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    The New Happy Has 500k Instagram Followers—Here’s How the Founder Built a Real Community

    It’s no secret that social media is flooded with noise and endless content these days. There are a lot of recommendations out there on how to use social media, “hacks” for quickly gaining followers, and constant opinions on the types of content you should and shouldn’t produce. And since we’re inundated with content on a daily basis, it can be particularly challenging to stand out. While this may be true for some, Stephanie Harrison at The New Happy used social media to grow an authentic following and spread a life-changing philosophy.
    The New Happy was founded in 2018 with the simple mission of sharing a new philosophy of happiness. Stephanie has spent over a decade studying happiness from an interdisciplinary perspective, but it wasn’t until mid-2020 that she devoted herself to deeply spreading her mission (and using social media as part of this process). The New Happy Instagram posts are filled with positive, uplifting pieces of advice for a happier life.
    For Stephanie, social media is about more than traditional metrics such as likes and follower counts. In fact, she doesn’t lean into social media metrics as a measure of success. Yet, because of her unique take on using the platform, over 500,000 people are now a part of The New Happy community. I sat down with Stephanie and asked her for her three top tips for intentionally growing a social media following beyond metrics. You won’t find any “get followers quick” schemes or hacks here, but these tips will make sure your follower count… well, counts. 

    Meet the expert
    Stephanie Harrison
    Founder of The New Happy
    An expert in well-being, Stephanie founded The New Happy based on her Masters thesis in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has spent the last ten years studying happiness from an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating perspectives from art, science, philosophy, religious/contemplative studies, and the humanities. Her book, THE NEW HAPPY, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House.

    1. Bring your purpose to your social channels.
    “Start with your greater purpose. A purpose is about being of service to others, and this grounding in your ‘why’ is so important. There’s so much noise out there, with people telling you what you should do and how you should do it. It’s easy to be led astray or veer off course, away from what matters most to you.”
    Stephanie lives and breathes The New Happy’s philosophy and mission across social media. The philosophy is rooted in the idea that happiness comes from serving the world and using the talents and skills that make each person unique. And that collectively, we find purpose and happiness in serving others.
    With that purpose in mind, Stephanie set out to use her social media accounts as a place to offer wisdom, experiences, ideas, friendship, and kindness to others. She knew these were the ways in which she wanted her brand to show up on social media, and at the same time, she had an idea of the ways she didn’t want to be seen.
    “I listed out the core values of The New Happy as a brand, philosophy, and movement, which drove everything I did on social media. Because our philosophy is about service, I saw social media as a place to help others, to make it about their needs and challenges.”
    Spend some time thinking about the purpose of your brand or business and the intended purpose of your social media accounts, too. When you show up on social media living out your purpose and aligning your content to that, it is much more likely to attract people for the long haul.

    2. Build a community, not an audience.
    “One of the key values of The New Happy is community. From the beginning, I decided that I didn’t want to build an audience—I wanted to build a community. That impacted almost every single decision I made as I built the brand on social media.”
    Stephanie worked hard to ensure she orients around The New Happy values across all social media platforms at all times. For example, viewing social media followers as an audience absorbing your content is not uncommon. But one of The New Happy’s values is “community,” so Stephanie considers followers to be community members, not audience members.
    Why does that matter? An audience is a faceless mask that has to do more with how people look at you. Instead, Stephanie cultivated the difference between watching somebody doing something (an audience member) and participating in something (a community member). 
    But it’s more than just thinking about your following as a community, there’s a lot of work that goes into bringing that value to life. For example, The New Happy hosts a community gathering every week where people can share what they need help with. Stephanie designates time to answer as many questions as she can personally but also uses those responses to inform the artwork and tips she creates and shares.
    The New Happy also hosts free challenges inviting community members to work on different elements of well-being. One that’s (ironically) particularly popular is “How to Create a Happier Experience on Social Media.” Other topics include self-compassion, building confidence, finding your strengths, and cultivating gratitude.
    And finally, the podcast features community member stories, creating a space for people to share their voices and experiences.

    3. Don’t let fear hold you back.
    Social media can cause a lot of pressure: Is this visual good enough? Is this caption written well? How will this post look on my feed? What will people say if they don’t agree with what I’m saying? Will people understand my business? Does this offer make sense?
    The pressure we put on ourselves to look a certain way and say things perfectly can be exhausting, and Stephanie reminded me that it’s important to cut through these feelings and simply try. 
    “The idea that you can’t start sharing yourself or ideas unless you have a perfect strategy, content plan, or business offering—it’s just wrong. You have great things to offer, and trying to perfect them will keep you waiting for a very long time. That was something I experienced, and it’s something I see with brands, organizations, and fellow entrepreneurs.”
    You have great things to offer, and trying to perfect them will keep you waiting for a very long time.
    When Stephanie first took her business to social media, she knew her purpose and how to embody her values. She didn’t know how to translate those things in a way that would resonate with a community. But putting her ideas out in the world allowed her to start sharing her messages with others. Overcoming that fear quickly turned into an opportunity to learn from the community and evolve over time.
    “What I wanted to share was The New Happy philosophy. I didn’t know at first what would resonate with people, what questions they had, or how I could best help. But as soon as I got up the courage to start sharing, I also started learning so much. That helped me to find better ways to help and support our community. Starting is really often the hardest part!”
    Don’t be afraid to put yourself, your brand, or your ideas out there. Test and experiment to find what works and commit to growing along the way. 

    5 Ways To Organically Grow Your Social Media Following More

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    3 Crucial Tips That Helped Me Find Better Work-Life Balance

    I don’t know about you, but I’m always considering how to set better boundaries in all areas of my life, especially in the workplace. Hustle culture tells us we should give our all to our work. We should show up early and stay late, perform above expectations, and do what it takes to reach the next level, no matter how tired or burnt out we feel.
    I’ll admit it: I love to work. I’ve spent the early part of my career finding roles and opportunities that fit my strengths and desires, so I genuinely enjoy a lot of my work. On top of a 9-to-5, I’m a freelance writer and work for a small handful of clients. And on top of that, I spend some time volunteering (which I count as additional unpaid work), so you get the point.
    But I believe we should pursue all parts of our lives with moderation, intentionality, and healthy boundaries, so we don’t live in a constant state of overdrive. So when a dear coworker recommended Melissa Urban’s The Book of Boundaries to me, I didn’t hesitate to snag it and skip right ahead to the work-related section.
    Chapter three is titled “The Real Work/Life Balance.” Rest assured; if this is ever something you’ve struggled with, this chapter is for you. Here’s how Urban’s book is helping me set better boundaries and cultivate a better work-life balance.

