How to reduce stress in the workplace with one simple exercise

How to reduce stress in the workplace with one simple exercise

STRESS, wow this is a word that can be easily thrown around in almost every workplace, anywhere in the world. What if I told you that you could reduce this by almost 70% with just one little thing?

Sound too good to be true? What if I told you that you could do it, by simply practicing something your body and mind is so attuned to and it is a perfectly natural action?

In the words of Mark Twain:

“[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug—push it a little—weaken it a little, century by century, but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand”.

 

Laughter has several amazing effects on the body.  It strengthens your immune system, reduces muscle tension and stress. It is good for your ticker and some say it can help you recover faster from injury or illness.

We all know the workplace can be a stressful environment and it may not be easy to get that hearty, healthy chuckle in, so I have compiled a short list of how you can make your day a tad happier.

  1. Use the Word: Check out http://www.wordthink.com/; word of the day, then try to naturally work it into a conversation.
  2. Have some Hula Fun: Hold a hula hoop contest with your desk neighbour or on a zoom call with your colleagues.
  3. Pull Yourself towards yourself: write a letter to yourself about how your stress is ridiculous “dear future me, can you believe how I wasted a day being stressed?”
  4. Jam it up: get up and dance, do it in the elevator, at your desk, in front of a mirror, just wiggle those hips for a minute
  5. Jam it up Together: Even better than a solo elevator jiggle, have a 2pm 30 second dance party with your co workers
  6. Halloween scream: put out a bowl of candy at your desk and offer people a sweet in exchange for a story or a joke.
  7. Employ some dark humour : Get a de-motivational poster for your desk or office.
  8. Glam it up: give any colleague (even the men) a new hairstyle with an online makeover.
  9. Poetry slam: Buy refrigerator magnets for the office kitchen.
  10. Pirate Ahoy: give everyone on your team a Pirate name
  11. Pass Notes: pass a note in the office like you did as a kid, better yet, fold it into a paper plane and see if you can land it on their desk
  12. DON’T laugh: have a don’t laugh don’t smile contest with your co-workers, see who breaks first

 

But remember life can’t always be fun and games, so there are some rules to follow when it comes to humour in the workplace:

Know your audience

Don’t use humour to insult or offend anyone. Anything that includes religion, sexuality, ethnic background, politics, or someone’s personal beliefs, is a no-go-zone.

Don’t forget to laugh at yourself

Life is short, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Include company anecdotes

This can make even the most disparaging audience feel involved.

Use humour to diffuse tension

But not at the cost of a covered insult.

 

There is still work to be done, so don’t go overboard!

The number one quality I look for in anyone, be it my manager, friend or colleague, is a sense of humour.  Life is stressful! Let’s all try and turn our frowns upside down, even if it is just for 5 minutes of the day.

Take Your Video Editing Skills to The Next Level with These 8 Simple Steps

Take Your Video Editing Skills to The Next Level with These 8 Simple Steps

Picture this … you click on a link that leads you to a video and … SILENCE for the first 10 minutes, even though you can see stuff is happening, or even worse … sound, but it is accompanied by a BIG BLANK SCREEN. That is what happens when video editing is not your forte.

So, how to remedy this and stop this scenario from ever happening to you and your videos?

In this article I explore some of the steps you can take to make sure your video editing is smooth and seamless and does not create any anxiety while doing it.

 

Why do I even need videos?

Before we get into how to edit videos like a pro, let me touch on why videos are so beneficial to a business and why, once you can edit videos for your clients (and yourself) you may find a whole lot more engagement and traffic taking place on social media platforms and even on websites.

People love to watch movies. They love to watch things and hear things, a lot more than just reading a whole lot of words. Videos bring a new dimension to things. Sometimes they give a more personal touch and then there are people in the world that learn better when they watch things getting done and can follow the instructions step for step.

Now let us take a look at how you can take your video editing skills to the next level.

