Browse Category: Stress Management

Lessons in Success: Give Yourself a Break

Little housekeeping fairy tired of home choresThere comes a point in nearly every successful entrepreneur’s life when you realize time is the more valuable commodity – the most valuable, actually. So when I say, “Give yourself a break,” what I really mean is: Get the help you need around the house.

Since the first time I moved out on my own I’ve maintained domestic assistance – a housekeeper, cleaning lady, personal assistant, etc. I’ve said it before and I’ll stand by it: there are people out there who enjoy doing these jobs; it’s their calling, it’s not mine. While I love living in a clean and organized home environment, I abhor cleaning. While I love cooking, I loathe grocery shopping. So what I learned was that the house stayed dirty and we had no groceries, and I felt bad about it until I made the decision to get the help I needed and give myself a break.

As of now I have fresh organic produce delivered on Mondays, organic raw milk delivered on Wednesdays, Amazon set up to deliver household needs monthly (contact solution and other toiletries, toilet paper, paper towels, cat food and litter, dog food, cleaning supplies, etc.), and now dinner comes delivered on Monday, Wednesday or Friday – depending upon the supplier.

The latest time-saving break I’ve discovered is having dinner delivered – and not local Chinese takeout either. A few years ago we tried the prefab jobs that you heat to eat. We were totally underwhelmed by them. This new incarnation of fresh, locally-sourced produce, protein and accessories is making my life so much easier. No grocery store. No leftovers. And much healthier options than late-night runs through the drive-thru.

In the last month, I have tried Plated, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh. I have to say each one has its own merits.  Of all the meals we’ve tried, only one has been a disappointment, and that had more to do with our own preferences than on the quality or execution of the meal.

I’ve been averaging one delivery from two of the options weekly, which provides Mr. Rinaldi and I with 6 dinners out of 7 nights per week. At an average of 30 minutes prep time for each meal, I’m not really saving time here. Where I am saving time, though, is not having to read cookbooks, create menus, review my pantry, make a list, go grocery shopping, put the extraneous stuff I bought away (the extra box of crackers and great, now we have four jars of mayonnaise… I’ll never use it all up), pack up leftovers and try to find space in the fridge for them. For this I am thrilled!

Each box comes delivered to my doorstep, packed impeccably and filled with everything I need to make a meal (other than pots and pans, salt and pepper, water and cooking oil typically). We’re getting to try recipes that are expanding our palates and yet are healthy enough not to be expanding our waistlines. At an average cost of about $120 per week for 6 dinners, we’ve also cut our meal expenses by two thirds in the last 30 days (one dinner out for Mr. Rinaldi and I can average about $60).

So the next time you start thinking about what you can do to save you money, think more about what you can do to save you time. The money often follows.

More from Lessons in Success: Make Decisions, Don’t Attempt to Do it All, Never Worry About Resources 

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How to Tame Your Inbox Mayhem

Six email accounts and 1,043 unread emails. That’s my current total today. And I’m launching a new business in a few weeks, which will mean more email addresses. And more emails.

While some days it feels overwhelming; most of the time I have a handle on it. Here are the top five tips I’ve adopted to help tame my inboxes.YOU'VE GOT MAIL

1. Get out of the office. This may sound counter-intuitive, but follow my thought process. With smart phones and tablets we have the ability to be connected anywhere at anytime. Yesterday I deleted a dozen emails and responded to another 10 while sitting in the drive-thru waiting for my grande hazelnut latte. I blasted through another 50 while waiting for my lunch date to show up. Does this mean I’m connected 24/7? No, it means I take advantage of down time while I’m living my life.

2. Use your words. This blog, my emails, and nearly all of my computer work is dictated into a wireless headset, a smart phone app, or a mini digital recorder. You can speak up to six times faster than you can type. The voice recognition software I use on my computer and on my iPhone is Dragon NaturallySpeaking. You have to try this; it’ll save you countless hours each and every week.

3. Ask for help. Whether you decide to hire help or opt for some technological assistance there are some great options to help you manage your inbox.  One of the tools I started using — Unroll.Me — scanned my email accounts and on one account alone I had over 275 subscription to newsletters. No one needs 275 subscriptions to newsletters. No one. This program allows you to roll your subscriptions into one handy dandy newsletter or unsubscribe from one centralized location.

