Weekend Rejuvenation

Weekend Rejuvenation

When you were younger and still in school, you lived for summer vacation! Remember those lazy, summer days and how bored you used to be?? I sigh to myself thinking, if only I could go back in time. Then at some point you grew up and , thankfully, landed that first job. From those first days of real employment all the way through to present day, no matter how tenured you are in your career, you now live for the WEEKEND! Here are 5 tips on how to make the most of your favorite two days of the week and to rejuvenate for the upcoming week!

 Step 1: Relax

First, you need to UNWIND! You’ve had a busy and, hopefully, productive week. Between your work responsibilities, preparing family meals, running the kids to after school activities, washing clothes and cleaning your home, you’ve been juggling a wide range of activities and are most likely exhausted. Be sure to enjoy some downtime and simply just BE! Don’t worry about your “to do” list or things you should be doing, just relax. If this means kicking back with a movie and pizza, or a family game night, or simply enjoying a glass of wine while listening to music or chatting with your significant other or friends, go ahead and enjoy yourself! Clearing your mind and taking a few minutes to stop worrying about everything you should be doing is the first step of your weekend rejuvenation plan.

Step 2: Exercise

Next, be sure to fit in some physical activity. Yep, good ole fashioned EXERCISE! Many of us spend way too much time sitting behind a desk, hunched over a computer all week. Congratulations to those of you who are dedicated enough to keep up a fitness routine throughout the work week! For the rest of us, the weekend is our time to play catch up. Get out and enjoy some fresh air, go for a walk, a run, hit the gym, the park, or the beach. Take advantage of the extra time available to you over your weekend and get moving! “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. A little extra exercise over your weekend has exponential benefits.

Step 3: Reflect

Now that you’ve had the chance to unwind and have squeezed in some exercise, it’s time to grow a bit reflective. Take some time to REFLECT on the past week, from a professional as well as a personal perspective. What can you celebrate for pulling off without a hitch? What went well? What could have gone better? There are some days I feel like a rock star at work, but then feel as though I failed miserably while dealing with a family member in the evening hours. This isn’t the time to beat yourself up or have regrets.  Reflect, stay positive and make mental adjustments as you plan your upcoming week to ensure it’s the best one yet.

 Step 4: Prepare

A very important part of your weekend should be to PREPARE for the upcoming week. While this may not be the most exciting part of your weekend, it’s crucial. Review your upcoming calendar. Evaluate not only your “to do” list, but revisit your goals (personal and professional) and action plan to accomplish those goals.  Are there special events at school or work that you need to prepare for? Now is the time! You’ll be able to enjoy a more leisurely trip to the grocery store over the weekend rather than scurrying around after work during your work week. The few minutes spent planning for the upcoming week will be time well spent and you’ll thank yourself later.

Step 5: Prioritize

As you plan for the upcoming week ahead, be sure to PRIORITIZE your commitments and responsibilities. There are some weeks where you will be able to do it all, and others when you won’t be able to make it all happen…and that’s ok! It is easy to lose track of what really matters to us. Only you know what is most important to you; what holds emotional value to you. I love this quote from Steve Jobs, “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” This is YOUR weekend, do what is important TO YOU.

Now that you are refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed, you are prepared for a fun, productive, and (mostly) stress-free upcoming week!

What Does Empathy Have To Do With Moving?

What Does Empathy Have To Do With Moving?

Empathy.

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

To some people, empathy comes easily.  To others, it is a completely foreign concept.

Have you known (or perhaps this describes you) somebody who just knows their way is the right way?  They aren’t even willing to entertain the feelings or opinions of others.  They can be tough to get along with, to work with, to live with.

I seek to take the feelings, ideas, and opinions of others into consideration as I go through my day-to-day life.  I must admit, however, some days this is easier to accomplish than others.

Keep in mind, people can experience the exact same event, yet have vastly different reactions or opinions of the event!  Think of a sporting event where there is a clear winning team and a clear losing team.  Same event, but very different experiences for players and fans, right??  Or how about a movie with your kids?  They come out thinking it was the best movie EVER and you slept through half of it (I may be speaking from experience here!).

One example that comes to mind to me, from my years as a military spouse is moving!  A change in duty station to my husband meant a new job, new command, new boss, new mission, and all the logistics involved with relocating the family.  To me it meant organizing the house for the move, supervising the packing, unpacking the house, doing countless  address changes, setting up the utilities, registering the vehicles, getting the kids settled into a new school, finding a new doctor, vet, hair stylist, etc.

To my kids, when they were little, it meant staying in hotels (sometimes with a swimming pool!), a road trip, new games/crafts for traveling, picking out their new room, and playing in the boxes at the new house.  It also meant making new friends!   I don’t want to downplay any stress involved with moving as a military child.  It also meant saying goodbye to friends and a familiar school.  But as a military child myself, I do speak from experience, the adventure outweighed the anxiety I might have felt.

Just because you have gone through  a similar experience as somebody else, don’t ever for a moment think that you know exactly what they are going through.  We all have our own set of beliefs and past experiences that mold our frame of reference.  Back to the example of military moves, what might be fun and exciting to me may be traumatic for another person.

The best way to understand what somebody is going through is to ask them.  Check in with your friends and loved ones to see how they are doing.  Ask them how they are feeling.  Extend this same curiosity and courtesy to strangers.  You never know whose spirits you may lift by simply asking them how their day is going.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.  Ask them how they are, then try to understand from their perspective.  In doing so, you will be able to extend more grace to others, yourself, and hopefully come away with more acceptance and a grateful heart.

