5 Tips To Help You De-Stress For The Holidays

Let’s face it. We all live pretty stressful lives.

With deadlines to meet; presentations to create; exams to study for; raising kids; caring for aging parents; the leaking roof or broken dishwasher that need to be repaired; the mortgage or rent that is due next week; and then there’s the technology that keeps changing faster than the speed of learning, providing us with the opportunity to constantly be on call, many of us are at the point where all it takes is one more stressor for us to collapse into a ball of emotion, or worse.

I have had the great good fortune to work with first and second year University and College students for the past twenty years and this time of the year is always the worst for stress levels for both students and faculty. Even friends and family who do not work around students are beginning to show classic symptoms of stress as the holiday’s approach – moodiness, anxiety, worry, feeling overwhelmed, fatigue, eating too much or losing their appetite. The scary thing is that the person under stress often does not even realize they are experiencing these symptoms or the extent to which they are being affected by stress.

So, before preparations for the holidays begins in earnest and stress levels begin to creep ever upward, here are 5 tips that I would like to share that can help you lower your stress levels and increase your ability to enjoy the holiday season:

1) Practice mindfulness: we often move through our days performing tasks and activities while being distracted by other things. We drive while reliving conversations or planning some future event; we have conversations with coworkers while trying to think through a solution to a work-related problem; we listen to our children tell us about their day while we are mentally going over our to-do list.

Mindfulness is the act of being present, in the moment. Of focusing on what you are currently doing without being distracted by other thoughts. For someone under stress, mindfulness involves being aware of not only the situation you are in, but of how you are reacting to that situation. Are you experiencing stress reactions of fight, flight or freeze? If yes, then how bad are these reactions? By noticing your reactions as they are happening, you can consciously choose to alleviate the stress that you are beginning to feel so the stress doesn’t continue to build.

2) Self Care: anyone who has traveled on an airplane has heard the steward’s speech about applying the oxygen mask to yourself first and then to your children – basically you are being instructed to take care of yourself first before you take care of others. The same instruction holds true in real life. If you do not have the energy to take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anything or anyone else.

Self care is more than treating yourself to an occasional mani-peni or trip to the local spa. Self Care involves eating right, getting a bit of exercise every day, spending time on activities or hobbies that bring you joy.

Practicing Self Care can involve setting a weekly date with yourself to spend an hour a week doing exactly what you want to do – learn to swim, learn to paint, wander through nature, photograph beautiful local architecture, read, listen to music… the choice is yours as long as the activity excites you and is something you look forward to doing every week. Practice mindfulness during this hour, focus on what you are doing and how you are feeling while you are doing it – and on nothing else.

3) Identify how you want to feel and find ways to accomplish this: Identify your core desired feelings, tap into these core desired feelings and find ways and activities that honour them. Our core desired feelings are keys to understanding our true self. When we deny our core desired feelings, we are acting at odds with our true self and this can leave us feeling disconnected, frustrated, restless, stressed.

Identify how you like to feel – do you like to feel adventurous, creative, inspired, challenged, needed, etc – and then identify activities you can bring into your life right now to help you feel this way. Honouring your core desired feelings is a fun, effective way to begin to de-stress.

4) Delegate: A fourth way to begin to de-stress is to drop the need for everything to be done by you and only you. And while you are at it, you can also drop the need for everything to be perfect. If you are a solo-preneur, there are some magnificent virtual assistants who can provide you will all the support you need, without costing a small fortune. Eliminate the unnecessary, focus on what’s important, and delegate the rest.

5) Relax and have fun: Above all else, relax, have fun and be happy!! Take time to breathe, relax, and play. For most adults, play is something we stopped doing as part of the process of growing up. But play and fun can be awesome de-stressors. What did you enjoy doing for play when you were young – arts & crafts; riding a bicycle; video games; swimming; skating; reading; writing; drawing – whatever it was try it again. Or find a new activity that is playful and fun – kick through a pile of leaves, build a snowman, dance like no-one is looking, start that hobby you have always wanted to do. Tie play and fun to your core desired feelings and double the impact these activities can have on bringing joy to your life.

