When my son was younger, in order to factor in a required eight-hour workday and long commutes in Atlanta traffic each morning and evening, I would work straight through lunch.   In his earlier school years, I would drop him off at school at 7:00 a.m. and leave the office at 4:30 p.m. for my long commute back – to ensure I made his 6:00 p.m. pick up time.  When he first became a latchkey kid, I maintained the same hours, because I didn’t want him to be home alone for very long in the evening.  Fast forward – he’s now a high school senior with a deep voice and hair on his face, getting ready to graduate and pretty much independent.  Yet, Mom is still maintaining the same habit of working eight hours straight each day without taking a break.  By my calculations, I’ve been going at it this way for over 10 years.
In very recent years, I’ve noticed signs of burnout.  I thought it was because I was becoming bored with my job as a legal assistant.  Or that maybe it was time for a workplace change – after all, I’ve been with the same law firm for years, having left and returned three times since 1991.  Lack of concentration, easily distracted, lack of energy, the development of digestive problems, weight gain, stiff joints, etc.  It goes without saying that many of these things can be attributed to getting older and as a 50+ year old woman, the “M” word…but…
For ten years, outside of a few short walks around the office, I’ve been sitting in a cubicle at my computer for 8 hours, 5 days a week.  I’ve been eating my lunch at my desk – while working.  Taking work requests, reading emails, answering  phone calls, etc. in between bites. Just thinking about it makes me weary.  No wonder I feel the way I feel!
Taking a Break
I began to change my schedule to factor in, at the very least, a 30-minute break/lunch hour.  It has made all the difference in the world! Going to the break room, outside in the sunshine or sitting in the atrium of my office building to eat lunch has also made a difference.  I’m more present in the moment, enjoying and savoring my food, feeling refreshed when I return to my desk.  Or, I put on my socks and sneakers and take a brisk stroll around the building (around the building lobby if it’s raining) for some incremental exercise.
The Benefits of Taking Five
There are soooo many benefits in breaking the day in half – or even quarters – taking 15, 3o and/or 60 minute breaks has physical and mental benefits.   A Forbes magazine article entitled, “New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement and the Long-Lost Lunch Break” says “chaining yourself to a desk or scarfing down your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster.”
The article also details the benefits of taking a break:
1. Boosts productivity
2. Improves mental well-being
3. Allows time for fresh perspective on your projects
4. Time to eat a healthy lunch, exercise, meditate or engage in self-care
Employers Can Help
Employers sometimes encourage this “hard drive” behavior and should be encouraging employees to take breaks instead.  “Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them.”  Sounds ridiculous when you read it, right?  But it’s true – At times, employees may feel as if they can’t leave their desk, cubicle or office to take a break because of their workload or a demanding boss, or like me, it just becomes a habit.  Some employees just need to be told that they can and should take a break…even though employees should know that, sometimes they just need to hear that it’s okay!
I believe we shouldn’t be doing anything for eight hours or more straight without taking a break, even things we enjoy!   I really could go on and on about this subject, but I encourage you to read the article by clicking on the linked title above for more backed-by-research and helpful information.  The bottom line is…allow yourself to take a breather, as many as you need, and you’ll be happier, healthier and more productive.  It’s all in the name of self-care!  Wooosahhhh!
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Last Saturday I got up early because I was super excited about a home project I had thought about and planned all week!  Organizing my closet! Woo – hooo!!

It’s my life’s mission to live a minimalist and simple existence, and I think I’m halfway there and holding!  Clean, neat, uncluttered spaces with room for lots of air to circulate puts me in my best zone. A quote by Karen Kingston, author and decluttering guru solidifies my philosophy: “Every aspect of your life is anchored energetically in your living space, so clearing clutter can completely transform your entire existence.”  #frfr!

