The positive effect of spending time outdoors

The positive effect of spending time outdoors

The Coronavirus pandemic is forcing us into isolation and cabin fever is already a problem for many.    If you can safely engage in outdoors activities, there are so many benefits.   There are so many fun things to do, even if you cannot use a public facility.

 

Research shows that there are both physical and mental health benefits to being outdoors (even if it’s just 20 minutes!),   Here’s some top benefits of spending time outdoors:

  • Taking a walk in nature improves short-term memory.
  • Helps de-stressing you.
  • Help eliminate fatigue.
  • Helps fight depression and anxiety. A natural stress-reliever.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Improves your ability to focus.
  • And of course, absorbing the much needed Vitamin D.

 

Spending time with children outdoors

There are many benefits for children and youth playing outside. Outside they release energy, use their loud voices, play vigorously and engage in messy projects. Children can also experience the plants and animals in their local ecosystems. Children should work on their fine and gross motor skills – mastering both is good for their growth and independence. Having good motor skills can help them explore the world around them and gain strength and confidence. Other research shows more benefits for children to play outside, like:

 

  • Better physical health
  • Numerous opportunities to strengthen motor skills
  • Greater visual-motor integration (the ability to control hand and body movement guided by vision)
  • Stronger verbal and social skills
  • Production of Vitamin D (essential Vitamin for bone health)
  • Increased attention and cognitive abilities

 

The outdoor space is suitable for a wide variety of activities, active and quiet. Playing in the park and going camping are great ways to spend time outdoors. Here is some ideas to teach the young ones while outside:

  • Quiet area: Painting and reading outside.
  • Physical area: Activities and materials to strengthen motor skills. Playgrounds / Playing with balls / jump ropes / riding bicycle and group games (Playing tag)
  • Nature area: Activities and material found in nature (Finding different leaves/bark)
  • Social area: Where the picnic table and benches are located
  • Drama area: Where they can role play, for example play in a doll house

 

Make time for outside learning experiences by planning fun and creative experiences. Do not be afraid to bring the indoors out too. Fresh air is always a good thing for children.

The outdoors boosts your immune system whether young and old, enhances creativity and provides free aromatherapy, as research shows it’s really important to sometimes stop and smell the roses.

 

The influence of Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Amidst the worldwide pandemic it’s difficult to spend time with family and friends outdoors, as big gatherings have been banned. South Africa has imposed severe restrictions, as the number of cases reported has rise and rise.

Restrictions include closing 35 out of 53 of South Africa’s land border crossings and 2 of its 8 seaports. Banning air travel entries from most countries and shutting all schools till after the Easter weekend in mid-April.    Authorities recommend staying at home during the Covid-19 restrictions, but outdoor time does not have to be restricted if you have a private yard/back yard. For those with or without a back yard, here is some fun activities to do:

  • Build a fort.
  • Read and role play.
  • Board + card games.
  • Puzzle challenge.
  • Make cookies (Let them cut their own cookies and make their own designs/ let them ice them with different colours.}
  • (Learn them to filter water, plant seeds, identify different shapes and sizes leaves etc)
  • DIY – make drawings/paintings for family or friends.

 

How to keep safe while at home:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid touching your eyes and mouth – especially if your hands are unwashed
  • Cover your face when you sneeze or cough
  • Avoid gatherings with extended family and friends
  • If you go out – avoid touching objects used by many (Example: Railing) and use hand sanitizer

 

Spending time outdoors has a lot of health benefits for you and your children. However, during the outbreak – keep safe for future outdoor adventures and outings. Be positive and make the best of this self-isolation situation. Be safe, be healthy.

 

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels

5 Books you have to read in 2020

5 Books you have to read in 2020

Welcome to 2020. And welcome to the year that I start to pick up a book and read again! How about you?

Did you know that thoughts are nutrition for the brain? So it would make sense to feed your thoughts with only the most inspirational, motivational and valuable information as possible right? And that is why reading a good, thought provoking or information rich book is so important.

Now, knowing this I went on the search to find some of the top reads for you (and me) to indulge in this year. Whether you are just on a journey of enlightenment or you are a business owner needing the motivation to stay on track and to be the most successful at whatever it is you choose to do, there is sure to be something out there that will tickle your fancy.

Before I dive into that thought let me summarise what, for me, makes a good read:

  1. A great opening line or three. Something that immediately gets my attention and makes me want to read more because I know that yes, I am going to be a changed person at the end of this book.
  2. Not just any information though, relevant information. Information which I can relate to and that is relevant to the title and description of the book.
  3. A great take away that I can put into practice easily and that gives some sort of reward
  4. And lastly – it must make me want to refer it to someone and make me want to read it again at some point

Right, now that I have that out the way – let us get to the list and where you can find it.

