The reading nook. Every home deserves to have one in this chaotic day and age. When the day is done and the stress of the outside world starts to slowly dissipate into the unknown, the last thing we want to do is to try to relax by once again staring at a smartphone screen or watching TV. Instead, you need to rest properly on an emotional, physical, and psychological level.
A good book can help you achieve this and so much more. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon just for you, or a quick reading session before you turn in for the night, letting yourself go to the comfort and serenity of a romantic reading nook with a book in hand can be a truly restorative experience. Here is how to create such a setting in your own home.
Start with the lighting
Aside from mere illumination, lighting in interior design is used to set the mood in the room, accentuate certain features, and help the right kind of vibes imbue the space with that romantic homey vibe. When it comes to designing the perfect reading nook, lighting will play a vital role.
You could just read under the base overhead light that’s already in the room, but that would be a terrible waste of your riding nook’s aesthetic potential. Instead, turn off the chandelier and introduce dedicated lighting for this area. When you’re reading in the daytime, natural light should gracefully fall onto the seating area without making it too hot and without producing a glare from the windows and the surrounding decor, so be sure to balance the light beams with beautiful curtains or natural blinds on the windows.
The setting area is your focal point
Of course, the main spot in the reading nook is the seating area, and this can be anything from a cozy armchair with an ottoman, or even an entire couch other family members can enjoy with you. No matter the arrangement, this piece of furniture should be designed for maximum comfort – meaning that it should not only be fluffy, but supportive as well.
Choose sturdy leather upholstery for skeletal support, and then accentuate with throw pillows and cozy blankets later on. Complete the seating area with a wooden side table where you can lay down your book and other reading necessities.
Cozy up the setting with layered rugs
They are key to creating a reading nook of ultimate coziness (go ahead and write that in stencil on the wall behind it), lies in leaving no surface uncovered, especially the floors. There is a distinct difference between a reading nook with bare hardwood flooring, and one that enjoys the cozy vibe emanating from the fluffiness of the surrounding carpets.
With that in mind, consider positioning your armchair and ottoman on a soft Moroccan, and then layer strategically by putting accent round rugs right beneath your feet to create a cozy landing spot. It’s little accents like these that will make a beautiful, romantic reading nook come to life.
Surround yourself with books
Whether or not you will be able to truly surround yourself with books will depend on the amount of space you’re working with – sometimes, a reading nook is just a chair, a free standing lamp, and a corner. Nevertheless, there is always a way to strengthen that “intimate oasis” feel.
For instance, you can mount floating shelves on the walls next to you and put the books on your reading list on them so that you always have a good read close at hand. If you have plenty of space, on the other hand, then go ahead and position your seating arrangement right next to a grand bookshelf.
Don’t forget about pillows and throws
Now is the time to add the finishing touches to your romantic reading nook. Your lighting scheme is spot-on, the upholstery is not too soft or to rigid, the floors are radiating coziness, now you only have to add pillows and blankets to the mix.
This might seem like a simple task, but bear in mind that these additions can easily clutter up the look, so be frugal in your approach and only add the pieces that will enrich the reading nook in aesthetics and comfort. This can be a single chunky-knit blanket complemented by two accent pillows – one to support your lower back, and one to support good head posture.
The reading nook doesn’t get the praise and recognition it deserves in the modern household, and it’s time we brought this amazing restorative piece back into our daily lives. With these tips in mind, you will have no problem creating a romantic reading nook the entire family will love.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”
Do you feel pressured by deadlines, responsibilities, and complex projects at work?
Unless you’re superhuman, you probably do. Work-related stress is an all-too-common issue the vast majority of professionals across all industries cope with – not to mention entrepreneurs.
We’ve sort of learned to accept it as a matter of fact – we manage the daily operations and keep the stress under control, but every now and then the workload expands (somewhat dramatically) and that fine balancing act we’ve maintained masterfully for weeks, maybe even months, goes to pieces. Pair it with responsibilities and circumstances outside your work life, and you’ve got yourself feeling like a hot mess.
That’s when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and desperate to grasp some resemblance of order, both internal and external.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone – and that there are ways you can manage these overwhelming pressures. Here are some helpful tips for fighting work-induced anxiety and finding balance.
Acknowledge your co-workers as teammates
When faced with an overwhelming workload, many people create a barrier between themselves and their co-workers, trying desperately to deal with their anxiety all on their own.
But what if you didn’t push back the people who are most likely going through the same thing at that very moment and who have the clearest insight into your situation at work?