    Melissa Urban
    The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free
    End resentment, burnout, and anxiety — and reclaim your time, energy, health, and relationships. As the co-founder of the Whole30, Melissa Urban helped millions of people transform their relationship with food. Now, in this powerful and practical guide to setting boundaries, she shows you how to prioritize your needs and revolutionize your relationships.

    1. I’m more mindful of what I sign myself up for and the precedent I set.
    No matter how many times I’ve heard it when I am in the moment, I often forget that how we show up sets a precedent for how others will perceive us and what they will expect from us in the future.
    Urban said it best, “Whether you’re working from home or going into an office, serving customers or managing a job site, have a boss or are your own boss, the biggest lesson I learned when I first entered the workforce is that people will take as much as you are willing to give.”
    It’s my nature to raise my hand to help, respond quickly, and be a team player. These traits also lead to me accepting work that others don’t want, operating under a constant sense of urgency, and overexerting myself at the expense of not feeling like a good team member if I don’t.
    While I won’t ever eliminate the effort I give to my work, I am more mindful of how much I give and when I can tackle something.
    For example, if a new project comes up at my 9-to-5 that I want to assist with but don’t have available bandwidth, I’ve moved away from biting off more than I can chew and instead saying something along the lines of, “I’d love to help out with this new project! My schedule is packed this week. Are you open to connecting next week to chat more about it and what role I can play to help us get this done?”
    This helps me avoid creating unreasonable to-do lists but allows me to get involved where it makes sense or feels like a good fit. The same goes for my freelancing work. I pause before accepting last-minute duties with short turnaround times, and I’m working on not responding to emails right away.
    How others see us directly reflects how we show up and present ourselves. You can be a helpful team player who responds in reasonable amounts of time without setting unrealistic expectations.

    2. I control my time and energy where I can.
    I don’t know about you, but I still struggle with the virtual meeting culture even after three years of Google Meet (or Zoom, Slack videos, Microsoft Teams, etc.) meetings. I work remotely, and my 9-to-5, freelance gigs, and volunteer roles require meetings. When virtual meetings are our only way to connect and collaborate, it’s not surprising that meetings run over the allotted time.
    At the same time, all it takes is one meeting to run over before a full domino effect of late starts, and extended discussions take over our calendars, saving little time to do independent work. Before I know it, sometimes a workday ends, and my to-do list looks the same as it did that morning.
    I always thought it would be rude or inconsiderate to leave a meeting that was running over. What will my coworkers think? What will I miss if I leave early? Who am I to decide that I am *too important* to stay on this call?
    But the truth is, setting boundaries when it comes to meetings signifies that we respect our time (and helps us stick to our schedules). Urban shares great scripts for setting boundaries around meeting times in her book (page 77):

    GREEN: (before the meeting) ‘We only have an hour for today’s meeting, so if someone could distribute the agenda ahead of time, that would be helpful.’
    YELLOW:(five minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end) ‘I see we only have five minutes left, Bill. Are there final action items we need to cover?’
    RED: ‘I have a hard stop now. I’ll look for next steps via email.’ Leave the meeting.

    When I’m stuck in a meeting that’s likely going to or is running over, I say, “I want to ensure we are respecting everyone’s time today. We are almost out/out of time, so let’s take a minute to determine any immediate action items and the next steps.”
    Spoiler alert: Most people appreciate someone paying attention to the clock.

    3. I preserve time for breaks while I’m working (and take the time).
    When I worked in the office, it was easy to get up and ask a coworker if they wanted to run out, grab a coffee, and take a walk. Or I’d leave for lunch, grab a salad, and bring a book in my purse to read after lunch. I didn’t struggle to create space for breaks; they almost naturally fit into the workday.
    Working remotely, things are different. Before, when I had a busy, meeting-packed morning, sometimes four or five hours would fly by before I realized I’d only had coffee, had maybe gotten up to go to the bathroom once, and my Apple Watch had been screaming at me to stand up and move around.
    While this was a simple tip in Urban’s book, I think many forget to do it (or, more likely, follow through with): preserve break and lunch times.
    I have a 30-minute lunch on my calendar every day sometime between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. I have a 4:00 pm hold to start winding down for the day, giving me time to prepare for my evening workouts. And some mornings, I schedule a quick 15-minute coffee break so I can make a coffee (or not) and step onto my patio for some fresh air.
    I’ve adopted this trick in my freelancing world too. It’s not uncommon for me to do freelance work in the evenings during the workweek, but I always take a break before starting to work out and/or eat dinner. If I need to work for a couple of hours, I’ll schedule a break, play with my cats, chat with my husband, or simply move around and stretch.
    If you struggle with work boundaries, don’t beat yourself up over it. There’s no time like today to start improving and implementing better limits so you can enjoy life outside of work, too.

    7 Tech Hacks to Help You Find Work-Life Balance More

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    10 Ways To Make Sure Your Daily Planner Makes It Past January

    Ah, the start of a new year. Is there anything better than sitting down and opening your brand new planner, ready to hold all of your social engagements, important work meetings, and big goals for the year? If you’re like me, you love being organized and having a system in place to keep your life together. However, if you’re also like me, you’ve probably bought a few planners over the years that never made it past the last week of January (RIP to all those good intentions).
    But in 2023, that doesn’t need to be the case. Say it with me now: I can keep my life organized with my planner! Over the years I’ve discovered SO many ways to optimize my planner so it can help me be my most productive, to the point where it now goes everywhere with me from Jan 1 to Dec 31. Let’s dive into some planner tips I’ve picked up that you can use to get the most out of your new planner.

