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fitness, Personal wellness

Finding Time for Fitness

Most people don’t avoid exercise because they hate it or even because it’s difficult. In fact, most want to move more and feel healthy. The biggest barrier to getting in a few sweat sessions is the perceived lack of time.

It’s what I hear most from my clients as the reason they can’t exercise. When I really dig in and find out what’s going in their life and with their schedule, I’ve found a few common reasons for the time struggle. And, thankfully, there are a few simple strategies to free up some white space on your calendar.  

We Make Time for What We Like

As humans, we gravitate to what makes us happy or is enjoyable. When I speak with people about their fitness goals and find out what they’ve tried to make time for, I find many of those who weren’t successful were doing exercises they didn’t like. And, they didn’t really know why they were doing it. Somewhere along the way they heard from a friend or co-worker that spinning/running/rowing/kickboxing (insert any exercise!) was the best workout. Wanting to emulate someone’s results or try something new, people jump on the bandwagon. While it’s great to try new things and challenge your body, if you find running to be something you despise or spinning hurts your butt every time you go, you aren’t going to make time to do it. You’ll skip the treadmill, blow off class, and find other things to fill that time slot.

The fix: Do more of what you like. It’s okay to do simple exercise like walking, swimming, cycling. Any exercise can be intensified/modified to give you the cardio and fat burning benefit you’re seeking. When you do something you like (or can at least tolerate) you will find the time for it on your calendar and you will stick with it.

You’re an “All or Nothing” Kind of Person

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve told someone they DO NOT need to workout an hour a day, 7 days a week to get in good shape. I have had clients say to me, “Well…If I don’t have an hour…why bother?” It’s this kind of thinking that keeps you from getting in consistent workouts. Let me repeat it for the folks in the back…you don’t need 60 minutes a day, 7 days a week to get the benefits from exercise.

The fix: Take what you have and make it work. Ideally, you have at least 30 minutes a day/5 days a week, but that’s not always the case. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently revised their exercise recommendations for Americans and one of the key changes is this…“Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Read that again. Move more, sit less. Some activity is better than none. In addition, their overall recommendations for adults is 150 minutes a week. Divvy that up however you’d like over the week – taking every 15, 20, or 30 minute opportunity to work up a sweat. When you think in those terms, those shorter bouts of exercise become “worth it.”

You’re riding the Commitment Struggle Bus

It’s easy for someone to say, “you just have to commit.” Yeah, no kidding. But what many people fail to realize is that commitment is strengthened by a compelling reason why. When you know why something is important, you will find a way to get it done.

The fix: Do a little soul-searching to find out why you set the goal in the first place and then remind yourself of that “why” every single day. If it’s to be healthier for your kids, or improve a health condition, find ways to visually remind yourself of these reasons. Pictures, post-it notes, whatever it takes to keep those reasons top of mind! If you can’t come up with a good why, then reconsider the goal.

You’re a Yes Woman/Man

When I talk to clients who claim to have “no time” available on their calendar, I challenge them to take a good look at where they devote their precious time and energy. I ask them to consider if they could set better boundaries with those who request so much of their time. Your physical, emotional and mental health improve when you set healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life. Easier said than done, right? Work, family, friends…they’re all priorities. How do we decide what stays and what we say no to?

The fix: We all have the same 24 hours and I treat my time like I treat my money – I spend it on quality activities rather than just “stuff”. Ask yourself…what can I delegate? What commitments can I reassess? Who is taking advantage of my willingness and goodwill? Tough questions but necessary ones to get to the heart of why you don’t have time to exercise and take care of yourself. My other strategy is to always reflect on whether a request or commitment is aligned with my goals, values or something I’m passionate about. It might be a good cause or a worthy event, but if it doesn’t line up with what brings me joy or gets me closer to my goals, I don’t do it.

While saying no seems tough, look for ways to turn the no into an opportunity for someone else. For example, instead of taking on more at work, empower a junior staffer to step up and take on the responsibility. Delegate chores around the house to your kids and reward them for their help. And, when you can’t do those things, a polite “no thank you” is a sufficient response.

You Have no Accountability

Accountability is the glue that binds commitment to results. Without it, there is a higher failure rate when it comes to health and fitness. But it’s not as easy as asking your mom to check in on you once a week to see if you are going to the gym. Accountability must be provided by someone who understands your goals completely, supports you in those goals and is willing to dish out a little tough love when they see you slipping. It’s not an easy role to play but the accountability partner is an essential piece to your success.

The fix: Pick the right partner to help you achieve your goals. To ensure they’re a good fit for your personality, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they support my goals? If the person doesn’t see the value in your fitness goal, they are less likely to hold you accountable.
  • Can they commit? You need consistent check-ins with your accountability coach. Ideally, once per week. Don’t choose someone who cancels on plans or is more booked than you! Find someone who can set and keep a regular check-in appointment with you.
  • Are they comfortable calling you out? When picking a partner to help you, look for a friend, co-worker or family member who is okay with challenging you when you’re making excuses, skipping workouts or giving up on your goals.
  • Are they a good problem solver? An accountability partner should be someone willing to help you solve the challenges you face with your goals. They don’t have to have all the answers, but they should be willing to brainstorm with you to figure out how to bust through the barriers you encounter. That’s why hiring a trainer, or a health coach may be a good option as they are paid to be your accountability partner and fitness expert!

