Tips for Boosting Your Energy (when all you want to do is sleep)

tired2In case you didn’t know, I recently got a promotion at work. HORAY! More money, more street cred, more fun, right? Right! But more responsibility and more work means more stress and often less energy.

After chatting with my coworkers about my new-found fatigue, I’ve been convinced that I’m not being plagued by some physical ailment (me: are you sure I don’t have mono?), but instead my body is simply adjusting to the new changes in my environment.

Not one to take my lethargy laying down (though that does sound great right now), I’ve decided to find some tips for how to boost energy. Here they are:

1. Get sleep, duh! 7-9 hours is apparently great, but in times when stress levels are higher than normal, making sure you’re getting 9 full hours a night (maybe 11?) might be exactly what you need.

2. Take time for you. De-stressing from work is key to keeping your energy level high. So, take a walk, read a book, spend time with friends. Even just an hour a day can make a world of a difference for your energy level.

3. Limit caffeine and sugar intake. (Don’t worry, I’m laughing too). In my book, limiting sugar intake is always good. But regarding the caffeine thing, I would just stay away from it after a certain time of the day (around 3pm for me). Consuming caffeine too late in the day can impact sleep patterns and make you even more tired (see #1), so just be mindful.

4. Get some exercise. To be honest, this is great in theory, but the reason we’re all tired is that we work ALOT. Who has time for the gym? Don’t beat yourself up for not having the time or energy to hit the treadmill. Instead, look for ways throughout your day to squeeze in some cardio. Park a little farther away, take the stairs or walk instead of sending that email. The little efforts add up!

5. Acknowledge and wait it out. Being a bit more tired than usual is just what happens during big transitions in life. So, my advice is don’t get frustrated, just accept it. After a couple of months you should be back to normal, and hopefully your friends will forgive you for staying in to sleep all those times instead of going out. Either way, just be patient. It can’t be like this forever.

Still tired? Here are some more tips for boosting energy:

10 Effective Ways to Increase Your Energy Levels, Dumb Little Man

How to Increase Energy Naturally, eHow

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August 6, 2009. Tags: , , , , , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

The Upside of the Downturn

I’m just going to assume you know what’s going on in our country right now. Although it’s an exciting time, on the cusp of the presidential election, it’s also a really hard time for the average American in every aspect. Times are tough, but here are five great reasons why the economic downturn sucks for everyone but us.

1. It’s a smart time to invest in your 401K. With stock prices this low, now is the perfect time to buy because you get more bang for your buck. Check with your company to find out more about the investment options and just get investing.

2. There are tons of choices for your first house. With the housing market taking a dive, it’s a true buyers market. If you’re not in the position to purchase right now, start saving a little each month and keep up your good credit, so in four years (when the economy still sucks) you’ll be in the perfect place to sign on the line for your first home.

3. It’s a great opportunity to find out just how little money you can live on. Remember in college when ate Top Ramen for two weeks after you got tanked and blew your paycheck buying a round of Jagger Bombs for the entire bar ? This recession is kind of like that. Determine what you really need in life, spend your hard earned money on that stuff, and save the rest. It sucks, but hello! we’re in a recession people.

4. Now is the time to learn what differentiates the employee who keeps her job from the one who loses it. Find out how to make yourself an indispensable part of your organization. If you’re a slacker, a winer, a drunk, a hypochondriac, a perv, or just plain annoying to your coworkers, pack up your cube, because you’ll be in the first to go.

5. Times like these are an amazing reason to celebrate! Unlike the majority of Americans, you actually have a job, didn’t lose thousands in the stock market and the only other living thing you’re responsible for is your make-believe cat because your landlord wont let you have a real one. Live it up, and thank your lucky stars that you’re not in your parents’ situation right now.

image from mycrmblog.com

November 2, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Life-in General. Leave a comment.

My Biggest Blog Pet Peeves!

My new job often keeps me so busy that even taking a break for lunch is impossible, but this afternoon things slowed down a bit. So, I spent a little time searching for and reading new blogs with the hopes of gaining some inspiration, information and maybe a laugh or two.

I used a couple of new blog searches I’ve discovered like Blog Flux and a few of my old stand-bys like Technorati. But after an afternoon of blog discovery, the only thing I have to show for all my time spent is a case of mild frustration.