    1. Make sure it’s visible
    The first tip is to make sure you find a home for your planner where you can see it⁠—and remember to use it⁠—regularly. This could be on your bedside table, on a spot in your entryway so you can check your schedule as you come and go throughout the day, or on your desk at your workspace. While your office might seem like the most logical spot, it can really go anywhere that fits nicely into your routine. It’ll be a lot harder to use if you can’t remember whether you put it on your coffee table…or left it in your purse…or maybe it’s in the car…

    2. Use your planner outside of work
    When people think about planners, they usually think of them in relation to work. Well, I’m here to champion the planner beyond just the office! I use my planner for everything. I record plans with my friends, date nights, gym sessions, check-ins with my boss, volunteering shifts…if I need to be somewhere or remember something, you can bet it’s in my planner. This also prevents any need to use a separate planner for work and home life, which is a recipe for disaster (and way too much work). It’s much harder to keep everything organized if you’re trying to work out of multiple different organization systems, so limit yourself to just one.
    What I really love about this tip is how it helps you see how you’re doing with balancing work and personal commitments. If your planner is nothing but work deadlines and meetings, use that as a reminder to schedule a gym sesh or plan a date or girls’ night out.

    3. Add all important dates at the beginning of the year
    Once you have your fresh new planner, the next thing to do is obviously fill it with your exciting events (what, you don’t consider your daily check-ins at work to be exciting?!). I like to break up how and when I fill in my planner into two sections: once at the beginning of the year, and then once a week (more on that below!). At the beginning of the year, I take 30 minutes and add in all the important days I know are coming for the year ahead. This includes any birthdays for family and friends, anniversaries, other people’s weddings, and vacations or travel. By adding all of this at once, you can rest assured that you won’t accidentally miss something important.

    4. Pick a time to update your planner each week
    Once all of the bigger dates are in, I usually set aside 15 minutes on Sunday evenings to plan out my week. I add in work meetings, workouts I want to do, fun evening activities, and anything I want to remember (like reminding myself to order groceries a day earlier than normal because I’m having people over on Friday). This is a great way to set up your week for success, and also gives you a good idea of your work and personal commitments for the next few days. If you know you’ll be slammed with work on Tuesday-Thursday in advance of a big presentation, you can plan to order in dinner and arrange for some down time on the weekend.

    5. Break down tasks and events to keep yourself organized
    The best part about using a planner is that it’s essentially like having a second brain. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but I can’t count the number of times my planner has saved me from disaster over the years, especially when it comes to big tasks or to-dos. Once you’ve done your yearly planning and added in important dates, you can do yourself a HUGE favor by adding in reminders leading up to these events as well. Do you always forget mom’s birthday until the day before? Well, not anymore, because now you can pencil in a reminder a week out so you don’t forget. Same thing goes with work presentations or trips you’re planning. Could you do this with your phone reminders? Yes, you could, but technology can glitch or be accidentally deleted, and my pen and paper system has yet to let me down.

    6. Make a to-do list for the next day
    One of my favorite ways to use a planner is by having a little “to-do” section at the bottom of each day where I list out things I’d like to accomplish. As I go about my day, I check them off my list. Some days it’s full of work things and sometimes it’s full of personal things (why is there always laundry to do??), but it’s a great way to help me feel like I’m accomplishing my most important tasks for the day. It’s also great because anything that doesn’t get checked off can be easily incorporated into the following day’s list without much thought or effort. By creating a short list before signing off for the day, I’m able to do a quick scan in the morning and know exactly what I need to prioritize.

    7. Make it fun
    There are people who love planners (ahem, me!) and people who swear they don’t work for them, and I think the difference is that planner people make their systems fun and personalized. Whether it’s using color-coded pens for different meetings, adding little stickers throughout, or bringing in some bullet journaling, your planner is for YOU. In order for it to work every day, you need to make sure it brings you some form of joy. For me, I love adding the little “brunch” and “gym” stickers that come with my planner, and I also LIVE for checking off each of my tasks and appointments as I go through the day. Am I that person who will add in an impromptu meeting that already happened to my planner just so I can check it off? I’ll never tell.

    8. Don’t force yourself to use features you don’t like
    I’ve tried a lot of planners over the years, and I’ve yet to find one that perfectly fits my needs without at least one element that I don’t use. For me, that’s the “month-at-a-glance” layouts included at the beginning of most planners. I don’t know why, but I can’t get into them⁠—I prefer using the weekly views to keep on top of upcoming events. For a while I tried to force myself to use them (especially after seeing some very aspirational layouts on Pinterest), but they just weren’t a natural part of my organization system. If you’re new to the planner world, don’t try to use every single element if something doesn’t fit easily into your life. Remember, your planner is supposed to help you, not be another thing on the to-do list!

    9. Create a “Wins List”
    If you let them, planners can be much more than just a diary of appointments. Years ago I realized that my yearly planners were essentially scrapbooks of everything I had done that year, so I started treating them as such. I created a “Wins List” on a blank page at the back of my notebook and started adding things as they happened throughout the year so I could look back on them later. Things like “finished our bathroom reno”, “meditated each day for one month”, and “planned a trip to Italy” were some of my wins last year. This is a tradition I’ve come to love and it’s helped me stick with my planners for longer than I likely would have if I just viewed them as an agenda.

    10. Don’t stress about a little mess
    Look, we all want our planners to look like the world’s most aesthetic organizational TikTok (at least I do!). Nothing is more heartbreaking than getting a drop of coffee on your pristine white cover, having to messily cross out a meeting that got pushed, or hastily writing down the name of someone to follow up with diagonally across one of your agenda pages when you can’t find another piece of paper. Trust me, I get it. But while we want our planners to look perfect, that’s just not realistic.
    Over the years I’ve come to see my planners as a little life companion, and life can get messy! My planner has gone to Europe with me, changed jobs several times, and had more than a million meetings crossed off. It definitely looks a little worse for wear sometimes, but I look back and I’m glad I used it to its fullest. So embrace a little mess, it’s bound to happen if your life is as full as mine!

    20 Productivity Hacks To Make Your Day Easier More

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    Desk Essentials That Will Help You Survive the Gloomiest Season of the Year

    It’s dark out by 4:00, temperatures are plummeting, and we’re spending more time indoors—the gloomiest time of the year is officially here. This time can be challenging for everyone, but it can be especially difficult when you work from home. After all, when the workday’s done and it’s pitch-black and freezing outside, no one really wants to leave their house. And when you’re staring at the same four walls day in and day out, you’re more likely to go stir-crazy and feel the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
    That said, one of the easiest ways to combat this is to fill your space with items that make you feel excited and inspired. So, give your office a winter upgrade with these 20 desk essentials. These items will help you stay productive and survive the gloomiest time of the year without feeling like you’re losing your mind. Keep scrolling to learn more.

