Stress less

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We all lead busy lives. I often feel like the sector I work in makes me feel like I’m running on a tread mill and can’t stop or get off. It’s partly why I love my job, I feel like you have to constantly learn, work and strive to improve your knowledge and skill-set. I aim to work smart, I gym, I socialise, try to blog, read, etc…. but often feel frazzled. A brunch date with a dear friend sided with me on society’s need for everyone to promote just how busy they are 24/7. I can’t be alone in thinking that if you have a day to spare, a lazy day with few plans, it’s seen as odd. Society looks down on you.

It’s as if we pride ourselves on being constantly busy, constantly on the move and constantly switched on. It’s almost a luxury these days to turn your phone off and just relax, be in the moment and take time out to re-charge our batteries.

So, for every Career Girl chasing her dream of getting ahead and becoming successful, there is a thin line between pushing yourself and burning out. It’s not good to overwork yourself to exhaustion. It’s not good for your health, mental or physical, or your soul, especially considering stress can exacerbate just about any illness and yet there are a few simple inexpensive things you can easily fit into your life to stress less, be more healthy and happy in your daily life!

Switch off

I am the worst at this. The first thing I check once I have turned my alarm off is Twitter. On my bus to work I catch up on the latest blogs, news and PR & marketing happenings. I scroll through every social media app I have, again and again. I stare at a screen all day. Come home and am glued to Netflix. Which is why I like to have ‘down days’ or even weekends where I like to not look at a screen and I turn off all devices. Initially, it’s hard to get used to as we are all so accustomed to checking our phones, it’s like we can’t survive without them, right? Trust me, this is great for calming the mind without notifications distracting you. One of the best decisions I made was deleting Facebook – much to the horror of friends!

Exercise

As Elle Woods would say, endorphin’s make you happy. Scientifically proven, exercise has always helped me improve my concentration, memory and has significantly improved my stress levels. It’s important to find a workout or activity you love, and many places offer free Yoga to try if you don’t want to commit. I despise running and working out at the gym, so opt for Yoga, Hiit, circuits, Spin and boxing classes.

Mediate

There is no need to chant, unless you want to. I was sceptical at first but found Yoga, vinyasa flow, to work wonders on my aches and pains and mental well-being. It teaches you to breath deeply, inhale and exhale through the nose and to be in the moment. It really helps me clear my mind whilst maintaining my flexibility. Even just sitting peacefully and taking a few breaths is sufficient – there are many apps available to help focus the mind and relax.

Work smarter

I find it funny when people boast about how many extra hours they put in at work. In reality, I feel this is more a reflection of how poorly one manages their workload. If you work efficiently, manage your workload, organise and work smarter, not harder, you achieve so much more, and no need to clock extra hours! Prepare the day before, with to do lists, prioritising tasks and thinking how best to use your time can benefit you on the day. I learnt whilst reading Robert Caldini’s book ‘Persuasion techniques’, that writing your goals on paper ensure you are much more likely to stick to it and fulfil it, than just verbally stating you’ll complete a task.

Challenge yourself & treat yourself!

We all work hard, but when was the last time you selfishly treated yourself? Don’t be afraid to spend your hard earned money on yourself. Treat yourself to a spa day, that nice top, a bath bomb, a holiday or take yourself out to dinner. It’s important to take time out to congratulate yourself, your body and mind because our bodies are often put to extremes, we are all works of extraordinary machinery. We need to worship ourselves as it’s so easy to take life and our bodies for granted! It’s important to find those moments, whether it’s 24 minutes or 24 hours to relax and de-stress fully and unapologetically.

Go stress less,

Love Career Girl xoxo

How to deal with an Office Bully

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The Office Bully comes in many different forms. From the slimy snake that steals your sales, to the office gossip who creates rumours behind your back, to the jealous, incompetent one, who’ll do everything in their power to get you fired. And, if you are a new graduate and naïve to the game, or an experienced soul, at some point in your life, whether you like it or not, you’ll come across at least one of the above.  No matter if you’re dealing with subtle Sandy or backstabbing, bitchy, Becky, there are things you can do to protect yourself and succeed despite the surrounding negative vibes.

If you think you are dealing with an Office Bully there are a multitude of options to stay ahead of the game.

Speak Up

Hopefully, there is someone in the organisation you work for who you feel comfortable enough to divulge details of your office bully’s actions. It could be a fellow co-worker, or, preferably HR. Think hard about what the office bully has done, or said, or even what they haven’t said. Have they purposely left you out of an important email? Have they taken credit for your hard work? Have they talked down to you or purposely tried to intimidate you? All these little things can accumulate easily and quickly, and, if you are not careful, can spiral out of control. It’s important to try and spot it and be aware of it in the early stages. Once you have started the process of verbally documenting the issues, it will be easier to voice a formal complaint later down the line, if you so wish.

