Tag Archives: Wellness

Wellness Break

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Many of us find ourselves in situations at work (or in our lives in general) where we are sitting for long periods of time.  These situations are the perfect opportunity for a wellness break.  In less than 5 minutes time you can work on stress relief, mental focus/clarity, blood flow, mood, heart health and so much more.  Seems to good to be true, I know…but it really does work.  I challenge each of you to conduct at least one wellness break each and every day.

Start your wellness break by finding a comfortable position in your chair.  Tense up all of your muscles and then release them all to a relaxed state.  Close your eyes and take a slow deep breath in through your nose and release that breath through your mouth visioning all of the negative thoughts and energy leaving your body with that exhale.  Repeat the relaxing cleansing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth two to three more times.  This exercise will help relieve stress and bring your mental focus back to a mindful state.

Next stand and stretch up as tall as you can, stand on your tip-toes and reach for the skies.  Then reach your arms out to your sides and imagine somebody pulling on each of your arms stretching them out as far as they will go.   Finally, return your arms down to your sides and flap your arms slightly tapping the sides of your legs.  This exercise may feel and look a little silly, but it will help get your blood flowing and get you to a more alert state of mind.

Round off your wellness break with a grand finale of laughter.  Laughter can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.  It decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells which can improve your resistance to disease and it triggers the release of endorphins to promote an overall sense of well-being.  Laughter also improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

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Laughter not only provides all of these physical benefits, but it can also ease anxiety and fear, improve your mood, enhance reliance, strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork and help defuse conflict.  Laughter really is the best medicine and should be done at least once a day.  If you need a little assistance to get you laughing, try looking up ‘baby laughing’ on YouTube!  You are sure to find a video or few that will get you laughing!

Until next time…wishing you all a good belly laugh!

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Get Creative to Get Motivated…

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Have you ever told yourself (or had a friend, family member or doctor tell you) that you need to “get in shape”, “get healthy”, “lose weight”, etc.?  Do you find yourself lacking in motivation to do anything about it?

Living a healthy lifestyle is overwhelming if it is not something you are already doing.  It is easy and all too common to become highly motivated and jump in with both feet only to get overwhelmed and discouraged very quickly.  Thus making your “healthy lifestyle” venture short and painful in memory due to stress and guilt.

So here is the answer for you…are you ready?
Get Creative!

Ok I know what you are thinking…”This woman has lost her mind…That answer doesn’t help us at all!”

So here is the help that goes along with the answer.

1. First determine what it is that you enjoy doing.
Do you enjoy reading, watching television, gaming, bowling, dancing, competition?  What is something that you feel excited about doing?

2. Now take that thing that you love to do and make it into something fitness-related.
Get creative with this…think outside the box…heck, throw the damn box away (recycle it please ;))!!
I know this sounds silly and may seem near impossible, but I challenge you all to give me activities that you love to do so we can brainstorm together and find a way to make it a healthy activity that you will actually do because you enjoy it!

I will give you one example that I used with one of my clients at work.
She and her husband enjoy bowling.  Any mention of eating better or going for a walk and he (like most of us) mentally checks out and thus is not motivated to follow-through with it.  So I suggested we look for a way to make bowling healthy and a fitness-related activity.  I ended up finding an article in a Philadelphia magazine (Be Well Philly) called “I tried it: Bowling for Fitness at Sweat Fitness and Frames“.  Great article!
Obviously those of us that do not live in Philadelphia will not be able to attend this facility and participate in this program…but we CAN take the ideas and creatively apply them to our own activities.  I love the ideas presented in the article regarding doing jumping jacks and other activities to keep your heart rate up in between frames or while your partner is bowling his/her frame.  Will people look at you funny?  Probably…but who cares!  You are getting healthy and having a blast doing it (don’t tell me you won’t burn a whole lot of calories just laughing at each other and at yourself during this)!

So your challenge is to comment on this blog and give me an idea of what activity/hobby you enjoy doing that we can make into a fitness-related activity.

Ready…….
Set…..
GO!

Until next time…make today a happy and healthy day!
🙂

Stress…

I apologize to all my loyal followers for the delay in my blog postings.
This Monday we buried my grandfather, may he rest in peace.  And then Tuesday my grandmother (his wife) was put into the ICU with some pretty major health issues.  Needless to say it has been a very stressful and upsetting time so I didn’t really feel like blogging.
However, I am feeling more like myself again and was missing all of you so here I am! 🙂

So today I want to touch on the topic of stress.  We all have it, there is no escaping it…stress is part of life.  Stress can be good or it can be bad and it affects all aspects of your life, especially your health and wellness.  Weddings, babies, work, vacations, relationships, illness, death, etc. all create stress.  The most important thing is how you deal with it…what are your stress management techniques?  How are your coping skills?

