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These Morning Hacks Will Help You Start Your Day

In lifestyle, productivity on February 22, 2021 at 8:56 am

For some people, getting up early and starting the day (or week) is easy and the fresh start is something to look forward to.  For others, getting up early and starting the day is traumatizing.  There many factors that can cause one to feel that way such as not being a morning person, always feeling tired or just not looking forward to the events of the day.  Whatever the case, staying in bed seems like a better idea.

For most adults however, staying in bed all day is not an option.  So what is the fix? Planning ahead and establishing a routine, especially if you have to get up before the crack of dawn, can make your process more tolerable and your day run more smoothly.  So the next time you have to get up super early, consider the following:

Set your alarm to your favorite song.  If a traditional blaring alarm is too aggressive and anxiety inducing first thing in the morning, try music. Choose a song that will hype you up and make you want to dance first thing in the morning.  And when that song no longer gets you excited, switch to another song.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed so you will have time to time to do things like meditate, pray or review your schedule.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to wake up then making a scatterbrained leap out of bed.  Not the best way to start your day.

Turn on all of the lights.  This has helped me tremendously when I have to get up before sunrise (especially in the winter).  Consider getting a timer to turn on the lights a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to walk through a dark house to turn on lights.

Eat a delicious breakfast.  Take the time to have a wholesome breakfast before heading out.  Doing so helps you ease into your day, puts you in a good mood, helps your concentration and improves your memory.

Drink ice cold water.  Doing this will help you wake up instantly.

Buy some new underwear.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone shopping for new underwear and couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underwear that makes one feel powerful and ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a HIIT workout which can take place in a physical gym or in your living room.  Wherever you choose to workout and whatever workout you choose to do, take a few minutes to do something to get your blood flowing, burn some calories and energize yourself.

Prep meals and outfits ahead of time.   Eliminate the morning frenzy around food and clothing by preparing ahead of time.  It might be the day before or a plan for the week but whatever the case do it ahead of time so you can focus your energy on other important things during your morning.

Be realistic about your time.  Nothing is worse than rushing to get things done.  Do you find that you are late often or that you are making it to your destination by the skin of your teeth?  Oftentimes we underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning or for any event so make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get everything done.  For instance, just walking to the car, getting in, putting on your seat belt, turning on the car and rushing to get gas take up time that counts so plan accordingly.

Don’t get caught up.  In your cell phone or laptop that is.  Email and social media can rob you of precious time.  If you aren’t in an industry like customer support where you have to answer email right away, set up a time where you will check all of that stuff or at least wait until you are done with your morning routine to check in.

What are your best morning hacks to keep you on track for a productive day?

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6 Unproductive Habits To Break Right Now

In lifestyle, productivity on February 19, 2021 at 8:30 am

We all want to experience productivity and growth in various areas of our lives. But sometimes there are things that we do (or don’t do) that blocks us from experiencing the growth that we desire. You can read about all of the productivity hacks you want but if you are unaware or unwilling to make some behavior adjustments, you won’t be able to enjoy the advancement you desire. Continue reading to see if you are unknowingly doing some of the growth saboteurs below.

Overspending.

We’ve all been there. You promise yourself that you are going to save more money – that you are going to stop spending so much money on whatever it is you like to spend on. Yet you find yourself yet again scrolling through your favorite shopping sites only to find yourself making yet another purchase. You justify your purchase because there was a 40% off sale. So of course you needed to make a move. But think of it this way – that 40% off of $600 is $240 off. Cool – because it’s nice to get good deal. Now consider looking at the same purchase this way: you still spent $360 that could have helped you with your savings goal. Consider creating a saving/spending plan and creating a wish list for items you want. If it’s not on the list, reconsider the purchase – at least until you reach your goal.

Staying In Situations That No Longer Serve You.

This might be you and you don’t even realize it. When you do come to the realization that you are going no where fast, it can sometimes be hard to break free. If you have invested a lot of time and energy into something that you aren’t even growing from, you may even feel guilty for wanting something different. Whether it’s a job or relationship (romantic or otherwise) it is important to periodically re-evaluate where you stand. Take inventory of your skill set and career goals. Do they line up with your current work situation. In relationships, do you feel valued and affirmed? In either case, if things are not lining up, you may need to consider moving on.

Not Getting Enough Rest.

Living in what can be considered a hustle culture, it can be hard to slow down. As an adult there is so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time. Going to sleep can seem like the lazy way out. An escapist route. This can sometimes be the case but regardless it is very important to prioritize rest. Getting enough rest can actually make you more productive, energetic and alert. When that’s the case, you can continue doing all of the things you need to get done. Heck, take an intentional day of doing nothing. Schedule it. It works wonders for the psyche.

Not Saying No.

