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Permission to Rest!

August 12, 2011

Are you staring at the calendar in awe that there are only a few weeks left in the summer?  You had such great expectations for the summer: you thought you would get so much done, take time to get organized, relax, have fun, and even vacation or take long weekends.  Bottom line, you thought that you’d be feeling much more rested by now.

One thing that I see in common with the ambitious, successful women that I coach, is that they rarely give themselves permission to rest.  Yes, you have a lot of things that need to get done: you HAVE to take care of things for work; you HAVE to feed your family; you HAVE to fulfill obligations to your extended family; and you’re dependable, so you make yourself available to your friends.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being diligent in all areas of your life.  Except, when you forget to apply that same level of diligence to your own self-care.

Give yourself permission to rest.  So often, we manage to take care of absolutely everything and everyone else before we take time to rest.  Yes, all your other obligations and the people in your life are important.  I am not denying that you have a myriad of responsibilities.  But, the truth is that you also have a more pressing responsibility that is above and beyond everything and everyone else – you!

Claiming that you are your number one priority – above your partner, kids, pets, parents, or work – can be a radical concept.  But, it’s essential that you understand this point.  When you don’t give yourself permission to rest, the effects of the lack of rest eventually catch up with you.  You begin to lose optimal fitness and health, which if left untreated, can manifest to something more serious from high blood pressure to cancer.   You lose the ability to be focused and make clear decisions.  Our brains were not designed to go nonstop.  It actually needs rest and down time to be at its peak.  As your fitness, health, and decision-making capabilities decline, you begin to doubt yourself and your capabilities, and it takes a toll on your self-esteem.  The lower self-esteem and increased self-doubt may cause you to work harder, making you less likely to rest.

Giving yourself permission to rest is not just relegated to taking a vacation once or twice a year.  In order to have your mind, body, and spirit operate optimally, you must incorporate rest into your daily life.  Here are a few tips to help ensure that you get the rest that you so deserve and need:

Daily: Ensure that you get enough sleep.  If you unable to get sufficient sleep during the week either because of work or motherhood demands (or both), plan to take short naps when possible or to sleep longer over the weekend.   Studies show that this type of recovery sleep can help restore mental fitness.  In addition to ensuring that you get enough sleep each day, spend a few minutes daily to completely unplug from the rest of the world through meditation or just simply doing and thinking about nothing.

Weekly: At least once a week, take an extended period of time to do some restful self-care.  Take a gentle yoga or meditation class, get a spa treatment, or take a long walk in nature.  The key is that the activity should make you feel relaxed.

Monthly:  Take at least one full weekend off at least once every month to six weeks.  Don’t make any plans, and don’t use the time to catch up on household chores and responsibilities.  It helps to create a set schedule (e.g., 3rd weekend each month) so that your family and friends are clear that you are unavailable that weekend.  The intention for the weekend is to rest and relax.

Yearly:  Book down-time vacations  annually.  Typically, one week of vacation is no longer sufficient.  It takes busy professionals several days to a week to completely unwind and shed their work, before they can relax.  If you don’t plan for a sufficient period of time to rest, you will go back to work feeling exhausted.  If you have young children and it’s impossible to have a truly restful vacation, then it’s important to schedule a shorter getaway that is just for you (or you and your partner).  This will help you model great self-care for your kids and be more present and patient with them as well.

Giving yourself permission to rest is not a luxury! It is absolutely essential to your health and wellbeing. When you allow yourself to rest regularly, you increase your personal bandwidth, allowing you to make better decisions, improve relationships, and achieve greater success in all areas of your life.

Importance of Strategic Planning

November 22, 2010
 
 

Ann Thomas facilitating strategic plan workshop. Photo courtesy of K. Ghosh.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

If you’re operating your business or nonprofit without a strategic plan, then you may want to pay closer attention to the quote above. Failure to have a strategic plan could mean that you reach your goal slowly or not at all.

