Life in the Fast Lane

3 signs you’re burning out and how to undo the damage

Have you ever told a friend, “I am sooo crazy busy!” not once, but over and over again? Perhaps you are managing work, family, children, household and volunteering, and neglecting yourself? This is a familiar scenario to most women that drives many to burn out. Without realizing it while it’s happening, the stresses of daily life can take a toll on our mind, body and health. Chronic-stress can also lead us to shut out our friends and family and lose our motivation. Here are some signs that you are headed for a burn-out and need to slow down…
 
You are tired…all the time
On the path to burn-out is never-ending exhaustion. You are likely to feel tired all the time, but cannot understand why. This fatigue can lead to poor health habits such as drinking too much coffee, alcohol and not exercising.
 
You are… irritable and weepy
You know you love your children and family, but you might find yourself snapping at them for no reason. You might lash out at the barista at your favorite coffee shop for using low-fat milk instead of non-fat or you may yell at your assistant at work. Uncontrollable irritability is a sign that you are over-whelmed and over-tired. Related is crying for no reason; you might find yourself teary-eyed on a regular basis.

You have….physical symptoms
In the past you might have had the occasional headache, but now you seem to have them all the time. You might notice your back hurting or other pains in other areas of your body. Constant, unresolved stress can cause physical symptoms, whether due to the stress replacing itself in your body or due to lack of exercise and poor posture. Other indicators are insomnia and lack of appetite, all which can do further harm to your psyche.

What can you do?
The first step to over-coming burn-out is to acknowledge that you are on this path. The next step is understanding that you cannot do it all - for example, if the dishes aren’t done, it is not the end of the world, but getting to bed earlier or maybe reading a book to your child is more important. So many women try to do it all; the pressure they put on themselves is intense.

You can also join a support group; maybe it’s a working moms group or maybe it’s a group that is not only taking care of their children, but taking care of aging parents as well. Sharing stories or resources can be a benefit to everyone.

Another simple way to reduce burn-out is to incorporate meditation into your daily life, even if it is just for 5 minutes. Sitting still with a quiet mind may seem difficult, but over time you will see the benefits of calming your thoughts. 

Let Freedom Ring!

Embrace and enhance your independence this Fourth of July

Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate our independence as a nation. This year, however, while you’re gathering with friends and family to grill and gaze up at the fireworks, why not take a moment to contemplate your own independence as a woman and human being in general? After all, holidays are what you make of them, and there’s no better time than Independence Day to honor the ways you’ve freed yourself over the last year… or take your self-reliance to the next level!
 
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for declaring your own independence this holiday weekend!
 
Cut the cord
It may sound crazy, but unplugging this Fourth of July is a serious signal to the universe that you’re not dependent on technology. It’s also a wonderful way to refresh your state of mind – and your tired eyes. Leave the phone inside when you head out back to barbecue. Or at least keep it in your pocket. There’s no need to check Facebook – or email – when you’re supposed to be kicking back. Come Tuesday, you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t taken a break sooner… and you may even feel less inclined to be constantly connected when it’s not necessary!
 
Nix a bad habit
Do you bite your nails, snack nonstop or overspend when you’re stressed? This weekend is a great time to commit to changing those habits that no longer serve you. How? Seize the spirit of the season and make this the day you change course. No more crutches. No more status quo if it’s not satisfying. You’re a big girl and you don’t need to rely on comforts that aren’t really comforting. By letting go of bad habits, you’re making room for better behaviors. On that note…
 
Bank on yourself!
Financial freedom is the best kind of all – the one that lets you sleep at night knowing that you’re taken care of all on your own. Sound unimaginable? No matter where your finances are right now, it’s not. Whether you’re struggling or on solid ground, in debt or in the clear, this is a perfect opportunity to seize the reigns of your destiny and improve the situation. Consider: how can you increase your income and decrease your bottom line? Are there ways to minimize your input and maximize returns? Perhaps now is the time to consider branching out to a side business or taking on more clients (check out the opportunities offered by JAFRA). After all, if there’s one bedrock American principle to live by, it’s that if you dream it, you can achieve it.  

