Share the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is a great opportunity to appreciate everything you have, and consider giving back to the community. Here are a few ways you can give back this season.

Invite a Neighbor Over

If you’re hosting the traditional family dinner, you probably already have too many people to cook for. Adding an extra plate on the table may not sound like a big deal to you, but it might mean the world to a neighbor who has nowhere to go. If you know someone who is spending the holidays alone, ask them to join you for the family feast. Even if they kindly declines, your invitation will give them a sense of appreciation and belonging.

Volunteer

Working during the festive season may not be your idea of fun; you’d probably rather pass some time at home with your loved ones. However, spending just a few hours on a good cause can be infinitely more rewarding. It will also teach invaluable life lessons to people around you. What’s more, the feeling of solidarity and togetherness you will gain from this experience is the ultimate manifestation of the holiday spirit.

Donate Old Items

The things you don’t use anymore can prove to be priceless gifts for someone less fortunate. Make a list of all the items you no longer want, including old toys, clothes, furniture, and appliances, and ask around to find out if anyone needs them. Alternatively, you can donate them to charity organizations at work. Some companies have donation boxes on their property to make donating easier for you.

The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration. It is also a great time to show your compassion and consideration to those who need it the most, and try to help others have wonderful, lasting memories.

 

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Improve Your Work-Life Balance

Maintaining the proper work-life balance is important, but it is easier said than done. With so many of us working more hours than ever before, taking time for ourselves often seems like a pipe dream.

Even so, it is important for workers to take time for themselves and improve their lives. The time you invest into this self-improvement can actually help you in your career while reducing your stress level significantly. Here are five steps you can take to improve your work-life balance.

  1. Keep Learning

Lifelong learning is an essential part of the modern workplace. If you are not constantly learning new things, you risk getting left behind and losing ground to coworkers.

Ask your employer for recommendations on courses you could take, books you could read and online resources you could use to improve your performance and advance your career. You can also seek out resources on your own, from online classes offered by the local community college to books you can check out of the public library.

  1. Assess Your Retirement Readiness

Even if retirement is years away, it never hurts to assess your retirement readiness and the current state of your finances. You might find that you are in better shape than you thought, and that revelation could have a profound impact on your work-life balance.

If your finances allow, you could seek out part-time opportunities with your current employer and do a phased-in retirement. That strategy allows you to earn and income and build up your nest egg while allowing you to ease into retirement. If your finances are not quite so robust, you can take the opportunity to save more money and get ready for a traditional retirement.

  1. Try Something New

Trying something new is a great way to improve your work-life balance and make yourself feel better. If you have always wanted to learn home wine-making or scrapbooking, taking a class or checking out online instructions can be very fulfilling.

You can even incorporate your fun new hobby into your gift giving when the holiday season rolls around. Your relatives would love a bottle of homemade wine or a custom-crafted scrapbook for the holidays.

  1. Help Someone Else

Nothing makes us feel better than helping someone in need. Helping someone else will make you feel great and give you a newfound sense of purpose. If your office participates in a holiday food or toy drive, make plans to participate. If not, think about starting one.

You can also participate in charity drives at church, or adopt a needy family on your own. There are literally hundreds of ways to give back this holiday season and now is a great time to get started.

  1. Take Time for Yourself

Giving to others is great, but do not forget to make time for yourself. Juggling work, home life and kids is a delicate balancing act, and it can all get pretty overwhelming. Taking time for yourself is often the best way to maintain your sanity.

Enjoy a spa day now and then, or just lock the bathroom door and take a relaxing bubble bath. Light some candles and enjoy a romantic date night with your partner.. No matter how you choose to treat yourself, you will come back refreshed and ready to tackle another day.

Maintaining the proper work-life balance is not always easy, but it is important. With so many people working harder than ever before, balancing the needs of employers and families is only going to get harder. Learning how to keep things in balance is an essential survival strategy in the modern world.

Holiday Gifts for Your Co-workers

The holidays are approaching rapidly, and choosing the right gift for your co-workers can often be challenging. Almost everyone loves technology, and that makes gift shopping easier. There are great new accessories to match almost every name on your shopping list. Take a look at the following useful and appealing gift ideas.