Finding time for fitness doesn’t need to be overwhelming or complicated. You simply have to get honest with yourself about what is truly a priority and if you are chasing the right goals. Add in a little bit of boundary setting and accountability and you’ll be on a path to better physical and mental well-being.

If you still can’t see a way to get fit, let’s chat. Set up a free wellness consult here. Or, fill out my wellness assessment and I’ll be in touch with a time to talk. Don’t get frustrated and give up. Ask for the help you need!

Niki Campbell

Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Workplace Wellness Consultant

412.310.6882 | info@niki-campbell.com

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Resolution Reboot

It’s officially mid-January – how’s that New Year’s Resolution (NYR) working out for ya? If you are still sticking with your resolutions…great job! Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t last more than 10 days and most give up by February 1.

But let’s say (hypothetically, of course) that you are oneof the 80% who are veering off the path and struggling to stick to your goals.Or, worse yet, you’ve found you hate the goal you set or have no clue how  you are going to accomplish it. This is verycommon with health and fitness NYRs. Everyone has great intentions, but they setthe bar high without having the tools to achieve those big dreams.

If that’s you or someone you know…don’t worry. There aresome simple steps that can help you refocus to start achieving those healthyresolutions before too much time passes and you (or your friend) give up.

  • Reassess your goal. It’s ok to say, “this isn’t the right goal” and move on. Sometimes we high-achievers don’t like to admit when we don’t make the right choices and heaven forbid we admit failure (gasp!). To keep doing something you hate or aren’t capable of sustaining with the hope that it will somehow work out, is the definition of insanity. So…swallow that pride and get real with yourself. Maybe running a marathon seemed like a good idea but you’ve come to realize you hate running. Time for a gut check and recalibration.
  • Reset your goal. If you’ve determined that you had an unrealistic goal or one you just don’t like, it’s easy to rework it into one that motivates you. You just have to be S.M.A.R.T about it. S.M.A.R.T goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound. It doesn’t mean you have to give up that big goal…it may mean just breaking it down into smaller, more achievable ones. I always recommend shorter goals because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and something to complete. Let’s say your ultimate goal is to lose 40 lbs. this year. Your SMART goal may look something like this. “In 90-days I will lose 10-15 lbs. by exercising 30-45 minutes per day, 5 days a week and eating no more than 1500 calories per day of a balanced, whole-foods diet.” Then, at the end of that 90-days, you re-evaluate and set another goal for the next 10-15 lbs. until the end of the year when we have hit the 40 lb. weight loss mark. The original goal of losing 40 lbs. is still the end game but setting smaller goals makes it less overwhelming and very action-oriented.
  • Get some accountability. Some people are amazing at holding themselves accountable (we hate them, right??). For most of us, given the opportunity to slack on something that is difficult or not something we enjoy, we are likely to choose the easy way out (i.e. sleep in instead of going to the gym at 5:30 a.m.). Accountability is the glue that holds your goals together. Find a friend or family member willing to be honest with you and push you to stick to your goals. If you can’t find someone who’s good with dishing out the tough love, hire a coach. A personal trainer or health coach is someone you pay to keep you on track. You’re automatically more accountable when you have some money in the game, and they have no problem calling you out to help you achieve your goals (we love it, actually!).
  • Finally – celebrate your wins. Every day, every week, every month – find something to feel good about in this journey. We are often quick to think about all the things we didn’t do on a daily basis and miss the opportunity to boost our confidence and commitment by celebrating what we DID accomplish. Women, in particular, are great at playing the “not good enough” game. When we get in a habit of reminding ourselves of what we failed to do, we create a mindset that nothing is every enough. Ok, I know it sounds silly but I challenge you to say out loud something you’re proud of before you go to bed each night. Or, write it down if you don’t feel like making proclamations of self-love before going to sleep. Then, look back at it at the end of a week or month and see all the great shit you’ve accomplished.

The post-NYR slump is real. It’s common. It’s normal. It happens to just about everyone. What you choose to do when faced with this reality is what makes the difference. Use these tips to get back on the right track.

And, if you are about to dump the resolutions for a pizza and a Netflix binge, let’s chat. You can still enjoy life (and pizza and Netflix) but you can also get healthy and achieve those goals.

Have a kick-ass week!

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Think Small This Year – How to Really Get Healthy in 2019

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Every January 1 you are inundated with ads, emails, social media posts about how to completely change your life by setting some crazy resolution.  The whole “New Year, New You” mantra is insulting. It says you’re not good enough as the current you. It tells you that you have to completely remake yourself to live up to some kind of unrealistic standard. And, it’s total bullshit.

