Category Archives: Home Life

Why Morning Rituals Are Essential

preparation of tea ceremony

Full disclosure: Most of my mornings suck. In a perfect world, I’d start my day off like a Folger’s commercial , bundled up in a soft robe sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee and randomly smiling to myself while the steam floats across my face, instantly perking me up and giving me a mini-facial in the process. I don’t believe it’s magic in that cup (coffee drinkers may disagree), but instead, partaking in that morning routine helps them ease into the day instead of blundering towards it like a train wreck.

A speeding locomotive heading towards disaster precisely describes the way I begin most of my days, except I’m not as swift. Generally, I roll over and scroll through my phone, check emails, texts and (insert embarrassed face here), Twitter. Then I lay around for a few more minutes and ruminate over what I have to do, why I have to do it and how I’m gonna do it. By the time I get out of bed, my mind is sufficiently cluttered, and the worst part? I’m usually not motivated. At all.

At one point in time, I practiced a simple yet effective morning ritual where I took a few minutes to clear my mind, think of a reason I was happy to be alive (because let’s face it – some days this is extremely difficult) and eat breakfast before I headed out for work. Since I’ve been working from home, it’s been a struggle to maintain a lot of the structure I had when my schedule was less flexible, hence the reasons my mornings aren’t as stable as they once were.

Bottom line is I know I need to re-establish a morning ritual ASAP because there are obvious benefits:

MORNING RITUALS HELP YOU TO CENTER YOURSELF:

There’s nothing like an established morning routine to help you focus on what’s important and mute all the background mental chatter.

THEY REDUCE ANXIETY:

Whenever I wake up anxious, I feel like crawling back into bed and resigning myself to a life of abandoned accomplishments and responsibilities. I hate not being able to silence the thoughts that instantly bombard my mind like what type of work day I’m going to have, fitting in personal errands and/or enjoyable tasks before work, paying bills, eating and… dammit it’s almost time for work. Basically my blood pressure rises before I do! But employing some sort of morning ritual helps me to slow down and minimize stress before I face the day.

  Continue reading

4 Reasons My Thanksgiving Was Non-Traditional

large_2069104457

Usually I tend to develop some major anxiety and irritability (read: flip the f*ck out) if my husband and I don’t partake in at least one traditional Thanksgiving activity.  I don’t know why but I just have this thing about formally acknowledging a holiday, which used to pose a problem because my better half isn’t big on celebrating. When we first started dating,  he once called me on Thanksgiving from a Jack in the Box drive-thru. In my opinion, consuming fast food on a holiday is a complete travesty, but he saw nothing wrong with it.

Fortunately,  since then we’ve created a few of our own traditions, but what I most look forward to is him frying a turkey the evening before Thanksgiving. The entire house smells like Cajun spices and it helps to get me in the holiday spirit.

This year’s Thanksgiving was really non-traditional, at least compared to the stereotypical holiday gatherings of tons of rowdy friends and family, excessive amounts of food and cool, gloomy weather. Who knows what kept my meltdown at bay—perhaps it was the aroma of fried turkey or the near-70 degree sunny weather.

Either way, here’s what made my Thanksgiving surprisingly non-traditional:

Continue reading

Bypass the Burn: 7 Ways to Avoid Burnout

14692471997_bb72214c57_k

Ever find yourself barely limping along with what feels like an infinite to-do list stretched out in front of you? Sometimes the end appears like a mirage in the desert, wavering in the distance. You’re approaching something alright, but unfortunately it’s not the finish line. It’s burnout, which is oftentimes unrecognizable by those whom it afflicts until it arrives in the form of depression, loss of motivation, insomnia, alcohol or substance abuse and a host of additional health-related consequences. If you feel like you’re literally teetering on the brink of sanity, a bout with burnout may be in your near future.

Here are 7 ways to avoid burnout:

Morning rituals: Instead of doing the equivalent of jump-starting your brain by rolling over and checking your email or Twitter feed, consider easing into your day with a morning ritual like meditation or sitting at the table with a cup of coffee, or partake in one of these activities that make mornings less sucky.

