January 11, 2018

Do You Have One of the Most High Stress Jobs in America?

Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighters, Airline Pilots and Police Officers are the four most stressful jobs of 2018!

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Hair Stylist, Audiologist and University Professor are the three lowest stress jobs of 2018!

The truth is, no job is ever going to be free from stress. Some days, it feels like just getting up and out the door for work is stressful. Am I right?

So when looking at what makes a job stressful, CareerCast identified these factors:   Being in the public eye, facing imminent risk of bodily harm to oneself or one's patient, and dealing with high travel or workplace hazards. Working for a jerk of a boss was not one of the factors but it is one that I would attribute to a stressful job.

If you're considering pursuing a less stressful job, you might want to think about the job's growth outlook. While Jeweler (#7) is a low-stress profession, it has a negative growth outlook of 3%. On the other hand, Operations Research Analyst, which comes in as the 9th least stressful job, has a 27% growth outlook, according to CareerCast.com. 

Another consideration:  "For those who thrive on stress, one of our most stressful professions may be a good fit for you," says Kyle Kensing, Online Content Editor, CareerCast.com.

Check out the full list of CareerCast's Most and Least Stressful Jobs

Below are the top 10 lists and their growth outlook:

CareerCast's Least Stressful Jobs of 2018


Annual Median Salary

Growth Outlook

Stress Score

1. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer




2. Hair Stylist




3. Audiologist




4. University Professor




5. Medical Records Technician




6. Compliance Officer




7. Jeweler




8. Pharmacy Technician




9. Operations Research Analyst




10. Medical Laboratory Technician




CareerCast's Most Stressful Jobs of 2018


Annual Median Salary

Growth Outlook

Stress Score

1. Enlisted Military Personnel (E3, 6+ years of experience)




2. Firefighter




3. Airline Pilot




4. Police Officer




5. Event Coordinator




6. Reporter




7. Broadcaster




8. Public Relations Executive




9. Senior Corporate Executive




10. Taxi Driver





December 28, 2017

Don't give up on work life balance


Life work






On Twitter, I noticed this hashtag trending: #NextYearIPromiseTo.....

I'm pretty sure there were lots of people answering with....achieve a better work life balance.

For me, and for others, it's been a pretty tough year. We want to make the most of our time, but there's never enough of it to do all that we want in our jobs and our personal lives. We want to find a level of contentment, but we have these crazy busy schedules. Most of us have difficulty balancing life’s competing demands. 

 Here is some encouragement: don't give up trying!

If you are exhausted, stressed, frustrated or overworked, you can turn things around in 2018.  

The key is spending the next few days thinking about what you can easily change to help you become more fulfilled, and which life changes will take a lot more effort. 

Start with your job.

* Ask yourself some questions. Did you stay too late in the office too often? Did you take on projects that didn't pay off? Did you waste time checking email instead of doing high priority work? Did you put in a ton of extra work to get a customer, raise or promotion that never materialized? 

Having a productive and happy life as well as having a successful career requires mastering how to say no to what didn't work for you or what caused you stress and focusing on what activities did lead to results or personal satisfaction. Spend the time now to figure that out. 

* Consider how you used technology. Between apps and new devices, technology is making our lives easier, but it should not control our lives. For many people, this might mean we struggled in 2017 with powering off technology when spending time with friends and families or when focusing on certain activities. Think about what it will take to do better in the new year.

Next move on to your personal life.

*Again, ask yourself some questions. Did I show up as the friend, partner, lover, parent that I wanted to be? Did I spend enough time on activities I consider priorities? Do I need to sacrifice more to achieve career success, or did I sacrifice too much? Did I practice the self-care I need to be at my best?

* Now, ponder your answers. Which disappointments are easy to correct and which require some focused effort? Which fixes require communication with a boss or a spouse? As the clock ticks down to a brand new year there is opportunity for less stressful life than the one you led in 2017, but you're going to need to live and work differently.

Remember, people with well-maintained priorities leave work or meetings when family and friends need them. And, people who feel they have balance are present when they are engaged in activities outside the workplace. Most important, people who aren't exhausted make time for exercise and stress relief.

The key to work life balance is making conscious choices every day and being happy with those choices. Here's an article about five habits that lead to good work life balance. If you feel your life tipped out of balance this year, don't give up. Decide now what you want to do differently in 2018, write it down, put it somewhere visible, and commit to new habits for a better work life balance in the new year.


