wellness at work

Burnout, health, and wellbeing are closely related. When you are healthy in body you are more likely to be healthy in mind, and when you are healthy in mind, you are more likely to be healthy in body. Here are my top 27 ways to stay healthy in body and mind so you can prevent burnout and stay feeling good.

A – Apple.  Eat an apple. It doesn’t matter if you slice it, dice it or eat it whole. Remember the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? There’s a lot of truth to that, so start eating your daily apple.

B – Beverage.  Drinking a no-calorie beverage like tea or water keeps you thinking clearly and helps you eat less. You can flavor your water any way you’d like or drink it plain. Still or sparkling, just drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.

C – Clock.  Watch the clock. Wait 15 minutes after eating your apple or drinking your water before you eat. It takes 15 min. for the feeling of being full to register in the brain. Give yourself the chance to feel how full you already are, before you even start eating.

D – Dinner.  Make dinner your lightest, healthiest meal of the day. Keep your body light and fresh so you can sleep well and not be disrupted by digestion.

E – Exercise! Exercise daily no matter what. I don’t care how busy, sick, or tired you are, you can always find 6-10 minutes to stretch, walk, or contract your muscles isometrically.

F – Fiber. Whether by eating high fiber foods or grabbing a bottle of Fiber Gummies, (some have prebiotics AND fiber, BONUS!) make sure you are ingesting enough fiber.

G – Groceries. Yes, you are busy, but skipping out on groceries is a big mistake. Why not turn grocery shopping into a Zen-inducing experience? If you think of grocery shopping as a chore, it will be. If you think of it as an adventure, that’s exactly what it will become.

First, make sure you have time to enjoy your shopping adventure. Remember, this is self-care. Start by having a healthy snack or meal. You never, ever want to shop hungry. Begin by shopping the produce section. Buy 5 things that are familiar to you and one thing that is not. You have a smart phone. Right there, in the produce section, Google a recipe. That way you can be prepared with all the ingredients you need to cook your new veggie or fruit.

Next, explore your staples. Pick one items that you buy often and see if there is a healthier alternative. If you always buy a pack of chips, great. Read the label on your regular brand as well as on a couple of other brands. Does one brand have less fat? More fiber? More protein? Pick the healthiest alternative.

Lastly, find a non-food way to treat yourself. Many of us use food as a treat, which creates unhealthy associations. Be on the lookout for non-food treats. Peruse the book and magazine section. Look at the bath and beauty section. Lavender Epsom salts are a low-cost treat for your bath. Are there any flowers or plants that catch your eye? Balloons, cards, pretty napkins, cute stickie-notes or pens make a nice treat too. Your job is to find, and treat yourself to something deliciously wonderful that is NOT something to eat.

H – Happy Thoughts. How you think is how you feel, and when you choose to be happy you will become happy. Choosing happy thoughts means making the best of what is. If you can’t get all the way to happy, then choose neutral thoughts and feel the stress roll off of your back. You are in control of your mind, it does not control you. Choose your thoughts wisely.

I – Increase your heart rate. Increasing your heart rate burns more calories and allows you to take deeper breaths and think more clearly.

J – Joint Circles. Joint circles (circling your wrists, ankles, etc) are one of the easiest things we can to do to increase our comfort and prevent accidents and injuries. Each joint has bursa sacs nearby that secrete fluid that lubricates the joint. Just like the Tin Man in The Wizard of OZ, lubricated joints feel and move better. Before getting out of bed in the morning, take a few seconds to circle your joints. Ankles, wrists, knee, hip shoulder, elbow and gently move your neck by looking left, right, up and down.

K – Know Your Limits. Whether alcohol, shopping, or taking on a new project at work or at home, if you can’t handle one more thing, then don’t. It’s better to back out in advance than to stress yourself out and fail.

L – Love Yourself. If you were taking care of children or animals or anyone else that you loved, how would you treat them? This is exactly how you should treat yourself – with love! If you have been eating terribly, don’t punish yourself, declare that it’s all over now or punish yourself by going on some ridiculous diet. Nurture yourself! Read, take a bath, use sparkly lotion, buy flowers or a candle for your house, watch a movie, call a friend, journal, take a walk, sit in a coffee shop and people watch. Consider taking a day off and doing something you want to do, not something you need to do.

Silly as it sounds, in the summer I nurture myself with smoothies, and in the winter I nurture myself with soup. Both are easy ways to stay warm, healthy and nourished. Of course you can follow recipes if you’d like to, but I simply use broth, and then any and all left over veggies I have in my fridge. I even use canned or frozen veggies if that’s all that I’ve got. Add some pasta, rice or chopped up meats, stick in the crock pot and voila! Dinner is served.

M – Meditation. Umm-humm. Do this. I cannot say it enough. Meditate. Let’s get clear right now. Meditation changes everything, period. Also, meditation is not about having an empty mind. I teach meditation, and without fail, people say, “I tried meditation, but I can’t empty my mind. I can’t stop thinking.” EXACTLY! If you stop thinking you are dead. Meditation is not about having an empty mind, it’s about managing your mind.

N + O= No. Just say no. Unless you are excited about something for you, don’t do it. Let go of the shoulds and start doing what you want. And remember, you do not need to explain why you are saying no!

P – Posture. Bad posture creates a myriad of physical, emotional and mental problems.

