The Best Gift a Mom Can Give


I often prescribe self-care to Mom’s. I post Facebook statuses ad nauseam instructing women to nurture and love themselves. I have even, jokingly, gone so far as to make someone confirm their commitment with a ‘yes ma’am’. Yet, I still get the glazed over ‘yeah, sure…okay’ response from most women. Then recently, my husband was looking at my Valentine’s Day posts urging women to remember to love themselves for the holiday. He said to me so simply and brilliantly “explain why”. Hand-to-forehead moment, of course.
So, I get it. I’m a mom and in the course of the day you have to meet a lot of people’s needs; children, spouse, boss, co-workers, teachers, and on and on. You are like a well-oiled machine; you have to get everything done and to fit it all in 24 hours. Not to mention, the world around you tends to be a little more expecting of moms to get it all done for their family and a little less forgiving if they miss a beat. Usually, there is very little time left over to indulge in luxuries for yourself, and if there is, you are so high-wired the best you can do is a glass of wine at the end of the day. Does this sound at all familiar?
I’m going to explain to you why it is not only essential for you to put yourself at the top of your priority list, but why it’s selfish not to.

1. You teach the world how to treat you
Translation, if you are constantly putting yourself last, what are you teaching those around you? If you get frustrated that your family isn’t treating you as you’d expect them to, it could be what you taught them. Part of our job as parents is teaching our children how to get along in this world. We should be teaching them to honor their mothers, as is done in many other cultures, not expecting them to appreciate martyrdom. No one does. By teaching our daughters to honor their mothers, we teach them to love and respect themselves as well, and we teach our sons to take care of themselves and one day love and respect their future partners. Children model our behavior, showing them to nurture themselves sets them up for a lifetime of good mental and physical health. It’s actually selfish not to give your children this gift.

2. A good habit does not just happen after 20 years of pushing it aside
I’ll take care of myself when the kids get older, or when the kids move out, or when the kids have kids. The start date continues to get pushed back until it’s just you. The kids have their own families taking up their time now. What now? Why do you think empty nest syndrome hits so hard? Everyone thinks it’s easy to just start taking care of themselves when they need to, that it will naturally kick in. When you have told your mind and body for 20 or more years to ignore doing something, it doesn’t just start doing it with the flip of a switch.

This is actually a scenario that has become really personal. A family member unexpectedly lost her husband a few years ago. All of her children were long gone with families of their own. They all wanted to support her in any way they could. She resisted all of their efforts not wanting to be a burden. At the time, this woman was beautiful, healthy, and vibrant. She did yoga and ate well. However, not being prepared for the scenario of suddenly being alone, and not knowing what to do, she chose to give up. This same woman, just three short years later, lays bed-ridden barely speaking, with a tube in her nose to provide sustenance despite having no medical problems. I can’t even think about this without tearing up. Many will dismiss this as an extreme case that can’t happen to them, but the truth is she was no different than most of us and you have no idea how you will respond until you are in the situation. We have no guarantees in life, but by practicing to take care of ourselves even just a little each day, we prepare ourselves to take care of ourselves when we really need to. Imagine how difficult it would be for your family to see you deteriorate when it’s totally preventable. Preventing this is an amazing gift to give your family.

3. You are freakin’ worth it
Sorry I didn’t mean to get vulgar there, but think about you and your life, and the person you are, and the kindness and love that you give. Don’t you deserve to feel as amazing as you make everyone else feel? Besides that, how can you keep giving love if you aren’t replenishing it from within? Depending on others to provide you with the love and nurturing you need can be a dangerous game, and lead you to co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. Start showing yourself the kindness and love you deserve.

Great, I’m convinced. How do I do it? For everyone it will be a little different. If you are still working on feeling worthy, I want you to spend a couple of minutes every day in front of the mirror making eye contact with yourself. Tell yourself out loud: ‘I love you, you are amazing, you deserve everything you desire from this life’, or whatever else comes to mind, but you get the idea. It may feel awkward at first. Have you ever heard the saying “fake it ‘til you make it”? That’s what you are going to do here. Just do it until it feels authentic, and you can really look yourself in the eyes, say these beautiful things and mean it.

