Perfectionism

If you’re a hard-charging workaholic like I am, you too might be struggling with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism stems from anxiety about being accepted, loved, and “good enough.” I’ve been working on this challenge my whole life, and here are some tips I’ve found:

  • Consciously talk kindly and positively to yourself when you accomplish the smallest things. Don’t forget to give yourself praise regularly, because that keeps you motivated and thinking in a positive light about yourself and what your achievements mean to you. Make time to read and watch positive and motivational materials as well to reinforce the kind and compassionate thoughts you want to have. Give yourself credit for trying so hard all the time. You really deserve it!
  • Make sure you schedule breaks, sleep, and times to eat all three meals each day.

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  • Make sure you pamper yourself for a regular set period of time (example: Pamper Day once a week). Making a conscious display to yourself that you will hold and take care of yourself everyday helps to curb anxiety and depression. Your body wants to feel held, just as it did when you were a baby. Self-care and hygiene are perfect ways to affirm this to yourself regularly.
  • Journal and reflect on your goals, tasks and objectives often.
  • Use your planner religiously to lower your general stress levels.
  • Spend time with other people you trust and ask them for their opinions of how you come across to them. This can really help if you’ve been beating down on yourself a lot lately for being grumbly or imperfect or unproductive or sad.
  • Allow your emotions – whether they are positive or negative or neutral. Allowing yourself to feel what you really feel instead of shaming yourself for feeling negative can help you address the issues that are really lying under the surface. Negative feelings (sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt) are your body’s way of telling you that you are lacking something for your health and well being. It can be a motivating force for making the necessary changes to your life that will help you feel better.
  • Stop “shoulding yourself.” I’ll discuss this more at length in another post soon. Basically, what I mean by this tip is, stop telling yourself that you “should” feel a certain way or that you “should” do something. This is basically like mental bitch-slapping, and it’s another way of shaming yourself for not having positive emotions ALL THE TIME (see previous tip on allowing).

I hope these tips encourage you to embrace your perfectionist self and make you feel loved and held! These are the true secrets to sustaining yourself and your ability to continue to make notable accomplishments in the long term.

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

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Review: Forest App

The Forest App is a really great way to get the forward momentum you need to get the tasks you hate or dread done!

When you want to start studying or completing a focus-oriented task, open Forest and plant a tree. You can set the timer for the tree to grow anywhere from 10 min to 120 min.

 

Your tree starts as a small sprout and over the course of the work period you set for yourself, it grows up into a tree! Forest works by blocking sites you choose to “Blacklist” with a warning that if you proceed to the site you will kill your tree. You can also “Whitelist” certain sites to show the app that you are indeed focused and on-task during your session. Be sure to include anything you might need in your session before you start – even a Web page as innocuous or even productive as Google calculator or a Google search will show the warning page if you forget to whitelist it first. You can either use the app on your phone or on your laptop browser.

At the end of your session, Forest plants the tree in your own little “pocket forest.” If you buy the premium version of the app, your pocket forest will earn you points that will eventually result in planting real trees in parts of the world that need them! Pretty cool that your staying on-task can wind up doing good for society. Win-win!

                       

This app is simple enough to use. I think for the motivation that comes from doing small acts of societal good in line with completing annoying tasks that you know you already should be doing, it’s totally worth the ~$3 you pay to get the premium version. The ethos of this app is really quite motivating.

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

{Strategy} | Tips for Work-Life Balance

Hi, Femme Bosses!

In today’s overly-caffeinated society, we are often hustling for things we just really don’t care about anymore. And to what end? Do we really enjoy the life we are achieving through this process? How can we make this life better and still produce quality work and good health for ourselves at the same time?

