Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips

Consciousness – The Panacea to Effective Living

consciounessConsciousness is the panacea to effective living.

This week we have talked about stress and the various ways to reduce or eliminate some acute stresses. 

But how did you get so stressed in the first place?

For some, it’s an event – but for most, it relates to a lack of  attention to our lives.  The effect of not paying attention is felt through overwhelming stress levels.   Like a crack in the foundation of a house, eventually, the crack leads to a leak and a leak leads to flooding and that leads to major overhaul and repair.  What if the crack had been properly attended to in the first place?  A lot of time, energy and money would have been saved.  It’s the same with your life in general – we don’t pay attention to the cracks until we are fully engulfed.

You have one life and time is a one-way street – there’s no going back and there’s no going faster into the future – NOW is all there is – ever!  How are you managing your “nows”?

What to do with the time you have?

Pay attention.  It’s your life!

How?  How do you start?

Take a calendar with days across the top and hours down the left hand side.  Now book yourself in.

HUH?  What do you mean – “book myself in”?

It’s your life.  One shot to get what you want out of your life.  Schedule yourself first.  That’s how you start reducing your stress and living your life.

Is it easy?  If you have thought about other people first your whole life, no, it’s not easy because it means re-programming yourself to always, always schedule your needs first and everyone else’s second.

Your Dreams

For instance, let’s say you’re saving to buy your first home.  Your job is important and even getting a second job might be in the cards for a while until you save enough money for a down payment.

To get the down payment, you need two jobs with regular hours.  That’s one of your needs – your job – schedule in your commuting time and the time you spend working.  Can you see what would happen if your boss constantly wanted you to work unpaid overtime?  You can’t have that second job.  Is that what you want?  If not, find another job and have a talk with your boss because YOU are NOW important to you – you cannot fulfill your boss’ needs for unpaid overtime while holding down a second job in order to save for that down payment.

Physical Health

You need to stay healthy.  If you’re not healthy, you can’t have a job and can’t save for the down payment.  This means taking good care of your body and mind.  Schedule in exercise, shopping for fresh healthy food and preparing good, healthy meals day in and day out and time for complete relaxation and hobbies.  It takes time or you’ll pay at the other end with illness.  And, of course, you want to look good so schedule in time for proper grooming – getting your hair done, your nails manicured, etc.

Let’s say that your friend is constantly calling you and talking to you for hours about her problems.  Those hours are taken away from you.  It’s great to help your friend but you have a life to lead and things to do.  She’ll have more respect for you if you minimize the calls and help her when you can.  If she can’t respect you and your time, why do you have her as a friend?

Emotional Health

You also need to stay emotionally healthy which includes having healthy relationships with friends and family.  How much time do you need and what will you do?

Let’s say that your brother is a drain on your psyche.  He is always getting into trouble, your parents call you to “rescue” the family and nothing has changed in a long time.  You keep running to everyone’s rescue meanwhile it’s chewing up valuable time away from your healthy relationships.  Is that what you want?  It will drain you and you know it – often, you fall in bed exhausted from dealing with your brother’s issue.  Take back control.  Lay down boundaries and stick to it.  You can’t live other people’s lives for them.


There are physical needs – cleaning your home and your car, tracking your finances, scheduling holiday time, and a host of other aspects to your life which need regular maintenance.  It makes you feel good to have everything in order and working for you.  But, being pulled away from those tasks consistently, you know what happens?  A mess and you are pulled away from tracking your dreams.

Do you have any time left over?

What have you done?  You’ve made choices — choices which fit with your aspirations. The more you concentrate on fulfilling your needs and your dreams, the more time, ironically enough, you’ll have for everything else.

The Next Step

Stay conscious. It’s fun to write all this down.  Now, it’s staying conscious and on target.  Will you have stress in your life?  Of course – you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.  But, you can see that knowing where you’re spending your time, and why you’re choosing what you are goes a long way to relaxing your mind.  A relaxed mind helps to relax the body.  Make sense?