    Light Therapy Lamp
    The sun may only come out for a few hours each day (if at all), but this light therapy lamp can give you a little dose of sunshine right at your desk. If you find yourself tired, sluggish, or just not feeling it, turning on your light therapy lamp can give you the boost you’re looking for.

    The Everygirl x Day Designer
    30-Day Challenge Planner
    Life will test you sometimes, but our 30-Day Challenge Planner can help you set yourself up for success in spite of it all. With guided challenges pertaining to wellness, career, and more, even the gloomiest time of the year will be no match for you.

    Lulu’s Garden
    Love Rosé Garden
    Contrast the gloomy weather outside and infuse some brightness into your office with this adorable succulent plant box that’ll fit perfectly in the corner of your desk.

    Makeup by Mario
    MoistureGlow™ Plumping Lip Balm
    This multitasking lip balm is perfect for winter. With a formula designed to soothe, hydrate and plump, and a hint of dewy, glossy color, swipe on before your next Zoom meeting or throughout the day and take the world by storm.
    Available in 14 colors.

    Wireless Charging Stone
    If you’re on your phone a lot for work, then you need a good, reliable charger, and Einova has just the thing for you. This wireless charging stone is made with genuine Italian marble, so it looks chic AF, and charges your phone lightning-fast.
    Available in 7 colors.

    “Vacation” Eau de Toilette
    Dreaming of a tropical vacation? Same. If you can’t get away, bring the tropical vibes to you with Vacation’s signature scent: the smell of sunscreen and summer.

    Aroma Om® Cool Mist Diffuser
    Even the gloomiest of days will be no match for this cool mist diffuser. Fill with your favorite essential oil blend and bring natural, healing, and calming vibes into your space and breathe life back into your office once again.
    Available in white and grey.

    Pottery Barn
    Acrylic Memo Tablet with Pens
    Your to-do tasks, grocery lists, and words of affirmation have never looked so sleek. This customizable acrylic memo tablet will help you personalize your workspace and maximize productivity and creativity during the cold winter months.

    Snarky Pen Set
    This collection of pens comes personally recommended to you by our Chief of Sales, Ally. Sure, you can write with any old pen you have lying around, but if you’re looking to brighten your day, nothing will do that like a pen that reminds you just how badass you are.

    Smart Mug Warmer
    Whether you’re a coffee addict, tea drinker, or fan of hot water and lemon, this smart mug warmer will conveniently fit in the corner of your desk, keep your beverages hot, and warm you up from the inside out.

    Mark & Graham
    Lips Ceramic Catchall Tray
    Nothing’s more annoying than accidentally banging your jewelry on your desk. Preserve your pieces and place them in this adorable catchall tray while you’re working. The lip shape is feminine and stylish, and comes in blush and red.

    Project 62™
    Acrylic Round Desktop Organizer
    A cluttered desk when you’re already feeling trapped in one space isn’t going to do you any favors. Get organized with this round acrylic desktop organizer. With 4 compartments and a clear design, you won’t waste time picking out random objects until you find the right one, and will be able to fit everything you need inside.

    Finance Planner
    Take advantage of the cold weather and refresh your money mindset and work towards your financial goals with this planner. With money mentor articles, clarity pages, savings and debt reviews, and more, this planner will help you hold yourself accountable and keep track of your money moves and progress.
    Available in 3 colors.

    Amazon | Coolfor
    Electric Desktop Space Heater
    If you’re perpetually cold, you need this electric desktop space heater in your life. It’s tiny but mighty, and will have no trouble heating things up.
    Available in green and brown.

    Talking Out of Turn
    The Future Is Female Mug
    If you wake up feeling a bit “blah,” sip a hot beverage out of this empowering, motivational mug.

    Bright Ideas Mini Highlighters
    We’re all liable to become extra forgetful during this time of year, but with these mini highlighters you’ll be able to color-code important notes, tasks, and documents accordingly.

    Amazon | Ulefi
    Under-Desk Heated Slippers
    Getting warm and staying warm is practically impossible when your feet are cold, and I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time working when I’m freezing. Keep these heated slippers underneath your desk, and slip your feet in whenever you’re cold or want to feel warm, safe, and cozy.

    Mind & Body Reset Kit
    This kit comes with 3 roll-on essential oil blends that can revive, refresh, and renew. Whenever you’re feeling sluggish, uninspired, anxious or overwhelmed, roll on one of these blends to get yourself up and running again and get back to work.

    How To Survive Work During the Gloomiest Season of the Year More

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    How To Survive Work During the Gloomiest Season of the Year

    Shorter days, a lack of sunlight, and freezing temperatures can easily kill off any and all productivity and passion, and getting through work during the gloomiest time of the year can feel like an insurmountable task. This is especially true for those struggling with seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—a type of depression related to changes in seasons. Typically SAD starts in the fall and continues throughout the winter before resolving on its own in the spring. However, that is a long time to be struggling at work when you’re trying to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head.
    So if you’ve been feeling a bit “blah” lately and lacking all work-related motivation, you’ve come to the right place. Thankfully, with the right tips and tricks, you can survive work during the gloomiest time of the year. Keep on reading to learn how.

    1. Take short breaks away from your desk
    Due to the lack of sun exposure and vitamin D and disruption to our internal body clocks, we all feel a bit more tired and sluggish during the winter. Unsurprisingly, this often correlates to less physical activity. This lack of movement, though, can only add to your lethargy and just make you feel a bit more “blah.” To counter this inactivity and refresh your mind, take short breaks away from your desk periodically throughout the day. Doing things like getting up and going for a quick walk, splashing cold water on your face, or finding a quiet space to do mindful meditation or deep breathing for a few minutes can be beneficial. Eating lunch away from your desk can also be helpful too.
    Taking short breaks away from your desk will help break things up, and the change of scenery can help your mind refocus and reset. This short burst of movement is also likely to reinvigorate you a little bit, which will give you a small amount of much-needed energy to continue making boss-chick moves. Plus, extra movement can help release endorphins, which can act as a natural antidepressant and relieve some stress and anxiety.

