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Being a Ment-ern

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From: Emily and Juan 

For the past few months, we have had the pleasure of interning at Ment Cowork. Both of us have learned so much in our chosen field. This blog post will focus on what each of us have gained from interning at Ment on an individual level and how we plan to take that into our future endeavors. 

Emily Jones: Digital Media intern 

I have been interning at Ment since February. As soon as I walked into our space here on 911 College Street, I could tell it was special. I was noticeably nervous because I had been on the internship hunt for a while with no luck. I was starting to get anxious because I felt like I had no experience in my field and I was falling behind my peers in my major. However, I knew from early on that Ment was where I was supposed to be. The atmosphere here was something that inspired me when I came in every day. The people I work with were all excelling in their field, so I had to bring what I had to the table. 

I have learned so much during my time at Ment. Coming in, the only experience in public relations I had was working social media for a festival back home—so not much when I began to compare myself to some of my friends who had two or so internships under their belt already. I was able to apply some of the things I was learning in class to what I was doing at Ment. Most of my duties here at Ment were tied to social media and writing this blog right here. My writing abilities have strengthened tremendously and I feel confident planning monthly social media themes and calendars. However, the majority of my growth has been on a personal level. I have become more confident in my abilities. I have been able to grow and come out of my shell. I feel more comfortable talking to people who I may be pitching to or speaking with across the table at a Chamber of Commerce event. 

As far as the rest of my time in Bowling Green goes, I have one more year at Western Kentucky University and will graduate in May 2020. I am majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Digital Advertising. My plan for after graduation changes daily so who knows where I will end up. I have loved interning at Ment beyond words and I hope that you have enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them. 

Juan Dozier: Programs intern 

A couple of months ago, I had no idea what coworking was or even the concept of it. I heard about Ment through Western Kentucky University and I thought it would be great to know a little bit more about what it was and how it would help me with growing my knowledge of marketing. After I sat down and talked with Hayley, I know that this would be beneficial for me.  I started my internship in May and I haven’t regretted interning here one bit. This is my third internship and this is by far my favorite. I have understood the importance of marketing research and brand development thankfully through my wonderful boss. I have learned so much about the community of Bowling Green because of the partnerships we have built. Hayley has given me a lot of valuable information that I am happy I know now and that I will retain for years to come. I could have not found a better internship and I hope to stay in touch with the Ment team and I plan on coming back. 

I will be entering my senior year and will be graduating in the spring of 2020. I plan on obtaining my MBA at WKU and working for the University once I am done with graduate school. I have had a lot of influential people in my life who have taught me the importance of leadership and where it will take you and life and that is something I hope to bring to the university. Four years ago, I had no idea where I would end up and how college was all going to work out, but it has turned out way better than any plan I could have thought of.

Thanks goes out to Hayley, Valerie, and JD for giving us the opportunity to intern at this amazing place. We are so excited to see where Ment Cowork goes in the future! 

Setting Goals for Success

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Setting goals is an imperative part of the process of becoming successful. However, it is important to note that not all goals are created equal. Setting goals that will end in success is one of the most important things you can do in your career. How you set your goals is just as important as the goals themselves. These tips can help you re-evaluate your goal-setting process as well as get you on the fast track to success. 

  1. Ask yourself why?

Ask yourself why you are setting this goal. Truly understand what you want to get out of it and why it matters so much to you. A common business goal is to make more money. Of course, everyone would probably want to make more money. Analyze why you want more money. Is it because you want all the things money can buy or because it will make you look better in the eyes of people you admire? Will more money make you feel more financially secure or to be recognized for the work you do? 

  1. Believe in yourself. 

Believe you can accomplish what you’re setting out to do. A lot of what holds us back from doing really amazing things in life is our mind. I know it is hard, but learn to silence the noise in your head telling you that you can’t accomplish your dreams. You can do anything you set your mind to! 

  1. Visualize where you want to be. 

This goes hand in hand with believing you can do whatever you set your mind to. Visualize yourself where you want to be in five, ten, twenty years. Where do you see yourself? Place yourself in the roles you want to be in. What does your life look like and what is required of you to get there? The clearer your visions are, the easier it is to accomplish them. 