Log It

Unless you have evidence, it’s often just your word against theirs; which is why it is so important to build a network of trust and communication. It’s no doubt a tricky, awkward situation, but it’s paramount to try and gain as much evidence as possible. Keep a log. Every backhanded comment, passive aggressive attitude or general patronising that’s come your way needs to be noted and logged. Who said it? When? How? Did anyone else hear it? If the above is committed via emails or texts, take screenshots. Try and be as neutral as possible.

Rise above it

Aggravating the situation doesn’t help and can often make things worse. You may want to give as good as you get, but try and stay calm, neutral and above all, professional. At the end of the day, you are there to work. So work your arse off and focus on doing well. Use that negative energy and turn into positive energy to propel you forward. Work harder then you’ve worked. Things do get better. Rise above it. Be mature. People want to see you do well, never better than them. Pay close attention to those who don’t praise you or congratulate you on your achievements; who instead will try and undermine and stifle your accomplishments. You are so much better. So succeed.

Success is the best revenge, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have ever experienced an Office Bully, either a co-worker or boss do, let me know. How did you cope? And what advice would you give?

Good Luck!

 

Love Career Girl xo

Hair Regime feat: Natural World

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Ever feel like changing up your hair? That’s exactly what’ll I’ll be doing soon, opting for Baleyage. Well that’s the plan. Like most people wanting what they can’t have, I’ve always wanted to have blond hair. I’ve only ever had my hair dyed once before, having pink tips at the end. It’s fun to experiment right?

What isn’t so fun is experimenting and having to trial and test so many various hair products to find ones that actually do what they promote on the box. My hair, although thick and voluminous, is a pain to style and straighten properly due to its natural kink. Oh and did I mention how quickly it can frizz up in the humidity?!

I have recently managed to tame my hair, having a new haircut helped but also sticking to a fairly good hair regime has made my hair shine more, feel glossy and neat. I thought I would share with you the few things I use as they have been an absolute game changer. So listen up…

Natural World: Charcoal & Mint*

After reviewing Natural World’s Argan Oil range, of which I absolutely loved, I was lucky enough to have been sent their Charcoal and Mint Shampoo & Conditioner, thanks to the lovely PR! I gave it a try… uh-mazing. If only you could smell the products. They are so refreshing and perfect for summer, revitalising my dull hair instantly. Infused with Activated Charcoal & Certified Organic Mint, with Rosemary, Lemongrass, Orange & Ylang Ylang essential oils; these products are 95% derived from natural products. They are also pretty affordable, available Tesco. Once I’ve finished with these bottles I’ll no doubt be stocking up.

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Aquis hair towel & Ojon rare blend oil

The Aquis hairwrap and the Ojon Oil were products found in a Sheerluxe & Latest in beauty edit box, my review here. I have used hair oils in the past, but have found this one to be the best. It’s not the cheapest but then again, it lasts ages, as you only need a pea size amount. I apply a few drops of the oil onto my hands, rub and then rough up my hair, through the tips and blow dry. Works a treat. And, forget drying your hair with your normal towel, invest in this innovative Aquis hair wrap, designed to dry your hair quickly, without damaging hair.

What are the hair products you swear by?

Love Career Girl

XO

 

PS – This item was gifted to me for promotional purposes, thoughts are all mine!

The Redundancy Rollercoaster

crew-56831.jpgAt 22 years young, the one thing I never anticipated, happened to me. One Friday morning I was made redundant. I think it was amazing to  my colleague and me that I didn’t cry when told! Instead, I calmly left and proceeded to wander aimlessly, like a zombie, in disbelief wondering what the hell I was going to do. It’s funny, it’s the situation you think you’ll never find yourself in. It happens in movies, to other people, but me?!

After allowing myself one day to wallow in sadness and cry my eyes out, I decided to set to and find another job. For someone who has always worked since the age of 14, to be out of work with no income, mounting debt and bills, was pretty scary! One of the first things I did when I arrived back home was hit Google. I stumbled upon an article which really sums up the surreal Rollercoaster emotions of Redundancy. This blog post is my experience of it, how to deal with it, and how to bounce back!

Shock 

Initially, my first response wasn’t actually to cry. Instead, I was completely stunned. Fortunately, it didn’t come as a massive shock, (read my Redundancy Warning Signs – up soon!) due to a multitude of reasons; I had a hunch it would happen.

Anger

I was surprisingly furious with everyone… What did I do to deserve this? Why me? I was devastated. Did I deserve to be treated like this?! In fact, I was so angry that I often lashed out at the ones who love me the most, and were there for me when I was sad. I turned really ugly towards my parents, who have always had my back.

