Tag Archives: work/life balance-fun-staycations

Happiness Is ……

“When one door of happiness closes, another one opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us”.
I recently came across this quote by Helen Keller that gave me reason for pause. It made me contemplate whether life had become so complicated that we have raised the bar too high on how we measure happiness? When we finally do get what we want in life do we stop to savor the moment? Do we move right on to the next big thing? Do we ever slow down long enough to appreciate the little things that bring us happiness every day?
When I was growing up I loved the Peanuts’ song, “Happiness is………..”. I know it was a simpler time, but they were really on to something. They based happiness on uncomplicated principles like, “Two kinds of Ice cream”, “Finding a firefly” and “Tying a shoe for the very first time”.

 

Happiness is 2
One can also learn a thing or two from to the Vantrap family during “The Sound of Music.” Talk about setting a positive example; while escaping occupation, Maria counseled the children to focus on a “Few of their favorite things”! Again, she based happiness on simpler things like “Raindrops on roses” and “Whiskers on kittens”. She further instructed them about the power of positive thinking by prompting them that when “the dog bites” and the “bee stings” that if they simply remembered their favorite things then they won’t feel so bad.

p2p-europe-photo-austria-sound-of-music

These examples of course are not based on reality. They were not working toward their next big promotion, saving for their dream homes, dealing with work life balance issues or recovering from the recession. Nevertheless, the antidotes they offer may be just what we all need?
I decided to take their advice and create a list of my own to keep handy during challenging times. Just thinking about the my favorite things made me smile and lifted my spirits immediately. I suggest you make a list of your own.
Here are a few of my favorite things. Happiness is:
1. The first sip of coffee in the morning.
2. The first crisp fall morning that requires me to run back in and grab a sweater.
3. A clean new note book and any kind of new office supply.
4. A book that is so good that I lose all sense and time. When I turn the last page I am actually bereaved because I will miss the characters.
5. Drinking a bottle of wine that I have saved for many years that it is well worth the wait!
6. Sitting around my farm table with my whole family talking long after we have finished the last bites of dinner.
7. French fries, pizza and ice cream with mix- ins.
8. A great sale!
9. Boots, jackets and hand bags!
10. Getting an A in school.
11. Stretching past my comfort zone and learning a new skill.
12. Date night with my husband.
13. A great meal and cool new restaurant.
14. Walks with my girlfriends, long talks on the phone, and Sunday movie dates.
15. Helping anyone.
16. Time with my family (bears repeating).

Now I am not suggesting for one minute that you stop striving for greatness or that we should not set the bar high to reach our goals and ambitions; I am however suggesting that we take some time to enjoy and notice the things that bring us happiness along the way.
What is on the top of your list? I would love to know.

“Roll with It” – Tips for Embracing Life’s Ups and Downs

   At the risk of sounding cliché, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”

 I used to spend a lot of time and energy trying to reach equilibrium in life and chasing the status quo.  I have now learned to live in a world of uncertainty and embrace “peaceful connected moments” as they arise.

 What is a “peaceful connected moment” you ask?

 When I first got remarried my husband did not understand what I was talking about when I kept referring to “peaceful connected moments“.  That was before he moved in with my teenagers and we both entered the world of management.

Peaceful connected moments at work are the days you actually finish a project instead putting out fires. You catch up on your e-mails, instead of running from meeting to meeting, or you actually stop to eat lunch, instead of running down the hall while sipping soup out of a mug!

running with soup

 Peaceful connected moments at home are weeks in between college and job interviews for your young adults. Nights you go home after work instead of running to sports events, back to school nights or concerts.  Months where you are not moving into or out of dorm rooms or apartments, your kids come home at a decent hour, and no one smashes the car!  

 They also consist of weekends when you have no scheduled plans and you can just lie on the couch in your pajamas reading and catch up on your favorite programs.

 Let’s face it, if you are anything like me these “peaceful connected moments” described above are few and far between, and I only just brushed the surface! 

 So how can one cope with the frantic pace of a busy live?  I suggest you “roll with it.”

 Here are some of my favorite tips for coping with life’s crazy pace:

 1. Embrace it – Life goes by so quickly; what I would not do now to go after work to watch my son run track or go to my daughters art show!

 2. Learn something– often when work is  most challenging  I learn the most.  Maybe you will need to take a stretch assignment, a new system will need to be created and put into place, or an important lesson needs to be learned for the future.

