Advice Post: How to use food to combat anxiety, Kim Love

Kim Love

Kim Love

April is National Stress Awareness month, and with stats abounding over ever increasing levels of stress – up to 83 percent of us – it’s time to pay more than lip-service to what’s got our goats.

We’ve all heard the grim statistics of the health effects of stress. According to the APA, “Americans continue to recognize the impact of stress – 66 percent believe their stress has a moderate, strong or very strong impact on their physical health, and 63 percent believe the same for their mental health.” But what can we do to self-arrest before we hit cardiac arrest?

Besides the obvious stress reducers like taking time to smell the roses, exercising, removing toxic situations and meditating, there is a powerful tool many of us don’t typically consider when we aim to chill out. Our diet.

But imagine this: What we choose – or don’t choose – to feed ourselves not only fuels our physical bodies but also greatly affects our mind. And in fact, what I’ve witnessed through working with thousands of clients over the years is that food is one of the most crucial foundations. In fact, of all the areas our clients track – sleep, weight, allergies, skin, pain, digestion and more – food is the one that’s grown to be my very favorite and early on was also the most surprising. By merely personalizing their diets, the majority of our clients reduced their stress and anxiety levels dramatically.

Here are some great ways to combat the daily toll of stress and anxiety with the power of food:

1. Start with the basics. There’s no rocket science to this one but eating whole, non-processed foods is key. No fancy dietary footwork can overpower the junk. Sugars, breads, cakes, cookies, chemical laden snacks and anything else calling your name in the middle of an afternoon slump is crazy making. Literally. When we nourish our bodies with vegetables, non-factory farmed animal proteins, beans, seeds and whole grains our body and mind receives nutrients it needs to stabilize.

2. Keep a health bevy of protein snacks nearby. Hankerings get the best of us and create a h’angry, unhappy self. H’angry selves make poor choices, creating a vicious cycle, which includes destabilized blood sugar. Protein creates blood-sugar stability. Easy, portable snacks such as nuts, seeds and hummus restore sanity. Pay attention to the difference between a healthy protein snack versus merely gnoshing on a piece of fruit or something sweet. Ask yourself: How are my energy levels and mood responding in the hours following each?

3. Eliminate Caffeine. If stress and anxiety seem to be a constant in your life, one of the first items to omit is caffeine. Some are very sensitive to caffeine, even small amounts can be enough to have profound impact on our mood. The best way to know for sure is to give it a whirl and see if you notice any changes. Give yourself a week to go through caffeine withdrawal before making any assessments. Keep a journal of your stress levels and after a week sans caffeine, see if you notice any differences. This level of inquisitiveness is key to the march toward a personalized diet and a better understanding of how different foods affect various areas of your life. Once you’re able to determine what’s working and what isn’t, it then becomes easier to be the best version of yourself.

4. Uncover inflammatory foods. This one’s a biggie. Many people have unrecognized food intolerances, which lead to inflammation in the body – the root of much disease but also many symptoms, including fatigue, sleep issues and brain clarity. Whether the inflammatory food is citrus, gluten or tomatoes, I’ve seen an undeniable correlation with personal trigger foods and our anxiety and stress levels. Discovering our personal inflammatory foods next levels our lives.

The correlation between food and mood, particularly where our stress levels are concerned, is a relationship worth examining. When we move away from traditional diets and embrace our bodies’ preferences and aversions, we awaken to the power food holds. As we begin to identify what our best self feels like, this will become the standard of care and a topic of dinner fare.

Kim Love is the founder of LoveLife Program, a food discovery system that helps individuals identify the impact food has on their body and mind. Aimed at helping people live at peak performance, LoveLife has helped thousands uncover what their bodies uniquely need to live life well.

Ten Mistakes to Avoid when Asking for a Raise

Theresa Zagnoli

Theresa Zagnoli

Thinking about asking for a raise but not sure how to go about it? Check out our guest post from Theresa Zagnoli, founding partner and CEO of Zagnoli McEvoy Foley LLC!