I despise the New Year’s resolution hype because when I work with people who want to make true improvements in their health, the thought of a complete overhaul of their lives is overwhelming. And, when people are overwhelmed, they often give up.

Among all the memes and inspirational posts you’ll see today, this week and this month will be lots of encouragement to think big. Dream big. Set big goals. And, while there’s nothing wrong with that, I am going to challenge that thinking to help you be more successful.

Today, January 1, 2019, I want you to think small. Make small changes. Set short-term goals. Take daily action – even if it’s not perfect.

Setting goals always seems daunting because we all think in big picture terms. Consider setting a process goal vs. an outcome goal that has a shorter time frame. For example, you may want to lose 20 lbs. this year but what if you stepped away from the number and focused on the behaviors and processes that will help you lose weight – one day/week/month at a time? For example, can you eliminate one take out meal a week? Or, commit to exercise three times a week? When you break down the bigger goal into bite sized pieces, you re-establish healthy habits that will get you to that 20 lb. weight loss.

So, how do you start today?

Here are my 3 Tips to A Healthy New Year:

  1. Take Action. Do something today. It doesn’t have to be an hour workout or throwing out all the food you love from the fridge. Take a walk. Make a healthy dinner. Take deliberate action to be healthier. Do just one thing each day.
  2. Find Accountability. Tell someone. Make a point to have a weekly check in with a friend, spouse, coworker who knows you are trying to improve and can help you stay on track. If you invest in a personal trainer or health coach, they should be setting up check in points with you at least weekly. I use texting and online tools to support my clients with accountability.
  3. Always reassess. Check in with yourself once a month to see how you are doing with your short-term goals and new lifestyle changes. If you’ve been consistent with a goal, add a new goal or amp up the current one. For example, if you’ve hit the gym three times a week for the whole month, add a day and shoot for four days in the new month. If you never change-up your goals or challenge yourself in new ways, you’ll get stuck, bored and worse yet, revert back to old habits.

 

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Creating a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be a complete “do over” every January. It should be a process of continual improvement. Ditch the stress of New Year, New You and think in terms of New Year, Healthier You.

In the category of taking action…There’s still time to join my January lifestyle program – The Little Black Dress Project. 6 Weeks of total wellness coaching (all online!). Fitness, nutrition, mindset, financial, career, beauty and more! You will learn how to make small, sustainable lifestyle changes to be your healthiest, happiest and most confident self. We start January 7. Take $100 until January 4 with code LBD100.


nutrition, Personal wellness, Uncategorized

The Space Between

Have you seen this graphic/meme/tweet circulating social channels? As funny as it may be, it’s scary true – especially for those of us who are taking time off.

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Wednesday feels like a Monday. It’s “normal” to be eating cookies for breakfast and going to the movies midweek. College football is on every day and weekend news anchors are filling in on a Thursday. Nothing is familiar or routine, and our bodies and minds are confused.

If you are feeling bloated, tired, cranky and suffering from brain fog, you’re not imagining these things. They are real. The “week between” is a real thing and can seriously mess with your wellness.

AdobeStock_126394975 (1).jpegWhat Went Wrong…

First of all, you have likely spent the last 30 days burning the candle at both ends trying to get it all done before the holidays. You may have put workouts on hold and relied on take out or fast food as a dinner solution. Add in the extra holiday lunches, happy hours and cookie exchanges and your body has been processing a lot more food — mostly sugar — than it’s used to handling. It happens. To all of us. Pardon the seasonal pun but it’s like a snowball. The more you allow a habit to roll (eating out, not exercising), the bigger the issue it’s going to be come. And, when you finally realize it’s out of control, the snowball has run you over. The week in between can be a time to squash the snowball or a time to ignore it until it hits you in the face with an icy sting.

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Don’t ride it out. You may not believe it but these five or six days can be a reset of your mindset and your habits. You won’t undo several months (or years) of unhealthy behaviors overnight but you can start feeling better, more energetic and healthier in as little as a week. And, it’s not going to require you to spend hours at the gym or starve yourself.

Check out my best tips for maximizing the week in between and getting BACK ON TRACK.

