Occupational Wellness: The Ever Elusive “Job You Love”

How many of us have heard the phrase that is something about find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. You gotta find that dream job that is perfect for you. But how does a young professional do that?

Well, according to THIS article from Gallup, you find that dream job by creating it.

I’m not saying you have to create a brand new position that is your dream job. But you take the position that you have and make it your dream job. My best example of this is my current position. I love data. And stats. And surveys. And analyzing data. And coding. And all that good stuff. My job description from day 1 said nothing about doing anything with data. It is now what I spend most of my days working on. Know what you love and what you are good at and how you can apply that to your position. And then do it. And do it good. And do it relentlessly. And do it until you become the person that does the data stuff. Crank out the results that you need to. Make sure that people in your office know that if they need data analyzed, they go to you. Because you will get it done, get it done right, and get it done efficiently.

Find your love and your passion and pursue it. Even if your current position says nothing about it in the job description. Create it. Add it. Work it. Do it.

Overall Wellness: Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! To my non-American readers, happy Thursday!

I have mixed feelings about Thanksgiving but I do love the fact that we have to have an entire day to remind us to give thanks…regardless, here is what I am thankful for, in no particular order.

Health. My health is always a struggle for me. And the fact that I have been binge-purge and restricting free since September feels amazing and great. I’m going to continue moving forward and being strong. Because that’s what I do.

Love. I’m thankful for my family, friends (from all over), and E for all the love I have been given this year. I had some stressful days and experiencing and feeling that love has always been near and dear to my ice ice baby heart that I have 🙂

Reframing. I probably haven’t written enough about reframing. But I am forever, forever thankful of this. Reframing is something that…is just magical. It enables me to take a negative situation and spin it positive or to stop fixating on this one thing and look at something else. Reframing is good stuff.

And finally, the cheesiest.

You. I’m overjoyed and oh so thankful to all of my readers on my blog. This isn’t a “try to make money” blog or anything like that. This is a blog that I wanted to do so I can share my love for wellness. Not every post is a winner. But every post is meaningful to me. And every reader is meaningful to me. And I really am grateful to all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving! Er. Or Happy Thursday!

What are you thankful for?

Physical Wellness: Why Do We Still Hurt Ourselves?

I was recently reading THIS article from Gallup that breaks down how much the largest American employers spend on smokers and obese employees and how much money they lose every year from these employers and it got me thinking, why do we keep hurting ourselves. E and I always seem to have the same reaction when we see someone smoking or chewing, why would you do that? In this day and age and with all the research that shows just how bad tobacco is…why do people still start? Why do we still engage in behaviors that are harmful to our health and that we know are harmful? Furthermore, why do we still eat all this chemically processed food that we know is bad for us?

Why do we still engage in behaviors that are harmful and have no benefits to them?

Environmental Wellness: Donating

This past weekend, I finished up my roundup of clothes to be donated. I always prefer to donate my clothes instead of just tossing them or keeping them in my wardrobe. Over the past 18 months or so I have become much more of a minimalist and prefer having a smaller wardrobe. So as I purchase updates for my wardrobe, I make sure that I set aside clothes to donate because I have x amount of hangers and that’s it. I’m not buying any new hangers. Beyond that, I try to go through my wardrobe with a critical eye about every 4 months or so and get rid of stuff that I am just not wearing or that really doesn’t fit me anymore. I do take my clothes first to Plato’s Closet to try and make a couple bucks and then I always donate to Goodwill.

Beyond just donating clothes, now is the time of year that you see the ringers for the Salvation Army (for personal reasons, I never donate to them-mainly b/c they are an organization that openly does not support same-sex marriage and they have a lot of religious beliefs that dictate their organization-which is fine, but I do not agree with them, so I choose to donate to other places), the call for canned goods, and donations for homeless shelters and pet shelters. I always think it is important to donate what you can. Even if you cannot afford to donate money, try to donate something. Whether it is items from your cupboard or wardrobe or perhaps you donate time. And try to make sure that it isn’t just during the holiday season that you donate.

Do you donate? Where/what/why? Let’s discuss, shall we?

Emotional Wellness: Chase Your Dreams, Realistically?

I think it is because I’m analytical and logical that I always really struggle with the concept that you should dream big and keep chasing those dreams. Because realistically speaking, it’s impossible for everyone to achieve their dreams. It’s impossible for everyone to work their dream job and live their dream life in their dream home in the dream location etc. etc. etc.

But what about chasing realistic dreams? And if they are realistic, how much of a dream are they? Is there a happy medium? Is there a way to dream realistically? Or is that just an oxymoron? And yes, this is one of those blog post where I pose questions and have no answers to them. I’m not sure why dreams fascinate me so much, but they do. I used to work with a guy that would tell me his actual dreams and because I was a psych major he figured I could interpret them or something. Dreams are fascinating and the fact that we use dreams as motivation to achieve greatness…just blows my mind.

