Archive for April, 2013

30 apr

Create a De-stressing Zone in Your Home

JennaSmithIt’s been a long day. You pull into your garage tired, frazzled and really needing to unwind. But, instead of a peaceful oasis, you walk through the door into yet another stressful environment. Maybe it’s the waiting stack of bills, the bright lights that give you a headache, or overwhelming clutter. Whatever it is for you, home is anything but relaxing after a long day.

If this describes your home, it can be almost impossible to unwind from the stress of the day. Stress—caused by things like a difficult job, challenging relationships, or financial problems—can cause many health problems including high blood pressure, back pain and headaches. And, of course, stress zaps the joy right out of your life by making you moody, unhappy, tired and without energy. That’s no way to live!

Stop the cycle of stress in your life by creating a de-stressing zone in your home where you can relax and rejuvenate. Don’t take on your whole house in the first 30 days—that might just stress you out even more! Instead, focus on one or two key areas like your bedroom, den, or breakfast nook and make some simple, affordable changes that will have a big impact on your quality of life.

Get rid of the clutter—the visual stimulation of stacks of “stuff” everywhere is anything but relaxing. It can make you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Clutter also complicates your life by making cleaning more of a chore and making it hard to find things like your car keys, the remote, or that book you want to read. Simplify your stuff and de-clutter!

Hide technology—today few people leave work at the office. In order to really relax at home you need to create a technology-free zone—a throwback to simpler times where you can enjoy a good book or cup of tea without obsessively checking your email. Restrict your work phone and laptop to a specific spot and turn them off for at least an hour every evening. Install a hidden TV that you can operate with a lift mechanism and hide other technology in cabinets when they aren’t being used.

Create comfort—stiff formal dining sets and old armchairs have one thing in common—they aren’t comfortable! Identify the areas in your house where you want to unwind and relax and choose comfortable furniture—a great, cozy chair with a warm blanket to curl up with a book, or a charming bistro set by the window to enjoy your morning coffee or dinner.

Soothe yourself—the body and mind are naturally soothed by certain colors and sounds. Use these elements in your home to help you unconsciously unwind. Choose neutral paint colors rather than bright stimulating ones. You can also buy small, very affordable water features that add a gentle bubbling sound, which is naturally relaxing. Fresh flowers and natural lighting can make your space feel energized and happy. Use candles to fill your space with warm vanilla scents.

Decorate for you—decorate with things you really love. Hang a favorite piece of artwork in your entryway. Create a photo wall as a focal point with your favorite pictures of people, places and pets you love. If you don’t like your cousin Mildred, by all means don’t hang a picture of her to bring you down every day!

Our mind and body are constantly stimulated by what we see, hear, feel and smell. These elements in our home have a huge impact on our mood, stress level and even health. By making a calming de-stressing zone in your home you can begin to live a less stressful, more enjoyable life.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on April 30th, 2013 in Health, House and Home | No comments

25 apr

Adjusting to Life After Drug Rehab

RobertCordrayDrug addiction is one of the most difficult things to deal with. Even more difficult than the addiction itself is accepting that you need help and taking the necessary steps to recovery. For anyone who has made those steps and visited rehab, the hardest part is over. But many people are so focused on rehab and getting clean, nobody really thinks about what comes next. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 40-60 percent of recovering drug
addicts will relapse, which is similar to the relapse rates of other chronic illnesses. This is largely because people are not prepared to cope with the drastic change in their lives, and so when they leave rehab, they do not know how to react to a life that is so different from the one that they knew before going in. Here is some advice for someone who is trying to adjust to life after rehab.

Keep up Good Habits

Rehab will no doubt have helped you quit drugs by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and replacing your bad habits with good ones. The first step to adjusting to life after rehab is making sure that you keep up with your good habits. Such things as going to therapy and group meetings can make a huge difference towards the success of your recovery, and also help you to network with people who understand what you are going through and can offer help when you need it.

Stay Healthy

Part of maintaining your good habits is living a healthy lifestyle. Taking care of yourself physically is important, as bad habits can trigger cravings. Avoid staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, skipping meals, eating junk food, and spending time on things or people who make you angry, upset, or depressed. A clean body and a clean mind will encourage a happy heart, and make it a lot easier not to relapse.

Keep Busy

If you spend most of your time doing nothing, you will eventually find negative ways to fill your time. Come up with some goals and a plan to achieve them, starting as soon as you get out of rehab. Make sure that they are positive and achievable. Make some professional goals to help you get back into work, whether it is at your old job or looking for a new job. Come up with a realistic life plan that you can start working on to keep busy.

Reach Out to People

Loneliness can also trigger a relapse, so make sure that you surround yourself with positive people. You may have to cut yourself off from any people who you knew before rehab, who encouraged your habit. Instead reach out to people such as friends and family who are close and supportive.

