Category Archives: Work/Life Balance

Work/Life Balance: 5 Ways to Relieve Work Stress

Work-Life BalanceIn today’s fast-paced, always connected world it seems we often live in a constant state of high stress. Everyone has a different level of tolerance for stress, and everyone has different ways of coping with stress, too. Throughout my career, my colleagues and I have come across many ways to relieve stress.

Here are a few of those simple stress relievers you could try, so your stress level doesn’t go off the charts:

1. Practice mindful meditation. An acupuncturist introduced me to the concept of mindful meditation. Mindful meditation has been featured on Dr. Oz, and according to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, mindful meditation (or awareness) is “paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is an excellent antidote to the stresses of modern times. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one’s inner experience.”

To get started with mindful meditation, download the UCLA research center’s free guided meditations on iTunes. These podcasts, which range from three to 19 minutes, can fit into any busy schedule.

2. Walk away. No, I don’t mean walk out on your job. Simply walk away from your desk for a few minutes to de-stress and recharge. Walk around your building or if you’re lucky enough to work on a college campus, take a quick walk around campus.

3. Dream of another job. A workplace mental health counselor once told my colleagues and me that one way of coping with high-stress situations in your current job is to start looking for another job. Even if you don’t plan to leave your current job, the act of looking at a few online job boards may help ease stress because it helps to know there are other options out there if the demands of your current job become too much to handle.

4. Laugh it off. A former colleague of mine used her incredible sense of humor to ease her and her co-workers’ stress. Periodically throughout the year, the co-worker (who was an experienced writer) put pen to paper to create a fake newsletter. It used made-up headlines and stories to poke fun at stressful situations experienced throughout the year. Writing the “newsletter” was therapeutic for the co-worker, and it eased the stress of other trusted coworkers who read it. If writing isn’t your talent, though, find a way to introduce laughter into each day.

5. Turn off your devices. We’re constantly connected to gadgets today, but the constant buzz or glow of a smartphone or tablet can be a stressor, and it may impact your sleep as well. Research shows that the glow from device screens may keep you awake and contribute to other health issues. So turn off your devices after you get home for at least an hour or two before you go to bed to ease stress and get a better night’s sleep.

Image credit: Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Modified by Dana’s Creative Services


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

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For Mother’s Day: Lessons Learned From My Grandmother

Mother's Day

My grandmother as a young girl.

Grandmas are the best. At least my grandma was. She died last year after a brief, unexpected illness. Until the day she died, she was full of spirit and was physically fit enough she could touch the floor with the palm of her hands while standing with her legs straight.

I think my grandma is the person I admire most and I am grateful to have spent time with her to get to know her and her stories. So in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I’d like to share with you the top three lessons I’ve learned from my grandma:

1. Tell your family you love them. Even though Grandma was 90, her death was still a bit sudden. She had fallen sick only the day before, and then the illness spread rapidly. I had been intending to call Grandma to chat for at least a week before, but things kept getting in the way. Then one evening as I was drifting off to sleep a voice came to me and said, “Call your grandmother, in case something happens.” The next day I called her and we talked briefly, only for about 10-15 minutes. The following morning, my mom called and told me Grandma had died. I’m so happy I called her, because I got to tell her I loved her and hear her laughter one last time. This also taught me a lesson: Tell your family and other people in your life that you love them often. And talk to your family often. You never know when it might be the last time.

2. Don’t work so hard. Grandma told this to my sisters and me frequently. In our last conversation, she again gave me this advice. Grandma was dedicated to her family, so her saying this helped me remember life is more than work. Life is also about spending time with family and friends, enjoying a special hobby, and having fun.

3. Even if bad things happen, you can still have a positive attitude. My grandma lost two husbands. The first time, she became a single mother and had to find a job to support her family. The second time (after many happy years together) she watched her second husband slowly get weaker due to cancer. With these and other hardships she experienced in her life, it would have been easy for her to be bitter. Instead, she chose to embrace life and to have a positive attitude. In her final years, she often told us how blessed she felt to have had two great loves of her life and wonderful children and grandchildren who made her proud.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.