  1. Write them down.

For me, it helps to get anything big that is floating around in my head out and onto something more tangible, whether that is on an actual piece of paper or a word document on your laptop. Being able to visually see your goals rather than have them in and out of your brain will help you better stick to them. 

  1. Get going. 

You have to start somewhere. Start small and work up to your goals one day at a time. Build up from the small to medium, to large goals as time goes on.  It is hard to understand the big picture when we’re focused on the meticulous details and vice versa, if we are only focused on the large scale, you can be left in the dust of your dreams. According to Forbes, “Knowing the ultimate goal, the middle steps, and the micro steps needed each day completes the picture.”

  1. Hold yourself accountable. 

Every so often, go back to the goals you wrote down and hold yourself up to them. Have you been on track or are you slipping behind? Set a grade for yourself and then vow to get better if you feel as though you need to step it up. Reviewing your goals keep them fresh in your mind and allows you to re-assess them as time goes on. Maybe you have accomplished one and you can cross it off or your realize one needs to be reworked. 

These tips will allow you to set attainable goals for yourself, and by practicing them, will help you achieve them successfully. I know it isn’t always easy and you may want to hang in the towel once in a while, but refer back to these tips and stay focused on the goals you have set. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. 

Catching Zzz’s

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When you think of being healthy and creating a healthy lifestyle, what do you think of? Probably eating more green things and less brown things. Maybe going for a walk rather than hitting next episode on that new show you’re bingeing. Now, did you think of more sleep? Our society has become one that believes the less sleep you have, the more productive you are. You’re up for more hours, so you’ll get more work done, right? Wrong. 

As a college student, we’re encouraged to stay up all night cramming for that final in your hardest class or writing that ten-page research paper. It’s normal to hear someone say they didn’t sleep at all before a huge exam. I have been known to participate in some nocturnal study habits in my day, but I feel worse after it. I would have much rather slept a few more hours to give my brain its much-needed rest. 

People are applauded for the low amount of sleep they get. Staying up late working in our Western culture is a sign of a strong work ethic, or that you want to climb your way up the ladder so you’re putting in more hours trying to get that promotion. Make sure to keep your schedule in check. 

Not only has the amount of sleep we get decreased, but the quality of it as well. Late night Instagram scrolling has a bad effect on our brains as we try to wind down for bed. I don’t know the whole science behind it, but the blue light emitted from cell phones mimics real light and our brain perceives it that way. It wakes our brain up, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to do when going to sleep. I am not the best at advice for this category because I absolutely peruse Twitter as I am laying in bed. I know it is bad for me, but I do it anyway (story of mostly everyone’s lives). Maybe if I give this advice I will take it: place your phone away from your bed at night. Put it across your room so you are not tempted to get it, and this will help you get up in the morning too, since you will have to physically get up to turn your alarm off. Sounds like a win-win to me. 

Here’s some rapid-fire facts about why you should get a good night’s sleep is important: 

  • Poor sleep is related to weight gain
  • A bad sleep routine can be linked to greater risk for heart failure and stroke 
  • Sleeping less also increases your glucose levels and can be traced to prediabetes 
  • Poor sleep can also contribute to depression and anxiety

It isn’t all bad, though! There are obviously some fantastic effects a good night’s sleep can have on you:

  • Good sleepers tend to eat less calories, which can help when trying to lose weight 
  • A good night’s sleep can help in cognitive function and productivity (i.e. before a big test!)
  • A good sleep can improve athletic performance 
  • Sleeping the correct amount can aid in digestion and boost your immunity 

I know it is easier said than done, though. You can’t just sleep. Carve out time to enjoy the process of getting ready for bed—clean your bedding, put on your comfiest pajamas, diffuse some calming essential oils, and whatever else makes you feel at ease. Remember to limit your screen time prior to going to bed, maybe switch to reading a chapter from your new favorite novel. We can all get more sleep together, and then maybe the world will be just a little less cranky. 

International Coworking Day 2019

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If you didn’t know, August 9 is a big day in the coworking industry: International Coworking Day! Spaces from all over the globe are gearing up for this day that celebrates everything about the industry and how far it has come with each passing year. Coworking is not about competition, but rather collaboration and it is this fact that makes this day so important and special. International Coworking Day shows that each space is bigger than themselves, part of a greater global movement.