    2. Try conscious connected breathing
    Breathwork is one of the best mindfulness tools because it can be done anywhere—like at your desk or corner in your office. There are many different forms of breathwork out there, but breathwork practitioner, spiritual mentor, and CEO Alyse Bacine, swears by a technique called conscious connected breathing. “It’s the perfect way to shift your energy out of stagnation and depression related to SAD,” Bacine told me.
    With this technique, you lay down for 15-20 minutes in a quiet space and breathe in and out through your mouth in a circular pattern with no space between the inhale and exhale. “Set the intention that you’re going to shift your energy and journal about how you’re feeling or what you’re grateful for before or after,” Bacine said. “This will shift your energy into gratitude which is the highest frequency in the universe.”

    3. Set Boundaries
    It can be difficult to separate yourself from work, especially if you’re self-employed or work from home. Think about it: How often do you “log off” for the night only to check your email the second you hear a notification, lest you miss something from work? It’s natural to want to perform well at your job and keep your boss happy, but never turning off “work mode” can be draining. The truth is, everyone needs time to rest and recharge; without it, you’re more likely to get burnt out and your work performance will suffer.
    When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do for yourself is set boundaries. Maybe this means not responding to emails after a certain time or avoiding work-related discussions after hours. Whatever the case may be, setting boundaries will give you the opportunity to rest and renew, and you’ll go into the following work day sharper and on your game.

    4. Dress for Success
    There’s some truth to the old saying “dress for success.” During the winter, there’s a real temptation to bundle up in cozy, comfy clothing, and this is especially true if you spend the most of your time working from home. However, wearing ratty, old clothing around the clock is not going to make you feel good about yourself, which is why during working hours, make it a point to dress for success.
    Dressing for success doesn’t mean throwing on an expensive pantsuit (unless you want to, then by all means). Rather, it means wearing clothing that makes you feel good, like a chic loungewear set or cute top. Likewise, if dabbing on a bit of blush or applying a drop of mascara will help you feel better and more confident, then you should absolutely put some on for work. Taking the time to put on and wear things that make you feel your best will give you an energy boost and the confidence to kill it at work.

    5. Keep a mindfulness journal
    Keeping a mindfulness journal can help you recenter and ground yourself, relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, and remind you of how far you’ve come. It’s also a great way to cultivate self-awareness, increase gratitude, and uncover detrimental behavior and thought patterns. Regularly using a mindfulness journal will make you feel better equipped to handle the season because you’ll be more in touch with yourself and your emotions and help you get out of your own head and remove yourself from the cycle of overthinking.

    6. Upgrade Your Desk
    Having a desk you love will naturally make you feel more motivated and inspired, and if your setup currently leaves a lot to be desired, it might be time for an upgrade. Your upgrade doesn’t have to be anything big—it can be purchasing a new keyboard, desk lamp, plant, or simply reorganizing what you already do have. Having work tools you love is also going to make you more excited to work, and in turn, you’ll be more productive.

    7. Be 5% kinder
    I recently listened to an episode of Jay Shetty’s podcast that featured Khloé Kardashian. During the episode, Kardashian mentioned that being just 5% kinder can make the biggest difference in the world. This stuck with me because of its sheer simplicity and truth—it costs $0 to be kind, but for some reason, kindness is often hard to come by.
    Make a conscious effort to be 5% kinder to yourself and everyone else moving forward. Hold the door open for someone else, be gentle and compassionate with yourself and rest on days you’re struggling, patiently listen to a co-worker vent instead of rolling your eyes behind their back, or take your family member’s phone call instead of letting it go to voicemail. Little acts of kindness will make you feel good and radiate light and positivity out into the world during a time filled with so much gloom and doom. In turn, you’ll feel lighter, clearheaded, and more excited for work.
    In addition, be mindful of using social media because it can easily become a toxic place. Tristan Thibodeau is a brand strategist and CEO who encourages social media users to engage with forethought. “A lack of emotional intelligence can turn social media into an ugly place very quickly,” she divulged to me. “Part of you wants to have compassion for these people because they must be carrying so much negativity. But at the same time, it’s frustrating to watch them take zero responsibility for their emotions as they project their unhappiness onto innocent strangers online.” If you find that you’re logging off social media feeling worse than when you logged on because of toxicity or falling into the comparison trap, consider taking a break from it for a little bit. No amount of likes or comments is worth sacrificing your mental health.

    8. Take Care of Your Body
    This one probably seems like a no-brainer, but we so often put self-care on the back burner. Make it a point to eat foods that make you feel good and are good for you, get plenty of rest, and drink enough water. Take the time to check in with your body and see how you’re feeling. If there’s an area where you feel you’re lacking, figure out what you can do to nourish it. Taking care of yourself outside of the workplace will translate to taking care of business inside of it.
    That said, if you feel like you’re really struggling, it is never a bad idea to talk to your doctor. As a professional, they’ll be able to further guide you in the right direction and provide you with the necessary tools to overcome. Millions of Americans suffer from SAD every year, so try to remember that you’re not alone and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. In truth, we all feel a bit gloomy during this time of year, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer alone. Don’t ever forget that you are a divine and deserving human being, and you have absolutely every right to be successful and happy.

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    The Big Career Goal You Should Tackle in 2023

    It’s a brand new year, and with that comes a blank slate full of possibilities. Many people immediately think about setting resolutions to hit the gym more, revamp their dating life, or start saving for a big goal. These are all great goals to set, but one area you shouldn’t overlook when it comes to setting goals for the year is what you want to accomplish in your career. Often, career goals can seem intimidating because they can take a while to accomplish and require some deeper strategic thinking, but once you’ve set a big goal you can break it down into smaller goals that can be easier to accomplish month over month.
    Whether you’re brand new to the “real world” and are looking for your first opportunity or have been climbing the ranks for years, there’s almost certainly a new career goal you can add to your list for 2023. In no particular order, here are some goals I’ve set for my career in the past that you might want to consider!

    If you’re ready for a big change: Get hired at a great company 
    Whether you’ve recently graduated or have been working for a while and are feeling a pull towards a new role, the start of the new year can be just the motivation you need to shake things up and focus on getting hired at a great company. I say a great company and not just any company because we want to set the bar high and get exactly what we deserve in 2023! A great company can be different based on what you’re looking for, your industry, and your location, so this is totally subjective based on your wants and needs. 
    If getting a new role speaks to you, you can break it down into more actionable steps and then set deadlines for each step. Micro goals could look like researching companies that offer the compensation and career challenges you’re after, reaching out to connections at those companies, and practicing interview questions. If you start at the beginning of this year and have your target list of dream companies ready for the end of January, you can give yourself the rest of the year to build those connections and hopefully receive an offer by December.

