6 Smart Tips to Keep Your Life Balanced

Busy-MomWe live in a fast-paced world where deadlines and quick production drive businesses to success. If we are not careful, we can get caught up in the frenzy of the job and end up feeling overwhelmed, tired and completely out of energy. In extreme cases, many of which are more common than we might realize, the stresses of everyday labor and life can cause physical health problems, mental health issues, and family breakdowns. What can you do to find the perfect balance?

1. Set Limits and Boundaries

Whether you have a demanding job working as a professional in an office environment, or you work from home, it is important to set boundaries for yourself. Boundaries help define how you take charge of your day, meet the demands or needs of others, and help you get in touch with your own feelings. Setting limits show others what you are willing to accept, both professionally and personally, and help you know when to say “no.” Boundaries are absolutely necessary to have a successful work and life balance.

2. Create Time for Yourself

Whether you want to be a good parent, a good partner, a good employee or all three, setting aside a moment for yourself is essential. Maybe you need to relax for an hour every day doing yoga. Maybe you like to read for 30 uninterrupted minutes before bed. Whatever the case may be, carve out that “me” time and stick to it to relieve tension and minimize daily stresses. You will not only be a better you, but your professional and personal life will benefit, too. After all, you can’t do your best until you take care of yourself first.

3. Set Priorities

Prioritized lists and calendars can help you stay on track and accomplish your daily goals. When you run short on time, you will be able to see what is absolutely necessary and what can wait until tomorrow. This is where your smartphone and computer can operate in tandem. Use of the phone’s/computers “sync” feature will allow both to automatically update when a calendar or reminder feature is changed.

4. Consider a Life Coach

When you do become overwhelmed with juggling too many work and family needs, you may want to consult a life coach for advice on how to find a better balance. These mentors can help you determine priorities both at work and at home and can guide you in the right direction when you feel lost. These types of professionals also offer emotional support when you need it most.

5. Be Flexible

Being flexible may be your greatest asset when you are trying to find the perfect balance between home and family. Anyone who has children knows how important it is to be flexible, because plans can change at a moment’s notice when a child gets sick or needs something that can’t wait. Remind yourself that things won’t always go exactly according to your schedule and that’s OK, as long as you can bounce back quickly and move forward.

6. Plan Quality Family Time

When work becomes demanding and professional pressures seem too big to manage, make sure you plan some quality time with the people you love most. Giving your children and partner full attention helps you all live in the moment and enjoy the time you spend together. Leave your cell phone at home for an hour and listen to your kids or your spouse instead.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your job, your family obligations or anything else, take action before it begins to affect your physical and mental well being. Try incorporating one or two of these tips into your busy schedule. You just might be amazed at how making a couple small adjustments can have a positive effect on your overall health and happiness.

Writer and retail worker Regi Waters has often bemoaned the lack of time in her daily schedule for social activities. Her beau and many area karaoke clubs have suffered at the neglect, while her career has thrived. A recent illness compounded by stress had her seeking a Noomii life coach to get herself on the right track.

7 Expenses to Make Any Vacation More Relaxing

VacationEveryone likes to save money when they travel; though the expense is often necessary and always worth it, if you can save money and cut expenses you might as well—usually. Some things are actually worth shelling out the cash for, simply because they nip stress in the bud and allow you to enjoy your hard-earned vacation all the more.

Here are seven expenditures worth the expense, for the sake of your peace of mind:

Good Locks

There’s nothing to ruin the relaxation of a vacation quite like the worry that your home will be burgled while you’re gone. Even if you are the meticulous type, checking the locks at least twice before you leave, it’s all too easy for toxic thoughts of “I did lock up, didn’t I?” to pop up uninvited while relaxing by the pool. And even if you aren’t plagued by those thoughts, there’s always a chance that the locks could be broken or disassembled by a particularly determined thief.

If you’re thorough in your pre-departure lock checks but still anxious about the structural integrity of your locks, you may want to get them inspected by a locksmith. Edmonton or any other city should have professionals who can schedule a consultation and inspection.

A Suitcase of Distinction

That beat-up duffel bag was fine for college, but now you deserve a suitcase that is more durable and professional. But that doesn’t just mean basic black! The more distinctive your luggage is, the less likely it is to be stolen or lost.

Choose luggage in a color that suits you—even lime green or baby pink can work on luggage as a solid color choice! Make sure the luggage is well-made; hard cases should be constructed of quality materials and structurally sound, and softer suitcases should be well-stitched.

A Reliable Guide

The best way to know you’ll get the most out of your vacation? Get the best tour guide you can!

This doesn’t always mean the pricier tour buses advertised by brochures at your hotel desk (though some of the tours advertised there are fine). One of the best ways to see the best of a foreign city and its surroundings is to hire a local taxi cab driver to show you the best the town has to offer from the local perspective. Why pay to see just one aspect of the Genoa-Portofino area when you can zip along faster than the local speed limits (like a local) and see the best of this part of the world from a true expert?

A Camera up to Your Par

This will mean different things to different people. For most of us, it will mean our smartphones. It could mean a basic digital camera with extra batteries and SD cards. Or, it could mean a professional-grade camera with three different lenses.

