After many repeated weeks and months of being in the Big Apple, it's safe to confirm that New York City is indeed one of the most fast-paced places in the world. Everyone in the city always seems to have a destination and struts with purpose, but the glamorous side that we see on social media, magazines and from general cultural knowledge may not be as glitzy as it all seems. We love to people watch, and there's really nothing like doing this in one of the most dense and diverse cities on the plane. Aside from overhearing some interesting side conversations and being inspired by some of the boldest, fashionable street style looks we've ever seen, we also noticed over the years of living near the city and now in the area that people are definitely overworked, and not everyone has their work-life balance under control.
It's a pretty general blanket diagnosis, obviously, but we think that a healthy, balanced lifestyle should be one of the most important things everyone should focus on. Whether you're a student at university, a graduate starting a brand new job, or even if you've been in the workforce for a while now, it's always great to take some time to yourself and get that recharge you need to keep going. We've broken down some of the biggest components of our everyday lives and have some personal tips we want to share with you! We're excited to share with you all that will hopefully help you to have a better, balanced work-life so you can kick some butt in every aspect of your life.
Friends & Family - Jess
It's kind of a no brainer, but sometimes we get so lost in our own lives, that we forget to check in with some of the most important people that matter to us. Time is something you can never reverse, and when you look back and realize how long it's really been since you've hung out or given a call or text to a friend, you will regret all the time you've lost and all that you have missed out on (FOMO anyone?)
Pro Tip: Instead of always texting someone that you hope to see them soon or should "catch up", just set a date in advance to meet. I'm guilty of this myself too! Everyone is busy, but everyone can make time for the people that matter. No more excuses!
Pro Tip: Call your parents. Maybe they already call or text every day to check up on you, but more times than not they also know that you have a lot going on and they don't want to bother you or distract you from your work or studies. But parents just want to know what's going on in their kids' lives, whether they express it or not. They would be more than happy to receive a quick call to see what you're up to.
Pro Tip: Watch this Ted Talk about What Makes a Good Life? It's about the strength and depth of the relationships we make in our lifetimes, and how this is the biggest component to health and happiness.
Unplug - Mel
With the advancements in technology growing so rapidly, nearly everything is at the touch of our fingertips...including work. When our parents were graduates working their first jobs, a 9-5 literally meant 9am to 5pm. Not 9am to 5pm, then go home, eat dinner, and log back on to your desktop remotely and work from home for a couple of more hours before bed. However, with apps that allow you to check your e-mail from your own personal phone, to remote desktops, we often find ourselves having trouble separating our work life from our own personal lives. Let's be real - the majority of us out there are not doctors or surgeons where other people's lives are depending on us being on call at all times. If you are feeling stressed and overworked, maybe it is time to take a break from the technology, go home and enjoy yourself for the night without feeling the need to check up on the status of your work.
For the first two months of my job, I refused to get the GOOD app that allowed me to check my e-mail from my phone because 1) it wasn't required by my company and 2) I knew that if I saw an e-mail from my manager at 6pm asking me to do something, I would then probably spend the next 3 hours finishing up the task that she probably meant for me to do in the morning when I got into work. Eventually, I got the app because I got tired of going into work at 7am for a meeting, and opening my mail to find that the meeting got cancelled. Nonetheless, I made a pact to myself that I would not do any work once I left the office unless it was absolutely necessary. This way, it forces an eager, natural workaholic like myself to actually unplug and focus on myself for a few hours before heading to bed and going back to work the next day.
This is an incredibly important point for all those entrepreneurs out there in the world. Being able to set your own hours and work for yourself has some major benefits like avoiding the whole Devil Wears Prada situation with the boss from hell. However, it is incredibly stressful knowing that the next paycheck is not always guaranteed, and the survival of your business depends entirely on you and since you do not have to be constrained to the usual 9-5 hours, more often then not, you clock in early and never clock out. We certainly are not entrepreneurs ourselves, but we do see a glimpse into their lives through putting in the work for this blog. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes of being bloggers and we always feel that no matter how hard we work, there is always more that we can do. This can easily result in staying up past midnight editing posts, pictures, working on the Instagram feed; only to wake up at 7am the next morning and going to our "real" corporate jobs. We learned quite quickly that this lifestyle is not sustainable and the importance of unplugging at a specific time we set beforehand. My personal goal is to unplug at 10pm, giving myself a good hour to relax and catch up on my television shows before heading to bed. Of course this specific time differs for everyone and some may be later or earlier than others - that all depends on you!
Health & Exercise - Jess
I'm pretty passionate about this topic because I've always struggled a bit with finding time to be consistent with working out and eating healthily. I definitely go through phases where I am more motivated than others, and trust me, the weather (now that it's approaching colder weather and winter) really affects me desire to work out and eat the best. Healthy is beautiful, despite what society and social media says, and the only person that can control your own body image is yourself.