First step is to recognize that you are experiencing stess.  Determine how the stress is affecting you…what are you symptoms? 
Are you experiencing any of the following:
– Fatigue
– Anxiety/Nervousness
– Shaking
– Loss of appetite (or the opposite…cravings/binge eating)
– Headaches
– Nausea
– Aches and Pains
– Insomnia
– Forgetfulness
– Lack of focus
– Irritability/Moodiness
….this list could go on forever! 🙂  Check out more symptoms of stress on the webmd site: http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body.

So now the important part…how to cope.  What do you do once you recognize that you are indeed experiencing stress and you identify what symptoms you are experiencing from that stress? 
This is the part where things get tricky and there is no “right answer” so to speak.  This is because everybody is different and the way that works best for one person may only cause more stress for somebody else.  So you must look into yourself to determine what will work best for you.  Look through the following examples of coping techniques and see what works for you.
Some examples of coping techniques are:
– Exercise/Activity
– Reading
– Journaling/Writing
– Talk to somebody (friend, family member, therapist, doctor, coworker, etc.)
– Take a relaxing bath
– Sleep
– Do something you enjoy (gardening, scrapbooking, dancing, etc.)
– Let your emotions show (laugh, cry, express your anger, etc.)…just DON’T bottle these feelings up or ignore them.  They will NOT just go away if you ignore them.  You must acknowledge and deal with the emotions you are feeling.
– Meditate
– Watch a favorite movie
– Listen to your favorite music
…Again, this list could go on and on and on!
Find more information on stress coping techniques and a list of healthy and unhealthy coping activities at the Helpguide website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm.

The most important thing is to acknowledge your stress and find a healthy way to deal with it.  The one thing that is most damaging is to ignore your stress or to fall into unhealthy or unsafe ways to cope with it, such as engaging in promiscuous behavior or turning to drugs or alcohol.

Enjoy your Friday and make this weekend a spectacular one!
Wishing you all a low-stress day today! 🙂

In a fog…

For those that are not located here in the Omaha metro area, here is your weather report…we experienced dense fog from Sunday late afternoon through Monday overnight.  It seemed to just linger and hang there and just wouldn’t go away.  It caused limited visibility, lack of energy and motivation and even some down and depressed moods.

Well, that is what I feel like today and the fog outside is gone.

The human body is amazing to me as are the concepts of psychology and sociology.  I have a great interest in why we do the things we do.  I tend to analyze (and over-analyze things)…especially when it is something I am going through myself.  So as I promised before I am going to share with you what is happening with me in the hopes that it helps one or more of you eventually.  Communication is such a key component in life and is one that I think many people don’t do enough of.  I believe in being transparent and open.  This is my life, this is what I am going through, it is an open book…read it!  Open communication not only helps with your own stress management, but also helps those around you to understand what you are going through and maybe why you are acting the way you are acting.  Let’s face it, the things we go through dictate the way we act and what mood we are in.  (Remember that 90% of behavior is governed by the unconscious mind.)

So back to my fog…
The symptoms I am experiencing are:
– Lack of claritiy and focus (limited visibility…hence the fog)
– Mind racing and jumping from one thing to the next
– Ocassional feelings of nervousness/anxiety
– Fatigue (who am I kidding…I have felt fatigue since my little guy was born 3 months ago…LOL!)
– Lack of motivation/energy
– General feeling of sadness (though I am still able to maintain a somewhat chipper demeanor!)

Now the analyzing:
(I feel like I should be lying on a couch for some reason…wonder if I should charge myself for this?!)
I believe that the amount of stress I (and others in mine and my husband’s families) have seen over the last 13 months is more than a typical person sees in that amount of time.  Since December of 2011 the following has happened:
– My husband’s grandmother died
– My paternal grandfather was in a car accident and hospitalized long term
– My maternal grandfather was hospitalized battling prostate cancer and heart issues.
– My husband and I experienced a miscarriage
– My husband’s father became ill and was hospitalized long term
– We learned I was pregnant again
– We experienced complications with the pregnancy
– My paternal grandmother fell and was hospitalized for what was believed to be a stroke (and ended up being hospitalized long term)
– One of my paternal aunt’s was hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare lung disease with a grim prognosis
– I was put on temporary bed rest due to continued complications with the pregnancy
– My oldest son started preschool
– I was hospitalized for bleeding and then put on permanent bed rest
– My mom had hip surgery
– My husband’s father died
– I gave birth to our son, experienced internal bleeding and almost didn’t make it through
– My maternal grandmother had surgery on her hand
– My paternal aunt with the lung disease died
– My paternal grandfather was transitioned to hospice care
– My husband’s grandfather developed bladder cancer
– My paternal grandfather is dying and will not likely make it through the next 24-48 hours

I am sure I probably forgot something, but you get the gist of what the last 13 months have looked like for us.

So my analysis is that my mind and body are experiencing an overload of everything and trying to process the stress and that is causing the fog that I am in.  We all have known and been expecting “the end” with my paternal grandfather, but I think that with that end being so near now that it is causing me to relive everything that has led up to this.
So if you are one of the lucky ones that gets to interact with me, I apologize if I seem to be in a funk or a fog so to speak.  I am doing my best to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of normalcy for my children and for the sake of my work but I am sure that all will notice that I am just not quite “myself” today.