USB Wall Charger

Devices drain power fast but with USB wall chargers your coworkers will never complain again. They are available in a variety of colours and styles. They are universally compatible with smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth speaker/headphones, MP3 players, and other USB powered devices. This is a great gift for anyone, and the pricing makes it perfect for gift exchanges.

Smartphone Printer

Who wouldn’t like to find a smartphone printer under the tree? People take great photos with their smartphones, and it’s great to be able to print their favorites and frame them instantly. Many printers work with both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Using great photo templates from Facebook, Real Time, Instagram and more, your co-workers will love to print photos and share them with others.

Selfie Sticks

In 2017 the Selfie Stick is a necessity, capturing a team photo or event beautifully makes it all the better. Many are now waterproof and work with smartphones, DSLR cameras, GoPros, and small camcorders. The price is low, but the quality is high. You’ll want to get one for every member of the team!

Apps

App based monitoring of your garage door from any location is all the rage, there is no need to replace your current door opener anymore. New apps sync with most smartphone and you can open your door by swiping. You’ll be notified if your garage door is left open by one of the kids, and you’ll be able to close it from wherever you are. Gifts like these offer your coworkers peace of mind.

Make the people on your holiday shopping list happy this year with one of these exciting gifts ideas.

Bring More Creativity into Your 9 to 5

A 9 to 5 schedule is a busy one indeed. It is said that human brains can function at their best for 6 hours max on a working day, but what if you have to work 8 hours a day? How do you boost your creativity and use it more in your job? Below are three important tips that will help you bring more creativity into your 9 to 5.

Choose to work on projects that require creativity

Find a project that might raise your interest. Seek a position that will allow you to develop your creativity and that will make you want to get involved 150%.

You can talk to your manager and tell them that you are interested in trying something new. With a little bit of support from your boss, you will get there. Also, ask your colleagues what they are doing. Try to get involved in other processes, you might be surprised to find out that you actually enjoy it.

Keep some spare time for yourself

During your spare time, do what you like. Maybe you like cooking, or you just want to lie down and read a book. Maybe you like to paint. Whatever it is, feeding your creativity with what you enjoy doing makes you more efficient during workdays. Go out for a run; play your favorite song or combine some clothes that you do not wear anymore into a new outfit.

Exercise your creativity every day

Give your mind and soul a little spark of creativity every day. Make creativity a routine and you will be able to develop it during working hours as well.

Try doing different things every day. When you are preparing for a meeting, make it look different. Use a different font in PowerPoint, or use unique examples from real life or from books or movies. Anything works.

Your creative brain will appreciate the efforts you make to put more of your interests into the day. It may be just what’s needed to revitalize your career.

How to De-Stress After Work

Decreasing stress levels is crucial to having a happier and healthier life. Unmanaged stress can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety disorders or depression. It may also result in unhealthy habits such as excessive alcohol consumption or smoking. Stress is a mechanism to stimulate the body. For instance, short-term stress can motivate you to give a good presentation. However, persistent stress is harmful and should be decreased.

Stress can be reduced by changing your lifestyle. Develop a healthy balance. Make sure you get enough quality time with your partner, friends, or family. Don’t bring work problems into your social life. Having an absorbing hobby – whether it be drawing, writing fiction, or woodworking  – it will help you take your mind off work. If you think that you don’t have time for hobbies, consider that relaxation improves productivity. Even if you reserve just half an hour a day for your hobby, your overall performance will improve.

Lead a healthy life. Make sure you eat healthily and regularly. Take a banana to work; it has stress-relieving qualities. On a bad day, a bar of chocolate can immediately boost your mood.

Exercise regularly. Most people don’t have the time for a daily two-hour gym routine, but as little as 30 minutes of walking every day can make a difference. If you can’t manage even that, do some stretches or push ups to release tension from your body.

Identify any underlying issues. Do you tend to worry about one particular aspect of your work? Develop healthy coping strategies. Write down what you are worried about. Then enlist possible solutions to the problem or try to develop a more positive outlook. Acknowledge that chronic worrying rarely solves problems – but it can make your performance worse.