4. Identify a filing cabinet. Your inbox is not a filing cabinet. Do not hold on to every email because you think it might be important – someday – in the future – maybe. When you read an email act on it. Then delete it or put it in the appropriate folder. Do not attempt to simply warehouse it in your inbox until you need to act on it or figure out what to do with it.

5. Let it go. Chances are if it’s over six months old and sitting in your inbox it’s become obsolete or irrelevant. Let it go, delete it, get rid of it and get over it.

These are just some of the tools I used to stay on top of the multitudes of emails that come into my world daily. What are some of the tips you use?

The Art of Meditation

Meditation is the act of bringing your attention back to whatever you intention was.  ~ Kimberly Rinaldi

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Meditation is one of the proven alternative healthcare therapies identified within mind-body medicine. More and more doctors are prescribing meditation as a way to lower blood pressure, improve exercise performance, help people with asthma breathe easier, relieve insomnia and generally relax the everyday stresses of life. Meditation is a safe and simple way to balance a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. It is easy, free, can be done anywhere and can benefit everybody.

The use of meditation for healing is not new. Meditative techniques are the product of diverse cultures and peoples around the world. It has been rooted in the traditions of the world’s great religions. In fact, practically all religious groups practice meditation in one form or another. The value of meditation to alleviate suffering and promote healing has been known and practiced for thousands of years.

Meditation comes in many forms, from chanting and use of mantra to mindful meditation to prayer and daydreaming; even Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are types of meditation. All focus on you turning inward to either clearing your mind or focusing on specifics. Done properly you reach Alpha state and little bits of healing begin.

As a Hypnotherapist and an Energy Healer, I frequently use a specific meditation to get clients grounded, centered and bring them back to the here and now before I begin a session. You can try it too.

The Raisin Meditation

Prep: Turn off phones, find a quiet place you will not be disturbed for at least 30 minutes, loosen any constricting clothing, and sit in a straight backed chair (I use the dinning room table frequently), feet flat on the floor (barefoot is great)

Take a single raisin and place in on a table in front of you.

Process: Spend 3 minutes on each and every step (you may want to time 3 minutes to get the feel for it initially)

• Take a deep breath, in through your nose and slowly release through your mouth (best done with an audible sigh). Repeat this 3-4 times.

• Feel your butt in the chair and your feet on the floor and be aware of your posture, the temperature of the room, your degree of alertness or for some tiredness. Be aware of any physical discomforts you may have and then release them. Hear any sounds within or outside the room and then release them too.

• Look at the raisin, examine it, what does the texture look like, what color is it, does it look moist, dry, hard, or soft? Really visualize it, close your eyes and recreate it in your imagination.

• Reach slowly for the raisin, touch it, pick it up, roll it between your fingers, place it in your palm and feel the weight of it. Did it match or conflict with your visual assessment?

• Slowly move the raisin to your face and smell the raisin, does it smell sweet, savory, does it smell at all? Close your eyes and really identify the smell, do you smell the earth it came from? Keep your eyes closed from this point on.

• Place the raisin in your mouth and feel the texture with your tongue, roll it against your teeth, your gums, the roof of your mouth, do not bite into it yet. Close your eyes and concentrate on this raisin, here today in your mouth. It is the only raisin you are aware of in the entire universe.

• Bite down on the raisin one time, do not really chew, just bite. Did it explode with flavor?  What was the flavor, what was the texture? Can you smell it better now? Sit with your eyes closed and focus on that single bite. Mentally record any impressions you may have.

• Now slowly chew the raisin, but do not swallow. Chew it to the point of disintegration, notice any flavor changes. Does it change texture, and if yes, at which point does this happen?

• Swallow the raisin, feel it hit the back of your throat, feel the muscles of your tongue in concert with your throat move the soft mass down your throat to your stomach. Is there a residue of flavor, texture or sense of the raisin left  in your mouth? Or is it completely gone?

• Feel the raisin move to your stomach, be aware of it through your esophagus. When you feel it is in your stomach, thank the raisin for the experience, thank yourself for the experience and spend a few more minutes with your eyes closed reviewing all of the experiences this one raisin gave you. How was it different from any other raisin you have had before? Do you want another raisin now, or was this one a sufficient experience for you?

• Take 3 deep breaths in through your nose and exhale through your mouth, open your eyes and be here and now, get up stretch and enjoy the rest of your day.

