work + rest: how to find a perfect balance

Work Rest
 

Work and rest. Two things we must all do, and two things we often struggle with. For some, working comes easily -- we're always on the go, always doing something that makes us feel productive. For others, it's the rest that comes without struggle -- we're content to lie on the couch all day, ignoring the ever-lengthening to-do list.

Those who fall on the work end of the spectrum often long for rest, but even when they're offered a day off or try to have a lazy Sunday, they always find themselves restless and work-focused. Those on the other end of the spectrum also struggle; though they might have the benefit of lots of rest and relaxation, they find it challenging to get things done and often feel anxious about the lack of work they've accomplished. Many are lucky to fall somewhere in the middle of the work/rest spectrum, but for those who aren't, every day can be a test of willpower and motivation.  

Regardless of whether you're generally better at working or better at resting (or somewhere in between), you've probably found yourself with different strengths at different times in your life. For example, if you're doing work you love, you might find yourself always wanting to work (and doing very little resting). Or, if you've recently suffered emotional or physical pain, you might find it hard to find motivation to work and may be spending more time than you'd like on the couch or in bed. Life is filled with ups and downs, of course, and there is a time for resting and a time for working, but if you find yourself doing one much more than you'd like, here are some tips for creating more work/rest balance... 

 

IF YOU FEEL YOU WORK TOO MUCH... 


Ask for help. 

One of the best things you can do if yourself overwhelmed with working more than you should is ask for help. If you're a do-it-yourself kind of person (I can relate!) sometimes it might not even occur to you that someone else could help you out with part of your job. Outsourcing, asking a coworker for assistance, or saying no to new projects when you already have a ton on your plate are just some ways you can ask for help. And pay attention to all the jobs you have, too. Being a parent, a friend, a mentor, etc. -- those are also jobs. If you're struggling to balance them all and aren't getting enough rest, speak up and ask those around you to lend a hand.  

 

Take a day off. 

For hardcore worker bees, the idea of a day off might sound like a disaster -- the perfect opportunity for things to pile up on your desk and for emails to overwhelm your inbox. But remember this: the more rested and relaxed you are, the better you'll be at your job. And often the best way to rest is to take a day off work -- and I'm talking about a real day off. No emails. No "just checking in." And honest-to-god, no-work-whatsoever day off. This also shouldn't be an actual vacation because those often come with different kinds of travel-related stress. Take a day of just to stay at home and do nothing but relax. 

 

Change locations. 

When you find yourself working all of the time, it's usually because work is all around you. You're either at the office all the time or in front of your computer or phone. If you want to have a true break, it helps to get yourself out of your working routine and go somewhere different, even if it's just for a short period of time. Take a walk around your office building or grab a snack in the break room. Try your best to physically change where you are as often as you can during a day, preferably making sure some of those locations involve the outdoors. (It's much easier to relax when you're surrounded by nature!)

 

Put the phone down.

If you really want some quality rest, the most important thing you can do for yourself is put down your phone. It's one of the strongest ties to work (checking email is such a temptation!) so when you're really trying to relax, put your phone away. If this is hard for you (I know it is for me!), ask someone else to take it from you for an hour or so, or tuck it on a high shelf that's really annoying to access to make it harder for you to "just check one thing..." If you're dedicated to your work, putting the phone down will be challenging, but it's vital for true and meaningful rest. 

 

IF YOU FEEL YOU REST TOO MUCH... 


Get up (and dressed). 

Is your environment and lifestyle encouraging you to spend too much time resting? If you spend all day in your sweatpants, lying in bed with the TV on or your phone in your hand, it's going to be very difficult to get motivated. (As someone who works from home, this is one of my biggest struggles.) Your environment (and your attire) shape how you feel. If you're dressed for lounging, you're going to want to lounge. When you're feeling uninspired and struggling to get in a work mindset, start with your environment and your outfit. Put on something that makes you feel professional and put together and you'll be a lot less likely to spend all day vegging out. 

 

Break it down. 

One of the hardest things about getting to work when you're in an unmotivated mindset is thinking about how hard it will be get everything done. Instead of aiming to work all day, start out small. Tell yourself you'll tackle just one thing on your list, or you'll work on a big project for just 15-20 minutes. Breaking it down in this way makes it much easier to manage (making it more likely you'll actually attempt it). I've also found that once you start working on something (or complete one small task), you want to do more and before you know it, 15 minutes will have turned into an hour! 