If you’re wondering why I’m so peeved, here you go. The following are my major issues with several blogs I’ve encountered today.

I hate blogs and bloggers when…

…they tell me what to do/how to blog. Well, actually they tell me what not to do and how not to blog. However, the problem isn’t with the advice. I take offense with the tone in which they offer their opinions. If I wanted to be criticized for my actions I’d hang out with my older brother.

…I find a blog that sounds really interesting, only to find out that the blogger hasn’t updated since January…of 2005! Is it too much to ask that people remove their blogs if they’re not planning on actively engaging? I don’t think so.

…they treat their posts like diary submissions. Unless you’re Barack Obama, Tiger Woods or Brittany Spears, I don’t care what you did last Thursday night or what you ate for breakfast this morning…I wonder if Barack likes Grape Nuts…

…anyway…

…when a blog is neither useful, funny, insightful or smart. See peeve #3.

Now that I’ve finished my rant, this post feels a bit foreign to me. Although I am often sarcastic, I am rarely negative or pessimistic. So, in the hopes of lifting my spirits, I’ve included a couple of things I love most about blogs:

I love blogs and bloggers when…

…they make me laugh so hard that the people around me either think I’m crazy or want to get in on the joke (sometimes both).

…they have great applications and widgets on their pages that I later attempt and fail to add to my own blog.

…they make me think about an issue in a different way.

…they give me useful advice that I want to include on my own blog.

…they provide the kind of relevant information that I can regurgitate to coworkers and sound smart.

In case you were wondering, I’m not the only blogger who finds herself frustrated with the bloggosphere. Here are some other bloggers’ blog pet peeves:

image from sarahintampa.com

September 25, 2008. Tags: , . social media. 4 comments.

Don’t Have a Cow: Managing Your Stress at Work.

Having a career is great, especially in these very troubled times (remember to vote!). But as we make our way up the corporate ladder, our responsibilities hit the top rung with our stress levels not far behind. For those of us new to the 8 to 5 (what I’ve discovered is often the 7:30 to 6:30) managing our stress can be a challenge. However, there are some easy tricks that may help us chill out and minimize stress at work. Here we go:

Take five minutes. No one understands the instant response mentality perpetuated by the email driven workplace more than me. But unless your job consists of preventing world annihilation by pressing a big red button before a nuclear missile hits, you CAN take a couple of minutes to relax.

Let things go. You’re not the only one stressed at work, so if a curt comment or careless act flies your way, don’t let it bother you. Distract yourself and think about something else. If you try hard enough to forget what was said, you will.

Take a lunch. As we all know, some days taking a lunch is a true luxury. But on the average day, when stepping out for an hour is a viable option, do it. Even 30 minutes away from the office, your inbox and the annoying coworker in the cube next door, can give you some much needed perspective and cut down your stress level.

Talk about it. If you’re stressed about something, finding a coworker or friend to confide in can help you recognize what exactly is bothering you, get it off your mind and get over it faster. Just remember, when the tables are turned, you should always return the favor.

Breathe. When we’re stressed, we often fail to breathe properly, which can cause us to feel physically constricted (on top of the emotional) and lead to headaches, which make it even harder to think. Remember to take full and deep breaths throughout your day to prevent your already high stress level from getting worse.

Still stressed out? Well, there’s always happy hour.

image from prweb.com

September 23, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Justifying My Addiction…to Twitter.

It’s been several months since I was first exposed to the newest and most alluring drug on the market:  Twitter. For the first couple of months, I “tweeted” only recreationally, you know, when I was bored and looking for something fun to fill the time. Plus, everyone was doing it. If I could keep it under control, why couldn’t I do it too?

But now that I have a job at which I sit in front of a computer screen for much of my day, my addiction to Twitter has reached a dangerous level. Shockingly, it has even joined forces with my CrackBerry obsession through an application called Twitterberry, which allows me to obsessive compulsively update Twitter from my phone.

So, like all true addicts, in an attempt to justify my addiction, I’ve come up with the top five things I (and you) can do with this dangerous yet great thing we call Twitter.

5. Keep your loved ones updated on your life. Awwww!

4. Get updates in real-time from your favorite news outlets (have I mentioned how much I love NPR?)

3. Stay up to date with colleagues for on the spot insights on projects your team is working on, opportunities to lend a helping hand or opinion, or simply be in the know about what’s going on in their lives.