How do you relax and de-stress for the holidays, or anytime through the year?

Traveling Made Easy

Traveling these days certainly can be a hassle. Everything from long lines to airline delays can cause travelers unnecessary and unfortunate inconveniences. Prior to your travels, considers the following ten tips and you will have a greater chance of limiting the hassles of traveling.

1. Know what to pack – Take some time to review the Transportation Security Administration’s “Permitted and Prohibited Items” list. You can find the list on the Transportation Security Administration Website located at http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1254.xml

2. Call the airport ahead of time to verify flight times – Don’t rely on the airlines to notify you of delays or flight changes. Travelers can contact their airline directly or their travel agent to ensure their flight is on-schedule.

3. Be prepared and schedule proper time for travel to the airport – Traveling can cause anxiety, which causes travelers to forget necessary travel items. Consider all-inclusive travel kits to avoid forgetting the essential personal items.

4. Secure a seat assignment prior to check in – This will prevent unnecessary problems during over-booked flights.

5. Secure your valuables – Traveling continues to be one the top times that people fall victim to crime. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry and use credit or debit cards when possible. Credit and debit cards offer a higher level of protection than carrying cash.

6. Check the destination on your luggage tag – Ask the ticket agent or curb assistant to double check the tag on your luggage. This can prevent your luggage going somewhere other than where you will be!

7. Research your destination point – Travelers should research their destination point prior to traveling. Being familiar with major highways, climate, customs, and points of interest will help traveler avoid unnecessary situations.

8. Be aware of unclean hotel rooms – There have been rising complaints about unwelcome insects in hotel rooms, according to pest control businesses. Demand fresh sheets from hotel management or carry portable silk bed sheets. Additionally, inform hotel management if you find any insects or unwanted messes in your hotel room.

9. When traveling for business, compare the cost of renting a car to utilizing taxicabs or public transportation. Travelers may find it convenient to rent a car; however, rental car costs can sometimes include exuberant “extra” fees.

10. Remember your agenda – Traveling in new places can sometimes be distracting and take away from the purpose of the trip. While on business, make sure to write down the times and places of your business. This will help to ensure you are not late to business meetings.

Tips For Successful Day Hiking Trips

Hiking, backpacking, trails, hiking boots, outdoors, wildlife, flora, fauna, GPS, compass, water, snacks

Individuals, couples, and families can take day hiking trips, a perfect opportunity to get away for quality time and fun but without spending a fortune. Taking a few precautions will ensure a fun and safe trip.

Although hiking for a week would be wonderful, with the current economy, there are a growing number of people who will head out and spend a full day doing nothing but hiking. In addition to being fun, hiking is great exercise and a wonderful way to clear the mind in the beautiful outdoors. When trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, day hiking trips are an ideal solution.

The following are helpful tips for a successful trip, getting the most from all day hiking trips.

Heading out Early

Start by heading out early. The earlier someone can start day hiking trips the more time there is to enjoy the outdoors. While it might seem early, if a person or persons can get on the trail at 4:00 am, they will benefit in a number of ways.

For one, there would be the chance to reach further trails, see wildlife that might not be out later in the day, have the opportunity to watch the rising of the sun, and avoid heavy crowds on popular trails. For high altitudes, leaving early would get the person to the summit by 11:00 am, allowing plenty of time to explore and enjoy the beautiful views before heading back down.

Keep it Simple

An important tip for day hiking trips is to keep backpacks light and simple. Because this is only a day trip, people need to carry only what is absolutely necessary to include food, clothing, flashlight, GPS or compass, water, and first-aid items. The light load will make hiking the trails easier, which allows people to venture out onto more difficult trails.

Keeping a Pace

Even though day hiking trips are for a single day, people need to find a good pace and then keep to it. This does not have to be high speed but just consistent. A common problem found with many beginner hikers is going fast and then having to rest often. Instead, the individual will enjoy the adventure far more by moving at a consistent pace and making fewer stops.

Food Items and Water

For day hiking trips, some food will need to be taken but this should be healthy, light, and food that increases energy. Great options include dried fruit, trail mix, health bars, and even a good, old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, water is key for day hiking trips or any trips.