Let’s review our anatomy. We are skeletons. Our bones are strung together by ligaments, tendons and muscles, which are soft tissues. The goal is to keep our bones aligned in a way that minimize stress, tension and pulling on soft tissue. Sticking you head forward puts an enormous amount of strain on the neck, shoulders, and back muscles, ligaments and tendons. The rest of the body is then forced to compensate for the misaligned head. Sway back is exacerbated, messing up the hips. Which messes up the knees. Which messes up the feet. The body is a giant kinetic chain where everything impacts something else.

Here’s an exercise that will help. Put your knees over your ankles, your hips over your knees, your shoulders over your hips and your ears over your shoulders. Crown of the head flat against the ceiling and jaw parallel to the floor.

Q – Quiet time. Remember kindergarten? Quiet time helps you relax, center, and ground into yourself and your day. Scrolling on your phone is not quiet time. Neither is TV, listening to the radio, talking on the phone, or checking messages. Most of the things we do to unwind add more stimulation to our already over-stimulated minds. Just. Stop. Quiet time IS quiet time!

Your brain has a limited capacity to process information. It has nothing to do with intelligence or strength, when your brains is full, it’s full. It needs to dump out the important, or it will quit processing incoming material. Have you ever completely forgotten to do something? Have you ever sat there and listened to someone tell you something, and had no idea what they said to you five minutes later? That’s because your brain was full. The only way to combat overload is to be in silence. Start with three to five minutes a day and build up.

R – Recipes. Memorizing a few healthy recipes and keep the ingredients on hand. That way you will always be prepared and will be  less likely to make bad choices or to default to eating out.

S – Snacks. Cary sacks with you wherever you go. I always have healthy granola-type bars stashed away in my glove box, purse and gym bag. Having snacks on hand means you can keep your energy up and your blood sugar stable. It also saves money because you don’t need to buy food on the go, and the snacks you pack are much healthier than any on-the-go options that are available from snack machines or fast-food restaurants.

T – Tupperware. Invest in a few pieces of Tupperware (or Tupperware-type of container) and keep them in your car by your keys or your wallet. Whenever you go out to eat, put half of your meal in your Tupperware. You’ve just checked your portion size, given yourself a second meal, and saved the planet by not using Styrofoam!

U – Undergarments. I hope you laughed at that one! I know loving ourselves exactly as we are  is important, however, liking what you see is important too. Wearing Spanx-type undergarments can provide a boost of confidence. Because they compress the stomach, they can also remind your not to slouch or overindulge.

V – Vitamins. Whether or not you routinely take vitamins, investing in a good multi-vitamin can ensure that nutritional needs are being met. They can help you stay energetic, strong, and your immune system boosted, too.

W – Water. Drink your water! Water wakes you up, keeps you full, helps you think faster and makes your skin and hair look better. It also keeps you from bloating because it helps digestion. Not sure how much to drink? Take your body weight, divide it by two. Drink that many ounces of water a day.

X – Xanax, or managing anxiety without drugs.

Alternative 1. Rhodiola rosea is a powerful adaptogen that helps the brain adapt to stress. This supplement can lower (or heighten) the body’s level of cortisol depending on what you need.

Alternative 2. N-A-C (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) is a powerful antioxidant amino acid and precursor to glutathione that can help sufferers of anxiety and ADHD. N-A-C lowers oxidative stress, detoxifies the liver and reduces anxiety.

Alternative 3. Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that helps the brain adapt to chronic stress and overcome anxiety. It has also been shown to produce hormone-balancing and anti-depressant benefits.

Natural Alternative 4. L-Theanine is found in turkey and green tea and can instantly make you feel at ease. It helps with motivation, getting and staying focused, and with racing thoughts or monkey mind.

Alternative 5. PharmaGABA-250 is the only natural source of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) available and medical professionals agree that supplementing with GABA once or twice a day is an excellent way to naturally relax the brain.

Alternative 6. Magnesium is amazing for sleep, cardiovascular health, athletic performance, and anxiety. It makes your brain feel a little bit soft, calm and comfortable. It’s an amazing natural mineral that just about anyone can benefit from. It’s also worth noting that magnesium deficiency is a major problem across the United States.

Alternative 7. 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin and serotonin is one of the most important brain chemicals, as it plays a major role in mood and happiness level. Some studies have shown that a serotonin deficiency may lead to anxiety and depression.

Alternative 8. Probiotics support digestion and the gut, and because gut health is related to mood, emotions, and anxiety, having a healthy gut can help.

You know this, but I am not a doctor. Before using any supplements, always check with your doctor.

Y – Yoga. Yoga means “yoke” and it’s designed to yoke together the mind and the body. Linking the breath with the movement provides for a moving meditation that will tone the body, quiet the mind and reduce stress.

Z – Zzzzzzzz… Do your darnedest to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. When you are rested, you make better decisions, you have more natural energy and you are less likely to over-indulge in caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Trouble sleeping? Melatonin works wonders, as does a hot bath with lavender salts or oils.

Lora Cheadle, Burnout Recovery Expert

Lora Cheadle, Burnout Recovery Expert

Lora Cheadle is a Colorado-based speaker/trainer, attorney, and coach who shows business professionals and their teams how to break free from burnout and find the personal and professional satisfaction they crave. Her 5-step framework to recover from burnout is unique because it allows professionals to uncover and connect to their beliefs and expectations, so they can speak up and advocate effectively for themselves and what brings them internal satisfaction.

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