 

Find a partner.  

We all have times in our lives when we feel less motivated and inspired. One way to perk yourself up (and get your buns in gear!) is by having a buddy that will help you stay on track. Find someone else who is struggling just like you and check in with each other daily (or more frequently) to see how much progress is being made. Or, find someone you really admire for their work ethic and ask him/her to hold you accountable for work tasks. Accountability is a huge element of an effective work environment and if you don't already have it built in (if you work for yourself or have a disinterested boss), create it for yourself by finding a partner. 

 

Put the phone down. 

Just as putting your phone down is vital for getting rest, it's also vital for getting work done. One of the greatest distractions in the world today is technology. Don't get me wrong -- I love it -- but it can be a huge time suck, draining you of attention and energy when you have a lot to accomplish. If you want to get work done, take your phone (or whatever other distraction you have) and put it away where you won't be tempted to look at it. I've found it to be 100% true that the less time I spend with my phone, the more work I get done. If this is a struggle for you, just put it away for 30 minutes at a time, or allow yourself set times of the day when you will check it. 

 

 

One final tip that works for both "workers" and "resters" is looking at the big picture. Pause for a moment and think about how you want to feel at the end of your life. What do you want to look back and see? There's no right or wrong answer to this -- we all have unique dreams and goals -- but, regardless of your individual desires, you probably don't want to look back on your life and see that you spent all of your time working or lazing about. You'll probably want to see that you did good work at times, that you relaxed at times, and that you had a nice work/rest balance. So, whenever you find yourself leaning to far toward one side of the spectrum, ask yourself: what will I think of myself when I look back at this moment years from now? That big-picture perspective can be just the reminder you need to take a break or break out of a work-too-much rut.  

  

Finding-Self-Cover

You know where else you can find balance? In yourself! If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : march 25, 2016

Spring


 

Quote-of-the-week

"In Spring, everything is full of promise..."

Charles Lanman
 

Links-I-Love   

Four New Books!!! : so excited about these :)

Lessons Learned from 24 Hours Without Complaining

Positively Happy Interviews : these are great! hear mine here.

(Pin)terested : so obsessed with pins (especially this!)

7 Ways to Find Happiness : bloggers offer tips + tricks

Getting What You Want Might Not Be Good : 5 reasons why

Easter Nails : these inspired my Easter manicure ;)

25 Things to Do Now (Thanks to Daylight Savings Time!)

Stop Procrastinating Instantly : 4 thoughts to get you going

The Art of Asking : absolutely love this quote

  

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Watercolors" — machineheart
"Let Me Know" — Passport to Stockholm
"Real Love" — Florrie
"Lips" — Oyster Kids
"Broken Love" — Rain Over St. Ambrose
"Best Song Ever"— One Direction
"Stuck" — Day Wave
"Sound of Your Heart" — Shawn Hook
"What You Talking About?" — Peter Bjorn and John
"Undercover" — Zara Larsson

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
J.K. Rowling

The Happiness Equation:
Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

Neil Pasricha
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


hooray! effortless inspiration coming soon!

New-Books

You might have already heard the news on Instagram awhile back, but today I'm officially sharing the details of my upcoming books! I'm soooo excited to announce that in 2016 I have not one, not two, but FOUR new books coming out! [Insert wide-eyed emoji face here.]

These four books are part of a series called Effortless Inspiration for a Happier Life, designed and written by me for Watkins Publishing. The goal of these compact books is to provide bite-sized inspiration and on-the-go insights on four topics that are absolutely essential for living a positively present life: living in the moment, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness. 

Creation of these little books began last year, and it's so exciting that they'll be arriving on bookshelves in 2016! Read on for more details about the series and the individual books. (And keep scrolling to see how you can download a free PDF sample!)

 

ABOUT THE EFFORTLESS INSPIRATION SERIES

What's so exciting about these books is how different they are from anything else I've created before (like Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present and The Positively Present Guide to Life)! Each little book features 18 inspirations quotes on a specific topic (Living in the MomentGratitude, Compassion, or Forgiveness) followed by an insightful explanation, a thought-provoking activity or question, and a memorable affirmation. The design and layout of these books was created with the goal of keeping inspiration accessible, providing insights that can be incorporated into day-to-day life.