    If you want to level up: Get promoted 
    Love your current company but feel ready to take on new challenges? The goal of getting promoted this year is for you. This is a great goal to set at the beginning of the year because it will give you lots of time to work on any areas you need to develop on your path to promotion. It also gives you time to research and work towards any certifications or courses that could help you jump to the next level. 
    Once you’ve set the goal to get promoted this year, be loud and proud about sharing your intentions at work. Set up a meeting with your manager or HR partner to chat about what a promotion timeline looks like for you. Coming out of that meeting, be sure to record any next steps or agreements made (pro tip: send an email to the relevant parties the next day to ensure you captured everything correctly and have a record of your convo). Then, take every opportunity to showcase the skills you need in order to get promoted, and schedule regular check-ins with your manager to ensure you’re on track.
    Remember to keep a “Wins List” of your accomplishments to have as proof of everything you’ve done that year in service of getting promoted. My personal Wins List always includes key presentations I gave, any initiatives I started above and beyond my job description, and big wins my team had (as well as how I specifically contributed to them). I also include important metrics to tangibly show how I added value over the past year. 

    If you’re a manager (or want to be): Build your leadership skills 
    Let’s say you’re happy with your company and are killing it within your role, but you know you’re not quite ready for a promotion yet (or maybe you recently got one, in which case, yay you!). If you fall into this camp, a goal you could consider is increasing your leadership skills. Leadership skills are important for almost every job as you grow your career, whether or not you want to manage a team or department down the road.
    Increasing your leadership abilities might look like owning more deliverables, taking a greater lead on team projects, or mentoring newer teammates. If you have a team reporting to you already, consider setting a goal of becoming a better manager, finding different ways to coach each of your direct reports, or creating opportunities to be seen as a leader outside of your immediate team.
    Depending on whether you have a team already or not, your micro goals will look a little bit different. If you don’t have a team, take some time to identify areas where you could take on a bigger leadership role and speak to the necessary parties (likely your boss) to see if it’s a possibility. Mentoring a newer teammate could be formal or informal and might look like finding someone who could use support and offering yourself as a resource to answer questions, provide feedback, and give advice.
    If you already manage a team, think about if there are courses you could take or books to read to become a better manager, speak to your boss about growing your team if there’s a need, or build out individual plans with each report to make sure you’re supporting them as best as you can. My career goal for 2023 is to become a better manager, so you’ll definitely find me researching some leadership courses this month!  

    If you’re up for review: Negotiate for the raise you want 
    There’s always a lot of buzz around the “New Year, New You” idea in January, but I propose we change that to “New Year, New Salary” because I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love a bit more cushioning in their bank account. If you’ve been with your company for a while or have a yearly review coming up soon, creating a plan for a salary increase might be the perfect goal to set. Oftentimes companies will go into raise discussions with a prepared budget increase of 3-7% of your salary, so if you want more than that you’ll need to take the time to prepare and state your case through negotiation. 
    If negotiating is a scary thought for you, make 2023 the year you face that fear and ask for what you want! You’ll first want to create a list of all the ways you’ve added value for the company since your last raise, along with any metrics you can provide (think along the lines of “I strategized and launched our TikTok channel which grew our yearly site visits from social media by 35%”).
    Once you have your accomplishments, use online job boards, your network, and any salary publications to help you develop a target number that’s ambitious but still realistic. It can also be helpful to find similar job descriptions in states where salary transparency is required on the posting, such as California or New York, to use as a benchmark. Then, schedule a meeting with your boss and let them know you’d like to discuss your salary. Finally, put on your best hype music (I recommend Lizzo) and go get what you deserve! Remember, if the answer is unfortunately no, try to take that as a “not yet” and ask your manager what you’d need to do to receive the raise you want and what a realistic timeline would be to have the conversation again. 

    If you have an unexplored passion: Build a side hustle
    If you’re in an industry where freelancing is common or you have a skill you know people will pay for, 2023 might be the year you think about finally starting a side hustle. You’ve heard it all before, but having an alternative source of income can be a great security blanket during challenging times, can provide extra funding for a big savings goal, or just give you a little bit of extra fun money (prepare to say yes to that cashmere sweater you’ve had your eye on!). 
    The first micro goal is to figure out what your side hustle is going to be (a bit of a key step!). You could try out freelance writing, selling your art on Etsy, coding websites for small businesses, managing social media for a local organization…the options are truly endless. You’ll want to pick something that has a good hourly rate for the time you’ll be putting in and has enough demand to warrant making it your niche. Your next goals should include researching any licenses or tax implications you need to be aware of (some states require you to have a separate business bank account, for example), determining how many hours you can dedicate per week, and then working on marketing yourself and getting some customers.
    It might sound like a lot, but you can totally launch a profitable side hustle within a few months if you just dedicate a few hours to getting it up and running each week. Trust me, your bank account will thank you! 

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    The Secret Way People Are Finding New Jobs

    When you’re looking for a new role, there are some clear steps you should probably take. Spruce up your resume with recent achievements, tidy up your LinkedIn and maybe get a new headshot to look professional, and start (or ideally, continue!) networking. But what if you’re doing that and aren’t seeing any results? In a tough job market, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged when applying to jobs posted on huge platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed, especially when you see that soul-crushing “100+ applicants” banner next to the job you’re looking at. It’s enough to make a girl want to give up and stay in bed forever.
    However, times like these just require job hunters to get a little more creative in how they find new opportunities. Enter: Industry Slack groups. The latest trend popping up across the networking world is the creation of Slack groups dedicated entirely to certain industries. Think groups like “Project Managers in Tech in Chicago” or “Wedding Photographers in Ohio”. These are the glow-up versions of the Facebook groups we all used to be part of (Neopets Forever, anyone?), but with real value for your career. These “secret” groups are filled with people in similar industries, and the insights, connections, and job opportunities posted in these groups can be hard to find elsewhere. I was able to find my most recent job—before it was ever posted on a job board or even company website—in a marketing Slack group for my city. The person leaving the role posted about it and mentioned she was looking for someone to recommend as a backfill. I was in the market, we went for coffee, and the rest is history.