And when do you finally decide to give up on a dream? Or what happens when your dream is crushed.

Dreams, let’s discuss their intricacies.

Physical Wellness: Do What You Do.

Have any of you ever been talking about your workout and you get eye rolls or preached that “oh you should NOT be doing that that you HAVE to do this” or blah blah blah? I know I have. And I know I have been guilty of the eye roll too. Someone is talking about a new fangled workout or diet they are on and I think it is stupid so I secretly groan and roll my eyes. I have had others preach to me that doing cardio is stupid and all you need to do is lift big and heavy. Or if you want to build muscle and shred fat you have to eat like this or like that and how dare you eat that? That’s just pointless. Blah blah blah.

Anyone else ever get sick of everyone trying to make decisions about their life?

Well, perhaps you could start by stopping the judge-y eye rolls and groans. Perhaps it’s not about changing how other people treat you but how you treat others. Perhaps it has nothing to do with other people. Maybe it’s time to silence the other voices and do the workouts that you love and eat the food that you want to eat. Maybe you do your own research to figure out what works best for you. Maybe, you start to realize that other people don’t dictate your happiness, you do.

By the way, you=I in this post.

Happy Friday!

Overall Wellness: What Does Wellness Mean to Me?

Yesterday I gave a testimonial for my wellness network that I am part of. Part of it required me to explain why I think wellness is so important. My readers will know that part of the reason why I love being involved with wellness is because I get the opportunity to educate others as to what wellness IS and that it is SO much more than just the surface of weight and working out. Part of why I started this blog was to be able to shed light to a wide audience and be able to educate others that wellness is so much more than just those two things. Wellness is everything in your life. And everything is connected. I wrote a post waaaaaaaay back in the day detailing how work can affect your overall wellness and Gallup has done TONS of research on this as well. In fact, Gallup claims that work is one of the biggest attributes to your overall well-being. And to that, I have to say, I think I fall into the outliers category.

See since I first took the Wellbeing finder and chatted with some wellness professionals, I stopped fixating soley on having a disconnect in my work and it not being the dream job that I so hoped I would have fresh out of grad school. I started concentrating on improving other areas of my wellbeing. By concentrating on improving my other areas of wellbeing, I in turned improved my occupational or career wellbeing which in turn improved my overall wellbeing.

So maybe it is that career/occupational wellbeing is a major factor in your wellbeing, but it is also important to a.) not fixate solely on that dimension and b.) don’t just fixate on what is going wrong in your life or what you can’t change. Maybe you are unhappy with your financial wellness, but what else could you do, perhaps not related to financial stuff that could improve your overall wellbeing which then in turn might improve your financial wellbeing. (note:  wellbeing = wellness, since I am talking mostly about Gallup stuff I’m using there vernacular). Say you decide to work on your community wellbeing and volunteer to help out with some group. You meet people. You chat. Hey you even network. And maybe one of those people know someone who knows someone who maybe has a job opening. And they pay is better than what you are getting now. You don’t go into the volunteering for the purpose of finding a job, you do it to improve your community wellbeing and to get the warm fuzzies that you get when you volunteer and give back. And it may not be as linear as that example, but when you do good and when you work on improving the areas of wellbeing that you have control over, it helps your overall wellbeing and leads to helping that lower area of wellbeing. It’s not immediate. And it’s not always easy. But give it a try!

Intellectual Wellness: What Happened to Research?

Perhaps it is only because this is my blog that I realize I haven’t done any reviews or sharing of wellness news articles lately, but honestly it is because this time of year irritates me. No, I’m not a holiday hater. I actually love the holidays. But I hate that everyone seems to be fixated on weight and weightloss or maintaining weight or calories…ug. It always irritates me. I hate going to my wellness news sites and just seeing article after article about weight. That’s not wellness. Yes, it is a part of wellness, but come on…there is so much more to wellness than weight! Why can’t there be a money saving article for financial wellness? Or how to spend time with people while also being active for physical wellness? Or any environmental wellness tips during this season when people are typically out driving a lot…there is just so much more to write on for wellness then weight.

So this holiday season, regardless of your beliefs or joy or celebration methods, do me a favor…don’t fixate on the weight portion as much. Also, here are a few of my favorite tips for making it through the holiday season with your hair…(b/c I usually want to rip my hair out when I get stressed).

