Career · Wellness

3 Effective Ways to Make the Most out of your Weekday Evenings

Break the unhealthy cycle of counting down the clock; start living your life instead.

There’s nothing like a good ol’ 9 to 5 to suck the energy out of us faster than we can count a second on a clock. It sounds grim, but for plenty of us, “working for the man” can have negative effects on our mood and energy levels. If the phrase “working for the weekend” feels a little too real for you, I’m here to tell you constant clock watching just isn’t a healthy way to live. Sure, you might feel unsatisfied with where you’re at professionally, but that doesn’t mean your entire life is miserable. Take a second and read this response from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs). He talks about working hard no matter what you’re doing… showing up early, volunteering where you can, etc. But, what really stands out to me is the following quote:

“Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.” –Mike Rowe

Don’t let a lack of satisfaction control you. Just like Mike says, happiness doesn’t come from a job but instead, how you choose to live your life every day. When we’re struggling to “live in the moment” because we’re counting down the minutes on an endless clock, waiting until we can curl up on the couch with a bottle of merlot and a Netflix binge, try incorporating the following tips into your evening routine. They might just help.

Put Down the Phone

Recently, I took a “social media” break, which I encourage everyone to try. For about a week, I removed all of the social networking apps off of my phone and essentially, invited time into my life as my own. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, constantly refreshing my newsfeed to see what had been updated within the last 3 seconds, I was able to spend more quality time with my boyfriend, my friends and most importantly, myself. After a long day at work, the last thing I needed was to be bombarded with oftentimes, useless information, aggressive political rants, etc. and by taking a break from that life, I was able to give more of my time to hobbies that made me happy like reading, writing, cooking, and self-care. By taking a break from the phone, even just a few days a week, you may notice a positive shift in your evening routine.

Cook a Quick but Fulfilling Meal

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know of many people who want to bust their butts in the kitchen after putting in an 8 hour day at the office. However, if you’re like me and LOVE to cook, sometimes preparing a satisfying meal can feel liberating. Making a tasty weekday supper doesn’t have to be exhausting, especially when you plan appropriately. There’s plenty of quick dinner ideas out there that utilize real ingredients and take practically no effort to make. Once you’re done and you get to enjoy eating the food you prepared, maybe you’ll feel recharged too.

 Pamper Yourself

Practicing self-care is exceptionally important and is something I’m a major advocate for. I’m a firm believer that if you’re not happy with yourself, you’re not going to be happy with anything else either. Setting aside some “you” time, especially after coming home from work, can be a really great way to show yourself the love that you deserve. Try lighting some candles and drawing yourself a hot bath, doing your nails, or even just enjoying a cup of tea while watching a show you’re obsessed with. Whatever genuinely makes you feel good, do that thing. You deserve it!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow your dreams. In fact, please do! You have the ability to accomplish ANYTHING you want. But looking at it as a realist, some goals can be difficult to attain, especially when kids, location, etc. are in the mix. So when you’re going through the motions of a daily grind and find yourself in a downward spiral of negativity, remember not to let your 9 to 5 control you. Instead, start making the most out of your weekday evenings, your weekends and yes, work days too.

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Career · Wellness

5 Healthy Habits that Happy People Do in the Morning

These tips could be the key to becoming a morning person!

Whether you put in your time at a 9 to 5 or you’re making money by working for yourself, most people can agree that the morning just feels harder when you have somewhere to be or something to do. But, here’s the thing. Mornings aren’t the enemy… you just have to find ways to make the early AM work for you. And, who knows? With these 5 healthy habits, you may find yourself actually becoming one of those annoying happy people we tend to avoid before noon.

Refrain from Hitting the Snooze Button

Yes, setting multiple alarms can work wonders for waking you up in the morning, but have you ever tried actually getting out of bed the first time it goes off? Think of how much more time you’ll have to get ready while starting your day off on a productive note rather than rushing and trying not to be late for work… again. If this seems like an impossible task, try setting your alarm(s) earlier than you normally would with the last one going off at the time you’d normally wake up. And for further encouragement, set your phone (assuming that’s how you use your alarm) somewhere on the other side of the room so you have to walk over and get it when it rings.

Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

You’ve heard it said so many times before but eating a nutritional breakfast really does help set the tone for your day. Eating something tasty when you wake up will help curb the inevitable “hanger” when waiting for lunch encouraging higher productivity levels and contributing to an overall better mood throughout the day. Preparing a healthy meal in the AM also helps to increase your metabolism and might just motivate you to make healthier decisions throughout the day.

Leave the Phone Alone

We all know that mobile devices can be distracting and harmful to our productivity levels. Instead of texting or browsing through social media as soon as you wake up, try using that time to mentally prepare yourself for the day instead. With so much hard-hitting news surfacing on Facebook and Twitter, switching up your morning routine to include a quiet cup of coffee, meditation practice, or learning a new skill might be just what you need for some solid weekday motivation.

