Handling Holiday Stress with Grace

As we shop for gifts, welcome house guests, and prepare for parties and holiday meals, the joy of the holiday season has a tendency to also bring quite a lot of stress. While stress levels increase, our positive attitudes and mannerly ways often times decrease. This year, let’s not have that happen! Here are some of my tips to ensure you have a merry and bright holiday season!

  1. The Shopping Experience
    • Be prepared to handle the crowds. Do not push your way through people, simply say “excuse me” as you move.
    • Always thank the sales associate who help you find the gift you want, the right size/color of an item, and sometimes even do your gift wrapping. They appreciate polite customers 🙂
    • Avoid fights with other shoppers over the last item in stock. You will find something else and let’s be honest.. Getting dragged out of the store by mall security is not worth it.
    • Give people their space while looking through clothing racks, items on the shelf, and standing in line.
    • Speaking of standing in line, do not huff and puff because the line is long. Instead, use that time wisely. Get your coupons and method of payment ready so you can be quick at the register.
    • When you check out, do not be on your cell phone. Give the sales associate your full attention and be sure to wish him/her “Happy Holidays.”
  2. Welcoming House Guests
    • Create a welcoming guest room.
      • Make a cute sign/photo frame that has the WiFi password posted.

        Graphic Available for Download on Life of Verde's

        Download Sign at Life of Verde’s

      • Put extra pillows and blankets in the closet.
      • If you use your guest room for extra closet/storage space, clear some space for your guests to hang their clothes or put them in the dresser.
      • Have a luggage rack in the room.
      • Put together a travel toiletry basket (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, cotton balls, band-aids, etc.) and leave it on the bathroom counter in case your guest forgot anything.
      • Ensure the room smells clean, but avoid using too much fragrance – some people get headaches from overly scented rooms.
    • If you have a visit packed with events, make a festive itinerary and send it to your guests in advance! Perhaps these guests have never joined you before and do not know your traditions, the area, or even what to wear for your events; so, this is a great way to make them feel welcome before they arrive.
    • Plan your menu and/or make reservations far in advance.
    • If there are things you know your guests like (a snack food, certain type of soda, etc.), try to stock up on a few things. For example, I do not drink coffee, but I know most people do so, I make sure I have it prior to guests arriving.
    • It is certainly easier said than done, but try to check as many things off your to-do list as you can before your guests arrive. That way, you can enjoy the time with them. For example, make sure gifts are wrapped and any food preparation you can do early is done.
  3. Hosting the Party/Holiday Meal
    • Set your table and decorate our home ahead of time.
    • Plan out where you will place the food and make sure the serving dishes fit so when food is ready to come out of the kitchen, it goes directly to the table.
    • Do not wait until the last minute to shop for ingredients. It is better to stock-up early and have enough for the season so you do not have to run to the store at the last minute.
    • Prepare as much as you can before the day of the event. If you can make certain dishes and freeze them (without losing any taste quality), go for it. If you can cut up ingredients and store them before making a mix or tossing them into a recipe, get all the prep work out of the way.

I hope these tips help you to have a low-stress holiday and one you can find some time to relax! Remember, as busy as your schedule gets, always be polite and think positively.. You will get through it! Enjoy the time with your family, friends, and loved ones!

Happy Holidays, y’all!

AB

Tips to Succeed on a Telephone Interview

As if interviewing for a job is not nerve-racking enough, we often have to do it twice with most first round interviews taking place over the phone. Interviewing over the phone has a whole different feel and can cause you to feel anxious for it’s own reasons, but there are also plenty of positives. This week, I am sharing my tips on how to succeed on your next telephone interview.

  1. Look the Part
    • Be dressed professionally, or however is most appropriate for the position. It will put you in the mood of that career opportunity and make you feel more in-touch with the opportunity you are pursuing.
    • Keep the desk or table you are sitting at neat. You do not want to have things cluttered around you or be distracted by other projects.
  2. Body Language – It still applies!
    • SMILE! 🙂 It will help to make you less tense during the conversation.
    • Talk with your hands. If you are someone who does this naturally, it can help you talk through interview questions and it will make you more engaged/lively in the conversation.
      • NOTE: In an interview or any professional interaction, be cautious of being too boisterous with your hand gestures. No one wants to feel like you’re jumping across the table at them or about to accidentally hit them.
    • Focus your eyes. Whether you look at a photo of the person you are speaking to, something directly in front of you, or your notes, try to focus your eyes and keep your head up. Looking around the room because you do not have a person to keep eye contact with can make you “space out” and lose track of the conversation or miss an important piece of information.
  3. Be Prepared
    • The great thing about a phone interview is you can keep your notes and research right near you!
      • Have a copy of your resume, the job description, and any other supporting material you submitted, printed out so you can reference it.
      • Keep the company’s or institution’s website open. You never know if you may have to look something up in a hurry.
      • Read the bios of the company’s leadership – This can help you to connect with them if they are your interviewers or it can help you impress the interviewer by being familiar with your employer’s background and showing your ability to connect on a personal level.
      • Know the mission and vision of the company and have a “plug” on how you can contribute to and enhance it.
      • If you know there are questions you are nervous to answer or think you may stumble over, prepare responses to them and write down bullet points to help you.
    • Prepare questions for your interviewer.
      • Honestly think about the things you want to know about the company, the work environment, the job itself, etc. and make sure you leave with a comprehensive understanding of the position.
      • Takes notes during the interview so you can look back at what you have discussed. If something pops up that you did not understand or did not get a full explanation of, go back to that topic and ask new questions.
  4. How do I end this call?!
    • After the interview is complete, ask about next steps.
      • It is perfectly acceptable to ask how the interview/candidate process works after this point.
      • If the interviewer asks you for additional information, be sure you know how to get it to the interviewer (email, website, in the mail, etc.).
    • Say thank you!
      • Tell your interviewer you appreciate him/her taking the time to interview you and for considering you for the position.
      • Actually say the words, “thank you.”
  5. Follow-Up
    • Send a thank-you note to your interviewer no later than 24 hours after the interviewer – the sooner the better. Express your gratitude and also restate your interest in the position.
    • If you do not hear from the interviewer by the date they say they will contact you, it is OK to follow-up with him/her; however, only do it once. Do not bombard the person on a daily basis trying to get information.

Overall, treat your telephone interview like an in-person interview. Give your interviewer your full, undivided attention, do all the prep work you normally would, and execute with confidence! Good luck on your phone interviews! Wishing you all much success and many second interviews and job offers!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra