It’s a question that we most likely don’t stop to ask ourselves often enough…
What is the one thing that I can do for myself this week?
While to-do lists and work calendars can feel overwhelming and time consuming, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the greatest, most simple gifts that you can give to yourself on a weekly basis is the ability to build and grow a strong presence.
In other words, start to give yourself full permission to be present with your thoughts, and your time.
Building a strong presence: Why take the time?
Let me clarify a little bit further. In any typical week, most of our motivation and thoughts lies behind tasks that need to be done, errands that might need to get done, and work meetings that need to be attended.
But rarely do we pause, and take time to be present for ourselves, and only ourselves. To truly reflect, and listen to the powerfulness of simply being present.
This is important not only for yourself, but for your loved ones as well. It can be difficult for those surrounding you to get on board, be supportive, and show up for you if it’s not clear that you’re also showing up for yourself.
If it’s obvious in your life that you’re not taking time for yourself, and taking care of yourself, others can notice that.
Signs you have a strong presence.
When you carve out time, and take that time to sit be present with yourself, you’ll begin to notice the results.
In my life, I’ve noticed across that the practice of a strong self-presence has resulted in small rewards such as:
Encouragement knowing that I get to start my day with me
Clarity around prioritization in my life
A strong presence translates to strong self worth.
Investing in yourself is important because, without investing, there is no advancement. And without advancement, we end up becoming complacent. Which as many of us know, complacency is the enemy of progress.
Strong Presence: how will you show up?
I’ll leave you with the same question that we started with: what will you do for yourself this week?
Beyond that, how can you work on being present with yourself, and taking that time to reflect and prioritize?
My hope for you is that as you build your power of presence, that clarity and confidence follows. Show up for yourself first, and everything else will fall into place.
Recently, my husband and I traveled to Naples, Florida. It was a last minute trip, and to be honest, I had no idea how much I needed it until we were there. It was wonderful to relax and unplug, and truly take some time to step away from work.
Which leads me to today’s topic: how to switch off from work stress.
Switching off from work stress is no joke. And too often, we don’t realize how wrapped up we are until we are finally asked to step away. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy endeavor for my husband (and accountability partner) to convince me.
Switching Off From Work Stress: Just Say Yes
It actually took my husband three times to finally get me to agree to our trip. The excuses were plenty and easy to come by:
Work is too busy…
But what about the kids?
My team can’t handle me leaving right now.
The list goes on. So instead, let’s look at a different type of list; how to turn off mentally and unplug from work.
Why Switch Off Mentally?
You’ve most likely heard this before, but I will say it again because it’s true. It’s crucial for your personal life, and self-care to find a way to destress, and detach yourself from work. With that in mind, here are 3 pointers to help you switch off.
Switch Off Work Stress Tip #1: Change Your Environment.
This doesn’t necessarily need to be to the scale of packing up and hopping on a plane. You can work on turning off mentally without going on a trip (although it is nice to get away), even if it means exploring on a local level. Something as simple as closing your laptop, and taking a walk to a nearby park can be a great reset.
Get out of the same space that you’ve been in daily for the past few months. Change your setting, get out into nature, and get some fresh air. Force yourself out of the rut that you may not even know that you’re in. Get off that treadmill of routine, and work emails that you’ve been chasing for a little bit too long.
Pro tip: Consider taking a journal with you, and writing down some reflections. Open up your notepad on your phone; what’s been weighing on you, how are you feeling? Just the act of writing it out can help you feel better.
Switch Off Work Stress Tip #2: Find An Accountability Partner.
When it comes to taking care of your mental health and turning off that stress from long work days, accountability partners truly are crucial.
In my life, my accountability partner also happens to be my husband. But it can be a friend, or another family member. Someone who will be willing to confront you when they start to see you frazzled, or running too hard, and simply say, “Have you recently taken time to step back, and enjoy the fruits of your labor?”
“Do you think you might need a day or a half day to yourself, to unwind and tune out?”
The answer is almost always yes.
