Tag Archives: stress

Removing the Clutter from Your Life

A few small changes to your surroundings and your routine may be all you need to reduce stress and improve efficiency during your work day. Check out some of the recent changes I’ve made and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Decluttering:
Every room in my house needed help. Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was very inspirational to this process. I’ve cut my entire wardrobe (summer and winter clothes included) in half. There will be no more storing clothes in their off seasons. Getting dressed in the morning is easier— and in two weeks, I have yet to wake up and say, “I have nothing to wear!”

Deleting unnecessary smart phone apps:
I once used three screens on my iPhone to house all of my apps. Now I’m down to one. There are quite a few that you can’t delete, but you can push them out of the way by making a folder for all your extra stuff. And, speaking of unnecessary apps…

Limiting time on social media:
I used to “relax” and “unwind” before bed by surfing through Facebook.
As it turns out, after deleting the app from my phone, I’m sleeping better— for a couple of reasons:
Watching people exchanging harsh words on Facebook over any issue is stressful. I often wonder if the same people would approach someone in a crowded restaurant and have a heated argument with them if they were wearing a shirt broadcasting their opinion instead? Sometimes a keyboard shields us from the fact that there are actual humans on the other side— and becoming emotional about an issue that a Facebook debate will not solve is detrimental to a good night’s sleep.
Reports from the pages of various news outlets on various catastrophes do not bode well for shut eye. I’m not saying I don’t want to be informed— but I am saying that stirring up my fight or flight mechanism before bed probably wasn’t the best idea.

Exercising:
Staying active on a regular basis is just better for your health. With less distractions in the form of physical and social clutter, I spend more time getting my nervous energy out on the trails or the track— which helps get my brain ready for focusing at work.

Eating a better breakfast:
I’ve eliminated coffee and bread from my morning— only because it is better for ME. Ask yourself what would be better for you—maybe even talk to your doctor about healthy foods that could meet your needs. I start my mornings by drinking an entire bottle of water and eating a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple. I have more energy and I don’t have to worry about the dreaded caffeine crash mid-morning.

 

How do you get relax and stay organized during the week? Let us know!

Ten Steps for Holiday Happiness

Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing! Don’t panic! Dr. Jude Miller Burke has some words of wisdom for the busiest time of the year. The following tips are from over 100 business owners, executives and mothers to help you reduce stress and increase well-being during the holiday season:

  1. Decide with your partner/spouse what your family values are for holiday celebrations. Create a detailed, but flexible, schedule including who is driving children to their different events — and don’t let others’ expectations determine what you do. 
  2. Be aware of others’ expectations for you at work, home, or in the community. Make an active decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and have a ‘stop doing’ list. It is not your job alone to ensure the employees are recognized or the family has the best holiday ever. 
  3. Self-made businesswomen organize and delegate. Gift shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining all require extra time. Consider buying one item in different colors for employees or the same top in various sizes for sisters. Buy the most difficult presents now and start early to avoid the holiday rush. Check items off a master list and have one of your children help wrap gifts.
  4. Revisit the schedule with the whole family to ensure everyone knows what the expectations are. Often forgotten tasks include haircuts, party clothing, holiday cards, flowers, hostess gifts, school concerts, and meal planning. Creatively use help from kids, neighbors, and others to accomplish all of your holiday tasks.
  5. Find small ways to do what YOU enjoy every day. Successful women are assertive, and in spite of guilt, set limits to preserve their energy. If you have three small children at home, it may not be the best year to plan the holiday work gathering. It may be better for you to keep going to your dance class to keep your energy level high. 
  6. Practice mindfulness – be 100 percent wherever you are, work or home, with no interruptions. The holiday season will come and nothing is going to stop it. Worrying about holiday home tasks while at work or vice versa only increases your stress. Breathe deeply and be present wherever you are and this will decrease your stress. And, remember sometimes an “I’m sorry, Johnny is ill and we can’t make it” is all you can do. Take control of what you choose to be stressed about.
  7. Keep small problems from becoming bigger ones. Problems will inevitably arise and complicate things even further. Communicate well at work with your supervisor and your employees. Irritability and conflict seem to be inherent during these busy months, so try to accept this and using humor to diffuse tension. At home give each child time alone before bedtime to check in on their emotions; this will ward off problems later.
  8. Reduce stress by creating a holiday budget to live by. Spending money on items you can’t afford significantly increases your stress. You may not be able to save money during the holidays, but you can live beneath your means.
  9. bellaweb1Have your own holiday support system. Agree with a couple of friends to meet for coffee and discuss how you want to handle holiday expectations. And, then meet to discuss your progress.
  10. Highly successful women are kind and generous with themselves. Of course, the holidays are never perfect, but give yourself credit for accomplishing a great deal. If possible, schedule a quiet evening in or out with your spouse or the whole family to catch up with one another when this season ends. And have takeout for dinner!

Pick up our December issue of Bella Magazine for more Holiday Survival Tips!