Coworking as an industry has been around for ten years and only continues to grow as each new year passes. The industry is changing the way people all around the world think about working and is changing societal views of the overall work-life balance.

These stats from GCUC from 2018 (a big coworking conference that we have mentioned before- check them out!) are astounding, and I am going to let these numbers speak for themselves. 

  • There are more than 14,000 spaces in the world
  • There are 1 million members in said spaces 
  • Independently owned and operated spaces account for 93% of the industry 
  • 89% of people who work in a coworking space report being happier as a product of working in a shared space
  • 84% are more engaged and motivated 
  • 73% say that they maintain their sanity throughout the work day 
  • 83% report they feel less lonely 

Coworking as a whole is changing societal pressures surrounding the typical 9-to-5 job. If you consider yourself a “workaholic,” you can benefit just as much from working in a shared space as someone who may only work a few hours a day. The culture of a coworking space is palpable. The industry unites people who come from traditional office settings, those who work from home who are longing to get out of the house and find something different, freelancers and more to create what is known as coworking. Simply put, coworking is changing lives. 

We here at Ment Cowork are celebrating International Coworking Day, too! On Friday from 12:30 until 2, we are going to be out in front of 911 College Street bringing coworking to you. Find our sign (the one in the picture) and come see us. Tell us your -ment word, which is a word that describes you that has our suffix in it. Think empower-ment, commit-ment, enjoy-ment, you name it. Take a picture of your word at our sign and post it on your Instagram story to be entered into a GIVEAWAY for a Ment tee shirt and mug! Who doesn’t love free stuff? Come celebrate International Coworking Day with us, we can’t wait! 

Getting Zesty – Interview with Emma Napier

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Happy August! Each month for the rest of the year, Ment is partnering with a local business on our blog and social media accounts. This month is Zest Juice for Life, owned by Emma Napier: a 24-year-old from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The local juice shop located in the heart of the downtown scene has many flavors of tasty, healthy juice and they promote a healthy lifestyle in everything they do. 

Emma Napier, a graduate from Western Kentucky University, got her start working in an office for a national company in a corporate office. She was teaching spinning at The Spot next door to what would be her future business as well. She loved her coworkers and the work she was doing but disliked the stuffy and strict culture that was in her cubicle-filled office. “I soon realized that sitting at a desk was not for me,” she recalls.  

                             

Emma knew the previous owner of Zest from her job at The Spot and soon became friends with her. From this friendship, she fell in love with juice. She would drive all the way across town to get juice from the original Zest, the home of the former owner. The owner mentioned selling the business and asked if she knew of anyone who was interested. Emma knew instantly that this was the perfect opportunity to transition out of the cubicle and bought Zest Juice for Life. 

One of Emma’s favorite things about owning Zest is the amazing small business community located in Bowling Green. While she is a fairly new business owner, owners from all over town have offered to help her. “Bowling Green has such a thriving community of small business owners and truly want to see each other succeed,” she notes. She says learning a lot from so many people who have been in the same shoes as her. She has gotten to work with and collaborate with some of them and says they have helped her create her space, the logo, the menu boards, and more. 

  

Of course, I had to ask Emma what her -ment word was, which is a little something we do here at Ment by picking your favorite word with -ment as the subject and having it describe you, such as experiment, achievement, nourishment. Emma said her word was encourage-ment. She aims to be a smiling face to anyone who walks through the doors of Zest, and hopes her encouraging spirit keeps people coming back for years to come. 

Emma’s favorite juice she sells is kickin’ carrot, a juice that contains apple, ginger, and the star: carrots. Other juices you can find at Zest include Kale Yeah!, Jolly Green, Happy Beet, or my favorite, Hula Hooch. 

Check Emma and the rest of the Zest team out on their Instagram: @zestjuiceforlife

Failing Forward

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Some amazing things have been created through what seems like “failure”: chocolate chip cookies, Penicillin, microwaves, fireworks, and more. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple, The Beatles were rejected by their first record label, and even more successful people have been knocked down a few times. 

Call it what you want—I am going to call it failing forward—it happens to the best of us, maybe when we least expect it to. It is bound to happen in any setting, but it could not be worse at work. You might have had a big presentation and completely bombed it, or a meeting did not go your way, or you overslept and missed a meeting with a potential client. Whatever the case may be, it happens to the best of us. 