By the way… accountability is a huge part of creating tangible results across your life, both professionally and personally. To learn more, sign-up here to get my free Personal Brand Action template sent straight to your inbox:
Switch Off From Work Stress Tip #3: Unplug
This might be the hardest part when it comes to switching off work stress, yet it’s also the most important. If you don’t unplug, your brain isn’t being allowed to turn off those work thoughts.
If that means turning off your phone for a while, or putting it on airplane mode, then so be it. In 2020 we are consumed more than ever with email notifications and text messages, and the badges and alerts seem never ending.
Step away from the notifications for a few hours. Put up an out-of-office if you need to. Do what you can to create the space to allow your mind to recharge, and re-energize.
Taking time away from work can open up opportunities for you to get a better bird’s eye view, and create or reinvent as needed. You just might find yourself coming up with a solution to an issue that’s been lingering for awhile.
So tell me, what will you do this week to help you power down from work stress, and start to refresh and recharge? Comment below, I’m here to help!
When my team and I began planning the 5th Annual She-Suite Summit more than six months ago, we set our sights on a day of inspiration, transformation, and purpose. This year, our women’s leadership conference was centered on the theme, “We Are What’s Next.” With 17 speakers, 300 attendees, numerous vendors, and more than a dozen national partners and corporate sponsors, we looked forward to a unique event focused on turning unexpected challenges into brand and legacy-building opportunities.
In retrospect, we could have never known just how prophetic those words would be.
As the weeks, days, and hours ticked off before the March 13th Summit, set for the greater D.C. area, the threat of COVID-19 became increasingly alarming and very real. It began with a ten to fifteen percent drop in attendance and a few speaker cancellations as more and more companies restricted travel. But on Wednesday, March 11th, the trickle of bad news became a deluge. First, the mayor of D.C. banned large gatherings. By noon, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Within an hour, we decided to take the Summit virtual.
The next day we condensed and transformed months of meticulous planning into an intense real-time exercise in organizational flexibility, agility, innovation, and adaptation – all without compromising our core values. As a result, our team turned what initially seemed like the perfect storm into a golden opportunity to showcase our mission, vision, and purpose.
Here are 3 tips we used to lead at the speed of change in the face of the unknown:
Put People First – The future of profit resides in people. That is precisely why we needed to put our health, safety, and well-being first. When the crisis initially began to unfold, our first instinct was to ride it out. But very quickly it became clear that we needed to shift gears. We had a responsibility to do the right thing, and that included not only protecting each other, but also upholding the integrity and the spirit of what we promised – an event that was insightful, impactful, and interpersonal. The 2020 She-Suite Summit still had to be a place where everyone could shine; we just needed to do it online.
Pivot to Your Strengths – Knowing who you are and your unique value is the first step on any path to success. Not only is my background in brand strategy and crisis communications, but fortunately, our company, Velvet Suite, excels at online learning and development. We’ve done more than 500 on-demand webinars and podcasts. We’ve executed more than 1,200 virtual courses, and we’ve built a community of leaders across the country. That’s our wheelhouse. So this was a chance to play to our strengths in the digital realm. We all have skill sets and talents; identify them and build on that foundation first.
Communicate Seamlessly – Rapid change requires swift, clear communication across your full spectrum of contacts and communities. Overnight, I articulated a vivid vision for every aspect of the virtual Summit. Then our team rallied together to identify and fill potential gaps. From developing segment communications, digital assets, and FAQs to handing call, text, and e-mail traffic to testing our tech tools for high production value, we had one day and one chance to execute with excellence. And most importantly, we did it all in a way that inspired confidence and competence under uncertain and potentially confusing circumstances. Use every advantage at your disposal to deliver your message effectively, efficiently, and harmoniously.
When we took the 2020 She-Suite Summit virtual, we raised the bar. More than 200 people participated, with 430 logging on throughout the day via Facebook Live, LinkedIn, and other social communities. By shifting online, we not only brought people back, but we also succeeded in reaching an even wider audience. The same goes for our 17 speakers. Even those who were forced to cancel in-person joined virtually with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Most importantly, the Summit is still making an impact. We are coaching companies to navigate this new virtual norm. Every day, we’re seeing attendees use the 90-day Personal Brand Partnership and action plan they formed at She-Suite to elevate their recognition online.