    How to find an industry Slack group
    So, how exactly do you get yourself into one of these groups? It can be a little tricky, but nothing a little sleuthing can’t fix! The first place to start is—of course—Google. Try Googling keywords like “[your industry] Slack group” and your city to see what comes up. If you don’t get any hits, try searching variations of your industry, or move out a degree and search more general terms, like “product marketing Slack” and “United States”. Don’t get discouraged, even big, more generalized groups can still yield a lot of fruit (for reassurance, the Slack group where I found my job is for content marketers all across North America, and I see jobs posted in my city or that are open to remote workers almost daily).
    If you’ve done some Google searching and have come up dry, don’t give up yet. The next step is to head over to LinkedIn and start populating the same terms. Administrators or co-founders of groups often include this in their LinkedIn bio/career section, so you might be able to find a member to reach out to. Don’t forget to also ask colleagues, friends, your university alumni association, etc. if they know of any groups. It can be somewhat of a “who you know” game, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

    I’ve found a group, now what?
    Congrats, you’ve found a group you want to join (and remember to be open to joining all kinds of groups, even ones that might only be loosely related to your field)! Once you’ve found your group, the next step is to get yourself added. Many groups are open to anyone, meaning you just need to find the link and add yourself. Some do require an invite, and the easiest way to get one is to find someone already in the group, which is where it’s beneficial to reach out to colleagues and friends to see if anyone’s in a group you’re interested in. If you don’t already know someone, see if you can find an admin or page for the group on LinkedIn, which is where I’ve had a lot of success. Lastly, look for organizations or associations related to your field, such as the “New York Copywriters Association” (I made that up, but you get the point), and send them an email. If they’re not associated with the group, they likely know someone who is.

    How to network in Slack
    Yay, you’ve made it into a group and are ready to nab one of those under-the-radar jobs! I’m super excited for you, but it’s important to know that there are some unspoken rules in most industry Slack groups. Most groups will have a code of conduct, likely in a #general or #announcements channel, and that should be your first stop. A lot of groups won’t allow you to spam or self-promote (which may or may not include posting that you’re looking for work, so double check!), or they’ll have rules about which channels can be used for what. In my experience, most admins take the code of conduct pretty seriously, so make sure you do, too. The last thing you want is to get kicked out after you spent all that time getting in!
    Where Slack groups differ from LinkedIn is that they’re a lot more focused on community and participation. The more you engage and converse with people in the group, the more likely you’ll find someone willing to give you a heads up on a great role coming down the pipeline. Add your thoughts to a thread about the future of social media, provide feedback to someone who’s asking for ideas for a new project, and post about any cool meetups you think people might enjoy. Building this credibility and being part of the community will go a long way.

    Finding a new job via Slack
    Okay, you’ve found the group, got invited, read the code of conduct, and have been actively participating. So, how about that new job? Most groups have a channel for job postings. As mentioned before, many groups don’t allow for you to post about looking for a role, so it can be a bit of a waiting game to find something that’s the right fit. When I was on the hunt, I checked each group a few times a day, and when an interesting or relevant role popped up I would message the poster that same day and see if I could speak with them. Not everyone will be open to this (some people post opportunities that recruiters messaged them about or roles in their company they don’t know much about), but a lot of people will be. The key is to try to be one of the first people to reach out so they are still willing to chat, and to come prepared with thoughtful questions to demonstrate your interest.
    After you’ve spoken to the person who posted the role—either via Slack or over a call—and confirmed your interest, be sure to have your resume and cover letter ready to go shortly after speaking with them. Don’t take too long to do this or the person might forget the conversation you had. Make sure you also ask your connection if you should send your application directly to them, through a link they’ll send you, or just through the company’s career portal. Some companies are super strict on how they accept and prioritize referrals, so make sure to clarify the right way to apply. Once you’ve submitted your application, make sure to follow general etiquette: circle back with your connection and thank them for their time and help, and keep them in the loop with how the process goes (unless they’re the hiring manager directly, which you might come across!).
    Pro Tip: Before openly posting that you’re looking for a job or responding in threads about roles you’re interested in, double check there’s nobody at your current company in the group (it’s a small world, after all). You can do this by searching the members in the top right corner. If you find your boss, other members of your team, or prominent HR people, think about using other groups to hunt for roles. At the very least, direct message people about jobs instead of responding in threads where anyone can see.

    Paying it forward
    Follow this formula until you find a role that works out for you. Many of my friends and people in my network have also found their latest roles through Slack groups, so it’s definitely a job hunting method worth looking into! Once you’ve found your role (or even before), make sure to pay it forward. Post jobs that you hear about from recruiters or are hiring for yourself, and be sure to let other people know about the groups you’re in. Slack groups can seem a little “VIP”-ish at times, but it’s important to remember that the more people who join them, the more future connections and jobs there are, so spread the love and invite anyone who might be able to benefit!

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    Our Managing Editor Reveals: The Tech Products She Would Sell Her Soul For

    Every so often I get the urge to turn off my phone, unplug my wifi, and run away to the mountains with nothing but my books to keep me company. This tech-free life sounds wonderful and I’d be halfway out the door if it wasn’t for the fact that my Kindle, a device that requires wifi, is essentially my security blanket, and my weekly screen report from Apple is proof that going internet-free isn’t in the cards for me. So instead of galavanting off to a cabin in the woods, I lean into the tech products that make my life a thousand times easier. 
    I literally cannot sleep without my sound machine, am emotionally attached to my standing desk, and can’t fathom drying my hair without my trusty Dyson. This self-awareness is freeing. If you’re ready to fully embrace our tech overlords, join me in adding the tech products I would absolutely sell my soul for (even though no one asked) to your life—I promise you won’t regret it.

    In this article

    My Tech Favorite Products
    Many of the items here aren’t the most “fun” things to buy — they’re no Sephora haul or brand new bag — but when I say they’ve revolutionized my life, I’m really not exaggerating. My favorites listed here range from smaller gadgets that are easy to tack onto any Amazon purchase to bigger ticket items I’m begging you to finally pull the trigger on.