Do you find yourself saying yes to things you aren’t remotely interested in just to be nice. Do you struggle with saying no to things that you know will waste your time or that don’t line up with your core values? Stop. Now. You don’t owe anyone anything. Saying no is liberating and doing so gets easier the more you do it.

Not Writing Things Down.

Although we live in an electronic driven world and continue to move to a paperless society, there is still value in writing things down. Writing down something you need to remember creates a connection to the very thing you need to do. It also captures your attention in the moment and it can help to clear your mind. You also process things better when you write them down.

Waiting On Others.

How often do you wait on other people to do something like go to a museum or take on a new activity? And how often do you not do something you want to do because you circle of friends is unavailable or not interested. While it’s fun to do things in a group setting, waiting for others to be on the same page as you for anything can rob you of the experiences and growth you deserve to partake in.

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8 Self Care Practices To Incorporate Into Your Life Now

In Health, lifestyle on February 17, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Madison Inouye via Pexels

The term self care and all that is associated with it may be a trendy buzzword for some but it is becoming a necessary way of life for others. Many people are beginning to see the importance of intentionally slowing down, re-evaluating their lives, and taking inventory of their mental health and well-being and doing something about it.

When you hear the term self care, what comes to mind? Getting your hair and nails done?  Going to your favorite restaurant? Retail therapy?  There isn’t a right or wrong answer per se as self care can mean different things to different people. Activities such as the one’s previously mentioned can be considered self-care because they encourage one to take time for themselves and can even add some much needed fun to one’s day. However, these activities may only address the physical or surface needs and desires of an individual and not deal with the deeper emotional needs and concerns that one may have. A broader definition or vision of self care can also mean getting therapy, meditating, spending time with friends or reading a good book

What Exactly Is Self Care?

First, we should re-frame our mind around self care, what it is and who it is for.  Self care is for everyone and there are many ways to do it.  Because it can still be considered trendy, it’s easy for it’s importance to get lost in the sea of swoon-worthy Instagram posts of beautifully arranged bath photos (nothing wrong with Instagram and beautiful bath photos).  With that said, think of self care as something you do frequently and intentionally to positively impact your mental, emotional and physical being.  It’s about creating health and wellness habits that will sustain you in the long run.  It’s not a once in a while occurrence – it’s about tiny habits that you create that lead to living a better life, thus empowering and energizing you.

But I Don’t Have Time.

This is a common statement I hear from many people – women in particular.  Women have been conditioned from an early age that putting themselves first is selfish.  It is your job to take care of everyone else because that is what a “good” woman does but this is not entirely true. Whatever the case, it is important to make time specifically for yourself and not put it on the back burner until you have some sort of crisis such as a health scare or mental breakdown because you have been running on all cylinders.  You know when you get on a plane and before takeoff they tell you to that in the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before you help those around you with their oxygen masks?  It’s the same thing in your daily life – take care of yourself first and you will be able to take better care of everyone and everything else in your life.

Benefits Of Self Care.

There are many benefits of getting into the habit of taking care of yourself such as the following:

  • Focus.  You will be more focused and in tune to your needs when you take regular time for yourself.  You will also be better able to reflect on things that need to get done in your personal, professional and family life.
  • Better Self-Worth.  Having a healthy relationship with yourself will boost your confidence and self esteem.  You will be able to address those areas in your life that are not at your personal standard so you can make improvements.  You will also be empowered to set boundaries with yourself and others.
  • Stress Reduction.  Being able to step away to reduce stress and anxiety is a great way to lower your risk for things like heart disease and snapping on family, friends, co-workers.
  • Productivity. Self care can help you set better priorities for yourself so you know what’s important such as doctor appointments, visiting loved ones and even writing that book or taking that class you’ve always wanted to take.

Activities that you can include in your self care practice:

The Art of Saying No.  Saying no can be the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.  When you know your limitations, whether it be emotional, professional, relational or financial, saying no can prevent things from interfering with your well-being.  It may be a hard no which is final (like “no and don’t ask me that again”) or it can be a soft no, (like “not right now” or “I want to be sure that I am able to give you my undivided attention, how is Tuesday evening”)  Only you will know what kind of “no” to give.

Stop Apologizing.  Somewhat related to saying “no”, don’t feel you need to apologize for the decisions you make regarding the need to take care of yourself or anything else in your life.

Be Gentle With Yourself.  Sometimes the thing we say to and about ourselves is not very kind.  Would you speak to others the way you speak to yourself?  Probably not.  Treat yourself like your own best friend.  When you make mistakes or miss the mark, don’t berate yourself.  By making time for yourself, you can examine those areas of yourself and your life that need improvement so you will have a sense of accomplishment and feel good about yourself.