Having a balanced and healthy life is the base for managing persistent stress. However, sometimes you need a quick trick to deal with the stress immediately. Here are some suggestions:

  •    laugh;
  •    slow down your breathing;
  •    kiss someone;
  •    listen to soothing music;
  •    chew a gum;
  •    stroke a pet;
  •    sigh;
  •    sing;
  •    do some stretches.

Stress have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. Having a good balance and leading a healthy life is crucial to managing persistent stress. Some tricks, like laughing or chewing a gum, may release stress immediately.

Stay Positive Through the Winter with These 5 Tips

Do the winter months get you down? The cold, murky days and early evenings may seem dreary and depressing, but look again, and you’ll find winter is a bright and bustling season, with plenty to warm your heart and lift your spirits. Here are five great features about winter, and tips to help you enjoy them. These are sure to keep you feeling upbeat right through to spring.

  1. Celebrate the seasonal festivities

With Hanukkah, Christmas and other seasonal holidays and events, winter is always full of festivities and meet-ups with colleagues, customers, family and friends. It’s a time for parties, gifts, and cards to your acquaintances. It’s a great time of year to reach out not only to family and friends, but to business partners, customers and vendors to say thank you and pass along best wishes. Participating in the social aspects of the holiday season will help brighten your mood.

  1. Enjoy the winter culture

After the slow, sleepy summer, life gets going again in the fall, and by winter, it’s buzzing with activity. From ice skating, tobogganing, and even simple winter walks, there is plenty to do outside that can help you enjoy the winter months. Try planning an outdoor event for your work team or family and friends to get you outside and enjoying a winter activity or two.

  1. Make the most of the bright lights and cozy corners 

Decorate your office with glittering tinsel, lanterns, baubles or other bright trimmings. Make the space warm and comfortable. And don’t shut yourself in all winter. Join the bustling throngs of holiday shoppers in the lit-up streets and enjoy the seasonal decorations around the town. Never mind wind, rain or hail. If you’re wrapped up warm and keeping up a brisk pace, you’ll hardly notice the weather through the vibrant atmosphere.

  1. Let winter’s natural beauty inspire you

Some people say winter is drab and dreary, but look at the bare trees and you’ll be buoyed up by their graceful shapes against the sky. Take a lunchtime stroll in the park to enjoy the brisk air and winter magic. You’ll come back feeling invigorated after being out in the crisp, fresh air.

  1. Remember spring is on the way

When winter comes, you know that spring is getting ready. The ground may look muddy and lifeless, but it’s very much alive. Nutrients from the summer’s harvest are melding with the soil, enriching it for next year’s vegetation, and deep down, plant bulbs are establishing themselves, preparing to grow new shoots. Nature’s only resting a while, remember.

If the sky is dark and gloomy and your mood is too, look at the bright lights instead. Focus on the positive side of winter, and you’ll feel positive, too.

Colour Wonderland

Have you been colouring? Show us your masterpiece!

Colouring isn’t just for kids anymore. Adults are finding great relaxation and stress relief in the act of colouring. Health benefits ranging from reduced stress and anxiety to an increase in calmness, creativity and nostalgia from a simpler time have all been reasons people are picking up pencil crayons and markers and setting time aside for this therapeutic activity.

Do you doodle at your desk? Or on your boardroom whiteboard? If so, we want to see your creative designs! Together with Sanford, we’re calling all office artists to submit your doodles and drawings for a chance to win your very own Ultimate Fine Art Gift Pack during the Colour Wonderland Contest! Learn more about Prismacolor tools that are perfect coloruing at eway.ca.

Visit staplesbusinessadvantage.ca/colourwonderland for a chance to win!

Contest is open for entries November 1, 2017 9:00:01 AM EST and closes 11:59:59 PM EST on November 30, 2017. To be eligible to win, an entrant must be a Canadian resident, excluding residents of Quebec; have reached the age of 21 as of the Contest start date; be a fulltime employee of a company operating in Canada with 10 or more employees, or be an existing customer of Staples Business Advantage Canada. For full contest rules and regulations visit: http://www.staplesbusinessadvantage.ca/pages/colourwonderland.page?lang=en