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Manage Your Holiday Stress: Be Happier This Season!

It is that time of year again. Time to spread holiday cheer. Time to listen to Christmas carols in every store. Time to bake cookies. Time to buy presents and find the time to wrap them. Time to decorate your house. Time to go to school Holiday concerts. Time for office parties.

I’m out of breath all ready.

photo credit: What is in us via photopin cc

photo credit: What is in us via photopin cc

For many of us, this season a time for stress.

All of these things I’ve listed, and more, descend on us in December like Santa’s big butt coming down the chimney. It can make us feel like the coal in the bottom of the stocking.

I know it is easy to say that it doesn’t need to be that way. It is easy to suggest that we can shake off the stress and enjoy the holiday season. But how do you actually do that?

Here are a few simple tips for managing your holiday stress so you can be happier.

  • Eat well. The candy, cookies, turkey, food, food, food and more food can get overwhelming at this time of year. While you shouldn’t deny yourself the joy of holiday treats, you should also not subsist on them alone. When you’re not at a party, focus on healthy eating habits.
  • Help others. Did you know that volunteering can help relieve stress? Donate your time or your money to a local organization that helps families celebrate the holidays. It will make your heart happy.
  • Say no. Don’t be afraid to bow out of holiday activities. Say no to some of the holiday invitations. It will help you manage your stress if you’re not feeling obligated to handle every request that comes your way.
  • Talk money. Don’t be afraid to set limits with your family for holiday presents. Financial stress at this time of year can be hard to deal with so take away that pressure by setting a price cap for gifts.
  • Time out.  You can manage your holiday stress by stepping away from the craziness from time to time. Go for a walk, get a massage, don’t skip yoga.

Use some of these ideas for making your holiday less stressful and more cheerful this year.

Do you want to know more about how personal happiness can help you get unstuck in your professional and personal life? Contact me, Cheri Britton, to learn more about speaking engagements and one on one coaching!  

Plan Your Company Holiday Party

If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.
-Bertrand Russell

It is that time of year again: time to spread the holiday cheer throughout your office and to your clients.

But how do you do that?

Image by Keng Susumpow via Flickr.

Image by Keng Susumpow via Flickr.

There is so much emotion wrapped up in this holiday season that it is hard to know how to please everyone.

Rather than trying to be everything to everyone plan a holiday party that is cheerful and allows your team to relax, be themselves, and have an opportunity to get away from the office.

Here are a few simple tips for planning your holiday party.

  • It doesn’t have to be expensive. While it is a good idea to get out of the office for the Holiday party, that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Consider happy hour at a local bar or enjoy a casual dinner at a pizza place.
  • Set the date in advance. Many companies establish a date each year for their holiday party such as the second Friday of December or the last day of work before the holiday break. Make sure your team always knows what day the party is so they can plan accordingly.
  • Encourage your team to get into the spirit. Ask your team to wear a festive outfit to the party. Ugly holiday sweater parties are becoming a big hit for a lot of groups, companies, and organizations. Have a contest for the ugliest sweater contest with prizes to encourage participation.
  • Celebrate the season, not the holiday. Today’s workforce is very diverse. While there has been some push back about making holiday parties too generic it is hard to see inclusiveness as a bad thing. Celebrate the end of the year and the team you’re working with.
  • Make the event family friendly. It is up to you whether you want to include children or just partners and spouses, but you should always allow your employees to bring guests. Give everyone a chance to get to know each other a little better.

Your team makes your year successful and this is a great time to show your appreciation. Spend some time creating and event that will be enjoyable by your staff as well as for you.

What kind of holiday parties have you had in the past?

Do you want to know more about getting fired up at work this holiday season? Contact me today!

Work/Life Balance: Be Happy

I’m sure you’ve heard someone refer to the concept of “Work/Life Balance.” You may have even used the phrase yourself a time or two.

But what does it really mean?

Often, the way we use it in our culture, it really doesn’t mean anything. The concept is still exceptionally important, no matter how you say it.

60s counterculture personality and writer Paul Krassner was quoted in a 1968 issue of Time Magazine saying, “Some anthropologist said that one definition of happiness is to have as little gap as possible between your work and your play.” 

