Personal wellness, Uncategorized, Workplace Wellness

Don’t Let that Extra Daylight Fool You

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Spring ahead into a busier schedule

Daylight Saving Time is here and with it comes more daylight and more “stuff” to cram into our already hectic 24 hours. Somehow, we rationalize that more sunlight gives us more time (it doesn’t, obvi) yet little of that “new found” time is spent on ourselves. Wait. What? We get all this energy around more daylight and then fill it with other people’s priorities. Hmm. Ok. How’s that working for ya?

Look – more daylight or not, we have 24 hours to spend every day. Think of it as $24 that shows up in your wallet every time the clock strikes midnight. Let’s pretend that each dollar represents an hour of your day. How do you spend it? What do you prioritize?

Here’s how mine used to be spent on a weekday:

  • $10 on work (in the office, commuting or traveling)
  • $5 on sleep
  • $2 on running kids around
  • $1 on making dinner
  • $1 on answering work emails at home
  • $2 attending a board meeting for a community organization or volunteering at school
  • $2 helping with homework, class projects, costume creation, school play line rehearsal.
  • $1 on shopping, errands, etc.

Did I catch up on some things over the weekend? Sure, but then sub in the kids’ sports, social events, cleaning the house and other chores/errands and I filled up those 10 hours spent working on a weekday. My point? You get the same hours in a day as everyone else. You must find time for your health, your well-being (your waistline). That may mean that something else needs to go! The consequences of ignoring your physical well-being ain’t pretty. And, you’ll be no good to any of those people if you have to drop everything to focus on a health crisis.

It happens to the best of us

I totally get this. That was my time budget above. And, I have a great partner who helps around the house and as well as a support system – but I got caught up in the cycle of self-care denial that quickly spirals out of control. For me, it resulted in being 30 lbs. overweight, exhausted and, well, cranky!

I reached the point where I couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror and knew I had to take action. May have been imperfect action at first, but action nonetheless. It took me well over a year to lose the weight but I’m proud to say I’ve kept it off for nearly 7 years.

While I adopted new, healthier habits, all my focus wasn’t just on sweating more and eating less. A lot of it was about unloading stress, needless “to-dos” and mental baggage that was weighing on me and keeping me from doing things that would make me healthy. It was around re-prioritizing myself and my health. Making time for workouts and to cook meals at home. It was getting the whole family on board with new lifestyle choices.

Since that time, I’ve become a personal trainer and health coach and know all the right things to do from a food and fitness standpoint. However, as a recovering do-it-all woman, I also have the personal experience to share the lifestyle changes I made that work together with nutrition and exercise to get you closer to your goals and further away from the destructive cycle of self-neglect.

Start spending time on you FIRST

From my experience, these things help start you down a path to putting yourself first and improving your health:

  1. Get real about where/what you spend time on. Track everything you do for one week. Write it in your calendar as if everything is a meeting you attended. Then, review it and see where you are wasting time. If you find that you spend an hour a day talking to your mother, sister, best friend, or others, block time once a week to catch up with people on your commute to or from work instead of when you get home and want to work out. Or do you scramble every night with what to make for dinner because you didn’t really plan for the week? Set aside 2 hours on Sunday to meal prep instead of zoning out in front of the tv. Find the time wasters and eliminate them or consolidate them into blocks with a designated start and stop time.
  2. Get good at saying NO! Get comfortable with politely turning down requests, invitations and opportunities to volunteer. I always remember that when I say YES to something that means I’ll eventually have to say NO to something else. Choose wisely. There are millions of ways to do it but I’ve found that keeping it short and simple is better than trying to justify or create elaborate reasons. Most times, I simply say, “Thank you but I’m unable to volunteer/attend.” If you feel like giving a reason why, great, but it’s not required. Your time is yours and what you choose to spend it on, is entirely up to you. Don’t let friends, colleagues or others guilt you into saying yes.
  3. Get a budget for your time. Map out how much time you are willing to spend on volunteering, working at home after hours, etc. and then plan for it. The key will be to add in 5-7 hours a week for self-care. That’s a small investment for the ROI you’ll receive. And then treat your time budget like a real one – don’t go over and if you’re under, spend the surplus wisely. Bonus: When you only budget so much for activities that are for the benefit of others, you have a great out for things you don’t want to do but hate saying no to (see tip #2 for how to enjoy the art of NO). “Oh, I’m so sorry Linda, I’d love to help with bake sale but I’ve already booked my volunteering time for this month. Maybe next month!”
  4. Get over doing it all on your own. You are a professional woman, entrepreneur or maybe a small business owner – start acting like it! You have help when it comes to running your department or company. You don’t do everything on your own just because you can. You have accountants and administrative assistants and other professionals to help you. So why do you insist on doing it all when it comes to your personal life? Invest in services and people who can do the things you don’t have the time or energy for or that are not a good use of your time (like cleaning the whole house on Saturdays). Same goes for your health and wellness. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, hire a professional to help you. A personal trainer, health coach or nutritionist can quickly assess your needs and get you a path to better health with the right food, fitness and lifestyle behaviors.