This especially goes for my closet – I’ve always wanted my closet to resemble those staged closets you see online, where everything goes together and all garments are hung on matching hangers and perfectly aligned on their rods.  Alas, impulse shopping (and other bad habits) have stood in the way of success. For most of us, achieving the staged closet look means we have to get rid of stuff. The thought of purging anything makes many of us cringe – you mean I’ve got to get rid of my replica of Prince’s blazer from Purple Rain and my red & black Michael Jackson Beat It jacket?????

Here are five reasons why getting rid of items that have overstayed their welcome in our closets makes perfect sense:

  1. They no longer fit.  To embrace the you who you are now, you’ve got to get rid of your “skinny” clothes.  What better way to totally depress yourself than to look in your closet and see an entire section dedicated to clothing you wore when you were two sizes smaller.  Yes, you vow that you’ll get into them again someday…but what about today?  If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit (I just had to say that!)…those clothes and yourself!  Free yourself, my dear, from the bondage of yesterday.  I promise if you get back down to a previous size (a) you’re going to want to buy new clothes and a way will be made for you to do just that or (b) you can alter the old ones.
  2. You haven’t worn them in a year (or more!) If it’s a practice to put away your seasonal garments at the end of each season; pay special attention to those items you keep taking out and putting away but never wear!  Get rid of it!  Goodbye, ugly Christmas sweater!
  3. They don’t spark JOY.  Google Marie Kondo, her book, her Netflix show and the Konmari Method.  You’ll thank me later.
  4. You have items that don’t go with anything else in your closet.  Purchasing an item that doesn’t go with anything else is usually an impulsive act.  Not being able to match an item means you’ll end up having to buy an additional item that does go with it.  The secret is to buy classic pieces that complement everything and build off of that.  Most of these would be items you could wear twice a week and no one would notice you did.
  5. You regularly proclaim you have nothing to wear.  Is this you?  When you get ready for the day, you change into five different outfits before finding the right one that looks and feels good.  Madness!  On MOST days, you should be able to pull out an outfit, get dressed and get out the door!  Who needs the extra added stress of not being able to find the right outfit on top of everything else you may have to deal with to start your day! If your closet contains the components of the “right” outfit, you never have to search!

Soooo….you’ve gone through your closet and PURGED!  Congratulations! Now what?  

Donate those items to an organization of your choice, i.e. a shelter for domestic violence victims.  Give your career wear to a program that assists homeless women get into the workforce. Those evening gowns and formal attire? Donate them to The Enchanted Closet, or similar organization, that collects these items for teen girls to wear to proms.  There are many worthy causes out there – imagine the smile on the face of a girl or woman who receives your donated items. Heartwarming! Of course, you could also sell them on consignment or on one of those online selling platforms like ThredUp, Offer Up, Ebay, etc. to make a few extra bucks – you know – to buy the smaller clothes you’ll need when you lose weight (wink!).

Dedicate time to your new closet – spend about 15 minutes per week straightening and tweaking your closet; coordinate it with laundry time!  Regular maintenance cuts down on the possibility of cluttered closet disasters in the future.  

Pretty it up – if there’s space, put a rug on the floor, add more lighting, pictures and mirrors on the wall, decorative hooks for scarves and other items – hook it up to resemble a boutique!  Place a small step stool in there to get to those hard-to-reach items or to utilize the space on the very top shelves with ease.  Pinterest has tons of ideas!

Getting rid of clutter frees your mind – brings about peaceful energy and helps you relax in your own space.  I am so happy with my new closet – I can see everything, it’s much neater – it is amazing! Try it, I promise you’ll be happy you did!

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A few years ago, I found myself caught up in a relationship that I really shouldn’t have been in.  I had clearly overstayed my welcome in what was merely temporary, yet, I continued to linger.  In hindsight, even though I knew it wasn’t for me, I kept trying to make it work.  At the time, I confided in a good friend about my situation and her words still resonate with me: she doesn’t hang around in a situation that clearly isn’t good for her; if for no other reason than she’s excited to see what God has in store for her next.