One of the psyche’s greatest fears is rejection. Ask for a raise; get turned down, ergo, rejected. It is often easier on the ego to wait for the annual handout. It is easier for those of us determining compensation, too. People asking for raises out of turn wreak havoc on the budget. Thus, the first step is to have some understanding of the company finances. Know how the company is doing financially – are there any plans in the near future for large capital expenditures? Have there been layoffs? It is important to ask what the raise structure is when you are hired. Surprisingly, most newbies do not do this. They are just happy to have a job.

Next, put your raise profile together. Dust off your job description and figure out if you have been doing the tasks listed and more importantly, doing them well. If it says at the bottom of the page, ‘and any and all other needs to make the company run smoothly and look good’ and you recently refused to stay late to help the support staff on a large project or walked past a dead plant for a month without saying or doing anything, you might want to reassess your job fulfillment. Esprit de corpse.

Determine what you have contributed to the company since the last look at your salary. Take on more responsibility with or without the raise. Once you have profiled yourself on paper, write an email to the person you want to meet with. Ask for a meeting to discuss a salary increase. Attach the major points you intend to discuss. The reason for this is that most individuals do not determine salaries on their own – even if they have the authority to do so, they will want to discuss the request with others. With your memo in hand, I am able to discuss the request with the necessary people. Thus, when we have the meeting I am able to respond with something other than “I will look into it and get back to you”. Remember that this is a negotiation – you want to do everything you can to stay at the table. Like most CEO’s, I want to pay a person as much as I am able to.

Make it easier to do so by avoiding the following ten mistakes:

  1. Asking the wrong person hoping he or she will deliver the message for you – they won’t.
  2. Apologizing. Sit tall in your chair, wear your best outfit and show up big.
  3. Thinking you “deserve” more money – you don’t.
  4. Mentioning that you need a bigger home, better car, etc. – I don’t care if you live in a cave.
  5. Talking about what someone else earns – not only bad taste but dangerous.
  6. Threaten to quit – you won’t or if you do, I won’t care.
  7. Complaining about your workload – try mine for a week.
  8. Not coming prepared – do your homework.
  9. Ignoring the importance of timing – Timing. Is. Crucial.
  10. Not quantifying your contribution – it’s all about the money.

Theresa Zagnoli, founding partner and CEO of Zagnoli McEvoy Foley LLC, is a leader in the field of communication consulting and has been providing practical trial consulting and communication solutions to attorneys and business leaders for over 20 years. Her knowledge of the American juror has made her one of the most sought-after trial consultants in the nation.

Advice Post: 10 Tips for a Smooth Transition from Employee to Employer, Natalie Ekberg, Live Better Coaching

Natalie Ekberg

Natalie Ekberg

Natalie Ekberg mother of two, Founder of LB (Live Better) Coaching is an inspiring entrepreneur, author and career transition coach.  Over the past 10 years Natalie has developed a diverse background in helping business professionals from various sectors internationally; make major life changes. Making five radical life transitions her self each involving a big move to a different country, requiring that she dismantle and recreate her career, lead to her becoming “An expert in navigating major life changes with ease, grace and an enlivening freedom and joy.”

Read her advice on 10 tips for a smooth transition from employee to employer below.

Many years ago, I went back to work after a year off doing voluntary work in the Philippines. I was ecstatic to have landed that particular job in corporate human resources and was excited to be getting started.

Except, when I stood by the window of the office on my very first day, a sudden realisation hit me. I wished with all my heart that I would be still out there, doing my own thing, being free and answerable to no one. Looking back, that was probably the moment the first seed of my entrepreneurial journey was planted, unfolding fully much, much later.

If you too, have moments of feeling trapped and wishing secretly to be your own boss and manage your own business, the following 10 tips will help you to get on that much more quickly than I did!

1.)   Make the transition in a structured way. There are too many aspects of entrepreneurship that, if you are unaware of them, may cost you time, money and many sleepless nights. If you treat this transition as any other work project (e.g. planning the necessary steps, working against deadlines and doing a thorough follow-up), you will feel in control.