Failing forward at work, school, in life, happens. While it is unavoidable, it is important to not let mistakes consume you. Big or small, it can affect our day to day lives. However, with the right mindset and attitude, you can turn a misstep into a success in the blink of an eye. 

  1. Own up to it. 

While it may be hard to take the blame for something that goes wrong, it will help you in the long run to be honest about your mistakes. Don’t provide endless excuses or cast the blame on another employee. Explain the scenarios of what went wrong, ensure it will not happen again, and figure out how to move forward. 

  1. Figure out your next course of action. 

After a mistake happens, it is hard to bounce back sometimes. Find a solution to your mistake and fix the problem at hand. Make things right. This is what failing forward is all about!

  1. Shift your mindset. 

I know, personally, when I mess up, I feel like that is all I am capable of from then on. If you fail once, it doesn’t mean you are going to continue to fail. Find something you know you are good at and focus on it for a little bit while you manage to get your groove back.

  1. Find the good. 

If you look closely, there is a silver lining in just about everything, especially your failures. There is a lesson buried in there: a way to grow. Find it and hold on tight; let it motivate you!  

  1. Take on your next big project—and succeed. 

I know it may be hard to get back on the horse, but when you do and you excel, you will feel even better. Make sure you really put the work into it to come out on the other side successful. Your “failure” will soon fade into memory. 

  1. You aren’t alone. 

You may feel like you are the only one going through a workplace mistake. That couldn’t be further from the truth! I would just about guarantee that most of your coworkers have made one mistake or another at their job, and if they haven’t, they aren’t learning. 

Don’t go out looking to make mistakes, but know when they inevitably occur, know that you can take them and grow from them. Take these tips into consideration when you feel down and out after failing forward at work, and you might just create the next greatest thing! 

Conflict Engagement

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Written by guest writer and Ment member, Nolan Bramschreiber: Hello! My name is Nolan and I’m a husband, student of Organizational Behavior, Outcome & Planning Specialist with interCare and a mountain bike coinsure!

Conflict exists whether it is acknowledged or not. If placed on a spectrum, conflict would range widely in degree.  Some conflict could be categorized as surface level and easy to resolve, while other found to be deeply imbedded and spanning generations without full resolution.  If conflict is somehow ominously present, touching all relationships and interactions at some point and to some certain degree, why does it seem so difficult to navigate? Wouldn’t continual exposure positively increase one’s ability to engage conflict effectively? It is imperative we understand what creates conflict and prevents us from engaging it in a productive fashion. 

Building an Understanding

In order to understand how one might engage conflict productively, we must first understand what brings it about. Conflict is an interaction that can provide solid ground to build upon. Instead of vilifying views, opinions or differences, its best to seek clarification and understanding. This process referrers to differentiation. It is absolutely imperative for those engaging in conflict to spend significant time understanding differences between each other if their hope is to move away and out of the differentiation stage. Without all constituents embracing and understanding present differences, differentiation will move into integration with one foot still in the differentiation stage; forcing parties to start over in the future.

Acting on an Understanding.  

Understanding and legitimizing difference in perspective is not enough to solve a problem in conflict.  While an in-depth understanding is the foundation to problem solving, the integration stage is where parties explore and implement resolutions based on common ground. Integration can be marked by “standoffs” and “slings and arrows”, but if parties can endure the pain of furthering those processes forward, the diversity of thought can lead to actual solutions between parties. In practical application and to effectively handle conflict, understanding of conflict management approaches need to be addressed throughout all management levels, rather than strictly through Human Resources or a legal office. In the application of understanding differences and moving conflict management forward, parties need to understand what scenerios could arise to derail progress.  

It’s imperative the field based application be centered and focused on the understanding of differentiation, integration and aspects that disrupt the effectiveness of the linear model. Avoidance and escalation are threats in moving conflict management forward. The mere appearance of either escalation or avoidance do not presume ineffectiveness, but if gone unregulated, could derail the conflicts journey to problem solving. 

Applying my Understanding.  