If you feel like college or work life is pick 2 of 3 – sleep, study, or socialize – fear not! YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Try not to laugh these “so obvious” tips off. They take a lot of effort to integrate into your young adult daily habits. Here are some tips to help you achieve a work-life balance:

  • USE A PLANNER! This basic practice is a serious lifesaver. I highly recommend the Law of Attraction Planner because filling it out forces you to reflect on how you’re progressing through your goals. It also gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate your values, goals and objectives on a regular basis. I actually stumbled upon this journal-planner combo on Amazon by accident in graduate school, when I felt I had hit rock bottom. TOTAL. GAME. CHANGER. Now I’m out in the workforce, having completed my degree, and working on new goals that I find interesting, challenging, and engaging. But I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.

  • Schedule out time to sleep. Yes, make this a priority! And ACTUALLY WRITE DOWN THE BLOCK OF HOURS FOR SLEEP EACH DAY in your planner! It will make your waking hours much more productive if you give your body the opportunity to set a reasonable and orderly circadian rhythm. Your sleep will also be more productive because your body will know when it’s okay to start getting sleepy and to do its regenerative work.
  • Take time to nurture your spiritual side. This can take form in a variety of ways: making arts and crafts, dancing, singing, meditating, making a vision board, practicing yoga, pampering your body, listening to music or motivational podcasts, writing notes to your family and friends, going to church, or saying prayers or mantras. Even putting on makeup can help you feel more confident, put together, and ready to go for the day.

         

  • Make time to eat. If you’re a workaholic like me, I know this can feel like a hassle sometimes, but schedule 30 minutes or an hour each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Setting it at reasonable intervals will help you keep your blood sugar constant, which is better for your mood, brain power and efficiency, and your overall long-term health. Pick foods that make you salivate and get excited about taking the break. My saving grace in grad school was Lao Gan Ma because it had MSG (no, it’s really not bad for you! It’s the salt form of an amino acid you need in your body anyway) and you could put it on virtually everything to make it delicious. Even if your cooking sucks! Meal prepping in advance (on your lazy day, perhaps) or having a few tasty, quick recipes already memorized with ingredients on hand can also work wonders for your stress levels during the week. You will save money and you will feel more in control of what you are putting into your body. You also will not wind up hangry because you’ll have a steady supply of what you need to keep you going.
  • Divide large tasks into smaller tasks before ordering your tasks and executing. Making objectives as small as possible will help you not feel overwhelmed about all the things you have to do today. This also will help you avoid procrastination (which happens when you are overwhelmed about all the things you still have to do and don’t want to do any of them actually). In other words, treat yourself kindly and make things as easy on yourself as possible.
  • Do the quickest two tasks first, then do the hardest one next. I highly recommend this order of execution because it gets you in the mindset of “I can, and I am doing,” giving you the initial momentum you need to tackle the nasty task you’re dreading doing.
  • Put your cell phone on Airplane Mode during work sessions and stay logged out of social media sites! This is probably one of the most important tips because it is key to feeling very efficient and productive at your work. Getting into that sense of “flow” about the actual task at hand will keep you from getting distracted and will leave you more time after the set work hours where you can freely enjoy yourself. Your brain is actually terrible at multi-tasking, making you slower at each of the tasks you are really trying to do simultaneously, and over time multi-tasking can actually hurt your brain chemistry and makeup.

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  • Separate work from pleasure. Hold yourself accountable for meeting a certain level of completion during the day before you take a break. Make breaks timed if you have only limited free time at this stage of your life. Schedule plans with friends – even an hour with a buddy at coffee or the gym once or twice a week can be really rejuvenating!

          

    • Journal regularly. BRAIN DUMP! Do this before you go to bed each night so you can let the pages own your worries and you can let go into blissful sleep more quickly.

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

Virtual Study Buddies

Hey, y’all! While I was in school, I really appreciated having access to study buddies around the clock. I found some videos on YouTube that gave me a feeling of being around other people when I couldn’t actually find anyone to study with or when it wasn’t safe to walk to the library at 3 am.

Enjoy!