Most small businesses and nonprofit organizations fail to develop a strategic plan – often thinking that such a measure is only for large corporations.  That’s simply a farce! Every organization — large or small, for profit or nonprofit — can benefit from having a strategic plan and operating from it.   

A strategic plan helps an organization define its direction and develop action items to help it accomplish its goals for a designated period of time. It’s like having a map (or GPS) to reach a new destination.  Without it, you may still get there, but it would  take a whole lot longer.  When it comes to success, why not skip the detours?

I have been helping organizations create strategic plans for years.  In general, the plans help organizations have direction and stay focused in fulfilling their mission and accomplishing meaningful goals. Clients have told me that, even if they were not successful in achieving all of their goals, they accomplished most of them, and that their successes and growth were systematic and better than in years when they operated without a strategic plan.  

The basic components of a strategic plan include:

  • Evaluating the mission of the organization.
  • Conducting a preliminary organizational assessment, identifying internal and external factors that will impact the organization.
  • Defining the long-term vision of the organization.
  • Identifing and prioritizing goals that need to be accomplished to reach the vision and better meet the mission, while building the foundation of the organization.
  • Defining actions to be taken and expected outcomes of these goals.
  • Developing an action plan with identified benchmarks and timeline.
  • Developing an accountability system.

The plan should be thoughtful, but not overly cumbersome.  Afterall, you don’t want to spend more time on creating the plan than executing it!  In general, a well thought out strategic plan will help you to work smarter and more efficiently.

How to create a daily dignity ritual

July 16, 2010

Fit your daily dignity ritual into your normal routine (Photo by Fleur Suijten via stock.xchng)

Most of us start our days in a mad rush.  We wake up, dash out of bed, jump in the shower and immediately start thinking about all the things we need to do, then we quickly grab a cup of coffee and something to eat (if we’re lucky) and rush to work.  Think about the impact this morning routine has on your day.  Are you less patient? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Do you feel exhausted by the end of the day? Do you snap at your loved ones?  If so, I invite you to create a daily dignity ritual and see what impact it has on your life.

A daily dignity ritual is a ritual of self-care that you commit to doing each morning. The intent is to help you start your day right, grounded in yourself and your spirit. The ritual can be as simple or elaborate as you desire.  But the key is to start the day taking care of yourself. 

If you are limited in time, incorporate a self-care ritual into what you already do.  For example, when you take a shower, use that time to honor and appreciate your body.  Thank each part of your body for the work that it does to support you.  Or, use your shower for mindful meditation and peaceful reflection.  

On days you have more time, create a more elaborate morning ritual using some (or all) of the following ideas: 

  • Wake up and give thanks for your life and all the blessings within it. 
  • Use candles and/or incense while you get dressed. 
  • Spend 10 minutes meditating or writing in your journal. 
  • Stretch or do yoga in the morning. 
  • Create a list of affirmations that you recite daily. 
  • Spend a few minutes visualizing where you want your life to be 15 years from now. 

 

There’s no ending to the creative things you can do to start the morning with loving self-care.

Having a daily dignity ritual has a number of benefits.  It will center and ground you for the day.  It helps you remain calm and maintain a more positive outlook throughout your day.  You will feel loved and less emotionally needy because you are giving yourself the love that you are seeking and connecting with your spiritual self.  You will be able to withstand some of your daily stresses with more ease and confidence.  Most importantly, you’ll feel better about yourself, knowing that you’ve taken some time to care for you.

A few key things to remember when creating a daily dignity ritual:

  • Be realistic about your time and any responsibilities that may get in the way.
  • Create a ritual that can easily fit into your life.
  • Give to yourself what you wish others would give to you.
  • Strive to practice your ritual each day, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t

 

Create a daily dignity ritual and commit to doing it.  Your body, mind and spirit will thank you!

The art of using jewelry to heal emotional and physical ailments

July 8, 2010

Andrea Rosenfeld, owner of Hot Rox Jewelry, wearing one of her healing artisan necklaces.

