Blog

LIFE plus what?

I believe that there is a formula to success.  Individuals can reach their goals despite roadblocks, loss, hardships and life situations but it may take hard work, determination, motivation and accountability! As a wellness coach, I help others achieve success through small steps and habits that are anchored with proven, evidence-based research.

Truths:

We have a life.

Life can be happy and healthy.

We need balance and wholeness.

I have found that activities, work, people, food, and nature can add positive elements to our lives. Finding balance is sometimes the challenge. Making time for self-care is so critical to moving forward with meeting personal goals. Focusing ONLY on ourselves will surely lead to problems in our relationships, work life and friendships. Balancing the art of being true to ourselves while meeting our obligations to others can be tough. How does one learn to juggle like the best clown in town? How does the fun-loving clown keep all of the balls in the air?   Is it skill? Practice? An unfair advantage?

Years ago I found that when I focused my attention in one area, the other areas of my life were neglected and I became out of balance and began dropping balls. Finding balance or creating balance is crucial to life satisfaction and whole health. Just as a stool needs its legs to stay steady, we need BALANCE to be happy, healthy and effective.

Sometimes, we have to let things go… Does that mean we slip up and drop a ball? Not necessarily. We can dig deep and determine what pulls us down or simply keeps us busy to be busy. Then, the decision can be made to let go of things. Feel at peace with the decision. Juggle fewer balls perhaps. There is a time and season for all things. Dig deep and decide what this season is for in your life, get organized and have a vision for the future. Once we have the particular balls in place to juggle, we need achievable steps in place and routines established and supportive people around us.

Maybe this is your season to focus on your health!

  • To those people who are too busy or stressed or frantic – I hope you will slow down, breathe, look around you and know things will work out. Seriously. Do your best, work your plan and adjust as needed.
  • To those stuck or feeling defeated or who have decided to be satisfied with mediocrity – I hope you will put yourself out there, try new things, take a chance, invite meaningful conversation, be open to being social and nurture your friendships and make new ones, set some goals and lean on others.
  • To those hopeless or burdened – Believe that things can be better, work on your faith; know things will change over time and that your attitude can lead the way.

Whole Health takes Finding Purpose, Moving More, having a “Tribe” or Community of Support, Good Nutrition, and Reducing Stress. Whole health means feeling well and living long and well.

One might say… “That would be The LIFE.”

The LIFE plus energy

The LIFE plus love and support of self and others

The LIFE plus satisfaction

The LIFE plus wellness

A life of balance is LIFE plus so much more!

I encourage you to let this season be about your wellness.

 

Journey Together

I’m a volunteer coordinator at a hospital in Jackson, MS and we are about to start a walking program! It’s called Friendship Journey.

Here’s how it works… We are promoting an active lifestyle, providing resources and offering encouragement to all participants. Each week, everyone will report the number of miles that they walked/ran/swam/biked from the previous week. By receiving weekly tips and words of encouragement, hopefully the support and accountability will keep folks focused on their goals.

The organizational piece is so fun to me. I enjoy gathering ideas, generating excitement, looking closely at the small details, and preparing for the kick-off date. As of today, the packets are ready, activities are planned, incentive prizes have been ordered, and speakers are scheduled for promoting healthy living. The sign up period is officially January 1 – 14 with the start date of January 15, 2017. We already have participants signing up and people throughout the hospital are wanting to join in on the fun! I’m excited for how this kind of program builds community, encourages healthy living and gives purpose to individuals.

By the end of the 10 weeks, we will have collectively walked at least 1,173 miles together. We are walking virtually from Jackson, MS to Springfield, IL. I suspect we will easily make it to Springfield ahead of schedule so I’m planning on additional sight-seeing stops throughout the journey. With the momentum building, we are likely to make MANY side trips along the way!  The interest in Springfield is that we are a Catholic hospital and we have nuns at our hospital who regularly travel to their home, the mother-house, in  Springfield. The Springfield Dominican sisters are our founders.

I’ve organized several walking programs before and it is so fulfilling to see the process unfold. People often need time to think about participating. Many know they should do it but dread it slightly. Others sign up immediately because they like the gentle nudge and feel inspired to be part of a group focused on improving their health.

My approach is…

Everyone is welcome – invite your friends and family.

You can join the 10 week program at any point in the journey.

Exercise a little or exercise a lot. Just start moving more!