Make Thanksgiving Easier

bellaweb1With the parades, football games and plenty of food, Thanksgiving is usually enjoyed by all. But what if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner and welcoming friends and family into your home? Thanksgiving can all of a sudden become very stressful and overwhelming.
Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says focus on the five Ps:  Prior planning prevents poor performance. 
Here are her 10 tips for being a hospitable host during the holidays: 

  • Do your homework: Find out ahead of time if any of your guests have food allergies or other dietary restrictions and plan your menu accordingly or prepare a buffet with a variety of items.  Keep it simple and serve what you know.  Don’t try to serve an unfamiliar, complicated, or labor-intensive dish your first time out. 
  • Keep a list: Write down all of the items you need to make your meal complete.  It’s especially frustrating when you think you have all of your ingredients and then discover in the midst of cooking that you don’t have enough salt, sugar, or butter.   
  • Have a variety of beverages on hand: The mark of a good host is to have a few bottles of red and white wine along with plenty of nonalcoholic beverages for the teetotalers in the group. 
  • Stock up on snacks:  This includes nuts, chips, salsa or dip, one or two different cheeses, crackers, and one or two kinds of frozen appetizers.  Choose hors d’oeuvres that are easy to eat and require only one bite.  This will ensure that no one gets crumbs on his or her nice outfit or on your floor. 
  • Do as much as possible the day before: Don’t wait until the last minute. Set your table the night before.  Clean and polish your serving pieces and fill your salt and pepper shakers a few days before Thanksgiving dinner to avoid last-minute flurries.  
  • Iron your linens. When you are serving cocktails, provide linen cocktail napkins or, at the very least, decorative paper cocktail napkins.  For dinner, use linen napkins because they’re more elegant than paper ones.  
  • Set the mood: Candles are an easy, inexpensive, quick way to make any home more inviting.  Buy as many candles as you can and place them throughout your house.  Remember to reserve a few unscented ones for the dinner table.  Light your candles approximately 15 or 20 minutes prior to your guests’ arrival, and then light the candles on your dinner table just before everyone sits down to dine.  
  • Choose your tunes: Music is a vital element in the staging of a good holiday get together, as it sets the tone for the evening.  Create a dinner party playlist on your iPod or iPhone or preset your CD player so there’s music in the air when your guests arrive and keep it playing throughout the evening.  
  • Preset your coffee and tea service: About an hour before your party, set up your coffeemaker and put cream, milk, sugar, and sweetener in decorative containers.  Put condiments in attractive bowls or containers rather than placing bottles directly on the table.  Put your coffee cups, saucers, teaspoons, and assorted teas on a tray on a side table.  
  • Make time for yourself. Allow plenty of time to shower, get dressed, and look your best for your party.  You’ll want to greet your guests at the door with a relaxed smile on your face.  The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel, and the better time you’ll have at your own party.

Etiquette to Survive Holiday Gatherings

Whether you are hosting a fantastic holiday gathering or you’re the gracious guest, ask yourself this question: Are you comfortable with your knowledge of etiquette? Are you confident in your table manners or do you admit you take your cue by watching those around you?

“It seems so many people only think about etiquette during the holidays and then the pressure is on to be perfect,” says etiquette coach Dubravka Vujinovic. “But proper manners should be important at every meal, whether you are sitting down to a formal gathering or casual dinner with friends.”

Vujinovic is one of the etiquette experts at North Carolina-based Replacements, Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles. This time of year the company is bombarded with inquiries from those needing a crash course in proper social graces and entertaining. Questions range from how to set the table, to the best way to serve the perfect meal.

Vujinovic offers these suggestions for your next event:

BREAK OUT THE BUFFET

Buffets settings are becoming increasingly popular. In this style of setting the host places the food, dinnerware and utensils on a sideboard or table and guests serve themselves.

“I love buffets, because they are so stress-free for me as a hostess,” says Vujinovic. “Since the food is already on the serving table, I don’t have to keep running back and forth to the kitchen to keep bringing out different courses or dishes; I can relax and enjoy the evening. On the other hand, as a guest, I like buffets because this setting allows me to eat the food I want; I don’t feel obligated to have to sample everything that is being passed around the table.”

If you’re hosting a seated buffet, water glasses should be filled and on the table before your guests sit down to their meal. Guests should be guided to pick up their dinnerware and place it at their individual setting.

SET THE PERFECT TABLE

If you opt to set your table in advance or if you’re a buffet guest setting your own place setting, remember, forks go to the left, knives then spoons to the right. The sharp side of the knife blade should be turned toward the dinner plate. And remember, only include utensils in your place setting that will be used for the courses you are serving; extra pieces may confuse your guests.

The bread plate goes on the left of the dinner plate, glasses on the right.

Don’t panic if you aren’t sure about the proper place setting for each meal. Vujinovic says you can find “cheat sheets” or place setting guides for various meals on the company’s website, replacements.com, under the site’s “neat things” tab.

TIPS FOR HOSTS & GUESTS

Remember, the host/hostess always sits last. That person will let you know when it’s OK to begin eating. They may offer a blessing or statement or perhaps start by passing a dish.

Always pass food around the table counter clockwise to your right and refrain from serving yourself first. Pass the salt and pepper as a set, even if you’re only asked for one.

If you’re not sure which utensil to use with each course, start on the outside and work in toward the dinner plate.

Don’t cut more than one or two bites of food at a time, and never butter an entire roll or piece of bread. Instead, pinch off pieces small enough for one or two bites and butter those first.

If you need to excuse yourself temporarily, place your napkin on your chair to indicate you will be coming back. Signify you’re finished with the meal by placing your napkin to the left of the dinner plate, and your fork and knife side by side diagonally across your plate with the sharp side of the knife blade facing inward and the fork tines up.

Turn your cellphone on vibrate or don’t even bring it to the table. Enjoy the company of those around you.

Still hungry for more tips? You can find additional etiquette dos and don’ts on the Replacements’ YouTube channel.