Depression

Right now, I’m alright. I’ve had a lot of time to relax, think and pursue what I want, and I’m happy. At the time, it was a completely different story. People offer kind words like ‘when one door closes, another opens,’ which is lovely. However, in no way does it compensate for how borderline depressing it is. Going back to the drawing board of applying for jobs, interviews and being rejected is no joke! I felt a complete failure, my confidence and outlook on life was rock bottom. I put on a brave face to friends and family, often laughing about the shitty situation. However, deep down, I was upset. I had many sleepless nights and cried an awful lot. Also, because I was in this state, I refused to socialise with friends which, with hindsight, was probably counter-productive. For days on end I would suddenly become so teary, so wobbly and, because I was so ashamed about the situation, I didn’t really speak to a lot of my friends about it. Sounds terribly selfish, but the last thing I wanted to hear was how amazing their jobs were when I no longer had one. It was an incredibly stressful time!

Relief

I mentioned my situation to friends, family and strangers too, and they have all been surprisingly encouraging. Some gave me hope that this could be a blessing in disguise, giving me the freedom to pursue what I really want, with the knowledge and experience that I have gained thus far. Others have offered their own experiences of redundancy, how they dealt with it, and, that sometimes it propels you into something better.

I will never forgot that feeling of hopelessness, being unemployed is a horrible predicament to find yourself in. I am a true believer in trusting the universe. Sometimes it takes extremes like this to re-evaluate your life, focus on what you want, what benefits, excites and challenges you, as that is what you should pursue. A quote from Em Sheldons‘ blog, “Rainy days make flowers” is scrawled on a post it note above my desk, which really helped motivate me. Things do work out for the best, and if it hasn’t yet, there’s still time.

Have you ever lost your job or been made redundant? How did you cope? Can you relate to my experience? Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below.

Love Career Girl

xoxo

Dealing With Setbacks – Failed Driving Test

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Guess who was the butt of jokes from both friends & family?! After multiple failed attempts, a hell of a lot of money spent, numerous tears shed and many setbacks, I have finally passed!

Why on earth did it take you so long?! Well, I wanted to focus on A levels and my degree, so postponed learning to drive until I was more settled, with fewer distractions. Summer 2015 I began my search for driving instructors and stumbled upon Darren’s* website. I was blown away by the incredible ratings, many of which were given by people I knew. Although expensive, I decided to go ahead as the reviews were so good. I mean, you get what you pay for, right? I was wrong.

The first Lesson

Of course, like many inexperienced learner drivers, I was awful! Like walking, it is paramount to learn the basics before you can run. My first lesson involved driving on national speed limit roads, with roundabouts etc. I was thrown in at the deep end, which isn’t ideal! That first lesson, many expletives were directed at me. I swerved, stalled, cried and nearly had numerous accidents. It didn’t really get much better after that.

Once, with tears streaming down my cheeks, blurry eyed, borderline hyperventilating, I raced at break neck speed up to a very busy roundabout. I managed to hesitate, then stall spectacularly, right in the middle of traffic, causing many cars to screech to an abrupt halt to miss hitting me. My rather po faced examiner was far from impressed!

Failure isn’t an option

Third time lucky? I wish. After driving so well I was certain I had passed, and overcome with emotion I managed to exceed the speed limit in the last minute and failed, of course…

I improved marginally but was told, repeatedly, just how fabulous a driver I was and how I should pass my test in no time. My poor dad also gave me lessons (which I don’t advise, purely because you can fall into bad habits, not adhering to ‘test’ conditions!) where I picked up conflicting information and methods of doing things, eg. parking! So, after a few months of appalling driving, I was rushed into a driving test which of course I failed MAGNIFICENTLY! The funny thing was, although I knew deep down I wasn’t ready and with parents concerned that I wasn’t up to standard, I didn’t think to cancel it. When you are repeatedly told how great a driver you are, you start to believe it!

Trust Your Gut

I had more driving tests, more failures, more shouting, swearing and conflicting advice from Darren, my driving instructor. Darren was bad tempered, rude, impatient and often made me cry. The perfect example really of how not to teach pupils. My driving lessons always started late. He was incredibly unreliable. On one test day, he turned up 30 mins late, cutting short my practise time beforehand. On another occasion I told him 2 months in advance I had found a test date, which he agreed to & gave me the appropriate lessons. Then, a week before, Darren states he’s double booked. Because of staff shortages and increased demand, I had to postpone my driving test for 3 months. Pissed off? Yeah. By this point I was more than test ready.