Watch Your Mouth.  Even more important, what are you thinking?  Because what you think shapes what you say.  Your words have creative power and become your reality.  You tend to nurture your reality with words and behaviors and that is what grows in your life – whatever it is.  So speak only the things you want to be true over your life.

Become Still/Incorporate Quiet Time.  Even when you are busy, you need to have quiet time.  As a matter of fact, that is when it is most important.  You might be having the craziest work day ever or you may have to care for rambunctious children and you probably only have 5 minutes to yourself.  Use them to get quiet and re-center yourself.  Quiet time is also the perfect time to pray and meditate.

Plan Time Away.  Be intentional about taking time off for vacation.  Nothing re-energizes you more than getting away from your regular grind and surroundings.  If you dont have the resources of time or money to go far away, do something local like getting a nice hotel room in the city for the weekend and act like a tourist.  Something else you can do is switch up your daily routine. This might mean taking a different route to work or taking the morning off. Doing so keeps your brain healthy by strengthening your neural pathways and this will also help you discover new things.

Set Boundaries/Expectations.  Make it a common practice to let people know what you need and expect from them so that you never feel like you are being taken advantage of.  For example, if you don’t want people calling or texting you after a certain time, let them know instead of being mad about it.  If you don’t want someone borrowing your favorite scarf – ever, say so.  If it angers you when people don’t show up on time, say so.  Furthermore, don’t worry about managing their emotions around said boundaries and expectations.

Be Mindful Of Who You Spend Time With. The truth of the matter is that some people are energy vampires and can be quite negative.  If you feel depleted instead of empowered when in the company of certain people, it may be time to re-evaluate the company you keep.

Whatever practices you choose to incorporate into your life, be intentional and consistent.  These are practices that may take time to develop and you may have to rearrange some things in your current daily practices for these things to become more permanent in your life.

What self care practice resonated with you?  Do you have some self care practices that not mentioned above that you utilize on a regular basis?  Please share your thoughts below.

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Create The Perfect Work From Home Space

In lifestyle, productivity on January 27, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

For many, working from home has become more of the norm during these times. If this is true for you, then your living space has most likely become your workspace. And even if you work outside of your home, having a great space in your home where your can read and get other projects done is important. Creating these spaces doesn’t have to cost a ton or take a lot of time to create. In fact, creating beautiful and functional spaces that you enjoy is important and can improve productivity. I feel that when you have a beautiful space that you look forward to going to, you produce better work.

Image Courtesy of Kaboompics.com via Pexels

Think about how you want to feel when you walk into your home work space. Do you want it to feel like a hug? Do you prefer a minimal aesthetic? Do you want it to feel like an art gallery or like you just walked into an upscale hotel lobby? The choice is yours and remember you are free to switch things up with new decor whenever you feel like it.

Mackenzie Childs Queen Bee Square Pillow Cover & Insert

Adelaide Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Byredo Altar Candle

Vanligen Vase

Alto Tic-Tac-Toe Set

Setting Up Your Work Space

If you already have an actual home office, setting up and decorating might be easier for you in the sense that you don’t have to carve out a separate space to work in. If you don’t have extra space, no need to worry. With a little imagination and some key pieces, you can create a functional at home work environment that you love. For instance, you can utilize your kitchen or dining room table or get a small desk that doesn’t take up a lot of space. If possible, set up near a natural light source and of course you can always purchase decorative lighting that adds to the overall look of your work space. If your couch is the only option, consider using nice rolling storage carts and bins for your work and office supplies.

Iris Apfel Paper Weight

Spiral Twist Candles

The Hive Gilded Silverwood Table Lamp

6 Drawer Storage Chest

Quinn Lacquer Mini Desk

How To Be Productive While In Your Work Space

It is very easy to become distracted and involve yourself in non-work related activities while working from home. This makes it very important to minimize distractions. Start your day knowing what tasks you need to accomplish with a planner or notebook to block out tasks you need to complete. If you are easily distracted by every little sound, use noise canceling headphones. While working from your laptop, only keep the tabs open that you need to complete a specific task. Put your phone away or put it on do not disturb. Also, be sure to create specific blocks of time to start and end your day and eat lunch. Block out time for tasks like for phone calls and emails.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Sonos One SL

Papier Colourblock Notebook

Clever Fox Planner

You Are My Favorite Blush Pink Crown Pen Set

PHI Scissors

Jam Office & Desk Set

WFH Outfits

Even when you are at home, consider getting dressed and putting yourself together This is another way to create boundaries between work, play and relaxation. Doing this also fosters productivity. When working from home, I usually like to wear jeans and a sweater, or a slip dress and slides. Nordstrom Rack and Shein are two places where I like to get loungewear for when I’m not leaving the house or working from home.

