Getting out of it – Inspired

I know we’re all tired of hearing about the uncertain times we’re living in. The “new normal” still doesn’t feel normal and, at this point, it’s not quite “new” either. But we keep talking and writing about these unprecedented times because we need to do more than simply find a way through. All in all, we need to find ways to grow and thrive and work to make things better than they were before.

A song by U2 – “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” describes where we find ourselves at times.

“You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along the stony paths
It’s just a moment
This time will pass”

– Songwriters: Clayton Adam / Evans David / Mullen Laurence / Hewson Paul David

Regardless, we must continue to drive and embrace change. Many companies have successfully navigated this time, and found better ways to reach customers, and make products.

6 Go-to Bloggers for Inspiration

Blog posts on happiness & fun, love & relationships, meaning & passion, mindfulness & peace, change & challenges, letting go, healthy habits and work fulfilment. Tiny Buddha is about reflecting on simple wisdom and learning new ways to apply it to our complex lives, complete with responsibilities, struggles, dreams, and relationships.

Articles on happiness, productivity, emotional intelligence, relationships, health, aspiration, life, money, general self-improvement and more. Marc and Angel Chernoff are New York Times bestselling authors, professional coaches, full-time students of life, admirers of the human spirit, and have been recognised by Forbes as having ‘one of the most popular personal development blogs.’ They share inspirational advice and practical tips for life.

Posts on how to create meaningful, powerful changes in your life and become the person you most want to be. Marie Forleo is an entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist & unshakable optimist.

Articles on relationships, networking, family, trust and integrity, communication, leadership, life balance, self-help, business management, sales tips and career advice. Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility.

Articles on consciousness, environment, healthy living, inspiration, meditation, mindfulness, spirituality and more. Educate Inspire Change was created in 2012 to help keep people informed, to encourage people to expand their consciousness and to inspire people to reach for their dreams.

Articles on topics such as advertising, branding, content marketing, digital marketing, drink, lifestyle, fashion, science, technology, social media and more. Founded in 2009, Like Minds is a global thought leadership platform delivering world-class events on business development, knowledge and insight aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage, stimulate and empower them to become global businesses of the future.

9 Activities that will put you in a Good Mood

1. Go for a walk

An hour-long walk (or a 15-minute run) every day has been shown to significantly lower the risk of depression. So, while going outside can be the last thing you feel like doing when you just want to stay in bed, it’s important to give it a red-hot go.

2. Phone a friend

Many have struggled to foster friendships this year. Restrictions and lockdowns have made it tricky to lock in catch-ups with friends, and if you’ve been spending time online job hunting (or bingeing Netflix shows), often the last thing you feel like doing is jumping on a Zoom call. But, connection is so important for our mental wellness, and talking (rather than texting) is a great way to boost your sense of purpose and help you cope with some of life’s difficulties. It may also help you feel less lonely.

3. Help someone

The health benefits of volunteering are as long as your arm. You don’t necessarily need to volunteer your time in a community organisation to reap these rewards (although you definitely should!). The simple act of helping a stranger carry their shopping to the car, making someone dinner, or driving a friend to the doctor can provide the same positive benefits to your health.

4. Make yourself a “Happy” Meal

When the chips are down, many of us seek comfort in food. But when that food is high in fat and/or sugar, eating can often make us feel worse. Enter stage right: healthy food that tastes amazing and may even lift your spirits.

Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, are rich in omega-3s and have been linked to lowering levels of depression. Fermented foods, like kimchi and yoghurt, contain probiotics, which foster good gut health (and may also increase serotonin). And berries, particularly blueberries, are high in antioxidants, which may combat oxidative stress in the body. Check out these tasty poke bowls for some inspiration.

5. Get into the sunshine

Exposure to sunlight is essential to our well-being. It helps our body produce vitamin D, important for healthy bones and blood cells. It helps regulate our sleep. And it may boost serotonin, a chemical in the brain that can make you feel calm, positive and focussed. Just remember to pop on some SPF before you head out.