In encountering conflict with loved ones, colleagues and friends, I have often found myself in an uncomfortable position. In order to mitigate potential conflict, my default position would be to heed the opinions or perspectives of whomever is speaking, and not state my opposing position.  While this behavior has evolved over time with growing confidence in independent perspectives and perceptions, I feel a tension to fall back into this uncomfortable position of forfeiting my difference by not advocating for or engaging it. This behavior is often perpetuated by failed attempts to voice my developing opinion.  Now, with the understand of how differentiation and integration works, I can confidently approach conflict with a genuine curiosity about why other perspectives deviates from mine. This acknowledgment provides a rich and robust opportunity to expand my horizon beyond norms applicable to me. If harnessed, I believe we can all have a better chance at conflict engagement. 

5 Tips to Defuse Conflict in the Workplace

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Conflict is all around us, no matter where we go. It’s people fighting for the closest parking spot to the front at the grocery store. It’s two friends arguing where to eat for lunch. It’s passive-aggressive glances when your coworker walks in late. Conflict, while unavoidable, can be helped through some easy techniques that you can implement in your daily work life. 

First, let’s start off with what conflict is. Conflict can range from a small difference in opinion all the way to two people not being able to be in the same room with one another. I am sure all of us have been in some sort of conflict in our lifetime and I, for one, am not a fan of it. Not all conflict can be harmful, but regardless, it will happen and it is imperative to know how to deal with it when it comes along, especially in the workplace. 

How should you deal with conflict in the workplace?

  1. Be on the lookout. 

I know this may sound easy, but it can be harder than you may think. When you start to notice alarming behavior from one of your coworkers, address it before the conflict gets out of hand. 

  1. Assess the situation. 

Just because you assume a conflict may be rising, don’t assert yourself in like you know best. Before you go saving the day, know the facts. Make sure you have a grasp on the real situation before you address the conflict. 

  1. Listen to both sides. 

We all know people can exaggerate when they are heated or in a difficult situation. Once you hear the other side of the story, you might realize the conflict is just one-sided, or it was all taken out of context. 

  1. Encourage compromise. 

The whole point of addressing a conflict is to ultimately end in a resolution. This step might take a little bit of prying, since people can really be set in their ways and want the resolution to go their way. However, once you can find common ground, a compromise becomes a more attainable goal. 

  1. Be positive. 

Moving forward can be difficult after a big fight. Make sure all is resolved before this stage and then make a point to be positive and encouraging to the other party. Treat the other person in a positive manner. The conflict is resolved, so there is no need for bad blood anymore! 

It is pretty much impossible to go through life without experiencing some sort of conflict, especially when working with so many different types of people in an office setting. Hopefully you can take some of these tips and apply it to your workplace! 

 

Passing Values Down to Your Grandchildren

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Let me state the obvious: I am not a grandparent. I am not even close to having my own children. You might be thinking that I am not the best person to be writing a blog about passing qualities down to grandchildren. But, I can absolutely say I have some of the best grandparents in the whole wide world (sorry everyone else, it’s just the truth.) 

From an early age, my grandparents have instilled strong family values into their grandchildren: me, my fifteen-year-old brother, and my twenty-year-old-cousin. We see the eternal value in having the family that we do and this all started with my grandparents. From an early age, I would watch the adults in my life just live out their lives and model myself from them (as you probably did.) Children are so receptive and follow in the footsteps of those who surround them. 

When my grandparents were younger, there was no other option to work hard. For instance, my grandpa is a farmer and has been most of his life. I asked my grandpa where his work ethic came from and he attributed it to his grandpa. He said that he looked up to his grandpa so much, the man who raised him. Even at his age, he still goes out on the farm every day: tending to his cows and picking produce out of the garden to sell at the farmer’s market. He owns a small business with my uncle, Trinity Nursery, where they sell all kinds of flowers and produce out of their two greenhouses. My grandma is so giving of herself. She is a retired special education teacher and has been a caretaker to her father and now her brother for years. She has cooked Sunday lunch for the whole family almost every Sunday since my parents were married in 1996. She attributes her work ethic was passed down from her parents and they taught her to take pride in herself and everything she did. 