December 13, 2017

Coping with holiday depression and winter blues at work and home





Are you stressed? Feeling down about your work situation or your personal life?

This is a tough time of year. Many people suffer from the winter blues. 

At work, many of us feel disappointed we aren't getting a year-end bonus, or we haven't received a promotion, or we didn't make that move to a better job like we thought we would when 2017 started.  At home, we feel a general sense of sadness that's difficult to explain. 

Coping with the loss of a loved one or tight work deadlines, end-of-year workplace pressure and the reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter are all factors that may contribute to a person’s depression during the holidays.

If we give in to our feels of depression or sadness, it can make the last few weeks of the year awful at work and at home. 

So today, my guest blogger offers some help. 

Ketamine_hr-0560Dr. Francisco Cruz, lead psychiatrist at
Ketamine Health Centers, suggests five ways to minimize seasonal depression and increased anxiety that tends to onset in the fall and continues into the winter months. Cruz is double board certified in general psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has been practicing psychiatry for 13 years. Ketamine Health Centers successfully treat patients everyday living with depression,
suicidal ideation, PTSD, among other mental and chronic pain conditions.

1.Keep your goals in perspective and communicate. If your work situation is causing your depression to worsen, ask your supervisor what you  can do differently to secure the next promotion. Be mindful of his/her feedback and create a personal checklist of action items that will lead to enhanced professional development going forward.

2. Plan ahead. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Adding holiday parties and gift gathering to your already busy schedule can lead to increased anxiety.Have a set plan in mind to help keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed by too many simultaneous responsibilities.

3. Be prepared for something to go wrong. Entertaining guests can also present emotional challenges. It is difficult to control everyone, but for your own sake, it is best to mentally prepare yourself for holiday “hiccups.” This can include your guests arriving late or a prepared dish burning. 

4. Practice extra self-care.  Sweets are a temptation and can derail your diet and workout routine, while also causing irritability and moodiness. Indeed, a study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that refined foods such as white bread, white rice and soda can trigger hormonal responses in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. These responses may cause mood changes, fatigue, and other signs of depression.  Even throughout the holiday mayhem, strive to make time for yourself and don’t neglect your health. Great ways to stay on track is by limiting the amount of desserts you consume, sleeping for seven to eight hours per night, squeezing in time for the gym.

5. Monitor alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can make the winter blues even worse. Drink festively, not to get drunk or alter your mood. 

6. Breakaway from the stereotypes: If you are trying to meet a certain expectation about the “correct” way holidays should be celebrated, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

7. Be okay with feeling some sadness.  The holiday season can come at a time when you may have experienced a traumatic event or an anniversary of a loved one’s death. These reasons can easily generate an increase in distress. Know that it is okay to put all of the celebrations on hold to reflect on the healing process. Through your grieving, aim to remember the good memories in a positive light.

8. Don’t be a lone soldier: Talk to someone that you trust -- a family member or a close friend --who can lend a listening ear. You can also seek therapy. People often avoid seeking professional help because of their concern about judgment by others. The greatest misconception is believing that therapy is only for those on the verge of losing sanity.  The process of overcoming trauma or dealing with grief or depression can be difficult. With the help of an expert, feelings can often be better navigated in a healthy manner.

Wishing everyone good mental health during the holidays and in the new year!


August 01, 2017

How Good Office Design Can Help with Stress and Work Life Balance

If you are stressed out at work, it may be because your office is designed in a way that creates tension. You may not have even considered that, right? 

Today, my guest is Juliana Fernandez, founder and principal of AEI U.S. Studio, the North American office of AEI, a world-class commercial design firm that is among the largest in Latin America. She has a lot to say about how the way office design affects our stress levels and how the right design can help with our work life balance.

Juliana has led office design projects in Miami, Latin America and New York and has more than 22 years of experience. Her clients include Microsoft, Coca Cola and Holland & Knight. So, let's talk design....

Juliana Fernandez (1)

By Juliana Fernandez

As employees spend more time working and staying connected to their jobs 24-7 via
smartphones, tablets and desktops, the boundaries between work-life balance are
becoming blurred. This has sparked a need for employers to take responsibility to address how their office environment plays a critical role in employee health.