  1. Clean and Restock the Fridge. From a food safety standpoint, toss any properly stored leftovers from dinner after 48-72 hours. You’re sick of ham anyway. You can keep some things like veggies and make a healthy stir-fry. But get rid of anything from dinner that’s been in the fridge for more than two days. Out of sight, out of your diet! Restock with healthy foods – check out and print this clean eating grocery list.
  2. Hydrate Like it’s Your Job. Start with 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water. More if you workout or if you just want to flush out the bad stuff. Water isn’t just about quenching your thirst. It improves digestion (get it moving!), helps curb cravings and overeating, keeps your energy up and helps your skin look clearer and brighter. Use one of your holiday gift cards to get a fancy water bottle that keeps the stuff super cold and carry it with you everywhere!
  3. If You Eat It, Track it! Use a notebook or app but track your food. If you eat it, track it to stay aware of what and how much you are eating. That’s the first step in getting control of your nutrition. Without knowing what you’re eating, how can you change a habit? Go one step further and calculate the calories you need to maintain or lose weight and stick to that number for a week. You may be surprised how quickly you drop a few pounds when you are aware of what you’re eating.
  4. Bring the Exercise Back. If you have time off, this is the perfect time to start exercising again. If you are back to work, it’s a great time to play around with different times that a workout can work with your schedule. Unlike other trainers, I’m not recommending 60 minutes of hardcore exercise. If you’ve been off for a few months, ease into it. 20 minutes a day, 3-4 times per week. Walking is an amazing way to get back into an exercise habit. All you need are sneakers. You can calculate your optimal heart rate for calorie burning but here’s an easy way to tell if you’re working hard enough – can you easily carry on a conversation while you walk/run/exercise? If you can, you can amp up your output a bit. You should feel a little breathless to be gaining the fat-burning benefits.
  5. Accountability Counts. Don’t do this alone. Enlist a friend or neighbor who can help you get back on track and then hold each other accountable. Or, if you’re really ready to make a change and need more concentrated support, consider a trainer or coach to create the systems to hold you to your goals and help you through your challenges.

You Got This…

The week between can be filled with more busy-ness or it can be a quick reset of your habits and routine. It can set you up for a great New Year or it can make it even more difficult to change habits after the holidays have passed.

If all of this resonates with you but you still don’t know where to start or you’ve been off track for a long time, I invite you to check out my upcoming New Year’s program, the Little Black Dress Project.

LBD Promo graphic (1)

The LBD Project is focused on whole-person wellness that helps you lose weight, reset unhealthy behaviors and rebuild confidence to take on 2019 and kick ass!

For a limited time, you can take $100 off with coupon code LBD100. Have questions or want to discuss? Let’s chat. Fill out this form and I’ll be in touch for call.

Enjoy the time off if you’re taking it and let’s get ready for an amazing 2019!

 

 

 

 

 

food, nutrition, Personal wellness, Uncategorized

Last Minute Holiday Health Tips

The Holidays are Here…

Cue the Sleigh Bells and Stress Eating!

Three days until Christmas; 10 to the New Year! If you’re not feeling the pressure and stress, you might be superhuman. Even the most prepared and organized person will be experiencing some level of stress and overwhelm as they try to get it all done.

As you make those last-minute shopping trips, bake those final batches of cookies and wrap the gifts, I want to remind you not to forget about YOU.  A stressed, distracted, worrisome YOU is going to miss out on the fun and joy of the holidays. So, read on for my best tips for beating stress, finding time for fitness and focusing on good nutrition over the next week.

Stress and Overwhelm!

Let’s start here because if you get stress and overwhelm under control, you can focus on eating well and finding time for exercise.

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Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

A recent study found that 88 percent of people feel stressed when celebrating the holidays and the average couple will have seven arguments throughout the season. Um…only 88 percent? Only seven arguments? Maybe it’s just me but I could see those numbers climbing a bit higher as the holidays get closer.

While I’m not a mental health expert or life coach, I am trained in the science of behavior modification and how to break unhealthy habits. And, stress can be the result of negative, unhealthy habits like procrastination, over commitment and lack of delegation.

Here are my tips for rewiring  habits to be more productive and healthy and avoid the mental and physical exhaustion:

  1. Get it all out of your head and onto paper. Real paper. Not your phone notepad. The very act of writing helps you focus on what needs to be done. Write down EVERY LAST THING that you need to do from now until New Year’s Day. Every task, meeting, event, etc.
  2. Highlight the THREE things that only you can do and must be done by you. That’s your to-do list.
  3. Review the rest of the list and either ELIMINATE OR DELEGATE. Stop being superwoman. Once you’ve eliminated or delegated, cross off the items and focus on your top three.

Fitting in Fitness

If you don’t have a plan for exercise for the next few days, listen up! I’m going to make this super easy.

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  1. Take out your calendar…on your phone, in your planner, etc. Open it up and see where you have 30 minutes each day over the next 4 days. You have it – you may just have to look hard for it. This may mean getting up 30 minutes earlier or bowing out of something you didn’t really want to attend (remember my eliminate tip above?).
  2. Now that you’ve found that space, use time blocking to make it happen. Time blocking is simply scheduling your to-do list on your calendar. You block off the time you’ll be working on a specific task ahead of time, and then during that time, that’s all you focus on. A digital calendar works best because you will get reminders when it’s time to start and when you have a new task coming up.
  3. Finally think through what will stop you from exercising and create a plan. Undoubtedly, something will come up over the next few days. What are the barriers you might face? Think them through and create a plan. Enlist your significant other or kids to help if it’s something they can do.
  4. Once you’ve thought through all the pitfalls, you should have a pretty ironclad plan. Now, tell someone. A spouse, friend, colleague. Accountability is key to accomplishing any goal.