6. Read a book

Apart from being a brilliant way to escape to another time, place or dimension, reading is also a great way to de-stress and relax. A study by Yale University found that reading just 30 minutes a day could extend your lifespan by up to two years.

7. Get your hands dirty

There’s mounting evidence to suggest that interacting with nature, as well as sticking your hands in the dirt and growing things, could be beneficial to our mental health. All that digging and weeding is a great way to burn off a few calories, while gardening itself is said to reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, there’s the added satisfaction of growing and eating your own veggies (that have been grown with love, not pesticides).

8. Give your cat/dog a cuddle

Sometimes, only a cuddle will do. And when you give your dog a cuddle, studies have shown that both you and your pooch experience increased levels of oxytocin, the feel-good endorphin that inhibits cortisol production (the one that’s responsible for stress and anxiety). Don’t have a dog? A cat, family member, teddy bear, or even a pillow, will reap the same benefits.

9. Socialise with your colleagues

There’s a whole host of benefits to socialising with your coworkers. Studies have shown that it creates higher morality within the workplace. This essentially leads to better health for employees, since forming friendships and relationships at work makes us more content and creates a more pleasant working environment. It also develops better communication between coworkers, which means they are more likely to collaborate on work matters effectively, and challenge each other to think outside the box. Every Friday at Grindstone, we spend the end of the day socialising and each take turns to host it. Sometimes, we share an inspiring story or presentation, and other times we play team games. Whatever we do, we all feel the perks from this time together

Balancing work and family life

If you’re finding it difficult to balance your career and family life, you’re not alone. According to a 2018 survey, 30% of South African’s feel their work-life balance is “not very” or “not at all” valued by the organisations they work for. For most of us, our career plays an essential role in our everyday life. Here, at Grindstone, we are thankful to have an employer who is very understanding of the necessity for work-life balance. If you don’t currently feel like you are achieving a good balance, here are some easy-to-implement ways to get better at juggling work life alongside family time.

1. Reduce your stress levels

Countless studies have explored the connection between stress and illness. One such study, carried out over five years in Belgium, concluded that high strain work environments combined with a lack of social support are “predictive of sick leave” within Belgium’s workforce.

With this in mind, reducing stress should be a no-brainer to anyone who’s hoping to get the most out of their work and family time. The good news is, there are plenty of simple yet effective ways to relieve stress. Some evidence-based techniques that you can apply to your everyday life include breathing exercises, meditation, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mindfulness exercises, to name a few.

2. Discuss workplace flexibility with your employer

If your current work structure is making it difficult to achieve work-life balance, consider approaching the topic with your employer. Workplace flexibility can make it much easier to juggle the demands of your personal life and professional obligations. Flexible working hours, and having the option to work from home (where feasible), can help to make family commitments much more manageable. Chances are, you’ll also experience a deeper sense of job satisfaction in the process. The majority of our Grindstone team are parents, and this option of flexible home working suits us well in times of need, especially with inevitable sick kid days.

3. Create a plan

If your weeks tend to lack structure and allocated family time, it might be time to draw up a plan. Map out what your weeks currently tend to look like: What isn’t working? What aspects would you like to continue with? What parts of your week are compulsory? Once you’ve figured these things out, create a family calendar that allows you to move through your week at a slower pace – allowing more time for the things that matter to you.

4. Focus on family-friendly workouts

“How do you workout when you have kids?” is a frequently searched question on Google. The answer? Incorporate exercise into your family time. 

A 2014 study found that there is a direct link between the physical activity levels of a mother and her children, which offers all the more inspiration to develop a family exercise routine. 

Choose activities that will allow you and your kids to workout while having fun. This could be a backyard soccer game, a family bike ride, indoor rock climbing, or even just putting on some music and dancing around the house.