One option for people who want to climb high during day hiking trips but who do not want to carry an abundance of weight, they can take with them yellow flags and extra bottles. Then, as they make their way up the trail, they can place bottles along the trail with yellow flag markers. That way, when they come back down, they do not have the extra weight but still have ample water.

Tips For Planning A Great Senior Trip

Finishing high school is a very important achievement, and really a privilege – there are many areas of the world that the average person does not get the opportunity to go to high school.

If you’re like most high school seniors, you want to celebrate your success with an exciting trip. Good idea! Here are a few tips that will help you plan a senior trip to remember!

The first question to decide is where to go. If you’re going with your class, you’ll have to make a joint decision. If you’re going with your parents or friends, the decision might involve fewer parties, which is generally a good thing! If you’re going with a large group, ensure that you pick a destination that will make everyone happy.

The next decision to make is what accommodations you’ll stay at once you get to your destination. This can be very difficult, especially from a distance, but travel agents and travel websites can be a great help here. Be sure that you choose a place that is not only nice and offers the amenities that you want, but is also safe. Safety should be a very important consideration when choosing accommodations.

Food you can often work out day by day once you arrive at your destination, but activities and entertainment you’ll want to do some research on ahead of time. Contact the local chamber of commerce, a knowledgeable travel agent, or someone who has been to the area. Decide what attractions you’d like to visit, then find out what you need to do/have etc to enjoy these attractions. For example, if you want to go jet skiing while you are in Cancun, ensure that you have proper clothes!

Also, you should seriously consider taking a responsible adult with you on your senior trip, especially if you are going overseas. Their wisdom and experience could help you stay safe and have fun!

Internet – The Smart Way of Getting the Cheapest Fares

Airplanes have brought the distant exotic holiday destinations closer to all of us. Today you can reach even the farthest places in just a few hours. So, whether it’s a trip to beautiful Australia or a trip to Dubai, it is all ‘in-reach’. The credit for this goes to Engineering and Technology.

Another face of technology is ‘Internet’. Internet is being used extensively for many different purposes (e.g. online shopping, content research, entertainment etc) and booking air travel is one of them. Though the various conventional ways are in use too, internet is by and large the most popular route for booking air travel. Besides being convenient, internet is the place where you can get the cheapest airfares most of the times.

Let’s take a look at some smart tips that can help you get the cheapest air fares on the net:

1. Book Early: Most airlines offer some ‘hot deals’ on air fares. These are the deals that airlines use to promote/advertise their services too. Generally, the earlier you book your flight, cheaper are the airfares. So, plan well and book your flight 3-4 months in advance (or even earlier, if you can).

2. Good Research Can Make A Difference: Good research is the key to getting cheapest airfares on the net. There are a number of websites through which you can book your air travel online. Some websites are operated by online travel agents while there are others that are operated by airlines themselves. If you shop around, you will find that various travel websites offer different fares for the same dates, times and facilities. However, instead of searching for air fares at various websites, you can use one of the multi-site airfare search engines that automatically get results from various travel websites (including airline websites).

3. Participate In Online Auctions: There are several websites that sell air tickets and travel packages through the auction route. Sometimes you can get the cheapest airfares here. The only condition is that you should be super-flexible in terms of dates, times, airline preference etc. Mostly, you will not know about the airline, hotel name, car rental etc till you have actually won the auction and made the payment. But that is something that you have to bear in order to get the cheapest deals.

4. Book Travel Packages Instead Of Just The Flights: Since most airlines, car rentals and hotels have tie-ups with each other, they offer you a discount if you book everything together. This discount is reflected in the travel package deals that you book over the internet. However, you might like to take a sneaky look at hotel rates that are available through other websites or through phoning the hotel (remember most hotels will give you a discounted rate, if you ask for the ‘best price’). Moreover, booking travel packages is much more convenient too (especially if you are short of time). Some websites will even have the pictures of hotel rooms and details of the hotel amenities, so as to facilitate your decision making process.