HM Boyfriend Low Jeans

Madewell Donegal Jason Ex-Boyfriend Pullover

SKIMS Waffle Long Sleeve

SKIMS Waffle Jogger

Aerie Waffle Triangle Bralette

Dyanora Flat Slide

Aqua Two-Layer Coin Pendant Necklace

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Don’t Sleep Your Day Away: 5 Benefits Of Getting Up Earlier

In lifestyle, productivity on January 15, 2021 at 8:30 am

sunrise on village

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As a child, I never had trouble getting up early – and I mean super early.  Like 5 am early.  This was not a problem during the week when I had to go to school.  The weekend, on the other hand, was a different story.  My mom, after having worked all week, looked forward to getting some extra shut eye – at least until 6:30 but there I was – padding into her bedroom, waking her up, wanting to eat and play.  At 5am.  On a Saturday morning.

Not wanting to stifle all that young energy and realizing that I might just be one of those early risers, she would set up my snacks, toys, books and showed me how to turn on the television so I could entertain myself until she awakened from her slumber.  She also purchased dark blinds thinking they would keep the sun out of my bedroom and make me sleep a little later.  Those didn’t work.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I still wake up between 430 and 6am – depending on what my schedule is.  Do I occasionally fall into a pattern of hitting that snooze button and sleeping later?  I sure do.  But since I don’t like feeling frenzied or like I don’t have any control ever my life, I usually get up when I wake up.  Waking up early helps me to be productive, focused and punctual.  I like the feeling of easing into my day and having a good amount of time to do things like workout, review my day, get dressed – all without arriving at my destination all batsh*t crazy.

But then there is you.  Maybe your internal clock doesn’t go off that early or you get up 45 minutes before you have to leave your house.  Perhaps you are a shift worker who gets off work at 1130pm so waking up at 5am is out of the question.  You might be a night owl and find yourself to be more productive later in the day.  Cool.

If, however, you are looking for reasons why getting up before sunrise/ 5am-ish can be beneficial, continue reading…

Fewer Distractions.  First off, when you get up earlier, you get the opportunity to reflect in peace.  This is particularly important if you have a family or roommates.  You will also have free range of your entire living space before everyone else gets up.  Serenity is a beautiful thing.

Gain More Time.  If you are an entrepreneur, student or even someone who is working on a particular project like writing a book, you can gain an extra 5-10 hours a week (or more) just by getting up 1-2 hours earlier.  This can be a good thing especially if you have a full time job.  You will have more mental clarity when you get up earlier and when you get home from work (or wherever), you can focus on other things that require your attention – like your family and friends.

Peak Energy, Creativity And Better Organization.  Assuming that you have had a good night’s rest, you wake up with better mental clarity and you will have more energy to actually start your day.  Those ideas that were on your mind before you went to bed are more likely to be executed.  You can also do things like get ahead of traffic and make sure you have everything you need for your day before you run out of the door.

Wellness Habits Are Put Into Practice.  How many times have you said you want to work out, eat a healthy breakfast, pray/meditate or even take the time to look nice before running out of the door?  Well when you get up earlier, you can actually do all of these things.  When you are able to put these habits into practice, it can enhance your overall well being, focus and confidence.

Sets The Tone.  Getting up early helps to set the tone for your day.  Doing so can foster a sense of accomplishment which can be the foundation of your day, making you feel in charge, able to make solid decisions.  Imagine feeling like a boss before you even leave the house?

Interested in learning how to get up earlier and take charge of your day?  Try the following:

  • Know your why.  Figure out why getting up early is important to you or why you think you should.  Do you have a specific goal you are trying to reach like start a business, write a book or workout and can’t seem to find the energy to do it after a long day? Do you want to feel more focused and in control of your day.  Knowing your why can help you stay committed to you goal or focus.
  • Start small.  If you are used to sleeping to whenever, abruptly trying to get up earlier can be painful.  Start by setting your alarm for an earlier wake up time in small increments.  If you usually wake up at 7am and you decide you want to start waking up at 5am, the thought alone is agonizing and chances are you won’t make that transition.  Instead, start by setting your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier and once you adjust to that time, then you can add on another 15 minutes or so until you are accustomed to waking up at your new time.
  • Plan to go to bed sooner.  Simply put, getting up earlier can be related to getting in bed sooner and getting a full night’s rest.
  • Put the alarm away from the bed.  Having your alarm clock by your bed can encourage you to keep hitting the snooze button and sleeping longer than you planned.  Instead, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room.  But please, when you shut the alarm off, don’t crawl back into bed.
  • Leave the room.  After shutting off that alarm, turn on the lights and leave your room and don’t look back.

If waking up earlier is something you are interested in and you aren’t successful at first, be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time to adjust.  Also, getting up early is not always about being productive.  Sometimes it’s about being able to take your time which is the most relaxing, loving thing you can do for yourself.  At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.

