Looking at the orderly line forming outside the Creation Theatrette at the Matrix Building of Biopolis, it’s simply mind boggling how fast this year is coming to an end. Maybe it’s been a year of surprises big or small for all of us. But I think maybe we’ve all been too busy to keep track of time as it slips away.

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Here at A*STAR Biopolis to give my signature grooming talk, it was really gratifying to see so many faces crowded in the theatrette especially since it’s the year-end holidays with most staff on leave. With nationalities hailing from different countries, it was my honour to be amongst them researchers and scientists.
 
Many times in life, we are too caught up with the rat race that we forget sometimes we just have to start living for ourselves. Many of us dress to conform to certain office norms. Look around and you will see the majority of men dressed in the same hues of white, blue, black and grey. For ladies (whether they are on the plus side or slim side), they always think of black as their saving colour as it’s slimming. 

But once you have attended today’s grooming talk, you will realise there’s a whole universe out there besides the classical colours or even start thinking black is THE one and only slimming colour. 
 
If we don’t start to dress for ourselves (within the accepted limits of course – no one is asking you to dye your hair purple or red), you start feeling more confident as it’s your personality you begin to exude. And naturally when you feel more confident, your work performance improves. It may sound incredulous but trust me, it works. If it worked for me, why shouldn’t it work for you?

So sit back, relax and let’s rock this talk together…and get you all spruced up for the new year ahead!

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With only five more days to go, you cannot help but admit Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the entire year. 
 
It is stressful for three main reasons – you have to start thinking of who to buy presents for, you have to jostle with the crowd for last minute shopping and lastly, you have to decide who to spend the holiday season with. It can and is stressful!
 
But do not worry. Let me share three tips for a stress-free Christmas so you will feel in control all the time and of course, look good for the holiday season : )
 

#1. Prioritise Your Time
 

We all have 24 hours a day but all of us use these hours differently. As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Should you attempt to do too much within a day, not only will you stress yourself out unnecessarily, your productivity level will also fall drastically.
 
With Christmas only days away, pause and ask yourself this question “what goals remain unaccomplished between now and Christmas that will dampen the holiday mood?”
 
If there’s something important still lingering in the air, get it done. You do not want to regret not getting it done and carry it forward to 2012. Chances are you know if you do this, you will never ever get it done. 

Time and tide waits for no one. Get yourself organised and put your life back in track. 
 

#2. Love Yourself
 

If you have yet to receive a Christmas party invitation by now, do not be upset. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. Remember there are many others out there who do not have a large circle of friends too. So what if you will not be exchanging presents with anyone?
 
Christmas may be the season of giving and sharing. But if nobody appreciates you for who you are, then you should learn to love yourself even more.
With no parties to attend nor difficult wardrobe decisions on what to wear, treat yourself this time instead to that special quality time you’ve always wanted at some point in the year but have been too busy to indulge. If you want to take a short break, here’s the chance. If you want to take up a new hobby, here’s the opportunity.
 

#3. Spend Within Your Means
 

As much as we want to impress others with our presents, size is not always all that matters. Let’s be rationale about it. If you have a big family, large circle of friends or an army of colleagues, it’s going to cost you a bomb getting Christmas presents for everyone. Now does that mean you will save on presents? No. 
 
Instead, you might to relook at the entire situation and break them down into manageable sizes. If I were you, I would write down all the names of the people I would have to buy presents for. And then besides each name, I would give them a weightage. People who matter greatly in my life would be given top priority, followed by the others and finally, rounding up the list would be those who are best classified as mere acquaintances.
 
Now, I would set a monetary ceiling as to how much each gift would cost for each category of people. I cannot, and will not (should I be rationale till now) be spending the same amount on an acquaintance vis a vis someone who matters a great deal to me.

With this useful guide, I would be less stressed when embarking on my Christmas shopping. And mind you, even if the budget was at most $10, I can still get meaningful gifts in town. At the end of the day, it’s not the gift or the value of it that matters…but the heart that does.
 
If you ask me, stress management is all about management and the more effectively you are able to see through the situation and be in control, the happier you will be and the lighter your footsteps will be. 

Here’s wishing everybody a blessed Christmas and a fruitful year ahead in advance :)
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