What is your cue that tells you it’s time to make a move?  Whether it’s a relationship, job, lifestyle, friendship…when do you know it’s time to let go of it?  Here are 3 points of view I’ve adopted about the divine process of making a change:

Number One:  What doesn’t happen for you is as much divine providence as what does happen for you.  Have you ever looked back and rejoiced because an opportunity you thought was a good one didn’t work out?

Number Two:  Know that when your heart and spirit isn’t into where you currently are, it’s okay to be there, but it’s not okay to stay there. Just the knowledge alone that you aren’t always meant to stay where you are is the first step to where God is leading you next.

Number Three:  When you’ve outgrown the space you’re in, you will feel so uncomfortable!  You will feel restless and experience an undeniable stirring in your spirit.  Don’t ignore it.  Listen to the small still voice inside.  And then start packing, baby…because you’re on your way to your next adventure!

Until you stop holding tightly in your closed fists what isn’t for you, you will not be able to receive what’s supposed to be for you.  Let it go!  Open your hands, release the pebbles and receive your diamonds!  Be excited to see what God has in store for you next.

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“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – Scott Peck

The caterpillar is safe and warm in her cocoon – ahhhh sweet contentment. But then something happens – the cocoon starts rocking and rolling and the situation is unstable. She feels uncomfortable and upset (“why is this happening??”).
After a time she breaks free…and notices she’s sprouted beautiful wings – so colorful and new. A metamorphosis has taken place! She then realizes that through the chaos, she had to do it all on her own – any disturbance from others would impede the process; would cause roadblocks to her eventual new existence.
And so it is with us, trials and tribulations upset our lives and it feels like we are never going to come out of it.  The caterpillar actually turns into jelly during its chaotic process – don’t we sometimes do the same? For us, it seems the jelly is a form of protection, to keep us together during our phase of renewal and change. Sometimes this stage means we should simply remain still, and let the process run its course. Like a deer caught in the headlights, we are caught off guard and we don’t know what to do, so we do nothing. But, guess what?  That’s okay!
Some challenges are meant to be taken one moment at a time until you work up to one day at a time and so on…be gentle with yourself if there’s something in your life you’re enduring and not quite over yet.  No one else has the right to say when you should arrive – be on your own time!  Just like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the metamorphosis will not happen before it is time.  There’s a lesson of strength and character in the process, and it’s just best not to rush.
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“The only person who likes change is a wet baby” – Mark Twain
Change is inevitable and constant – and difficult!
After my family moved from Bronx, New York to Columbus, Ohio when I was in my senior year of high school, the adjustment I experienced from moving from one place to another was not easy.  As I was ready to graduate from high school, I changed my mind about going to college and opted for work instead.  “I’ll go to college later.”  After that, I changed jobs at the drop of a hat (I’m bored! Bye!).  When yearly apartment leases were up, I was on to the next place.  Instability was my middle name – largely because I was restless and looking for the “home” feeling I left in the Bronx  – which was elusive.  As I grew older, I realized that all that I experienced during that period (and was fighting against) was the flow of my life, and there are no rules about where home is – home is where you make it.
Sometimes we have to surrender to the flow of life and learn new coping mechanisms along the way.  It is such a struggle to swim against the current in the ocean.  When you swim in the natural movement of the water, adjusting yourself as necessary, you’ll get to your destination with a lot less effort, conflict and anxiety.  That’s the flow.  In it, you’ll find you are on your divinely ordained journey.
Sickness/death, joy/pain, happiness/sadness, tears/laughter – we’re going to experience them all.  You will gain – but you will also lose (unfortunately).  Change is inevitable — it’s the evolution of our lives. #theflow
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Welcome to the NEW Classy Chronicles!

Formerly, the Classy Chronicles was the official online digital magazine of Classy Living Society. The newly revamped Classy Chronicles is now a platform housed on the Classy Living Society website! Through easy-to-navigate dropdown menus, the Classy Chronicles provides an outlet to many subjects of interest at the click of a mouse – articles and features that highlight people who are doing amazing things in the community, health and wellness, work-life balance, beauty and fashion and more!

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