided to pull out some old magazines and make an “Inspiration Board” on bright pink paper, my favorite color.

The idea behind an Inspiration Board is to gather together old magazines and cut out words, pictures, sayings, objects, etc. Ones make you feel happy and invigorated and then place them on any surface, like paper, cardboard, corkboard, etc.  The goal of the project is to help re-frame your negative energy/emotions to more positive energy/emotions. Put together something positive which has personal meaning to you; ones you can value, cherish and get inspired by daily.

Inspiration Boards are a great way to channel your energy and create something meaningful.

I am so happy I did this. 

I have my Inspiration Board next to my work desk and I look at it every single day.  It has brought so much more meaning to me than eating a pint of ice cream would have.

Next time you are dealing with some emotional stress take a moment to ask yourself how you truly want to deal with it. 

I promise that this method of creating something positive will help lift your spirits.

 

Tracie Hammond

Tracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.

 

Financial Wellness: Life is a roller coaster ride

The best way to survive the roller coaster ride is through forward thinking, adaptation and change.  However, take each soul-searching moment in chunks, aka, baby steps.

The saying is true: Financial Wellness is peace of mind.  However, when the household income drastically diminishes, stress immediately follows.  Reducing bills and cutting costs is an automatic suggestion, but did you know the action steps can be educational, sustainable, and all around increase your wellness?Enliven Wellness Works

First and foremost, you are not alone!  Personally, I have been in situations where life looked bleak and foresaw no way out of the financial sandpit.  My advice: never never quit trying and climbing to new heights.

Below are tips to begin your research, take action, and encourage a financial evolution:

1) Develop a new budget

Yes hard, but do it.  Take the new income and set a plan.  Life’s non-necessities will immediately pop-up to notify where you can make the first reductions.

2) Evaluate purchases

Take a good hard look at your day-to-day actions.  Are you stopping at the store 5 times a week? Are you buying a cup of coffee here or bottled water there?

3) Embrace mindfulness

Take time for yourself and rejuvenate. You will already be reducing your stress through taking control and getting a handle on the financial turn of events. By being mindful, you will also be preventing negative health impacts which can be exacerbated because of stress.

As we embark on the journey toward Financial Wellness together, Enliven wants to hear from you! 

What major topics do you want to read or need assistance with?

  • Saving on food shopping or cooking
  • Energy and/water saving tips
  • Budget cutting

Please help Enliven cater to clients first by commenting below with your suggestions.

What is your next baby step?

Jessica RespondekJessica Respondek is owner of The Sales Source, LLC, as well as, providing Business Development for Enliven Wellness Works, a company specializing in workplace wellness and health coaching based in St. Petersburg /Tampa Bay FL. She is an MBA graduate from the University of Florida. While happily married and a mother to Tyde, a precocious 3 year-old, Jessica loves spending time with her family and friends, volunteering for environmental organizations, organic gardening, and strives to encourage sustainable living for everyone.

 

Got Stress?

Got Stress? Get EnlivenSeriously, who is not stressed at some point in time or another…or every point in time? Lauren Weber and Sue Shellenbarger compare stress in their online Wall Street Journal article, Office Stress: His vs. Hers.

“Too much work, too little money and not enough opportunity for growth are stressing us out on the job, according to a new survey from the American Psychological Association.”  But are we really stressed out and so in the negative we cannot see the good?  Thus we are un-empowering ourselves to make changes for the better?

The article comes from a glass is half empty viewpoint to claim, “Only half of the adults polled said they feel valued at work.”  Only half?  Why not 50% of adults do feel value!?!

I am not denying stress, nor being undervalued and underpaid.  Been there, done that.  The day I drove to work having a panic attack, just because I was driving in to work – I vowed to make a change.  Took some time, plenty of changes, but I am a happier person.

Enliven Wellness WorksWeber and Shellenbarger claim: “Many women hesitate to speak up for themselves or challenge behavior they see as unfair.”  If the statement describes you, then shame on you.  You are the only one who can defend you the best.  You are the only one who can care for you the best.  You know you.

The authors further explain: “Work has invaded every hour of the day, including time once reserved for personal care. Experts say we can’t even count on vacations to help us decompress.” Should you be stuck in the rutt of the described mindset, call Enliven today.  Our coaches can help you put a plan in place to aid in de-stressing, boosting nutrition, and increasing physicality; all elements which aid the body in the natural healing process.

Got Stress? Get Enliven.
Jessica RespondekJessica Respondek is a co-owner of two businesses, as well as, providing Business Development for Enliven Wellness Works, a company specializing in workplace wellness and health coaching based in St. Petersburg /Tampa Bay FL. She is an MBA graduate from the University of Florida. While happily married and a mother to Tyde, a precocious 3 year-old, Jessica loves spending time with her family and friends, volunteering for environmental organizations, organic gardening, and strives to encourage sustainable living for everyone.