Food for Thought

This is the big one! Food contributes to 80% of our overall health. You really are what you eat.

So, first things first. You need to think through your food events. Where are you going to be? What might the menu consist of? You know these things…your family and friends are pretty predictable. If grandma has always made her famous jello pretzel dessert (it’s a thing, Google it!) then you can assume you’ll be faced with jello pretzel dessert. Here’s how to navigate the day:

blur bright candy celebration

  1. Determine what you can control by bringing food or offering to help in some other way. Bring a healthy side or appetizer. Offer a healthy recipe if your mom is stumped on how to make sweet potatoes for the 900th time.
  2. Go prepared for the worst. Assume it will be a delicious storm of sugary carbs and heavy sauces. If it’s not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If it is, you will be prepared.
  3. Eat ahead of time. Do not SAVE YOUR CALORIES for one big meal. You will be starving and self-control will be tough. Eat a good protein packed breakfast or lunch with healthy fats. Both protein and fat keep you fuller longer than carbs.
  4. Drink a ton of water before, during, after…water keeps your digestive tract moving and keeps you full.
  5. Tips for eating healthy-ish
    • Steer clear of the crackers and chips on the appetizer table. Go for veggies and dip/guac, shrimp, cheese and smoked meats, deviled eggs, nuts.
    • For dinner, start with half your plate filled with veggies and fruit (but not the sugary and processed kind). Think: Salads, veggie trays, roasted veggies, fresh fruit salad, etc.
    • Make the rest of it protein and healthy fats. Ham, turkey, prime rib, seafood. Make sure it’s not covered in breading and fried.
    • Save your carbs for the good stuff…wine, desserts. Not bland dinner rolls and crackers!
  6. When it comes to cocktails, beer and wine…go slow. For every alcoholic drink, have a glass of water in between. Clear liquors with club soda are the lowest in calories and carbs. Light beer is best. Wine is fine but watch the pour (4-6 oz. is a standard pour) but most glasses are much larger.

You’ve Got This!

So there you have it. My tips and strategies for a healthy and stress free holiday. And, I know you can do this!

One last tip: if you find yourself caught up in stress or other drama, just step away, refocus, breathe and remember what’s important. Family. Friends. Laughter. Being together. If you eat too much, forget to buy Aunt Susie a gift or use the treadmill for just hanging up clothing this next week, it’s ok. The world will keep on spinning and you will be fine.

Finally…it wouldn’t be the holidays without a few gifts from me!

First…my Healthy Holiday Cocktail Guide is online and ready for you to download. Grab it here!

Next, if you need that extra wellness support in the new year, jump into my free Facebook group  for professional women.

Finally – If you are ready to really kick all the unhealthy habits to the curb in 2019, I invite you to check out my Little Black Dress Project that kicks off January 7! It is a 6-week online program that includes: nutrition, fitness, and confidence building work! Read more on my Little Black Dress page. And, save $100 with coupon code LBD100 at check out.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season and looking forward to all good stuff the new year has in store for my friends, family and followers!

xoxo

Niki

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10 Days of Self Care For Christmas

The countdown is on to Christmas!

If you celebrate this holiday, it’s basically GO TIME! The malls are packed, gifts need to be wrapped and food needs to be planned. While time for yourself seems impossible in these days leading up to the holiday, I’m going to give you 10 ways to practice a little self-care to prepare you for the holiday (I’m writing this blog from a pedicure chair which is my way of practicing a little self-care during this busy season.)

macro shot photography of tea candles
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Do one each day from today until December 25. They take less than 30 minutes and cost little to nothing to do.

  1. Listen to an uplifting podcast or audiobook while wrapping gifts or as you run errands. Positivity is contagious and will leave you feeling happier. Check out some positive podcasts here.
  2. Soak your feet with Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils. Learn more about the right oil blend for whatever ails you.
  3. Take your holiday cards to a quiet place to address and send (library, coffee shop, café). Write something personal in them if possible.
  4. Give yourself a mini-facial with a soothing/calming mask like these.
  5. Call (not text) a friend you miss and catch up for a half hour or talk to a stranger in line at the store. People crave personal connection these days. You may learn something interesting.
  6. Send letters of gratitude to troops or drop off extra holiday cards to a local nursing home for seniors who are spending the holidays alone.
  7. Stretch for 15 minutes. Here’s a good stretching workout.
  8. Watch a comedy special on Netflix, Hulu, etc. Laughing reduces stress.
  9. Buy $5 gift cards from your favorite coffee shop and give them to people who could use a break (nurses, first responders, a server at your favorite restaurant)
  10. Meditate for 20 minutes before the festivities of the day. Learn more about how to meditate if you’ve never done it.

