8 Tips for Wellness

Luke Houghton’s  post today in his Business Thinking Blog, is called “8 Things I have Learned About Success.” What I loved about reading it, is that every single one of the items on the list also pertains to Wellness.

I’m particularly fond of tip # 7: “Be patient and take small steps daily.” Yes it’s true for success, but there  is also no better advice to be given when it comes to your wellness program. As entrpreneurs, the statistics tell us that we have a propensity for liking to do things in a big way — for tackling big projects all at once. Sometimes, (most times), when it comes to wellness, tackling things all at once (be it weight loss, a new meditation program, a new fitness routine), we are better off if we “be patient and take small steps daily.” Many thanks to the Business Thinking Blog for the reminder.

The Habit of Giving

istock_000003871437xsmall.jpgThank you to Robert Middleton of More Clients Blog for his inspiring post yesterday, “The Laws of Giving.” Robert’s reminders that giving be at the heart of our entrepreneurial lives was most refreshing. I stopped by and posted a note of thanks. You might want to do the same, and find one other opportunity to give today also.

There’s just something magical that happens when we give…I call it wellness.

Never Eat the Skin of a Non-Organic Apple

apple1.jpgIt’s autumn, and apple season is upon us! With so many varieties to choose from, it’s easy to try a type that’s new to you and good for you. But healthy eater beware. While grabbing a fresh, crisp apple (along with a handful of almonds) makes for a great snack for busy entrepreneurs, eating organic is a must. In his post today, Dr. Andrew Weil discusses not just the benefits of an apple-a-day habit, but the risks associated with non-organic apples…especially the skin. So before you crunch into that delicious-looking apple, be sure it’s organic. And while you’re munching, check out Dr. Weil’s post and let us know what you think.

Wellness Recipe: Try Something New

p-compass-sm.jpgYou had the courage to start your own business. You took a risk, you ventured out. But I’ll bet, if you’re like most of us, when it comes to the nutrition arena, you haven’t gone on any new adventures lately. This week, I invite you to break out of your usual nutrition routine and try something new and different. Being mindful of any dietary constraints and medical supervision, expand your nutritional repertoire.

If you have little time, try one of these options:

– a small handful of raw almonds and a few fresh figs
– an Organic Food Bar (try Organic Greens flavor; at health food stores)
goat cheese on a slice of Ezekiel bread
– organic turkey jerky and a piece of fresh fruit
– a small glass of multi-veggie juice (Knudsen’s Very Veggie is great!)
Nut Thins® crackers spread with hummus or almond butter
leftover veggies sprinkled with olive oil and a splash of vinegar – makes a great, quick cold salad.

If you have more time, try:

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah); this high protein grain has a nutty flavor and also absorbs the flavors that are used along with it. Prepare as you do rice with 2:1 ratio (liquid:grain); use vegetable broth or organic chicken broth for half of the liquid. Serve as a side dish or toss in shredded chicken, peas, onions, and/or chopped tomatoes for a hearty meal.

Broccoli Soup: steam 2 cups of fresh or frozen organic broccoli. Place the hot broccoli into a blender. Add a Tablespoon of olive oil or butter, ½ cup almond or rice milk, a splash of chicken stock or vegetable broth and blend on high. Stop when the mixture reaches the desired consistency. More time for thinner soup, less time for thicker soup.

Arugula and Asian Pear Salad; (arugula will be near the lettuces in your health food store; tender green leaves are somewhat like an oak leaf in shape; flavor is both spicy and nutty. Asian pears are a poplar fall fruit; crisp and juicy and often referred to as “apple pears.”) To make the salad: Slice Asian Pears and place over arugula; toss with grapefruit or lemon juice and a splash of olive oil; garnish with some montrachet goat cheese.

Need a time out? Try this:
Take a refreshing break in your entrepreneurial day. Take a half-hour mid-afternoon visit to the produce section of your local Whole Foods Market or other health food store. Your “something new” this week will be simply to go to the store without a shopping list and without buying anything. Your “something new” will be to go with the intention of simply visiting the produce section and browsing around with new and curious eyes.

When you arrive, notice something you haven’t noticed before – perhaps the way the fruit is stacked, the way the greens are watered every so often, or the way the potatoes are kept in bins away from the light (or if they are not.)