 

Next level video editing tools

 

  1. Choose the right software – you want to make sure you get the right software installed on your device according to what you want to do with your video, the type of effects that are needed and also your overall ability to use editing software (but let’s face it, anything you do not know you can find on YouTube). Here are a list of some of the top ones used by professionals:

You can read more about each software by following the link. They all generally do the same thing, but some have added benefits and some software applications, such as iMovie, can be used on Windows and Mac computers, as well as iPads and iPhones.

  1. Speed is key – This does not pertain to your speed personally but more to the speed of your device. A fast, well equipped PC is key in making your video editing smooth and seamless. The reason for this is because the software you will be using can use up a lot of the computers resources and if you have a sluggish PC with outdated parts, operating system and drivers, you are probably going to run into some difficulty. Take a look here to find out some specs that may serve you well when getting your PC in order to start with video editing.
  2. Organisation Skills – To make sure your video editing goes to plan and you get the end result which is a professional looking video, you need to have some level of organization. You need to work systematically because otherwise things will not sync well and you will end up losing audio or video or have video cuts in places that they are not meant to be. So, before you start, set up a system that works for you … and stick to it.
  3. Use keyboard shortcuts – Keep in mind that most editing programs allow you to use keyboard shortcuts to perform a range of in-app editing functions which can cut down time spent considerably.
  4. True Colours – Colour correcting your video clips can make a huge impact. Colours, highlighting, low lighting, fading, those sorts of things can evoke certain emotions. You may want to show something that was happy in the video becoming a little more dark and sad – a good way to depict this and create an effect is to change the colour tone of the video. Most video editing software applications have this already built in for you to use.
  5. Music to your ears – Another tip to take into consideration is the music used, make it relevant to the actual content. It does not make sense to have a happy upbeat song playing but what is happening in the video is sad and morbid.
  6. Use Some Words – Text is also something to look into because sometimes people do not want to listen to a video (perhaps they are in a place where they cannot use the sound) and they can then follow what is happening in the video by reading captions. Large flashes of text on the screen can also evoke emotions and make someone want to watch further. Another idea is to use text to start the video, almost giving people an introduction to what they are about to watch and give an idea of what the video is going to be about.
  7. Last but not least – Make sure that your video can be used on various platforms and various devices – or at least can be converted and edited for such purposes.

 

Conclusion

So now you are in the know of how you can take your video editing skills to the next level. Once you are ready to get started, play around with the software you decide on. Make videos of anything and everything and … drum roll please … watch lots of YouTube tutorials!  To get you started here are some links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaO0D66xeYY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5jwVM0vX7c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJPwXJYvvys

 

Photo by Matilda Wormwood from Pexels

Will Podcast Marketing ever rule the web?

Will Podcast Marketing ever rule the web?

Podcasts are definitely the marketing tool of the moment as well as the future. Marketing gurus have noted the changing needs of marketing from the written word to audio and because of this are now using podcasting as their main marketing medium in this very competitive market.

Podcasting has grown exponentially over the last few years and is fast becoming the more popular medium for advertising. Because consumers no longer have the time to browse through newspapers, pamphlets, magazines etc. many businesses are using the very powerful marketing tool of podcasts to boost their sales as well as their brand.

The augmented usage of mobile phones is considered to be one of the main factors for the explosive growth of podcasting and podcasts have therefore become the new talk radio of the mobile devices.

 

The benefits

Eight major promoting benefits to podcasting:

  • Drive traffic.
  • Better search results
  • Allows users to listen and carry on with their life
  • Increase followers
  • Diversifying your content
  • Relationship building
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Builds trust in your brand

The best way to get your marketing message across to listeners is to use the content of the podcast to relate to the product or brand which you are trying to sell.  Using 3rd party ads can annoy listeners and subsequently chase them away.

Audio is a welcoming break from the information overload of written content.  Podcasts enable the speaker to get the message across to listeners in an interactive way that the written content might not be able to.