Just as I strive to do here on Positively Present, these books were created with the intention of providing uplifting, inspiring content that you can actually use in your real life. Here's a sample from the Gratitude book: 

Gratitude-SampleDownload a PDF Sample Here!

Isn't it pretty?! I'm so pleased with how they turned out! (The colors pop even more in person!) Of course, looks aren't everything. The real purpose of these books is to zero in on important topics and here's a breakdown of each topic (with release dates!): 

 

LivingCover

Living in the Moment
(click to preorder!)

UK: May 19, 2016 / US: September 13, 2016

Life transpires in the present. Yet so often we let the present slip away, wasting precious seconds worrying about the future or ruminating about what's passed. Learning to live in the moment (also known as mindfulness) can have immense power to stop us focusing so much on doing and thinking and instead focus on being.

Living in the Moment inspires readers to think about mindfulness in a fresh way, while encouraging them to incorporate it into their everyday lives. Mindful people tend to feel more relaxed, less distracted, more balanced and decisive. They have increased energy and self-esteem as well as greater productivity, stronger relationships, and an enhanced immune system.

With its appealing design, uplifting content and friendly tone, this little book on living in the now provides beautiful, bite-sized inspiration for people around the world to live in the now. And, with increased awareness, we can really savor each of life's precious moments.

 

GratitudeCover

Gratitude
(click to preorder!)

UK: May 19, 2016 / US: September 13, 2016

Cultivating gratitude doesn't cost any money and doesn't take much time, but the benefits can be enormous, helping you focus on what you have rather than what you don't: friends and family, positive personal qualities, your surroundings, a healthy body, a vibrant mind, and the list goes on.

Research has shown that grateful people tend to be less envious, more relaxed, more humble, more emotionally resilient, and less materialistic. They have increased energy, greater self-esteem, increased productivity, and are able to build stronger relationships. What's more, when children see a thankful parent, they are more likely to become thankful children.

Modern design paired uplifting content make this little book on gratitude essential for anyone seeking beautiful, bite-sized inspiration to live more grateful, contented life.

 

CompassionCover 

Compassion
(click to preorder!)

UK / US: October 18, 2016

Compassion is the ability to feel sympathetic towards those who are suffering while desiring to relieve their pain. It's not just a feeling -- it's a desire to help others who are struggling or in pain. Imagine what the world would be like if we all experienced compassion on a daily basis!

Recent scientific research has shown that compassionate people tend to be more understanding, less angry, and less stressed than other people, with stronger relationships and even enhanced immune systems. People who live with compassion or show concern for others' wellbeing also tend to create a more harmonious atmosphere around them. Compassion breeds compassion, leading to all-round enhanced contentment.

Compassion is a topic that's often discussed around the world in relation to kindness and generosity, but rarely is it explored on is own. This little book, with its modern take on the subject and uplifting inspiration, brings light to a life-changing subject that will appeal to readers around the world.  

 

ForgivenessCover

Forgiveness
(click to preorder!)

UK / US: October 18, 2016

To forgive is to be free. Forgiveness is one of life's great challenges; it is so difficult to let go of anger and pain once you've been hurt. But people who forgive both themselves and others tend to feel more relaxed and open, have less risk of getting stressed or depressed, and experience stronger relationships.

Holding on to past resentments and negative energy tends to cause painful memories to fester in our subconscious, which prevents us from moving forward with joy in life. Learning forgiveness allows us to move on, to create more peace in our lives, and to release ourselves from re-experiencing painful moments. 

Tucked within the pages of this book, readers will find insights and inspiration for letting go of pain, cultivating a forgiving heart, and ultimately finding a deeper sense of awareness and peace. 

  

FABULOUS FEATURES

Each of the four books will feature a similar carefully-designed layout created with the intention of providing thought-provoking (but accessible!) content. The beauty of these little books is that, while they have a beautifully consistent layout (making them a gorgeous little collection as a whole), each one zeroes in on a very specific topic, allowing readers to really home in on the subject matter.

Though each book as a unique theme, they all share these fabulous features: 

  • Inspiring Quotes: Each book features 18 quotes on its specific subject. 18! That's a lot of quotes for one topic! It was so much fun to for me to go in search of these quotes, looking for inspiration that would spark new ways of thinking about each concept, and each one has been carefully chosen to suit each topic. 

