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.

Candy Bar Shakeology Recipe

By: Jennifer Oppelt

 

Candy Bar Shakeology
This little recipe saved me from multiple holiday cookie meltdowns and several mid-day Starbucks runs. It's a little on the indulgent side but way better than other choices you could make. With a nice dose of chocolate, peanut butter, coconut and caramel, it makes you feel like you just had dessert...but without the regret!
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INGREDIENTS
  1. 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (regular or vegan)
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 tbsp. PB2 of other peanut powder (I like Betty Lou's Just Great Stuff Organic Powdered Peanut Butter)
  4. 1 tsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 1 tsp. Madhava organic salted caramel syrup
  6. 1 tsp. - 1 tbsp. coconut oil (qty. depends on how many calories you are looking to consume)
  7. Ice
  8. Water
DIRECTIONS
  1. Put all ingredients in the blender, add ice and water to get the desired consistency and volume
  2. Garnish with a pinch of shredded coconut and drizzle of caramel syrup if you REALLY need a treat. Enjoy!
Enliven Wellness Works http://enlivenwellnessworks.com/
 Curious to know more about Shakeology? Or want to find out how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! 

December 7 – 13 2014 is National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Hand Washing Awareness Week

Although the attached materials are created to engage children, handwashing is not just for kids.  This article, among many others too-easily-found when you Google ‘adult handwashing habits’, is a sad dose of reality for those of us who DO wash our hands.  Interestingly, 95% of people claim they wash their hands before leaving the bathroom, but take a look at the REAL numbers as people are being secretly watched.  Hmmmm.

So, it seems extremely relevant that we support National Handwashing Awareness Week to remind people about how handwashing can reduce the the spread of colds, diarrhea and many other infectious diseases.  And while you’re downloading and printing these flyers for the kiddos, maybe you’d like to print another one or two & take them to the office.  Be part of the solution! 

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness:
1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness have been endorsed by the AMA and AAFP

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 http://www.volunteeractioncounts.org 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 http://volunteeractioncounts.org/en
  • 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 http://volunteeractioncounts.org/en/ & 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: http://volunteeractioncounts.org/en/ #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 http://www.volunteeractioncounts.org/en/

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.

December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

Prevent BlindnessPrevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month.  The group encourages everyone to consider if the toys they wish to give suits the age and individual skills and abilities of the individual child who will receive it, especially for infants and children under age three.

It’s so easy to get carried away buying gifts for the kiddos that we sometimes neglect to consider the safety of such items.  Over 70% of emergency room visits for toy-related accidents were for children 15 years or younger.  This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:

  • Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily.
  • When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it. Consult the “AblePlay” website at http://www.ableplay.org/ for more information.
  • Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
  • Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead.  Consult these two websites for more information:  www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/faq/toys.html,  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002473.htm
  • Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three.
  • Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

For more information:
Call Prevent Blindness America at (800)331-2020 or go to their website: www.preventblindness.org/children/safetoys.html

‘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 Jennifer@Enlivenwellnessworks.com or click here.