2.)   Do your exploration, research and preparation while you are still employed. The pressure of any start-up business can be exhausting and stressful, mostly because you probably won’t be earning what you were used to in the beginning. Do as much “preparatory” work as possible while you are enjoying the safety net of your regular income.

3.)   Look up as many of your competitors as possible and research their work thoroughly. How do they advertise? Which social mediaplatforms do they use the most? What is their message? Make a note of what you liked the most and what you would do differently. Over time, you will be ale to identify and develop your unique voice, which will make you stand out.

4.)   Talk openly to your friends and family about your plans; the more people know about your intentions, the more of them can be helpful. Networking and having as many contacts as possible is key when you are a “newbie”. Don’t be shy; going “public” will also help you to commit to your goals. You wouldn’t like to look foolish, would you?

5.)   Make a solid finance and saving plan and work through your numbers thoroughly. This knowledge will come very handy once your salary is no longer your security blanket. Knowing how much you need to save now in order to allow time for your business to grow will help you alleviating any future stress.

6.)   Set up all parts of the bushiness that can be established while you are still working; for example: your website, your social media presence, your business cards. All of these can be prepared in “beta version” and ready for launch once you have left your employment.

7.)   Learn as much as you can while you are still working. Many of the basic “being self-employed skills” would be new to you. How to blog? How to write a business plan? What marketing strategies are best for your particular business? You will develop these skills further as your business grows but having some basic knowledge is a necessity.

8.)   Be sure that you are absolutely, madly in love with your business idea. There will be times when you might feel very close to giving up your dream and continue with the working life you have known so far. In moments like that, the love and affection for your business will carry you through, if it strong and solid.

9.)   Follow your intuition every step of the way. The biggest challenge between being an employee and being an employer, is that you were used to following someone else’s directions and acting on their ideas. From now onwards, you are the one in the driver seat; the ideas, their execution, the follow up actions and everything in between will have to come from you.

10.)  Always believe that you are fully capable of achieving the success, no matter what people you are surrounded with think. This is your game; play it to the best of your ability.

Have you made the journey from employee to employer? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Advice Post: The Right Way to find a Job Online

Joanie Courtney, Senior Vice President Monster

Joanie Courtney, Senior Vice President Monster

We’re excited to share our first guest post from one of our Advocates, Monster! Joanie Courtney, Senior Vice President at Monster shares her top tips on the right way to find a job online and maximise your chances of getting hired.

Whether you are just starting out in your career or already high on the corporate ladder, searching for that next perfect job online can feel like a daunting task. With a plethora of positions to browse through, it can be tough to know where to start, let alone where to find the best match for your talents and skills. But there are several productive strategies to cut through the clutter to find that perfect job and seal the deal. Here’s how.

1. Build Your Online Brand

Rule number one, before setting out on the online job search, make sure to spend some time establishing your personal online brand. This takes time, but I can’t emphasize how important your digital identity can be in helping you stand out and convince an employer you’re the right match. The web provides a perfect launching pad to showcase your personal expertise and establish your credibility in the field you’re most interested in.  On the flipside, don’t forget to Google yourself. Social media has created a fishbowl, and more than ever, our personal and professional lives are intertwined. Employers often review a candidate’s digital footprint as part of the hiring process to ensure they are a good fit for the company. You’d be surprised at just how much is public on the web, and how a seemingly harmless joke might be misconstrued. The last thing you want is for an employer to find a risqué photo, negative tweet or off-color comment. This can often be the make or break deciding factor between landing the job and not. So before sending out resumes, do yourself a favor and be sure to remove anything online you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with your next boss.

2. Give Yourself a Time Limit

Searching for a new job can be just as demanding as a full-time job, so you have to treat it like one. Set a routine and approach the job search with the same dedication and focus you would bring to any full-time position. If you’re currently working, it’s even more important to set a schedule to focus. With numerous jobs posted online, it takes time and plenty of research to single out the relevant posts. This can sometimes feel exhausting and can lead to oversights and errors in your application. Before you set out on any job search, it’s important to have a plan in place. Stay sharp by allotting a definitive amount of time for yourself each day to search, sort and apply.

