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I’ve been so busy lately with a project at work that is running very behind. It’s not my fault, but I still do have to keep up with it and try to get my end of the project done as quickly as possible. Some days I feel like I come in to work and don’t look up again to take a breath until I realize it’s already lunchtime and I’m starving. Then, I’m usually working right up until the very last minute until I have to leave to catch my train home. This is both good and bad–it makes my days go by pretty quickly, but sometimes I’m left with a vague, stressed, uneasy feeling when I leave for the day. Here’s what I’ve been doing recently to combat this:

  • Listen to music. I already listen to music almost all day in work, but recently I’ve been listening almost solely to classical music or other instrumental music to calm me. I don’t have to concentrate on any words and I can just get lost in my work (and avoid the sometimes noisy distractions around me) without blasting loud, distracting music.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does drinking a lot of water make me feel better physically and mentally, but it also forces me to get up more than twice a day to stretch my legs. It’s never good to go most of the morning before realizing that I haven’t gotten up once to do anything! I’m kind of getting two birds with one stone on this one :).
  • Take a minute or two to chat with coworkers. Sure, I have a lot to do, but will it really matter if I complete a task if I’m left frazzled afterwards? As much of an introvert as I am, I still do need human interaction. This morning, I talked to my friend for a few minutes before we both dove into our respective to-do lists for the day and I felt so much better for it. Conversation about things that matter to me (even if it’s a silly conversation) keeps me grounded and focused.
  • Unwind on the commute home. I keep my headphones in when I go down to the train and I also take out a book to read. Like I said earlier, sometimes I leave work and I feel stressed and I may even have the beginnings of a headache stirring. Once I get one the train, though, I force myself to let go of all that stress and worry and switch into home gear instead of work gear.

These may seem like simple things, but they’ve helped me immensely during this crazy time. Do you have any tips or tricks for staying sane during a busy time at work or school?

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I cannot believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I’ve been saying that over and over to myself since I woke up this morning. Time has been flying recently, to use an old, worn out cliche. I’ve been busy with work so that every day seems to go by quickly. In some ways, I like that but in others I don’t. I don’t want to feel like my world is passing me by while I work and look forward to something coming up in the future.

I thought I would use this post to stop for a moment amid all of this craziness and think about what makes me happy and what I feel grateful for in my life right now:

  1. My family-my sisters, nephews, parents, grandmother, and my extended family. Where would I be without them? I’m especially mindful of that this time of year because so many people don’t have family or they prefer not to spend their holiday with their family. I’m so lucky to have the family that I do.
  2. My friends. What would I do without them? When I need to laugh, cry, vent, celebrate, whatever–they’re there for me. I’m going out with a friend after work today and I’m so thankful that we are both able to do that together.
  3. My job. I’m so happy to have a job that keeps me busy doing work that I enjoy every day. I am able to challenge myself in this line of work and I’m able to live because I get paid to do it.

I am thankful for so much more in my life, but that list contains what is most important to me right now in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am without that list so, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

What you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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Recently, I participated in a group project at work where we looked at a problem, found root causes, and came up with a solution to fix it (in our case, this meant creating an internal document to help with a particular task). I really like working for a company that encourages employees to get involved with identifying and solving problems to help make our work quicker and more efficient. I also received a request to speak (very briefly) about our group’s work–what we did, how we collected data, and the document we came up with. This portion is a bit more of a struggle for me.

hate public speaking. I’m sure I’ve written about this before on the blog because it’s something that I’ve experienced almost my whole life. The idea of speaking in front of a room full of people is terrifying to me (worse than spiders, even!). This particular “speech” I’m going to make is literally going to be only a few sentences but it’s going to be in front of my entire department. I know I’m going to turn red (I’m already kind pinkish-pale on normal days, so when I blush I blush), maybe forget what I want to say, etc. So why am I doing it? Because as much as I hate it and as uncomfortable as it makes me, it’s necessary in my job and I want to do well.

I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and I want to do things that make me uncomfortable so that I become more confident in myself. There are very few feelings that compare to the one I get when I finish doing a presentation and I know that I did well. Actually, this is part of my personal “goal” for 2017 that I set when I met with my manager for my year end review (almost a year ago now–I can’t believe it!)–participate in and present in at least 2 presentations to the department in order to strengthen my public speaking skills. This upcoming “presentation” will be my third for the year. I think that’s cause enough for celebration, don’t you?

How about you? Do you get nervous before speaking in public and, if so, how do you deal with that?

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This past weekend, my best friend and I treated ourselves to a wine tasting in the city, followed by a nice, quiet dinner. I haven’t felt so refreshed after seeing a friend in I can’t remember how long. We talked about everything–work, our families and friends, what we’ve both been doing recently–and we both were able to laugh and let off steam in equal measure. I highly recommend taking a few hours to hang out with a good friend, doing whatever you want to do–it’s good for the soul.

Talking about work with someone else who doesn’t do what I do was immensely helpful to me. Sure, I complained about the little things about my job that annoy me, but I also talked about what I enjoy doing day to day. She asked thoughtful questions about different aspects of my job that made me sit and think about what I do. I also thought about what I really like or love about my job. I think that kind of introspection is important and I certainly don’t do it enough. Talking with her made me consider where I want to go in my career as well as in my life–do I want to stay in the area I’m in, both in my job and in my home? If I do want to change jobs, what else am I interested in? Do I even want to make a change like that?

These types of questions are something that everyone should ask themselves from time to time. I think it’s important to do a kind of self check-in–how am I doing? Am I happy? If not, why not? If so, why? These questions, even if they sound simple and straightforward, take a lot of thought and introspection. I hadn’t done a check-in with myself in a long time because, in general, I’m pretty happy. I do think, though, that when a person is happy it’s a good time to assess goals and ideas for the future. I’ll make this confession: one of my biggest fears is feeling complacent in any area of my life. I never want to be afraid of or reluctant to change because I know that it’s so easy for me to stay where and as I am for a long time (I am afraid of change).

So go ahead–find that good friend (or group of friends) and hang out, talk, laugh, complain, and make each other think :).

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