Are you an early riser or do you sleep in?  What reasons for getting up earlier resonated with you?  Share your thoughts below.

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10 Tips To Deal With Difficult People

In career, how to, lifestyle on January 6, 2021 at 8:30 am

In an ideal world, getting along with everyone you encounter would be a wonderful thing. No conflict. No yelling. No getting annoyed or angry. Life would be wonderful.

Unfortunately this is not reality. In fact, you may be the peaceful and easygoing type but in many of the relationships and interactions you have, you will have to deal with someone who irks your nerves to infinity. Some people, although they are difficult, may be easier to deal with because you may be able to tell them politely where to go and how to get there. Other people you may find yourself needing to pray, meditate and/or quickly formulate some type of strategy on how to interact with them so that you can remain civil and stay out of jail.

All jokes aside, how do you deal with those who don’t listen or who always have something critical and snarky to say? How do you handle those who overstep their boundaries, lie or question everything you do?You can always avoid that person but in many cases that is not feasible. Whether the difficulty lies with family, friends or even coworkers, there are strategies that you can use to navigate relationships that are more difficult.

Stay Calm. When you find yourself being confronted by someone you find difficult to interact with, stay calm, particularly if the other person gets emotional. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire. By staying calm, you will be more rational and able to discuss the topic at hand.

Seek Feedback. When you have a difficult time with someone, seek feedback from other intelligent people in your life. It can be a good idea to find out if you have the right perspective of the situation and the person you find yourself at odds with.

Seek Understanding. In relation to the person you find difficult, make sure you have understanding of what is being ask of you or what the other person is saying about you or the situation at hand. Ask questions. Check in periodically and keep notes for reference. Also, keep in mind that people don’t think the same way that you do so again seeking understanding is critical.

Communicate And Build Rapport. If possible, take some time to get to know the person. If appropriate, plan a fun activity where everyone can let their guard down a bit. Also, seek to give and gain honest feedback. Be sure that any feedback you give is rooted in fact and not emotion.

Remain Respectful. Refrain from using insults and name calling (no matter how deserving or true these words may be.)

Set Boundaries. You have the right be respected and to tell the person you are at odds with to interact with you in a respectful manner.

Avoid Accusations. Begin with “I feel” statements as opposed to pointing the finger and using an accusatory tone.

Speak Only When Necessary. Sometimes relationships with certain people is just not in the cards. Keep interactions brief and cordial and communicate only when necessary.

Take Conflict To Next Level. If this is a work or school situation and you have already had a 1×1 with the person to tell them how you feel and that still doesn’t work, take your concern to HR or an administrator.

Walk Away. This can be easier said than done but when there is not much to lose other than a headache and aggravation, walk away.

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34 Hacks For A Happier and Healthier Lifestyle

In lifestyle on January 4, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Olya Kobruseva via Pexels

Year after year people head into the new year with resolutions and the sweeping changes they want to make. Work out. Eat healthier. Read more. Start a side hustle. It’s something about the start of a new year that makes people want to clean slate everything and create big changes in their lives. And while some people are more successful than others in carrying out commitments, once the novelty of the new year wears off, by January 7 many people usually find themselves slipping back into their old ways.

There are a few reasons why this may happen. It can be that the goals are set without real intention or a plan in place. It’s very easy to say you are going to do something but without creating the steps necessary to accomplish a goal, what you are trying to do is merely a thought. Also, when you try to tackle too many things at once, it can be overwhelming to execute your goals altogether.

Whatever the case, don’t feel bad if you haven’t made any resolutions or if you’ve made some in the past and missed the mark. And if you have (made resolutions), be sure they are intentional and that you have a plan in place to make sustainable changes. Also, be sure that you aren’t making resolutions just because everyone else is doing it. You may not even feel the need to do something other than what you normally do. That’s fine. You will make changes when you are ready.

With that being said, the following list is not about creating new years resolutions per se. Think of it as a non-exhaustive list of hacks that you can do over time to create a happier, more healthy lifestyle.

  1. Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.
  2. Update your undergarments and sleepwear. It’s the change you never knew you needed. You’re welcome.
  3. Finish what you started.
  4. Expect more from yourself. Stop letting yourself down.
  5. Stop seeking approval from those outside of your circle of respect. Even within that circle – stop.
  6. End relationships that are draining, unsupportive and lack reciprocity.
  7. Take an online course.
  8. Update your hair, makeup and wardrobe.
  9. Start a virtual book club.
  10. Eat more fruits and veggies.
  11. Be a tourist in your own town.
  12. Practice gratitude.
  13. Enjoy the moment.
  14. Improve your posture. Stand up straight and hold your head up high.
  15. Eat more nutrient dense foods instead of focusing so much on calories.
  16. Celebrate the small wins.
  17. Declutter your closet, old phone numbers, texts and photos.
  18. Be intentional about prioritizing healthy relationships.
  19. Try an online workout.
  20. Make your bed every morning.
  21. Schedule your doctor appointments.
  22. Slow down while eating.
  23. Switch to a sonic toothbrush and scrape your tongue.
  24. Redecorate.
  25. Drink more water.
  26. Go to bed earlier.
  27. Buy yourself flowers and plants and light those candles.
  28. Create an evening wind down routine.
  29. Don’t hit the snooze button.
  30. Stop trying to prove yourself to anyone but you. You don’t owe anyone a dog and pony show.
  31. Keep track of your finances on a daily basis.
  32. Get up at the same time every day.
  33. Give yourself permission to do nothing for the day.
  34. Set boundaries with yourself.

