Uncategorized

Leaders Behaving Badly – Breaking the Bad Habits We Fall Into

Young Woman Working at Home, Small OfficeShame on you. Seriously. You talk a good game but you don’t live it!

Women who encourage other women to have more balance and be more present in their family’s lives. All the while, they are a boiling pot of stress ready for the lid to blow off and to let out all the pent up steam. All because of a few bad habits.

Professional women are unique creatures. We have the amazing ability to appear to be doing it all — Killing it at work; making it to all the kids’ soccer games; volunteering at the local animal shelter. Only to go home and collapse from the exhaustion of our lives.

The problem with living like that…being on, going non-stop, is that something needs to take a backseat to all the other priorities. And, guest what? It’s usually our health and wellness. And, that sucks.

Women, and high achieving professional women in particular, don’t know when to stop and take time for themselves. It seems selfish and extravagant. We’ve worked really hard to get where we are (despite earning 73% of our male counterparts ). And, research shows that women and our “do it all” personalities burnout faster than men (60% more according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). That stress leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a bunch other health problems.

So, admitting the problem is the first step, right? Then, what’s next? Where do women start in breaking these bad habits so they can continue to be high-achievers and not burned out couch zombies by the age of 40?

Here are some of the common “bad habits” I see in my clients and some of the strategies I’ve recommended to them. It’s not enough to say, “stop it.” Women aren’t wired that way.

Bad Habit #1: Running from meeting to meeting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Solution: First of all, I’ve seen executive women who don’t even leave time for a bathroom break. It’s time to rethink your schedule if you can’t even pee. We all like to think we are absolutely indispensable to every conversation, I challenge you to be a true leader and delegate routine meetings to a junior colleague or someone you are mentoring. Give them the opportunity to shine so you have the opportunity to hit the restroom and regroup for the strategic meetings. Then, get a report out from them in a walking meeting. Grab a coffee or smoothie and head outside (weather permitting) to discuss.  You’ll get some fresh air and maybe some fresh ideas.

Bad Habit #2: Multitasking at lunch to catch up.

The Solution:  Focus on one thing at a time. There is truly no good way to multitask (don’t believe me? Science says so!). When nothing gets our full attention, nothing gets done well. If you have 30 minutes to eat lunch, dedicate half that time to eating. Just eating. Then, use the rest to answer emails, make appointments, scroll Facebook. Whatever to-dos you have that have been slated for your lunch time. This approach is important because being mindful of what you eat leads to better eating habits — like proper portions, and more nutritious choices. Bonus – you might actually enjoy eating. Focusing on one thing at a time will yield better results for your health, your career and family  life!

Bad Habit #3: Keeping your phone by your bed and checking it first thing.

The solution: Charge your phone elsewhere.  Easy to say. Tough to implement. I’m a terrible offender of this. However, when you wake up and start reading, processing, and responding you are literally inviting stress into what should be your most peaceful place, your bed! Again, I know this because…science. Here’s what I recommend and I’m trying my best to do. Put that phone somewhere that requires you to move before you look at it. Better yet, put it in a place that requires you to sweat, like on your treadmill or inside your running shoes by the front door (assuming an outlet is nearby). Then, if you must, read the stuff that you’ve missed when you’re walking or stretching. If nothing else, put it by the coffee pot so at least you’ll be caffeinated before you start dealing with life.

Bad Habit #4: Relying on Take Out More than Once a Week.

The Solution: Meal prep with friends. This solution solves two problems – having nothing to eat during the week and having no time for friends. Pick two Saturdays or Sundays each month and invite a friend or two over to do meal prep. Agree on 7-8 dinners that you’ll prep for the next two work weeks. Keep it simple and clean (buying a bunch of frozen meals doesn’t count!). Grab some wine, and prep together while you catch up on life. A few hours invested in preparing meals are good for your body and the time with a friend is good for your soul.

Your wellness starts on the inside. Stress, lack of sleep, and relentless multitasking will take a toll on your psyche and eventually your body.

Even if you pick one bad habit to change, you are doing something positive for your health. You’re also setting an example for your employees and co-workers and your family. Small steps will lead to a greater state of wellness. And you don’t have to give up that high-achieving, Rockstar status to be healthier. You really can have it all. Just not all at the same time.

Is this resonating? Do you find yourself saying, “hell yes” to all of this? If so, let’s chat. This is just the tip of the iceberg. To truly revolutionize your health and wellness, you need support and accountability. I can help. I’ve been there and know how to get more from your career and life through having a wellness state of mind.

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/.