Take a break: This might sound obvious, but according to a recent Forbes article that states only 25 percent of Americans take their paid vacation, routinely taking breaks is apparently something a large portion of the population struggles to implement into their lives. In a society that’s all #TeamNoSleep #Grindin’ and other ridiculous hashtag lifestyles that promote excessive work over one’s well-being, it’s easy to fall into that trap of constant work. It’s OK to be motivated to reach a goal, but allowing your mind and body to take a break is less of a hindrance to success than having that body and mind break down in the process. Whether you seek respite from the daily grind by taking a weeklong Caribbean cruise or a brisk 15-minute walk around the block, regularly scheduled breaks are essential to avoiding burnout.

Establish and enforce boundaries: Typically, people who are prone to burnout have an issue with setting limits. Before they realize it they’ve committed themselves to 30 hours of work in one day, which obviously spells disaster. To this I say, exploit the power of saying no. Say no to squeezing in that extra assignment, helping a friend on your only off day or just stretching yourself too thin in general. Prioritize by using a list of wants versus needs and talk it over with someone you trust to make sure you stay on track.

 

Read this rest of this article over at ClutchMagOnline.

Image: Dskley/Flickr

Dear Commercial Christmas, We’re Done

MjAxMi1hYTIwZDM3YmFjYTllMTZk

Over the years, the meaning of Christmas has changed drastically for me. I went from a wide-eyed, excited child who couldn’t sleep Christmas Eve night in feverish anticipation of the gifts that awaited me beneath the tree, to a grownup who spent way too much money on gifts, that in my own misguided way, were intended to show loved ones how much they meant to me. After a few painful lessons in money management, I realized how un-cute it is to spend the first half of a new year paying off sizable debts incurred by splurging on expensive Christmas gifts.

Don’t get me wrong–it was fun while it lasted. Among the Commercial Christmas gifts I bought (and received) were the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, expensive jewelry, computers and more. My purchases grew bigger with time, until the spending took a toll on my bank account, while battling aggressive crowds and trying to outdo last year’s gift took a toll on my spirit. Continue reading

My Husband Makes Me Lazy

Since my first job at the age of 16, I’ve always maintained a pretty solid work reputation as someone who excels and is extremely reliable.  At home, on the other hand, I’m ashamed to confess that I suffer from a semi-permanent damsel-in-distress status.  Hours of deep thought went into finding the cause of this phenomenon and I finally found the answer: My husband makes me lazy.

Seriously, he’s to blame. At work, I know the answers. People ask me stuff. But somehow, when I cross that threshold and see him standing there, my brain silently packs its bags and vacates the premises. I suddenly have no clue how to do anything and the tiniest problems plague my empty head until I resort to wailing his name from the opposite end of the house, perfecting the sound of distress like only a wife could. Aside from lifting heavy stuff, killing scary bugs and giving me advice on everyday dilemmas, I’m ashamed to admit these are some of the other things I ask him to help me with:

Continue reading

Calming Your Inner Tornado

Keep this away from the homefront.

Keep this away from the home front.

For me, a day at the office ends in quite the typical manner. I log off my computer, gather my things and say my goodbyes. All official duties stop once I hit that stretch of pavement between the building and my car. Or at least that’s my intention. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’ve subconsciously lugged home after-hours assignments until I’m in my living room, meticulously rehashing the day’s challenges to my husband. One day, in the middle of a particularly feverish rant, I stopped waving my arms around long enough to actually notice him. Even though I probably looked like I was about to take flight, his facial expression still puzzled me.

“What?” I asked him, clueless.

“Sometimes when you come home, you’re like a tornado,” he huffed, now clearly annoyed by my theatrics. “You just unleash all this stress and drama and it brings me down.”

Gulp.

For a split second, I almost took a defensive stance. I came thisclose to telling him how he was an insensitive jerk and to just shut up and support me and UGH!!! Instead, his blunt declaration stopped me dead in my tracks, forcing me to consider his words.

Realizing the accuracy of his assessment, I instantly felt draped in a shroud of shame. I had allowed my experiences on the job to infiltrate our personal space in a negative way.  I’d come to rely on him to allow me to vent and express my frustrations with no filter.  Suddenly, I worried that without an open-ear policy, my sanity would become a distant memory. Then, I recognized that in this moment, he chose to stop enabling me. I had to find a way to manage my frustrations without sacrificing a healthy home.  As a result, I came up with a list of remedies to stormproof the home atmosphere from the withering elements of life at the office:
Continue reading