Bonus tip: write down something you are grateful for each morning. As soon as you wake or while you drink your coffee – but don’t let the day get away from you without taking a moment to recognize your good fortune in this life.

view of christmas decoration
Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

It’s All About Finding Joy in Simplicity

The holidays don’t have to be stressful if you take a few minutes every day to center yourself and do something that refills your spirit. Try one thing from the list each day or more than one if you have the time. You shouldn’t be the last thing on your list of priorities.

Keep it simple and focus on what brings you a little bit of joy. The less complicated the better. Do these things on your own or invite a friend along to spread the holiday happiness.

And, if you are finding you are ready to focus fully on your wellness after the craziness of the holidays settles down, join other like-minded women in the Little Black Dress project that kicks off January 7 for 6-weeks. This whole-person wellness program is focused on nutrition, fitness, inner and outer confidence, empowerment and much more. It’s more than losing weight. It’s about feeling stronger and more confident. Learn more here: www.niki-campbell.com/littleblackdress. Take $100 off until December 24 with coupon code LBD100.

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Healthy and Happy Employees This Holiday Season

holiday office stressThe end of the year push is on. You’re wrapping up 2018 and getting ready to hit the ground running in 2019.

It’s just as stressful for your employees as it is for you. They are trying to deliver on work responsibilities and meet their goals while managing a personal life filled with school holiday shows, shopping, client get-togethers, and entertaining relatives and friends. Add in financial stress, marital problems or health concerns that are often magnified during the holidays, and your employees’ well-being could be at risk.

And, to top it off, it’s costing you money. Stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism, increased health care spending, and reduced productivity cost American companies approximately 300 billion annually.

Work doesn’t have to add to the stress of the season. In fact, there are many things you can do to help employees cope and your bottom line thrive during these stressful times that won’t break your budget or require a huge investment of time. It’s wellness, and it works.

Whether you offer wellness as part of your employee benefits package or not, bringing well-being programs and services into the workplace in the next few weeks can be a big win for your business.

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Check out my Six Strategies for Creating a Happy, Healthy and Productive Workplace this holiday season.

  1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements. If your operation allows for it, give your employees the option to work from home one day per week in December. This gives them one day a week to not worry about dressing up, fighting morning traffic or rushing home to make the Christmas show at their child’s school. If you can’t give everyone a day at home each week, offer flexible hours that allow them to work around holiday obligations and celebrations.
  2. Bring Wellness to the Office. Your employees are time-strapped this holiday season and likely don’t have the time to visit a spa or local yoga studio. So bring the relaxation to them. Hire a local massage business to come in and do free chair massages or sponsor a lunchtime yoga or meditation class.
  3. Socialize Your Support Services. If you have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or other available health or wellness services, make sure your employees know about them, and that services are easily accessible. You’ve paid to provide an EAP…so communicate this valuable resource! EAPs can help point employees in the right direction for a myriad of challenges. From financial planning to finding babysitters to helping a relative who is struggling with illness or addiction. It’s a confidential resource that can alleviate some of their stress during a hectic time.
  4. Survey before Celebrating. Not everyone loves a fancy dinner or banquet for the office holiday gathering because it may require spending money on a new outfit and babysitter. And, some may hate the idea of an office potluck when they are already cooking for holidays. Find out how your employees would like to celebrate before planning an event. While you can’t please everyone, a quick survey will give you the insight to plan a celebration that makes your employees feel appreciated in a meaningful way.
  5. Encourage Fitness. Exercise is proven to reduce stress while boosting creativity, productivity and energy. Make fitness part of your anti-stressed workplace in December. Bring in a health coach or personal trainer to do a workshop on 30-minute workouts. Run a step challenge for prizes or partner with a local gym to offer employees a free one-week membership during the holiday season.
  6. Stock up on Healthy Snacks. When people are stressed, they often turn to food for comfort. Be prepared with a breakroom or kitchen stocked with snacks that will fuel them in a healthy way. Fresh fruit, trail mix, dark chocolate, protein bars and an always-full water cooler will ensure they are eating food that nourishes them without a sugar crash or excessive calories.

Reducing stress in the workplace during the holidays doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s about knowing your employees and what will resonate with them, and then offering small gestures of kindness during a stressful time of year. In the end, you will not only have happier, less-stressed employees but they will be more loyal and productive, making it a win for everyone!

For more ideas on how to create a well workplace, reach out to me for a free workplace wellness assessment and consultation. I’d love to show you how small efforts add up to big ROI this holiday season.

 

 

Uncategorized

Give the Gift of a Dream

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Tis the season to dream

Indulge me in a off-topic blog post this week…

I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas just yet – especially after a surprise winter ice storm that hit us last week and left us without power for 30 hours.

No, I’m talking about the kind of dreaming we all do. Dreaming about goals we want to achieve, things we’d like to own or experiences we’d like to have. It’s healthy to dream and have aspirations.

Some of us weirdos dream about working. Working for ourselves, that is. To have a successful small business.

