relax

Its Not News Its a Distraction: 2014 #ACL Lineup

Its an exiting day! They have released the big lineup for ACL 2014! So excited to see Pearl Jam will be returning to ACL — and with the new format, it will be for TWO weekends. Also due to the new format, I learned last year that I don’t have to make a mad dash to get tickets as I have in the past and then try to piece together a day or two here or there because I couldn’t get a weekend pass. This is really about making music available to everyone (yes I know its a steep pricetag, but hey, you’ve got headliners for three days worth of music– bargain to me!) — so this morning I took the puppies for a long walk and did not hoover over my computer for 2 hours trying to get tickets.

A great way to “relax, relate, and release” in my hometown — have you ever been? Its great (just don’t think that Austin is so cool that you want to move here — don’t believe the hype, its really a terrible place to live 😉 )

 

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I’m Stressing the Children I Don’t Even Have Yet

Photo credit: Olimpia Zagnoli

I lead a pretty stressful life — I like to work, I like to work hard, and I like to be involved in a lot of activities — coupled with a high sense of responsibility and accomplishment — yup, I have a lot of stress.

So imagine my “stress” when I read this article in the NY Times,
Inheriting Stress, which explores the question: Can children inherit stress from their mother? My initial thought, “YIKES!”

WE intuitively understand, and scientific studies confirm, that if a woman experiences stress during her pregnancy, it can affect the health of her baby. But what about stress that a woman experiences before getting pregnant — perhaps long before?

It may seem unlikely that the effects of such stress could be directly transmitted to the child. After all, stress experienced before pregnancy is not part of a mother’s DNA, nor does it overlap with the nine months of fetal development.

Nonetheless, it is undeniable that stress experienced during a person’s lifetime is often correlated with stress-related problems in that person’s offspring — and even in the offspring’s offspring. Perhaps the best-studied example is that of the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. Research shows that survivors’ children have greater-than-average chances of having stress-related psychiatric illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, even without being exposed to higher levels of stress in their own lives. — excerpt from article http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/opinion/sunday/can-children-inherit-stress.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0

Okay, okay, okay. So I don’t have any kind of post-traumatic stress, but the piece goes on to explore if the stress has an impact on parenting style?

I’m always concerned about the amount of stress in my life–  barring the impact to my future children, I know that its not very helpful to me, but the thought of my stress potentially having this kind of ripple effect, takes stress management to a whole… ‘nother.. level.

I met with a friend last week and she swears by yoga and feels that it has made positive changes to her life and her sense of stress. I’ve always viewed it as just a means of exercise, but she urged me to get into the meditative pieces of it as well (maybe Bikram is out?), but silly as it may sound, I have a new found motivation.

Even if there is no link — we all know the benefits of a life with less stress.

The battle goes on… how to “relax, relate, release” … but still maintain my “intense” and competitive edge with my career. Could meditating be the answer?

Do you have employees who have this truly mastered, or is just as elusive as a purple cow?

Still searching… 🙂

Yours,

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Olimpia Zagnoli

 

How to Have a Blissfully Unproductive Weekend

Getting some much needed rest and relaxation is on my mind (again) — This is one of my struggles as I still can’t find the balance. However, I’ve learned a few times over my working career, and once again as recently as last week, that if you don’t take the time to slow down and rest, your body will do it for you. I’ve been sick the last 13 days — twice! And while I’m starting to finally feel like “myself” I know that I largely got sick because I’d over extended myself for too long.

Still my challenge to overcome so I maintain committed to finding the balance — and sharing with you want I find. I found this great article from Debbie Woodbury with some great tips:

1. Change your mindset, if only for the weekend. If you have a workaholic, productivity-proves-validity mindset, like me, you don’t relax easily. Why not try changing your mindset for just a weekend? Everyone needs time to relax and recharge, and anyone who thinks they are productive 24/7 is just kidding themselves anyway. So go ahead, throw relentless productivity to the wind and resolve to be blissfully unproductive this weekend. You can always go back to being a crazed workaholic on Monday.

2. Unplug from your electronics. Put the stresses and obligations of the workweek on hold by separating yourself from your cell phone, tablet or laptop. Deliberately unplugging makes a statement to yourself and others, “I choose to relax and be blissfully unproductive for a few days.”

Go one step further and seek out silence. As Deepak Chopra said, “Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.”