*If raisins aren’t your thing, use a cranberry, peanut, blueberry, grape, potato chip or any other small food you would normally not eat as a single solitary item.

Understand there is no wrong way to meditate, this is just one way I enjoy.  What ever method you choose is right for you.

Try some of my guided meditations

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

Where did this year go? This question is being asked by me daily now. I was driving to meet my husband for dinner Monday night and some precious soul (over-achiever) already had their Christmas lights up. That was a whole new level of pressure, the likes of which I had never before experienced. Yes, the entire house and yard decorated for Christmas in November. Seriously, who does this?

Christmas stress shopping womanMy husband Rick and I have hosted holiday gatherings of 150+ people and had as many as 7 trees up when we decorated, but never have we decorated prior to the day after Thanksgiving. I mean, why would we, when we had the option of staying up until 5am the night before an event, cooking, cleaning, decorating — did I mention arguing about nearly everything.

OK, so maybe somewhere between is a balance. I was always a last minute kind of girl. I swore I worked better under pressure. I know now that was utter nonsense. I now strive for balance in everything I do — holidays especially.

Here are 10 tips to keep this holiday season balanced for you and your loved ones.

  1. Maintain a regular sleeping, eating and exercising schedule. There are  plenty of other changes in your life during this time. Try to keep these schedules consistent.
  2. Limit alcohol. I know, I know… aren’t the holidays about celebrating? They are and I am not saying forgo the holiday cheer, just limit it. Alcohol dehydrates, depletes vitamin B and ultimately it is a depressant.
  3. Get organized. Keep a calendar or master list for all that you need to do. Stress causes short term memory glitches. (I have been to the grocery store 6 times for vinegar over the last 4 weeks, no lie. Next time, grocery list.)
  4. Know your budget and live within it. Set a budget and spend only that amount. Better if you spend cash and enter the new year with no new debt. Sparkly lights, festive music and the desire to make others happy should not create financial stress you will have to endure well past December.
  5. Be realistic. Stop putting pressure on yourself to create the “perfect” holiday for your family and friends. Focus on what makes the time special for you. If you know Uncle Bob is going to get tanked and start talking politics and guns after dessert, and that makes you uncomfortable, then set limits on your visit. Perhaps some pumpkin pie to go is not a bad thing.
  6. Learn to say no. Say no to things that will not bring you joy so you have time, energy, and room for the things that will. A slice of fruitcake, NO thank you. Some cheesecake, YES please!
  7. Work in some “me” time. Focus on your needs and feelings, take time and honor them. Meditation, yoga, a long walk or a cup of herbal tea can be a wonderful break from your day and your challenges.
  8. Reconnect with those who feed your spirit. Your college roommate, the maid of honor in your wedding, your Aunt Kathie — you know who they are. You love them and enjoy spending time with them. Phone, visit, or if all else fails, email. Just make an effort to reconnect.
  9. Buddy up. Gift wrapping parties, cookie exchanges, pot luck meals — share the tasks and make it fun. Perhaps this is a new tradition in the making and less work for you.
  10. Get support if you need it. The holidays can be painful for many people and many reasons. You don’t have to go through this alone. Ask for support. You deserve to Live-Joy-Fully.

Yoga is Not a Competition

Yoga Kontrast - Weiß Braun

I have been practicing yoga since 1972. Yup, 41 years.  I am not great at it and there are times when I slack off on the practice. However, from the age of 6 years old, I was hooked.

Lilias, Yoga and You on PBS. She taught me that it was worth trying harder, yoga was not a competition, and to be gentle with my body. Throughout my life yoga has kept me balanced, flexible and strong. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.

I have encountered many instructors over the years — some good, some not so much. I have actually heard one say, “If it doesn’t hurt it isn’t yoga.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the best instructors I’ve ever had was gentle, patient and amazingly supportive for so many reasons. She made me want to do more; hell, she made me want to show up.

If you can fit private sessions into to your budget and schedule, you will be happy you did. I know that after spending time with my yoga instructor, I am balanced, I have stretched, and I am stronger than I was before.

Remember though, it’s not a competition. Not even with yourself. It’s just about Doing, Being and Breathing, which is something I tend to forget in my normal competitive nature. So try yoga. Do, Be and Breathe.