How can a piece of jewelry help heal emotional and physical ailments that a person may be suffering? According to Andrea Rosenfeld, owner of Hot Rox Jewelry, a New Jersey based company that creates unique healing jewelry, her artisan jewelry can be used to help alleviate a variety of physical and emotional ailments, including stress, depression, cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Andrea where we explore how her jewelry creates emotional and physical wellbeing.

Ann: Your company creates healing jewelry. What makes your jewelry healing?

Andrea: Stones and crystals are healing themselves. However, through the process of mining them, cutting and polishing them, and ultimately getting them into a store, they are handled by a number of people, which dilutes their healing properties. I use Reiki and other techniques to clean the impurities, allowing the stone’s good health to come forward.

Ann: Wow, that’s interesting! Walk us through your cleansing process.

Andrea: I use a couple of different techniques. I use Reiki, a meditative process, by placing the jewelry on a flat surface. As I stand over them and I send energy to the stone. Sometimes, I’ll hold the stones near my heart chakra or my crown chakra and meditate over the jewelry. Sometimes, I’ll use sounds — Tibetan bells or a crystal bell. I really like working with the crystal bell – it’s very special to me because my daughter bought it for me. I also use incense, holding the stone over the incense while speaking words of strength and purity.

Ann: Oh I love that! What a beautiful set of rituals you use to cleanse these stones and bring them back to their healing properties. Once you cleanse the stone, how do you create the jewelry pieces?

Andrea: Actually, I create the jewelry pieces first. I have a vision, gather all the materials and make my art. Once it’s put together, it’s now a family — the stones, metals, and wood work together. After I’ve handled it as an artist, in which I bring creative energy and create a unified piece, I’ll cleanse the piece.

Ann: So, when a person purchases one of your exquisite pieces – and they are exquisite – they are receiving it pure?

Andrea: Exactly, it’s made from my soul, my creativity.

Ann: As a life coach, the top 3 challenges I see my female clients experience are: high stress, lack of self-confidence, and lack of balance. How could your jewelry help a woman who’s experiencing one or more of these challenges?

Andrea: All stones have wonderful healing powers, but certain stones have certain properties. If someone came to me and said, “I need to combat stress, . . . or increase my creativity, . . . or lose weight,” or any of the 3 things you mentioned that female entrepreneurs have, I would create something specific for them using stones to alleviate those symptoms. I’ll work with them to really get a grasp of what it is they’re struggling with and find things that can help them. It’s not just emotional; it can be physical issues as well. I’ve worked on high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, weight loss, and problems with the colon. Physical issues relate to the emotional issues.

Ann: You’ve worked with a coach before. How do you see the complement between your healing jewelry and coaching?

Andrea: It’s a great complement! A coach can coax things out, help relieve and remove blocks, help get rid of emotional baggage and frees the person. Once the coach determines what’s ailing the client emotionally or physically, I can send the client something that will energetically help relieve those ailments. The coach and client won’t have to work as much on those issues because my jewelry’s helping to take care of it.

Ann: Can you share a success story of a person who’s benefitted from wearing one of your pieces?

Andrea: I did a special order for a three year old suffering from a lot of different issues stemming from her brain. I sent her a piece she couldn’t wear – it’s hanging on the wall near her bed because she has too many tubes. It’s not just the stones that help; it’s also the piece itself – the art. It’s a wooden heart that I’ve woven through silver wire and a beautiful silk ribbon. Although she can’t wear it, she can hold it and see it. She absolutely loves the piece – her mother told me that it helps her get through things emotionally, and the doctors are amazed at how well she’s working through her treatments. Because my pieces are art, they help uplift people, in addition to the stone’s natural healing properties.

Ann: Anything else you want to add?

Andrea: Each month, I donate a percentage of all the income from Hot Rox to charity. I just launched a new website and I’m offering a “Feel Good” discount until July 14th. Go to my website at www.hotroxjewelry.com , see my healing art and take advantage of the great discount!