Perhaps your company doesn’t promote a team culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your co-workers and foster the team spirit. When things get tough, team members help each other by providing empathy, motivation, and energy, or they may even quite literally step in for each other and help out with certain tasks.
So, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your workload, don’t internalize it. Tell a co-worker what you’re going through, ask for help, don’t eat lunch alone – lean on your team for some support.
Ask for support from friends and family
Your co-workers are not the only ones who should know what you’re dealing with – it’s important to create your safety net, which can’t be complete without your friends and family. Tell them what you’re going through and what’s troubling you the most about the current pressures. And don’t think you’re burdening them – after all, that’s what friends and family are for.
It’s better to vent right away and let them know the issues you’re dealing with than to let the anxiety build up, suffer in silence, and lash out at some point. That’s how you’ll avoid turning work stress into home stress. When loved ones are clued in to what’s going on, there will be no misunderstandings on both sides – only then can they give you the emotional support and the space you need.
Take care of your body
When tensions rise, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. This wonderful mechanism, where all the pieces are closely intertwined to form your physical and mental wellbeing, needs to be nurtured so it can help you push through.
Any kind of exercise is great for relieving stress, so dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to an activity you like to get your blood pumping. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it, and yes, you can find 15 minutes in your busy schedule. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol and other stimulants, and try to get enough sleep.
Sleep can be an especially tricky issue when you’re fighting anxiety, but if the stress is keeping you tossing and turning at night, try to avoid sleeping pills. It’s always better to find a natural solution, such as plant-based stress support supplements to promote healthy sleep because unlike sleep meds, they have no side effects. These types of products can provide you with stress-relief by managing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, with the help of natural ingredients known as adaptogens.
Set boundaries and find your relaxation rituals
You need some serious you-time, otherwise you’ll burn out completely.
First things first, set clear work-life boundaries to the best of your ability. If boundaries are something you’re especially having trouble with, it’s okay – start small and you’ll get there. For example, dedicate a 100% work-free hour each night.
Take that time to reset both mentally and physically. A relaxing daily routine that you truly enjoy helps you maintain a sense of order and calm amidst the chaos. Maybe it’s pursuing a hobby that you love, watching your favorite show, doing a relaxing beauty routine, or taking a hot bath each night before bed – whatever works for you.
When you think about the overwhelming workload and you have no idea how on Earth you’re supposed to get all that done on time, the panic is bound to settle in.
Take a deep breath and step back. Not everything is urgent.
Grab a pen and paper and write it all down, one by one, then assign priority rankings to each task. Think in small steps, focus on time management, and develop a day-to-day plan for tackling the monster project. You’ll feel a lot calmer when you have a battle plan and when everything is put on paper rather than swarming around your head.
Work inevitably gets overwhelming from time to time, but the only way to handle this anxiety is by maintaining your perspective. Remember that this will pass and use these tips to help you get through it. Lastly, although humor may be the last thing on your mind in uptight situations, do try consciously to find a bit of it every day – it really heals.
Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in psychology, productivity, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard.
It’s no secret that corporate businesses are dominated by men. A recent CNNMoney analysis indicates that of all S&P 500 CEO jobs, only 5 percent are held by women. A similar study described by Catalyst shows that women made up just 20 percent of board seats of fortune 500 companies. The good news is, this trend is shifting in the world of franchising. Women now either own or co-own 41 percent of all franchises in the United States. The reasons for this are complex, stemming from cultural shifts in traditional gender roles, general consumer experience, and the overall importance of diversity of thought. Women are changing the game.
Challenging Traditional Gender Roles
Just like other cultural phenomena, gender roles shift naturally over time; they’re affected by politics, environment, and social values. Over the course of the last century, female roles in western society have evolved rapidly. While there have been significant growing pains, women now hold business positions that have historically eluded them. However, work/life balance is still incredibly important to women, as it’s essential for overall well-being. According to Franchise Times, 54 percent of female franchisees say that their overall work-life is balanced or very balanced. When compared with corporate jobs, there is often less mandatory travel time, and hours are more flexible.
In fact, franchising is often overall a more dependable career option than, say, starting a business. Franchises have proven track records of success, follow established business models and regulations, and have the general support of the company. This may, at first glance, seem like a relatively risk-averse approach to business; after all, signing on to a stable company model appears to be a safe bet. However, a more appropriate phrasing would be risk mitigation. Compared to men, women are more adept at mitigating risk in favor of larger, potentially more advantageous risks. In a sense, women make inclusive and calculated decisions that support the bigger picture.