Why is this so important? Because your enjoyment of this trip and the memories you’ll make on it will be significantly curtailed if you don’t have photographs you’re satisfied with, both in quantity (which is why you always bring extra batteries and memory cards) and in quality (which is why no photography aficionado should try to get by on their iPhone).

Authentic Local Cuisine

Yes, food is expensive and you can still survive on basic bread or fast food, but you could do that at home. Only in Italy can you have locally prepared squid ink pasta, only in Alaska can you eat red, native sockeye caught that very day.

It’s worth it to your wallet and your waistline to have locally prepared food when abroad; most cuisine and portion sizes, especially in Europe, are less processed and more reasonable than those in America. So indulge in baklava and pots de crème while you can—stressing over finding the cheapest food you can the entire trip will make you gain more weight than if you just eat and and enjoy!

The Souvenir You Really Want

Let me save you the debating over the price of what you really want versus the price of something cheaper or more practical. Yes, the thing you want seems terribly expensive now, but you clearly want it more than superficially if you keep going back to it, despite the cheaper price of some other items. If a souvenir is in a price range you can afford and you will use and/or treasure it, then it’s better to buy the one thing that will remind you of this trip in the best way, than multiple cheaper items you won’t care about in a month.

Airport Transportation

Getting from the airport to your hotel and back again can be stressful if you don’t know the area. Arrange in advance for transportation such as an airport taxi. Toronto, Salt Lake City, or any other city with an international airport should have multiple companies specializing in getting you too and from the airport on schedule, eliminating the stress of missing check-in or a flight.

Follow these tips for a vacation without stress or unnecessary corner-cutting!

Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and researches with companies such as Airflight Services. As a recent homeowner, Lucy considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration.

5 Ways to Find Time To Relax After the Holidays

relax in tubThe winter holidays slowly sweep you up over a few weeks, and then all of a sudden they’re over. For some, this is a blessing, but for others, it can be incredibly difficult to relax after a busy and stressful holiday season. Your legs think you should be moving and your brain thinks you’re out of time! If this is how you function in the post-holiday calm, don’t worry; we’ve got 5 tips to help you relax this January.

Make Time for Exercise

Let off all that extra steam by hitting the treadmill or the elliptical a few times a week. You can even schedule in social exercising like hiking, golfing, and group running. Take a little time away from your house and go break a sweat. You’ll feel great afterwards and sleep like a baby that night!

Take Time Off

If you’ve got the vacation time, a day off of work is a blessing, but this can also just mean a weekend without cooking a single meal, or an afternoon playing golf or getting a facial. With a full day off from errands and activities, think of how much more time you’ll have to read a great book or catch up on sleep! Alone time is very important as you transition away from the busy holidays into a productive and successful New Year.

Unplug From Electronics

cell lock upOne of the best ways to relax is to completely unplug from the rest of the world and your own electronics. Pack up the kids and head to a park or go on a hike and leave all the devices at home (pack a cell phone for emergencies). You can unplug completely from the media, from your work email, and from Facebook. A fun way to accomplish this is to have “blackout night” at your house! If you have a fireplace, light a fire and set up a few candles, then disconnect (or flip the breaker switch) from the majority of your electricity! (You should keep the fridge and central heating on). Have everyone turn off their laptops and cell phones and have a family game night by the light of the candles. You can even avoid cooking and order something fun instead, or pretend the fireplace is a campfire and make s’mores and grill hotdogs and sausages on sticks!

Hire a Babysitter

Yes, a babysitter; preferably one that can take your kids to their house for the night. Send them off to Aunt Kim’s or grandma and grandpa’s place so mom and dad can have a little alone time in the house. This might just mean you’ll do laundry and clean the house, but think of how much more relaxing and therapeutic these tasks are without the kids running around. With the kids away having a great time, you can focus on whatever it is at home that helps you relax. Maybe you get a massage, or just drink a glass of wine while watching a movie. Either way, you can eat what you want, go to bed whenever you want, and just relax a little bit in your own home.

Write a Private Journal

When you’ve got busy-busy-busy thoughts running through your head, a great way to calm your brain is to write them down. Spouse stressing you out? Write about it. Got too many ideas for work? Doodle them. Just grab a nice Moleskine or other fun notepad and a few fancy pens, then doodle, write, draw, and scribble whenever the thoughts in your head become overwhelming. Be completely honest and write for yourself, not for someone else’s eyes. If you don’t want other people to ever read it, rip out the pages and shred them once you’ve gotten everything off your chest.

Take Some Stress Out of Your Life

Today is National Stress Awareness Day.  Many of us live very busy lives which, from time to time, can create stressful days.  Today is all about recognizing the stressors and taking some time to unwind.  Sheckys.com offers some great tips to help you de-stress today.  Below are some of the top tips, but check out sheckys.com for the complete list.

1. Plan ahead – Lay out clothes and have lunch ready the night before work

2. Make a to-do list – Start your morning knowing exactly what needs to get done

3. Laugh – An instant way to help deal with a stressful situation