As a recovering do-it-all kind of gal, I know now that being all things to all people just means having nothing left for myself. And, when we continue to overspend our time budget and take on even more responsibilities, we eventually become overdrawn and even bankrupt in our health and wellness.

Assess, take action and ask for help

Take the time to ASSESS what you’re spending time on, take ACTION to prioritize what is truly important, impactful and enjoyable, and finally, ASK for help with the rest. When you do, your schedule opens, your time bank is full and you can be that strong, healthy and happy overachiever that everyone loves.

Try it..

Xoxo

Niki

PS – if you’re ready to finally ditch the crazy diets and the over-the-top exercise programs and still lose weight, let’s chat about my 8-Week Fit, Fab & Fierce Bootcamp. Lose up to 15 lbs., jumpstart your metabolism and transform bad habits into healthy lifestyle behaviors. Schedule a chat here:  https://goo.gl/forms/J5eqpgY98H2nnBBk1 or text me at 412-310-6882.

 

 

Uncategorized, Workplace Wellness

Quarterly Check Up on Your Wellness

img_5709For most of my corporate career, I’ve been part of a team that prepared for or helped conduct quarterly business reviews. And, most businesses, small and large, participate in some kind of regular check-in of their progress throughout the year.

With Q1 behind us, you’re likely looking at how your business and employees are tracking with the goals you’ve set. It’s also a great time to check in on your wellness goals. Are you seeing the positive changes you want from making better decisions about food, exercise and stress reduction?

If not, today’s a great day to refocus on the transformation you want to see in your health and wellness. Here are my 3 tips for a quarterly wellness review.

1. Review it. Are your goals SMART? Those familiar with the SMART goal-setting concept know that goals have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. If you are not seeing results, try re-tooling the goals first to be more attainable and time bound. Small, incremental successes lead to big returns in the long run. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose 50 lbs,” reframe the goal to be more attainable and time bound…”I will focus on improving my diet and exercising 5 days a week to lose 4-5 lbs. a month.” A weekly or monthly target is not as overwhelming. Plus, this goal provides specific methods for achieving the goal – diet and exercise — and it’s relevant to what you want to accomplish by the end of the year.

2. Announce it. Well, maybe not in a press release or on your company’s web site but tell someone. Your business partner, boss, or colleagues working toward similar goals. You are at work more often than not so find a coworker you can trust to keep you accountable – especially when there are cookies or birthday cake in the breakroom (you know that struggle is REAL). If you’re not ready to shout it from the podium at your next staff meeting, find an online accountability/support group (here’s a link to mine…https://www.facebook.com/groups/RoadWarriorFitClub/) where like-minded people from all over the country and world are pursuing the same goals.

3. Track it. You probably have a report for every metric in your business. Successful business owners are tracking their business health on the regular, and should be doing the same with their own health. You don’t need a fancy fitness gadget. A pen and paper, your phone notes app, or one of the many free fitness/diet tracking apps will work just fine. You will not be successful with your wellness goals long term if you are not conscious of what you are eating and how often you are exercising. You may lose some weight or finish a 5k in the short term, but sustained results come from tracking your progress DAILY.