Gratitude – Can Hit At Any Moment

Gratitude – Can Hit At Any Moment

For years I’ve been hearing about the benefits of keeping a Gratitude Journal.

I must confess, I’ve tried the practice off and on throughout the years but haven’t been successful at keeping up with it.  I think my struggle stemmed from thinking it was something that I needed to do at the end of my day, right before heading off to sleep.  Let’s be honest.  As a busy mom, military spouse turned entrepreneur, who tends to stay up later than she should on most nights, writing in any kind of journal right before I finally fall into bed just doesn’t happen.

So, I’ve started journaling in the mornings with much more success!

Does it happen every morning?  Nope!  Does it always focus on gratitude?  Nope!

Frequently I’m writing down my goals, capturing on paper what my life looks like when I’ve accomplished them.  Sometimes I’m simply working through a concept or thought I’ve been contemplating lately.  Other times, my journaling is simply a “brain dump”; aimlessly writing whatever comes to mind.  If you’ve never tried a “brain dump”, I invite you to try it out.  You may notice your stress level dramatically decreasing simply by writing e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g down that is weighing on your mind.  It’s as though your brain can now relax because it realizes that you’ve got things under control.

More often than not, I simply take notice of things that I’m grateful for.  Gratitude doesn’t have to be written down for it to count.  (Thank goodness!)

When you set out to be more grateful, you’ll find yourself looking for things to feel gratitude towards.  Then after a while, something magical happens.  You’ll find you don’t have to try as hard to find things for which you are grateful.

Take this evening for example.  I recently purchased new towels for our master bathroom.  This simple act feels like a luxury to me.  Our old towels certainly still work.  They get the job done.  But do you know the feeling when one day you notice that your towels simply aren’t soft any longer?  There have been times in the past when I would have dismissed that thought immediately.  We may have been on a tighter budget and buying new towels simply wasn’t a priority.  And remember, the old towels still get the job done.

My mindset has shifted.  Every day I shower.  It’s usually a task that is done at the beginning of my day and, in partial, helps to set my mood for the upcoming day.  Why would I not want to make that experience as luxurious and pleasant as possible?  I’m pretty sure using sand- papery feeling towels is not the best way to start my day feeling pampered and refreshed!

So tonight, as I was folding my brand-new towels, that I had just washed and dried with the assist of lavender scented wool dryer balls (If you don’t know about them, girl, reach out to me!  Love them! You can use your favorite essential oils to create whatever scent you’d like.), I felt a flood of gratitude wash over me.

I’m thankful that I have the luxury to make purchases that might not seem essential but will aid in creating the comforting home that I strive to create for my family.  (Well, at least those fortunate enough to use the master bath!)  I look forward to my shower in the morning and wrapping myself in these new, soft, lavender scented towels.

Finding things to be grateful for doesn’t have to be a chore.  Open your mind to notice the little things in life that bring you joy.  Note them, go ahead and write them down if you feel inclined, and enjoy the positive effects of a grateful heart.

Surround Yourself With Greatness

Surround Yourself With Greatness

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Take a minute and think about that!  It just might be sobering.  Are you surrounded by negative, sarcastic, non-motivated people who are happy with the status quo?   Are you surrounded by judgmental, critical, gossiping neighbors or friends?  Or are you surrounded by bright, kind, intelligent, motivated people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself?  The choice is yours!

We rise (or fall) to the level of those we surround ourselves with.  Are you the smartest person in the room?  If so, there is nobody there to encourage you to grow, to learn, to step out of your comfort zone.  Sure, it might feel great to be the leader, the person others look up to motivation and inspiration.  But what’s going to happen if you stay in that place, that comfortable place, for too long?  You may find yourself less motivated to achieve more, to grow, to work on improving yourself and your skillset.  You are going to grow stagnant, or worse yet, slip backwards.

Instead, I encourage you to continually seek to surround yourself with those you feel are a step or two ahead of you.  If you are in a professional environment, who has already achieved your goals, is where you want to be?  If you are an athlete, who has accomplished the dream you are after.  Reach out to these people.  Ask to take them to lunch, to shadow them, to have them mentor you, whatever this looks like in the space you are in.  Read books, listen to podcasts, sign up for the class, hire the coach, do the thing that keeps you learning, growing, and just a little bit uncomfortable.

Does it feel scary (in a good way!), does it excite you, does it feel a bit intimidating?  GOOD, you are on the right path!  If you have an inkling to check out something or someone, listen to your inner voice and do it!

I recently embarked on a 12-month coaching/mastermind program.  Does it scare, excite and intimated me?  Yup!  Do I feel a bit out of my league?  Yes, I do.  Do I feel like the smartest person in the room?  Not even close!  Am I going to learn from somebody who has done what I dream of accomplishing and living the life I envision for myself?  Yes!!  Am I proud of myself for pushing out of my comfort zone?  You bet!

I am excited and honored to be partnering up with the group of entrepreneurs who are embarking on this journey with me.  There are going to be more than 5 of us, but whatever the number of this new group I’m surrounding myself with, I’m looking forward to upping my game and being the average of these people.

Keep blooming personally and professionally, friend!  

Bloom Like a Flower

Bloom Like a Flower

What if you stopped comparing yourself to others?

What if you stopped competing with others?

With the mental clarity quitting these destructive habits would provide you, you could focus on what is truly important: accomplishing your goals and dreams!

While competition CAN be healthy in some settings, it can also lead to self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and lack of confidence.  None of these traits are beneficial in your personal or professional life.

In keeping this short and sweet: my advice to you is to stop worrying about what everybody else is doing.  Put your head down, stay focused and get to work crushing your goals!

Don’t just grow when you can bloom!