Perfect driver & rock bottom self-esteem

6 months later I was a perfectly good driver. However, much to my annoyance, nerves got the better of me, ensuring I made mistakes I would never normally make! Psychologically, I associated that test centre with negative thoughts of failure. I even contemplated hypnotherapy!

New driving instructor, different test centre & positive outlook!

I decided I needed a change pronto. Armed with a friend’s recommendation, I found a new driving instructor, Patrick* who was an absolute breath of fresh air! He retaught me a few things, instantly put me at ease, knew my confidence was rock bottom but quickly and effectively built it back up! I failed again in a different test centre due to nerves. I was in a state; I cried halfway through the test, but my driving was near perfect! A month later, I passed!

I was inspired to write my experience after reading oxjane – who failed 7 times. The thoughts and emotions she expressed, the sadness and the frustration really propelled me to carry on. It motivated me because, believe me… I was very close to giving up! Living where I live, transport links aren’t the best. The lack of freedom meant it was so much harder to organise socialising with friends, going to the gym and being spontaneous!

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comments below.

Love Career Girl!

xoxo

De-Stress:feat Katie Loxton

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So in the space of a month a lot of great life changing things have happened, a lot of swings and roundabouts, but I am finally more myself and much more zen now.

My sleep pattern has been awful recently and I haven’t been sleeping well. I need to get back into the groove and continue to attend Yoga and Pilates, learn to relax and take time out more. I would love to complete my goal of mastering the crow position!

However, I have found the benefits of having a routine and being organised, especially when wanting to feel less frazzled in the mornings!

The night before having a particularly busy or stressful day, it’s so important to have a good night’s sleep. Having a bath, lighting a candle, and a personal favourite of mine is putting lavender oil on my pillow; which helps me sleep quickly and deeply! I wake up feeling so refreshed.

Also, if I have late night projects to do then lighting a candle instead of using my big light helps reduce the strain on my eyes. And who doesn’t love a nice smelling candle, right?

This past week I can’t get enough of the gorgeous smell of this Katie Loxton ‘happiness’ candle, with subtle hints of sweet orange and mango. The candle comes in lovely white and gold packaging – simple and elegant. The feel good fragrance is blended with the highest quality soy wax and contains essential oils, each scent chosen specifically to enhance ones mood and well-being.

This is a completely new brand to me, I found the company hewson & nash via Twitter! Their website houses independent retailers who sell a range of products, from candles to clothes. It is definitely worth checking out; whether you want to pamper yourself or treat a colleague/friend!

The founders of the company have an incredible back story which you can read up on via their website. The aim is that you can support independent, local retailers, AND you can contribute to charity too, which is a fantastic combination!

I am so glad I found this website and I will no doubt be buying more Katie Loxton items!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Love Career Girl

xoxo

ps candle was given to me for promotional purposes but thoughts are mine!

 

Get Hired Via Email!

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I remember when I graduated and I have blogged about this multiple times before, but it is totally normal to find the process of job hunting online boring, frustrating, time-consuming and somewhat depressing! Our parents tended to job hunt in person yet, increasingly, new jobs are being advertised and processed online via online job applications. You may have to uploaded your CV and cover letter etc. and wonder why you hear nothing back…

Beat the Applicant Tracking System

Well it’s probably because no one sees it! That’s right, a computer sifts through all those hundreds, if not thousands of CV’s searching for specific keywords within your CV; and if you pass the ‘Applicant Tracking System’ process only then will a human – aka the HR department, actually read your CV!!

The thought process understandably is that one person cannot deal with the overwhelming surge in applications and so the computer system takes over, saving time. However, in my opinion, great, talented candidates are put off by such lengthy and inhuman processes, so will look and apply elsewhere.

Potentially, there are ways to beat the system so to speak. By inputting keywords into your CV in white (so they are picked up but not shown up) or even formatting your CV better, the list goes on. But is it worth it?

You may be the perfect candidate and incredibly talented but if you don’t specify specific keywords outlined in the job description, (& it’s pot luck to receive one) your CV won’t be selected!

Dream job is an Email away!

As the title of this blog post suggests, it is possible to bypass those pointless job applications that disappear into the abyss. Just use email! Believe it or not there are jobs out there that don’t require you to fill out pointless applications!

Even if there are no vacancies advertised at your dream company, it is always worth sending prospective emails with your CV attached. Start by introducing yourself, outlining your past and current situation, experience, why you should work at the company and what you can bring to the table, also know as ‘pain letters’. The worst thing they can do is ignore you, but you have a much better chance of being noticed with your CV being read and also are more likely to be considered for future roles too! Also, make sure to include contact details and a link to your LinkedIn profile in your signature!

I hope this helps!

Good luck!

Love Career Girl

xoxo