I guess we are gluttons for punishment? Seriously, we dream of all those other things but our means to getting the dream trip to Italy in 2020 (on my list) is fueled by having a business that gives me unlimited potential to make that happen.

I’m not alone. The dream of small business ownership is a popular one. There are more

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than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. today which is 99% of ALL businesses. They employ 59 million people – approximately half of the total workforce in this country. In short, small businesses are no joke. They are a major economic engine and vital to the health of our country.

As one of the 30 million I pride myself on supporting other small businesses whenever possible. In my work life I have a part time virtual assistant, a business coach and an accountant (all small business owners). In my personal life, I shop at a local farm market when possible and frequent our city’s market district where I can purchase from small grocers and retailers. I buy handmade gifts from people with incredible talents; I get my car serviced at a local shop; and I have a “cake lady” who has made every special occasion cake for us for the past 3 years and created a magical display of cookies for our daughter’s wedding. These are just a few examples.

Would a cake from the grocery store chain have been cheaper? Maybe. Would a baby hat and sweater have been easier to order online from a kid’s clothing chain and have shipped directly to the new parents? Yep. But by buying that cake and having my friend knit a one-of-a-kind sweater for a precious little girl, I’m fueling that economic engine. I’m making families stronger and more stable. I’m stoking the fire of creativity and passion in people who have gifts to share and deserve to be paid for them.

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So many of my friends and former colleagues have made the leap like me. Scrolling Facebook, I see former coworkers who were in the field of communications now doing some pretty cool things. They include a realtor, an interior designer, a landscape designer, and a printshop owner. And others have taken on side hustles selling everything from essential oils to skincare to children’s books to fitness wear just to make extra money for the things they need or that make them happy.

And while it brings me joy to see people that I call friends going after a dream and making it happen, I know it’s not easy. It’s downright scary to start a new business. There are worries that keep you awake at night, make you question every decision you’ve ever made and can allow the debilitating thought of… “what if I am a complete failure?” to creep in and paralyze you. I’ve been there – a few times.

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So my wish this holiday season is that you might consider “shopping local” with a friend or relative. I’m not suggesting you give up Prime because, um, procrastination. However, as we head into the start of the Holiday Shopping season, I encourage you to look through your friends list on Facebook or Instagram and see who you can support. It doesn’t have to be a big purchase. Even an encouraging message or sharing their business with your friends and followers can be a boost to their bottom line and their confidence.

Sometimes they are a little more expensive. And, they may have to charge you shipping but you know that the extra couple of dollars or the shipping fee is helping them sustain and grow a business. They can’t compete with Amazon or Wal-Mart and they likely aren’t trying to. They are simply chasing that dream and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.

In the season of giving, I hope you’ll support local businesses like mine and help bring them a little closer to achieving that dream.

 

 

Uncategorized

5 Tips for Healthy Holidays

The holiday season is here!

And with it comes an abundance of food, family and fun that leaves little time for good nutrition, fitness and self-care. Add in the demands of school, work, kids’ activities and other commitments and today’s professional woman may forget to take care of herself.

Women tend to take on most of the planning and preparation duties around the holidays. Add in a demanding career and that leaves little time for taking care of their own health and wellness. Getting ahead of the holidays with wellness strategies that protect your time, help you prioritize, and set you up for success will help women manage through, and even thrive, this holiday season.”

When the calendar starts to fill with parties, work deadlines and school functions, try these tips for staying healthy and reducing stress during the 2018 holiday season:

  1. EAT. Food is fuel so eat to power yourself through these busy days. You may be busy but don’t go all day without eating. Listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry and choose clean foods like whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and high-quality protein. Don’t eat less than 1200 calories each day and aim for at least 25 grams of fiber and less than 2300 mg of sodium. Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods and take out.
  2. DRINK. Water, that is! Ditch the soda and other sweetened drinks (even the diet ones) for good old-fashioned water. Infuse with citrus and mint for flavor but try to drink half your body weight in ounces. Avoid the holiday drinks at your favorite coffee shop. They pack a calorie and sugar punch, and moderate how much alcohol you consume – it’s empty calories.
  3. MOVE. Make time for movement. 30 minutes is all you need. Shoot for 5 days a week but know that even 3 or 4 days is beneficial. When possible incorporate both cardio and strength and make time for stretching. Try workouts like bootcamps, kickboxing and hot yoga that will get your heart rate up but also strengthen your muscles.
  4. REST/RECOVER. No one is their best self when they are exhausted. To get through the busy holiday season, you need to slow down to speed up. If you burn the candle at both ends, every day, your body will fight back by slowing metabolism, making you irritable and interfering with your ability to think and cope. Rest and recovery is critical. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night and try to find time to quiet your mind in your waking hours. Meditate for 15 minutes a day with no distractions to ease a stressful mind and calm your body.
  5. SET BOUNDARIES. The amount of holiday activities scheduled from Halloween to New Year’s can be overwhelming if you let them take over your schedule and life. Choose what you say yes to, carefully. Create “filters” for responding to requests and invitation. For example, “does this event allow me to spend time with my family?” or “is this a cause that is important to me?” If it doesn’t pass your filter test, politely decline to protect your time for what really matters.