5. Be Flexible: The cheapest airfare deals are generally available to those who are flexible on the travel dates, times, airlines etc. This is because airfares and travel package costs are based on the demand; and cheapest airfares are for flights that are the least in demand. Holidays and weekends are the busiest times for airlines; so, the airfares are higher for such days. Similarly, evening flights are costlier than the morning or noon flights. Most travel websites provide you cheaper options if you demonstrate flexibility.

These are the smart tips that can really help you in getting the cheapest airfares.

What Tourists Should Know Before Going To Puerto Vallarta

If you are in search of a location to vacation in, consider travelling to Puerto Vallarta. This city lies on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, and it is a favorite vacation destination for those who wish to unwind or indulge in a variety of adventures.

Getting there and around

Many visitors ride planes to go to the city. The Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport can be found at the north of the city center and many major US airlines conduct flights to and from the city. From there you can opt to use a taxi cab or hire private transport. Buses are also not hard to come by. Vallarta’s yachts, boats and water taxis can bring you to different gorgeous beaches.

Places to see

Vallarta is considered as one of Mexico’s most beautiful resort destinations. One of the most remarkable areas in the city is the Banderas Bay, which is one of the largest and deepest worldwide. Puerto Vallarta also has a growing number of cultural points of interest. The Museo del Cuale for instance has gorgeous pottery and clay figurines. No trip to the city is complete Jardines Botanicos de Vallarta. This facility houses numerous types of orchids and wild palms, and in there, you may find butterflies and hummingbirds flitting by from time to time. If you just want to rest, Vallarta has miles of sweeping golden sand beaches.

Things to do

The city provides a number of activities and excursions to keep you occupied and delighted. You can try whale and turtle watching, go on nature trips, visit the Sierra Madre, and experience many aquatic sports. If you’re up for it, the city is also offers canopy walks and zip lines. There are also many dining and shopping establishments to visit. Different options to rest are also readily accessible. Spas, for instance, are a fixture in many locations in the city.

Accommodation options

Accommodation facilities in Vallarta vary from well-known international hotel chains to more economical bed and breakfasts. For extended stays, you can also select from the city’s condominiums and apartment villas. Many of these accommodation facilities can be reserved on the internet.

The best time to visit

Peak season is December through April so count on seeing more expensive accommodation fees during that part of the year. The perfect time to go to Vallarta is between late June and October when hotel fees drop up to 40% and there are fewer people to compete with for various tourist services..

Accepted currency

Most establishments in the city accept US dollars as readily as they take the local Peso. Understand though that the exchange rates available at money changers are less favorable than what are available from the banks.

Top Five Tips to Avoid the Post-Holiday Blues

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many people experience the post-holiday blues. Learn some easy and powerful tips from International Certified Success Coaches, Amy Ahlers and Melissa McFarlane, to beat post-holiday depression:

1. Look to nature and hibernate:

Mother Nature is the master of all things, isn’t she? She lets us know when to Spring into action, bask into the glow of Summer, gear for change for Fall and finally, hibernate for Winter. After the holiday bustle and stress, why not use the months of January and February to hibernate and practice RADICAL self care? Get massages, take hot baths, spend more time with your family and friends. Allow yourself the time and space to cocoon so that come spring, you are a full-blown butterfly ready to emerge.

2. Set your sights on the year ahead:

January is a time for new years’ resolutions and goal setting-a way for you to look at what you want to CREATE for the year ahead. And when you’re in the mode of creation, it’s hard to find the space to be depressed. At Electric Kites Success Coaching, we always begin with the vision of where we want to be. Look at the following questions:

o What’s the story I want to be telling about this year?

o What’s the vision for the year?

o What is my #1 focus/goal for the year?

o What MUST occur in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

o What MUST STOP in order for this year to be considered a “success”?

As you lean into what you want to create this year, you’ll find your inspiration, energy and passion rise, as the post-holiday blues easy fade into the background.

3. New Years’ Resolution Burn Out:

One of the things that often leads to the post- holiday blues is New Years’ Resolution failure. Many times, we make a resolution for the New Year that is WAY TOO BIG and fail in week two. And then we spend a month (or several years!) beating ourselves up. Instead, set yourself up for success by making a resolution for the first month of the year that feels like a delicious baby step-then build on your success.

