Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Posts Tagged ‘work/life balance’

How Have You Been?

In Blogging, Career, coaching, Contributors, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, Lifestyle, News, Videos on September 28, 2017 at 08:50

Aloha!

How Have You Been?

How has 2017 treated you?

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What are your plans for the remainder of it?

How are you preparing to finish it with a bang / in a high note?

I hope you are well, that this post finds you in good health and spirit and that you are safe wherever you are considering everything that has happened around the world lately. Please consider volunteering and/or donating to the causes closest to your heart.

It’s been a while since my last post. I barely shared a few articles on our Facebook page. I have missed you, writing for you, connecting with you. 

Last year was life-changing: After four years living in Nicaragua, I moved back to the United States, to my beloved Miami (It’s been over a year already, and I still owe Lia Seirotti a post about that-coming soon, promised!).

The move happened fast. We became homeowners. I thank my husband for doing most of the research and paperwork. I limited myself to following the great tips in this article by my talented friend Zania and contacting another great friend Oscar Terán as a realtor. The rest was signing a mountain of documents and we are still choosing furniture!

Once again, I was ready to conquer Miami. To recover my space, my work, my friends, my life. Not that I had lost them, but I definitely needed to reconnect.

They were all priorities. Work took over though. I started getting hired for Public Relations and Entertainment Production projects, it felt like I had never left and it was a great reassuring feeling. Fun projects took me to some of my favorite destinations while pulling me away from blogging, writing and social media, as I always strive to respect the time of my clients and the privacy that they deserve.

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I also went back to school for my Professional Coaching Certification. I am still offering complimentary coaching calls, please don’t hesitate to contact me and take advantage of that.

While all this was happening, I was simultaneously “working” on my health. I had been dealing with a hormonal imbalance that not only affected me physically but also emotionally as it directly conflicted with the deepest desire of my heart. I turned 34 in the middle of unpromising fertility diagnosis and felt like there was nothing to celebrate. I was wrong. More on that soon. In the mean time, if you plan to have children, please ask your doctor if you can start taking folic acid daily. You and your future babies can thank me later.

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Family and work kept me busy and entertained with exciting and all-consuming endeavors, including touring with a rock band in South America and other trips to new places and revisiting old ones. I kept it all to myself, absorbed it, digested it and now I am ready to share it. Stay tuned for upcoming travel blog posts.

The election results also affected my blogging persona. I realized once again the power of media, considering that a product of it had become president, and I felt even more responsible for what I was creating and sharing. It paralyzed me for months. Still not over it, but I have decided to transform fear and empower myself through it instead. That’s another reason why I am back.

Four days after publishing our latest post, I received the miracle that I had been praying for. Long story perfect for a future post. Just know that “When Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”.

Earlier this year we also lost two of our beloved contributors: Alfonsina Ferreira and Godelena Segura. I deeply miss them, their smiles, their energy and their wisdom. I am grateful for their lives and souls and the valuable time that we spent together.  

Take this post as a relaunch of this blog. I am back and with so much to offer. I want to write posts that have a lot for you in them. I can’t promise frequency and regularity, just content that will make you content. In that order, I would love to hear your ideas. What would you like to read about? Please let me know as soon as you can.

Thanks in advance for sharing this post with your family, friends and colleagues!

Who misses you?

Laura

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Is Stress Stalking Your Life?

In Career, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Health, Lifestyle, News, Relationships on February 2, 2016 at 09:00

VARIOUS

Are You Aware Of The Dangers Of Stress?

Source: Is Stress Stalking Your Life?

One in four of us admits to feeling stressed every single day, but too often we do nothing about it. Writer Lizzie Pook, 30, found her way back from burnout… 

It was in a stark A&E cubicle, while a consultant slowly inched a camera up my nose and down my throat until my eyes streamed with tears, that I realised things had to change. Up until that point, my health had been slowly spiralling downwards. I had been blighted for two years by an endless cycle of infections and flu. I’d recently been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, and was suffering other bizarre physical symptoms, too: strange and erratic spasms in my nose, a numb tongue, angry rashes all over my body and a constant ringing in my ears. Eventually, things came to a head, and my GP packed me off to see if emergency-room doctors could explain the terrifying choking feeling that was rising in my throat.