I Make More Money Than Him

Tips to Gracefully Handle your Outearning Status

Many women find themselves in the sometimes uncomfortable position of being the majority breadwinner in the household, which raises the question, “Should I be worried?” The key to navigating this touchy subject is awareness, not worry.
 
Fact: Women outearn their husbands in nearly a quarter of households with spouses between 18 and 65 years old according to data from the American Community Survey. Also discovered in Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households, researcher Marianne Bertrand and colleagues at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that many women with high potential to outearn their spouses – consciously or not - hold themselves back by staying home, taking lesser jobs or working part-time, choosing to not to put that strain on their relationship. In fact, the divorce rate is higher for couples where a woman outearns her husband.
 
Now that you’re one of those brave women who said yes to the career of her dreams, here are some tips to handling your new found knowledge:
 
Talk about the fact that you’re blazing a new-ish trail.
No matter who outearns whom, the healthiest goal is for both partners to have equal say in family matters, expenditures, social events, etc. Being co-bosses of the family is a lofty goal, but one that can be achieved with frequent “status of the family” check-ins.
 
Recognize that household workload will be a problem.
Hate to break the news, but wives who outearn often end up doing much more of the household chores, not less, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey . This survey shows that while husbands spend an average of 20.8 hours a week on household chores and childcare, wives spend 33.5 hours weekly on these activities, which researchers believe that wives who outearn do so to quell their partner’s fears by doing more household work, but picking up more than your fair share of dirty socks will only lead to unhappiness, resentment and burn out. A better idea is to divvy up household chores fairly.
 
Discuss financial decision-making
The default mode of marriage has been that the primary money maker dictates big financial decisions, but that should change. The partnership in your marriage should extend beyond the marriage license and into financial decisions made by both parties, not based on who makes what money. Talk about your expectations and how money was handled in your family of origin. Create family policies surrounding money spending and ask each other questions like: Is it a big deal if one spouse wants to spend $150 on concert tickets or new shoes? Do you feel that a certain asset like the house or condo you’re living in belongs to one person more than the other? Should that person then make the refinancing or even the decorating decisions? Answer honestly. Then draft a money decision making plan that works for your family.
 
Consult a therapist  
If you’re getting into repeated and heated arguments about money, financial power, and chores, it’s time to see an objective counselor to help you find innovative solutions.

 

Gym Bag Basics 101

Essentials every gym bag needs

As someone who used to hit the gym at 5am before going to work, I know a thing or two about how to have a gym bag that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. And even though I now work from home, I still like the convenience of showering at the gym or yoga studio – which means what? I still need a well-stocked gym bag!

I’ve come to learn that the key packing just the right stuff for a gym visit is to think minimalistic and to take advantage of what the workout facility provides like body wash, shampoo and conditioner, although I usually pack my own conditioner. Here are a few of my other gym bag tips:

Fill a designated shower/makeup bag with key essentials like travel-sized face cleanser, hair ties, a brush, deodorant and duplicates of makeup essentials such as a tinted sunscreen and lip/cheek color combo product. You should also throw in skin care and perfume samples you’ve received along the way and use them at the gym. Note that you can always add to this always-packed bag, but you can never subtract. Just think, if you remove your hair brush to use at home, then you’ll most likely find yourself without one at the gym.

Have gym towels if your gym doesn’t provide them. I have a couple of towels that are a bit thinner (more portable) than my home towels. One is always clean and folded inside my bag.

Keep shower sandals packed and always wear them. Some gyms are super clean, but most aren’t, so keep your feet from ever touching the floor, especially in the shower where bacteria is plentiful.

Throw in a mesh or waterproof bag for your wet towel and dirty clothes – especially if they’re staying in your car all day.

Skip the complicated outfits on gym days. If you’re getting dressed for work at the gym, pack easy, lightweight clothes like shift dresses, leggings, and even a simple top and flats are nice post-gym outfits, and make sure to pack extra undergarments.
 
Unload your bag as soon as you get home and repack at night if you’re going to the gym in the morning. Believe me when I say that a packed bag is a great motivator! 
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