1.) Instead of driving around to look at holiday lights, why not walk/run around your neighborhood (or drive to a neighborhood you want to check out and park you vehicle and walk around). This let’s you be active and let’s you look at the lights for even longer. Plus, even when it is cold out, I love warming back up. When you get home have some hot apple cider or hot chocolate (for the adults, spiked hot cocoa is tasty with a mint liquor) and enjoy a hot bowl of soup. If you miss the joy of driving around looking at holiday lights and listening to holiday music, just take you phone/music player of choice! Just make sure that if you are going at night, you wear light colored clothing and bust out some reflective gear and generally be safe!

2.) To help relieve some of the financial stress of the holiday season you could be like my sister and start shopping early. Or you can do what I am doing this year. I have 6 people I need to buy gifts for so I spaced out the buying process over 3 pay periods so my bank account doesn’t take as big of a hit for Christmas presents then if I would buy all 6 at the same time. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is ok to say no and it is ok to not reciprocate a gift (obviously say thank you and express your gratitude) but if someone gets you a gift that you weren’t expecting…it’s ok to be grateful but you don’t have to reciprocate it. Also, with people you are giving gifts to, agree upon a spending limit. And then stick to the agreed spending limit.

3.) Car pool! My sister and I do this to help save on gas and wear and tear on our vehicles. One of us drives for Thanksgiving and the other one drives for Christmas (it works since we live about 45 minutes away from each other…and she is on my way home so we always meet where she lives). But also for holiday parties that might be happening, car pooling is a great way to meet some environmental wellness needs and it also helps with the stress of finding a parking spot and all that.

4.) Enjoy the holidays. It is really easy to get caught up in the stress of the holidays, but try to just enjoy it.

Occupational Wellness: Transitioning from Student to Professional

One of the hardest transitions I have had is going from student mode to professional mode, especially given that I had been a student for 20 years. As a student you become accustomed to working hard for about 16 weeks and then having a break. And even within that 16 weeks, you get a fall/spring break of sorts where you can kind of just breathe for a second. You get in the habit of being able to just roll out of bed and go to class. Your life is structured on the academic year as opposed to the actual year or a fiscal year. Transitioning from a life as a student (even if you were employed while a student) to a professional can sometimes be a rocky transfer. Here are a few tips that I have learned a long the way (mostly the hard way too).

1.) Start compiling a professional wardrobe now. Even if you don’t know what industry you are going to be working in or what the professional work attire will be, there are a few key pieces that I think are essential. A good pair of work pants in a neutral color. A nice button down shirt. A perfect pair of pumps. A suit is usually necessary for at least most job interviews and then you can use the pieces of your suit as separates.

2.) Even though you don’t get breaks in between semesters, you do get a fancy thing called vacation and paid time off. Make sure you use it wisely but also use it. Having that time off to take a break and relax is great.

3.) If you are entering the business/corporate/professional 8-5 world, you might actually start structuring your days or at least a few days to mimic the 8-5 world. In grad school I usually had 7a-9p days or something like that, so the 8-5 was drastically different for me. But I do remember in undergrad when I would have an 8-5 day and couldn’t nap…it was rough.

4.) Don’t forget to keep feeding your brain and intellect. One of the weirdest things for me was coming home and not having any homework to do or research to read…I didn’t get it. And for probably the past year, I just embraced not having to do homework and pretty much vegged out in front of the TV and threw myself into fitness. Do that. Definitely enjoy the joys of not having to do homework. But set a time limit on it or once a week spend some time reading or doing something that is more intellectual.

Some of the biggest changes for me, seem rather silly, but are just the fact that you work M-F 8-5. When in grad school I worked all week and put in 12+ hour days all the time. Being able to utilize free time well and getting to enjoy that free time is important. Transitioning off the academic schedule was a little rough, but you figure it out and use vacation time well. Building a professional wardrobe? Well, let’s just say that I wish I had done a better job of that. My tshirt wardrobe is outstanding, my professional wardrobe, is lacking a bit. It is a different world from being a student to a professional. And each path is going to be different and each industry will dictate differences as well. But I feel like the 4 general tips I gave are good across the board.

What are some of your best tips for students transitioning into professionals?

Financial Wellness: The Cell Phone.

My contract is up at the end of the month for my cell phone and I will not be renewing it. I will be saving myself over $50 a month by going with a prepaid phone. My current cell phone bill is close to $100/month (with a 15% discount) and my new plan will put me at $40/month. I never really thought about having a prepaid phone because…well they seem sketchy. But das boy has one and has done some further research into other companies and helped me find a new plan that will give me all the features I want and also cutting my phone bill in by more than half, saving me $600/year. The one downside to having a prepaid phone is that you have to pay upfront for a new phone. Luckily, by waiting and shopping deals, it looks like I will get a pretty decent phone (Nokia Lumia 520) for less than $100 (which if I were staying with my current cell provider I would pay anyway for a new phone on contract).

Sometimes it is worth doing the extra research to see how you can save a little extra cash. And that little extra cash definitely adds up!