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

Business-Appropriate Dress

It can be challenging to express yourself in the workplace as a Total Femme Boss. We still live in a society that highly criticizes women for being who they are. We also tend to pick on women for not choosing the right clothing for work even though the standard has been based off what the workplace considers appropriate for men (Exhibit A: male-dominated CEO positions; Exhibit B: male-dominated STEM professorships in academia, Exhibit C: the male-maintained “hoodie-and-tee shirt” culture in tech fields like software engineering). In my opinion, you shouldn’t pick on people for not meeting a certain standard when the standard has not been explicitly defined. Nonetheless, here are some tips I’ve collected based on my professional experience and a slew of women’s articles to look and feel your best in the workplace while still fulfilling the “put-together,” “professional” expectations the office has of you:

  1. When possible, wear black.
  2. Neutrals are your friends when selecting colors that are work-appropriate. Grey, white, and navy are my personal favorites. For business casual, it is also appropriate to wear one piece that has a “pop” color, such as kelly green or cobalt blue.
  3. A neutral or black blazer tops off any business look and heightens it. Structured pieces such as blazers and pressed slacks say, “I’m very regimented and formal about how I function in the workplace. I also take great pride in my work.”
  4. Try red matte or semi-matte lipstick! A recent study found that most people think of women who wear a bold, classic red lip to be more confident and no-nonsense while at work.
  5. Natural-looking makeup is very important for asserting that you know what you’re doing at work. Opt for an appropriately colored BB cream + foundation, brown or off-black eyeliner, no sparkles, limited eye shadow, mascara that has no clumps, and minimal contouring. You really don’t want to call attention to your face, and you don’t want glitter coming off onto your cheeks, clothes, or papers throughout the day. You want to look as polished, organized and no-nonsense as possible.
  6. Keep hair out of your face. Style it in such a way that you never have to touch your hair while at work. That means, don’t let it fall forward into your papers, and don’t have lots of strands falling out and landing on your clothes. Keep your fringe short enough that it is not in your eyes, or pin it back behind your ears. Consider a ponytail or orderly bun.

     

  7. No cleavage.
  8. Your skirt should be knee length or only up to two inches above the knee.
  9. Your slit should remain below the middle of your thigh. Tips 6-8 hit on this key idea: We know you have a beautiful body! And we’re so glad you’re proud and confident in it. But try not to make a show of it at work. It’s very important to keep your colleagues from being distracted by anything that is not strictly work-related. Dressing in a well-fitted but non-provocative way speaks miles of how much you value your colleagues as well as what you do at your job.  
  10. Avoid patterns, or choose very minimal ones. For interviews, don’t patterns. Also, if at any time you’re in doubt about the pattern, don’t wear it!

  11. Don’t forget a belt! If your dress or slacks has belt loops, wear a belt that matches your shoes and purse.
  12. Pair your outfit with a structured bag. Structured bag says, “I care about my work and appearance and I am efficient and organized all the time.”
  13. Wear classic black pumps. You can never go wrong at work by sticking with the classics. Keeping a polished pair of leather close-toed pumps is very important for asserting both your dignity and femininity in the workplace.
  14. WEAR PANTYHOSE WITH DRESSES! It is extremely unprofessional not to wear skin-toned stockings with your slacks or dresses at work. Stockings also have the benefit of covering up any marks or blemishes you might have on your legs or feet.

I hope this blog post can serve as a one-stop shop for what you should and shouldn’t wear to work. I have curated a selection of affordable business clothing options in my store. I’d encourage you to take a look to get a better sense of what I’m talking about with these tips.

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

Yoga Basics for the Femme Boss!

To improve how you perceive yourself and feel as a Femme Boss, consider starting a regular yoga practice. Taking time to do yoga has been shown to benefit the mind, soul and body. Stretching helps to relieve physical stress and calm the mind. It also assists in increasing blood flow to the muscles to remove toxins like lactic acid.

Spending as little as 10 minutes a day on the sacred practice of yoga will leave lasting benefits on your sense of well-being.

