Category Archives: Balance

The “Back to Reality” Blues

I just returned from an amazing vacation in Maui. My boyfriend and I stayed with my grandparents in their condo on the beach to celebrate his graduation from UNR. You would think after a nice relaxing week on the beach I would be fully energized and ready to tackle real life, but jetlag and cold weather just aren’t making it easy. I went from Alooooha! to Aloblahhhh, and I’m wishing I was back on the beach in the sunshine.

The funny thing is, I know that if I lived in a place like Maui, it would lose its luster. Vacations are an essential part of creating balance in your life; however, if you are always on vacation, it no longer does the trick. Working extra hard makes those breaks that much more rewarding. I think if I were on permanent vacation, I would eventually have the urge to find something to do. Consider, for example, the many retirees who have gone back to work because they got tired of sitting around and needed something productive to keep them busy. It all comes down to the fact that you can indeed have too much of a good thing. Moderation is key to creating balance.

I know I will feel more refreshed in a couple of days and more motivated to get into my work. In the meantime, I am going to continue to attempt to readjust to reality while I fantasize about where I’m going next!

On a side note….

If anyone is interested in vacationing in Maui, my grandparents’ condo is amazing and available for rental throughout the year. Shameless plug, I know 🙂


Amazing Maui Condo for Rent!!

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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11 Ways to Boost Your Brainpower

Get more sleep

In a perfect world, this would be at least 8 hours, but if all you can get is 6 or 7, make sure it is good quality sleep. Take a power nap (no more than 30 min.) in the afternoon if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity.

Exercise

Exercise strengthens more than just your muscles. It releases endorphins that elevate mood and is a great way to reduce stress.

Eat dark chocolate

Yes! Finally, a legitimate reason to indulge in chocolate! A study has shown that the flavanols in dark chocolate increase bloodflow to key areas of the brain, boosting mental performance and alertness. More good news!…Flavanols are also found in red wine, green tea, and blueberries!

Practice yoga

An hour yoga session will give your mind a chance to focus and meditate, strengthening the connection between your brain and your body. If you want to add some detoxification to your yoga experience, I highly recommend Bikrim Yoga.

Watch a psychological thriller

Not only will this stimulate your analytical thinking left brain hemisphere as you try to solve the mystery, it may also give you an adrenaline rush that will stimulate all your senses.

Laugh

Laughing boosts your immune system, decreases stress, and improves mood. And that’s not all…it’s also contagious! Happiness is the healthiest state of mind.

Drink plenty of H2O

About 70-80% of your brain is water. Not drinking enough can cause headaches and tiredness from dehydration. How much you should drink depends on your lifestyle, but about 2 liters a day is recommended.

Get creative

Sometimes that right hemisphere gets a little neglected. Let yourself get absorbed in a creative project or turn on some music and dance.

Learn something new

The brain needs a workout too. Learning a new skill or reading a book stimulates the brain and keeps it sharp. This becomes especially important as we get older.

Break a habit

Habits are a mental phenomenon. Challenge your brain by breaking a bad habit. It requires focus, persistence, and complete awareness of your actions. If you are breaking an unhealthy habit, like smoking, you will receive even more brainy benefits.

Think positive

Positive thought may be the single most powerful brain booster of them all. You will be surprised what you can accomplish with a “glass half full” state of mind.

Can you add any more to the list? What do you do to boost your brainpower?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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Are you off balance?

If you feel like all you ever do is work, and you never have the time to do the things you want, chances are your life is off balance. It can happen quite easily if you don’t consciously work to maintain this delicate equilibrium. Sometimes you don’t even realize it’s happening until you find yourself suffering the consequences. Here are some signs that you may be off balance:

  • You have difficulty falling asleep
  • You keep coming down with colds
  • You have a constant knot in your stomach
  • You’ve lost contact with your friends
  • You can’t remember the last time you’re whole family shared a meal
  • You spend more time in your office than your home
  • You’ve gained weight
  • You feel stressed and overwhelmed more often than you feel happy and relaxed

This concept of work/life balance is talked about a lot, and it means something different for everyone. It’s essential for your physical and mental well being to give yourself a break sometimes. I have been successful in maintaining balance in my life because I have integrated it into my daily routine. We are creatures of habit, and if you habitually incorporate the things that balance you into your schedule, you won’t neglect to do them. Here are some suggestions for making balance a habit:

Enroll in a class

Whether its a workout class, an art class, or an educational class, it’s a commitment that will be at the same time on the same day every week.

Pack a bag

This has been my secret for maintaining a consistent workout schedule. I pack my gym bag in the morning and go straight to the gym after work before I get to go home.

Create a tradition

I try to get together with my family for dinner on Sunday nights. It’s a time when everyone is off work, and we prepare and enjoy a meal together while catching up on the weeks’ happenings. It’s usually followed by a movie or a card game.

What do you do to stay balanced?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Emotional Distraction

It’s not uncommon for our personal lives and our professional lives interfere with one another. This is especially true when it’s something negative we are dealing with in either sphere. Whether it’s conflict or frustration in the workplace or tension or tragedy in your personal life, bringing work home or bringing home to work can be one of the biggest distractions and barriers to productivity. It’s challenge to stay focused and on task when your mind is in another place.