Importance of a Mental Cleanse

June 4, 2010

Lately, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of cleanses. Typically, a cleanse refers to a dietary plan that is intended to remove toxic chemicals and pollutants from within the body. Equally important as detoxifying the body is the need to detoxify the mind.

The mind has thousands of thoughts per day, most of which are repetitive. There is a direct correlation between what a person thinks and how they behave. The behaviors will produce a result that will typically confirm the original negative thought or lead to a harsher thought. When uncontrolled, these toxic thoughts could have unintended effects on a person’s life — resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A mental cleanse is a process by which one can remove negative thoughts and replace them with more empowering thoughts that better serve the individual. There are three basic steps to conducting a mental detox.

Step One – Become conscious of your negative thoughts. Simply write down all negative thoughts that swirl around in your head.

Step Two – Gather evidence to the contrary of the negative thought. Reflect on times when your actions and behaviors have proved the exact opposite of the thought.

Step Three — Consciously choose a new better feeling thought that is believable to you. The key is that the new thought must be realistic and believable to you.

Researchers have found that when an individual becomes aware of his or her negative thoughts, and consciously redirects those thoughts toward ones that are more positive and healthy, the brain releases chemicals that weaken negative neurological associations and create new positive neurological associations. Plan to engage in a daily mental detoxification process to obtain the best results.

New Solo-preneur Bootcamp

April 16, 2010

Are you a new entrepreneur or thinking about becoming one, but aren’t sure how to successfully run your business?

New solo entrepreneurs are masters in the product or service that they offer, but lack the business know-how to make their businesses a success.  If you are good at what you do, but seem to have difficulty getting clients, managing your time, or simply taking care of all the administrative aspects of running your business, then this course is PERFECT for you!

In this four-month program (8 sessions, 2 hours each), new solo-entrepreneurs receive the support, guidance, and tools to take their businesses to the next level.  Plus, each person receives a FREE one-on-one laser coaching session focused solely on their business (to be used within one month of course end date). Here’s what the course covers.

  • Business vision & mission
  • Business plan
  • Effective Networking & Marketing
  • Branding
  • Time management & Organizational skills
  • Strategic planning for growth
  • Legal and administrative issues
  • Managing self-sabotaging behaviors

 This is a comprehensive, hands-on, no excuses type of course.  You will be required to attend all sessions and complete homework in between sessions in order to get the maximum benefit.  Courses on any one of these topics could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, but this entire course is only $600 (installment payments welcome). Courses are limited to a maximum of 8 people, so act quickly!

When:  Last week of May – August (date & time TBD)

Where: Sleepy Hollow section of Plainfield, NJ

Cost: $600 ($150/month for 4 months)

 

Register at Ann@CoachAnnThomas.com

Spring Cleanse: One-Day Retreat!

April 16, 2010
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Are you feeling sluggish after this long, cold winter?

In this powerful workshop, you’ll work with a Nutrition Counselor, Life Coach, and Yoga Instructor to learn how to detox your body and mind, and move in the direction of your heart with renewed energy.

Practitioners guiding the workshop:

  • Nutrition Counselor, Debbie Robel, will provide step-by-step instructions and simple recipes for food that facilitates the natural cleansing process over a 4-7 day period.
  • Life Coach, Ann Thomas, will conduct exercises to cleanse your mind of the negative thoughts and self-limiting beliefs that hold you back from living your life to the fullest.
  • Certified Yoga Instructor, Nicole Coons, will lead a yoga class suitable for all levels designed to help you release toxins and ignite the internal “agni” or fire.

When: Sat. May 15, 2010   9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Where: Sleepy Hollow section of Plainfield, NJ

Prices: $125 per person; $100 (early bird, ends May 8th),

Buy 2 and save an additional 15% off both tickets!

Price includes: all materials (except yoga mat and props), lunch, online community subscription and daily support.

Great Mother’s Day Gift!

Register: Ann@CoachAnnThomas.com 

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