Yes, we can count your dog’s miles also. Haha

If you miss a week, don’t stop! Just begin again the next week!

Stay tuned for updates about our Friendship Journey! You’ll hear more about mall walkers, cemetery scavenger hunts, grocery store tours, nutrition presentations, lunch-and-learns, exercises anyone can do and more!

Inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances. Redness, pain, and swelling are indications that there is infection and inflammation. Most Americans are living a lifestyle that causes chronic silent inflammation. People with Cardiovascular diseases, Arthritis, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancers, Asthma, Allergies, all “itis” inflammatory diseases are linked to having higher levels of inflammation than those without these diseases. Silent inflammation is like a poison that seeps into all of the body’s systems causing destruction to the immune system and major organs like the heart and brain.

The inflammatory state is usually associated with redness, swelling and pain. It is a sign that something is wrong due to an injury or infection. If a virus, bacteria or parasite enter the body, inflammation attacks any tissue that may have been infected. Inflammation is also the way the body responds to trauma and injury in order to repair itself. Medicines are prescribed to reduce the inflammation and attempts are made to decrease tissue destruction. Although, pain medicine can be very effective at providing temporary relief, they do not stop what is causing the inflammation. Often, anti-inflammatory drugs can cause harmful side effects.

Silent Inflammation is inflammation without any known sickness or pain that is attacking internal body tissues including the heart, lungs and organs and leading to chronic diseases. Silent inflammation kills, whereas, classic inflammation hurts. Silent inflammation is demonstrated by a disproportionate ratio of aracadonic acids and eicosapentaenoic acids. When these hormones are in balance there is wellness. If pro inflammatory eicosanoids continue to be generated after the effective time, they will bring destruction to healthy tissues, cells and blood vessels. When the pro inflammatory hormones are dominant there is silent inflammation leading to chronic diseases.

Silent inflammation can remain hidden for years. Like a poison, it seeps into all of the body’s systems causing destruction to cells, immune system, and major organs.

Due to an injury, infection or some “initiating event,” pro inflammatory hormones attack the site and cause cellular destruction. If the eicosanoids become persistent rather than promoting cellular healing and leveling off, they cause continued cellular destruction. This can go on for years without knowing the extent of the damage being done to the body until a disease presents itself. This destructive activity attacks the immune system and major organs which may lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases.

Small meals with primarily fruits and vegetables, some lean meat, healthy oils and limited grains and starches will reduce fat intake and reduce insulin levels. Poor food choices can cause excess fat and low blood sugar. The more insulin you have, the more blood sugar is driven down, and the hungrier you are as you try to maintain adequate blood glucose levels for the brain. Balancing hormones reduces inflammation. Eating the right foods and the right amounts of food will allow hormonal balance.

There are three blood tests that are indicators of overall health. They include AA/EPA (fatty acids), Insulin (diabetes) and TG/HDL (Cholesterol). Following a healthy diet gets a person to a state of wellness and sustains wellness. Foods to avoid include processed starches, traditional starches, sugar loaded foods, and unhealthy fats. Adding fish oil, moderate exercise, and eating healthy foods all encourage living in the zone of wellness.

First Impressions

 

first-impression-slide

A Quarter of a Second?

What about a person’s worth beyond the first glance?

This research can help us understand the importance of our appearance, body language and eye contact. The way we look and groom ourselves is an indication of caring enough to dress for the occasion and shows what matters to us before we ever open our mouths.  Often, assumptions are made that the quality of our appearance will match the quality of our work.

For speakers, an audience is quickly deciding if they will trust them and if they have anything worthwhile to say. Body Language is being observed, facial expressions, tone of voice and clothing are all being assessed in a quarter of a second.

Having a pulled together look is good, but do you have the depth of personal growth to go along with the look?

By deciding whom you want to be and how you want to be and transforming yourself into the kind of person you admire, you have to start from the inside. Can you “fake it till you make it?” Some say you can. To truly become someone impressive with depth and wisdom, the work must be done deep inside, not solely on the surface. If you build a machine poorly, it won’t work well. But if you make it strong, it will have the right components for a useful, working machine. Modeling after someone you admire is good, but only if you prepare and put in the time. We can work on enhancing who we are on the inside and everything else will be enhanced as well. If you learn to manage your mind, you can lead others well. Try staying in a peaceful state to enable your body and mind to work best in its highest possible way. This includes learning to become responsive rather than reactive. You will become impressive by practicing the skills that make you trustworthy, approachable, non judgmental and dependable. True growth from the inside-out can portray leadership skills and you’ll be “practicing what you preach” and “walking the walk”not just “faking it until you make it.”