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The Importance Of An Evening Unwind Routine.

In lifestyle on December 28, 2020 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Taryn Elliott via Pexels

Depending on how you look at it, everything and nothing is going on in life – at the same time. And all of it equals busy. A busy life can seem like a never ending cycle of activity: Doing. Thinking. Being. Add to that the current health, political, and social climate and it is very easy for your life to become One. Big. Blur.

One Big Blur makes it even more important to prioritize personal wellbeing. Words like “self-care”, “mindfulness” and “wellness” seem to be the big buzzwords as of late. You might even think it’s all marketing – a ploy to take your money (Raises hand slowly. Shamefully). Even if that is the case, it’s still worth noting that becoming more mindful of your personal health and wellness is important. Whether you are working from home, have gone back to a physical workspace, or are searching for employment which is a job in and of itself, it’s a good idea to consider creating an “after hours” wind down routine.

What is an “After Hours” Wind Down Routine?

Now before you balk at the idea of yet another activity to add to your to-do list, hear me out. I’m sure you’ve just perfected your morning routine but this is important. Think of your after hours wind down routine as a group of behaviors or activities that help you to create boundaries between your work and personal life. Something intentional to help you disconnect. For instance, I have found that it is important to have something to look forward to after a long day at work. I am an extreme introvert who works in a high energy, fast pace, client-facing environment so it is crucial that I have the mental and physical space to wind down. Or else. Anywhoo, my wind down routine usually includes a long hot shower while listening to jazz music, followed by a indulgent skin and body care routine, a light snack (or dinner) and a television show from back in the day. I like old television shows because they make me feel warm and fuzzy. I also don’t take any phone calls for a few hours.

Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, (guess that would be an ambivert) creating boundaries between your work life and personal life is a good habit to get into. It can even help you perform better in life because you give yourself time to decompress, think and strategize. Having something to look forward to after a long day, whether it is a fun activity or routine is good for your mental health and can also help with transitioning to more sound sleep. Here is a list of ideas you can use to help you unwind:

Be intentional about creating boundaries. This refers to physical and mental spaces. Creating separate spaces in your home for various activities is important especially if you work from home. If you don’t have a lot of space, it can be a section or small area in a room. If work is outside of the home this might be easier, especially if you don’t have to bring your work home with you. If you have to stay connected to work outside of “normal” business hours, find a way to disconnect away from your work space, even if it’s for 15 minutes: meditate, do some deep breathing, listen to a short podcast or read something uplifting or inspirational. Also, if you work from home, create a separate space for work which could be a small desk or table. If your office is your couch, be intentional about putting work things away before you unwind or move onto the next activity for the evening. Consider a nice organizer/cabinet to store everything neatly out of sight.

Clean up your space/put things away. Have you ever noticed that when your living space is chaotic and messy, you feel out of sorts, dazed and confused? Not on your A-game? I know that sometimes when I get in a space of feeling irritable or absent minded, it’s probably because there is a bowl sitting in the sink. Yes that’s extreme but that’s how I’m set up. I feel it’s easier to navigate life when your living quarters is tidy.

Get into the habit of returning your living space back to zero before going to bed. This means taking 10 minutes or so to put things away that you have used – books, blankets, technology, dishes. There is nothing more dehumanizing than to wake up (or come home to) a messy home. Furthermore, when you come home from work (or wherever you’ve been) hang up your coat, put your keys/purse/belongings in a central location. This prevents the morning scurry and confusion of “where’s my keys, where’s my purse?” Your home will also be visit-ready.

Shut everything off for a few hours. Yes everyone is an entrepreneur, a hustler and needs to stay connected. But still – take an hour or so to disconnect. If an hour seems too long, try 10 minutes and gradually increase your time. This gives you a chance to regroup and/or unwind. This can look a little different if you have a family and/or a pet because everyone needs and wants your attention. Try creating boundaries with those you live with (well maybe not with your pets). Get them on the same page with an unwind routine. Thank me later.