Also, find moments in your day to capture for yourself. Sit and relax with a cup of tea, stop at a favorite store, read a chapter or article, get a massage, whatever gives you enjoyment. Even if it’s only a few minutes each day, eventually, you will get so good at this that you will start pursuing hobbies and activities that fulfill you without feeling the least bit guilty about it. As we have already covered, you should not feel guilty, you should feel proud of the lesson you are teaching.

If you have trouble with this, don’t feel bad, its hard work to break a bad habit, and its hard work to start a good habit. Get an accountability partner, someone who will check in on your progress without judgment, or work with a holistic wellness coach (make sure they use a holistic approach). A well-trained wellness coach or adviser is trained to support you without judgment, give you individualized progressive goals, and give you the tough love you need to hold you accountable so you are successful. No more excuses, no more saying ‘I don’t have enough time’. There is always enough time for what’s important. Make this important. Let me get a “yes ma’am”! Good.

Gotta go. If you need me, I’ll be in the mirror.

KalusionKaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Random Acts Of Kindness Week is Feb 9-15, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

If you remember singing along to  “…I’d like to teach the world to sing, in per-fect har-mo-ney….”, then you’ll enjoy celebrating this week with us.  Better than Christmas because it’s ‘random’!  No expectations, no rushing around, no demands, no budget.  Just RANDOM.  Don’tworry, we’re not going to start singing Kumbaya.  But hey, those were good times, after all.  And who doesn’t like a good song – or a kind act – to make their day?  #RAKweek2015

December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Celebrate the Givers!

International Volunteer DayOn December 5, 2014, join us in recognizing all volunteers’ commitment and applaud hundreds of millions of people who volunteer to make change happen.  More of a celebration than a call to action, this event is all about touting the special people that give so much of themselves on behalf of others.  

In the run up to December 5th this year, social media will be an active platform for promoting and recognizing volunteers and volunteer action. Below are a list of activities and useful tools to help staff in spreading the word.

1. Social media conversations:  UNV on Twitter and Facebook will be posting regular content in the lead up to IVD. Please keep a look out for these: retweet and repost as much as possible. You can also tweet and post links on information that is on the website. Some sample tweets for your own local accounts (to be translated by you or by online volunteers) are:

  • Celebrate #volunteering! Tell us how you will #makechangehappen on International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 on 5 December! #actioncounts
  • How do you #volunteer and #makechangehappen? Tell us using #actioncounts & share your story via
  • International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 is a day to recognize & celebrate volunteers around the world on 5 December & everyday #actioncounts
  • To sum it up, every volunteer action counts! Submit a story via & tell us how you will celebrate #IVD2014 5 December.
  • Thank you, #volunteers, for all that you do! The world counts on you, & your stories inspire us: #actioncounts #IVD2014
  • RT if you are a #volunteer who is making every action count! #actioncounts #makechangehappen #IVD2014
  • RT if you will be celebrating International Volunteer Day #IVD2014 #makechangehappen #actioncounts

2. Ways to engage online volunteers:

  • Organize and implement a tweetathon (communicate tidbits and “happenings” in real time).
  • Map all on-site and online volunteers in your country to graphically show volunteers’ presence nationwide.
  • Create infographics to easily convey the meaning of volunteers’ statistics and their projects’.
  • Design an e-card about IVD to be shared with other UN agencies and NGOs.
  • Pictivism – changing your Facebook profile picture for a cause: on December 5, volunteers, and Volunteer Involving Organizations will put up the IVD logo as their Facebook/
  • Twitter profile picture to promote the IVD brand.
  • Selfie campaign (One Week Before) – We ask volunteers to post pictures with their volunteer experience on Social Media platforms using #Hashtags: #makechangehappen, #IVD2014, #actioncounts.
  • Volunteer challenge – nominate friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, etc. to participate in possible volunteer activities in their communities.

‘Mindless to Mindful Eating’ Success Story

Kelli and her family

Kelli and her family

Recently, Enliven Wellness Works sat down with Kelli Marchman Rivera to discuss her recent successes after completing the Mindless to Mindful Eating Corporate Wellness Program. Here’s what she had to say…

EWW: What positive health/mind/behavior changes have you experienced since the start of the program?
KMR: I am in control!!! Eating was taking over my life. I ate for every reason in the world except for being hungry. Since starting this program, I now am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it asks for. Putting down my fork was the first step. Now, as a family, we eat more unprocessed foods (my husband is so excited about our new crock pot!), and we take the time to sit down with no distractions and enjoy each other’s company. And I’ve had my son tell others about how big your stomach actually is (a fist) and how much food it can hold. I LOVE hearing this thinking taking hold in my family.