Women and the Consumer Experience
Women make up a significant portion of franchise consumers. Consumer experience gives women intimate knowledge of what products and services they prefer, what marketing strategies are successful, and how business models work for them. Sexism often plays a significant role—business models that are traditionally male dominated, like those in the automotive industry, can deter female consumers and leave them frustrated. If a woman has a poor experience at a franchise that provides a service that is essential to her lifestyle, she has motive to either take her business elsewhere, or become a change agent in the industry.
Though more women are getting into franchising than ever before, there are still logistical hurdles. For example, women continue to have difficulty obtaining adequate franchise funding, with female franchisees seeing a loan average of $568,475 compared to $729,093 for men. In terms of research, it’s hard to say whether these numbers reflect sexism in the loan industry, or if they indicate that women have historically pursued business ventures that require less capital than men. Whatever the case may be, this trend is rapidly changing. Loans to female franchisers showed an increase of 22.5 percent between 2013 and 2017, while those for males only increased 5.7 percent
One theory is that female franchisees are addressing the lack of family-friendly environments in companies. Brian Scudamore, Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? reports that, “female-lead franchises are…disproportionately more successful than the men. Part of their strength is that they can relate to our customers—who are primarily women.” When a franchise owner and a customer share a lived experience, the customer is better served. Using their experience as consumers, women are able to accurately provide access to certain services, increasing foot traffic to their business. For example, when consumers who require childcare services have their needs met, they are likely to return. This is not to say that men can’t address the same issues; it’s merely indicative that the traditional female roles of the past can have significant, progressive influence on female roles in the future.
What Women Bring to the Table
Women bring a diversity of thought to the table. In general, women are more open to sharing ideas and collaboration than their male counterparts, giving way to innovation and new business practices. Women are similarly unafraid to ask questions, an inclusive practice that allows them to bring new voices and expertise to their franchise. According to Courtney Sinelli, Executive Vice President of Which Which Superior Sandwiches, women “look at their business from various angles,” considering “how decisions affect all areas of their business.” Similarly, Shelly Sun from the International Franchising Association believes that women “tend to be better managers, leaders, and inspirers of talent,” making their employees “feel cared for.” This wholistic approach is paving the way for women to change the landscape of franchising, making it more diverse and accessible to consumers.
Haley is from Gilbert, Arizona. She loves reading and writing just about anything under the sun. In her spare time, you can find her exploring outdoors or sippin’ on a craft brew.
No matter how good we’re doing in our lives, we can always stand to improve them. How many times have you told yourself that starting tomorrow, or starting next year, you’ll finally stick to your resolutions and turn your life around? Change starts now and it starts with you. The important thing is knowing where to start from. There are simple yet life-changing decisions you can make and stick to regardless of your busy schedule. These changes are bound to improve the three aspects of life which suffer most in today’s world- health, happiness, and wealth.
Save some cash
Saving money is always a good idea and a fail-proof way to more wealth. You don’t need to change your habits entirely to do it, though. For example, you can change the way you use transportation. Instead of taking your car or the bus, cycle to where you need to go.
This way you’ll be saving a lot of money on gas and car maintenance (and bus tickets) while keeping fit and healthy. Additionally, you can put the money you’d spend on fuel in a jar or an envelope. Don’t touch it for a few months and see how the money piled up. Now you can afford something nice for yourself or use it for an unexpected fee without stressing.
Appreciate what you have
Perhaps the most efficient way to happiness is by changing your outlook on life. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have and what you want, look at what makes you happy in your life. Remember that at some prior point, you wanted everything you have now.
Greed and a negative attitude are what pulls us down and keep us from being happy. Stop yourself every time you have a negative thought about your life. It’s helpful to keep a diary of nice things that happened to you during the day so that you can read it when you’re feeling down.
Get enough sleep
A full night of sleep is essential for your happiness and health. Even though we live in a busy world and have a lot on our plates, it’s important to prioritize sleep. Think of it this way, you’ll achieve nothing if you’re not well-rested and thereby happy.
A regular sleep cycle improves your productivity and leaves you more time to do the things you love in the long run. It’s even a good idea to take a half hour nap daily. This way you’ll be setting some time for yourself and be able to finish the rest of your daily duties more quickly.
Watch your diet
Watching your diet doesn’t need to imply some drastic changes. It’s enough to stack up on healthy snacks and cut the sugar out of your life as much as you can. Sugar makes you sleepier and slowly kills your willpower, so it’s good to avoid it.