Have a nighttime self care routine. Create a routine that you look forward to indulging in. Make shower/bath time more luxurious. Create a space that you love being in. Do you need to upgrade your bathroom decor? Maybe add some plants, pictures, candles and figurines? Perhaps new plush towels and new shower curtains. What products are you using to cleanse and care for your face body? Invest in more luxurious and efficacious bath, body and skin care. And when applying your products, slow down. Take your time. I love this time of the day because it makes me slow down and become more intentional in my thoughts and actions.

Make sleep a priority. You should actually look forward to getting into your bed. I know we live in a hustle culture and people are shamed for attending to their biological needs like sleep but sleep is important. Is your bed comfortable? What about your pillows? Are they just the way you like them? What does your linen look and feel like? Is your bedroom even clean? Consider making some upgrades to your bedroom decor.

Change your clothes. Especially if you are working outside of your home. To move about your home (sitting on your couch, your bed, etc.) in your outside clothes isn’t sanitary. I use public transportation and the clothes and shoes I wear are taken off AT. THE. DOOR. You can also think of changing your clothes when you get home as a gesture of taking the day off. And when you change your clothes, put on something comfy and nice. Not what you wore to clean the bathroom. It can help you to make that mind shift. If you are enjoying a night in, consider wearing nice loungewear and fluffy slippers. Again, these actions can help you transition from a busy day and help you to look forward to the evening.

Schedule out your day. Add structure to your day to help you become more productive and focused. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out but include the tasks that are going to move the needle and help you get closer to completing your goal. Schedule what matters.

Schedule some fun after work activities. Even if you are not going out as much during this time, you can still be social. if you choose to stay in, do a weekly zoom call with friends while you eat a delicious dinner. Have a beverage. Or two. This is your virtual happy hour. Start a hobby or a project. Start journaling. It doesn’t have to be everyday but make it something fun to look forward to.

Light a candle. Invest in a good candle that burns well and smells amazing. Lighting a candle can signal your process of shifting gears for the evening. Be sure to use this candle specifically for the purpose of winding down – nothing else. Also use it in a place that you have designated for relaxation and not your work space. You may also want to diffuse lavendar to help you relax.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

Must Have Shoe Essentials For Your Wardrobe.

In fashion, lifestyle, style on October 27, 2020 at 9:05 am
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Lets face it – nice shoes will make you extremely happy and very attractive. Shoes are a form of wearable art that turns heads and makes people stop, stare, ooohhh and aaahhh. Wearing nice shoes also makes you instantly cooler – better than everyone around you. Aside from the perfect wardrobe pieces such as perfectly fitting jeans and other accessories like bags and jewelry, the right shoes are just as important and will make or break an entire look.

Many people are shoe (and sneaker) collectors and a closet full of shoes is the stuff dreams are made of. It creates style superiority and style options. A trip to the mall or hours spent scrolling through your favorite websites can leave your heart racing at the sight of all the shoes that can be made available to you. And, even if you don’t currently have an outfit or an event to wear these shoes to, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to purchase the shoes anyway because again – options.

There are a few questions, however, to ask yourself when purchasing these cool, sexy, dope shoes:

  1. Are you really going to wear this pair of shoes? Do they fit your style?
  2. Are you buying these shoes because they are on sale or are you in a woeful state of mind? (no judgement here)
  3. How often will you wear these shoes?
  4. Do you even have the basic shoe essentials for your shoe collection?

What are shoe essentials? They are the types of shoes that are considered to be the foundation of your shoe wardrobe. No matter what you are wearing, what the occasion is or what time of the year it is, these shoes will enable you to create the right look for most occasions (interviews, dates, brunch, overall stuntin’). Essential shoes are purchased in basic colors (black, brown, gray), pop or alternative colors (oxblood) and in animal prints (an essential neutral). Shoe essentials take the stress and confusion out of getting dressed and looking nice.

Continue reading to discover the essential shoes you need to keep your look attractive and functional.  Get the basics then add on the fun shoes.

Pump – black and leopard print.

Schutz Caiolea Pump
Steve Madden Daisie – L Leopard

Ankle Bootie – peep/closed toe.

DSW Samara Bootie
Nordstrom KiKi Pointed Toe Bootie

Tall Boot – low to mid heel and/or stiletto.

ASOS DESIGN Collins Block Heel Knee Boots
Kenneth Cole Woman’s Riley High Heel Boots

Weather Boots – for rain and snow.

HUNTER Women’s Original Play Short Rain Boots

Casual Sneaker – Vans, Chucks, sock sneaker, etc.

Puma Cali Sport Wildcats Women’s Sneakers

Athletic/Running Sneaker – Nike, Allbirds, Adidas, etc.

Nike Free RN 5.0 By You

Casual Flat/Ballet slipper – for comfort and/or casual looks.

