Measuring Success

I recently read Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, by Arianna Huffington.  Sound familiar? I’m sure you’ve been on The Huffington Post once or twice.  Arianna Huffington is the cofounder, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. She’s also a wife, mother, philanthropist, and she has authored fourteen books. She’s kind of a busy lady.

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In her book, Huffington explores a different kind of success – one that isn’t based on power, money, and status. Instead, Huffington’s success focuses on being a healthy (both mentally and physically), well-rounded  individual who is able to unplug from work.  In order to avoid burn-out, Huffington also encourages readers to embrace meditation in order to be in touch with one’s inner-self. She offers up a myriad of examples of companies who attempt to help their employees take better care of themselves. For instance, her own company has nap rooms for employees to utilize, and Google has a printed dog policy that allows employees to bring dogs to work with them.

Thrive compelled me to think about my personal definition of success. I tend to carry work-stress around with me, and this book made me think of new ways to keep work from seeping into my personal life. It also made me resolve to keep practicing my current methods of “unplugging”:

  • I refrain from checking my work email when I’m at home or on vacation. I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t have my work email account synced to my phone, so checking it while I’m away from the office is a very deliberate process. Of course, rules are made to be broken, and sometimes I find myself logging into my account(s). I always try to keep it as brief as possible though.
  • I use my lunch breaks for actual breaks. Sometimes, it’s pretty tempting to work through my lunch – especially when I’m focused on a project. I think it’s more important, though, to take a break during the day. I try to eat lunch with friends, walk around the beautiful campus I work on, participate in a wellness class (like yoga), or read. It really helps to get away from my computer screen for an hour.
Today's lunch view.

Today’s lunch view.

  • Office Yoga. Okay, I know I look ridiculous when I’m doing office yoga (which is really just a series of stretches), but it feels soooo good! A couple of times a day, I move away from my desk and do stretches for about five minutes. I usually rub on some Mental Clarity and do some deep breathing, too. If you have a desk job, I highly recommend checking out these “secret exercises” and the Washington Post’s work workout.

Have any of you read Thrive? What were your thoughts? Do you have any tips for keeping work at work?

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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An Ode to Lavender

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I’m a huge fan of aromatherapy. In fact, I have Badger Headache Soother (a balm containing peppermint and lavender) and a bottle of Mental Clarity (a blend of basil, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, grapefruit,  and lavender oils) sitting on my desk right now, and I use them on the reg.

I’m also a huuuuuge fan of just plain lavender. The plant itself is gorgeous, and the scent is intoxicating. I’ve recently realized that I use it in some unexpected ways, and I thought I would share some of my lavender #protips with you!

LAVENDER LEMONADE It’s summer, so obviously, I’m going to be drinking a lot of lemonade. I really enjoy mixing up the flavors a bit, and I’ve found that lavender lemonade is one of my favorite variations. Basically, instead of adding sugar to your freshly squeezed lemons, you’re going to make a lavender-infused simple syrup using dried lavender. Then, you will hear angels sing, because it is just that delicious.

LAVENDER LINEN SPRAY I love the smell of lavender so much, that I want to sleep surrounded by it. I spritz my sheets with this stuff every night, and it smells amazing! Some linen sprays are complicated, but I just mix a few (okay, like 20) drops of lavender oil with about 12 oz of water in a spray bottle. It also makes a great air freshener.

LAVENDER FOR HAIR About three times a week, I put 3-5 drops of lavender oil right into my conditioner and massage it into my head. I let it sit there for about 3 minutes, and then rinse it out. I love the way it makes my hair smell!

LAVENDER AS A CLEANER Okay, guys. It’s time to get serious. Traditional cleaners freak me out. The chemical smell is overpowering, and I worry about what my kitties are ingesting when they lick their paws. The other day, I was cleaning my dressing room vanity, and I created this awesome paste that worked wonders! I used baking soda, salt (for some added grittiness), lemon juice, and a few drops of lavender oil. I scrubbed the vanity and sink with it and then rinsed it off with a damp rag. Everything sparkled, and the delightful scent of lavender and lemon lingered for hours. Perfection.

I’ve found so many uses for lavender essential oil, that it totally justifies having three bottles of it, right?!

I have a few of these bottles stashed around my house.

Do any of you have a great love of aromatherapy and essential oils? What is your favorite and what do you like to do with it?