I can easily show people how to make a good and lasting impression. We can practice introductions, handshakes, body language and talk about clothing. The larger task may be to add the character trait of not being the type of person who draws conclusions in under a second. To me, being impressive includes being able to look past the exterior of an individual. A person’s true worth is not found on the surface and takes longer than a few seconds to discover. We must dig deeper and get to know people on a 3 dimensional level even though research tells us that we all tend to be influenced by looks.

Actor, Alan Alda said it well. “It’s a complex world. I hope you’ll learn to make distinctions. A peach is not its fuzz, a toad is not its warts, a person is not his or her crankiness. If we can make distinctions, we can be tolerant, and we can get to the heart of our problems instead of wrestling endlessly with their gross exteriors.”

By having a professional look that sets you apart from others and having depth through personal growth, you will be an impressive person. When you are assessed in a quarter of a second, the genuine skill of looking beyond a person’s exterior and seeing the best in others will be noticed. To me, that is making a good first impression!

Finding Treasure through Lifestyle and Health

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-foxMetabolic Syndrome

Society’s treasure has been focused on complete freedom to eat, behave and live in any way without regard for others and without consequences. Our guilty pleasures, instant gratifications and flippant attitudes towards responsibility and humanity do have consequences though. The consequences have shown up in poor human relationships and our declining health. During the last 20 years, we have seen more degenerative diseases than ever before. At the same time, our eating habits declined. Today, we are more stressed, eat poorly while we are stressed and are increasingly more tired from our schedules and food choices. This often leads to choosing caffeine or other stimulates to keep us awake and alert. Then, we reach for alcohol to help us relax. We add medications on top of all that and exercise very little. We are making ourselves so sick.

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

The risk factors include:

  • Large waistline
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL cholesterol level
  • High fasting blood sugar

High insulin levels result from low-fat/high carbohydrate diets, stress, dieting, caffeine, alcohol, aspartame, tobacco, steroids, stimulants, lack of exercise, excessive or unnecessary thyroid replacement therapy and all over the counter and prescription drugs. This is a broad listing that can lead to high insulin levels. Ultimately the high insulin levels disrupt hormones and biochemical reactions at the cellular level. This means one thing. We must find ways to reduce stress, eliminate or reduce particular things from our diet and live a balanced life focused on our health.

Even after healthy habits are formed, we face challenges. A fast–paced life causes daily obstacles for people. Take jobs for example that are demanding with long hours or families of school-age children with extra curricular activities. Managing a healthy meal for yourself or your family with limited amount of time at work or between activities is challenging. Not only does our schedule make healthy eating difficult, but also the food industry has provided many unhealthy options in our grocery stores. When these foods are eaten out of convenience or habit, they contribute to accelerated aging and disease.

Great strides have been made in bringing awareness to linking diet to overall health. A healthy lifestyle can extend longevity while regenerating and healing the body. We must value our health and teach our children how choices today have consequences tomorrow. Perhaps, with a little extra planning, those busy families can provide nutritious meals on-the-go and design a schedule that doesn’t put such stress on the family. We can learn to stay away from particular “foods” in the grocery store by focusing on real food around the edges of the store – the fresh, refrigerated and frozen foods areas. Nutritional planning can lead to treasures of good whole health and keep the risk of metabolic syndrome at bay. Treasuring health means we have to focus on it. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34. At work and at home, put your heart and mind to intentional healthy living!

Feel your best to be your best!

 

Drop a Beet

293h

I went to a healthy cooking class a few years ago and discovered that I really like beets. Not the pickled ones in a can, but beets that have been boiled or roasted. There are many ways to cook with beets and some of my favorites include making beet humus, using beet leaves in my protein drink, juicing beets and the easiest – boiling beets for a beet salad. During the cooking class, the instructor showed us how to boil beets until soft, remove the skin, cut them up, and add spinach leaves and goat cheese. That’s it. Simple, pretty and delicious.