  • Bite-Sized Wisdom: Quotes are wonderful (I can't get enough of them, as you may have seen on Instagram!), but sometimes it's nice to take them a step further and explore what they're actually saying. Each quote in each book is followed by a bit of wisdom written to provoke deeper thinking. 

  • Easy-to-Do Exercises: I know, "exercises" sounds like work, but I promise these are actually enjoyable -- and so, so worth it to create more presence, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness in your life. With each quote in the book, you'll find an activity you can do to bring inspiration into your life. 

  • Motivating Mantras: Mantras aren't something I use often, but sometimes you really just need a short phrase that you can use to remind yourself to focus your attention. Each section of each book concludes with a simple, powerful statement that you can use to remind yourself to stay present / grateful / compassionate / forgiving. 

  • Top 10 Lists: Sometimes you just need a list of actionable ideas to take what you've learned and apply it to your life. Each book features lists (like, "Top 10 Ways to Stay Present at Work") filled with inspiration to take the quotes and exercises even further in your day-to-day life. 

  • Beautiful Layouts: I designed these myself so I'm a tad bit biased, but I really think the layouts turned out beautifully. Of course the content is what's most important, but if it's beautifully packaged in bright colors with simple, inspiring illustrations, that certainly doesn't hurt, does it? 

 

If you have any desire to stay present, be grateful, cultivate compassion, or find forgiveness, these are absolutely the books for you. If you can't tell, I'm SUPER excited about these books, and I really hope you will be too! Yay for new books! 


positively present picks : march 18, 2016

Patience

 

Quote-of-the-week

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime.
Never make a negative decision in the low time.
Never make your most important decisions
when you are in your worst moods.
Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass.
The spring will come."

Robert H. Schuller
 

Links-I-Love   

New Leaf Book Nook : so thankful for this glowing book review :) 

18 Quote That'll Change How You Treat Yourself : self-love all the way!

Don't Expect Crazy People to Be Sane : wise words on acceptance

A Roadmap for Overcoming Insecurities : we all have 'em...

How to Help a Grieving Friend : tough times need good friends

The Beauty of Being Single : 6 benefits of solitude

Spring Cleaning for the Soul : we all can use some of this

Less Stuff, More Happiness : how to live with less

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Negative Energy : yes!

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Rock Bottom" — Hailee Steinfeld
"I'm Not Leaving" — Damien Mcfly
"Soldier" — Fleurie
"A Starry Night" — David Grumel
"Wild Horses" — Birdy
"Misery"— Gwen Stefani
"Stargazer" — Island
"Colors" — Halsey
"Broken Teeth" — Sam Roberts Band
"Rabbit Heart" — Florence + the Machine

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

The Happiness Equation:
Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

Neil Pasricha

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
Rachel Joyce

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


believe, see, act: how to create your own wellth

Believe-See-Act

 

About a month ago, I was sent a copy of Jason Wachob's Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Résumé, and the title alone had me hooked. I love clever wordplay, and I've always believed the concept of "wealth" should include much more than financial prosperity, which is exactly what happens with Wachob's creation of the word "wellth." The book focuses on the various building blocks of wellth: eat, move, work, believe, explore, breathe, connect, love, heal, thank, ground, live, and laugh. Each of these elements is an important aspect of living a positive, present life, so it was wonderful to read about them and how they connect with one another. 

Each section of the book was filled with insights, stories, and inspiration, but my favorite section was BELIEVE. In this section, Wachob talks about how the "belief in oneself is a huge factor in successful careers, love, and life in general," and explores the idea (one that I fully support!) that everything is connected and you're exactly where you're meant to be in your life. As Wachob puts it, "You may not know why, and you may hate your current situation, but in time the reason will become clear." I love this section's focus on acceptance and the way Wachob takes acceptance a step further by reminding readers, "You can't just sit back and expect good things to happen. It requires hard work." 

There's a balance between believing in yourself, accepting what is, and taking control over your destiny, and Wachob's assessment of this balance is spot-on. In Wachob's words, believing is a three-part process. He writes, "My problem with a lot of self-help gurus is that they promote a message that is about entitlement. Yes, I truly believe that we all deserve a great life, a life filled with happiness, health, and abundance. But I also believe that this is a three-part process: believing, seeing, and doing." 

Again, I love how this process focuses on balance between acceptance and action. Below are some of Wachob's insights on this three-step process (in italics), along with my thoughts. 

