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Monday, January 18, 2016

3 Ways to Relieve Post-Holiday Stress—How to Get Started

[Article originally posted on LinkedIn]

 
The post-holiday struggle is real.

If you’re anything like me, these first few days of January have been tough. Let’s face it, while great to catch up with family and friends, the holidays are exhausting and can take a major toll on personal well-being.

While everyone else is revising ambitious New Year’s resolutions, I am planning my after-holiday detox.

This detox is my mental, physical and spiritual practice that gets me back into equilibrium, back into work-mode and ready to conquer another year.

Perhaps this detox routine will help you, too, get back on form.

1. Consider your mental well-being

Sleep: For healthy brain function, emotional well-being and physical health, I make reassessing my sleep patterns my number one priority. During the holidays, sleep takes a major hit, but when I’m ready to regain my quality-of-life, quality sleep takes precedence.

Right now, I’m working on getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night (aided by a bit of Chamomile tea) so that I can maintain focus throughout the day, workout more energetically and delay decision fatigue as much as possible.

Massage: Considered a luxury to some, I use massage to relieve stress and anxiety. My stress has a tendency to manifest physically (lower back pain). Massage is a way to recognize when my muscles are holding on to unhealthy muscle memory and to release it. When done on a regular basis, I become more conscious of my body and its optimal state.

I find that monthly therapeutic massage work leaves me feeling lighter on my feet and resting easier at night. My detox involves working regular massage (and my yoga practice) back into my schedule.

Digital detox: No explanation needed. Just. Put. Down. The. Phone. and logout of email sometimes. Even if that means penciling “unplug” into my weekly schedule.

A good tip is to put the phone on “airplane mode” particularly if you sleep with it on the night stand next to you. I find that turning the signal completely off (not just on silent) really helps to facilitate uninterrupted sleep.


2. Consider your physical well-being

Nutrition: Reevaluating my nutrition plan is another top priority after the holiday season. I find that reducing my sugar, processed carb and alcohol intake while increasing my water and green vegetable intake allows me mental clarity, focus and concentration, and increases my energy levels. 

A good tip here is to meal plan, or cook weekly meals on a set day(s) and pack food into portable containers to help reprogram your nutritional routine. This reduces the number of spur-of-the-moment decisions made about food, making healthier choices much more likely.

Exercise: For me, working out in the gym is ideal because it allows me to “zone out” and focus on my breathing, posture and endurance. It becomes a meditation for me (more on that below).
 
A good tip here is to incorporate both cardio and weights into your training. I use cardio to strengthen my mental control over my physical endurance. I use strength training to help me maintain a powerful and confident presence and state-of-being.


3. Consider your spiritual well-being

Meditation: It’s no exaggeration that we are all in a state of information overload. An influx of external stimuli competes for our attention daily. This can affect our internal monologue (or self-talk) and make it difficult to focus our thoughts constructively and perform optimally.

I find taking time to be still in silence by reducing my external stimuli the best way to regain control over my thoughts and to focus my mind for peak performance. I use my meditation time to set an intention for the day, task or life-season. For me this brings clarity of purpose and direction, even if perceived on a subconscious level.

Reflection and gratitude: Relatively ambitious, I often find myself moving from goal to goal without much acknowledgement of the true girth of the accomplishment. I rarely take the time to celebrate an achievement before moving on to the next ambitious task. I think this is a mistake that many of us make—an unending quest for greater, without being fully conscious of what is presently great and what it took to get there.

I am working on celebrating life and accomplishment with more intention and humility. I will do this by being more aware, reflective and openly grateful for the work that I am doing, the vision and drive that it takes, and the divinely-bestowed ability to bring those together to form a personal standard of happiness and success.

I invite you to join me on this detox!

What say you?

Do you detox after an exhausting holiday season? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts! Looking forward to hearing your voice on this one. Comment below!

If you found this interesting, you may also like:
  1. Is the Holiday Party Worth It?
  2. A Powerful Connection to Your Brand through Gratitude
  3. A Moral Obligation to Respond to Tragedy on Facebook?
  4. What to do When a Social Media Influencer Wreaks Havoc on Your Brand

--
Kelliann McDonald is a Business Strategist, specializing in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has 8+ years of corporate experience, recently completed her MBA in London and is back in the United States creating synergy for Federal clients in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

One year


I was the only one who remembered I had been home a year. But, I guess that's what it means to be an adult. No one to bear witness to your life except you.