Get Past Setbacks

There may come a time when you do relapse. The most important thing is that you do not let such problems get to you. If you relapse, don’t let it turn back into a full blown addiction. If 60 percent of addicts relapse, you are in the majority, so don’t beat yourself up about it. What really matters is how you respond afterwards. Pick yourself up again and get back on track. Remember, the hardest part is over.

About the Author: Hyrum Taffer is a freelance writer with a great deal of experience in drug addiction/recovery. Through much personal experience with a California drug rehab and a lot of research, Hyrum hopes others can benefit from his writing.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on April 25th, 2013 in Uncategorized | No comments

15 apr

Social Media vs. Social Reality: How to “Like” Your Life

Kerrigan2“I just cancelled my Facebook account—it was making me feel too depressed reading everyone else’s posts. In comparison to them, I feel like such a failure.”

I’m hearing this type of complaint more often these days. The above quote came from a young college student. She is kind, fun, top of her class, passionate about her subject—filmmaking—and has a paid internship doing what she loves. And yet, social media is making her feel inadequate. Why?

I’m not a big advocate for Facebook, but I enjoy connecting and keeping up with people I like and respect. Like most, I don’t have thousands of friends, and this should tell you something.

Actually, no one really does. Social media and social reality are two very different animals. Never forget that.

So, here are a few things I’d like to share:

Social media is the one place where you actually edit your life. Your audience gets to see what you want them to see. No one has the perfect life, and thank God for that! It keeps life interesting. Each of us has successes and failures.

Think: If all the updates you saw on Facebook were about failure—would you really want that? Now, that would be depressing! (I’m picturing all the prozac and xanax ads and continuous photos of Woody Allen running alongside my feed. Oy!)

Success is different for everyone. You define it—not some arbitrary group. For some, it’s living a healthy, long life. For others, it’s having a family or career they love, or owning beautiful (and expensive) things.

If people on Facebook are really your friends, then be happy for them. If not, then delete them. Period, amen. Remember—you get to edit your life here too.

Use social media as motivation to get what you really want. Stop wasting time browsing on Facebook with your nose pressed up against the glass. Ask your friends how they got where they are and how they can help you. Focus less on what others are doing and more on what you want.

Keep a list of what you have in your life and review it and add to it often. Be grateful. I bet there’s more on that list than you give yourself credit for.

Perhaps some friends whose lives you want may really want what you have. What’s that saying?….the grass is always greener…

Focus your efforts on defining success and pursuing it. That’s the only way you’ll get there. And, don’t stop to edit yourself. That’s the beauty of reality—it’s a roller coaster ride of twists and turns and successes and failures. So, quit stalling and get on board! That’s what life is really all about.

Now—can I get a thumbs up here, huh??


Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All rights reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges. Michelle also writes and speaks about the impact self esteem has on success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 15th, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change, Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

04 apr

Corporate Breakup Rule #2: Don’t Get Caught Like a Deer in the Headlights

Kerrigan2Life is about change. Corporate life is about more change.

The more grounded you are in your ability to navigate change, the more confident you will be.

So, here’s corporate breakup rule #2: Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights when change—especially unwanted change, like getting laid off—hits.

Be comfortable with change. Expect it. Prepare for it. Keep your network alive and well.

Most people get complacent once they have a job. They stop networking. They think “Why bother?”

Don’t be one of them. Even if it’s just a quick phone call or cup of coffee, keep those relationship lines open and active at all times.

Remember:

There is no such thing as job security anymore. Change is now rapid and constant.

In this world of change, who doesn’t need more friends for support?

More companies are hiring based on recommendations. (it’s like one big facebook out there!)

Business development is about relationship building–-so start building.

Ask yourself, “If the unexpected happens, do I really want to look like a deer caught in the headlights?”

So—Prepare for change. Stay connected. And be reciprocal. Networking is always a 2-way street.

How do you handle change? How do you stay connected?


Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in significantly improved performance and productivity. Michelle is also currently working on a series for public TV about workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 4th, 2013 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

02 apr

Securing Your Nest Egg

JennaSmithYou worked hard to find and buy your new home. Now you need to figure out the best way to protect it.

If you haven’t had a lot of experience with security systems before, paying a visit to http://www.securitychoice.com might be a bit shocking. There are so many options available now! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and simply install everything “just in case” but before you invest in a security system, factor in the following criteria:

1. Your Neighborhood

You probably did some research into your neighborhood before you bought your house. You probably checked out crime statistics (and the sex offender registry), right? Do you remember what percentage of crime in your neighborhood came from home invasions, robberies and burglaries? These are the statistics you should know because they will tell you how extensive a security system you should get. If the rates were low, you might not need an extensive system.

Note: Neighborhoods with neighborhood watch programs have lower crime rates than those without. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, maybe you should start one!

