5 Easy Tips for Keeping Work-Life Balance

Lately I've been getting real and sharing how our imperfections and struggles can actually help people more. With that, I've opened up about burning out and needing to take more time for self-care.

While I don't believe a work-life balance exists in the way of a perfect 50/50, I DO believe in the ebbs and flows. I believe in pulling ourselves back to a home base and remaining self-aware.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, this is one of my favorite quotes:

"Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel." - Eleanor Brownn

Empty Vessel Quote Eleanor Brownn

And of course, my own motto is: When you feel your best, you'll do your best.

Today we have Per Wickstrom sharing his 5 favorite tips for work-life balance.

Per struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for decades. Thankfully he found help through a rehab program and began his path to recovery. He has a passion for helping others and went on to develop his own drug rehab program.

Per understands the power of helping one another. He's learned a great deal about the importance of self-care in business and entrepreneurship.

I appreciate and respect his journey, so I couldn't turn down the opportunity to have him share.

Please join the discussion and share your own self-care and balance tips in the comments!


5 Tips for Keeping Work-Life Balance

On the road to professional success, it can be easy to lose sight of your personal life. When work is your focus, seeing loved ones, pursuing hobbies, and taking time for yourself often fall to the wayside. But it’s important for your mental health and the well-being of your family to find a balance between work and home. Here are a few tips for maintaining a happy work-life balance:

1 | Meditate

Whether you do it in the morning when you wake up, or just before starting work to get you focused, set aside time to meditate each day. We’re so quick to move straight into the next activity that we rarely pause to appreciate the transitions throughout the day. Our minds should get to take a moment to relax and reboot!

2 | Focus your attention on one item at a time

You probably have a lot of different responsibilities to take care of on a daily basis, so it’s understandable that they might be on your mind. But if you can learn to focus completely on the task at hand, you’ll not only be happier, you’ll be more productive. Leave work at work and keep home off your mind as much as possible.

3 | Eliminate distractions

Emergencies can happen at any time, so it’s not fair to suggest you leave your phone completely out of reach while at work. You can, however, limit your vulnerability to false alarms and interruptions. If you work a desk job, for example, that might mean turning your personal phone on airplane mode while you finish working on a project. If you’re at home, it means turning off your phone and any alerts about work. Be in the present moment where you are.

If you work at a desk job or somewhere you can be on your phone, don’t sit on social media all day. Limit yourself to only work-related websites, and if you find yourself feeling tempted, there are even apps you can install on your browser that will block unproductive sites.

4 | Remind yourself of your motivations

You may tell yourself that it’s all for the family, but if you think you might be overworking, reexamine your motivation. Why are you working so much? If it’s to provide a better life for your family, make sure you’re not sacrificing vital time with them now. Sure, a third grade production of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” may seem like a little thing to miss if there’s a multi-million dollar deal on the table, but consider that you may be losing your family little thing by little thing.

5 | Celebrate holidays

Don’t skip the holidays. Sure, they’re a day that you could really get ahead. But it’s a free day off! Make the most of it! See your best friend, hang out with your kids, visit the local park, or even simply appreciate a few hours of extra sleep. You ever notice how holidays tend to come at times when you could really use a break? Embrace it.

Finding success in your professional life doesn’t have to mean giving up the rest of your values and hobbies. By finding the right balance, you can excel in any area and even use the different hats you wear to work in each others favor.


About Per

Per Wickstrom is the CEO ofBest Drug Rehabilitation Center. Founded on the principles of natural healing, BDR is one of the largest holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He is a recovering addict and firm believer that everyone has the power to make healthy changes for themselves. To learn more, follow Per on Twitter and Facebook.

Review of 10% Happier by Dan Harris

I'm already telling everyone to read this book and thinking of people I can send it to because it's the perfect introduction to meditation. I was able to get my ebook copy from the library, so keep that in mind too.

I devoured this book in about 3 days. First, Dan Harris is hilarious. He's self-deprecating, honest and extremely curious, which makes for a great story. To get an idea of how he writes, here's an example of a chapter title: "Chapter 10: The Self-Interested Case for Not Being a Dick."

I've been getting more and more interested in meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism over the past few years, but there's still a part of me that resists the stereotypical Buddhist, hippie type vision people have. Dan Harris summarized exactly how I felt about it when I couldn't put it into words. He explains that Buddhism started more as a philosophy than a religion, and although he has embraced parts of it, he approaches it all in a modern way. His whole experience really hit home with me and made a lot of sense.

