Back to School – Stress Reduction Strategies

 Back to school season is in swing and some are franticly trying to get their children ready in the mornings or are rushing them to their team practices. Here are a few tips to help with the early morning or late afternoon stresses of getting your children where they need to be, while still getting to work on time or dinner on the table. Even if you don’t have children these tips will benefit you as well to help you get a better start to your days. Take a few minutes to relax and read these simple tips.

  • Begin your morning at night. Pick out clothes the night before.  It will save valuable time when you know exactly what you’re going to wear.  
  • Prepare backpacks, briefcases, snacks, and lunches the night before.  Place critical items near the door from where you will be leaving or in a central location.
  • Take care of you.  Give yourself a chunk of time each morning right when you get out of bed, to relax and do exactly what you want before tending to the needs of anyone else.
  • Don’t be a perfectionist in the morning.  Unless you have ample time, don’t try a new hair style or paint your nails if you know that’ll make you late
  • In the morning, think of something to look forward to that day.  Workdays can become monotonous.  If you’re experiencing “cabin fever” at work, concentrate on what you’ll do for lunch.  If you can, get out for a lunch break, catch up with an old friend, or take a walk down a new street.  Break away from the budget every now and then, and go get one of those fancy-super-duper six-dollar frappo-carmel-latte-mocha-chai drinks and enjoy every sip of it.  Do something “wildly indulgent” for ten dollars or less.
  • If you happen to be running late to work, don’t rush and panic. Just call your office and say you are in a traffic jam, or had an important business call or something.  The point is to drive safely to work.  

It is important to realize that what you do and how you react in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, and habituating an effective morning routine can do wonders for your life.  A little effort to simplify your mornings will help you get off to a happy, healthy start each day! 

Tips for Taming Morning Madness

Back to school season is here and some are franticly trying their children ready in the mornings or are rushing them to their team practices. Here are a few tips to help with the early morning or late afternoon stresses of getting your children where they need to be, while still getting to work on time or dinner on the table. Even if you do not have children these tips will benefit you as well to help you get a better start to your days. Take a few minutes to relax and read these simple tips.

• Begin your morning at night. Pick out clothes the night before. It will save valuable time when you know exactly what you’re going to wear.

• Prepare backpacks, briefcases, snacks, and lunches the night before. Place critical items near the door from where you will be leaving or in a central location.

• Take care of you. Give yourself a chunk of time each morning right when you get out of bed, to relax and do exactly what you want before tending to the needs of anyone else.

• Don’t be a perfectionist in the morning. Unless you have ample time, don’t try a new hair style or paint your nails if you know that’ll make you late

• In the morning, think of something to look forward to that day. Workdays can become monotonous. If you’re experiencing “cabin fever” at work, concentrate on what you’ll do for lunch. If you can, get out for a lunch break, catch up with an old friend, or take a walk down a new street. Break away from the budget every now and then, and go get one of those fancy-super-duper six-dollar frappo-carmel-latte-mocha-chai drinks and enjoy every sip of it. Do something “wildly indulgent” for ten dollars or less.

• If you happen to be running late to work, don’t rush and panic. Just call your office and say you are in a traffic jam, or had an important business call or something. The point is to drive safely to work.

 It is important to realize that what you do and how you react in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, and habituating an effective morning routine can do wonders for your life. A little effort to simplify your mornings will help you get off to a happy, healthy start each day.

Maintaining Life's Balance

To circle back to the subject of maintaining life’s balance, I was reminded of the importance of this concept recently when a friend shared a dream about chasing the perfect image (photograph) and the joy that resulted, just from the chase!

The question I pose to us all is this:  “What am I chasing?” 

Image? 

Career Success? 

Relationship?  

Fitness?

Giving Back? 

Relevance?

Whatever the answer is, for any of us, I offer the following reflections:

The chase should bring joy.

The chase should not be a single-minded pursuit, but, a joyful component of a well balanced life.

The Power of Pets

The common expression is widely known – a dog is man’s best friend, although around the world a variety of animals are celebrated as man’s best friend. In the United States almost every household has at least one common household pet. Many people consider the pets they own a part of their family. Pets provide many benefits to humans such as comfort and companionship. On a health note, they also can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, as well as feelings of loneliness. Pet owners suffer fewer minor health problems, such as painful joints, hay fever, insomnia, and anxiety.

Pets also increase the opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities and allow people to socialize with others who own pets as well. There have been numerous studies that show that having a pet reduces the stress levels of their owners and increases enjoyment in your overall life style. Various studies below are given in http://www.pet-hospital.info/pages/pets_forhealth.htm:
• Having a pet present reduces a pet owner’s stress more than the company of a close friend or even a spouse. Researchers asked 240 married couples, half of them pet owners, to perform two stress-inducing tasks—mental arithmetic problems and submerging a hand in ice water for two minutes. People with a pet present enjoyed much lower baseline heart rate and blood pressure levels than people without pets. They also made fewer errors during the math test.
• Pets help people survive heart attacks. One study shows that heart attack sufferers who own a dog have an eight times better chance of surviving one year after suffering a heart attack.
• Pets provide therapeutic touch. Tests show that within minutes of petting a dog, the human and dog experience a massive release of such beneficial hormones as prolactin, oxytocin, and phenylethylamine.
• Pets help combat allergies in children. One study found that living with two or more cats and dogs as toddlers made children less susceptible to other allergy-inducing substances by the time they turned seven.
• Couples who own pets have closer relationships, are more satisfied in marriage, respond better to stress than couples without pets, and have more frequent contact with each other and with others.