From my day-to-day experience as a design professional, I have found that establishing
an office space where employees desire to spend their time is important. I have repeatedly experienced that even the smallest office changes speak to the value of making employee wellbeing a priority.

Yet, design is often overlooked when considering the foundation of improving burnout
rates and promoting healthy retention. This is unfortunate, as I have seen how
innovative workspaces can improve wellness and alleviates stress, while ultimately
encouraging movement, getting employees out from behind their desks, and fostering
interaction among colleagues.

At our firm, we employ in-house psychologists and anthropologists to design office
spaces that combat the stressful environment of workplaces to encourage and support
employee health and well-being. Our team possesses extensive experience in
workplace strategies, organizational culture and worker behavior. In fact, these
psychological elements should ideally play an integral role in today’s office design

To really make a positive impact in the workplace environment and reduce employees’
stress in the office, here are the fundamental design factors that I have found to be
tremendously effective:

Provide Natural Light. Give employees as much access to natural air and light as possible, which has proven to decrease headaches and respiratory diseases. Some ways this can be achieved include creating offices near the windows, opening closed office spaces up with the addition of glass, and moving closed rooms toward the core of

Design for Egronomics. Take ergonomics into account by using the right office furniture to minimize muscular and bone diseases. Effective ergonomic design can contribute to reduction in muscle and nerve issues. For corporate design clients, I
typically implement adjustable computer screens in terms of height and distance
to make people feel comfortable and to improve their visual acuity.

Factor in space use.  Consider how to stay dynamic by balancing work and social spaces. This allows employees to choose where and how to work and empowers them – leading to increased job satisfaction and significant stress reduction. Also, where possible, incorporate game areas and intriguing breakrooms to give employees another reason to stay engaged and satisfied at work.

Consider worker needs. Determine team needs based on your specific profession and culture. Give periodic surveys to employees to understand their work space desires. If
possible, work with a crew of anthropologists to collect observations, interviews,
questionnaires and results from ‘Design Thinking’ workshops – led by design
firms such as ours – AEI U.S. Studio. I have found that this process ultimately
acknowledges the relationship between spaces, workers and organizational
culture, by analyzing if they complement each other or on the contrary they send
opposite messages.

Ultimately, my years as a design professional have taught me that creating
work spaces that reduce stress, increase healthy habits, support the physical welfare
of employees, and maximize productivity and lifestyle –  requires the buy in of a socially responsible employer. If created and executed properly, thoughtful office
design has proven to be a powerful tool to support employee performance, one that I
have found to be key for surviving the digital uprise.


Globant San Francisco (1)

Offices of Globant in San Francisco

July 31, 2017

Monday already? 5 work life tips to get you through the week


There’s always a strange feeling waking up on a Monday morning. The week ahead has so much promise —  and in a way that can be scary. Will this be the week I get to leave work in time to take an evening bike ride? Will this be the week I land that big customer or make progress on that project I am working on? 

It could be. Here are some ways you can make it happen. If, you get started today.

1. Get In the Right Mindset

The first way to have a better Monday is get in the right mindset.  Are you dreading the things that might stop this from becoming a great week? Envision yourself waking up Saturday morning happy, ready to enjoy the day because you had a great week. Start Monday off by saying, “I will be happy on Saturday if I…” Now, however you filled in the blank, think positive and focus on making that happen. 

2. Get clear on your purpose

Now, to wake up happy on Saturday means you did your usual multitude of tasks during the week, but you did them with a purpose in mind. As Eric Barker writes in Time Magazine: Ask yourself, “How does what I do benefit others?” 

Barker says even without getting a new job or working for a charity you can find purpose. He notes that Duke professor Dan Ariely suggests “reframing your experience.” You might not be able to change what you have to do but you can change how you see it. And when you look at it through the lens of how it can help others, you’ll often find more motivation.

3. Gain Control

It is so unbelievably easy to feel overwhelmed driving to work on Monday, or driving home. Maybe you begin making a mental checklist of all the things you want or need to get done. Maybe you make a digital or paper list. Regardless, your mind is racing and the list is growing long. Stop. Take a breath. Think bigger. Set goals for the week. Specific, realistic goals. Ask yourself, “What could I get done this week that would give me a sense of accomplishment? Focus on those few, specific goals.