Emotions are a powerful force that is difficult to control sometimes, and unfortunately there is no On/Off switch. The fine lines that separate the different spheres of our lives are not impenetrable force fields immune to emotional carry-over. So, what can you do when emotional distraction leaves your work or personal life competing for your attention? Here are some suggestions for muting the interruptions of your mind when they are impeding on your concentration:

Do:

  • Focus on the present moment
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Resolve the issue
  • Concentrate on something else
  • Listen to music
  • Breathe!

Emotions can create a ripple effect that reaches beyond our minds if we let it affect our behavior. Emotionally charged actions can get out of hand and lead to regrettable consequences. These are some things to remember when your mind is not in its right state:

Don’t:

  • Take it out on someone else
  • Obsess about it
  • Vent to someone you can’t trust
  • Let it affect the quality of your work
  • Use it as an excuse

Is there anything else you would add to these lists? Can you give any examples of a time you dealt with distracting emotions and how you managed them?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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More Valuable Than Gold or Oil

With the current instability in North Africa and the turbulent market conditions over the past few years, there is a heightened awareness of the value of limited resources and commodities. We are all conscious of this because we hear about it every day from the media or suffer from it when we fill up our gas tanks. But there is a bigger crisis, one that goes completely unnoticed. Every day, as we go about our lives, we use up the most precious resource we’ve been given, and because it’s free and seemingly unlimited, we often waste it or take it for granted.

Let me give you some clues and see if you can guess what this vital resource is….

1. It’s priceless- it can’t be bought, sold, or traded.

2. It’s non-renewable- it’s impossible to make more of it.

3. Everyone is given the same amount each day- it’s up to you to get the most out of it.

4. It’s an equalizer- it doesn’t matter how rich or powerful you are, you get the same as everyone else.

5. It can’t be saved for later- you have to use what you’ve been given because once it’s gone, it’s gone!

Where you able to guess? The answer is…

Time

…and it’s the only resource you don’t hear about in the news. Everyone is given 24 hours each day and complete freedom to use it as they please. Make the most of your time and don’t let it slip by unused or unappreciated. This doesn’t mean if you aren’t doing something all 24 hours, it’s being wasted. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing for a moment is exactly how it should be used. My point is, be aware of your time and how you are using it because when it’s all gone, you want to be able to reflect on how amazing it was, not wondering “Where did the time go?”

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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5 Ways to Add 10 Extra Minutes

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more time so you could do the things you enjoy? Finding the time to relax and unwind is crucial to achieving balance in your life. Here are 5 ways you can add 10 minutes to your day:

  1. Prepare for your morning the night before

  2. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a moment to sit at the kitchen table and enjoy a nutritious breakfast, a hot cup of coffee and read the newspaper instead of running around in a rush trying to get yourself and everyone else ready for the day? Try doing a few things the night before instead of in the morning:

    • Set up the coffee maker. If it’s a fancy one, program the timer to go off 10 min before you wake up.
    • Pack your lunch (and/or the kids’ lunches)
    • Lay out the clothes and accessories you plan to wear
    • Take a shower
  3. Limit your time on social media sites

  4. Sometimes these sites can be a dangerous time drain. There have been times when I sit down to check my Facebook or Twitter, and before I know it 30 minutes have flown by! Don’t make it a habit to compulsively check these sites every hour. Limit yourself to two or three times, and don’t let it go any longer than 10 or 15 minutes.

  5. Get help with household chores

  6. As they say, “many hands make light work.” Create a teamwork system for after dinner clean up or a quick house straightening. You’ll be surprised how much faster you can get things done with a little help.

  7. Don’t enter a store without a list

  8. Create a shopping list and stick to it. If you enter a store on a mission, you won’t waste time wandering around trying to remember what you need.

  9. Avoid the “Where are my keys?!” scavenger hunt

  10. Pick a place to put your keys or you phone and make it a habit to put it there every time. When you do this, you don’t waste time searching through pants pockets or calling yourself trying to locate your misplaced things.

What would you do with 50 extra minutes in your day?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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What Does Balance Mean to You?

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
-John Lennon

In my mind, balance is a healthy mixture of have-to-do’s and want-to-do’s on your To Do list. It’s not healthy, mentally or physically, for your life to be overrun by all the things you have to get done. You have to make an effort to incorporate the things you want to do into your schedule or it becomes dominated by your obligations. Imbalance can also occur in the reverse scenario in which you find yourself spending too much time lounging and putting off the things you need to get done. In either case, imbalance causes stress, anxiety, and negativity.

Balance can mean different things for different people. For the housewife, balance might be making the time between loads of laundry and taxiing kids to read a good book or go to the gym. For a business professional, balance could be regularly making an effort to completely unplug and focus on a hobby or even just watch a movie without interruption. It’s so important to be able to unwind and relax and take a moment (even if that’s all you can spare) to enjoy life.

When you create balance in your life, you have the opportunity to release stress and turn your focus to something other than work. Balance includes making time not only for yourself but also for the people in your life, whether it’s family, friends, or a significant other.

Here are some tips for achieving balance:

  • Achieving balance starts with setting your priorities. Identify what is most important to you; what do you value?
  • If you ever find yourself wishing you could do something, make time to do it! Pencil it into your schedule and make a commitment to yourself to make it happen.
  • Treat your want-to-do’s with as much importance as your have-to-do’s.The things you do for pleasure are often sacrificed to make more time for your obligations. Either schedule around them or save it for a different day, but don’t let the things you have to do take 100% priority in your life.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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