So I will “hug-a-mug” and try to refocus and work on the things I love…helping others acheive a healthy and happy life!  I am very excited to have so many great programs starting back up (and even some new ones happening) at work!

Here is wishing everybody a fog-free day and maybe even some sunshine!!  🙂
Make today a fantastic day!!

Your Own Worst Enemy…

You are your own worst enemy.

Well you are…don’t give me that face!
This saying rings true in many ways in our lives, but I find it is very much true in our health and wellness.

We all make excuses, and yes they are just that…excuses, about why we “can’t” exercise, why we “can’t” eat healthy foods or why we “can’t” _____ (fill in the blank with whatever issue you are dealing with).  In reality, it is our own minds getting in the way.  Now before I continue, here is a short disclaimer…  Yes I very much believe that this is the case in MOST cases.  Yes there are situations where this is not true…there are exceptions to every rule after all.  So don’t send the hate mail just yet, I mean no offense to anybody.  🙂

I heard a speaker today discuss tips on organizing our lives and something she said really stuck with me.
She said that when it comes to time, there are overestimators and underestimators.  Those that underestimate time tend to be late because they will begin a project and it will take longer than they expected.  Those that overestimate time tend to look at a project (folding laundry was the example the speaker used) and get overwhelmed by the amount of time they think it will take and they will ultimately end up putting that project off until a later date/time because they think they don’t have time for it ‘right now’.  I see this ALL the time with people and their health and wellness!

I really think that a large majority (if not all) people tend to overestimate the amount of time and energy that living a “healthy lifestyle” will take.  I know you have heard it before and you probably hate hearing it again, but really all things in moderation really is the way to do it! 

One thing I hear over and over again from my clients is that they just don’t have time to dedicate to exercise so there is no possible way that they can get in shape or lose weight or get healthy.  Poppycock I say!  (excuse my language ;o)  There is ALWAYS time for activity in your life…yes I said ALWAYS!  Do you talk on the phone, do you watch television, do you do laundry, do you stand in lines, do you park your car in a parking lot?  Well do you, do you, do you?!  If you did not answer yes to at least one of these things…I am sorry, you are either lying or you hire somebody to live your life for you!  We all have these activities of daily living that we do.  And those activities are the answer to sneaking extra “exercise” activity into your day! 

I will give you the secret…shhh, don’t tell anybody…wait…yes, tell EVERYBODY!
*  When talking on the phone (at work at your desk or at home or wherever you may be) stand up.  Yep, stand up!  The act of simply standing versus sitting can burn approximately 50 more calories per hour!
*  When watching television do the tv workout!  What is that you say?  That is the beauty of it…you can create your own!  But the jist of it is that you just MOVE while watching your television program!!  If you still watch live tv and have commercials, do activity during the commercials.  Run in place, sit-ups/crunches, push-ups, planks, jumping jacks, etc.  In a 60-minute program you can get approximately 20 minutes of activity in just during the commercials!!
*  If you carry your laundry from one area of the house to another, make a couple extra laps with the laundry basket before you drop it off in the laundry room to sort it.  It will only take a couple of minutes, but you are burning extra calories!!
*  Standing in lines is my favorite!  While standing in line, you can do “calf-raises” by simply standing up on your tippy-toes and then standing flat-footed again.  Repeat that until you get to the front of the line!
*  When parking, especially on those days when the weather is beautiful, park further away and make that walk into the store.  I know we all try to park close to save time, but in reality it takes longer to drive around and find a close spot or wait for somebody to walk to their car and leave than it does to walk from a further spot!
*  Finally, take the stairs!!!  Pretend the elevators are broken in every building!  Now I too will use the elevator when I have to go up many floors…let’s face it, stairs are hard!  But if it is 5 floors or less, I will try to use the stairs!

Remember, you CAN do it, you ARE worth it and wellness really DOES work!
Make today a happy, healthy day and sneak that extra activity into your day!:)

Deep breath moments…

We all have them.  Moments or days or, heck even weeks, where we feel stressed and overwhelmed and need to stop to take a deep breath or two…or ten.  The truth is that while those breaths do help, they don’t really do the trick.  So what do you do so you don’t blow your lid and make things worse?

First use the deep breaths to get you through the immediate situation and then as soon as you are able to, remove yourself from it.
The sooner you can get a moment to yourself, the better!

Next, do what you can to calm yourself down.  Now what you do here depends on you and what works best for you.  For some, thinking through the situation or talking it through helps.  For others, the more you think about it, the more upset you can become so a better action may be distraction!  Do something that will help take your mind away from the situation for a moment.  Read a chapter in a book, write a blog, check your facebook, go for a run or a walk, play a game…you get the idea!  Do something that you enjoy to get those endorphins released.

Finally, when you are feeling more calm and relaxed, think through the situation again and attempt to resolve whatever is left of it so it doesn’t continue or happen again.

I know this is always easier said than done, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Now, back to mommy duty…my deep breath moment is over. 😉