4. The Big Project Withdrawal Syndrome:

Let’s face it, the holidays are a huge project! It’s a time filled with shopping, card writing, receiving, giving, scheduling and cooking. It can suck up your time, energy, and patience all at once. Perhaps what your blues are telling you is that you are, quite frankly, bored and need a new project. Maybe now is the right time to take on a charity event, a new project at work, a class you’ve always wanted to take. Anything that feels big and juicy will do the trick!

5. Gratitude and Appreciation:

Gratitude and appreciation are the simplest (and often most overlooked) keys to fighting any kind of blues (holidays or otherwise). Take time to practice gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis. Perhaps you can set up a gratitude ritual around the dinner table, at morning mediation or at night prayers. As you appreciate and express gratitude your blues will become a thing of the past.

Business Traveling Tips for Men – How to Pack Your Carry on Luggage

Keeping your shirts­ and suits free of wrinkles is a constant problem for business travelers. Would you like to learn how to better manage your business clothes while traveling? Whether you’re an experienced business traveler or a first time traveler, follow these tips and your clothing will arrive at their destination wrinkle free.

Don’t let packing clothes be a stressful part of your trip. The problems always begin by packing too many items into a small carry on bag. You must make sure you have the correct size piece of carry on luggage for the intended items and duration of travel. Over packing items into your suitcase is the main cause of clothes developing wrinkles. Be realistic when packing and limit the amount of clothes you take on your trip. When traveling for extended periods of time, consider using a larger bag that you may have to have checked.

Once you have the right luggage for your trip, then you have to pack your clothing in a way to avoid wrinkles. The key to avoiding wrinkles is pack your delicate items in the middle of your case. Keep the delicate clothing away from the edges to limit the amount of wrinkling. Place your T-shirts first, your suites next, followed by shirts and ties, then your other clothes. Packing in this way will cushion your suites and other delicate items that are prone to wrinkling. Use caution when packing your shoes as these are a common cause of wrinkled clothes. Modern carry on luggage have compartments specifically for shoe storage and other hard items.

Garment bags are very useful and I highly suggest buying one for packing dress shirts and suits. Using a garment bag, in addition to your carry on luggage, is the best method for preventing wrinkles to your dress clothes. There are luggage manufactures that offer a folding garment bag which stores in your suitcase after packing. These are the most convenient when going directly to your hotel from the airport.

Silk neckties are among the most delicate items to pack in your suitcase. Other options to silk neckties are those made from wrinkle-free microfiber, but nothing really compares to a silk necktie. So, when packing your neckties, keep them away from the edges of your suitcase and away from objects that have sharp edges. It’s best to place them in the center of your other clothes which offer the best padding. Rolling your ties is another option for preventing wrinkles. Begin rolling from the narrow end which give a uniformly tight role and will fit easily into your dress shoes. If money is no problem, you can buy one of the commercially manufactured necktie travel cases, which will definitely keep your ties free of wrinkles.

It’s important to unpack your items as soon as you arrive at your destination. After unpacking, place your suits, shirts, trousers and neckties on hangers and hang them in the closet. Remember, failure to unpack and hang up your clothes will result in severely wrinkled clothing and all of you efforts will have been a waste of time.

Make sure you stay at a hotel that provides an iron and ironing board in your room as this will give you the ability to take care of those small wrinkles yourself. Do not iron your suits of neckties! If you see wrinkles on your suits or ties, hang them in the bathroom during your hot, steamy shower. As soon as you’re finished with your shower the wrinkles will be gone. Following these tips will insure a wrinkle free trip.