The diagnosis that day was not hugely surprising. My body was being ravaged by stress, and it was reacting the only way it knew how. If I didn’t make some significant changes in my life, the doctor said, I was heading straight towards burnout and was at risk of making myself seriously ill. We may brush off stress as weakness or even inconvenience but, the truth is, it is having a debilitating effect on increasing numbers of women in the UK. Recent studies have shown that over half of all women would describe themselves as ‘moderately or extremely’ stressed.

Four out of five of us believe we push ourselves too hard, and a recent survey by Sanctuary Spa found that an estimated 12 million women feel that they are on the verge of burnout. It’s no surprise we’re feeling more stressed, either. Studies suggest our ‘have it all’ generation is struggling to juggle high-pressured jobs, financial worries and the never-ending quest for a decent work/life balance. For me, the causes of my stress were not unusual: a little self-doubt, a lot of anxiety, and the constant fear of disappointing others (particularly at work, in my high-pressure job as a journalist, where I would constantly put in overtime to prove how committed I was). That’s not to mention the tendency to over-worry about my family. In fact, since the death of my father 10 years ago, I’d felt sort of responsible for the happiness of everyone in my family; surely that’s enough pressure to shake the foundations of even the strongest woman.

But this constant anxiety began to gnaw away at my brain like a burrowing parasite. It soon affected my behaviour. Every morning on the journey to work, I could actually feel my blood pressure rising. I was so on edge that if a harried fellow commuter bumped into me, I’d huff and sigh theatrically. If someone started reading my newspaper over my shoulder, I’d eyeball them with embarrassing pantomime incredulity. There was no relief at night, either. After a frantic day at the office, I’d lie awake into the clammy early hours, convincing myself that my mother was having a heart attack, or that my brother simply wouldn’t wake up the next morning. The anxiety was so all-consuming, it felt as if I was losing my grip on reality.

‘Stress changes the way your body functions,’ says Neil Shah, director of the Stress Management Society. Our bodies are only designed to be in a state of stress, known as the fight-or-flight response, for a short period of time – just long enough for our ancestors to fight off the sabre-tooth tiger, for example. But according to Shah, if we stay in this state for extended periods, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol are released, damaging our immune, gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal systems. ‘Things like digestion, the reproductive system and our pain responses are also diminished,’ he says. ‘Because the body is focusing on keeping only our vital organs working and pumping blood and oxygen to our limbs.’

This means those under extreme stress can suffer a bizarre range of symptoms, including palpitations, hair loss, changes to their menstrual cycle and even miscarriage. That’s not to mention adrenal fatigue (where the adrenal glands function below necessary levels, causing profound tiredness and burnout). One woman I know was under so much pressure in the run-up to her wedding that she broke out in angry hives all over her body five days before the ceremony.

Back in that A&E room, I knew I had to make some changes – to turn my life on its head. The decision involved risk: leaving a job I absolutely loved to travel the world as an unemployed woman approaching her thirties (gulp). But I felt compelled to see what effect taking a hiatus from my normal routine would have on my wellbeing. So I handed in my notice, packed my bags and spent three months travelling the world (sleeping in tents, reading countless books and eating what the hell I wanted; not worrying about my expanding waistline or the state of my hair). Amazingly, my physical symptoms quickly diminished, and I felt happier and more relaxed than I had done for years, despite having left my dream job behind.

Now I’m home, forging a career as a freelance writer, and I have a new approach to life’s worries. For some of us, stress and anxiety will be an ever-present part of our daily lives. It is always going to manifest itself in some way because it is as much a part of us as our fingerprints. We cannot simply banish stress forever. But if we can learn to recognise when it’s getting too much, when the scales are tipping just a bit too far in the wrong direction, and take action, then perhaps we can assimilate it into our lives in the least harmful way possible. That’s what I’m hoping…

Don’t throw that monitor! Listen to stress management expert Eileen Burns…

1. Make a list and focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking is the main cause of stress, lack of focus, poor concentration, fatigue and anxiety.