 

BELIEVE 

"The first step is BELIEVING. You have to believe -- otherwise you won't accomplish anything. If you don't believe...then it's over before you even start." 

This might sound obvious, but it's important to believe in yourself, in what you can accomplish and achieve in your life. As Wachob puts it, if you don't believe, you really cannot accomplish anything, let alone big, crazy, exciting things. Of course, believing in yourself can be tricky sometimes, especially when it comes to things that might seem overwhelming or obstacle-filled. Believing in yourself is an act of self-love and, like all self-loving acts, it can prove challenging when you're going through a tough time, but it is absolute essential to achieving anything. Whether you're looking for love, aiming for that stellar career goal, or simply trying to make the most of your life, if you don't believe in yourself, you're going to have a really hard time getting where you want to go. 

 

SEE

"Next comes the importance of SEEING. If you don't envision where you want to go, then how are you going to get from point A to point B? ... The plan doesn't have to be perfect, and quite often it will change, but you have to start by envisioning it." 

Believing is so important but this next step -- seeing -- is equally as vital. If you believe you can do something, that's wonderful, but you need to have a vision of what exactly you plan to be doing. As Wachob mentions in the book, if you're looking for a partner, you need to envision exactly what traits you're looking for in that person if you ever hope to find your dream guy or girl. Believing you deserve love isn't enough; you have to envision what that love will actually look like. You have to know what specifically you want in a partner. And the same goes for any other kind of goal you're hoping to achieve. Believing in yourself is wonderful, but what does achieve that goal look like? How exactly are you going to get from where you are to where you want to be? 

  

ACT

"The third step is TAKING ACTION. You need to do what you set out to accomplish... Your behavior on the mat or at the gym (or at the office or the dinner table) affects your entire persona." 

Believing in yourself and envisioning how you're going to get from where you are to where you want to be are two essential steps for creating more wellth in your life, but the third step is absolutely essential: taking action. You can believe and envision all day long, but that's not going to get you too far if you don't take action to get where you want to be going. Wellth is created when you proactively move forward toward your goals, making positive progress with each step. (And knowing that, yes, sometimes you might take a step back or two.) What you actually do matters so much more than what you envision you'll do. Personally, I think the best way to make positive progress is to break down big goals into more manageable steps, all the while keeping your vision in mind (and never forgetting to believe in yourself!). 

Personally, I feel wellthy whenever I've followed these three steps in my life. For example, when I knew I wanted to leave my full-time job and pursue Positively Present as a career. First, I had to believe in myself, that I could actually take the leap into the unknown. Then, I had to see what life would look like if I actually did it. I had to envision the future. And, finally, I had to act. I had to venture into the unknown, choosing the unpaved path over comfort and stability. Following this three-step process (in my career, in relationships, with myself) has always lead me to feel wellthy.

This three-step process is one of the many, many insights Wachob offers in the book. It's an easy-to-read format and each section ends by summing up the key points. (I really love when books do this, as it offers reminder of the various points discussed in each section, some of which are forgotten by the time you get to the end of the chapter.) If you like Positively Present and you're interested in creating a more mindful, meaningful, and empowered life, you'll love this book. Visit the book's website to learn more here

  


WellthToday's post was sponsored by Harmony Books, publisher of Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Résumé, a book that redefines successful living and offers readers a new life currency to build on, one that is steeped in wellbeing—Wellth. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Eat. Move. Work. Believe. Explore. Breathe. Connect. Love. Heal. Thank. Ground. Live. Laugh.

These are the building blocks of Wellth. In this blend of memoir and prescriptive advice, Jason Wachob shows us all how to enjoy truly “wellthy” lives—lives that are deeply rich in every conceivable way. Through his experience and personal story, as well as in exclusive material from popular expert contributors (including Dr. Frank Lipman, Dr. Lissa Rankin, Joe Cross, Charlie Knoles, Kathryn Budig, Dr. Aviva Romm, and Dr. Sue Johnson), we learn how we, too, can embrace this new movement, while exploring what we can do to make frequent deposits into our own “wellth” accounts. What’s your life worth to you? Come and explore it.

ABOUT JASON WACHOB 

Jason Wachob is the founder and CEO of mindbodygreen, the leading independent media brand dedicated to health and happiness, with 15 million monthly unique visitors. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue. Jason has a BA in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and loves German shepherds, Chuck Taylors, and guacamole.