 

My pick of 5 books:

Just to be clear, this is merely my suggestion from the plethora of books I found listed. These are the ones which caught my eye and made we take notice. Perhaps you have seen others that speak to you more – that’s awesome!

  1. Girl Stop Apologizing – by Rachel Hollis – If you fear taking on new challenges or taking the steps to do new things because you do not want to fail or be embarrassed, then this book is for you. Great read!
  2. Manage your Money like a F*cking Grownup – by Sam Beckbessinger – I just loved the name of this one really. But in all seriousness, I think the key to success and wealth and just balance overall is learning to manage everything, and especially when it comes to money.
  3. The Power Of Positive Thinking – by Norman Vincent Peale – This one speaks for itself and is one I have actually read. The mind is a powerful thing and when we can tune it to be on a positive frequency all the time, oh wow, amazing things will happen for you. Things you can only imagine. Get this book if you are in a slump and need some motivation and a mind shift.
  4. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – The whole premise of this book really caught my attention and is on my list of must reads this year. I also asked myself, “What is the one that if done right can make everything else in my life easier?” I have not come up with an answer as yet but I am guessing that by reading the book, it will help me on my path of discovery.
  5. The Disruption Mindset – by Charlene Li – This books shows us how many businesses use disruption to be successful. They disrupt the norm without thinking about it, and the results are quite phenomenal. Think Uber, AirBnB
Is it already time to refill the empty cup?

Is it already time to refill the empty cup?

I know that start of the year always reignites everyone’s motivation for what we want to do and achieve in life and in our respective careers or business. We form these goals and objectives in our minds, we verbalise them to our family and friends and we hit the road running full steam ahead but by the time Easter comes around the motivation is already starting to run low, obstacles have come our way, there just isn’t enough time in the day for everything and the fatigue is starting to kick in… Does this sound familiar?

Personally, this has been my vicious cycle for a couple of years now but towards the end of 2019 I came to a harsh realisation that having these all these objectives in mind without self-care along the way will only result in complete mental, spiritual and physical exhaustion. Which is why I decided to take a step back and really take a break as my start to the new year. In that time sat and really took a good look at myself and realised that my cup was completely empty.  I had given so much of myself to my family, friends, my work, my studies that I had nothing left. Don’t get me wrong I love all of these things but the problem was I was just pushing too hard to be everything everyone expected me to be (ok more honestly what I thought everyone expected me to be) that I was just completed overwhelmed and burnt out. I kept asking myself how do all these amazing, successful women do it? What am I doing wrong? The answer came to be while reading various interviews on some of the women I admired – they took time to look after themselves and refill their cup.

 

Looking after yourself – what’s that phenomenon?

Yip, that was the first thing I said to myself when I heard these women talk about taking time to look after their wellbeing. I also come a few realisations firstly it’s ok to be selfish and take time for yourself and secondly like with everything in life, it comes down to the choices you make. I made a choice that day to commit to myself this year. I have made a choice to do small things daily/ weekly / monthly that will ensure that I continuously refill my cup in order to truly be the best that I can me.

 

It’s the small actions that lead to big results

I have put together a list of my the small commitments I made to myself daily and although on some  days it falters, I have chosen to make this part of my journey of self-love, growth and happiness, hope you find it useful too!

  1. Wake up early and start your day with a grateful heart and prayer or meditation
  2. Keep a journal – this has been a hard one for me, but its amazing how when you put your plans, ideas or obstacles down to paper how much clearer your vision becomes and how much easier the obstacles seem to overcome
  3. Drink more water! Yes, I think this is an obvious one that you have probably heard a million times, but seriously getting that H2O in really does make a difference to your energy levels and this coming from a BIG coffee lover is saying a lot
  4. Get active – even if its just a walk in your garden or office block during a lunch or coffee break, get up and get moving
  5. Activate the mind – whether it’s watching a YouTube video on a topic that interests you, reading a book or signing up for a course. Do something that will keep your mind active and where you will be enriching yourself mentally
  6. Less screen time – make it a point to be on your phone less or cut back on tv time, allow those things to be a treat not a bad habit
  7. Fail forward – Learn from every mistake that you make.
  8. Embrace change and spontaneity
  9. Be truly present in the moment – time is a precious commodity don’t waste it.
  10. Be kind to yourself and others

 

Its your choice

I know making these changes aren’t easy  – I am a work in progress myself but you’ve got this! As Darren Hardy once said “Everything you need is already inside you. Don’t wait for others to light your fire. You have your own matches” .