I can pretty much guarantee most grandparents feel similarly: they want to instill the values that they hold dear to their children and grandchildren. Work ethic is something that must be taught. As a millennial, I know we are thought of as not having “the best” work ethic. Stereotypically, millennials are lazy, arrogant, and expect everything to be handed to them. While this may be true for a small percentage, I see it differently. I see that so many millennials have the drive to work hard that it can be somewhat impossible to break through the clutter. I know for myself, I have seen my grandparents work for what they have. They have given their family the world. I can see the value in work and what I can accomplish when I put in the effort. 

I am sure you have values that you can trace back to your grandparents, whatever those may be. It is important that we acknowledge those things and where they came from. If you are fortunate to still have your grandparents, take a second and thank them today. Tell them how much the things they have instilled in you mean to you. Maybe some of your greatest qualities come from your grandparents. I know mine do.

Butterflies and Mud Pies: My 4 Rules for Embracing Summer Break as a Work-at-Home Mom

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Written by guest writer Lindsey DeVore: Hi, I’m Lindsey-a small business owner, former educator and a blessed mom to a little boy. 

Summer break (formerly known as, summer “vacation”) used to conjure up images of long days by the pool, unencumbered free time and endless possibilities for spontaneous get-togethers and adventures with friends. Fast forward to present day as a work-at-home small business owner (with a busy toddler) and the picture looks quite different, to say the least. My goal is to spend these months giving my son the best summer experience possible. Meanwhile, clients are calling, the email box is filling up, and those day-to-day tasks of running and growing a business are not going away.

How can one manage working from home while surviving (and more importantly, enjoying) summer break with their children? I’m sharing my top 4 rules in my life to embrace summer break as a work-at-home mom.

1) Change the narrative.

Summertime presents a challenge for all parents regardless of their schedule and level of work flexibility. Logistics and childcare can be tricky to figure out, however the first challenge I realized I needed to overcome was the story I was telling myself. The narrative that I’m not doing enough for the business, as a parent and the idea that I should be able to seamlessly balance it all. I now believe that balance doesn’t really exist and the expectation that we can achieve it if we only “try harder,” is a self-defeating pursuit. Let go of the notion of balance and find peace in the acceptance of what your current circumstances are, also knowing that they will continue to evolve and change. The truth is while no parent can “do it all” during the summer months, we can do a lot, and by doing our best to take care of our business, ourselves and our family-this is enough, this is more than enough.

2) Lower expectations.

We all have certain expectations for how we conduct our work and home responsibilities, I’ve come to the realization that my standards need to be lowered during the summer months. This is the time to let things go of non-essentials and focus my high expectations to what work tasks must be completed and to the personal priorities that truly matter. Some things will need to be put away and can be picked back up once school starts back; they will survive and will be there waiting. Some things are ripe for the picking during the summer months and I want to take advantage of them-like backyard barbeques, time with extended family, and creating homemade meals with fresh corn on the cob and watermelon. Decide what you want to focus on during summer break and then let the rest go.

3) Get a work plan in place.

When it comes to getting my work tasks done, summer break is the time to channel my most organized, “Type-A” self. I try to be methodical in setting time and physical boundaries around work priorities and sticking to them. It’s a great idea to anticipate when you may have 15, 20, 30 minutes of time to work and have a plan for how to best utilize it- this will lessen feelings of overwhelm and help you get right to knocking to-do’s off your list. Schedule tougher assignments that require quiet and more attention for when you know you’ll have the house to yourself. Consider scheduling a chunk of time each week to work outside of the home at your favorite coffeeshop or coworking space, especially when you want to work on creative and new projects. Time out of the house will also give you a chance to get out of your yoga pants and mingle/converse with other adults (sounds like a vacation to me!)

4) Show yourself grace and kindness.

This is my favorite rule and the one I can struggle with the most. As we’re stretched for time focusing on managing our work and family, its easy to neglect ourselves. We need to show ourselves extra kindness during this crazy season in whatever ways make sense to you. Examples of self-kindness for me may include: unapologetically asking for help, outsourcing household tasks (cleaning, mowing, laundry), saying no to requests and invitations, and having fun whenever I can (Slip and Slide, anyone?) Remind yourself that your health and happiness are a good and essential use of your time.

Summer breaks may be different now that children and work responsibilities fill up the long days, but it can be pleasurable and memorable, nonetheless. I’m choosing to embrace this season of the year (and life) for what it is- tough but magical, long but also fast, and days filled with butterflies and mud pies and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.