Coach Helena Loafer

Flat/low heeled sandal/mule/slide – perfect for warmer months.

Sam Edelman Yaro Block Heel Sandal
Charles David Sashay

Strappy/Heeled Sandal (mid/high heel/stiletto) – great for dressing up/formal ocassions.

Jewel Badgley Mischka Conroe Embellished T-Strap Pump

Platform Shoe/Sandal – Gives structure and balance to the figure when wearing wider/fuller silhouettes.

Jessica Simpson Palya Dress Sandal

Keep in mind that what is basic or essential for one person may be unnecessary for someone else.  You must evaluate your personal style needs and lifestyle to determine what fits in your wardrobe.

For ideas on wardrobe essentials, go here.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

BLAH BLAH BLAH: How To Deal With A Conversation Hog

In etiquette, lifestyle on June 9, 2020 at 11:03 pm

Image Courtesy of Fauxels via Pexels

We’ve all  been there:  you’re on the phone with someone who drones on incessantly  with conversation, barely letting you get a word in edgewise.   Perhaps you’ve experienced this face to face – at work, over dinner at your favorite restaurant or in another social setting.

Wherever and whatever the case, the person doing all of the talking just won’t shut the f$%k up.  Like EVER.  Most of your attempts at contributing to the conversation are thwarted.  And every time you see this person coming down the hall or you see their name and number on the caller ID you roll your eyes because you know what’s about to happen.  As soon as you say  hello, they launch into a 100 mph conversation without ever checking to see if it’s really you on the phone, how your goldfish is doing, or if you are actually ok.  You feel trapped, plotting your escape just to be free from the never ending vortex of verbal diarrhea this person inflicts upon you.

You see, what we have here is a classic case of  the conversation hog.  A monopolizer of conversation.  Perhaps a conversation narcissist.

In many instances, the conversation hog may not even realize they are monopolizing the conversation.  They are usually oblivious for whatever  reason.  In an unintentional way, they are super focused on what they have to say, needing to sort out the contents of their mind and you, my friend, are their sounding board.  And it isn’t that what they have to say isn’t important but you would like the common courtesy extended to you to share in what is supposed to be a dialogue – not a monologue.  This conversational monopolization can also be a one off because the person is excited or concerned about something and really needs to talk which is definitely understandable.  In other cases, the conversation hog may actually be that self centered and not care about the people they are in conversation with.  If that is the case, you may want to consider limiting your conversation time with that person or cut that person off – especially if this occurs often.  Other characteristics of the conversation hog are:

  • People who take every single topic and turn it back to themselves.  For instance, you may share that you want to get a cat.  Instead of this person engaging you and asking questions about what kind of cat you want and if you have chosen a name,  they take over the topic and talk about how they also want a cat, how they are a cat whisperer and that they had cats growing up.  You never get to fully share your desire because the conversation hog rambles on and on about what they want in a cat.
  • People who rarely stop to listen.  You may have been granted an opportunity to actually speak (usually just an opportunity for the conversation hog to catch their breath) and you share some information like how your goldfish died only to not have this event in your life acknowledged or further engaged because  the conversation hog starts talking about all of their usually unrelated stuff.  To add insult to injury, they don’t even value you enough to remember that your goldfish died two weeks ago when you initially told them.
  • People who talk over you.  Yes – you start talking about something that is important to you and the conversation hog literally starts talking over you as if you weren’t mid-sentence.

So what, then, do you do when you cant seem to get a word in edgewise?

There are many things you can do, ranging from subtle to more direct which may give  a jolt of awareness to the conversation hog.  You never want to be mean or hurt someone’s feelings intentionally (or maybe you do) but there are instances where you will need to be a bit stern in your approach to get this particular person’s attention.  Below are several tips that you can use to help redirect the monologue to a more meaningful dialogue:

  • If it’s something they’ve told you for the millionth time you can actually say something like “Hey you’ve told me that several times before.”  Then use that opportunity to ask a question that will cause this person to think.  If it’s something they complain about often,  be bold but unconfrontational in asking them what  they are doing to change their situation or perspective.
  • Actively change the conversation.  Literally just change the subject and talk about what you want to talk about.
  • Turn up the volume on your verbal and non verbal expressions so as to get the attention of the rambler.  This might mean raising your voice to interrupt them. Maybe even perform a raucous clearing of the throat.  You might yawn (mouth covered of course), sigh loudly, raise your hand like you are in school or do the timeout sign to get the person’s attention.
  • Interrupt, perhaps with an “Excuse me, may I interject please?”
  • For your sanity, have a time limit, especially if you are on the phone.  If this conversation is in person, get up and leave the conversation, or maybe even introduce them to someone else.
  • If it’s someone you have a good relationship with, tell them how you feel.

How do you deal with those who hog the conversation? Leave your comment below.

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