I’ve been busy recently preparing for a couple upcoming event appearances to share my perspective as a former Ad Executive turned Executive Wellness Coach which is super fun and exciting for me. Having the opportunity to hear what questions people have about wellness and then engaging in great dialogue about different perspectives, challenges, and opportunities to potentially improve the quality of their life is what drives me. I wanted to share two great questions I was asked this week and my opinion on those answers in line:
Q: If you could go back in time to your previous job armed with your new wellness insights and ideas, what would your advice be to your corporate peers and managers?
The Well-Intended Response: In a business of margins and ever-increasing expectation of speed-to-market, he or she who works smarter, harder, faster and more efficiently often succeeds. That also means businesses are going to give as much as you’re willing to take, and take as much as you’re willing to give. So if you aren’t taking care of your own self-interests (and by that I mean wellness) in the process, you may find that over time your “cup” is going to be empty and your performance is likely to decline. It’s up to you to prioritize restocking your mind, body and spirit regularly or you’re not going to be able to compete effectively in this marathon. At a bare minimum, I wish I had done these three things better when I was in those shoes:
1. Considered how critical nutrition was to fueling my body and mind and been more mindful about when and what I ate similar to how any other athlete trains for competition. My day got away from me more times than not and eating food rushed on the way in, or settling for whatever I could most quickly scavenge late in the day (sometimes from a vending machine), became a habit rather than an exception. I wouldn’t say my calorie count was exceptionally high, but I was devoid of the complete NUTRITION my body needed like (perhaps 5-6 servings a day) of primarily fresh vegetables and fruits, plus healthy protein choices, whole grains (preferably GF), fats/oils and water and relying too much on sugar, caffeine and white carbs to fuel the tank. Not to mention the after-work drinks that were great for camaraderie and crap for my body and critical sleep. It just perpetuated a poor diet cycle that needed greater consideration and delivery to help me perform to the best of my ability. Here are some other suggestions for foods linked to better brain power.
2. Scheduled exercise like I scheduled any other meeting. Exercise was always on my mind, but the execution often hit the cutting room floor for two reasons: 1. I had a million other things to do and had no idea how to fit it in. 2. I simply was too exhausted to even think about depleting myself of another 200+ calories. Woof. But here’s the thing, I understand now how finding the right exercise for your body’s current level of ability and just getting moving could have helped get things back on track as much mentally as physically. And, prioritizing it in my day (or a few times a week at least) would have been a benefit to both myself and my company because I would have been firing on more cylinders than I was without it. In my personal experience, finding the most convenient method for me is also the best one, and a fitness tracking device keeps me honest. Is there any way you can consider blocking time on your schedule for even a 30 minute walk to start your day? Can you try an app-based yoga class even once a week to begin a habit without losing the time that getting to or from somewhere presents? What kind of exercise could you prioritize that you might actually enjoy and think about how you GET to work out, rather than HAVE to work out. After all, it’s a gift when you’re body is in good enough working order to move and thrive. Let’s have an attitude of gratitude about it.
3. Prioritized self-care as a regular necessity not a luxury. In my case, when I went to my doctor for a checkup and had my stress hormones tested for the first time she confirmed what I knew I had been feeling but ironically was too busy to address – yep, you’re stressed and you need to take an active effort to balance things out. Her prescription for me (among other things) was a massage 1 to 2 times a month. Well, that sounded lovely…and expensive. But my life depended on it. And that’s the truth. Now massage isn’t your only option here – self-care is really just about prioritizing time to take care of yourself emotionally and physically be that a creative date to the art store, time to read, a quiet stroll alone through a museum. So what are you doing to quiet your mind and just be WITH yourself FOR yourself BY yourself? Make it a regular habit.
Q: What is your philosophy on diet?
The Well-Intended Response: What I have learned in the past few years about your gut, the microbiome specifically, and how it’s connected to- and affects so many of the systems throughout your body is truly fascinating. As I understand it most simply, everyone’s body reacts, digests and assimilates food very differently based on a variety of life experiences (ex/ how you were delivered into this world for one), past or current illness, genetics, stress and unintended toxic exposures you may have been subject to, etc. – the depth and complexity of the system is really just beginning to be fully understood. As I’ve said before, I’m not a doctor, but my intuition and personal experience knows this to be true about myself, so maybe you have a similar feeling. What this bio-individuality means to me is that there isn’t likely one “right” diet for all. What I know to be true, however, is focusing on fresh, in-season, organic-where possible, low sugar (like 6 total tsp/day for women and 9 tsp/day for men), low “bad fats”, and a balanced plate of whole and colorful foods is a pretty good rule of thumb. Essentially eating more nutrient dense foods “like your grandma did” before the massive industrialization of food here in the west, works for me. Sure, I allow an 80/20 rule so I can have a wonderful meal out with friends that may not be completely unprocessed, but I make sure I balance that with some great choices throughout the rest of the week. Use your intuition here (or have a doctor validate and guide what your body chemistry indicates is appropriate or inappropriate). Listen to your body. If your gut is grumbling and upset on the regular, perhaps it’s trying to tell you something: it’s time for a pivot. And, without overcomplicating things, I’d like to add that there are other emotional “food-sources” at play in your life such as career, physical activity, spirituality and relationships – so if you hate your job, all the kale in the world isn’t going to help you achieve your optimal wellness in isolation – it’s a bigger, interconnected picture. So, there’s some additional food for thought…at least that’s how I see it.
If you would like to invest in your company’s wellness, I’d love to consult with you! You can contact me via email@example.com.