Creating Work Life Balance

4105356_lA lot of people complain that they don’t have time to do what they love to do after work, or that they are constantly checking emails and placing the all the housework on themselves. This eventually causes stress to get everything done in a short time and feeling overworked and burnout. You might even be internalizing the negativity to the point where you are hurting yourself.

We have many roles in our lives. We are workers, maids, chefs, coaches, mothers, fathers, and more. By creating a balance between work and life, we can feel more relaxed and enjoy the moment. This is sometimes easier said than done, but we can and slowly make changes to create more balance to our work and personal life. Try some of the tips below to help create more work life balance.

Embrace the “off” button.

Meaning your computer, your phone, and emails! Technology has a great way to have us stay connected, but when you’re connected all the time, you lose the present of being with friends and family. Set a boundary that work stuff stays a work, or during work hours. Once your work day is done, turn off the technology and focus on your personal life.

Learn to say NO.

We are caring creatures and are willing to help others. Taking on more tasks than we can handle increases our stress level. By learning to say no to extra assignments at work or lead the PTA meeting, again. You can free your time to do other things you had on your list. Saying “No, I have work I need finish first”, or “Thanks for thinking of me but, I want to spend an evening with my  family” is an acceptable response and shouldn’t feel guilty for taking on more.

Prioritize what work needs to be done.

By making a list can help you organize your day. You’ll be able to see what tasks needs to be done. Another way to organize and set priority is making a chart of what is important, not important, urgent and not urgent. Like this:

prioritiespriorities 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

List tasks and see where some of those tasks are place. Are they pressing? Are they time-wasters?
By learning what is important, you can plan your day. Box #2 is where you want to be planning your family dinner, preparing deadlines for reports and etc. 

Caring for yourself.

Here are a few self-care practices you can try:

  • Exercise
  • Spend some time outside
  • Spend time alone.
  • Use your vacation and sick time
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Forgive yourself & others 
  • Pamper yourself! Get a massage, manicure or pedicure

Eat healthy.

Eat a clean, real food diet—which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, cooked whole grains and protein. Reduce processed foods, fast food and excess sugar and alcohol. 

Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep increases stress. It’s also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.

Make time for fun and relaxation.

Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends—such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/work-life-balance/art-20048134?pg=2

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/work-life-8-little-tips-to-achieve-a-better-balance/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20540/forget-work-life-balance-heres-how-to-win-at-life-your-way.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14321/15-self-care-tips-for-anyone-who-works-too-much.html

 

Creating Mindful Moments

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I recently walked into a friends house after not seeing her for 2 months.  You know how it is; time goes so fast as we are busy filling our days with things “to do”.  Sometimes these things need to be done and other times, well, they don’t really need to be done but we do them anyway.  We leave very little time for the things that truly matter, like friends, family, loved ones.  I don’t mean that we don’t have conversations with them or even a dinner or two, but we tend to be so busy thinking about our “to do” list or what is happening tomorrow that we are never truly in the moment.

When I walked in, the very first thing she said to me was “You look great!” as she looked at me from head to toe, scanning my features.  In a split moment, so many things ran through my mind.  “Is she checking to see if I have put on a few pounds over the summer?”  “Does she not like my outfit of choice?”  “Does she dislike my haircut or color?”  “Do these shoes look weird on me?”  So many things in a split second.  None of which was positive from my perspective.

Why did I take a comment like “You look great!” and turn in into a rolling ball of brain games with myself, trying to analyze the meaning?  Then, in the next split second, I knew why. This was going to turn into a mindless conversation of us each stroking each others egos over what we thought the other person wanted to hear. We hadn’t seen each other for while and thats what people tend to do.  But that wasn’t what I wanted.  In that instant I knew I had an opportunity to take this from a meaningless conversation to something meaningful.

I said to her, “It’s great to see you!  How are you doing?”.  As we sat, she told me about her past 2 months of traveling and attempting to keep up with the children, and I truly listened.We laughed so hard at times our stomachs hurt.  Not once again did we talk about outward appearance or the like. We are friends, our bond goes deeper than the shallow things on the surface.

Take time to stop and notice the people around you for who they truly are. To those you love, ask how they are doing – and then stop to listen.  Look them in the eyes and be present with them. You will find these mindful moments make memories that are priceless and last forever.

 

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.

Back-to-School Recipe – Eggplant Pizza Pie

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This is a simple throw-together for a busy back-to-school night.

Ingredients (I must admit I don’t use exact measurements here. I just throw it together, and it comes out awesome every time):

  • Onion
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Spinach
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Feta (Bulgarian)
  • Naan bread

1. Dice and sauté onions, add diced eggplant and cook until soft
2. While the onions and eggplant are cooking, make a simple pesto. I prefer using the bullet to quickly grind it all down.  In the bullet, add spinach, basil (and any other herbs of choice i.e. oregano, cilantro, etc), pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
3. Finally, put it all together. Place Naan bread on a cookie sheet (you can toast it in the oven for about 5 min before adding ingredients  – depending on preference). Add a layer of pesto, top with sliced tomatoes, crumbled feta (we prefer the Bulgarian kind), and finally the eggplant and onion mixture.
4. Bake at 375 for about 10 min

This takes about 30 minutes total, and is phenomenal! Enjoy!