It doesn’t seem like beets could be so fun, but I find them quite entertaining. The first time my young teenagers saw beets boiling in a pot on the stove, they asked, “What is that?” When I looked to see what they were asking about, I noticed the long root tail of a beet sticking out of the pot. The first thing I thought to jokingly say was, “It’s the stray cat.” Each of them knew I was joking and knew it was silly fun. Then, they were even more intrigued to find out what was really in the pot.

Beets are slippery when removing the skin after being boiled. Besides, my hands turning red (which is kinda fun) I almost always DROP. A. BEET. The first time I said that out loud it was just a literal comment that turned super funny. Years later, my teenagers still find it funny. Even if they don’t want to laugh, they laugh. “Mom is dropping a beet in the kitchen!”

Okay, seriously… beets are filled with super nutrients and have many health benefits. They have high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. They are high in a unique fiber and are a good source for folate and betaine. Beet greens are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that protects the eyes from age-related issues. Research indicates that beets produce nitric acid, which can help increase blood flow in the body and in your brain. MRIs done on seniors after ingesting beets had more blood flow to the white matter of their frontal lobes. More research shows that beet juice mixed with apple juice can make certain activities like walking for exercise less exhausting for seniors. Runners use it for athletic performance. Prepare beet greens as you would other greens by boiling or stir-frying. Once you remove the leaves from the beet, I’ve found that they only last a few days in the refrigerator. Better go on and use them.

One last entertaining and useful bit of beet information is that beets may help you go to the bathroom, but don’t be worried if your stool or urine is pinkish or red in color. That happens when eating beets.

Here is a picture of the beet that I grew! One beet. I was so proud. It was delicious and I didn’t drop it.

img_5756

Try beets, you might love them. If you already like beets, please share your favorite way to prepare them.

Personality- Yours, Mine and Ours

house

It’s like a house with many rooms. If you are like me, you have a favorite room in your home where you spend some time. Do you ever go to other rooms? Sometimes, you go to the attic but you don’t stay there forever. Sometimes, you go to the bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom, but you don’t stay in those rooms either. You will generally have a favorite spot but you move throughout your house. This is how your personality is…. you aren’t defined in one particular way, but your personal preferences give definition to your personality. You will absolutely move through the “house” of personality traits, but you usually feel your best when you are operating in a natural, inborn way.

Personality assessments are informative and useful if you are willing to delve into learning about yourself and others. Career decisions, personal strengths and stumbling blocks, and tendencies that build or weaken relationships can be explored through assessments. Young executives are learning the value of this tool as they enter the workforce already understanding themselves and others better. This gives them an edge above others because they will lead groups by appreciating what drives individuals, the process people use while meeting deadlines and preferred communication style among teams.

Through the years, I’ve taken different personality assessments and find positive aspects in them. My preferred assessment is Myers-Briggs. I was fascinated when I realized how accurate the results were for me. There are 16 personality types and individuals may relate to each of them. You determine if the 4 letters given to you based on your answers in the assessment are the 4 letters that describe you best. You know yourself better than anyone else, so you determine if the descriptions best describe you.  The letters represent your personal preferences. They are simply representative of where you are most comfortable, what you tend to do naturally, “which room is your favorite.”

As people act on their inborn tendencies, patterns of behavior are developed. Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung developed this theory of personality type and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory understandable and useful. The authors of the MBTI instrument, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, studied and elaborated on Jung’s ideas and applied them to understanding people.

When we use our preferred methods, we are generally at our best and feel confident, natural and energetic. The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people in 4 areas:

  • Where they focus attention and get energy
  • The way they prefer to take in information
  • The way they prefer to make decisions
  • How they orient themselves to the external world

Differences among people can be the source of misunderstandings and miscommunication and this assessment gives insight to learning about and appreciating differences. It helps identify your unique gifts, enhances the understanding of yourself, your motivations and natural strengths. It will bring awareness to potential areas for growth and appreciation for people who differ from you. This is a self-affirming tool and encourages cooperation with others.

I feel that the results can change over time because we (hopefully) grow as individuals, learn good practices and habits, live through hardships that change our perspectives and have different social environments that impact our daily life. So, if you have taken the assessment at one time in your life and take it again, you may get different results. My results have changed slightly over time.

Do you want to understand your partner better?

Are you seeking to improve leadership skills? 

Are you trying to choose your college major or change your career path and want to discover professions that match with your natural preferences?