Six Tips For Enjoying the Holidays Stress Free

Life in and of itself can prove to be very stressful at times,however, more often than not the holiday season can stir up quite a lot of stress. For most of us, the holidays includes too much time fighting traffic, spending way too much on our credit cards, entertaining relatives and pretending to be thrilled when we receive yet another George Foreman grill. It’s no wonder that in an effort to pull off the perfect Disney holiday you might find yourself facing an overwhelming array of chores, shopping, baking, cleaning, etc. and you have to manage to get it all done either on your days off or after work. This year, you can make it a point to enjoy the holidays more by simplifying some of the work, while maintaining what makes the holidays special: The Love and fellowship with friends and loved ones. Here are some tips to help you cope with, or even avoid holiday stress:

ASK HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS Putting up a Christmas tree and other decorations can be exhausting. Asking family and friends to help is one of the best ways to save energy and have a beautifully decorated home for the holidays. If everybody in your family gets along, consider yourself blessed. But if your family is full of friction, the holidays can become very unpleasant. You can clear the atmosphere by involving everyone in the planning and decision making. Make it a party. Serve food and refreshments and have fun.

GO EASY ON ALCOHOL A stiff glass of eggnog can be a good way to toast the holiday, but don’t go overboard. Too much alcohol will only add to your stress.

KNOW YOUR SPENDING LIMIT Much of the stress of the holiday season comes from feeling pressured to buy bigger and better gifts for those we love, even if this puts us in debt. If you are a Grandparent like I am, this can be an especially challenging temptation. Expensive gifts won’t guarantee a happy holiday. Even children will be grateful for moderately priced gifts that are chosen with care.

START YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT SHOPPING EARLY People sometimes postpone holiday shopping until the last minute, but shopping early you can avoid the stress of dealing with crowded stores and parking lots, traffic jams,cold, snowy weather,etc.

DO YOUR SHOPPING ONLINE Shopping for gifts online is an ideal way to buy gifts for friends and family. You can check your list and see how many gifts you can purchase at the same online gift store, and try to get all of your shopping done at once. Many gift store websites offer great sales and discounts, especially during the holiday season. Don’t stress yourself out wondering what gift to get for someone who has everything. You can purchase Gift Cards in different denominations, place them in a Christmas greeting card and you have the perfect gift for people of all ages.Save money, save on gas, and shop from the comfort of your home.

KEEP MOVING Exercise is always a great stress reliever. Instead of watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the 100th time, grab your favorite cousin and go for a brisk walk.It will improve your heart health and it’s a great way to shed those extra calories from eating too much of Aunt Mary’s German chocolate cake.

I hope this holiday season finds you happy, healthy, calm and peaceful. Give these tips a try, and I guarantee you’ll have less stress and more fun!!

Happy Holidays!!

London – The City of Dreams

London, the capital city of England, which is located on the River Thames is a famous attraction for visitors from across the world. It is a dream destination for all the wanderers and visitors as it has the charm and elegance that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a leading global city of the world with a large number of tourist attractions that feed your eyes with the best sights of great museums, west end shows, and interesting sites such as the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and much more. London has some classic elements that set it apart from every other city in the world. Being one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is a multicolored, peaceful and exciting destination. Travelers get amused by its breathtaking beauty and the charm that makes them visit the city again and again.

The major attractions of this city include the British Museum, London Bridge, Tower of London, Borough market and the famous wax museum, known as the Madam Tussauds that exhibits wax statues of the famous celebrities including Queen Diana, Bill Clifton, The Beatles and several others. Piccadly Square is yet another sight-seeing spot for the tourists, crowded with people doing various activities and grabbing the attention of the visitors. It is one of the busiest square of the world. Your trip to London can never be complete without visiting the London Aquarium, which is known to be one of the largest aquariums in the world that has many large tanks and a large variety of sharks in it. There are several other attractions such as the Hyder Park, Royal Mews, Marble Arch, St James Park and the Russel Square.

There is something for everyone in London and you’ll never feel bored during your stay or visit. It has the virtuosity to entertain and make people connected to each other. You are definitely going to lose your heart to its impeccable grace that will make you visit it more frequently. You can meet new people, talk to them, share, connect and be friends with them, no matter which religion or nationality you belong to. The aura of this city will force you to comprehend about the fact that it is surely a city of your dreams. To live your dream, you need to explore it first and you can do it by planning trip soon. Book a cheap flight to London and land to this city of dreams to experience the best city of the world.