The numerous scientific studies included in 10% Happier also add a level of evidence that I think will help more people get behind the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. He mentions MRI scans showing that meditators develop more gray matter in their brains. 

I also liked that he researched and interviewed a variety of mindfulness "experts," including Ekhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. It made me rethink my admiration for Chopra a little bit, but I guess I never really knew that much about him anyway.

Amazon description:

"Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.

10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives."

Good quotes from 10% happier book:

➡️ "The ego is constantly comparing itself to others. It has us measuring our self-worth against the looks, wealth, and social status of everyone else. ... The ego thrives on drama. It keeps our old resentments and grievances alive through compulsive thought. ... Perhaps the most powerful Tollean insight into the ego was that is it obsessed with the past and the future, at the expense of the present. We 'live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation.;"

➡️ "Buddhism's secret sauce went by a hopelessly anodyne name: 'mindfulness.' In a nutshell, mindfulness is the ability to recognize what is happening in your mind right now- anger, jealousy, sadness, the pain of a stubbed toe, whatever- without getting carried away by it."

➡️ "The final step- "non-identification"- meant seeing that just because I was feeling angry or jealous or fearful, that did not render me a permanently angry or jealous person. These were just passing states of mind."

➡️ "It's so obvious to me now: the slipping away is the whole point. Once you've achieved choiceless awareness, you see so clearly how fleeting everything is."

➡️"Even if we were handed everything we wanted, would it really make us sustainably happy? ... There's actually a term for this- "hedonic adaptation." When good things happen, we bake them very quickly into our baseline expectations, and yet the primordial void goes unfulfilled."


I highlighted a lot from the book, but I won't include them all. Read it for yourself!

You might also be interested in my review of Happy: A Documentary.

If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'd also love to know what you're reading right now.

34 Little Reasons to Smile

Happiness doesn't only come from hitting big milestones and reaching goals. There are small things in everyday life we can appreciate, and these things are worth celebrating! Below are some of my favorite moments and things that make me smile. 1. A perfectly ripe banana

2. The 1st sip of coffee in the morning

3. Cold sheets and the cold side of your pillow

4. The first warm, sunny day after a cold winter

5. Finding a book you can't put down

6. Wearing your favorite outfit

7. Finding a great deal on something you've had your eye on

8. Visiting your home town

9. Reminiscing with an old friend

10. The silent calm before a snow fall

11. A cool breeze coming in your window

12. Birthday cake or birthday traditions

13. Baby animals

14. Clean sheets (especially fresh, white sheets)

15. Fresh fruit on a hot summer day

16. The first kiss with a new love

17. That feeling after a great workout

18. Lying down when you're exhausted

19. The anticipation before a vacation

20. Christmas morning

21. Inspiration for a new project or creation

22. Getting in the "flow" of what you're doing

23. Finding the last of something you've wanted (especially if it's a piece of clothing in your exact size!)

24. Sleeping or relaxing on a rainy day

25. The smell of fresh baking cookies

26. A new jar of peanut butter or nut butter

27. An unexpected day off (like a snow day)

28. Sleeping in your own bed after being away from home

29. The release of a book or movie you've been waiting for

30.  The moment when something finally clicks in your mind

31. The sound of rain on a tin roof

32. The sound of lawnmowers and airplanes during the summertime

33. Receiving an unexpected compliment

34. Helping someone (or animals) in need

What moments are you grateful for? What small thing makes you smile? Share in the comments below!

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Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!

A Lesson in Being Present

Nothing will test your patience quite like flying. And in my case, traveling for business in general. I love the idea of traveling, but I'm a very anxious person. Navigating layovers, delayed flights, airport shuttles to hotels, etc. is exhausting and leaves my nerves feeling fried. Follow that up with a business dinner, and I'm almost guaranteed to get overwhelmed.

Everything went smoothly Monday, but I still found myself anxiously awaiting the moment I got to head back home. It didn't help that I realized I had forgotten my laptop charger and notepad. I couldn't follow the yoga video I had planned to use, couldn't get ahead on a project I had on my mind and felt unprepared for the meetings that week. Basically I felt even less in control.

Realizing that I spend so much of my focus during business trips on the moment I get to leave was eye opening. I've never been to Tampa before, so why was I letting my anxiety ruin it? I could think of other trips where I had done the same thing.

Monday night I tossed and turned almost all night. I had a bad case of RLS and/or severe anxiety over nothing in particular. Running on 2.5 hours of sleep, I managed to make it through a day of meetings on Tuesday. (This is partly due to fueling my body with green juice and a big spinach salad at lunch.) After the meetings I had a little time before dinner, so I knew I had to do something to refocus and feel centered.