3. Stay in the moment. As hard as it is to unplug from your electronics, it’s even harder to unplug from your monkey mind. You know what monkey mind is — the incessant chatter of worry, “shoulds,” “what ifs” and a past/future focus. When the chatter starts building, take a breath and stop. In that moment of awareness, you create a gap that allows you to recognize the noise for what it is, before it takes you away with it. Practicing “catch and release” of your monkey-mind thoughts keeps you present in the here and now and focuses your mind on one thing at a time.

4. Play. Play is not a luxury. Let me repeat. Play is not a luxury. In fact, play is vital to health and increased productivity. Spontaneous play and the fun it elicits are transformative, and happen more often when you’re in the moment. Planning play is as important as planning your meals. And play takes all kinds of forms — run through the sprinkler, have sex, read a fun book, take a hammock nap or just jump up and down! Play doesn’t have to be big and noisy. Play is whatever feeds your soul and makes you feel more alive. Go play!

5. Reconnect with loved ones. Sometimes we’re so overwhelmed with obligations, schedules, responsibilities and appointments that we forget to really be with the people we love. If you turn off the TV, phone and laptop — if you stay in the moment and open yourself to play and fun — guess where you’ll end up? Reconnecting with friends and family!

via 5 Steps to a Blissfully Unproductive Weekend | Debbie Woodbury.

Seems like its just 5 simple things, but some of these are still going to be a real challenge for me. I think I’ll have to take it one at a time and work my way up to all 5 at once :).

Relaxing, relating, and releasing — thanks for joining me on the journey to better work life balance! Making the HR connection, yours

Its not news its a distration — Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Top 50 Songs About Luck – Yahoo!

Happy St. Patrick’s day from me, thegirlinhr!

I wouldn’t say that I’m terribly superstitious or one for lucky charms — but I thought it’d be a little fun to think of some of my favorite songs that had to do with luck and put together a top 10 list — only I had trouble doing it – LOL — so I went to the net and found Yahoo!’s top 50 songs about luck.

Before you look at the list — think of 10 (or if you’re like me, think of as many as you can) and see where they fall on the list of 50. Did you have some that didn’t make the list? Honestly, there are a lot of songs here I’ve never heard of so I think I’m going to spend the remainder of the weekend preparing for the week and chillaxing to some music!

Enjoy! Yours, thegirlinhr!

No matter what kind of luck you have or where you believe it came from, the concept of luck continues to elude us regardless of our origin, race, religion, gender or the country we call home. Legendary musicians have attempted to answer all the questions we have about luck. Luck has been one of the most popular topics of songwriters and musicians for generations. Here are the top 50 songs about luck: songs about good luck, bad luck, luck with love, superstitious luck, fortune telling luck, and luck of the Irish. Enjoy and GOOD LUCK!

Top 50 Songs About Luck

Good Luck, Bad Luck – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Viva Las Vegas – ZZ Top

Love and Luck – Jimmy Buffett

The Luck of the Irish – John Lennon

I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover – Art Mooney

Touch A Four Leaf Clover – Atlantic Starr

Lucky Man – Emerson, Lake & Palmer

My Lucky Day – Bruce Springsteen

Fortune Teller – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Bad Luck Soul – B.B. King

Lucky – Radiohead

Lucky Lips – Ruth Brown

Luck Be A Lady Tonight – Frank Sinatra

Hard Luck Stories – Neil Young

With A Little Luck – Paul McCartney & Wings

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Lucky Lucky Me – Marvin Gaye

Some Guys Have All the Luck – Rod Stewart

Lucky Ones – Loverboy

Lucky Guy – Todd Rundgren

If I’m Lucky – Zoot Sims

I Feel Lucky – Mary Chapin Carpenter

Lady Luck Blues – Bessie Smith

Luck In My Eyes – k.d. Lang

The Lucky One – Faith Hill

Good Run of Bad Luck – Clint Black

Old Mr. Bad Luck – Earl King

Lucky – Britney Spears

The Luckiest – Ben Folds

I Got Lucky – Elvis Presley

You Are My Lucky Star – Petula Clarke

Lucky Me – Chiffons

Good Luck – Mirsa

We Are the Lucky Ones – Charmed

Down on Your Luck – Thin Lizzy

Sister Luck – The Black Crowes

Lucky You – Lightning Seeds

Lucky – Jason Mraz

Trying Your Luck – The Strokes

Good Luck Charm – Jagged Edge

Lucky Star – Madonna

Lucky Song – Dean Martin

I Should Be So Lucky – Kylie Miogue

Lucky Ladybug – The 4 Seasons

Piece of My Luck – Sam Brown

Lucky Number – Lene Lovich

If I Get Lucky – Arthur Crudup

The Luck of the Draw – Pete Atkin

I’m A Bad Luck Woman – Memphis Minnie

Lucky One – Alison Krauss

via Top 50 Songs About Luck – Yahoo! Voices – voices.yahoo.com.