Not only was this year’s She-Suite Summit called the best ever virtual summit by some attendees, it continues to serve as a testament to Velvet Suite’s values in action. As the events played out in real time, we lived by example. Instead of a nightmare scenario, our Friday the 13th became a case study in how we succeed by putting people first, pivoting to our strengths, and communicating seamlessly.
No, we may not know what tomorrow holds. In the new and unprecedented landscape of a sudden global pandemic, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to predict the future.
But one thing is clear: we are what’s next. We will rise to the occasion. And nothing will stop us from building community, enhancing brands, and leading with purpose to help others do the same.
It is hard to believe that I am just weeks away from our little one making his or her debut into the world! I wanted to share a few important steps that were instrumental in helping me create a 90-Day Fertility Wellness Plan that would help me regain my health and achieve a positive pregnancy.
It was about a year ago, that I made a promise to myself. I realized that having a baby was not only a desire but it would become one of my greatest lifetime ambitions. I knew that there were obstacles but I asked God if there was more that I could do to give me the best possible opportunity for success.
The answer was YES! I decided to create my own fertility wellness plan. There is so much to share (I will be sharing even more details later) but I wanted to give a glimpse into the process and more than anything give hope.
When this journey started, I didn’t have a plan. I simply had a belief that there were more answers to my questions and that I just needed to do a little research to learn more and to see how I could apply these specific areas to my health. I found these to be central to not only fertility wellness but my overall wellness for healthy living.
Spiritual & Emotional Support
Supplementation & Clean Eating
Sleep more Stress-less
1. Spiritual & Emotional Support
Everything starts with a seed called a thought. I realized that my mental and emotional well-being were all linked to my spiritual wholeness.
One of the biggest challenges I would face on my road to becoming a mom was my own spiritual, emotional and mental health. When you are dealing with loss and any private pain, it can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. I found that the way for me to combat this was to put God at the center of my pain. I prayed and asked for peace, clarity and direction.
Along the way, I found an amazing woman on the Internet who has a ministry to support women and men who are dealing with fertility issues. Her name is Nerida Walker. Her own story gave me hope and it provided for me a life line to believe beyond my doubt.
I listened to her conception prayer and I memorized this scripture:
Exodus 23:25-26 – Worship the Lord your God and His blessing will be on your food and water, and I will remove sickness and disease from among you. And none shall be barren or miscarriage and I will give you a full lifespan.
I worked hard to change my thinking from “never, it won’t happen” to “it is possible, God can do it, life is your plan.” I had to let go of my fear and lay hold of my faith.
This was the hardest work but know that it was the greatest work.
2. Supplementation & Clean Eating
I found an amazing website that was life changing. Natural-fertility-info.com provided a great basis to educate myself regarding how supplementation and certain foods can help clean and prepare my womb. After reviewing the website, I realized that there were super-foods that could truly help enrich my diet and they had specific impact on fertility.
These are just a few items that became a staple in my diet. I created a fertility daily smoothie which included berries, spinach or green mix and maca root. To learn more about the five top recommendations for a 21-day fertility challenge watch the video below.
I also made a commitment to almost eliminate all breads and I removed all refined sugar from my diet. Sugar is an addictive substance that when eliminated from your system it becomes a non-factor. I worked toward eating “lean and green.” Making 80 percent of my diet raw (fruits, vegetables) and then included good, clean and organic meats. I enjoy food so it wasn’t easy but it has become a part of my lifestyle. One of the greatest supports I had during this journey was my husband. He was preparing for his first fitness competition. It was perfect for us both to be working together toward a clean diet. Find someone who can hold you accountable and work with you toward your goal.
3. Exercise, Exercise
I recommitted everyday to move. As an athlete, I’ve learned what works to transform my body. If you are someone who works out occasionally, it is time to step it up. It is amazing to see how exercise not only helps you feel better but elevates your self-confidence and it is a great stress reliever.