EWW: How would you describe your health before you started Mindful Eating?
KMR: As an older teacher, I was eating to control stress. My weight was creeping up the scale, cholesterol was an issue, and I was always tired. I had also noticed the shape of my body changing, and while a little extra around the middle is common in 40-somethings, I was unhappy. I felt out of control, and it was time to do something. The Mindful Eating program came at exactly the right time for me. I used to eat everything on my plate without really enjoying it. Portion control was my biggest issue. Even now I still find myself eating everything on my plate. I just use smaller plates, or put half away before putting the food in front of me.

EWW: What motivated you to make these changes? 
KMR: As a teacher, there are many things that are beyond our control. Teacher evaluations, unruly kids, long hours, and new curriculum every year take its toll emotionally and physically. Eating was one thing within my power to control. And now I can.

EWW: What keeps you motivated?
KMR: My body is changing. While I do not own a scale, and never will, I feel that my clothes are fitting a little bit better. My mood is happier. Control does that. And in the back of my mind, the idea that being healthy will keep me around longer to take care of my family will always motivate me. I’ve also been talking to others about being mindful. While some have been resistant, I’ve had a couple come back and say, “You know, I tried putting down my fork, and I really did begin to feel satisfied before I’d finished the food.” Success!!! Friends in the program have also helped me. It’s nice to see a fellow mindful eater in the hallway, and celebrate successes together.

EWW: What are your future goals?
KMR: I will continue to eat mindfully, one day at a time. With the holidays coming up, this will be interesting. But no more diets! I am in control of me! I choose what I will eat, and this has freed me up from the guilt involved in what I used to think of as “cheating”.  I have also begun a weight training program in the mornings (Body Electric on PBS) that makes my body feel stronger. And I will continue to wear my pedometer. It’s a great motivator to get moving.

EWW: Do you have any advice for others who would like to improve their health but realize now that diets are not the answer?
KMR: Pay attention to your body. Slow down and listen. Food is not for comfort. Food is just for staying alive. Put your fork down between bites for just one meal. And see what happens. 


Enliven_Logo_sprout_1Enliven Wellness Works provides a full menu of workplace wellness solutions.  To learn more, contact or click here.

The Great American Smokeout is November 20


The Great American Smokeout  is November 20th, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It is an annual event that encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking on that day, in an effort to stop permanently. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.

Why Quit?  The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and provide quit-smoking programs, resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully.

To learn about resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully, visit


The Phenomenon That Will Leave Your Heart Pumping and Your Body Feeling Amazing!

1207257_lIt’s finally here!  A phenomenon that will leave your heart pounding and your body feeling amazing!  Most likely you will even experience the benefits of a tighter, toner body frame, improved digestion and metabolism, increased bone density and relief from structural body pain. What could it be?  Just exactly what am I talking about?  What is this newest, best thing?! Are you ready to find out?!

Well, its always been around but many of us do not know truly what it means and where to start with it.  We scan the internet, read articles, pick up magazines and like what we are seeing, but it seems complicated.  It’s strength training. Yes, strength training can give you all of the benefits of a tone physique, improved overall health and more.  Let me share with you some tips:

Strength training is any form of resistance exercise that is load-bearing on your body.  So, it can be dumbbells, barbells, weight-plated machines, resistance bands or body weight.  Any tool that gives you that little “something extra” that you have to move, lift, twist, push, pull, squat, lunge or pick up.  Are you starting to get the idea? It’s not so scary now, right?  We do those moves every day.  We just need to add that “little extra” into an organized routine.

Here is a sample routine:

Squats 15 reps/2 sets (modification – hold weights on each side)

Sit back like you were sitting in a chair that’s too far behind you.  Your legs are hip width or slightly further apart.  Keep your shoulders tall.  Weight goes through your heels.  Inhale as you squat down and exhale as you come up.  If you need to, use a bench to start.