I was doing my regular dancing in the bathroom mirror pre-bedtime ritual when it dawned on me. "Wow," I thought. "Time waits for no man, time marches on."

And then I was overcome with a sense of confusion.

I still battle with what it means to be back at home in the states and what it would mean to move back overseas. To start a life 4,000 miles away.

Sometimes it just feels like I would be witnessing my family's life unfold from a greater distance.

I live at "home" now, but it's not like I live next-door to anyone I love. It takes a flight to get to anyone I love. So what's the difference?

Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe it's just first world problems.

Or maybe my mind just likes to take me on these intricate journeys through worry and concern. 

Only for me to emerge on the other side victorious in my understanding that ultimately all things conspire for my good.




Friday, January 1, 2016

YEAR IN REVIEW :: BEST OF 2015 :: IT'S KELLS




At the end of 2014, I completed my studies in London, so my 2015 started with me moving back to the States. That was a pretty emotional decision for me because I had fallen in love with the city. I was the happiest I'd been in while, even with all the challenges of living so far away. When I got back I was afraid I would fall back into an old routine. I didn't want to feel like I had regressed, so I jumped around from state to state, starting at home in Miami, passing thru NYC, etc until I landed and settled in D.C. where I felt I could make a new life for myself.

2014 has been an AMAZING year of growth and sacrifice for me. Painful at times, but worth it for the growth that pain brings. I lost a few loved ones, literally and figuratively, but I think of them often and they keep me inspired to live life as hard as I can, because time is so fleeting.

Here I share the highlights of my year. I think we all get a little depressed around the holiday time, so editing this video reminded me of just how much grace is over my life.

I share this video with you as proof that the life you want and deserve is within your reach. Stretch yourself and grab for it in anyway you can because we only get ONE chance at this, and YOU ARE DESERVING. Feel NO guilt and NO shame in working toward the life of your dreams. Thanks for riding with me. Here's to a blessed, prosperous and safe 2016 for us all!

-Kells x

 [Video embedded below or click THIS link.]

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management and Production, Second Edition [eBook]

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
Second Edition: The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management and Production

The 2015 Revised Edition includes a NEW Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy + more! 

The 7 Stages of Highly Effective Event Management & Production is a blueprint for event planners, managers and publicists to produce high quality events while working in a demanding corporate environment.

You can expect pithy insider tips, how-to's and best practices used by corporate event managers to produce high-profile events for high-value clients.

You will learn the seven practical stages of effective event management, including quick-hitting tips on gaining leadership buy-in, effective budgeting, event promotion, social media & content marketing, and pre- and post-event must-dos.

Use this guide to master the essential techniques to guarantee your event will be superbly planned, promoted and received by your stakeholders.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

You should know

You should know that "strong" people are rarely innately so. They are strong out of necessity with the knowledge that there is no one there to catch them if they should fail. 

A thin veil of support.

No one to cradle them should their knee buckle for a moment, so their life is wholly dependent on their personal strength.

You should know that it is a lonely place to be.

You should know that many "successful" people are driven to success by the inadequacies of their circumstance. And that inner drive is usually a prescription for inner pain.

You should know that people remember how you make them feel, not the details of what you say or do. And that the emotion tied to how you make them feel resonates far after, and far deeper, than anything you can do to shift blame.

You should know that strong people are the most sensitive, using an exterior persona of strength to shield themselves from harm. To protect their vulnerabilities, to rage against manipulation at the hands of deviants. 

You should know that a pillar of strength may have a man, a family member, a friend, a parent, in her ear telling her that her strength makes her less of a woman —A very ironic play on her existence, since woman is the embodiment of strength.

You should know that strong people are strong because they have no other option.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

I'm Back Home Now, Here's Why.

Hiya! You know I've spent the last year and half globe trotting, visiting fantastic sites, indulging in delicious eats and building treasured relationships. I would do it all over again if I could. Sadly, in the end, I had to move back home. Well, not home, home, but yes, back to the States. Press play to see exactly where I ended up and why.



Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Farewell Thoughts on Dating in London


While I was in London, in addition to documenting my travels, business experiences, social and academic life, I decided to document my experience on the dating scene. I vlogged my tongue-in-cheek thoughts on interracial dating, dating Europeans who hate Americans, being called out because of my hair and being considered "exotic" as a black woman, as some of my more interesting topics. I decided to mainly post my vlogs to my YouTube Channel, where they were very well received, but to close out the series I share here my final thoughts on dating in London. Click the link below in you're interested!





Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My British Accent


One of the biggest things about living abroad is the exposure to different ways of life. A big part of that is the way in which we communicate. To me, the British have one of the most noticeable and appealing accents of those who speak the English language, so I was keen to pick up the way while I was there.

While I was away, every time I would call or visit home I would be asked, "Do you have an accent yet?" I think a lot of people find the accent lovely and are interested in how cultural emersion changes you. Here are my favorite British slang from my time in London. Press play and tell me if you think I've got it, or if my British accent needs some work :)



Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Global Meditation for Compassion - My Reaction Video


If you follow me on FB or IG you know that I participated in the #iamcompassion event a few weeks ago. I was encouraged to attend by my friend Ruby Velle, who I admire greatly for her stance on love and its necessity in the world. Personally, I'm a firm believer in the power of meditation and manifestation and would be keen to see more love and compassion in the world, so the event was right up my alley.

Here is my reaction to the #iamcompassion event, Deepak Chopra's Global Meditation for Compassion, a live stream meditation and discussion where everyone was empowered to be the change they want to see in the world.

Hundreds of thousands of people from across our global meditated on behalf of all of us for a more peaceful and compassionate world. This was the second annual event where the world's energy was shifted for the better. Click the link below if you are interested in hearing how it all went!
 


Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to be notified when my videos go live. Drop me a message when you do, I'd love to personally welcome you to my vlogging community!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quick Update #pressplay


In the midst of chaos I am the calm. My life has made a complete 180 in the last few months. Click play to find out why. Don't forget to subscribe to season 2 of my vlogs. New life, new series! Please play on the vid embedded below. Here's the direct link if you can't see it: https://youtu.be/kapJDVslGfA

Friday, May 22, 2015

Here's the Deal w/ New York City

Come with as I go around and play tourist in the city that never sleeps, NEW YORK CITY, in this the final vlog in this series.

+PLUS we're at 500 subscribers! xoxoxo give-a-way time! Details to come. Subscribe to stay tuned! https://www.youtube.com/kmelanie319

[Video embedded below. Can't see it? Click here: https://youtu.be/K0Rduh180SM]

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fat and Happy in New York City



I have spent the last several months in New York City. Here's what I've been up to. In addition to what's here, I spend ample time chillin in Harlem and attended a really unique, interactive show at Le Qube pop-up theater called Vintage Live.

 +Liked this vlog's soundtrack? It's Nicki Minaj ft. BeyoncĂ© - Feeling Myself Instrumental [Twerk Edition] (Chinaboy Remix) https://youtu.be/3Zd0Rppy3qk

 +PLUS we're at 500 subscribers! xoxoxo give-a-way time! Details to come. Subscribe to stay tuned! https://www.youtube.com/kmelanie319

[Video embedded below. Can't see it? Click here: https://youtu.be/dJd8UskKc8M]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

...to steal my heart in one fell swoop



I've tried not to slow down for any extended period of time for fear it'll sink in how much I miss London.

The tears will flow, I'm sure.

They call New York the greatest city in the world, yet I've tried and tried again and again to fall in love with this place - to no avail.

Yet London was able to steal my heart in one fell swoop. 

I felt light there where I feel heavy here.

Powerful and light. 

At times I feel powerful here, but always heavy. Always beaten down. Kept in a box. 

An odd thing to say of your homeland. Not just any homeland. Still no less true.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Conspiracy Theory or Truth? One Reason Why UF's Black Recruitment Efforts are Not Made a Priority


I've been following Jeff Schweers' Gainesville Sun series on declining Black enrollment at UF. I wrote my initial blog post about it here. The post included how attending UF changed my life forever and 3 things we can do TODAY to help maintain a strong legacy of Black and Afro-Latino achievement and excellence at UF and throughout the Gator Nation.

Additionally, I have been speaking with a few former student leaders and ABA members about their perspective on the situation and how alumni might support increased recruitment and retention efforts.

A friend mentioned that one possible reason for the somewhat lack of interest in stepping up recruitment efforts might be because Black alumni are presumed to not give back financially, in a large way, thus less of a priority. This had been a topic of discussion several years ago while this friend was attending UF's Levin College of Law.

Coincidentally, on March 7, Jeff published another article about Gale V. King's $1M donation UF's College of Journalism and Communications. The fund is expected to generate about $35,000 to $40,000 a year that will go directly to scholarships and programs, according to Diane McFarlin, dean of the journalism school.

