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Tag Archives: Margaret Smith professional speaker

For many people, this may be one of the strangest holiday seasons yet. Some families may be having a socially-distanced holiday or have decided to quarantine for a couple weeks before meeting. Some have even decided not to meet at all. And even for those who have chosen to gather together for the holidays, things feel…strange.

This is a tense time in our nation, for many reasons. Worry and fear abound in areas of politics, health, and finances. There’s a sense of division and unease among Americans, even among family members. How can we possibly get past all these negative feelings and try to have a somewhat normal, even comforting holiday?

Try a few of the following:

Practice Good Self-Care

If you’re feeling tense, sad, or frustrated, don’t forget to take a step back and take care of yourself. This isn’t avoidance–it is simply allowing yourself space to gain some perspective. When your nerves are frayed, you’re not going to make good decisions and your stress may end up being destructive (to both you and those around you).

Take a long walk, read a book, soak in a hot bath, sleep in–find those quiet moments where you can step away and clear your head. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

Connect Over Food

There are few things that can mend rifts and ease tension than comfort food. This season, make your favorite dishes and share them with others. Even if you’re not meeting in person, you can still share your cooking by dropping off a “just heat it up” dish.

Keep in Touch

There are probably people in your life whom you will not have a chance to see this holiday season. If that’s the case, make an extra effort to reach out. Write them a letter (or several!), send a customized picture postcard, give them a call, or send some flowers. Your efforts will make a difference (and these kind gestures have a way of coming back to you).

Find Commonalities

I have found that even if I am VERY different from the person sitting across the table, I can always find common ground or common interests. If you are spending time with family AND you happen to disagree with them on fundamental issues, that’s okay. Take a deep breath, put on a brave face, and make the best of the situation. Make an effort to find the things that bind you together, rather than tear you apart.

This doesn’t mean you should ignore your values (if someone is belittling or tearing down something that is truly important to you, by all means, speak up!). What it DOES mean is that you can make an effort to build a bridge, if the other person is willing. Find common interests (your kids, baking shows, hiking, etc.) and attempt to see the human side of one another.

Be Kind

Tis the season to be kind. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk, donate to local food banks, buy your co-workers thoughtful gifts, smile and say thank you to the over-worked cashier at the checkout. Your small acts of kindness will go a long way toward making the season brighter.

Happy holidays! Wishing you much hope, peace, and comfort this holiday season.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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the power of hope

If you’ve been troubled by how people have been treating each other (with so much political divisiveness and name-calling lately), don’t give up hope. Your hope is powerful, and it CAN make an enormous difference.

Even in the darkest times, we can find sparks of hope. A single candle can illuminate a dark room in the same way that a grateful thought or an inspiration can illuminate a mind. Although the science is still fresh, research is starting to find that hope is a powerful factor in lifting people out of poverty, motivating people to find work, and encouraging investment (financially, educationally, or otherwise) in the future.

In a study on poverty, the researchers found that, “families that are stressed and impoverished — trapped in cycles of poverty — can feel a hopelessness that becomes self-fulfilling. Give people reason to hope that they can achieve a better life, and that, too, can be self-fulfilling.

Hope is self-fulfilling.

If we all decide to be hopeful about a better, brighter future, we CAN make that happen. We’ll be propelled into action and motivated to keep going, to keep trying. On the other hand, if we choose to have a defeatist attitude and believe there’s nothing good in our collective future…well, that, too, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When you have hope, you ask yourself constructive questions such as “What if..?” and “How will I…?” If you hold the belief that you can do something, you start seeing the paths of possibilities.

I challenge you today to think about what you’d like in your life, and what you’d like for others. Focusing on a smaller scale, ask yourself: What are my personal goals? How do I envision my future?

Then, zoom out your lens and focus on your community, or even your nation. What are your wishes for others? What are your hopes for the next generation, and the one after that? What does an ideal community or nation look like?

Start thinking about your goals and dreams as REAL possibilities, instead of wishes. By changing your mindset to a “How can I…” instead of a “I couldn’t possibly…” you’ll start finding ways to make your goals happen.

Our minds can do amazing things. If you find yours blocked by pessimistic thoughts, try focusing on the possibilities buried within the doubt. Find hope in your life and see where it can take you.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.


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Fall coffee and book

A version of this blog post was first published in 2016, but the core message resonates today more than ever. Many of my friends and acquaintances are on-edge lately, wondering how the upcoming U.S. presidential election will turn out, and what will happen in its aftermath. All that tension and fretting can definitely lead to negative health effects.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” It can lead to muscle tension, digestion issues, and headaches.

Stress can also affect those around us.

When we’re stressed, we tend to lash out at others more. Or, we disengage and have trouble being present. We tend to get wrapped up in our own tension when we’re stressed and therefore do not give others the full attention and consideration they deserve.

The other thing about stress…it helps nothing and no one. Your stress will not solve problems or inspire positive change. Instead of fixating on your worry or angst, try funneling it into action. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on that very subject, if you’d like to check it out.

How can you keep your stress at bay and become more centered, healthy, and positive? Here are a few ideas:

Breathe.

Take time to step away from stressful situations and focus on your breath. It only take a few seconds and it WORKS. If you’d like, download a meditation app on your phone (such as HeadSpace), and let it be your guide.

Exercise.

Go for a long walk, hit the gym, or ask a friend to go to yoga class. Movement gets your blood flowing and reduces stress. It also releases endorphins, which will give you a little boost of happiness.

Step Away.

Unplug from social media, put your phone on airplane mod, and turn off the TV. If bad news and social media spats are stressing you out, it’s a good idea to remove that negative stimuli for a while. Do your best to tune in in small doses–your mental health will thank you!

Treat yourself!

Pamper yourself a little. Plan to take a long bubble bath, ask your partner for a back rub, or schedule a relaxation night filled with movies, a facial mask, and tasty treats. You might also order food from your favorite restaurant and serve it on your nice dishware. Be sure to put your plans on your calendar so they actually happen.

Eat well.

Good nutrition can increase our energy, improve digestion, and reduce headaches. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reminds us to avoid high-fat foods (like pizza and mac ‘n’ cheese) when we’re feeling stressed because “they can make us feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress.”

Practice quiet time.

Read a book, knit, bake a pie. Do something that you love and DO NOT feel guilty about taking “you time.”

Invest in yourself.

If your stress reaches serious levels, you may want to consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor to get yourself back on track. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. If this is more than “a little stress,” reach out and seek help immediately.

Your mental and physical health is directly tied to your stress levels. Don’t let the impending election drag you down! Take time to respect yourself and your wellbeing. Doing so will help set you up for success in the months to come.

Here’s to you and your health!


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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