2. Your Actual Neighbors

Are your neighbors the “keep to themselves” types? Or, are your neighbors the “find something to do in the yard whenever anybody new comes around” types? If they are the former, you might want a more extensive system than you would if you have exceptionally nosey neighbors. While having nosey neighbors can be annoying on a personal level, having that level of scrutiny being paid to your area pretty much ensures that nobody can go undetected, which can keep the rates of crime low.

3. The Location of Your Home

Is your home located in a remote area or is it closer to town? Are you right in the middle of the action? These will help you determine which features you need for a security system. For example, if you live in a highly rural area, a really loud alarm probably won’t do you much good (though it could be startling enough to scare off an intruder). If you live in a highly trafficked area or urban area a loud alarm might be all you need because burglars rarely want to attract attention and the loud, attention attracting noise, will pretty much guarantee that someone comes running.

4. How Much Time You Spend at Home/Away

If you are away from your home a lot, you might want a smart system. This is a system that uses sensors and video to monitor your home. When a sensor is tripped you get an alert on your phone. You can use the alert to “tap in” to your video surveillance to see what’s happening and call the authorities if there is an unwanted intruder in your home—even if you are miles away.

NOTE: This is also a helpful feature for if you are inside your home when someone breaks in. You can use this feature to help you hide from a burglar (or at least avoid his path) while you wait for authorities to arrive.

Remember: the features all look really cool and tempting, but if you are hoping to save money, you should figure out which options you need the most right now. You can always add more later if you think you need them.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on April 2nd, 2013 in Family, House and Home | No comments

02 apr

Workplace Confidence: The Power of Faith in Leadership

MichelleKerriganLike many people around the globe, I watched as the new pope, Francis I, came out onto the Vatican balcony to address the world for the first time.

What struck me more than anything else was the view from the camera as it slowly panned around the faces in the crowd. I watched all those eyes and saw that look—a look I have seen many times before. I’ve seen it when presidents have addressed this nation and when great visionaries have shared their dreams.

I have also seen it on a much smaller, yet still powerful platform: at conference room tables and in corporate meetings.

The look is one of faith, and it is unmistakable. It shows a commitment of confidence that is a shared experience. There is nothing like it. Large organizations can appear more open and personal when a leader can evoke that brand of trust.

Just as the pope embodies the teachings of the church, so must a corporate leader represent the vision of a company. It’s what senior executives often can’t seem to grasp, and what is sorely missing in the workplace and marketplace today.

Faith is one of the greatest innovators because it drives us forward in spite of our fears. And, in this world of accelerating change, where nothing is certain, faith is the one thing that is absolute.

To invoke the power of faith—of trust—leaders must have a core set of values and a sense of identity that is consistent with their organizations’ brand. A leader needs to be the exemplary team player, with the same qualities expected from employees: respect, willingness, reliability, accessibility, patience, and empathy. Accordingly, customers respond favorably to such characteristics. The great thing about the shared experience of faith is that you inspire the behavior you exhibit.

While the business world has changed a great deal over the years, one thing hasn’t: employees and customers still want to have confidence that leaders will respond to their needs. That’s not fundamental in most of the corporate world today. And it needs to be.

One great example of a successful leader is Tony Hsieh. Hsieh built up an online shoe company, Zappos, based on his belief in superior customer service. His commitment was so strong, he made service the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.

And it shows.

If you’ve ever ordered shoes from Zappos, you know what I mean. The staff is faithful to service excellence. There are no barriers—every interaction is easy. I love that they have open communication with customers by phone, with clarity, cheerfulness, no up-sell, time constraints, or scripts. Hsieh saw every contact as an investment in building lasting relationships with his customers—the same way he believed in building lasting relationships with his employees. He even wrote a New York Times bestseller, aptly entitled Delivering Happiness.

This is potent stuff. And it doesn’t stop here.

Zappos went on to earn over $1 billion in sales and made Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For.

You see, the power of faith in leadership creates followers: repeat and word-of-mouth customers, as well as the retention of top-tier talent in an organization.

It even converts non-believers. Trust me—I’m one of them. I never thought I could enjoy shoe-shopping online!

Faith gives meaning to business—it’s why we sign on and stay. It has the power to ignite high performance and productivity, and is the motivational fuel that can carry companies to success.

Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan. All Rights Reserved.

For over 25 years, Michelle Kerrigan has been helping businesses and private clients achieve workplace success by developing the practical skills they need to improve their confidence. Based on her own leadership experiences, Michelle provides an invaluable road map for conquering fear and doubt, navigating change, and solving day-to-day challenges, resulting in more effective leadership, increased productivity and revenue growth. Michelle also writes and speaks about achieving success, and is currently working on a series for public TV about self esteem and workplace confidence. More at www.workplaceconfidence.com and www.michellekerriganinc.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on April 2nd, 2013 in Career, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,