4. Energize Yourself

On Monday mornings, I’m already thinking about ways I’m going to treat myself during the week. Even if I have a ton of work to get done, I need something to motivate me. It could be a mid-week coffee break with a friend. It could be Friday night happy hour with my husband. It could be a book I’m going to start reading together with my son. It’s amazing how Mondays are easier to get through knowing there is something to look forward to during the week.

5. Plan for Positive Interaction

We all have people who annoy us. It’s an inevitable part of life. On Monday, imagine the next conversation with that person during the week going well. Plan on taking a deep breath or pausing before you respond to anything he or she says, and then choosing what you are going to say rather than reacting from anger or showing signs of irritation. Reacting to a rude person is a waste of time, as is letting your concern over the interaction put you in a grumpy mood for the week. You have the power to change that — before it happens.


It's easier than you think to start the week of right. So, think positive and ask yourself, "Will I wake up on Saturday morning feeling like I have had a productive, awesome week?" I think your answer will be yes. To read more of my tips, visit my website: BalanceGal.com


May 02, 2017

How to turn bad stress into good stress

On any given day, ask a friend, a co-worker or just about anyone the question, "how's it going?" and the response is likely to be…



Got a lot going on!

Most of us live our lives always on, rushing from home to work to our kids' soccer games, to the gym. We're stressed. We're overloaded. We're piling up tasks that need to get done in great numbers than hours in a day.

But what if the opposite were true. What if someone asked us "how's it going and we answered…

I'm so relaxed!

I'm feeling so peaceful!

Not much going on with me!

That's sounds so boring, doesn't it? In a way, we like to be stressed. We like the idea that we have full lives. My happiest days are those in which I wake up feeling a little bit stressed about what I need to accomplish, meet my work deadline, and allow myself the evening to spend with my family.

The key is to find the level of stress on a regular basis that's tolerable without harming our mental and physical health. It's kind of like figuring out our stress sweet spots -- the happy middle, where we're living in a way that makes us feel busy but also happy and fulfilled. To do that, we need to feel like we're thriving, rather than just trying to survive.

So you might be wondering how to accomplish the quest of allowing yourself to experience "good stress" without totally becoming overwhelmed by job stress or too-much-going-on stress.

One way to go about it is to choose activities in your life that make you feel good, happy, and excited about life. It's also a good idea to cut out as many activities as you can that drain you, or lead to experience chronic stress. 

Another tactic is to change your perception of some of the stressors in your life by thinking like an optimist. Get into the habit of looking at stressful situations as personal challenges and the tension you would normally feel about those stressors may lessen or even turn into excitement. Getting dinner on the table during the school/work week is a stressor for me...so I'm going to figure out how to make it seem fun instead of stressful. 

We can all agree that an unreasonable boss, unfair expectations at work, or an unhappy home life can create chronic stress that takes a toll. That's the kind of bad stress that we need to handle more aggressively. But the day to day stress that takes out of our comfort zones and keeps us feeling alive and excited about life is okay. Our kids, our friends, our activities, our parents…they give us a lot to juggle and a lot to appreciate.  Start seeing some stress as a good thing and be prepared for next time someone asks you "how's it going?" I've got my answer ready.

April 06, 2017

How to Change Your Perception of Career Opportunities

                                                  Job Stress

Recently, I was talking to a friend when she blurted out that she wants a new job. "I am mis-er-able!" she announced to me.

She said she has been working long hours and feels like she has hit a dead end at work. Again, she repeated. "I am mis-er-able."

"Don't you have any other options than quitting?" I asked. Her response was a shrug.

A lot of people feel the way my friend does, particularly women, according to CEB’s newly released Global Talent Monitor report.

Are lots of people really in dead end jobs, worried about our future and convinced things are only going to get worse?

The report found that women, slightly more than men, believe that their career opportunities are limited and they believe Trump's policies will worsen their career prospects. ( Particularly policies regarding paid leave, minimum wage and health care) The report shows 27% of women believe that Trump policies will worsen compensation, benefits and career opportunities for them compared to 21% of men.

I wanted to know more, not just about the report findings, but about why there is a gender disparity between the perception of career opportunities. I also wanted to know how to find opportunities when they do exist, and how to change the perception that it's difficult to advance at work. 

For those answers, I turned to Brian Kropp, HR Practice Leader at CEB, a best practice insight and technology company.

