Questions You Need to Ask Yourself If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

O, The Oprah Magazine suggests questions you can ask yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  • Why am I overwhelmed?
  • Am I really busy or does it just feel this way?
  • What’s the priority here?
  • What if I don’t have enough time?
  • Am I surrounded by energy suckers?
  • Do I have to do it all by myself?
  • What would it take for me to just say no?
  • Is my stuff taking over my life?
  • But, I want so much. Will I ever be enough?
  • Am I breaking out because I’m stressed out?
  • Is all stress bad?
  • Is it better to fight anxiety or is it okay to be nervous?
  • How do I stop focusing on the clock?

Winter Travel to Tromso, Norway

Wall Street Journal’s Nina Sovich on how to spend the winter season in some of Europe’s top destinations:

After the sun sets on Tromsø on Nov. 27 (at 11:45 a.m.,) it won’t peek above the horizon again until mid-January. But this Arctic Circle city doesn’t use winter darkness as an excuse to sleep in; if anything, its cultural and sporting opportunities only increase in the depths of winter. Under a sky frequently illuminated by aurora borealis, visitors can set off by sea to watch whales, or across the tundra to visit the indigenous Sami people and attempt to endear themselves to reindeer. Within the city, the Northern Lights cultural festival and the Tromsø International Film Festival are two bright spots.

The Joys of Solo Travel

In the August 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine, the inflight magazine of SilkAir, Vanessa Tai writes about the joys of solo travel, tackling logistical failures, and embracing small joys:

  • Be Open-minded—For safety, go with your gut. But the rest of the time, be open-minded. Try that new dish, accept that invitation—these serendipities are what solo travel is all about.
  • Do Your Research—While it’s tempting to wing it, it’s a good idea to be prepared—get to know some basic phrases, familiarise yourself with public transport and places to avoid.
  • Be Flexible—Plans may change unexpectedly—flights get cancelled, the hotel may lose your booking. Be ready to go with the flow. Most, if not all, things will be solvable eventually.

Singapore’s Peranakan Culture

Robyn Eckhardt of the Wall Street Journal introduces the Singapore’s Peranakans (pronounced “per-rah-nah-kahns,”) a fascinating blend of cultures from the region.

The Peranakan—the descendants of marriages between local women and the foreign merchants who began arriving in the 1400s—grew wealthy working in real estate, shipping and banking. Their influence still permeates many aspects of daily life but the museum’s real highlights are the fabulously opulent items worn by the Nyonya, the female descendants: gem-studded jewelry, intricately embroidered silk clothing and handsewn slippers swathed in minuscule Bohemian glass beads.

The Peranakan Museum offers documents and artifacts, Peranakan wedding rituals and accessories, and interpretations of their religious choices, public life and food.

Caffeine Fix in Singapore: Kopitiam (Coffee Shop)

Robyn Eckhardt of the Wall Street Journal suggests the Tong Ah Eating House in Singapore’s Chinatown:

You’ll find the most authentically Singaporean caffeine fix at a classic kopitiam (coffee shop) like Tong Ah Eating House, in Chinatown. Here, powder that’s ground from beans roasted with sugar and margarine is placed in a cloth bag suspended from a metal ring and subjected to repeated dousings of hot water. The result is an intense brew served with a glug of sweetened condensed milk, to drink hot or iced (35 Keong Siak Road.)

Ask the Turtle

American political analyst Donna Lease Brazile recollects an anecdote from feminist Gloria Steinem:

While on a field trip in college with her geology class, she discovered a giant snapping turtle that had climbed out of the river, up a dirt path, right to the edge of a road. Worried it would soon be run over, she wrestled the enormous reptile off the embankment and back down to the water. At that moment, her professor walked up and asked what in the world she was doing. With some pride, she told him. He said that the turtle had probably spent a month crawling up that long dirt path to safely lay its eggs in the mud on the side of the road and that she had destroyed all that effort with her “rescue.” Gloria tells this story to illustrate the most important political lesson she ever learned: Always ask the turtle.

What Do the Months’ Names Mean and Where Do They Come from?

The British Museum explains why we call the months what we do:

  • January is named after the Roman god Janus. He had two faces so he could see the future and the past!
  • February is named after an ancient Roman festival of purification called Februa.
  • March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. The Roman calendar originally began in March, and the months of January and February were added later, after a calendar reform.
  • April takes its name from the Latin word aperire, meaning ‘to open’ (just like flowers do in spring!.) The Romans called the month Aprilis.
  • May is named after the Greek goddess Maia.
  • June is named after the Roman goddess Juno—the god of marriage and childbirth, and the wife of Jupiter, king of the gods.
  • July and August were named after two major figures of the ancient Roman world—the statesman Julius Caesar and Rome’s first emperor, Augustus.
  • September, October, November and December are named after Roman numbers 7, 8, 9 and 10—they were originally the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months of the Roman year!
  • Before July and August were renamed after Roman rulers, they were called Quintilis and Sextilis, meaning fifth and sixth months.

Attention Economics

The notion of attention economics is often traced back to Nobel prize-winning American economist, political scientist, and cognitive psychologist Herbert Simon. Writing about the problems of information overload in the 1960s, Simon wrote,

in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

Source: “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” in Martin Greenberger (ed.) Computers, Communications, and the Public Interest (1971)

In meetings, don’t repeat what others have said just to be heard

Forbes’s William Arruda shares eight impediments to effective meetings:

It’s important to make an impression in a meeting. Just being in a meeting is the equivalent of having a check mark next to your name indicating that you showed up to gym class. Attendance isn’t enough; you need to contribute, but repeating others’ contributions doesn’t impress people. In fact, you just waste meeting time. Instead, acknowledge others for their brilliant point when you agree with it. “Chloe—as always—identified the most important challenge. As she suggests, I totally agree that we need to focus on that first.”

Sleep is the Unrivalled Hero

Columnist and best-selling non-fiction author Michael McGirr writes in Tales from the Land of Nod:

In the history of human civilisation, sleep is the unrivalled hero. It is the wellspring of creativity. In sleep, we are most ourselves because we have to surrender our egos. It is the space in which so much happens, mainly because, while we are asleep, we cannot squeeze any extra appointments or make any extra phone calls or look at one more thing on the internet. Sleep is the daily visit that people who live in crowded dairies make to a wide open space.