3. It Pays to Pay Attention

When applying for a position online, your resume serves as your first impression and it’s also your opportunity to shine, not the place to cut corners. While this seems obvious, it’s not uncommon to make minor mistakes, especially as you are tailoring your resume for different positions. As a rule of thumb, review your resume and then step away for a short break. Coming back to your resume with a clear mind will help you to catch mistakes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Having a third party, such as a close friend or relative, review your resume can also be helpful. Spend the extra time. It will be worth it. A resume without errors, focused on your best assets shows that you care about the details, and could be the difference between getting your job materials pushed to the wayside or sent to the top of the pile.

4. Keywords Reign Supreme

The online job hunt requires sorting through a tremendous amount of data. With literally thousands of positions to sift through, it’s no wonder many people feel overwhelmed. The key is to focus in on the openings that interest you and are the best match for your skills. Cast a wide net initially, but as you look at opportunities, look at what matches up with your skill expertise, and preferences, both geographic and otherwise. Identifying a few keywords and utilizing job search tools will help you streamline your search process and enable you to be more efficient. These terms are buzzwords that you would find in your desired job’s description or words used to describe the day-to-day in your industry. If you’re looking for your first job, it’s okay to use more general terms and identify more specific language based on the words you see repeating in job descriptions.

5. Do Your Homework

Whether you are searching open positions on your dream employer’s website, or using job boards to find the openings, it’s important to gather all the information and have a clear understanding of the position, the company’s history, mission and culture. This knowledge will not only come in handy for your cover letter, where you can outline specifically how you can add value to the company and make a difference, but also allows you the opportunity to determine what you want from your next role and ultimately helps you to be more strategic in your online search.

6. Be Aggressive

You’ve applied…now what? The battle is half won, but you’re not finished yet. There are a lot of jobs out there, but a lot of job seekers, too. Follow up is key. It’s time to get proactive. Before you move on to your next search, think about whether you have a contact at that company and how you might get that person your resume, cover letter and a link to your job application. The more channels you have to reach the hiring manager the better, so don’t hesitate to use them. When you do reach out, remember to be professional, but not too pushy. The goal is to showcase your strong follow up skills and ability to get noticed without annoying the hiring manager.

7. Look On the Bright Side

Lastly, remember to stay positive. If you’re unemployed or feeling impatient about moving to a more fulfilling position, it’s easy to harbor doubts or negative thoughts about whether it’s ever going to happen. But the fact is, employers are looking to hire positive people who are going to make a real difference, add energy and bring value to the company. If you’re not positive, it will come through in your application, your interview and will ultimately hinder you from achieving your next big gig.

Joanie Courtney is Senior Vice President, Market Development, at Monster Worldwide. Courtney is responsible for advancing the company’s customer engagement strategy, utilizing Monster’s breadth of technology and advertising solutions and driving more consultative client relationships.

Courtney is an employment industry expert with over 20 years of experience leading sales, marketing and operations for some of the top firms in the employment industry, including executive roles with two of the largest employment firms in the world. Throughout her career she has counseled and worked wide range of companies including many of the Fortune 500. She was responsible for oversight of a world class customer service program for a multibillion dollar employment firm and also led a large business process transformation project to grow retail professional business at Adecco, NA, which is the largest employment firm in the world.

As an employment industry advisor, she is often called upon to discuss the job market, careers, and workplace trends and speak to the talent supply and demand cycles that impact U.S. employers.  She is frequently featured as a keynote speaker at industry conferences, and her commentary on the employment market has been featured on media outlets like Fox and Fox Business Network, Associated Press, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, PBS, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes.

Monster Worldwide, Inc. is the global leader in successfully connecting job opportunities and people. Monster uses the world’s most advanced technology to help people Find Better, matching job seekers to opportunities via digital, social and mobile solutions including monster.com® and employers to the best talent using a vast array of products and services. As an Internet pioneer, more than 200 million people have registered on the Monster Worldwide network. Today, with operations in more than 40 countries, Monster provides the broadest, most sophisticated job seeking, career management, recruitment and talent management capabilities globally. For more information visit about-monster.com.