2. Make your friends jealous of how fabulous, successful and busy your life is.

1. Follow dramatic people you don’t know. Also known as having constant access to the most amazing reality show you’ve ever encountered.

Click here to follow my addiction for yourself.

images from Twitter.com

September 22, 2008. Tags: , . Life-in General, social media. Leave a comment.

Money and Happiness: A “Little” Paycheck Perspective

If you’re one of the many people on earth whose relative happiness seems to revolve around the dollar amount on your paycheck, the reality of starting out your career in an entry level position may just have you running for a cliff.

You (and I) may think that money is the key to living a happy life, but according to many experts, a six figure salary may buy you a nicer car, but it won’t buy you true happiness.

According to the blog Personal Finance Advice When Money Can Buy Happiness is when the amount you make meets your basic life needs: shelter, food and clothing. When those needs are met, it shouldn’t matter whether you make $100, $1,000 or $100,000 more, you already have the freedom to be happy.

And I would have to agree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as superficial as the next 22 year old post-college sorority girl. I too dream of driving a nice car, having a closet full of cute new clothes and possessing the cash to eat out every night with my friends. However, when it comes down to it, my long term happiness (and yours too) doesn’t hinge on having the kind of money that makes those things possible.

The bottom line, as I’ve found out in the last six weeks of my new job, is money doesn’t mean happiness. Money means responsibility. None of us want to spend our carefree youth working 12 plus hour days because we have so much to do at work to earn that $80,000 paycheck. So, what we twenty-somethings need is not a bigger paycheck but a massive attitude adjustment. We have our whole lives to work ourselves to the bone chasing the ever-growing cash carrot. Why not enjoy living within our means (at least for now).

Not convinced? Check these out:

image from azmythfinancial.com

September 17, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General. Leave a comment.

Work-Life Balance? What the Hell is That?

When you start your career, there are going to be a lot of new terms thrown around that you might not have heard before. And if you’re like me, the phrase “work-life balance” will be one of them. For those of us lucky enough to work for an amazing organization that prioritizes this; your life and work at least have a chance of balancing.

However, no matter how hard the HR people at your office try to stress the importance of a balance between work and life, when you first start a new job, especially right out of college, maintaining this balance will be damn hard.

Not only are you probably working harder and longer than ever before, but you also have more responsibilities, and if your life is anything like mine your day starts long before the sun rises and ends long after it sets. This means that when you finally return home from your long work day and seemingly endless commute, you’re probably going to be so tired that spending time with family, socializing with friends or enjoying hobbies will be lower on your list than editing your coworkers’ collection of poetry about her cats.

In an effort to find a more even balance between my own work and life, I’ve embarked on a quest for advice. However, I got a little side tracked…thanks to youtube. Check these out.

Ok ok. They might not give you any tips for balancing your life and your work, but hey, you’re taking a break from work to watch them, right? That should count for something.

September 14, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General. 4 comments.

The Best Herb Out There? It’s Mint (.com).

Maybe you already know about the best Web site ever, but, my friends, I have just been enlightened. It’s called mint.com. For those of us working with a limited budget (along with a coffee and shopping habit), mint.com is a helpful tool for tracking where the hell all your money is going.

You simply input your online banking logins and passwords (I have my checking/savings and credit card accounts on there), and it puts all of your incoming and outgoing transactions into categories. With those categories, mint.com tracks your spending on a really nifty flash player pie graph. You can click through to find out the percentage of your monthly income you spend on groceries, rent, utilities or, say, coffee. You can also narrow it down even further to find out how much you spend each month at a specific restaurant or store, say, Starbucks.

The site also allows you to set budgets for categories, like groceries, and will email you in the event that you go over your allotted budget for the month. In addition, you can compare your spending habits with other people in your city (I’m not yet sure why you would want to do this, but with mint.com you can). The site provides information on available high interest savings accounts, and in the coming months, it will also allow you to track your investments.

If you’re worried about security, you shouldn’t be. Mint Software, Inc. is a licensee of the TRUSTe Web Privacy Seal Program. You’re not convinced by my naive understanding of internet security? Check out How Mint Keeps You Safe. They’re better at explaining it. Happy budgeting!

image from mint.com

August 20, 2008. Tags: , , , . Life-in General. 1 comment.