Pro Tip: Find a gym that you love going to. Of course, some gyms are astronomically expensive, so by no means should you go into debt with a monthly membership. But it is important to find a space that makes you enjoy working out. Call and ask for a free day pass or to check out the facilities before committing.
Pro Tip: If you enjoy working out at home, more power to you! There are thousands of free videos online for any type of workout or physical activity that you may want to engage in. Grab some weights and a yoga mat, and you can get the best, healthy, body of your life without even leaving the comfort of your house or apartment.
Pro Tip: Check out your company's benefits policy. You may be surprised to learn that your employer may subsidize gym memberships or fitness equipment, which eases the financial burden and increases motivation to get active.
Pro Tip: Get a Fitbit or track your steps using your phone's fitness app. I admit, I am indeed the girl who tries to get in those daily steps and I will keep walking and running until I am satisfied with how much movement I've gotten in for the day. It's great when you set a goal and make every effort to reach it, but know that some days, it's ok if you don't (just don't let it be everyday...)
Pro Tip: Get those regular check-ups! People make excuses all the time to not go to the doctor to get that physical or think that they are fine just because it seems like nothing is wrong. Take those two hours out of your day to make sure that you are healthy. It gives you peace of mind if anything.
Learn to Say No - Mel
As fresh graduates and the absolute bottom of the food chain in the working world, we often find ourselves eager to impress and therefore this results in us to take on more then we should. I have this constant battle with myself where I immediately say yes to everything that is asked of me and then later regret my decisions and spend hours stressing over how I can find the time to complete everything on my to-do list. I quickly learned that there is a rather simple, quick and easy solution - have a smaller to-do list.
Pro Tip: Obviously it is not a good idea to say no to essential work projects...since you are paid to actually work. However, the next time a fellow co-worker asks you to help plan the next monthly pizza party, just politely decline and let her know that your schedule is too packed as of now, but hey, maybe you will be available for the annual holiday party planning.
Pro Tip: If you do feel that your manager or team is piling on too much work, casually let them know what you have on your plate that day, allowing them to gauge your available bandwidth and maybe spread out the work more evenly. They will respect your honesty more than you think.
Vacations - Jess
You love vacations, and so do we. Everyone could use some TLC to give your mind and body a break from the usual stresses of your day. Don't be afraid to take a vacation every now and then, just be sure it isn't during the busiest time of the year!
Pro Tip: Use those vacation days! A lot of people we know tend to hoard their vacations days and insist that they are simply too busy to take time off. But studies have shown that productivity actually increases when you give yourself a mental break and time to recharge your mind, body, and soul. Whether you spend those days off at home with your family watching Netflix, or indulge in that overseas trip you've had your eyes on since you saw pictures on Instagram, you won't regret your decision to take time off.
Pro Tip: The best part about working full-time is that you are in charge of setting you own vacation time. You will no longer have to conform to the break and holiday schedules of your school, and are free to find those off-peak deals that will save you loads of money that you worked so hard to earn.
Bonus Pro Tip: Skyscanner.com...Pretty much my most used website of all time, and my secret weapon to scoring unbelievable deals on flights. You will be just as addicted once you see the possibilities out there.
Of course, it wouldn't be another Corporate Classics Post without another outfit lookbook! Fall is one of our favorite seasons because of the rich colors we often incorporate in our daily workwear.
Jess: One of the ways I choose to match my outfits is by choosing a patterned top or bottom, and pairing it with a solid piece that is similar to of of the colors found in the patterned item. For example, this floral top has blues, reds, and a bit of mustard, and would look well with a solid skirt or pair of pants with any of those colors. Trying to be a bit more bold? Try adding that extra pop of color with colored heels or a funky bag.
Mel: It might be because I watch one too many episodes of Suits (does anyone else want Rachel's wardrobe?), but my go-to business casual attire is a blouse tucked into a pencil skirt look. For this day, I chose a plaid skirt I bought last year from Loft (heads up..Loft is heaving a 40% off sale, and Ann Taylor is having a 50% off sale off of everything!) and paired it with a bow tie blouse from Banana Republic. I love how the simple detail of the bow adds a feminine touch to the overall look. These blouses are definitely on trend this year and can be found in so many different stores, with all different price points - H&M currently has one on sale for $17.99 (here)! The skirt does run a bit large on me and since I usually do not shop at Loft, I am unsure with how their usual fit is. If you are familiar with Loft sizing, please let me know down below in the comments!
Jessica & Melissa
Jess: Top - Zara (sold out) (similar in black), Skirt - Banana Republic, Bag - Coach (similar color and shape), Shoes - Madden Girl, Rings - Forever 21, Fur Pom Pom Key Chain
Mel: Top - Banana Republic (similar), Skirt - Loft (similar), Bag- Kate Spade (black version), Shoes - Tory Burch (sold out)