Everything You Need To Know About Surviving The Holidays

Oh, the holiday heebie jeebies – my nickname for the stress that often comes with the fullness of the holiday season. There’s family and fun and frivolity, yes, but there’s also a gaggle of other feelings that arise during this time of year – stress, and sometimes even the Christmas blues. I’m shedding some light on how to enjoy the holiday season feeling as jolly as Santa, himself.

Make your list. Check it twice.

Before the hustle and bustle of Christmas can even begin, I plan a trip. Ok, so it might be a bit late for this now being December 1st, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a staycation. Nothing says laughter and love like your best girl friends. Get a group message started, buy the tickets, reserve the hotel, and even figure out which activities everyone wants to do. This way, there are no excuses for me to be able to get away and clear my head.

Planning out the activities ahead of time leaves me at ease while I am there and eliminates any sort of stress that could arise. Sometimes, though, no schedule is the best schedule. Wherever or whatever you can think of as a place you can relax for a couple days, I strongly suggest you make it happen for yourself. Do something that makes it solidified though, so that there is no turning back. Don’t leave it out there as just as idea. If you do, you’ll find excuses not to go.

Wake Up Positive.

Your attitude is in your control. You can wake up with a positive attitude; you just have to tell yourself that is how you will be. Wake up with intention to set how you would like your mood the rest of the day. Honor yourself and your emotions. It is okay to feel the way you feel, even if it is negative, but telling yourself that you will have a positive outlook will help just start your mood to transition to just that. Maybe doing something small for yourself that day will help clear some negative energy. Maybe it something as simple as a compliment, or maybe a manicure or maybe you have the time to treat yourself to a massage. Whatever it may be, find a way to rid the negative and let in the positive. For me, I’ve found that keeping a gratitude journal has helped. It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night.

Find Peace.

If you are feeling moments where everything seems a bit overwhelming…just breath. In times of anxiousness our breathing pattern changes. An anxious breathe is too long of an inhale without the same length of an exhale. Pay attention to your breathing. Make sure to balance your inhales with your exhales. A balanced breathe brings balance to the body and brain. Paying attention for just a few moments can bring your anxiousness down to create more clarity in the moment.

Dance it out. Create a Mini Dance Party.

Think of a upbeat song that makes you happy. Play that song as loud as you can and just let the moment take over your body. All it takes is a few minutes to sing at the top of your lungs and shake your booty!  It will get the blood flowing, the endorphins released and send happiness throughout your whole body!

Dress Comfy

The last thing you need through stress and chaos is wiggling your body into uncomfortable clothes. My favorite go to item to dress up are simply workout leggings. The same leggings I would wear to workout in, I will dress up for a night on the town. They are super versatile and hug by body in all the right places. Take a pair of leggings, throw on an oversized cozy sweater, grab your booties, a long necklace and you are ready to go! Stylish, yet comfortable enough to roll around on the ground with the little ones in the family you will be seeing over the holidays. One of my fav brands? LA-based, CoEd Active!

Give Yourself a Break.

Even if you have done your normal routines to help create a positive mind, and you find yourself still a Negative-Nancy, it is ok! We’re allowed to feel the way we feel. Feel the feels, and let it out if you need to. Sometimes you just need to ride the wave and let the feeling pass instead of forcing it to pass. I have a difficult time with this, but the one thing that I’ve learned about myself and divorce this year is that you need to accept and acknowledge those feelings or they’ll be knocking at your door sooner or later. Just remember not to add to the negativity and be hard on yourself for feeling down. We are all allowed to have bad moments or even days, you are human, everything will be just fine! Be kind to yourself.

All-in-all, remember, the holidays are about love and laughter. Sure they come with stress and seeming overwhelmingly busy, but it is because you have a lot of wonderful people in your life that you want to spend your time with. Remind yourself of that. This time of year is made to appreciate those that are in our lives and create beautiful memories with one another!

May Intentions: Productivity

I can't believe it's May! MAY! This year is flying by fast... I've been somewhat silent on my blog, Instagram, and quite frankly, my newsletter. This is not by choice, but because I've been busy with work and various projects. It's been about ten days since I last posted on Instagram, with very minimal story updates.

may intentions productivity tips

After taking a closer look at last month, I felt like I was all over the place, getting pulled in different directions, and feeling unbalanced. I felt a sense of mental clutter and a whirlwind of chaos. This month, as I was setting my May Intentions, it made me think about productivity and working smarter, not harder. Because, to get more done, be mindful of every day.

I'm all about productivity in this month, and the first part of productivity comes down to identifying productivity killers and eliminating those.

Banishing those distractions is key! Identifying distractions is the first step to avoiding them. Did you know what the five workplace attention destroyers are: Cell phones/texting, Internet, Gossip, Social media, and Email? I can relate to all of these. Being part of a remote team and working remotely on client projects, there is the constant distraction and productivity kills like getting pinged on Slack, Telegram, WhatsApp... I swear, by the time 3 pm rolls around, I feel like I'm going to shoot myself (not literally, figuratively) with all the darn chimes and pings and my Apple watch buzzing. These distractions throughout the day were causing me to be less productive, working longer hours to find that window of productivity.