I decided to give meditation a try.

You have to understand, this isn't something I'm accustomed to doing. I always mean to meditate, but never quite get there. I was so overwhelmed + exhausted I felt like I had no other choice, though. I closed my eyes, sitting cross legged with palms up. I focused on breathing deeply and repeated a few positive affirmations or mantras in my head. After about 10 minutes, I could feel my body starting to lighten. The anxiety and stress was melting away.

I grounded myself by thinking about everything I had to be grateful for in that moment and letting go of all the things I couldn't control.

Fast forward to Wednesday evening- I had already been at the airport for 3 hours and my laptop battery was running out. My flight was delayed for a third time and everyone around me was starting to get angry. I overheard phone conversations with people saying the delays were ridiculous- they'd been traveling since that morning from Seattle, blah blah blah.

I was irritated too. My body hurt from traveling only a few days before, my mind was fried from meetings + very little sleep, and I was anxious being surrounded by so many people. I sent a text to my fiance complaining about the flight, and immediately after hitting send I realized how ridiculous I was being. I was acting so incredibly ungrateful, again. It's amazing that we're able to fly across the country in a few hours. It's a blessing that the airline was being cautious because of weather.

So, like any normal person, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and tried to meditate in the airport. I needed to clear my head, center myself and be present. The present situation wasn't the best, but so what? In a way, I was secretly thankful for the break. I couldn't do any work, and could read my book without feeling guilty.

We rush around so much and get upset when our plans get interrupted. "I don't have time for this!" But what if we could be more flexible? What if we could just be? Just exist. Be thankful.

To me, being present is about realizing what you can control and what you can't. It's about appreciating the wonders of life in this moment. Taking in your surroundings and being aware of yourself.

27 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries

Everything these days is go-go-go. We live in a society that celebrates being busy and stressed.But what is that stress really costing you? Exhaustion, quick meals and no time to play aren't leaving you fulfilled, that's for sure.

When you feel your best, you'll do your best. Start carving out personal time to recharge and you'll be surprised to find you accomplish more work during a shorter period of time.

Here are 27 simple ways to recharge your batteries:

1. Plan a tech detox.

2. Go to a Paint Nite with your girl friends and drink a little too much wine.

3. Plan a swap with your closest friends or even with a MeetUp.com group. This can be a clothes swap, book swap, or any theme you can think of!

4. Get out in nature. Nothing is more refreshing than some time outdoors! Look up new hiking trails online or spend the day at the beach.

5. Connect with your inner child. What did you love doing when you were little? Draw a picture, make a collage, build a fort.

6. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or even adopt a new pet from a shelter.

7. Try something new. Go rock climbing, try a foreign cuisine or simply read a book you wouldn't normally choose.

8. Clean out your closets and any clutter around your house and donate to Goodwill. Your energy feeds off of your environment, so tidy up!

9. Plan your next vacation. The thrill of having something to look forward to will keep your going for awhile.

10. Light candles and take a bath with essential oils or Epsom salt. The Epsom salt will relax your muscles, and essential oils like chamomile or lavender will relax your body and mind.

11. Take a mental health day from work. Watch your favorite movies, meet up with a friend, walk around your neighborhood, see a matinee movie. Sometimes being "bad" is just what you need.

12. Recreate your favorite fancy, decadent restaurant meal at home. Chances are it'll taste much better when it's made with an ingredient list you control and some love.

13. Plant a garden. This idea will recharge you more than once. You'll feel good creating life, saving money on food and you'll get time to yourself out in nature every time you need to tend to it.

14. Rearrange your furniture. A new environment will likely bring new ideas and perspectives.

15. Budget money to get a quick 10 minute shoulder, neck + head massage once a week, or a 30-60 minute massage once a month. Massages increase circulation, activate your lymph nodes to regulate hormones and help you relax.

16. Start a bucket list.Thinking about your goals in life will help you focus on the big picture and what will truly make you happy.

17. Create something. Work on one of those projects you've neglected on your Pinterest board. Make it a Pinterest party by inviting friends.

18. Make a playlist of all of your favorite songs. Play them at home or take a drive and sing along at the top of your lungs.

19. Go to your local farmer's market and talk with the farmers and people at the booths. You'll  feel great connecting with your community + learning where your food comes from.

