Friday, 28 November 2014

Everything is Temporary

I read a recent article in The Globe and Mail called, "I just turned 25. Will every decision I make now affect the rest of my life?"

The author, Ruth Goodwin, discusses her struggles having a quarter-life crisis. Using the phrase "chronic dissatisfaction," she articulates the millennial challenge of finding happiness and satisfaction in life and work.

Contrasting a post-university job she hated with the short-lived joy of joblessness, Goodwin writes, "I’ve been on both sides of it: I’ve had the job, the pantyhose and the quinoa salad, but I’ve also gone 13 days without washing my hair, on a diet of Oreos."

Her story, though entertaining to read, is not unique. She speaks to a generation, who, like her, are lost at sea.

She closes her article with a sense of hope and solidarity, stating "...the knowledge I am not alone in these moments of panic and frustration brings me comfort. Life is full of highs and lows, peaks and valleys, Jennifer Anistons and Angelina Jolies. The only thing to do is take a deep breath and realize this is temporary."

You can read Ruth Goodwin's full article here.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Work/Life Balance: You're in Control

How many of us have trouble finding that ideal balance in life? Between committing precious hours to work or school, fulfilling obligations and spending time with family and friends, it can be difficult to find any time for yourself.

Some of us many even feel guilty when we take time for ourselves, feeling as if we don't deserve it.

But we do.

Today, I attended a panel discussion of Public Relations professionals, who spent time discussing challenges in the industry. As an industry notorious for long, tough hours, I was intrigued when a fellow attendee asked the speakers about they find their work/life balance. The answer surprised me.

One of the speakers, who holds a prominent role at a downtown Toronto PR agency, replied that finding time for yourself is a personal choice. Contrary to popular belief, he claimed, it is not our teachers, bosses or colleagues who decide what our work/life balance is, but ourselves.

If you think about it, it's true. When it comes down to it, we are the ones that allow ourselves to stress, to work overtime, to keep pushing when our bodies and minds need a break. In determining the balance of our own lives, we call the shots.

This empowering thought is helping me to re-focus at a time when school, work and social obligations seem to be mounting.

Over the next week, can you give yourself permission to find balance and take time for yourself? What do you discover?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Twelve before 12

Mornings are underrated.

People always complain about having to get up to early, of being tired or about not having enough time in the day. It starts with setting your day off right and making the most of the a.m.

Being productive in the morning can boost your mood for the whole day and make you feel more energized. Here's a list of 12 things to do before 12 noon:

1. Exercise. It may be the last thing you want to do when you're snuggled in your warm bed, but getting your body moving and your heart pumping can get those endorphins going. Coast on them for the whole day!

2. Eat a nourishing breakfast. Forget the sugary donut and coffee and give yourself a protein-rich morning meal. Eggs, oatmeal or fresh fruit are all great options to keep you feeling satisfied and focused.

3. Make some goals for the day. This doesn't have to be scary! It can even be typed into your phone or on a piece of scrap paper. The act of writing some intentions for the day can help you feel more self-aware.

4. Say thank you. In person is best, but even through text or over e-mail, thanking someone for their efforts can make your day and someone else's a little better.

5. Meditate. Take a few quiet minutes to yourself to just breathe.

6. Give a hug! Human contact can be warm, comforting and releases feel-good endorphins.

7. Read something - anything! The news, a good novel or a poem. Make an effort to read something new every day.

8. Have a conversation with someone. Put down the smart phone and talk, face-to-face. Miscommunications are easy via technology. Make the effort to speak to someone in person.

9. Do a good deed. Hold the elevator or the door open for a stranger. These little gestures truly go a long way!

10. Make yourself a mid-morning cup of tea. Green and white teas are particularly high in flavonoids and other healthy compounds.

11. Practice gratefulness. During your commute, think of one thing in your life that you're grateful for today.

12. Smile! If you're not feeling so great, smiling can actually improve your mood and make others around you feel good, too.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Energy: You get what you give

Juggling work, school and home life is a constant challenge. It's easy for the time to just slip by, leaving you wondering where your week went. Many of us are so busy these days that after managing all our commitments, all we want to do is lie on the couch and veg out.

Recently though, and possibly connected to the daylight savings time change, I've been feeling quite low in energy. Waking up groggier than ever this morning, I somehow convinced myself to go for a quick run.

While peeling myself out of bed, putting on some comfy jogging clothes and heading out into the chilly air seemed crazy at first, I couldn't believe how incredible I felt within minutes of moving.

Though I spent less than 30 minutes exercising this morning, it seemed to add extra energy to my whole day. I enjoyed my breakfast more, felt happier on my morning commute and felt like I dealt with the stress of my day a little better for having exercised.

I came across an article today that cites the link between exercise and mood. Check it out here.

I don't know if I'll be able to keep up a jogging routine in the colder weather, but the feel-good health benefits are definitely added motivation now!

How do you keep active and how does exercise impact your life?