To avoid this, I've started to scheduling hour blocks of productivity on my calendar for 100% focus. During this time, I place my cell phone and laptop on "do not disturb" which silences my notification. I've also been a big advocate of Brain Dumping. Put non-agenda thoughts into a brain dump list in my notebook. Whether it's a work or my thoughts, people bring up ideas that are important to them but not on topic. Instead of losing them, write them down. Don’t let the brain dump list be a black hole. Assign follow-up steps right at the end of the meeting or as soon as you are done in your productive hour.

Using Asana and Zapier for working smarter not harder and goal setting are a couple of my favorites. I'm all about lists and automation. These are two productivity saving resources that help me practice strategic procrastination. In order to focus on urgent or meaningful activities, let some other things slide. For example, open your mail just once a week; these days, nothing urgent arrives with a postage stamp on it.  It’s okay to toss less-pressing work in a pile for later. Asana lets me keep this organized!

Getting outside more also helps fuel productivity and recharge. An office with a view sounds like a recipe for mind wandering, but access to sunlight boosts productivity. In a study by the California Energy Commission, workers who sat near a window performed better, processing calls 6% to 12% faster and performing 10% to 25% better on tests that involved mental function and memory recall. Even better if you can get outside and get your daily Vitamin D! Since the weather is getting warmer here in the Pacific Northwest, I want to get out and do more hikes. Being out in nature also helps me feel balanced and recharged.

It’s not surprising that getting more done starts with a good night’s sleep, but it turns out getting too many hours is as bad as too few. Analyzing the sleep and work habits of 3,760 people over seven years, researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health found that under-sleepers and over-sleepers were both more likely to take extra sick days.

I'm excited to see how productive I'll be at the end of the month looking back at today. What are some of your intentions this month? Share with me here - @valeriefidan! 💕

What Yoga Means To Me and Why I Practice Yoga

What is Yoga and Why Do I Practice Yoga?

This is a question that I was first asked in my prep for Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower here in Portland. 

We’ve all heard the benefits of yoga. Yoga can help tone and define your muscles, it burns calories, and it can help you relax and feel rejuvenated. It's a dynamic balance that connects the mind, body and overall wellbeing

It’s often so easy in our culture and society to work so hard, study so hard to the point we felt stressed and burnt out. In my experience, it’s tough to connect to that state of being ‘in the flow’ or even finding motivation when you are tense, tight, tired, and burnt out, so that’s why I do yoga! Yoga keeps me flexible so that I can go with the flow in life, and helps me shed the layers of tension that build up mentally and physically each day. 

I started questioning my reason for my fitness choices. Was it out of ego or was there some sort of deeper purpose? Before deciding to make the first step of Yoga Teacher Training, I started to wonder why I do yoga, and why everyone else does it. My reason is simple: I do yoga because it connects me closer to myself, to others, and overall balance we all search for in this chaotic world. 

What is Yoga and Why Do I Practice Yoga?.png

Thinking back to my first yoga class over a decade ago, I stepped onto the mat for all the wrong reasons, and primarily because it was the super trendy thing to do. I was 18-years-old wrapped in the superficialness and materialism of living in Silicon Valley.  But, yoga was more than a trendy workout where I could sport my latest Lululemon gear. Little did I know then, how much I'd fall in love with yoga. My practice was and has become, the balance I need and the most influential teaching of personal patience

I started off wanting to get stronger, but I ended up learning about myself. My journey has turned into personal growth, and in time you do get stronger, physically and mentally. This became even more evident while in recovery from a lifelong eating disorder. During this period, yoga was the medicine I needed for inner healing. 

Over the years, as I've continued my practice, I've come across many individuals that have touched and moved me; while others have inspired me to dive in deeper. The idea of teach training was first planted over five years ago when I was still living in San Francisco. Yet, I never took the plunge. I always doubted that I was yogi because I was never embodied the yogi physic and wasn't exactly the most graceful or limber person in the class. Clumbsy is my middle name. 

I was not zen. Far from it. I lacked a lot of patience; often, my A-type personality would stop me from ever getting into the flow and silencing the endless to-do list in my mind. I also would practice consistently, then took long periods off. I never thought I was good enough to follow through training. As the years went on, and various life events happened, yoga was there. Yoga taught me the things I would struggle with on a personal level. Whatever happened, I could leave it on the mat.

I was lucky enough to have fantastic teachers, yet, Misha Kerpon was a teacher that really made me realize that you don't have to fit the yogi box and that yoga was fun. She would always make the class a lighthearted yet powerful practice. Misha had a way of making people fall in love with something she truly enjoyed sharing with the world. 

But why now? What makes this moment in time the perfect time?

Perhaps it is my recent divorce or my soul longing for a challenge, a deeper commitment to myself. I'm not sure exactly what it is just yet, but I know that this answer will become more evident in the eight weeks to come.

What I want out of it is a deeper connection to my practice, my community, and overall wellbeing. As my online persona has grown to be an influential voice within my community, I want to be able to help others find their self-love and appreciation in whatever they are struggling with. For me, yoga was my saving grace. 

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.