 

Smart integration

It is predicted that with podcasts becoming more popular that in the future there will be a lot more integration with our devices. An example is that your alarm clock could be set to wake you up with the most recent episode of your morning podcast.  Your smart devices would also be able to alert you as to when a new episode of your favorite or most listened to podcasts become available.

A small disadvantage to podcasting is that if you are listening to your podcasts using the same network it is likely that you are hearing the same ads over and over again.

Hopefully future podcasting ads will be able to be targeted to user interests and demographics which will reduce the repetition of ads.  Recent research has been shown consumers would be more likely purchase a product from a brand that appeals to their personal experience and needs.

 

The future

It is predicted that podcast networks of the future will be able to inform you of the podcasts they think you will like, almost the same way Netflix currently does with movies you have watched. For instance, if you generally listen to podcasts at 12:00 during your lunch hour, you could get notifications that there are new episodes ready for download at 11:30 which will help you to avoid searching for new episodes.

So, to answer the question, “Will Podcast Marketing Ever Rule the Web?” My prediction is yes, it is very possible that it will.  Watch this space.

How to gain a new perspective

How to gain a new perspective

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.  Dr Wayne Dyer

Wise words from a great man and of extreme relevance in this current situation in which we find ourselves.  An unsettling time of unchartered territory where we feel that we are standing in the corridor, waiting for a door to open, revealing the new way of life into which we will emerge.

COVID 19 has affected every one of our daily lives in many ways, and none have remained untouched.  Our lives are no longer the same and this brings about opportunities for self-introspection and evolvement.  We need to start looking at things differently, with fresh eyes, from a new angle, in other words, gain a new perspective.   It can make the acceptance of our new way of life an easy transition.

 

What is perspective?

Perspective is the way we see life through our filters.  A skill that we use to navigate our path, adding to our ever-growing subconscious library of reference.  As humans, we have feelings and emotions associated with our experiences according to our make-up.  Our view of one situation may be completely different from another person, yet both entirely correct as seen from their perspective.

 

Where to begin?

As with anything we wish to change, the first steps are recognition, acceptance and willingness to change. So, take a step back.  Try to look at the situation objectively, as if you were a by-stander and do not allow your emotions to take over.  If we observe from the outside, we can start to see it with fresh eyes, expand our thinking and bring in some new possibilities we may be willing to try. Decide on what you want to change and give it a go.

 

Some tools you can use

Sound too easy? I agree that sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees when you are in the situation, and at times there doesn’t seem to be a solution at hand besides the only one you can see.  Take some time to sit with yourself in reflection and try one or two of the following methods.

  1. Questioning – Ask a couple of people for their perspectives or solutions and ponder over them, trying to see things from a different angle.
  2. Meditation – find a quiet place or time and go into deep thought around the subject. Note afterwards any changes you may have discovered.
  3. Journaling – write about your thoughts and whatever ideas come into your head as you are doing this. Reflect on your writing afterwards and see if there is another viewpoint you can adopt.
  4. Mind-mapping – either on paper or there are many mind-map apps out there you can explore and use to jot down your thoughts and see how they can expand, open and change.
  5. Do things differently – even if it just starts with the way you approach your chores, your regular routes or your exercise routine. Changing things around physically can help you to shift thought patterns.

 

You have the power

You have the inner power to change how you view things around you, of forming new patterns and looking at life.  It is not about changing who you are, but rather about your expansion and growth, so go ahead and treat yourself to a broadened perspective.

Spoiling mom on this very special Mother’s Day

Spoiling mom on this very special Mother’s Day

I’m sure we are all fed up with hearing about the virus and what we can and can’t do and what we should be doing today and what we would have been doing on Sunday, Mother’s Day.   There will be no restaurant reservations, professional pamper spa days, cards made at school, school visits for moms and granny’s and the faithful quick ‘grab-a-gift’ moment late on a Saturday afternoon.

But it is not all doom and gloom.   Dads, soon-to-be-dads, sons and daughters, it’s time to get creative. Here are a couple of ideas to help you along.