Brian Kropp HeadshotBrian explained: "It used to be that the reason people quit was because they didn't like their manager. Now it's the lack of perceived career opportunity."

He said many companies are spending money to attract talent and develop their people. They may have no idea their workers can't see a future at their company. He suggests business leaders consider a few actions:

o   Provide opportunities for career progression

o   Communicate openly about compensation, rewards and opportunities

o   Find ways to keep female employees engaged to build a more gender diverse leadership population

 "Businesses need to step up their efforts to show all employees a path," he said.  Of course, then employer needs to help the worker follow that path.  "What we are seeing is that it's hard to make promises when the future is more uncertain than ever."

Brian also he believes each of us can seek career opportunities in our current jobs by taking a proactive approach:

o  Have a thoughtful conversation with your manager about your career path and the opportunities that exist.

o  Create opportunities for yourself by taking risks. A big problem is that men are more willing to apply for a better position when they meet some of the qualifications,while women apply only when they meet most qualifications, Brian said. "Men tend to be  more aggressive in seeking opportunities." In the current political environment, women perceive that opportunities are more limited and are even less likely to apply for reach jobs. They need to get past that way of thinking.

o  Pursue advancement. "Don't let perception be a reason not to pursue something," he said.

Millennials have an even greater desire for a clear path toward advancement, he said. "Often they quit because they want new experiences and they think the only way to get them is at a new company." But before jumping ship, he urges millennials to seek out ways to get different experiences at the company where they now work. He urges employers to make those experiences more apparent.

The CEB report shows employee engagement and intent to stay levels are falling. But Brian believes a few small changes can prevent people from leaving their jobs by helping them see a future at the company and their part in its growth.

What would it take to change your perception and frustration with lack of career opportunities at your current job? 


November 03, 2016

How to scale back at work





One evening I checked my inbox around 10 p.m. and saw a brand new work-related email from my friend Susan. It could have waited to the next day so I wondered why she was working so late. When I questioned her about it the next day, she told me she regularly works that late and admitted to being a workaholic.

Flash forward and Susan is now a new mother who is struggling with work life balance.

“As a former workaholic, it’s so hard to scale back,” she confessed. “Before, I had that crutch that I could always stay late to finish something.”

Lots of women and men face the challenge of changing their work habits after becoming parents. Others need to change their work habits when they become caregivers. This week, my friend Lisa called to tell me her parents need more supervision. Her mother has been falling lately. She has decided to scale back at work to be there for her aging parents, but worries she doesn't know how. 

So how exactly do you go from full throttle to half speed? How do you scale back at work? 

Have a plan. When you plan your work day, don't include the evening hours. Know the top three things you need to accomplish before you leave the office and get them done.

Use time wisely. Drive or commute time is ideal for making calls before you arrive home. The goal is to walk in your door ready to focus on your loved ones at home.

Delegate. Most of us want total control over every aspect of our jobs. Sometimes, when we scale back we just have to be okay handing things off.

Raise your hand cautiously. Resist raising your hand or agreeing to take on anything your boss or team needs. You need to be much more intentional about what you agree to handle.

Manage Expectations.  You will need to be realistic about what you can accomplish when you work at a different pace. Instead of agreeing to a tight deadline, give yourself more time, and convey that new timeline to your boss or clients.

Reprioritize. Most people find juggling the demands of work and the responsibilities of family is an ongoing challenge, but the first step is recognizing your priorities have changed and you must change, too. It's easy to feel uncomfortable no longer being the go-to person for every big decision. But you can still be influential and have a home life if you take on the high visibility tasks.

Scaling back and finding the right work life balance is tricky, but it’s also doable!

September 30, 2016

How to discuss work problems at home

Lately, my husband has been frustrated at work. His team members aren't carrying their weight and he feels like he is at the office much later than he should be. For the last week, he's been coming home in an awful mood.

As a spouse, one of the big challenges in a relationship is letting your partner blow off steam and slowing down long enough to listen. I am tempted to jump right in with an opinion or let my mind wander off to think about the 10 things I need to get done instead of focusing on what he is saying. Sometimes I want to shout: "Enough work talk already!"

Yet, I have noticed that how I react when he wants to vent can be crucial to our relationship and to the harmony of our household.  Most of us have seen how household dynamics shift with each member's mood. For my husband, knowing he can offload without being attacked or dismissed helps him return to his office in a better frame of mind and improves our household harmony.