Put automatic recurring events in your computer calendar to keep reminding you to stay on target with what you have set out to do – at home and at work -work your plans every day – adjusting to fit the ever-changing landscape of your life – life is not static – your dreams and needs change at every stage of your life.

I wish a great life – stay conscious – it’s the only way!

Lorraine Arams

What Exercise is Best to Help Reduce Stress?

exerciseWhat exercise is best to help reduce stress?

The type which does not add more stress!

Everyone is different.

For some, they come back from a ten-mile run, and they feel relaxed.  Others come back from a similar run and are exhausted, more stressed than when they left because their bodies hurt so much and others can’t do without the exhilaration of pushing their bodies to the nth degree – somehow the pain is satisfying.

And for yet others, a long walk or yoga gives them a wonderful feeling.  Their bodies react well.  For others, yoga is too slow or they don’t have the flexibility to deal with all the poses. And for others, Pilates is ideal.

Weights are a favorite for certain people.  They “pump iron” for hours every day and the cardio represents an interruption into what they love.  Others can’t stand going to the gym and especially lifting weights.

Many people enjoy sports.  One person told me that he plays sports all year round and would never dream of going to the gym.

The important factor

The most important thing to your exercise program – and yes, exercise is critical to stress reduction – is that you enjoy what you’re doing!

Why?  Because you’ll actually do it!  You’ll look forward to your exercise time and have no trouble keeping it up because of the incredible benefits you receive from it –

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Besides handling stress much better, regular exercise has many benefits:

the obvious ones are:

  • burn fat
  • increase cardiovascular functioning
  • increase the good feeling endorphins

the not so obvious

  • better functioning  organs
  • increased blood flow to the brain
  • clearing up metabolic waste products
  • helping posture
  • maintaining good lung capacity and therefore more oxygen throughout your body for good health
  • helping to avert disease and can even reverse some diseases

Is there anything else which can help the body and reduce stress?

Yes.  Deep breathing, stretching, massage, aromatherapy, meditation.  Each one has physiological benefits for the body.  Again, it’s a matter of preference though this last four can benefit anyone who indulge in their own way.  For instance, meditation is not necessarily sitting crossed legged in a quiet room reciting the same word over and over again.  Meditation for some can be sitting in the park watching squirrels run up and down the trees and admiring beautiful flowers or listening to a brook.

Aromatheraphy can be simply using your favorite scented hand cream and a massage can simply be rubbing your temples or using a massage wand or chair.

Throughout the day you can:-

  • stretch –  stand up every couple of hours and touch your toes, lean backwards slightly, lean your head side to side and front to back, rotate shoulders, stretch arm triceps overhead, stretch hamstrings – just 5 minutes and you can feel refreshed.  You can find a lot of stretching.  Here’s a couple of videos from YouTube – you can find a lot of videos on YouTube
  • Throughout the day, take 10 deep breaths as often as possible.  Make the breath reach as far down and across as possible.
  • While standing, be conscious of your posture – adjust accordingly and breath.
  • If you can, meditate for 5 or 10 minutes at breaks or lunch hours.
  • just sitting and enjoying peace and quiet

There are many, many avenues for relaxation of the body and of the mind – you’ll find quite a few videos on YouTube and elsewhere – this has just been a sampling to give you an idea – you might just find something you really enjoy.

Exercise is a key to good health and reducing stress in your life if you love what you are doing.  Here is one instance in which loving the method of exercise is critical and adding different ways to reduce the stress in your body holds incredible benefits.

Lorraine Arams

Can Food Help Reduce Stress?

What do you eat when you are feeling “over-the-top” stress?


Fresh vegetables, fresh fish, fresh meat and fresh fruit are your best antidote to stress.  Why?  Vitamins and minerals.

The more we do to food, the less nutritious it is.  Fast food has only one redeeming quality:  fast.  For an already stressed body, fast food adds that much more stress to a system which is already exhibiting the ravages of acute stress.  It’s very difficult to digest the sugars and fats contained in fast food.

Try to make those fresh food items organic as much as possible.

