Don’t let Thanksgiving gobble you up!

This week officially marks the start of the festive season in the US, but stores have already killed the holiday music for me! It’s also during this time when things seem to speed up and schedules get over booked. With all the running around we hardly ever get time to take a deep breath and be.

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No wonder we become cranky and annoyed with our loved ones. So how can you make sure to get the most out of the holiday cheer and “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”? Try this:

1) Take time to be. Use these mandatory “off” days as a time to slow down and reflect. Take it all in and relax. Maybe even go offline completely for the day!

2) Live in the moment. Leave work and other distractions aside and enjoy your present moment. Forget yesterday’s troubles and tomorrow’s stresses. Just enjoy the moment with your friends and family.

3) Appreciate everyone just as they are, with their little quirks and all. Family time can be stressful. However, seeing that we are celebrating Thanksgiving first, don’t forget to be grateful for your silly, crazy and fun family!

I hope that you will have a very happy Thanksgiving and a very festive holiday season.

Tell me below: what is your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? Or what is your favorite Holiday?

One less thing to stress about: If you feel like your exercise routine is falling by the wayside, I’m here to help! My DVDs are available online! They are perfect to do anywhere you travel and will also make a great gift. Buy them here.

xo
Hanneke

Life is a like a balanced box of chocolates.

Today I wanted to elaborate a little on something I mentioned in my Balancing Acts blog entry from a couple of weeks ago.

3) Don’t live a balanced day — live a balanced LIFE.

This step comes up a lot with my clients. When we were discussing the work-life balance, it became clear that most of us are a little confused or feel pressured by this notion.

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When considering a work-life balance, it appears most of us think about it on a day-to-day basis. Or maybe we think of it in terms of all the things we have to cram into 24 hours.

And this is normally where we all get stuck. We have many dimensions to our work lives, relationships, health, hobbies, and so on. Trying to fit all of these into one day simply leads to feeling overwhelmed, drained, and exhausted. It is impossible to make them all fit neatly into a single day.

So what can you do?

1. Take the long view of a work-life balance. As Nigel Marsh, Nigel presents and writes on business and personal life — and how the two interact. He is the author of “Fat, Forty and Fired.”, says in his TED talk, “A day is too short and a lifetime is too long.” Find the middle ground: Look at it on a weekly or monthly basis. Find a time frame that works for you and measure your balance that way.

2. Take the pressure off yourself. It is OK to have a couple of days where you feel completely out of balance. It happens to all of us; things do get crazy from time to time. But know that it’s just a moment – and one that will pass.

3. Make sure you find your balance. Reward yourself with love, kindness, and a little something special when you have slower times. Sprinkle in enough of all of the people and things in your life that make you feel full, happy, healthy, and on track.

Or take it from Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” So go ahead: Unwrap it, take a bite, and savor whatever flavor the day brings.

Want more balance? Sign up for my Pilates Pamper Staycation now. It will be the perfect afternoon to treat yourself and learn  more about Work-life-balance. Register here.

xo
Hanneke

A cyber visit with South African Press: Sarie Feature

I am so excited to share this article with you. It is in the November issue of Sarie, a South African and Afrikaans Beauty and Life Style Magazine. In this article I share a little more about my personal life and also tell the South African readers more about our beautiful city, Boston and the culture here. Read along in the translated article below!

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Where do you live and why?

I live in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  When I left South Africa 11 years ago, I first lived and worked in London. It was during a little weekend get away in Portugal that I met my husband, Bob – the American from Boston. I soon asked for a transfer from London to New York City. After a year in the “big apple,” I moved to Boston and in 2010 we got married. Bob is the Managing Director at Kidstock, a children’s theater in Boston. He is also a singer-songwriter with the band Cahill.  They’ve produced 4 CDs of original music and tour colleges in the Northeast. He is also a videographer.

What is your profession and how did you get to doing that?

I started my career in finance as a money broker in London and then New York. The immense pressure and aggressive work environment started to catch up with me and I realized that it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something that would make a difference in people’s lives. I quit my job and started my journey towards becoming a Pilates Instructor. I also got certified as a Life Coach. Today I combine the two and find a lot of fulfillment in my career. I feel like I am contributing in improving people’s quality of life.

You received an accolade for your work. Tell us a little more about that.

I started my own brand, Pilates with Hanneke, in 2011. In 2013 I received the prestigious 50 On Fire Award from BostInno, naming my brand one of the top 50 most innovative and creative businesses in Boston.

We always see the most delicious dishes on the Food Network but have also read how overweight Americans tend to be. Is this true or is it just our perception?

Yes, Americans love their food. Ready-to-go meals and fast food are available everywhere.  The cost is low and their portions are REALLY big. These factors definitely play a role in the obesity issue here in the States. However I don’t think that there are that many more obese people here than in other places in the world. Boston is a really active, fit and health conscious city, so we don’t see too many cases of obesity here.