I've heard people say, "I never bring my work problems home."  I think that it is unhealthy to completely compartmentalize. Physically we may spend the day in two places, but in our minds we don't. We think of work at home and personal issues at work. It's just how we balance our lives today.  So it's natural to want to talk through workplace aggravation with someone who loves you and has your best interest at heart.

By listening, really listening, I can gauge what my husband needs from me, or even ask him directly. When I do, I often help him come up with ideas for how a problem at work can be resolved, or get him see the situation in a different light, or just offer empathy. When I have a problem at work, I want the same support from my husband. Even though he doesn't work in the same field, he understands workplace dynamics and worker behavior and has offered me some great advice over the years -- or sometimes, he just listens. Just yesterday, I was at an event in which a CEO told the audience he relies on his wife to help him navigate his workplace conflicts and it's the reason he has been able to survive in the top position at his company.

The trick is learning how to support our significant other while setting some boundaries that limit how much we allow workplace aggravation to permeate our home life. At some point, switching off is important, too. I think it's okay to point that out to your partner.

What are your thoughts on bringing work stress home? Do you find allowing your spouse to discuss work problems at home is a good thing for your home life or does it lead to arguments and stress on the family? How important is it for you to be able to vent to your significant other?

August 01, 2016

Post vacation blues: Finding work life balance after your return



                                                         Worker on vacation

I am boarding the plane home from summer vacation, a week of fun with my husband and kids, and I'm starting to get that familiar feeling. It's a sense of dread. On vacation, I spent every day for a week planning an adventure or enjoyable activity with my family and now I will return to laundry, email, deadlines and a daily routine that doesn't leave much quality family time.

I am fortunate I love my job as a writer. Lots of people I know hate their jobs, their bosses, their overall predicaments. I don't. Yet, I dread the post vacation blues, the reality of resuming a daily routine that imposes myriad demands on my time and a constant struggle for work life balance.

So lately, I've been reading up on how to avoid post vacation blues, or even just end-of-summer blues. I have figured out a few things to do differently this summer.

1. Know the benefit of a break. Whether you are job hunting, thinking of leaving your job or overwhelmed by your job, you need a break. Tell yourself it's okay to take a vacation and it's okay not to think about real life responsibilities for a short period of time. My new mantra: It's okay to chill out!

2. Make a game plan for the return. Spend some time coming up with a list of things that you can do after you return from vacation that will challenge you intellectually or physically. Those people who are constantly challenging themselves rarely appear to be depressed or negative, according to Andrew Griffiths and his blog on Inc.  I signed up for an online writing webinar a few days after my return from vacation this year. It gives me a learning opportunity to look forward to that I easily can fit into my work life balance.

3. Do more of the things you enjoy. Part of making that vacation high last is figuring out how to put more fun into your life. If it's spending time with your family you love, figure out how to make more time for them. If it's exercising you enjoy, get up early and go bike riding twice a week. If you enjoy working, that's a good thing, too. What aspects of your job do you like most and how can you do more of those things?  Some people have a hobby they enjoy like fishing or gardening but the last time they did it was 10 years ago.  As the summer comes to a close, plunge back into something you enjoy doing. For me, I love reading. I just created a library of books on my iPad waiting to be read on a lounge chair on the beach over the upcoming weekends after my return from vacation.

4. Ask someone "how can I help"? Commit to helping someone else either in your workplace, your business network,  your community, your children's school. If you want to feel uplifted, there is no better way.

5. Get in the right frame of mind.  Sometimes we focus on the piece of our lives that we find dull or difficult or exhausting. When you come back from vacation rested and happy, you can use that as motivation to re-examine your work life balance and your outlook. What are the things that made you happy on vacation -- sleeping in, touring museums, taking hikes, eating at new restaurants? All those things can be done wherever you live. You just have to make the effort to do them.

6. Change up your routine.  During your first week back from vacation, take a new route to work, sit in a different chair at the dinner table or eat lunch with a different crowd. Small changes often are enough to renew our zest for life and help us stay motivated.

Of course, if the post vacation blues are overwhelming, you may need more drastic measures. Vacations are fun because they offer a break from the tedium and familiarity of life, but if you're miserable being at work or at home, you may want to make big changes to feel happier. And, if it's any consolation, it's never too early to start planning your next vacation!