Healthy alternatives will rid your body of toxins you’ve ingested through unhealthy food. This will make you not only healthier, but happier, more energetic, and more positive.
Find an exercise you enjoy
Most of us only start working out because we have to. Since there is no actual joy in exercising, it’s hard to stay motivated and stick to the routine, hence why we fail most of the time. This can be solved pretty easily by finding an exercise you actually enjoy.
There are plenty to choose from, and you’ll surely find the right fit for you after some experimentation. To stay energized and motivated, combine the exercise with a proper diet. If you’re new to exercise, you should use fast digesting post workout protein which will help you kick-start the recovery process and continue exercising regularly.
Drink more water
This is a very simple way to keep your body healthy and vital. Water is good for all aspects of your being, and you can never have enough of it. It cleanses you internally and leaves your skin soft and radiant. What’s more, you’ll have more energy and will be much healthier.
There are plenty of apps which can help remind you to stay hydrated if you don’t have the habit of drinking water regularly. Another idea is to spice up your drink with some fresh mint or lemon. These two ingredients will keep you refreshed and on your toes.
All in all, you don’t need to make major changes to improve your life overall. Small steps are okay and they lead to the big improvements. The important thing is that you stick to these little decisions and make time for them in your busy schedule. Consistency has always been the key to success. It also helps with maintaining high levels of motivation. That means that you’ll be the best version of you in no time.
Stella is an art historian, entrepreneur, conscious consumer and a proud mother. She can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement/DIY projects.When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book.
We all have goals, both personal and professional. Many of us even have similar goals such as finding a partner, starting a family, purchasing a house or making a shift in our careers. But it’s all too easy to find yourself working towards goals that don’t align with what you really want out of life. Often, it’s because you’re thinking not about what you want but about what your partners, parents or peers expect or what you think they would approve of. Other times, you end up working towards a goal that isn’t right for you, such as a career path that doesn’t suit you, and you may not even realize it until you find yourself in an untenable situation.
So, how can you make sure that your goals actually line up with what you want out of life? You’ll need to spend some time getting to know yourself, if you haven’t already, and employ some careful thinking about what excites and challenges you and where you want to be in one, three, five or 10 years. Each goal you set should move you toward that place, whether it be personally or professionally.
One reason many people find it difficult to set goals that align with what they want out of life is that they don’t know themselves as well as they think they do. Put some thought into who you are – crystallize your values, beliefs, temperament, interests, strengths and weaknesses and even your daily biorhythms. The better you know yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to set goals that can bring you more of the happiness and fulfillment you crave.
A big part of this is thinking about what excites and challenges you. For example, let’s say you’re interested in revamping your career and want to set some professional goals for yourself. You need to know what kind of work really interests you because that’s the work you’re going to be motivated to pursue and able to enjoy over the long term. If you enjoy traveling to exotic locales, spending time outdoors, and digging deep into history, perhaps you’d be happy as an archeologist – but probably not so happy as an accountant.
Once you know what kind of work makes you excited to wake up and get started in the morning, you’ll be able to take steps toward making that career happen. Perhaps you’ve had some experience in the business world and feel inspired to become a better leader, so you decide to enroll in an online MBA program. This goal aligns well with what you want out of life: to grow as a leader.
Envision the Future
When you think about who and where you want to be in few years, what comes to mind? If you don’t know where you’re going, you could end up anywhere, so sitting down and visualizing the future you want for yourself is crucial to setting goals that will contribute to your happiness.
Think about what you want to achieve over the next decade of your life. Who do you want to be in 10 years’ time? Where do you want to be professionally in a decade? Once you’re able to visualize that, write down 50 goals that you have for yourself for that period of time. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to try to accomplish all of them; you’re a human being, not a goal-achieving machine. What you should instead do is split that list up into four types of goals: those to achieve within the next year, those to achieve within the next three years, those to achieve within the next five years and those to achieve within the next 10 years.
Now that you have divided the list, prioritize the goals in each category. Think about the four most important goals for the next year, the next three years and so on. At the end of this process, you should have 16 important goals for the next 10 years, and you will be able to start thinking about how you’ll approach each goal. Break each goal into shorter tasks and give yourself deadlines for accomplishing them. Hold yourself accountable to your goals to find success.
Setting goals that align with what you want out of life is one of the best ways to find real, lasting happiness. Know who you are, what excites you and where you want to go in your personal and professional life, and figuring out how to get there will be the easy part.
Tiffany is a leader in content, she prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.