I worked out 5-6 days a week. I would invest 60 minutes or more through running in the park or doing walking lunges. I also did some weight lifting and plyometric. The goal is to be consistent and change your mindset about exercise. Exercise is my time to clear my head, talk to God and enjoy my favorite songs and artists. One song that became a theme song for me was “We Don’t Fold Under Pressure” by T. Haddy.
I found that walking lunges were my best friend. I was able to do them anywhere and build up to doing more and more each week. It is also an amazing exercise to shape and slim your thighs and booty!
A video posted by Melissa Dawn Simkins (@melissadawnsimkins) on
4. Sleep More Stress Less
I had no idea how much stress I was carrying in my body. I was overworked and feeling overwhelmed by the thought of not being able to be a mother. I started to take time for myself by doing Pilates, stretches and taking the time to unwind before going to bed. One of my favorite treats was doing an Epsom salt bath before bed. It helped to soothe my mind and prepare my body for a more restful sleep. I also drank CALM which is a magnesium supplement which helped with cramps as well as helped to knock me out when it was time for bed.
I found that by meditating on selected bible scriptures, listening to music that motivated me and hearing women like Nerida share their story, was making me become more hopeful.
Instead of being in a state of panic about “what if” I was in a state of peace.
Again, there were so many elements to this journey that I hope to share in even greater detail in the future but for now, I didn’t want to overwhelm you. My heart is just to share with you a path toward greater wellness and overall health.
During this pregnancy, I have been limited in my ability to workout but I do hope to get back to this plan once the baby is born. It truly has been a life saver for me. I’ve learned to take control of my well being and to use tools land techniques to help me achieve these goals. I know you can as well. Enjoy the journey!
When I trained for my first fitness competition it was a staple in my diet. Although fruit is good for you, it is something that must be eaten choice fully because of the amount of fructose. I ate grapefruit religiously, which is a great fat burner but it has nothing on this amazing super fruit. The avocado is my favorite fruit I eat almost every day!
Avocados are multi-purposed and can be enjoyed at every meal. I found that it helped me lose weight and not only is it packed with a powerful nutrition benefit but it was great for glowing skin and shiny, healthy hair.
Fats use to be the bad guy. Now, we are learning there is a difference between good fats and bad fats. Avocados are high in heart-healthy monosaturated fats which is yet another plus.
I don’t want to sound like a pitch lady but what I learned about eating healthy starts with our food choices. Many times what comes natural from the ground (although I repeat…natural which is why I prefer organic when possible over conventional) is just what we need to help us achieve the nutritional goals we want.
Here are some of the most abundant nutrients, in a single 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving (3):
Then it contains small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin).
I actually ate a half an avocado to a full avocado every day when I was prepping for my competition and my diet was very close to vegetarian. It was great because it acted as a meat substitute for me which helped make my salads heavier.
To this day, I love making morning smoothies with avocado or adding them to a salad or sandwich for lunch. I find that it is truly a super fruit that has amazing benefits and it is not too expensive to indulge in. I recommend eating them daily if you can. Why not?
Here is one of my favorite green smoothie recipes:
Keep the rind on the pineapple and lemons. Cut into small pieces and run through a juicer to separate the juice from the pulp (rinds should not be blended into the juice).
Combine pineapple/lemon juice, banana, avocados, greens and 1 Tbsp.coconut oil in the blender and blend until smooth
I found this recipe on one of my favorite healthy websites Dr. Mercola. If you are about healthy living and informative insights around diet, fitness and overall well-being check him out!
Thanks to Dr. Mercola!
I can’t say enough about my love for avocados! Please share some of your favorite healthy foods and finds that you have come to love.
Most of us struggle with finding time to make fitness a priority in our busy schedules, but there is no time unless we make time. To be “All Things Branding You,” it begins on the inside. Success begins with our mindset.
I use three success strategies to keep committed to my fitness and wellness goals:
Take A Swig Before Your Feet Hit The Floor.
Push and Roll Your Way to Success Every Night
What you do daily, determines who you become permanently. These simple steps will push you past your excuses and meet your wellness goals.