Maintaining healthy habits through the holidays doesn’t just happen.

You must put thoughtful effort into it and be steadfast in your boundaries.  While these tips may seem obvious or simple, they are rarely easy to do. The key is to make a plan and start early so you’ll be prepared when the holiday season is in full swing.

Looking for a way to start those healthy habits and continue on into the new year? Check out my wellness coaching packages and let’s chat.

Personal wellness, Uncategorized

What is a Health Coach? And Do You Need One?

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Great questions! Glad you asked.

A lot of people ask me what a Health Coach is because it’s kind of ambiguous. It almost sounds made up.

And, lately, a lot of wellness companies are calling their salespeople “health coaches” which dilutes the title a bit, so I thought I’d do a little education in the spirit of the Back to School season!

The short explanation — I am…a certified health and nutrition professional and personal trainer.

The longer explanation — Certified means I had to sit for two exams by the American Council on Exercise that gave me the credentials to create workouts, develop health and wellness goals and plans, educate and guide you on nutrition strategies, and help you modify your behaviors and habits to live your healthiest life. Like other healthcare professionals, I have to maintain my certifications with continuing education and have to re-certify every two years.

Certifications…continuing education…yeah, I get it, Niki. But what does that REALLY mean? What do you do everyday? Most days I am a:

  • Planner
  • Motivator
  • Encourager
  • Accountability partner
  • Sounding board
  • Problem solver, and
  • Cheerleader

Putting fitness and nutrition plans into place is just the beginning of what I do for my clients. Most days, I’m also helping them navigate through the reality of daily life and the challenges of living healthy. A workout regimen and meal plan are only useful when they are put to use! I help my clients figure out what to eat at a fancy restaurant or at the local pizza joint. I help them find a way to workout when they spend 5 days a week traveling for work. I help them stay focused when life, family and work get crazy. All with the knowledge and expertise to provide the right advice and course of action. I don’t sell any products and my singular goal is to find the right solution for my individual clients.

So, now that you know what a real health coach is, why do you need one and how do you find the right one for your goals?

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Why Hire A Health Coach?

You may be a good candidate for a health coach if you can relate to these descriptions…

  • You’ve tried every diet and continue to lose and gain the same weight over and over again.
  • You’re constantly tired and have little energy for getting through the day.
  • You have been recently diagnosed with a chronic condition/disease or have had an injury and your doc has said you need to eat better and exercise more.
  • You have reached a weight-loss or other health goal and you need to maintain it.
  • You feel fit overall but have reached a plateau and want to figure out how to bust through it.

How to Hire the Right Health Coach

I’d love to just say, HIRE ME! Choosing the right health coach should be a process because it is an incredibly personal relationship and you need to find a coach you trust and that you can open up to, and one that has YOUR best interests in mind. Here are my tips for finding the perfect coach to get you on track and living your healthiest life!

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish. Are you looking to just lose weight? Do you need a complete overhaul with both fitness and nutrition? Do you have medical conditions or chronic injuries? All of these matter when it comes to choosing a coach. Some coaches and personal trainers specialize in certain populations and conditions (i.e. spinal injuries, diabetes, senior fitness, eating disorders). Finding a coach or trainer who understands your unique circumstances will increase your chances of sticking to a program and ultimately, your success.
  2. Look for compatibility. Are you motivated by someone who gives a lot of tough love? Someone who calls you out (in an appropriate way) when you make excuses? Or, do you prefer someone with a softer approach who gently pushes you when you are stuck? Interview several coaches before choosing – you’ll know who is the right fit when you speak with them.
  3. Ask about education. Would you let your hair stylist give you a flu shot? Or, alternatively, would you want your doctor cutting your hair? NO! Education and experience matters. Just because someone is passionate about health and wellness or sells a related product doesn’t mean they are qualified to give you fitness or nutrition advice. Find out what organization your coach is certified through and make sure it is accredited. This is for your own safety and not something you should take lightly.
  4. Insist on references. And, more importantly ask the right questions. In addition to asking a reference about a coach’s demeanor, punctuality, follow through, etc., dig a little deeper on what matters most to you. If fitness is what you want to focus on, ask about their exercise programming. If you are in need of better nutrition support, ask about what tools they use to track food and provide meal ideas. Get to the heart of what’s important to you.

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A health coach is more than just someone who tells you to eat your veggies and get more exercise. They can be a trusted partner who provides the support and accountability you’ve been missing. They can be the weight loss expert who helps you break through a plateau. The can be the missing piece to the health and wellness puzzle you’ve been struggling to piece together for years.

If you think having a health coach might be what you need to finally achieve those health, weight loss or fitness goals, I’d love to chat with you. Set up a free consultation call here.