Forward Lunges 10 reps each leg/2 sets (modification – hold weights on each side)

Take a long step forward.  Make sure the front foot has the weight place through the heel and the back foot has heel of the ground.  Keeping a tall posture, bend your knees.  You do not need to bend deeply but make sure you have good form.  Over time, increase the bend in both knees.  Inhale as you lunge down and exhale as you stand up.

Push-up 10 reps/2 sets

Place your hands outside of your shoulders and your legs straight down from your hips, and make sure your stomach is highly engaged and your spine in neutral.  Inhale as you lower your body toward the floor (your hips come with you, maintaining neutral spine), elbows go out to the side.  Exhale as you extend yourself up back to the starting position.

Lower Body Deadbug 12 reps each leg/2 sets (modification – add upper body same arm)

Lying on your back on the mat, place your arms down by your side and lift both legs up into the air, as straight as you can comfortably get them.  Take a deep breath in and as you begin to exhale lower 1 leg down to the floor, keeping the other right where it is.  Keep your stomach tight and your lower back in contact with the mat.  Bring leg back up and alternate sides.

Lying Hip Bridge 15 reps each leg/2 sets (modification a: – heels down toes up.  Modification b: – 1 foot in air.  Supporting foot is flat on floor)

Lying on your back with your arms by your side, your knees are bent and your feet on the ground, hip width apart.  Take a nice deep breath in.  As you begin to exhale, slowly lift your hips as high up as you can, squeezing your stomach and buttox.  Inhale back down and repeat.

Front plank on forearms 30 seconds/2 sets (modification – 60 second continuous hold)

Like a pushup position except you are not on your hands, you are on your forearms.  Your elbows must be directly under your shoulders.  Spine is neutral.  Hold that for 30 sec while you focus on pulling your stomach tightly away from the gravity of the floor.

Now that we have the concept, we need to know where to start.  Well, this all depends on your current fitness level, your current body restrictions, what YOU LIKE to do (which is  important so that you will stick to it) and how much time you have to do it.  In order to do this and get a personalized routine, the best thing to do is contact our experts here at Enliven Wellness Works and we will get you started. You are truly just one step away from taking your health to a whole new level!

TracieTracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.

Exercise for Fun!


So many of us today tend to use exercise as a means to be able to eat more or less. If, in our minds, we exercised adequately, then we are apt to “reward” ourselves with some food that we consider “bad” or “off limits” under normal circumstances. If we don’t exercise, or don’t put forth the amount of effort we felt we should, then we tend to restrict our food intake and “punish” ourselves by not having something we might truly desire. When did exercise become a means to an end in regards to rewarding or punishing with food? How did we get here and how can we begin to break this vicious cycle that leaves us feeling empty, guilty and frustrated?

First, exercise does not have to be hitting the gym for 90 minutes in the hardest boot camp class you can possibly find. If this is what you enjoy, that’s one thing. However, if it is something that makes you cringe and want to pull the covers back over your head or work an extra hour just so you will “accidentally” miss it and blame it on the boss, then maybe its not quite suiting your specific needs. Exercise comes in all forms. There are plenty of things we can do outside the gym that could be considered fun and active. The key is finding what works for you and what you like. Do you like to walk? Ride a bike? Go for a hike? Swim? Kayak? Rock climb? Jump on a trampoline? Ride horses? Be in nature? Do yard work? There are so many options. Start here: You will want to sit down and write out a few of the activities you enjoy doing that will fit into your life and will help keep you active.

Next, realize that food has been used for too long as a punishment and reward system. Therefore, start to reframe your mind and ask yourself before eating, “Am I truly hungry right now?”. If so, ask yourself what you are truly hungry for and go from there. If you are not truly hungry, there is no need to eat. You can fill your time with a fun activity other than food. Rationale: if we eat when we are not hungry, but rather just bored or filling time, food will only fill that void for the amount of time we are doing it. We will still be bored after we are done eating and may reach for more food. See the cycle?

We can break this cycle – together. Reach out to us here at Enliven Wellness Works and we will help you. We are seasoned coaches that have a passion for being the best we can be – without punishing ourselves – and we want the same for each and every one of you. We look forward to hearing from you and getting started today!


TracieTracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.