Not only do pets allow you to perform better math, they also offer family enjoyment, as 70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after adopting a pet.

I have a small Maltese mixed with a poodle, Chanel, a four years old. In my own personal experience my dog always brings a smile to my face. She is very playful and energetic, and loves to go on afternoon runs at our favorite trail. I truly believe that pets do increase the amount of enjoyment and happiness in our lives, and I hope your pets bring that same happiness into your life.

24/7…365

This was the message from the executive offices in the last edition of the Customized Quarterly, our employee newsletter.  Norberto Velez, President, offers his reflections on the issue of time and how we choose to spend ours.

Enjoy! 

Greetings,

Every Friday before I turn off the lights and computer, I take a deep breath and reflect on the week’s events and accomplishments.  I ask myself whether I accomplished the things I wanted to.  Then, my focus goes to Monday and the preparation for those events.  Instantly, I realize that I have two days, Saturday and Sunday that I’ve not given much thought to.

Is it because I don’t value that time?  Is it because I am just so focused on work?

It reminds me there are three types of time:  Time for work, time for family and time to grow.  All are equally important.  Time for work means the things I must do to fulfill my obligations as President of Customized:  planning my days, following up with customers, and always having the best interests of our employees in mind.  I must confess that I have no challenge in spending time in this area because of my passion for the mission of Customized which is creating healthier working environments for our customers and for our team members.

Time for family is the second category and I have to constantly remind myself to make this a bigger priority.  It seems like it was yesterday that my boys were riding around on skateboards and they are now leading their own lives.  Learn from me: value the time you have with your loved ones, because time does not stand still for anyone. Take time to teach, take time to encourage and take time to love your children.  I’ve heard it said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

The third and final type of time is time to grow.  Growth as a person happens to each of us differently.  For me, I find that by volunteering and by giving back of my time I grow.  It opens my awareness to needs of others.  Within Customized we’ve had several people who have volunteered their time and efforts to enrich the lives of others.  A recent example was employees who volunteered along with a team from one of our customers with the Rebuilding Together organization to make a difference in the lives of strangers.  Customized team members have partnered with Rebuilding Together on a number of occasions and we know they do an amazing work in this area.  It doesn’t matter, however, where you choose to volunteer…you can take time to read to children at their school or library, you can volunteer within your place of worship or within your community.

Just remember that time is something that should be valued rather than taken for granted…it doesn’t matter the day you were born or the day you die…..it’s the dash in between that determines the legacy we leave behind.

A Balanced Life – A Healthier You!

It’s March and high time to shed the winter hibernation coat!  There are many ways to approach the loss of this extra weight.  Some are extreme and would not be characterized as “healthy” methods to reach a healthier you.  Starvation dieting, bulimia, pills, liposuction are some examples.  Thankfully there are other more moderate methods to reach the same results.  Within the walls of Customized, there are more than one approach to this age-old goal of fitness, weight loss and better health.

Norberto Velez asked himself the question, “How long does a body last?”  This was motivation for him to change his outlook on eating and exercising, always keeping the end in mind.  His process involved hiring a trainer who provided a good foundation for a solid approach to losing weight.  That was the “plan” motivation.  For the “execute” motivation, he suggests, “Go to the grocery store and pick up a five pound bag of sugar.  Visualize the number of bags that represent the weight you need to lose. Now imagine the ease and freedom of movement, not to mention waistband, without those bags of sugar!”

Simple math tells us that one pound is equal to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose a pound a week, which is deemed sensible for most people with no physical conditions or limitations, you have to cut your intake of calories and/or increase your calories burned through exertion every week by just that amount:  3,500 calories.

If you have an extreme diet, ripe with drive- through choices or rich foods and alcohol, you have a clear path for your first step to improvement.  Also, if you find yourself sitting more – whether bound to an office chair, car seat or couch, your path is clear.  LOTS of veggies and grains, and 10,000 steps each day will almost guarantee that you start to see baggier pants, more energy and the number on the scale heading in the right direction.

I decided on just a tinge of extreme within normal limits….or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  For 21 days (only 10 days and counting to go) I’ve eliminated the “Big 5” from my diet:  sugar, animal products, caffeine, alcohol and gluten.  Wow.  Even typing the list makes me a little nervous!  So far, so good, I’ve received multiple compliments on my glowing skin and how well rested I look and I do find I am sleeping (a lot) and better.  It’s definitely not as difficult as I anticipated. In addition to the cleanse I  added the 10,000 steps and yoga to my routine (probably explains the sleeping a lot!).

Norberto and I are both seeing results, while the only thing we are both doing exactly the same way is the 10,000 steps.  While I chose a more extreme start to my nutrition efforts, his extreme efforts have been in the gym.  Some really awful sounding thing that’s a combination of a push-up and a jumping jack?  Oh, and how about reverse sit ups?

Varied methods and programs, same goal – a healthier us!