5. Prioritise and delegate

The reality is that many of us simply have too many things on our to-do lists. Rather than losing sleep, focus on your priorities. What are the things that simply must be on your calendar this week? List them in order of priority and check them off accordingly. Is there anything on your list that can be removed or postponed? At work, are you able to delegate any of your tasks? At home, can you lighten the house cleaning load by spreading it out amongst your family members – leaving more room for quality family time? This process of prioritising and delegating can help to pave the way to achieving a better work-life balance.

6. Seek out support

If you’ve looked at your priorities, planned out a calendar, and have delegated certain tasks, yet still find that you’re struggling to find a healthy balance between your work and family life, it might be time to seek support. Depending on your circumstances, this may mean: looking at childcare options, speaking to your siblings about supporting you in providing care to elderly parents, or perhaps hiring a cleaner to help you around the house. Go back to your calendar and see what tasks can be outsourced.

7. Schedule in phone calls

When you’re balancing work, sleep, raising children, going to the gym, and spending time with your partner, it’s understandable that other relationships might start to fall through the cracks.

Particularly as many of us are balancing work and family during Covid-19 social distancing, it is so important to maintain these relationships.

A simple way to keep in touch is to set a reminder on your phone to call your parents, grandparents, relatives, or friends. Over the years, researchers have found a clear link between the quality of our relationships and quality of life, so it’s worth investing your time in that daily phone call.

8. Take a technology break

While technology plays an important role in providing work flexibility, constantly having your emails in the palm of your hand can be detrimental to a good work-life balance. It’s advisable to set specific times during the day where you can put your technology away and simply enjoy being present with your family or friends. According to an article by Sonoma State University Professor of Psychology, Mary Gomes, the benefits of taking a break from technology include: increased present-moment awareness, improved sleep, deeper human connections, and improved productivity, all things that support work-life balance.

9. Develop a daily routine

Creating an everyday routine for yourself is almost as important as creating a daily routine for your kids. A daily routine can help you to develop a practice of taking some time for your wellbeing, a way to ease in and out of your workday, and can help to develop pockets of daily family time. These daily habits can be as simple as beginning your day with a health supplement, aiming to consistently start and finish work at set times, and eating dinner together as a family. It all starts with positive, achievable habits.

10. Take care of your mitochondria

Of course, achieving your career and family goals ultimately comes down to taking care of your health and energy levels. To do this, it’s important to look after your body’s mitochondria: the power banks that generate the energy and health your cells need for your body to function effectively.

When it looks like you are “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” remember that there are many role models out there who came from difficult backgrounds.

Oprah Winfrey

She’s now a billionaire host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t heard of Oprah. She grew up on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and was left in the care of her grandmother after her parents split up. Throughout her childhood, she went back and forth between living with each of her parents and facing repeated sexual abuse while under the care of her mother.

She credits her father for saving her life, and under his care, she was able to do well in school, go to college, and get her first job at CBS when she was only 19

Inspirational Quotes to live by Daily:

Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. –Bill Bradley

When ordinary people decide to step out and be part of something big, that’s when they become extraordinary. –Brett Harris

Words can inspire, thoughts can provoke, but only action truly brings you closer to your dreams. –Brad Sugars

One must not focus on the risk of saying, “Yes.” The greater risk is missing opportunities by saying, “No.” –Charles Sullivan

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. –Henry Ford

It always seems impossible until it’s done. –Nelson Mandela

If the words you spoke appeared on your skin would you still be beautiful? –Author Unknown

Having good days is a decision that we make every day before we even walk out the door. –Sumit Gautam

Bernadene Claassens

Bernadene grew up talking endlessly. To keep her busy (or possibly to keep her family sane), she was enrolled at a modelling school at five years old and obtained her modelling Teacher’s Certificate at a young age. Bernadene’s love for people has led her to a career as a restaurant operations manager, and afterwards, developing an unexpected passion working for a funeral agency, before joining our more lively office, here at Grindstone.

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