Happy Valentine’s Day to Me? « Know

This is an AWESOME article and I really wanted to share it with yall — and its so timely — and from the Texas KNOW newsletter (hook ’em!)

Take a read and consider taking the online self-compassion test — what do you think?

Enjoy! Making the HR Connection, yours – thegirlinhr!

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People who nurture self-compassion are happier and tend to enjoy healthier romantic relationships.

Common wisdom suggests that when relationship problems rear their ugly heads, the solution is to work harder to please your mate — maybe lose 15 pounds, be more cheerful, stop being so needy.

But it turns out that one of the best ways to keep the love fires burning is first to be kinder to yourself.

Kristin Neff, an educational psychologist and author of “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind” (William Morrow, 2011), indicates that people with higher levels of self-compassion tend to achieve greater emotional well being and contentment and to enjoy healthier relationships.

“Self-compassion is about acknowledging that you’re flawed, you’re human, you’re going to make mistakes, and that’s OK,” says Neff, an associate professor in the College of Education and a pioneer in the scientific study of self-compassion. “When you have a healthy level of self-compassion, you’re as kind, considerate and forgiving to yourself as you would be to anyone you cared about. You don’t beat yourself up or become defensive, depressed and angry when you face the setbacks we all encounter at one point or another.

Research during the past decade suggests that people who nurture self-compassion have better overall psychological and emotional health, experience less anxiety and depression, are more motivated to achieve their goals and even have less trouble with common issues such as losing weight or quitting smoking.

To find out if self-compassion also makes you a better relationship partner, Neff surveyed 104 couples using a self-compassion scale that she developed.

The findings supported her theory that people who can first give themselves emotional support and validation will be in a better position to be giving, accepting and generous to their partners.

In the study, individuals who reported high levels of self-compassion also said they felt more authentic and happier in their relationships. More important, their mates described them as being significantly more affectionate, supportive, intimate and accepting in the relationship, as well as readily granting more freedom and autonomy to their partners.

And what about those who didn’t score high on self-compassion?

Their partners described them as being more controlling, detached, domineering, judgmental and verbally aggressive — and, not surprisingly, reported much less relationship satisfaction.

For couples that want to see how they stack up in the area of self-compassion, Neff has an online self-compassion test. It includes 26 statements that help you decide just how kind you are to yourself when you fail or face setbacks and how you tend to frame your flaws and shortcomings.

If you respond “almost always” to statements such as “I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies,” for example, that suggests you may have some work to do when it comes to fostering self-compassion.

“Should you or your partner score low on self-compassion, there are several things you can try on your own that should help you become more accepting of your imperfections and your basic ‘humanness,’ ” Neff says, including:

Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of an unconditionally loving friend or family member. Say the things in the letter that someone who’s caring and understanding would say to you about your perceived shortcomings.

“Wait awhile and then read it,” Neff suggests, “taking in the feelings of acceptance and support.”

Put your hands over your heart or use some other form of soothing touch when you’re struggling. Physical gestures of care and kindness tap into the body’s mammalian caregiving system, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, Neff explains.

Try guided meditations. Meditation helps to retrain the brain, Neff says.

Say kind words to yourself.

Whatever strategy you choose, the goal is to meet your own emotional needs, become better at living in the present moment and avoid consistently negative, self-critical thoughts.

“There’s really no downside to boosting your self-compassion,” Neff says. “You experience more happiness, contentment and peace, and your relationships improve. It’s the classic win-win.”

To find out more about exercises that can help you build self-compassion, recommended reading materials and videos on developing self-compassion, visit Neff’s website.

via Happy Valentine’s Day to Me? « Know.

Its Not News Its a Distraction: Brett’s Angry Dance

Free off the heels of the “How Do You Deal with Stress” post… I thought I’d post the video to Brett’s Angry Dance — and if you haven’t already seen or heard of the Flight of the Conchords — I totally recommend — laughing is always a good way to relieve some stress!

Its not news, its a distraction! Yours, thegirlinhr