Stress revs up the production of insulin and cortisol.  This is one of the reasons that some people, under constant stress, gain a lot of weight contrary to the popular belief that stress makes you thin.  In fact, in some people, going on holidays helps them get thinner because their body is not producing excess insulin and cortisol. Fresh food, high in fiber, helps regulate those hormones.

Your digestive process is affected by stress as well as every other part of your body. Therefore, it is critical that you pay attention to the amount of fiber in your diet.  Our tendency is to reach for the high carbohydrates and sugars such as potatoes and candy to give us that “boost”.  With any boost, also comes the “crash”.

Good Habits

There is nothing here that you don’t already know but, if you’re acutely stressed, you likely don’t do:

  • drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • eat low fat proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey
  • snack on fresh fruit such as apples, berries, oranges, grapefruit – have a bowl of apples on your desk –
  • eat fresh vegatables as much as possible – with all the colors, shapes, textures, and flavors, there’s something for everyone – stir fries during the week for dinner are quick and colorful and eating raw vegetables or salad (limit dressing) for lunch with some protein is ideal
  • limit the amount of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.  When you do enjoy them, make sure they are items such as brown or wild rice, whole grain pasta and breads, and preferably sweet potatoes as opposed to regular potatoes and preferably baked, not fried.
  • consume dairy for calcium – milk, cottage cheese, small amounts of cheese
  • instead of coffee, drink herbal teas – there are so many flavors on the market today which are non-caffeine, it can be a great new adventure to discover them all

Additional Help for Your Body

Do remember too to take supplements

  • overall good multiple vitamin
  • extra multiple vitamin B
  • essential fatty acids preferably from good sources of cold water fish oil
  • if you’re having digestive problems, digestive enzymes  or acidophilus
  • vitamin C – at least 1000 milligrams a day
  • Vitamin E, Selenium, CoQ10
  • magnesium/calcium assists hormone levels

There are some herbs which can be helpful and can be taken as a tincture or tea as magnolia bark, passionflower, valerian, St. John’s Wort, Kava Kava, Lavender.  My favorite is lavender on my pillow at night, in my hand lotion during the day, and in the potpourri form in my clothes drawers.

Pay attention to what goes into your body and what foods your body has a negative reaction to.  If you experience acid reflux, apple cider vinegar in a glass of water clears it up.

Can Food Help Reduce Stress?

Of course!  A healthy body gives you the resilience to cope and the brain power to find solutions.  If your body is having to deal with food which only stresses it such as high carbohydrate or high fat, it’s adding stress rather than relieving it not to mention how awful you feel overall.

Eat well, drink wisely, and help your body give you the energy you need to cope with your stresses.

It’s easy – just think fresh!

Lorraine Arams

What Can You do to Prevent Stress?

What can you do to prevent Stress?


Stress is a part of human existence no matter where you are or how you live in the world.

Every Day Stresses

Hunger is a stress and we solve that issue by eating.  Being tired is stressful – we sleep to relieve that problem.  Commuting to work is stressful as we stay alert to road conditions, other drivers’ actions, unpredictable events, etc., however, some people relieve that stress with music or conversation or listening to the radio or educational materials.  Taking care of our needs and our family’s needs is stressful, however, we have our own business or go to our job to meet the costs of providing.

Stress Reference

The reference point as to whether we call what we do stressful or not is the degree of stress we are feeling.

What people refer to as “being stressed out” is the degree of stress they are feeling and viewed as a negative in their lives.

For instance, if they are competing in a sport they enjoy, there is the stress of competition but people don’t see it as negative – they subject themselves to that form of stress because they both enjoy the sport and the process of competition looking forward to the reward of the win!  However, no one would deny that competing is stressful.

If a close family member is struck by a car and is in serious condition in the hospital, people view that stress as negative – “stressful” and it impacts all other aspects of their lives because of the anticipation of a possible loss.

When Stress is a Good Thing

Stress in our lives is a good thing – it propels us to action.  If we are faced with danger, we escape.  If we are faced with a difficult problem, we find solutions.  If we are faced with competition, we plan and execute our time to win.  If we accept the responsibility of marriage, we capture the rewards of a trusting and loving relationship.