Here are some awesome yogis I’d highly recommend when you assume a yoga practice:

GymRa

This was actually the first yogi I watched when I started my yoga practice. I loved the music that plays in the background and her serene voice. She does some more advanced moves after the first 30 minutes, but even if you’re a beginner the first 30 minutes are really empowering, rejuvenating, and relaxing.


Kino MacGregor

Kino has a beautiful, sweet personality. In her videos she emphasizes the spiritual aspects of the Ashtanga yoga practice. She also works very hard to make yoga accessible to beginners (see her beginner yoga challenge series). In her “coffee talk” type videos she also talks about the mental, spiritual, and other benefits of yoga that come from a regular practice.

Boho Beautiful

Boho Beautiful is a very beautiful young lady who seeks to make her videos also beautiful and inviting. She spends a lot of time traveling to new and exciting places to film her yoga sessions, selecting them with care. She emphasizes the calming and rejuvenating aspects of doing each yoga workout and highlights the physical benefits of holistic health practices, including a plant-based diet.

Ali Kamenova

Ali makes a point of explaining key aspects of achieving the yoga poses safely. She also explains easy modifications to the poses in the event that you can’t achieve the full pose right now. She also pairs great Buddha Bar music mixes with her videos. I really enjoy her style, the scenery of her backyard in this video, and the timbre of her voice. Give her a try if you’re looking for something geared more towards beginners!

Take a moment to try these videos and see if you like any of them!  Having a yogi like any of these great women to guide you as you start the practice can be really game-changing. You’ll start feeling more motivated to practice consistently when you know you have a calm voice and beautiful scenery to look forward to!

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.

Self-Care Life Hacks

Even the most efficient and least emotional Femme Boss needs to take time for self-care. It’s a fact of human nature – as we mature we need to make time to take care of ourselves in a way that helps us feel motivated to continue to engage with our world. This post discusses several options you might try out to make a habit of healthy self-care!

Take a Pamper Day

I usually have a pamper day about every Sunday. I know that this treat is coming up every week, so I really look forward to it and it keeps me motivated to work hard during the week. During a pamper day I will usually sleep in late, do laundry, take a bath with a fizzy, scented bath bomb, put on comfy lounge clothes, and choose not to wear makeup. I also take time on a pamper day to care for my spiritual well-being by doing things like reading a yoga magazine or motivational book, watching some health and fitness vlogs, watching a documentary about an inspirational historical figure, or looking up new healthy and delicious Vegan recipes to try.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day helps to cycle impurities out of your system, making it easier on your kidneys to do their work. Staying hydrated also helps to keep you from getting annoying headaches or experiencing “brain fuzziness” that often happens in the post-lunch slump. Your skin and lips will also thank you.

Eat for Health

Research shows time and again that diets filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and unsaturated, plant-based fats encourage health and happiness. These foods are not high in calories but provide the fiber and other essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to keep your body working efficiently and with plenty of energy. Staying away from caffeine, but incorporating herbal, green, or black tea can also provide tons of antioxidants to protect your body from oxidative damage that happens when you spend too much time in the sun or when your body’s metabolic processes get out of whack.

Meditate

I probably sound like a broken record, but carving out a small amount of time (even just 5 or 10 minutes) each day to meditate makes a world of a difference towards how you feel about life and self. If you’re interested in learning more about meditation practice, check out this post.

Journal and Plan

Taking 5 to 10 minutes at the end of every day to just dump your racing thoughts and cares onto paper right before bed will allow you to let go and get better quality sleep. Allowing the paper to own your worries will put your mind and soul at ease and get you trail off into dreams sooner.

Make Time for Sleep

Research has consistently shown that high school students need 8-10 hours of sleep each night, and adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. Making sleep a priority will improve your productivity during the work hours and will keep you from feeling sluggish and ineffective. This will also enhance your view of yourself in time, because you will be seeing yourself as productive, contributing, and efficient.

Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.