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Confidence boost

5 Simple Self Care Tips for Fall

With a summer that surely expired quicker than we all would like, it’s almost time for the weather to change again. Fall in Boston has so many redeeming qualities: colorful leaves, cozy sweaters, apple picking (see: apple donuts) and your favorite warm drink.

Unfortunately, this time of year can also bring extra anxiety and sometimes an overwhelming increase in items on the ‘to-do’ list. As we plan for the upcoming start of classes, new jobs, and whatever else may be on the horizon, it is important to remember that it’s not all about the hustle. Slowing down and taking time for YOU is vital for well-being and long-term productivity.

When you are happy and managing stress, you are performing better overall – so, to help our followers stay at the top of their game we compiled these 5 tips for self care. 

  1. Take time for soul-searching before taking action

Something often overlooked in self care is the importance of individual consideration. No number of spa days will cure the overwhelming stress of working in a role that is a major mismatch; or, working within culture that mismatches with your own personal beliefs. 

Taking some time to clear your head, identify a root cause or a personal need can be the best gift to yourself. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or in personal matters and aren’t able to quash the stress or anxiety, take time to soul search. If there is something or someone in your life causing you pain, and you are able to distance yourself, then that may be the best self care possible. Similarly, if you used to love to paint (or name a hobby) but haven’t had time for it lately, maybe it’s time to pick up that brush and see if it is the escape you needed.

Our leadership team is composed of a diverse group of women and we all have different self-care rituals. You must find what works for you. 

Have trouble slowing your mind down long enough to think? Sometimes the best way to think is to pause long enough to catch your breath & be present – Try one of these guided meditation apps to find your zen:

Headspace

Calm

Insight Timer

Ensō 

& for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to meditation, read this

 

  1. Hit the weights

Getting into an exercise routine can be the hardest part with a busy schedule but blocking time on your calendar and following through is worth it! There is no prescribed time for the positive results of exercise so just get your blood pumping even if that means taking 10-15 minutes each morning to do push ups and sit ups before your morning routine. 

Research shows that exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function. But don’t just take our word for it:

Harvard Health on exercising to relax.

American Psychological Association on the stress and exercise link.

American Heart Association on working out to relieve stress.

 

  1. Indulge in a spa day

A spa day doesn’t mean you need to take an entire day off (unless you can – then treat yourself). Instead, choose a service that makes you happy and relax. Taking an hour to get your nails done or get a massage could be “your” meditation.  Changing up your hair or nails can be a boost of confidence. A spa day isn’t going to fully change your self perception BUT it gives you a chance to step back and refresh your look (& hopefully outlook on life).

Having a positive self image can impact your daily life and part of that is how you feel in your skin. Think through these positive thinking strategies as you pick out your new fall nail color (helpful for perfectionists like me!). 

  1. Take a walk

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed out and aren’t able to take time off (yet) –  sometimes the best thing to do is take a walk. Even taking a walk around the office or around the building outside can do wonders for clearing your head or helping you cool down from a tense situation in the classroom or boardroom. Walking removes you from the stressors and the stressful environment and can give you much needed fresh perspective. 

For even more value on your walk – take a friend. Use the walk to vent or get feedback on an issue you are facing. Or use the time to connect with someone you may not normally talk to and make a new friend in the process. 

 

  1. READ

If time off of work for travel & relaxation is out of the question, take your mind on vacation. One of the easiest ways to escape is to dive into a good book and feel immersed in its pages.

If you have a long commute (shout out to the MBTA), you can take 10-15 minutes to step away from your stressors and imagine a different world or learn something new. Once you reach your destination, you will at least have a fresh perspective on your environment and maybe even a few ideas to tackle the day’s challenges!

 Check out these 24 reads under 200 pages (both fiction and non-fiction).

 

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

– Lalah Delia

 

Finally, remember that we are in this together. Empower, Engage and Elevate!

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What does confidence mean to you?

Written By Kate Hardy.

That was the question asked to a room filled with one hundred women and a few men on Wednesday evening at de la Femme. Deb Elbaum, MD, CPCC, APCC, a career and life coach, author, and speaker, was hosted by de la Femme for a workshop at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. The topic of the night was, DSC01125“Boost Your Professional Presence: The Art of Being Confident.”