So, as you get ready to run some diagnostics on your business, put it on your calendar to do the same with your health and wellness goals. In fact, put it on your calendar for every quarter…right now (seriously, go write it down now).

Sales, market share and cash flow don’t just happen without careful planning, tracking and accountability. Neither does your health. Treat your wellness like your business and I promise both will perform better. Here’s a great article on other “healthy habits” of successful CEOs and entrepreneurs.

My parting advice on this..don’t go it alone. I’m sure you surround yourself with smart people to advance your business. Do the same with a health by finding wellness coach and accountability partner. Wellness coaches encourage you, help you plan your workouts and meals, and most importantly, keep you on track. I’ve been there, a busy corporate roadwarrior who figured out how to balance work and wellness to be the best possible professional I could be. Want to learn more about me and how I can help, check out my website and feel free to message me with questions.

Uncategorized, Workplace Wellness

Cake In the Break Room!

Who hasn’t loved to hear that phase? “Cake in the break room” is an office rallying cry that few can resist. The break room is an interesting place and I’ve seen all kinds throughout my career.  You can probably picture your break room or employee cafeteria/lunch room area (past or present)…

  • Vending machine with chips and candy – check!
  • Soda machine with maybe one slot dedicated to bottled water – check!
  • Near empty coffee pot with burnt decaf at the bottom – check!
  • Leftover birthday cake from Monday (It’s now Thursday) – check!
  • Bagels and cream cheese left out from a morning breakfast meeting – check!
  • Fridge filled with condiment packets, long-forgotten lunches and a box of leftover pizza from last week’s staff meeting – check!

Yours may differ a little but you know what I’m talking about. A break room can be where healthy habits can go to die and food safety limits are tested, or it can truly be a place for employees to take a break, get a healthy snack and recharge.

Companies are not required to provide a fully-stocked kitchen offering something for every taste and dietary need. However, happy and healthy employees are productive employees, and if a company can be part of encouraging healthy habits, it’s a win-win, right? So, if you’re looking to start a break room revolution and advocate for a better break room. Or, if you own a business and want to give yours a healthy makeover, here are a few quick, easy and relatively inexpensive ideas to suggest or implement:

  • Invest in a water cooler system. Then, provide each employee with a company-branded refillable glass or stainless steel water bottle. You can keep the soda machine but ask the vending company for a few additional healthy choices (no sugar added juice, flavored sparkling water, etc.).
  • Put out fresh fruit. An easy way to encourage healthy snacking. Fruit like apples, bananas, pears and oranges provide filling fiber and satisfy a sweet tooth naturally. Again, no one is suggesting you take away Bill in accounting’s ability to buy a Snickers at 2 p.m. but maybe a few days a week he’ll reach for a banana instead.
  • Look into healthy vending machines. They exist. Think outside the Doritos and that strange snack mix that pretends to be Chex Mix but most definitely is not. HUMAN Healthy Vending and Fresh Healthy Vending are two big ones. They offer yummy snacks that don’t have an ingredient list that requires an advanced degree to read.
  • Expand your takeout game. I worked for a company that always ordered from the same three places for all staff meetings, luncheons, etc. I’m certain that there are restaurants around your office that cater to a healthy workplace…they may even have a healthier pizza.
  • Finally, toss the leftovers the same day! Or send them home with people. Don’t mess around with food-borne illnesses from improperly storing/heating leftover food. Let Susan enjoy the rest of her birthday cake at home with her family while it’s still fresh and hasn’t been touched by 27 people. And, toss the pizza. Seriously. No one really wants it tomorrow, and maybe don’t order so much next time.

Just one of these ideas will make your break room healthier. Consider the pay off when you invest in employee health and wellness. It will result in fewer missed days, better focus, loyalty, and greater productivity. Isn’t that worth a basket of fresh fruit and a water cooler?

If you’re really looking to elevate your breakroom to new heights…check out the concept of Micro Markets https://companykitchen.com/welcome/micro-market/ or http://www.freshmicromarket.com/.