(Sorry, there’s no picture yet. We ate it too fast 🙂 )

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  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.

Today, I Played With My Dog

10877583_lToday, I played with my English Bulldog, Zues.  He is only 5, but is very old for his age.  He’s been through a lot in his life.  So, after taking Zeus for a walk with his bully brother, Ox, I had “planned” to hit the incline treadmill as I read my book on “mindful eating”. But Zeus had other plans.  I arrived home after our walk and got ready to hit the gym when Zeus really spunked up.  He put his big paw on me, did his happy wiggle dance (I should post this…it’s quite hilarious), and I could see he was feeling quite like a puppy.  This is rare.  I had a choice.  Gym for a few extra steps to log on my “UP band” or live mindfully in the moment, and spend a few “steps” with my dog in this rare moment of fun.

Old me: a running reel of exercise, food restriction, exercise, binge, exercise, diet, exercise, exercise, binge, binge, restrict, restrict, etc….  No room for any “moments”.  I was so caught up in “catching” something that I didn’t even know really existed, but I wanted it to: “perfect version of “me””.  In my mind, that meant size 4 and someone that other people knew was a size 4. (Why do I care about what other people think of me?  Well, not sure, but I guess we all do to an extent.  Ugh!) Didn’t matter how I got there.  I had the glory…until I didn’t.  Feeling like crap, no energy, no desire to play, living on green tea and 1000 calories a day – per the advice of my “mentor” – to lose those last 10 lbs.  Being “perfect” in our own minds isn’t all its cracked up to be.  There would be NO time for playing with my dog, family/friends, etc.  It just wouldn’t be important enough to me. I had size 4 shorts to fit into (and I haven’t been size 4 since…well, never…).

New me: I played with my dog.  I laughed, ran, played and enjoyed the moment.  We both did.  We made memories that will last forever.  I don’t know how many calories I burned in playing with my dog, whereas the treadmill would have told me (and it would have been honest with me, right?). In the end, Zeus and I were both tired, happy, and thankful. I’m sure we burned calories playing, but that wasn’t our goal.  We just spent time together. And that – to me – is what life is about now…and priceless.

I am a certified professional in nutrition, exercise and coaching.  I could put more letters behind my name than I care to.  But that doesn’t make me an “expert”.  What does is being honest with true life experiences.  I  know “proper nutrition”, I know “how to design an exercise program”, I know “how to allow someone to lose weight”.  But now I know “how to live, love who you are, be the best healthy person you can be in the moment, based on where you are right now, and live and eat mindfully to embrace life to the fullest”

NEW ME: LIVE LIFE, HAVE FUN, BE MINDFUL, EMBRACE MOMENTS, EXERCISE IN FUN WAYS, and EAT IN THE WAY YOU WANT YOUR BODY TO FUNCTION.

OLD ME: nothing to say; she’s left the building.

XOXO

In good health, fun, and happiness,
Coach Tracie Hammond

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.

 

Compassion or Control?

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Compassion or Control? Have you ever compassionately helped someone out of a bind and felt exhausted or depleted? Have you offered advice that wasn’t acted upon and felt angry? Have you given something that wasn’t utilized and felt used? Me, too! And I didn’t like it; not one bit. But it kept happening – over and over – and I had to start to look at the common denominator – me.

As I’ve ambled through my journey of self-discovery, I picked up a copy of Iyanla Vanzant’s “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” (at my friend’s gentle encouragement), and boy, did she hit me with some zingers! When I got to the topic of compassion – which, I thought – by my continuous out-pouring of ‘help’ –  I would glide through – I was stopped in my tracks. It hit me like a ton of bricks – and I didn’t like that either, but the Truth was so loud that I could no longer ignore it.

Compassion, she says, is not helping others get out of their messes, but supporting them through their messes until they come out the other side. Helping someone do something they should be doing for themselves is not compassion, but a quest for power and control. Power??? Control??? Me??? Ummmmmm…yes. That was my (sad) Truth. Man, that Iyanla tells it straight!

But the more I read it, again and again, it started to make sense. If I was really acting with compassion, I would not be carrying their load and the responsibility for the fixing. Compassion doesn’t feel like that. Control sure does. She goes on to say that compassionate people do not take other’s power away. And isn’t that what I’m doing when I’m making the calls for you? Scheduling appointments for you? Paying the bills for you? Shoving my (unsolicited) solutions down your throat? Yep. I’ve taken on the role that believes ‘I know best and can do it better, and you should – and will – be grateful’ (which usually doesn’t happen).