When we are thinking that there is a positive outcome to the stress we feel, then we are able to accept the stress and work with it.

When Stress is a Bad Thing

Stress is bad when it is viewed as a negative and a possible loss is anticipated.  If you’re not happy at your job and hate your boss’s behavior, your stress is acute because you are trying to keep your job but the working conditions create anxiety and likely dysfunctional behaviors on your part; you fear the loss of your job.  If a child is seriously ill, there can be consequences to that illness which are difficult to bear.

“Distress”, therefore, is caused by viewing the situation as a possible loss of something or someone important to you.

What Can You Do About Stress?

In general on an every day basis, whether the stress is viewed as positive or negative, the answer lies in accepting that the only moment you have is the one you are living right now.  It’s an odd concept.  When I first heard that concept, I couldn’t understand it at all!  But then I listened more – and dared to practice it no matter how foreign it seemed.  It started with Oprah’s series about an odd book called, A New Earth.  Then, I picked up a copy of The Power of Now by the same author, Eckhart Tolle –


Whenever I start feeling acute stress – good or bad – I simply get “into the moment” – it’s not as airy fairy as it sounds – it’s really the ticket to controlling the levels of stress and “keeping your feet on the ground”.

It does take practice – over and over again – until that is the place I go to whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed or uncomfortable in any situation.  It clears my mind, calms the emotions, and allows for better reactions or non-actions to situations which arise.

There is nothing you can do to prevent stress in your life but there is something you can do to reduce its impact on your life at any given moment.

Lorraine Arams

How to Use Time to Reduce Stress

reduce stress with this piece of the puzzleTime is your greatest asset – bar none!

Often a lack of time is blamed for the stress we feel but in actual fact, as an asset, the stress comes a foundational problem with how we use our time.  After all, time is a one-way street!

Why we use our time the way we do?

We’re raised to “do our duty”, to over-achieve or under-achieve, to follow or rebel against social norms and a host of other socially acceptable living standards depending on where you are raised.  However, within any context of how we are trained in leading our human lives, it never dawns on us to view time as our greatest asset because we are trained “to do” instead of think, plan and execute how we will use our time for our own satisfaction.

How Should We Be Using our Time?

Our own satisfaction – that’s at the crux of using time to reduce stress. There is nothing more to it than that simple concept but we resist it with all our might in order to fulfill the teachings of others who also were likely quite ineffective in using their time for their own satisfaction.

Instead, most people were taught to “perform their duty”,  sacrifice, obey, rebel, conform, etc.  For whom?  For others!  Why?  To comply to societal norms whatever that might be.  And the focus, therefore, is on the outside world.  It is the inside world which is far more important.

How Difficult Can that Be?

For most people, if they try to manage their time based on what they want, the process is very uncomfortable because the reason to do anything is based on what they want which means, of course, saying no to people and concepts which have ruled their lives to that point.  How often do you hear people saying, “It’s so hard to motivate myself for what I want”?  That’s how ingrained the notion that our time belongs to others.

As an example, if a woman is told that she must have a full-time job, run home to cook dinner for the family, clean up the household and care for the children, she will undertake that expectation, feel stress and think she is “defective” because she has trouble coping.  However, if that same woman decides one day to care for herself first and build her schedule around that new concept, the first thing she’ll need to do is refuse to “do it all”.  She’ll assign tasks to her children and her husband, hire help and take time for her own life rather than devote her life – her time – to the needs of others – job and family.  Big, big shift in thought process!  Emotions run high!

What are the Rewards?

If  you use your time for your own satisfaction first and foremost, you’ll be amazed how difficult it is at first and, yet if you persist, the rewards will be a richer, more fulfilled life with less stress, more health, more happiness and a great sense of self-satisfaction in achieving your dreams.  You’ll find greater success in every part of your life because the “winds of demands from others” are no longer your driving force!  Think about it . . . . you might just like it!

Lorraine Arams

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