 

Yaymaker

You may or may not know about paint night. It is an awesome evening out with your mom or your girlfriends, you drink wine, eat good food and paint your own canvas. The ladies of yaymaker have been super creative during this period and taking full advantage of the virtual world. For Sunday they are selling tickets at R95 per household, all you need is a couple of household or easily bought items from a Pick n Pay or Spar, a stable internet connection account and you are good to go.

Visit https://bit.ly/2zWUHwU and purchase your ticket now.

 

Netflorist

We can go with the good old faithful, Netflorist, where you can select from a wide range of custom/personalized gifts, flowers, gift baskets, etc.   You definitely cannot go wrong here but be sure to place your order soon to get it in time.

 

Make a card

Grab some paper, crayons, scissors, stickers, anything you can find lying around the house and get creative with your little ones. I’m sure they will be able to steer you in the right direction.

Some great Mother’s Day wishes you could use that have actually been said by toddlers:

  • Who needs a warm bed when you have a warm mommy
  • Mom you may be forty but you can boogey like your fourteen (this one is adaptable for all ages, you may be thirty but you can boogey like you thirteen, see where I’m going with this)
  • I am like a flower that is raised with love by you. You help me grow up big and strong Mom, thanks for all you do.
  • If Mothers were flowers, I’d pick you.

Visit Blissful Domestication for some inspiration  https://bit.ly/3c9qbOu

 

Spa day

You’ve seen the bags of nail cleaners, nail files, nail polish in the cupboard, grab these out and treat mom to a spa day. Cut up some cucumbers for her eyes and buy a face mask (from any local supermarket). The little ones can paint moms’ toes.  Be sure to add in a cup of coffee/cocktail – depending on the time of the day – and breakfast in bed and you are sure to be the favorite for the day.

 

Vouchers

Vouchers are always a good idea. This could be from moms favourite clothing store, or shopping mall. Or even a spa voucher for when we are out of lockdown, some of my top picks are Mangwanani, Life Day Spa, and Sorbet, but this could be from any spa you know mom has enjoyed visiting in the past. A voucher from moms favourite restaurant that can be enjoyed after lockdown – a great idea to support local.

 

A picnic in the garden

This one is always a winner and thank goodness for our local stores. Dads can pop out on Saturday and grab a couple of favourite treats for the family that can be easily enjoyed outside in the garden, think chips, dip, cake (always a good idea), sandwiches, samosas, wraps, bagels, croissants, cold meat, various cheeses, and don’t forget the plastic cups and paper plates to make cleaning a little easier. And should the weather not be great this can always be enjoyed in the lounge or any open area too.

 

A photobook voucher

This is one we have heard every mom talk about, and how they wish they had the time to put a photobook together. One of my favourite is Burblepix. Their desktop or online creator tool is simple and easy, anyone could use it, and their products are amazing. This one will give mom something to do – in the very little spare time she does get – that will warm her heart and your home. You can choose from a photo book, a calendar, a canvas, a diary, etc. Visit https://bit.ly/2WsA97i for more information.

 

A family photoshoot

This is one you definitely can’t go wrong with!  There are a number of photographers offering Mother’s Day specials. Some of the great ones I have seen are offered by Laura Clair Smith Photography, Kate Rankin Photography, Bianca Smit Photography, Jo Stokes Photography Cape Town, Adore Photography, and D’amor Photographer, to name a few.

Some photographers are embracing remote photography such as Kist Photography, where you can do a remote Mother’s Day shoot.  Visit them at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc for more information.

 

Online Make-up Tutorials

Another great option for Moms who love make-up or have mentioned that they would like to go on a course. Erin Smylie, one of the best make-up and hairstylist in the industry, is offering online make-up tutorials.  You can purchase a course by visiting her website at https://bit.ly/3c5JJUc.

 

As a reminder – Mother’s Day is on Sunday the 10th – yes that is this coming Sunday – so get planning, be creative and show Mom that you appreciate everything she does.