“A compassionate person wants you, as a universal being, to realize your wholeness. Your wholeness has nothing to do with being nice, and a compassionate person recognizes that your journey to wholeness may not look nice. Compassionate people have the ability to nurture, comfort, and provide nourishment to others at various stages. They heal without making themselves sick”

Since I’ve been practicing the art (and it is an art because it takes lots & lots of practice) of compassion, I find myself more at ease; more able to discern where I end and you begin. I’m able to be truly compassionate and demonstrate empathy, and sometimes sympathy, while supporting others through their crises’. It allows me to be more loving and kind, and it allows them to stand on their own two feet and solve their own problems. In other words, I’m supporting them while they find their own power. And that’s something we can both feel good about!

Here are some tips I’ve used to help me discern between compassion and control:

  • Is this something they can/should be doing on their own?
  • If I do this, will it deplete or exhaust me in any of the following ways? Energy? Money? Time? Peace of mind?
  • If they don’t/won’t accept my help, can I be at peace about it?
  • What’s the worst that can happen if they do it on their own, even if they fail?
  • Can I let others fall down and learn their own lessons, or do I insist they avoid that pain at all cost and just let me handle it?

I think you get the gist. If letting people manage their own lives causes me any distress at all, it’s time for me to retreat. There’s a reason that the airlines suggest we put on our own masks before helping others with theirs.

 

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Laura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.

Everybody Deserves a Massage Week !

July 13th – 19th is Everybody Deserves a Massage Week !

RELAX! RELATE! RELEASE! Life can be hectic. That’s why it’s important to take a moment each day to relax and rejuvenate, to manage your stress, and keep yourself happy and healthy. Try Message Therapy! Massage therapy is the power of touch. What exactly are the benefits of receiving a massage?

• Decreases anxiety
• Enhances sleep quality
• Relieves tension and tired muscles
• Increases energy and circulation
• Reduces fatigue
• Sports injuries
• Headaches

Consider massage therapy a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with a local practitioner to establish treatment that best meets your needs.

http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/workplace-wellness/onsite-massage/

massage

Taking Your Own (Good) Advice

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On any given day, I find myself advising clients on how they can complement their massage sessions by performing some type of self-care. Depending on the situation, I may suggest exploring any number of options: yoga, improved nutrition, deeper breathing, perhaps seeking out another professional to address their unique concerns. And while they agree that investing more time in themselves would be beneficial, they just don’t seem to have the time. Or perhaps they, (i.e., WE) just don’t make the time. Hmmmm. It got me thinking….

My clients share some commonalities. The one that stands out to me is their trait of giving…and giving and giving. They do, do, do and go, go, go! They’re responsible and strong and caring and in most instances, people depend on them. In short, they’re a lot like me. Inevitably, I learn that they take better care of others than they take of themselves. (Hello!!??) And while benevolence is an admirable trait, I’m of the mind that too much of a good thing is – well – not so good.

Fast forward to me – at the end of yet another long week of working on clients & offering golden nuggets of wisdom – I head home with an aching back. I wonder when I’d ‘find the time’ to take my own advice and perform some self-care when I’d rather just hit the couch. As they say, ‘when the pain gets great enough, change will occur’, and my back is screaming! Quickly, before I change my mind, I pull out an oldie-but-goodie workout DVD and begin to hobble around my living room floor, attempting to keep up with the routine. In no time, I’m keeping in step, working up a sweat and finding that my muscles sing a happy tune when I’m using them the way they’re meant to be used (one of my golden nuggets)! It goes without saying that the high after a workout is a wonderful thing, and the benefits to my body, mind & spirit are amazing. But my biggest take-away is to recall something that I conveniently tend to forget – ‘We all make time for the things we WANT to do’ (pending any life crisis situations). If I’m not making the time to care for myself, it’s usually my choice and not because of (fill in the blank). I’m perfectly capable of shifting things around to care for myself; in fact, I’m actually better prepared for those other responsibilities as a result of my self-care efforts.

Do yourself a favor: Take some of your own advice today and do something nice for yourself: workout, have some herbal tea, rest, meditate, laugh, have fun! Do what you would want your best friend to do for themselves, then call to tell them about it. My guess is you’ll get a big ‘atta boy – and you’ll have earned it!

 

20140218Enliven-10758-CropLaura M Turley, LMT – After working over 30 years in various corporate roles, then managing the many challenges of middle age, Laura finds that she’s uniquely qualified to relate to – and address – the myriad issues facing individuals in this age group. Certain aches and pains that accompany growing older (and wiser!) are quite common but equally as significant are the increasing side effects of our habitual patterns, life stresses and the fact that we make little-to-no time for ourselves. Massage allows her to bridge the gap between your daily pressures & pains of life to a more healthful, pain-free existence – and it feels good, too!  Laura’s clients say that her knowledge – coupled with her compassionate approach – is what keeps them coming back.