New Job 101: When to Call in Sick to Work

Although it’s still summer, today’s deary and cold Oregon weather has reminded me that winter is just around the corner. As we all know, with winter comes free stuff (hello Christmas!), the red, amazingly festive Starbucks cups and cold and flu season.

Gone are the college days when, after a single cough and a little sniffle (or a big hangover), we decided to skip class and just go back to bed. Now that we’ve transitioned into the working world (what I like to call “adult life”), I think it’s important to know just when it’s ok to call in sick.

You should call in sick when you have…

…a high fever. This means over 101. Most of the time when your fever is this high it will come with a whole slew of not-so-fun symptoms that will make going to work suck anyway. If you’re fever is below 101 with mild symptoms, take a Tylenol and get to the office.

…pink eye. Not sure if you have pink eye? Then you don’t have pink eye. Trust me, you’ll know when you have it. If your eyes are itchy, red and puffy and your eyelashes are completely stuck together when you wake up in the morning, wash your hands, throw away your mascara and go to the doctor instead of work.

…a bad migraine or significant body pain. If you throw out your back, screw up your knee or have a really bad migraine, just call in sick. Neither intense pain nor mood-altering muscle relaxers allow you to be productive at work.

…a cough, congestion and sore throat. With a mild case of one or two of these, you’re probably ok to show up, but if you have a severe case of all three, you should think about taking it easy. Not only are you probably contagious, but you’re cough, sniffles and inability to verbally communicate because of your sore throat will annoy the hell out of everyone around you, so just stay home.

Still not sure if you’re sick enough for the day off? Check out these for more information and advice on how to tell if you’re too sick to work.

image from inmagine.com

August 20, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General. 1 comment.

A Skinny Salary and a Fatty Figure…How to Stay Fit at Your New Job.

Welcome to week three of my new job. In case you were curious, everything is going amazing, and I couldn’t be happier. However, there is a slight exception to my working bliss: I end up sitting for a majority of my day. What’s the big deal, you may be wondering? Well, for many people who are chained to their cubicle five days a week, sitting for eight hours a day can mean not only feeling unhealthy, but it can often lead to extra pounds.

So, in the hope of preventing the newby nine (the new job version of the freshmen fifteen), I have decided to find some helpful tips to help you (and me) stay healthy and active, even if our job keeps us flat on our ass.

Stock up on healthy snacks. Snacking on healthy food may help you resist a trip to the candy bowl in the clerks’ office. Bring a bag of raw almonds, sliced veggies, or some fruit salad. It’ll only take you five minutes to pack before work, but it might save you a couple of extra pounds in the long run.

Brown-bag it. Not only is this a good idea for your wallet, but it’s also a great idea for your waste line. Packing a lunch gives you more direct control over what you’re eating and prevents the possibility that you’ll grab that extra brownie at the deli.

Inquire about services. Many larger companies provide a corporate discount toward a gym membership. But sometimes companies fail to effectivly advertise the program to employees. Shoot an email to someone at HR (or walk to his cube) to ask what your company offers. If they don’t already provide such services, get some of your healthy-minded coworkers together and pitch the idea to your boss. It never hurts to ask.

Alter Your Commute. If you live within walking or biking distance of your work, take advantage! For those of us who must use motorized transportation, park as far from work as possible to get an extra five minutes of walking time or get off/on the bus a couple blocks from your destination. Walking five minutes here and there can really add up.

Move it. Walk to your coworkers cube instead of messaging or emailing, park a little farther away than usual and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Head to the Water Fountain. Drinking water is good for your body (haven’t you seen the aquafina commercial with baseball manager Lou Pinella?). In addition, getting water when your bottle is empty (and the bathroom breaks that result) will get you up out of your chair and walking around.

Pop a Sphered Squat. Exercise balls can make great desk chairs. Clear it with your boss first, of course, but sitting on an exercise ball while at your desk can improve posture and make your muscles work double-time. Plus, they come in really fun colors.

Want more tips for staying healthy at work? Check these out:

photo from inmagine.com

August 18, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Career Advice, Life-in General. 1 comment.

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