Deb’s workshop is interactive, and her goal is to help women learn to believe in themselves and present their ideas with confidence both professionally and personally as they work towards their own successes. Everyone in attendance left with a new sense of empowerment and concrete ways to practice confidence on their own.

To many, confidence must sometimes seem like a difficult and challenging feeling to achieve. What makes one person feel completely at ease and confident may make another feel unsure and indecisive. But on this night, Deb made it seem so much simpler, with her thoughtful exercises and her tangible, actionable steps.

The central message of the night was simple and direct: A + B = C. Attitude + Body = Confidence.

Upon arrival, all of us were given a worksheet of thoughtful questions that we would soon be guided through answering. These questions were formulated to help us discover insights about ouconfidence poserselves. One of the first pairs of questions we answered were: what people, places, things, or events cause us to feel like our confidence is being sucked away, and which situations cause us to feel we are completely confident? And then, an extra challenge: Tell the person sitting next to you.

The thing is, as scary as it can be to tell a complete stranger these personal insights, the valuable lesson is that we’re all in the same boat. We all have things that make us feel confident, and we all have things that make us feel totally un-confident. Not to mention, what makes me feel completely paralyzed with self-doubt may have very well made my neighbor feel energized and on top of the world. “Wow,” I found myself thinking. “If she can have the attitude to feel confident about giving a presentation to 500 people, then maybe I can be that way, too!”

A bit further on in the evening, as we completed the other parts of our worksheets, we were instructed to finish statements like, “At home, I am really good at…” After this thought exercise, we created a personal purpose statement. This was a combination of words or themes that we felt captured us best from the statements we had just completed. Mine? I found that I was a motivated, goal-oriented communicator.

At first, that seemed kind of odd. “Am I really that way?” I asked myself. Sometimes I feel like my communication skills are lacking. I don’t always ask for what I need from other people to be successful, to feel nurtured, or to clarify a situation because I don’t feel confident enough to do so. But, lo and behold, I found that just moments before I had finished the statement, “At work, I am really good at,” with, “teaching and communicating.”de la femme audience

Deb explained how large an impact our own self-beliefs, our attitude, has on our overall confidence. We have this well of confidence within us, just waiting to be drawn from. If we learn to identify and question our negative self-beliefs, we will most likely find at least one confidence drainer. Once these are uncovered, we can work to correct them and replace them with positive self-beliefs. We are in control of our confidence by shaping our attitudes.

The second letter in our alphabet equation was B for body.

As it turns out, Deb taught us Amy Cuddy’s power pose, which was based on the coaching of Amy’s TED talk and work. Your body language not only translates to others, but it also translates to your own emotional state. When you position your body in a way of strength and freedom, your mind listens.

DSC01150Next, we all stood up and learned how to power pose.  We learned how to plant our legs firmly on the ground a little bit apart. Body straight. Head up. Eyes forward. Arms flung up in the air or Superwoman-style on our hips. And that is how we stayed for a full minute.

Right before these power poses, Deb had asked us to stand hunched, arms crossed, bodies curled into ourselves, eyes down. She asked us to describe how we felt: “Small.” “Nervous.” “Unsure.”

But when we struck those power poses, our reactions were completely different: “Powerful.” “Energized.” “Confident.”

Attitude + Body = Confidence.

Yes. How simple, and yet, how hard at times! Deb explained that confidence is a practice. It is a habit. She encouraged us to practice power posing every day. And to not stop questioning the attitudes that make us feel we are not confident. Because we are. All of us in that room had a well of confidence from which we could draw endless amounts of our own personal support.

Walking home from the workshop, my friend and I talked about how we had both learned insights about ourselves. She told me that sometimes she doesn’t speak up to her boss because she doesn’t want to step on toes. I considered this for a minute, and then pointed out that often times a group or organization is stronger for opposing beliefs. And that maybe her newer and less experienced views on her job may actually be innovative. Thanks to this workshop, she was learning to identify her negative self-beliefs and had tools to practice positive self-beliefs instead.Susu & Robin

I’m sure I speak for almost all of the attendees that night when I say that Deb guided us to some valuable personal insights and gave us powerful tools to help practice and nurture those wells of confidence we hold within. We learned how to identify and question our negative self-beliefs, how to create positive self-beliefs in return, and how to channel positive energy with our physical bodies to channel pure confidence.

And as for my neighbor? I got a text message from her the very next morning that read, “My boss called me last night. I used my new confidence!”

Written By Kate Hardy.

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