    Sunrise Alarm Clock
    I can no longer sleep well if I don’t have my Hatch Restore routine going. It allows you to create a custom sleep routine that gently guides you to sleep and to wake up with soothing sounds and light that mimics a sunset and sunrise, respectively. It sounds out there, I know, but I literally sleep like a baby when I use it and the slow-building morning alarm is so much more pleasant to wake up to than my phone blaring in my ear.

    Wireless Phone Charger & Accessory Tray
    The Courant wireless charging products are the perfect blend of form and function. I keep the Catch:3 on my nightstand to charge my phone overnight and hold my other bedside essentials. It looks great beside my bed and an added bonus: because my phone has to lay on the charger, I can’t stay up well into the night scrolling through TikTok with my phone plugged in. I can already feel my eyes becoming less strained.

    All-in-One Standing Desk
    My love for my Flexispot standing desk came as a complete shock to my system. However, after searching high and low for a standing desk that was semi-affordable and not horrendous to look at, I landed on this one and now I can’t imagine life without it. When combined with an under desk treadmill, it’s a combination that really can’t be beat.

    Ergonomic Laptop Stand
    I’ve dedicated so much time to finding aesthetically pleasing desk accessories and have truly never seen a prettier laptop stand that doesn’t cost a billion dollars. Yes, this one is a step-up from the $20 ones you’ll find all over Amazon, but it’s so worth it for an ergonomic solution that looks beautiful, too.

    Apple Pencil Charging Stand
    Before I got this charging stand for my Apple pencil, it was always dead, which meant I never really used it and therefore never really used my iPad. As soon as I got this little stand and placed it on my desk, my iPad became my lifeblood and my Apple pencil is always ready right when I need it.

    Wrist Support Keyboard Rest & Mouse Pad
    Are you tired of seeing this set on every desk essentials article we put out? I will not apologize for that because it is absolutely imperative you have this keyboard rest and mouse pad set. Your wrists will love you for using these and you won’t even have to sacrifice your desk aesthetic.

    Kindle Paperwhite
    The relationship I have with my Kindle could be described as unhealthy. But if it is, I don’t care. I have never read so much in my life than I do with my Kindle. It is the first thing I reach for every morning to accompany my morning coffee and the first thing I pack in my personal item when traveling. If anything ever happened to my Kindle, I’d have to replace it immediately. If you’re a reader who’s been waffling over whether or not to take the plunge, please do it. You won’t regret it.

    Desktop Webcam
    If you are still using your MacBook’s potato of a camera, please add this to your Amazon cart right now and click purchase. It is a massive and necessary upgrade for your WFH setup. It features a built-in ring light to keep the quality of your calls top-tier, even if the lighting everywhere else on your home is abominable.

    Keyboard Cleaner Kit
    I file this under nifty, cheap products that I will 100% delete from my cart before I actually place my Amazon order. However, when this all-in-one tech cleaner did finally survive my Amazon cart purge, it became a holy grail in my desk essential arsenal. I love that I can clean all the nooks and crannies in my various devices with just one simple tool.

    Roomba Vacuum
    I hate vacuuming almost as much as I hate doing dishes, so this robot vacuum is a true lifesaver. We have it set to go off twice a week (there are three dogs in this house so that frequency is 100% necessary), and I don’t even have to think about vacuuming unless I’m doing a deep clean in the nooks and crannies.

    Portable Label Maker
    A label maker is the kind of thing you only wish you had once in a blue moon, but when you do need one, you kick yourself for not having one. This is your sign to finally take the plunge. This one is cute, small, and connects to your phone for easy labeling.

    Red Light Therapy Wand & Serum Kit
    Beauty tech is a category I didn’t see myself buying into, but my experience with products like the Nuface and now the SolaWave have made me a true convert. This skincare wand combines several different beauty treatments in one—microcurrent, red light therapy, facial massage, and therapeutic warmth—for the ultimate self-care experience. Immediately after using, my skin is less puffy and glowing, and long term use targets fine lines, wrinkles, and blemishes. So it’s a win now and a win later.

    Laptop Carry Sleeve & Stand
    This laptop sleeve tops the list of things I didn’t even realize I needed until I had it. This sleek leather sleeve protects my laptop when traveling and doubles as an ergonomic stand when I reach my destination, whether it’s a coffee shop or a company trip. I love that I no longer have to sacrifice my beloved ergonomics when I’m working away from home. If you travel for work or really lean into that “work from anywhere” lifestyle, this is the laptop sleeve for you.

    Tech Products On My Wishlist
    Sure, this is a not-so-subtle hint to my family when I send them my “latest article to check out,” but it’s also an inside scoop for you, dear readers, at the items I’ve pre-deemed worth every single penny.

    Wi-Fi Connected Jet Mop
    I’ve already spoken about the undying love I have for my Roomba, and I am very close to taking the plunge on the mop version as well. The vacuum has made my life so much easier, especially with having pets, so I know the mop would be just as game-changing.

    4K Smart Monitor
    I do not need an iMac, and definitely don’t want to spend $2,000 for what is essentially a pretty monitor (nothing I do for work requires that kind of computing power). But, I still want a beautiful monitor to complete my desk. So, what’s a girl to do? When I first saw this Samsung monitor my jaw dropped at how perfectly it solved my dilemma. It’s the perfect upgrade to my setup and while still an investment, is much more affordable than the iMac.

    Desktop Vacuum
    This desktop vacuum cleaner has yet to survive one of my pre-checkout Amazon cart purges, but it’s only a matter of time before I take the plunge on this. I’ve seen countless videos about it on TikTok and know it’ll be such a useful addition to my desk.

    Light Therapy Lamp
    As a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I don’t think I’m fully prepared for the gloomiest time of the year, even though I love the rain. This light therapy lamp would be the perfect device to have on my desk to help me get through the cold, dark, and rainy days when all I really want is to curl up on the couch.

    Compact Electric Heater
    The battle between my husband and I over the thermostat is constantly raging on, but this beautiful space heater might be just the thing to get me to back off. I’ve truly never seen a space heater like this before, and as someone who is always cold, I know I’d get my money’s worth.

    Lap Desk
    I love a work-from-the-couch moment, but my current lap desk has had its day in the sun and I’m in desperate need of an upgrade. This lap desk from Arlo Skye is a definite splurge, but I use my current one so much I know it will be well worth the cost. This one comes complete with a storage tray and a stand to prop up your phone or iPad—it’s truly perfect for all of my needs.

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