If any one portion of our lives becomes too out of balance with the others that is when we start to feel stress and panic. That is when we stop being happy and start freaking out just a little.

So how can we (as employees or business owners or busy parents or any number of other definitions) create a better work/life balance for ourselves? There are a few things we can do to change our lives today. They may not always be easy but your happiness and wellbeing is always worth it.

  1. Have a Support System. No man or woman is an island. It is nearly impossible to have your cake and eat it too if it is just you and a fork. You’ll end up with a hell of a stomach ache if you try to do things that way. Allow yourself to rely on your friends and family for support.
  2. Manage Your Time. Last week, I shared some time management hacks that could help you reclaim your day. This is extremely important for not getting overwhelmed or finding yourself working through evenings and weekend just to get things done. Don’t forget to say “No” once in a while. You can’t be all things to all people.  
  3. Nurture Yourself. That day at the spa? It isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity! You need to step away and recharge your batteries. I can’t stress that enough. It is absolutely imperative for the human body to take breaks. Do whatever makes you happiest; go for a hike, head to the bar, or enjoy a movie with friends.
  4. Avoid Negativity. I am not only talking about other people who bring their negativity to the table. I’m also talking to you. Your inner voice who says you can’t do something or that the project is simply impossible. You don’t have to live in a fairy tale world and you can be realistic about things, but negativity is the single biggest soul crusher in your life.

Are you craving a better work/life balance? Do you need some extra help finding ways to bring happiness in your life? You’re in luck! That is what I do best so contact me today!  

 

Organize a Flash Mob or Hiring a Singing Telegram: Creative Ways to Motivate in the Office

Have you had enough of the typical advice for motivating your office staff? Sure, you can offer rewards programs for good work or you can host a summer barbeque on a Friday, but those ideas will only take you so far. What about some of the more out of the box ideas? Never underestimate the element of surprise when it comes to getting your employees blood flowing and keeping them engaged with their jobs. Here are five totally wacky, completely insane, way outside the box ideas to add a little spice to an average day in the office. 

photo credit: shimelle via photopin cc

photo credit: shimelle via photopin cc

Management flash mob.

Depending on the size of your company it is likely that the average employee has very little interaction with the executives at the top. They may see them during kick-off meetings once a year and never hear from them again. Change the paradigm. Get your C-Level managers on board with an office flash mob. It doesn’t have to be huge but have everyone walk into a densely populated office area and start your routine. Practicing for the big event can also provide some team building for your management level employees.

Pajama day.

Once in a while, change your casual Friday to Pajama Friday. Encourage employees to come to work wearing their flannel PJs and host a slumber party at lunchtime. Show an 80s movie, eat popcorn, and even tell ghost stories in the dark.

Hire a singing telegram for no reason.

I’m not sure I need to say any more about this.

Design a “your office” bingo card.

Every office has a unique culture. There may be a specific client that calls once a day. There may be a certain glitch in the coffee machine that only happens when the stars are aligned. Put all of these items randomly on bingo cards and pass them out. The first person to get bingo wins a prize. The cards are cleared and it starts all over again.

Move stuff around.

After hours one day, spend some time moving wall art around the office. See if anyone notices. The next week move something like the copy machine or the water cooler. It will keep everyone talking the next day and keep them on their toes.

Keep your employees guessing! They will never know what you might do next. It will keep the energy positive in the office and will ultimately keep your team happy and engaged.

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Speaking of happy and engaged, throughout the month of August I am offering my “Work Your But Off!” program for free. If you “Like!” my Facebook page before August 31st, 2013 you will be signed up to receive the program direct to your email for 30 days! Be sure to tell your friends, co-workers, and anyone you meet at the coffee shop.

If you’re looking for more in depth coaching or dynamite motivational speaking, please contact me today!  

Changes to Your Office Environment to Engage Employees

There are 24 hours in a day. 6 to 8 of them are, or should be, spend sleeping. 9 hours a day are spent at the office with co-workers. If I am doing my math correctly, this leaves 6 hours a day for individuals to do as they please.

Except it doesn’t!

photo credit: marsmet546 via photopin cc

photo credit: marsmet546 via photopin cc

The average commute time is 24 minutes, but this number doesn’t truly reflect the time wasted getting to and from work. Since commutes can vary wildly across the country and some Americans are losing two to three hours a day in the car. New York, Atlanta, and DC have some of the worst commutes in the country.  A two hour commute can leave an average working person with just 4 hours of their own time each day.

How can anyone be expected to meet the demands of kids’ soccer games, music performances, and social engagements, volunteer in their community – much less be able to cook a real dinner without using a microwave?  

It is no wonder that employee satisfaction dwindles over time.

Managers and business owners owe it to their employees to create an environment that can engage employees and keep them motivated on the job.

Here are 5 things you can implement in your office today to help re-energize your team.

1. Productive social media.

As a manager you may become frustrated when you see otherwise talented employees spending time on Facebook. Many companies counter this by blocking popular social media sites. However, there is some wisdom to allowing your employees some time to check in with their pages while they are on the job. Provide some time during the day to check up on social media but also ask if they would be willing to promote the company on line as well. Your satisfied employees will make excellent brand advocates.

2. Wellness programs.

With only 4 hours left during an average day it is wonder how anyone manages to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can help in that arena. Offer healthy snacks and water rather than candy and soda machines. Organize walks during the day to get your team active.(Plus this brain break helps employees be even more productive!)  Bring in speakers to talk about healthy eating, exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices. (ahem . . . like me!)  You can help reduce your employees’ stress by providing access to resources.

3. Work/Life balance.

A lot of people talk about work/life balance but what does it really mean?  Most people only see balance as they swing right past it!  

With around 4 hours a day dedicated to not-work and not-sleep how is it possible to create your own work/life balance? It might not be. Managers need to recognize that their employees have personal needs outside the workspace. Flexible schedules are a great solution for this. It has been proven by many top companies that employees are mature enough to handle it responsibly.

4. Eliminate time wasters.

This morning I overheard someone on a one and a half hour weekly conference call. Weekly. For one and a half hours! ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

This kind of meeting schedule is not productive. When employees are spending so much time talking about the work they would rather be doing they can easily become frustrated. Evaluate the way you organize the work day and determine if there is any fat that can be trimmed.

5. Redecorate.

When employees spend so much time in one place it really needs to be an environment that is engaging. While you might not want to redecorate every two or three years, you may want to consider a change if your longest employees have been seeing the same office every day for 10 years or more. A couple cans of paint and new carpet can do wonders. If this isn’t possible consider switching up the artwork around the building.

When implementing changes in your office be sure to think about how to make the workday fun, communicate goals clearly, encourage positive thinking, and establish rules for lodging complaints.

There are countless small ideas that can create big changes in your office. To find out more, contact me about motivation speaking and corporate training for your company.

 

Knowing Your GIFTS Help You Kick “But” . . . w/ Brian Jaudon

What are you here to do?  What are your special abilities?  What are your gifts and how will knowing them help you lead a kick “but” life?  Join Cheri Britton and her guest transformational coach Brian Jaudon to find out.  They will discuss Brian’s important discoveries about how to bring your gifts to your life and your work.    

 

Listen to internet radio with KickBUTwithCheriBritton on Blog Talk Radio
 
 
 

Ain’t No Prize for Wearing Yourself Out

I have a sick little fantasy. 

At some point I will be sitting in a celebrity-filled auditorium when my name is called out as the year’s winner of the “Most Sacrificing Woman” award.  I will swish up to the stage in my designer dress that the critics will agree diminishes the dark circles under my eyes and the bulging veins on my neck and the cortisole induced paunch in my middle.  I will take the stage and describe that my years of “taking one for the team” was worth it. That habitually putting myself last has finally brought me the only reward that I ever really wanted . . . the undying appreciation of every person, child, partner, committee, board, client, pet, family member, non-profit and needy person that I valued more than myself.  Yes, seeing the happy faces of friends and strangers alike who received my selfless efforts was all I needed to buoy me through life.   I will take my applause for ignoring my health, my happiness, my bank account, my spiritual growth and my personal desires.  The award will no doubt will be a golden sculpture of a woman flung over a chaise lounge known as “MOM” which stands for Most Overworked Martyr, a befitting prize for someone like me, I should think. Read More→