2. Take a breath when you’re overwhelmed. Simply drop your shoulders and become aware of your chest rising and falling.

3. Have regular tea breaks and leave your desk for your full lunch break to encourage the body into a more relaxed state.

4. Move. Even stretching at your desk helps reduce muscular pain, tension and circulation problems.

5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration adds pressure and stress to the body’s systems.

Photo: Monkey Business Images/REX/Shutterstock (5103856a)

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6 Steps to Achieve Your Goals

In Career, Family, Finances, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Spirituality on May 8, 2014 at 09:00
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…It does! Let’s make the best out of it!

Would you like to take a look on my agenda? Or the recent notes on my pad?

You wouldn’t need to read between the lines to realize that these days I find myself experiencing random moments, feeling mixed emotions on a constant basis. My ongoing to-do list, the tags on this blog, the outline of our upcoming book or the bookmarks on my laptop, everything reflects how varied is this stage of my life.

As much as work and unproductive distractions try to dominate the scene, there is much more out there and, most importantly, inside us. It is always important to keep in touch with all the relevant pieces of life that genuinely matter to us.

Writing a sympathy letter, fundraising for your favorite cause, requesting sponsorships for an entrepreneurial project, applying for that dream job, listening to that heartbroken friend, giving unsolicited advice to that teenager, remembering deadlines, anniversaries and birthdays, juggling your day-to-day with lifetime projects, keeping yourself updated about your interests and current news, while staying in shape and saneOverwhelming, indeed, but it’s worth it. Everything shows that you care, not only about you, but also about others, and caring is the first move for giving and receiving love.

How can we do that?

I invite you to try this empirical exercise:

1. First, let’s divide our lives in areas.

Relationships, spirituality, health, lifestyle, career, financeswhat would you add? Be aware that there might be aspects of your life that you are not taking into consideration and that might be just what you are missing.

Bonus Tip: If you need help or ideas to start, check out the goal-setting application Mindbloom, our dear contributor Laura Barboza introduced me to it years ago, and I cannot thank her enough.

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…It does! Let’s make the best out of it!

 2. Establish your priorities.

What goes first on your list? Yourself? God? Family? Work? Your partner? What are your big rocks?

What can’t you afford to lose? What can you live without? What is not negotiable? What is urgent? What could wait?

It’s never too late to start prioritizing in life, but ensure you begin  before you learn some  lessons the  hard way.

 3. Set specific goals for each area of your life.

 Be healthy, spend more time with my loved ones, be more productive, get rid of debtOur goals are often  broad, take long to achieve and are difficult to measure. Set more specific goals with close deadlines that  will take us where we want step-by-step while keeping us motivated with little triumphs along the way.

Bonus Tip: I also use apps to achieve my specific goals, from drinking more water (Water Break) to limiting my distractions online (Self-Control).

4. Identify the habits that serve your purposes.

Examine your everyday routine and answer: What do you spend your time, energy and attention on? Are you investing them in a beneficial and positive way? Are your current habits aligned to your purposes? If the answer to the last three questions is yes: Kudos! Keep going! If your answer is no, start reducing or eliminating those activities and substitute them with new habits that get you closer to your goals. Often, we don’t even enjoy certain habits, but we have had them for so long that we don’t realize their negative impact on us. Let’s be honest and complete the blank: We can live without____________________.

5. Plan your day and include one action towards each goal.

Now that we have established our priorities, set specific goals and identified the habits that we need to keep or eliminate, let’s take action and create opportunities to improve. How can we make our day better? What can we start doing today to change our lives? Let’s start right now! Breathe, stretch, choose to call instead of text, be proactive at work, pick a healthier selection for your next meal, find information about that project that you want to volunteer for, put that dollar bill in your piggy bank instead of the vending machine, ignore the urge to check your cell phone in publiceverything counts!

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…It does! Let’s make the best out of it!

6. Check often, be flexible, adjust, and celebrate!

Change doesn’t happen overnight, therefore during our journey to become and live better, we need to reflect and check how we are doing. If the results are not the expected ones, don’t quit. Be flexible, start again and keep going. Add or delete items from your list based on your current needs.