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who works remotely – she can sit in an office down the street or across the world.  Working with a VA is very different from having an employee sitting in your office.  Most Virtual Assistants work for more than one person, splitting their day up between their different clients. Virtual Assistants can assist with anything from general admin, marketing, diary management to virtually anything. The concept of working with a VA is a relatively new idea and so there are things that people are not always aware of.

Communication is key

Communication in this working relationship is key, use emails, WhatsApp, voice notes or weekly meetings.  Be mindful that the Virtual Assistant is not in your office and is unable to come into your office and speak to you face to face, should the need arise.  When giving instructions to your VA, be sure to provide all the resources that might be needed for the task at hand, together with all the relevant timelines and goals that you as an employer will expect.  There should always be an open line of communication.

Work out the process

Working with a Virtual Assistant takes time to perfect.  It is suggestible that especially in the beginning, all the assignments that are given to your Virtual Assistant are reviewed and that constructive feedback is given to the VA.  This process will allow her to grow in her position and for her to ensure that over time she consistently provides what you are looking for.  Never under estimate the power of a few kind words or praise for a job well done.  It will do wonders for her self-esteem and will make your VA strive harder to ensure her work exceeds your expectations.

Stay in touch

It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that your VA knows what is expected of her.  Regular communication to make sure she is coping and on point, will eliminate unwanted surprises.  Having said this, there is no need to micromanage her.  This could lead to serious problems down the line and could very well disrupt the relationship between the client and the Virtual Assistant and blur the boundaries as to what exactly is expected of her.

Remember the human touch

Remember that your Virtual Assistant is a person, who also has feelings and emotions.  Given that that many clients have never had a face to face meeting with their VA, they forget that she too is a person.  When problems arise as they normally do, it is easy get upset and vent their frustrations at their faceless Virtual Assistant.

All in a day’s work

Having a well-balanced working relationship between client and Virtual Assistant is one of the best things a client can do for his business.  By the general day to day tasks been taken over by someone else, the client is left free to focus on growing his business without the everyday mundane tasks to contend with.

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

How a Virtual Assistant can help you prevent burnout in your business

We’ve heard countless times about business owners reaching burnout.  Why do you think it happens so often? It’s because they’re trying to do everything themselves.  You know the saying about if you want it done… Yeah that one.  That’s why.

Sadly in some cases it takes a burnout for them to realize that they need help.

No successful entrepreneur does it by on their own anymore.  Don’t try to break the norm, you’ll be sorry…

I know I really struggle to outsource anything.  It feels as if it’ll take me less time to do it myself than to explain to someone else, right?  Well look at it this way, if you’ve spent the time to explain it once, you won’t ever have to again and that task can be delegated with ease in future.  See it as a time investment towards your mental (and maybe physical) health.

So now I’ve got you thinking, heck that sounds like me too.  Well buddy you might be heading for a burnout as we speak.  I’m sure you’re next question is, how do I prevent burnout? The answer is easy, outsource!  Good news is that your first stop can be your only one.  Outsourcing your outsourcing to your Virtual Assistant is a great idea!  Here’s how a VA can help you:

  1. Need to design a presentation for that new client? That’ll take hours! Nope, not if you have a VA that can do it for you or outsource it to a graphic design expert.  That time can be utilized in carefully selecting leads for your business.
  2. Ughh, now there’s an entire list of leads you need to call, you hate making calls. Your VA can do it for you while you catch up on some much-needed networking with the MD of that company whose business you’ve been after for months.
  3. It’s your grandma’s birthday and, yikes! You forgot to send flowers. You’re already on the golf course and done for the day…   Your Virtual Assistant can organize it for you, just send a quick voice note and you’ll be the new favorite grandchild in no time.
  4. If I haven’t convinced you yet… Cost-wise hiring a VA just makes sense.  You don’t have to provide any infrastructure for her/him to work with, no leave days necessary, you only pay for the time spent on your tasks, no annual bonuses necessary, no year-end functions that cost you money and a VA can do pretty much anything you require.  We are experts at acquiring or outsourcing the skills you need in your business.

I think you catch my drift.  Don’t you just wish there was a little helper to sort out the nitty-gritty while you hustle to get new clients?

Well, there is! We’re called Virtual Assistants and we’re just a phone call, email or WhatsApp away.

So if you want to join the trend and prevent burnout from trying to ‘do it all’, get yourself a VA today!