What makes Boston Unique?

The architecture is very similar to London, with beautiful brownstone buildings and not too many sky scrapers. The city is situated right next to the ocean with the beautiful Charles River that flows through it. It sometimes reminds me of Cape Town. It is also the home of some of America’s most prestigious universities: Harvard, MIT. The city hosts a very diverse population with people from all over the world. We also have quite a big South African community here.  We even have our own Facebook page called AmaBoston. There’s also the weather.  We have extremely cold winters and equally hot and humid summers. Boston also has great restaurants. On a beautiful day we like to explore the city by bike. Boston is also just a few hours flying away form New York City, Washington and Toronto. I love working and living here.

How do you celebrate Christmas there?

During the Holidays it is very cold here with lots of snow. I have to confess that I have never celebrated Christmas in Boston, since moving here. We usually spend Christmas with my family in South Africa. This year will be my first Christmas in Boston.

Do you still have ties with South Africa?

Yes, my Mom lives in Kleinmond and my brother in Cape Town. We normally go and visit them over the Holidays for 5 weeks. I sometimes miss my country, language and culture. But luckily Bob loves South Africa and my family. When we visit I fill up on everything I miss: my family, the amazing food, braaivleis (bbq lamb) and speaking Afrikaans.

Below: The article as it appears in Sarie:

 

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Be a rich connector.

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Does the word networking make you go yuck? Rest assured you are not alone. Unfortunately, making connections and building a strong network is the only way to grow your business or land that next big job.

To help us all get over the icky-stickiness of it. I put together these tips to make your connections more valuable and networking more fun.

1) Do your homework about the host organization before you show up. Find out what the demographic of the group is, how often it meets, how many members it has, etc. This will save you time and help you make better connections.

2) Put some conversation starters in your bag of charm. Talking with strangers can be daunting. I get that. Overcome these hurdles by writing down good conversation starters and questions. Think of great interactions you’ve had recently and consider what sparked them.

3) Get creative. Normally the first question you’ll be asked after your name is, “What do you do?” Instead of telling people your job title, which just stifles conversation, tell them your job description. Make it fun, witty, and interesting. An example for an accountant: “I help my company stay profitable and prevent it from going bankrupt.” This will lead to follow-up questions, maybe a giggle, and before you know it, the conversation is flowing without those uneasy lulls.

4) Remember that no contact is a waste. Everyone you meet could possibly be of assistance in some capacity. Think of the bigger picture. This contact can come in handy later when someone in your network needs this particular person’s expertise. You’ll be able to put the two in touch, and perhaps they’ll both refer people to you in the future.

5) Turn your day into a networking opportunity. Whether you’re traveling, on the subway, or grabbing a quick coffee, there are always people around and chances to engage. Use them to get to know people. I do this all the time; in fact, striking up random conversations led me to my first real job opportunity in college, and it’s also how I met my husband. The key is: Be active and stay engaged.

News & Events:

Join me this weekend for a great new workout: Pilates Reform Your Mat. We’ll arial slings, flex bands, weighted balls and fitness circles for this workout. Come try it, sign up now. (click on workshop tab.)

Also SAVE THE DATE for our next Pilates Pamper event: Sunday Dec 7th. More details to follow…did someone say brunch?

xo

Hanneke

 

In memory of Mayor Menino.

Morning,

Like most of you, I was quite moved by Mayor Menino’s passing on Thursday. It’s sad to know that someone who did so much good for Boston, with so much persistence, is no longer with us. Similar to when my Dad passed away earlier this year, but obviously not with the same intensity, I once again became aware of just how short and precious our time here really is.

We so easily and stupidly waste it on people who don’t matter and things that are not important. We get caught up in silly games, get stuck in jobs that suck the life out of us. And we spend energy and valuable time on relationships that don’t support or inspire us.

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Losing my father was a huge wake-up call for me, a reminder that life really is too short to waste it on dumb stuff.  So how do we make sure we make the most of it?

Actionsteps1. You can start by focusing on what you want, where you are going, and what kind of legacy you’d like to have. This was a huge development for me. Don’t get me wrong: I still stumble and find myself caught up in petty things here and there, but now that I am aware of it, I notice this behavior much more quickly than I used to.

2. Make the most of what you have at this moment. Your life may not be perfect, but there are people and things in our lives that become the silver linings. Highlight those things and invest in them.

3. Be grateful. I hammer on this one a lot, I know. But you really don’t know how good you have it until you lose it. So take some time to bask in all you have and be thankful.

“When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.”
— Jordan Smith

In the news: 
Sign up for Pilates Strength Bootcamp this Sunday (Nov 9th) at South Boston Yoga at noon.Read about my 3 best take aways from our 2nd Pilates with Purpose and view pics here.

Have a great week and remember: don’t sweat the small stuff!

xo
Hanneke