Gale V. King is the executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Nationwide Mutual Insurance in Columbus, Ohio, grew up in Gainesville and went on to great corporate success.

Does Gale's donation negate the conspiracy theory (or truth) that Black alumni do not give back in a large way, thus are less of a priority? How could we use this narrative to reiterate to the new administration how important, and mutually beneficial, Black student recruitment efforts are to the Gator Nation?

READ THE FIRST POST IN THIS SERIES: URGENT: Get involved w/ your University of Florida - Alumni Association NOW - Here's why.

Monday, March 2, 2015

URGENT: Get involved w/ your University of Florida - Alumni Association NOW - Here's why.


If you're anything like me, you realize that attending and matriculating from the University of Florida was one, if not the, best decision of your life.  There are so many things that can be said about the doors, hearts and minds that have been opened by the opportunity. Gators will understand this wholly. No further explanation necessary.

I have encouraged all of my younger mentees to attend a university away from home, particularly UF, if their credentials support attendance.  Living and studying in a small, rural town is well-worth the sacrifice to attend a world-class institution such as UF.  UF is a tough school to get into now-a-days, but not just because of its ever-increasing "Ivy League of the south" status, but sadly because of the decline in commitment to minority recruiting.

Have you been keeping up with the news about the drastic decline in black enrollment at UF? If not, read more about the issue here:
Both articles were written by Gainesville Sun staff writer, Jeff Schweers. He can be reached by phone: 352-338-3176 and e-mail: jeffrey.schweers@gvillesun.com.

MORE FROM THE ARTICLES: “Falling black enrollment is not unique to UF,” Glover said. “Other State University System universities have experienced similar declines.” UF's black undergraduate enrollment fell by 876 students between 2010 and 2014, or by 28 percent. 

Florida State University, the University of South Florida and Florida A&M also saw decreases in black student enrollment, but not to the same degree as UF. The state's eight other universities either maintained their enrollment numbers and percentages or saw an increase in both.

The University of Central Florida saw an INCREASE of 1,000 students — a 19 percent growth rate in its black undergraduate population. Black students grew from 10 percent to 11 percent of the undergraduate population.

“The recruitment and marketing environment has gotten tougher, no question about that,” said Gordon Chavis, UCF's associate vice president for Undergraduate Admissions, Student Financial Assistance and Student Outreach programs. UCF has an AGGRESSIVE COMMITMENT to minority recruiting, established by John Hitt when he became president in 1992.

Here's what you can do TODAY:

If you feel that UF has changed your life for the better and are interested in maintaining a strong legacy of Black and Afro-Latino achievement and excellence at UF and throughout the GATOR NATION, now is the time to get involved with your University of Florida Alumni Association:

  1. JOIN the UF Alumni Association. Membership starts at $40. Money talks, B.S. walks. We know this. You most show some level of financial commitment to be taken seriously.
  2. CONNECT with your local UF Alumni Association. Send your local chapter president a note telling him/her that you are concerned with the decline in Black enrollment and that you are poised to help in anyway needed. Also, Save the Date for Destination ABA, the UF Association of Black Alumni's first multi-city alumni experience taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Atlanta, South Florida, Tampa and Washington, D.C. Be vocal about your thoughts when you attend. ALL are invited.
  3. SHARE your reflections with new UF president, Dr. Kent Fuchs. President Fuchs is currently on a multi-city Listening Tour to meet with alumni, friends, media and leaders in Florida's major cities and selected cities nationwide. With stops in Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa and other cities beginning this spring, he will gather ideas and thoughts about how to shape UF's next era. Attend AND speak up when he is in your city or email him today. 
NOTE: UF recently hired a new Director of Admissions. Now's the time to re-evaluate the recruiting practices and get the buy-in of the new President and new Admissions Director.

We, the black alumni, supporters and friends, are here to help. We know what currently works and what can be tweaked in regards to minority recruiting. Let's open a dialog and get this challenge rectified. Step one, let our voices and concern be heard. Step two, meet with the new leadership at UF.


GATOR NATION, WE NEED YOU. SPEAK UP TODAY. IT'S TIME TO STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT. LET'S WORK TO INCREASE THE STANDARD OF MINORITY ENROLLMENT AT UF TODAY.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts. I am in contact with the UF ABA National President and will relay your thoughts directly to her.

READ THE SECOND POST IN THE SERIES: Conspiracy Theory or Truth? One Reason Why UF's Black Recruitment Efforts are Not Made a Priority

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