 3.  Reach Out– Find someone who has walked this path before and contact them. We all like to believe we are terminally unique, but chances are if you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed others are feeling the same way.  I always keep my personal network close at hand during these times to give me personal or professional advice, or talk me off the ledge if necessary!

 4. Take a breath– I am a hugely into meditating.  Now I know that this is not for everyone, but surely you can close your eyes and take a couple of breaths to re-center.  Keep in mind that if you practice traditional meditation in a public setting or at the office people may think you are strange.  (Take it from me and just breathe till you get home.)

Yoga at work

 5.  Look your best   My Aunt Phyllis always used to say, “If you can’t play tennis, then get a great outfit and learn how to jump over the net.”  Put your best self on display.  Only you need to know that you feel overwhelmed.  My sister in law always used to say to me, “You look great, what’s wrong?”

woman jumping over the net

 6.  Exercise- this is the best method for keeping stress at bay. My assistant always takes a walk around the block at lunch before we start a new project.

 7.  Eat well   Although chocolate and potato chips (in that order) offer the perfect diet solution for most of what ails us, you will then be dealing with two issues. Better to eat well and look and feel your best, (see # 5).   I highly recommend the running with soup diet. (See #6)

 Woman running with soup

 8.  Read a book– I was raised to believe that this is the solution for everything; in this case it offers a great diversion.  Audiobooks work too if you are too stressed to concentrate.

 10. Sleep   nothing helps you cope better with stress than getting a good night’s sleep.  Naps are also a great way to regroup and gather the energy you needed to go on. (Do not do this at work, it will be seen as counterproductive)

woman sleeping at her desk

 11.  Have Fun– we never laugh harder at work than when we are stressed out! At home I always make sure to have something fun planned on the weekend, especially at the end of a particularly hard week.

 12.  Have Faith– this too shall pass, IT ALWAYS DOES!

   So the next time work and life have got you stressed, grab this list and “Roll with it”!   Whether you decide to take a breath, exercise, call a friend or read a book, it won’t be long before you are creating your own “peaceful connected moments“.

 This to shall pass

 

“Memoir of a Weekend Runway”

Women hard at work

If your life is anything like mine November is a busy month both personally and professionally.

It is trade show season, budget planning, and time to tally up the 3rd Quarter results.  It is do or die time in the world of sales and manufacturing.  Maybe it is like that in your world too.  You are left questioning everything.  Are you on track to make budget?  Will you complete your goals? What still needs to be done?

Summer is also officially over.  If you have not cleaned out your garage or switched out your summer clothes for winter, what are you waiting for?!!

 It can all be quite overwhelming.

Last weekend when panicking over how I would get everything done, I made a bold choice.  I decided to drop everything and grab my last bits of fun before getting down to business.  My husband and I decided to run away from home!

 My daughter looked at us in such shock as we packed our bags, loaded the trunk and got ready to drive away.  “Where are you going ?” she asked in surprise. We are going to check into the Marriott”, I beamed.  (I must confess this is not exotic and is only 5 minutes from my home.) Being a platinum level member, or as we like to joke at work, “The abandon your family level”, we get plenty of free hotel nights.  Why not take advantage?

 Although I am not one to procrastinate, I have to say, I highly recommend this behavior.  Once we settled into our room we had cocktails, swam in the pool, and went out for a great dinner.  I woke up in the morning and read my book, that’s it! No e-mail, no laundry, no food shopping, no drawers to clean!  We then went out to brunch, walked around a quaint town, and returned home relaxed, refreshed and ready to face the week and month ahead.

I have been pondering this topic a lot lately.  As work/life balance becomes more difficult scheduling fun into your calendar should become a must!  Now I am not suggesting you should drop everything and check into a hotel every weekend, but surely you can make time for some fun activities.

I have now added scheduling something fun each weekend to my “can do” list.  (See last week’s blog: http://dessertdivachronicles.com/turn-your-to-do-list-into-a-can-do-list/ ). This gives me something to look forward to as the week’s responsibilities build.  It can be as simple as a movie, a great new restaurant, a walk around a new town, discounted theater tickets, or a local festival.  Fall is a great time for pumpkin picking and wine tasting.  (There is actually no bad season for wine tasting).  Even a walk on the beach or on my favorite trail with my buddies gives me the leverage I need to get through the week.

Add scheduling some fun into your “can do” list.  I promise you will love how you feel each Monday.  As they say,  “in life sometimes you need to take a step back to take a step forward.”  In the world of work/life balance, sometimes you need to let loose in order to get focused and get down working.

So enjoy your weekend, grab some excitement and by all means HAVE FUN!!!!!

 Fun 4