20. Plan a date night. Chances are, if you have kids or a demanding job, you haven't been on a proper date in quite awhile. Here are 20 fun date ideas. If you're not in a relationship, take a friend! Try to make it a weekly ritual and take turns planning the date.

Daily Tips for a quick recharge:

21. Take a 20 minute cat nap.

22. Drink a green juice or smoothie when you start feeling the afternoon slump.

23. Set an alarm for each hour to remind yourself to get up and move around.

24. Get outside during lunch. Take a walk, eat outside, go to a local cafe. The main point is to get away from the office and your computer screen.

25. Meditate. There are tons of apps you can download to help you focus, but simply sitting or laying down for 15 minutes can help you relax before you dig back into your work.

26. Take a shower. If you're stuck on an idea or frustrated after a hard day, a shower will give you a chance to relax and rethink your situation.

27. Exercise! Aim for 30 minutes of medium-high intensity exercise every day. It doesn't have to be all at once. Regular exercise will help regulate hormones (hello, endorphins!), increase circulation and often helps people clear their minds and reduce stress.

 

What are your favorite ways to recharge? Share in the comments below!

 

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Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!

The Secrets to Happiness

Happy has been on my list of documentaries to watch for quite some time. I finally got around to it a few days ago, and have to say it's one of my new favorites! It was full of interesting facts, theories and kept my attention the whole time.Here's some of what I took away:

The beginning sets the stage for the documentary by explaining the main aspects that determine happiness. what affects happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

50% set point / range (genetic): this is the general range of happiness we're all born with 10% circumstances: income, social status, where you live, age 40% intentional activity (this is just a theory): things we can do on a regular basis to become happier

Isn't that interesting to think that your circumstances only make up 10% of your happiness? It provides hope for those born into unfavorable circumstances. The 'set range' of happiness we're all said to be born with also makes a lot of sense to me. Some people are just eternally upbeat. The leading psychologists studying happiness theorize that the remaining 40% is more under our control. We can do things to make ourselves happier.

The most important type of intentional activity to increase happiness is to constantly vary what you do. Try new things often, even if it's something as simple as trying a new coffee shop or trying a new sport. We inevitably adapt to every new situation, no matter how wonderful or bleak.

secret to happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness is controlled by the neurotransmitter dopamine. We slowly lose dopamine synapses starting in our teenage years, so we need to seek out experiences that release dopamine. Physical activity is one of the best, especially if you do it in novel ways. Have you wondered why there's an increase in themed 5k races like The Color Run, mud runs and zombie runs?

Another important key to happiness is experiencing "flow." In the documentary this was described as "the psychology of optimal experience...the synergy of aspects of consciousness." It's often something that requires you to be fully present, like playing an instrument, rock climbing or cooking a complex meal. When you're proficient enough at the activity, you almost intuitively know moment by moment what you have to do, so you fall into the flow of actions. People describe it as feeling in control and forgetting their worries. I could see it as a disconnect from the ego and the ultimate way of being present. Researchers have found that people who experience flow on a regular basis are happier than those who don't.

Researchers found that those who can recover from adversity more quickly than others also tend to be happier. Negative experiences affect everyone, but these people are able to move on more quickly.

key ingredient to happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You've probably heard that money doesn't buy happiness. Well, that statement turns out to be both true and false. The difference in happiness levels between an annual income of $5k and $50k is dramatic, but $50k vs. $500k doesn't make much of a difference. And remember, you'll make the most of that money if you're using it to experience new things like traveling to a new country. Earlier I mentioned that you will adapt to your situation. This is also true for the more money you have. It's called hedonic adaptation: "whatever level of material goods and wealth you have, you will adapt to it and want/need more to get the good feeling."

So other than new experiences, how can we achieve more happiness and life satisfaction?

  • Having intrinsic goals vs. extrinsic goals. These are in opposition with each other. Intrinsic goals are those related to personal growth, community contributions and meaningful relationships.  These people report more satisfaction, less depression and less anxiety. (The exact opposite of what is reported by those with materialistic goals.)
  • Having compassion. To experience compassion, try starting a gratitude journal (once a week vs. every day even makes a difference), increase your acts of kindness, start volunteering, etc. Acts of kindness are the most effective compassion tool to increase happiness.

In summary, the documentary states that these are the building blocks of happiness:

Building blocks of happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Happiness is not just about feeling more blissful. Happier people tend to function better, be more productive and even live longer."

I highly recommend watching the full documentary to learn more. These are just some of the highlights!

Have you seen 'Happy?' What did you think?

Comment

Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!