Enjoy Some R&R

The concept of “meditation” tends to intimidate a lot of people but it doesn’t have to. Knowing how to meditate simply means to sit quietly and focus on your breath while trying to clear out your thoughts. Even if you can make 5-10 minutes each morning to sit quietly and breathe deeply, you may find yourself feeling calmer and possibly even accomplish more throughout the work day. If meditation doesn’t interest you, enjoying your own company with a cup of coffee or tea can be a really relaxing way to start off any day of the week.

Effective Day-Planning

Writing out a daily to-do list, whether it’s on your phone or in a day-planner, can really help spark some serious motivation for the day. When you have a general understanding of what’s expected of you, diving into work should feel much less stressful allowing yourself to accomplish more while feeling calmer and more collected. Try it out for yourself!

Waking up earlier than you normally would might seem awful, but try it for a week or two and measure out your productivity levels afterwards. Who knows? You may find that by becoming a morning person, life will generally feel happier and more rewarding.

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Career · Wellness

5 Helpful Tips for Maximizing your Monday at Work

Kick Start your Monday Motivation with a Burst of Positivity

The beginning of the work week has a bad reputation. After a relaxing weekend filled with Netflix marathons, dinner dates, and naps, finding your Monday motivation is exceptionally difficult when getting ready to head back for another week at the office. Sound familiar? While Mondays may definitely suck, there’s no reason to waste an entire day groveling in self-pity! Life is much too short for that. Make the most out of what’s arguably the worst day of the week with these little lifestyle changes that can really help make a difference.

Set Your Alarm 20 Minutes Earlier

You probably think I’m crazy, but hear me out. Yes, waking up earlier than you have to on the day you’re the most tired sounds impossible, but I can almost promise you’ll feel much better for it. By setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier than normal, you’ll be able to start your day off on a good note. With that extra 20 minutes, try sitting down at the kitchen table, enjoying a healthy breakfast while taking some time to reflect on the day ahead. Writing a to-do list can work wonders for your productivity as well, so try incorporating this into your new morning ritual.

Prep a Delicious Lunch

Everyone looks forward to lunch, especially when the items contained in your brown bag are worth getting excited over. If you’re struggling with a bad case of the Monday “blahs”, prepare yourself a tasty meal reserved for lunch hour. Thanks to the internet, there’s tons of nutritious meal ideas at our disposal which are easy to prepare in advance and allow you better control over what you put into your body. If making your own lunch sounds like too much effort, perhaps Monday is a good day to treat yourself to a great local restaurant!

Bring a Good Book

Bringing a book to work is good practice when feeling down on a Monday. By making time to read a great book on your scheduled break, you’re giving yourself something to look forward to throughout the day. Stepping away from your desk to read a really great book you’ve been dying to dive into could be just what you need to get through an exhausting day at the office.

Hit the Gym

I don’t need to remind you that making time for exercise should be a priority for your health (you already know that). However, breaking a sweat also does wonders for kick-starting your Monday motivation and helping to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety, all-too familiar emotions on the first day of the work week. Try heading to the gym or going for a walk/run before your 9 to 5 or even during your lunch hour. Releasing some powerful endorphins are known to trigger positive feelings within the body, something that is oh-so-needed on a Monday.

Find Some Perspective

The world is a dark and scary place that lately, feels a little more hateful than usual. From a startling change in the USA’s political system to what feels like a new terrorist attack every week, we must put our lives and feelings into perspective. It’s okay if you’re feeling depressed, sad, directionless, etc. We’re all human and tend to feel that way from time to time. But if a bad case of the Mondays is really wearing you down, take a deep breath and remember there is still good in the world. Loads of it, in fact! While your boss is hounding you about a deadline, or you’re struggling to finish a report, take some time to reflect over the fact that you have a roof over your head, a little bit of money in your pocket, and friends & family who love you. Whatever you have in your life that makes you smile, remember those things in the darkest of moments and that should be enough to get you through your Monday.

 

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Wellness

4 Productive Things to Do When You’re Feeling Stuck

Burst away from feeling stuck in life and start finding your motivation

Like most people, oftentimes we go through periods where we’re feeling stuck and no matter what we do, nothing seems to be able to pull us out of that negative headspace. It’s only natural to get stuck in a rut every now and again but it feels especially exhausting when we start asking ourselves, “what’s wrong with me?” or “do I have depression?” If you’re worried you could be suffering from a mental health issue, you should speak to your doctor. But, oftentimes we just need to find a way to kick start our motivation and pull ourselves out of the funk.

Here are some things you can do if you’re feeling stuck in life.

Write a List

Sometimes, our thoughts can feel overwhelming if something is bothering us. Try writing out a list of changes you’d like to see in the next month and another for the next year. To hold yourself accountable for these changes, write out ways you can accomplish a solution for each problem. Another way to pull yourself out of a funk? Through the art of writing a daily to-do list. If you have a big deadline you keep putting off, write it down! If you’ve been wanting to hit the gym, put it on your list. Need to stop at the grocery store? You know what to do. Writing down the little things can work wonders for increasing our motivation and feelings of accomplishment.