In case you find yourself checking off some of your goals alreadyCongrats! Be grateful and celebrate! Whoop! Whoop!

I recommend you these six steps because I have tried them and they work for me.

I feel better now, living a fuller life after adding the positive details that I craved for years and I keep looking, because no matter how full we think our jar of life is, there is always room for improvement.

 How do you do it? Do you have other ideas? I would love to know, please comment below.

Your tireless cheerleader,

Laura

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Back for Good!

In Career, Family, Lifestyle, News, Quotes, Relationships on February 12, 2014 at 07:42

Today is a great day. It feels like New Year’s Day even though it’s already the second week of February. I’ll tell you why.

Blogging more is one of my 2014 resolutions. As I am afraid that you may have noticed, it’s not happening…yet.

2013 ended in good standing. Quiet get-together at home with friends. Bubbles, fireworks, grapes, wishful hugs and kisses.

Us...The Sgrois!

Us…The Sgrois on NYE!

2014 started with the most contrasting mix of productivity and lethargy. Excited about being devoted to an amazing professional project indeed, even strength training every day. On the other hand, not working on “Now That I Am in My Thirties” at all. Not writing, not blogging, not doing research, not reading. Nothing at all. Everything was about work again. There I was, breaking my own rules, not making the effort to look for the sought-after balance that I had promised myself.

Mid-January, fun came in all different forms: family and friends joined us for the most special corporate extravaganza: My husband’s company anniversary and annual beach week. What a blast! Perfect dose of excitement and exhaustion!

Mombacho Family in Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Mombacho Family in Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua…You get a high five if you find me on this picture!

And then everybody left and I was officially back to work. In the meantime, I never stopped thinking about this blog and about the book. Fighting to convince myself that I was not hiding due to the fact that I have not finished the book. Wondering if you even noticed. Wishing you were not missing me. Fantasizing about how to surprise you the next time.

I didn’t know where to start. I added new quotes to our Inspiration section and posted new articles on our social networks. Without trying, I managed to disable the Live Twitter Feed on the blog and haven’t been able to fix it. I was afraid of making grammar, spelling and technical mistakes. Feeling scared about losing credibility in front of you. I was letting fear take control of my persona, and every day passing, it was just getting worse.

Anyway, you kept visiting, following, liking and commenting on our pages. I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you for hanging in there. Thanks to YOU I realized it’s not fair to hide and stop sharing our gifts, even though we know they are not perfect. So I thank you.

Now you know why this is my first blog post of the year. How do you like it?

Do you relate to it?

What about you?

How have you been? What have you done lately?

Can’t wait to hear from you! Let’s get in touch!

With gratitude and love,

Laura

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Best Week Ever to Be 30+!

In News on June 14, 2013 at 09:30

Dear readers,LS-IMG_0200

How are you?

I am doing great!

I can’t barely write this email! My hands are shaking with excitement!

This week was our Best Week Ever! We exceeded our own expectations!

Check out our updates:

-We were deeply impressed with the prompt and positive response from Expert Contributors and we confirmed amazing Guest Pieces on “Work/Life Balance” and “Relationships & Sexuality in our 30s”!

-Seduced a gentleman and he gave us “The Male Perspective” about being 30+!

-Finished writing a helpful Reading Group Guide that will be a Bonus included in the book “Now that I Am in My 30s”!

-This week our blog received first-time visits from countries such as Poland, China, El Salvador, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Venezuela!

-I got my parents officially involved in the process of giving birth to their first “braingrandchild” and they are now helping me with final touches to the book!

-Carolina Santurian’s story  “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”  touched and inspired hundreds of readers around the world!

As we keep receiving amazing essays and requests from readers interested in sharing their experiences being 30+, I will extend the deadline to receive drafts for the book until next Friday June 21st!  Please take this weekend to finish yours and send it to me early next week! If you send it after June 21st, I won’t be able to include it on the book, only on the blog!

I would love to hear stories from all continents, please share this message with all your friends in all your networks around the world!

Thanks again for all your support!

Enjoy your weekend!

With much love,

Laura

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