If you are interested in this assessment, reach out to me and visit My Store. I can give you access to the online assessment and will explain the comprehensive results. Use the assessment to point you in the right direction and I will guide you through the process.

Knowledge is power.

Being Impressive and Making changes

Be impressive from the start. This means you may need to brush up on your social skills, table manners, communication skills, and leadership characteristics. When you practice skills from these areas daily, they become who you are and the skills become effortless. You will be at ease in different situations and that is the first component in being impressive.

Do you know how to lead a meeting? or Which bread plate is yours? or If you should use your cell phone at the table? or How to make an introduction? or How to enter a room with confidence? or How to speak up in a group to be heard and understood? What to do with your silverware at the end of the meal? How to handle difficult situations effectively? What your clothing says about you?

If you want to get ahead in personal and work life, you have to determine the areas that need attention and start working on them. If you don’t, you simple will not make progress. You can want it all day long, but until you make an effort, nothing will change.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

  • First Component – Determine areas to work on and do it every day until it becomes effortless. Day after day. Until the new way becomes a habit. You CAN make the changes you desire.

Perseverance is striving towards a goal no matter how large the stride.

Nothing says Impressive more than when one can maneuver through a difficult situation without making others feel stupid, bringing unnecessary attention to the issue, and without losing their cool.

Become what you desire! You can choose to resolve problems with determined focus.

  • Second, being impressive is not only being able to smoothly master the areas above, but it also means helping put others at ease in the process.

Having good manners is basically helping others be comfortable. That is at the heart of etiquette. It isn’t some elitist way of being , but it is being considerate of others, putting another person’s needs before your own. It is introducing people to one another, joining in conversation, making the choice to include. These intentional methods have everything to do with being comfortable in your own skin and helping others along the way. When you are comfortable, you can stop focusing on yourself (being self conscious), because you will already be at ease. This enables you to help those around you.

“We rise by lifting others.” ~ Robert Ingersoll

  • Third, keep attitude in check and remember the small skills that are huge indicators that leave a lasting impression. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t take things personally. Be open and attentive during conversation. Remove distractions. Use good eye contact. Seek first to understand. Listen. Show interest. Be interesting. Don’t monopolize the conversation or only talk about yourself. Have a good handshake. Be early and show up prepared.

Knowing socially acceptable ways of maneuvering through life will send the message that you care about how you represent yourself and the place you work. It doesn’t take manners to be a good person, but manners help you become impressive.

img_0791

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar

 

15 Minutes

15 minutes to start the day

15 minutes to end the day

When you ready yourself for the day, you give yourself the gift of better focus on things that matter most and not being mentally scattered. Map out what you want to accomplish and start the day with calm resolve.

img_2989

When you push yourself a little more, just 15 minutes more at the end of the day, you may be surprised with the things you can accomplish. You give yourself the gift of relief from completing tasks and clarity for the next day.

Begin and end your day with just 15 minutes.

 

Labyrinths

 

For Mental Clarity and Reflection

Have you ever walked through a labyrinth?  My first experience of walking one is a fond memory of discovery and interest. I had never seen a labyrinth and was fascinated with the design and beauty. I knew the moment I saw it that I wanted to learn more about them. Since then, I’ve seen outdoor labyrinths, large indoors ones painted on fabric, labyrinths drawn with chalk, small labyrinths designed for a table top and more. All are uniquely different but similar in design.

In the middle ages, the Catholic Church began using labyrinths within the church. The Chartres Cathedral in France is the home of the most famous labyrinth inlaid in the stone floor around 1220CE. The Chartres labyrinth indicates the early tradition in the Christian church of walking meditation.

Although labyrinths aren’t biblical, they are a source for encouraging reflection and prayer. For me, I feel more focused and free after walking a labyrinth. I use it as a time to think and pray. I can be more effective in my work and personal life if I am mentally focused and I have found this is a way to clear my head. I’ve heard it said that a busy person would benefit from meditating 30 minutes every day and if you are too busy to meditate for 30 minutes then you need to meditate for an hour each day. That doesn’t make sense, but it makes perfect sense. Those running around crazy-busy, pulled in a million different directions will likely have fragmented thoughts and decreased focused. Finding ways to maximize time by sharpening focus to complete tasks precisely the first time is worth the effort it takes to nurture thoughts and strengthen the mind. Continue reading “Labyrinths”