Read an Inspiring Book

From fictional fantasy to an inspiring career read, diving into a well-written book can be an effective solution for feeling stuck emotionally. Reading a good book can help remove you from a stressful life situation, instead encouraging you to focus on “another world” so to speak. For example, if you’re struggling in your current job, try reading a motivational book on ways to advance in your career. Now, this isn’t to say you should run away from your problems, but oftentimes when we’re dwelling on unhappy emotions, shifting your focus on something that makes us feel good can assist with overcoming anxiety.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Social media can be destructive to our self-esteem and overall life satisfaction. When we’re viewing everything through rose coloured glasses, it’s easier to compare ourselves to others and spiral into a destructive mentality of “the grass is always greener on the other side”. If you’re feeling unhappy about where you’re at in life, stop comparing yourself to other people on your Instagram or Facebook feed. Social media platforms tend to paint a prettier picture than reality and usually, things aren’t always what they appear to be.

Re-Evaluate

Stress & anxiety symptoms from less than ideal life situations can wreak havoc on our wellbeing. If you’re struggling to cope with something that’s potentially holding you back, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate how you spend your time. Leaving a draining job or an unhealthy relationship can be frightening but if you part ways with those things, think about where you’ll be in the future. Do you feel an overwhelming amount of freedom? Do you imagine yourself killing it in a different industry? Travelling the world? You can do whatever you want to do! You just have to trust in yourself in order to get there.

Taking a leap and going after what we really want can certainly feel challenging. But achieving your goals and seeking out your happiness is possible! It sounds simple, but all you need to do is pull yourself out of the rut and start going after what you want. By following your heart, feeling stuck will be a thing of the past.

 

*I’m not a doctor of any sort. These are just my personal opinions and things that have worked for me in the past. If you’re feeling suicidal or are suffering from severe depression and anxiety, please call a crisis hot line or seek help from a medical professional.  

Wellness

5 Effective Tips for Overcoming the Winter Blues

It’s funny… Oftentimes, in late summer or early fall, I find myself yearning for the winter season. And every year in late winter, I forget just how much the SADs (seasonal affective disorder) kicks my butt. Dreams of Christmas trees, time spent with family & friends, and bright holiday lights are nice in the moment, but after December, I tend to struggle to even get out of bed in the morning, a condition I’ve personally labelled as “the Januarys”. For me, side effects of the Januarys include inability to get out of bed in the morning, an increased desire to lay around for hours binging Netflix and complete lack of motivation to do anything. So in the midst of my personal mission to feel better in the winter, I’ve decided to write out a list of ways (that have worked for me) to overcome the winter blues.

Schedule a Friend Date

Beating the winter “blahs” can be tough. However, by surrounding yourself with a tight-knit group of friends, you could be looking at a natural method to overcoming a bad case of the SADs. If you’ve been feeling particularly unmotivated lately, try scheduling a friend date. Making some time for a buddy you haven’t seen in a while or scheduling a group outing with your besties could be just what you need to lift up your spirits this winter season.

Try Something New

Taking up a new hobby or enrolling in online education is usually a great method for kick-starting your motivation, feeling more accomplished and of course, overcoming seasonal depression. Thanks to the simplicity of the internet, there’s tons of great websites to help you out. Interested in learning a new skill? Udemy has some great courses from graphic design and coding to music techniques and nutrition. The beauty of taking an online course is you can learn the basics right from your own couch! If you’re seeking a new activity (and possibly make some new friends while you’re at it), see what’s going on in your area. Paint Nite has become popular for good reason and is a fantastic way to develop your artistic skills while also having a blast.

Do Something Productive

Whether you have a to-do list the size of the Great Wall of China or simply need to tackle a couple of minor tasks, perhaps it’s time to start actually checking off some of the items. Taking care of the things that need to be done can work wonders on your stress levels while also allowing you to feel more level-headed. Creating a realistic to-do list allows you to look at the big picture and plan for the long-term which can leave you feeling much more relaxed.

 Make Time for Exercise

You knew this one was coming… combating Seasonal Affective Disorder by exercising regularly kind of goes without saying. Keeping our body active helps boost serotonin and endorphins, almost acting like a natural anti-depressant. Try going for a run or walk outside and see how you feel afterwards. If exercising outside isn’t an ideal option for you, consider getting a gym membership. Having a workout buddy can be an effective way to hold yourself accountable for attending gym sessions regularly.

 Brighten your Environment

Another great way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression symptoms caused by the season is to brighten up your environment. Consider investing in a Day-Light SAD Lamp
that helps up to 50 percent of people suffering from depression caused by SAD. The light box provides bright rays that help boost serotonin in the brain.

Remember, there’s always ways to overcome feelings of depression, anxiety, tenseness, or whatever other ailment you may be suffering from. Help is always available, whether it’s through natural sources like the ones stated above or through a professional. Happiness is possible!

As stated in my about page, I’m certainly not an expert and am just reporting based on what works for me along with my own personal research. If you feel these are not an option for you, consider seeking professional help.

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