Wander over to the celery; inhale the fragrance of a stalk of a celery – did you even know it has one? Then look around and find a fruit or vegetable that is unfamiliar to you. Pick it up in your hand. Notice its texture, size, shape, and smell. Read anything posted about it such as nutritional value or ways to prepare it – or ask the produce person more about it. Do so simply for the sake of curiosity. Next, ask for a sample slice of a fruit you haven’t tried before. Taste it. Simply notice the way the fruit tastes.

Take a final look around, inhaling the smells, sights and the produce that is there for you when you want it. Give silent gratitude for this place and head back to work refreshed. I do this on occasion to remind myself to slow down and remember just how lucky I am to live amid plenty.

Retirement for Entrepreneurs — A Way to do it Well

car-getting-new-tires.jpgWhile standing in line at the UPS store recently, I browsed through the greeting card rack near the counter. I glanced at a few Birthday cards, spun the rack, and in the “Retirement” section, came across a card with a photo similar to the one here – a car in the shop getting new tires. No message on the outside of the card, just the photo. I opened it up. The inside message read: “Look at this phase as a chance to do some Re-Tiring! Congratulations!” I couldn’t think of anyone I knew who’d be retiring soon, so I bypassed the card, but the image and sentiment made me smile and got me thinking…

Since this blog is dedicated to wellness for entrepreneurs – no matter which phase of entrepreneurship we are facing – I want to be sure to cover all those phases we face or will face. The posts so far have been geared toward new and seasoned entrepreneurs, but I really haven’t tackled the issue of retirement yet. So this week, I contacted one of the best authorities I know on the subject of retiring well — my friend and colleague, Dr. Peller Marion.

Peller is a successful entrepreneur who counsels entrepreneurs and others about their businesses and about retiring well — she is also a role model of someone who is in process of retiring well herself. Practicing what she preaches, Peller spends her retirement time teaching part-time at Dominican College, doing yoga and swimming, writing, and counseling others when the spirit moves her. I asked her what she had to say about the retirement phase of entrepreneurship and she sent me the following article for today’s post. Read and enjoy and/or pass along to an entrepreneur who wants to retire well!

Retiring Well: Crafting A Nourishing Retirement
by Peller Marion, Ed.D.

My dad used to take out his violin on the weekends, tune the strings, and practice for hours on end. He played the songs of the big bands: Glen Miller and Guy Lombardo. His weekend music was as familiar to us as the suppertime stories he told about how he once had an orchestra that performed on the radio in the early thirties. Those performances were how he made his living before he met my mother one summer evening, while playing music in the Catskills. Music was in his blood. But after he married and had kids, my dad went to work for the post office. Once he said, “It’s rare for a person to combine their vocation and avocation.” It all felt very romantic and sad to me. He died having pursued his vocation and his retirement with his music still left inside him.

My dad wasn’t an entrepreneurial spirit. Had he been, maybe he would have found a way to bring his passion for the violin into an entrepreneurial venture. And maybe that passion would have carried over into his retirement so he could have retired well. But there are many people who are entrepreneurs who still don’t retire well.

Some spend their lives working extremely long hours, so when they do retire, it’s like being let out of a self-made prison. They hit the retirement ground running. I have a friend like that, who, five years into retirement, is still a force of nature, unstoppable doing all the things that she’d put on hold while she had her business.

There are others who retire and find their days stretch like vast wastelands. They’d gotten used to so much busyness in their entrepreneurial lives that when set free, their identity becomes lost. They’re adrift.

I believe there is a way to retire well — a way to work long into our sixties and seventies, eager to continue to experience the fulfillment that our entrepreneurial work brings us, but working less and slowly phasing in those new things we want to learn. It starts with understanding and appreciating what this phase of life offers us.

While the first half of our lives was all about acquisition — finding the right work, the right partner, and raising a family — the second half of our lives is about divestiture — simplifying, focusing, pacing, and redefining what success means at this new life stage. It’s a more respectful view of retirement as far as I’m concerned.

And since the word and concept of “retirement” is popularly seen as “the next to the last chapter” in our infatuated-with-youth-and-energy culture, I suggest we take the more respectful view. At parties, when people ask you what you do, and you say, “I’m retired,” you have no doubt seen them avert their eyes and scan the room to find someone else to talk to. Instead, I like to say, “I’ve cut back to find my voice”, or “I’m discovering my creative abilities”, or “I’m going on some adventurous inner and outer journeys.” It makes for great conversation and helps me affirm the riches of this life phase.

So, just as structure defined me in my entrepreneurial career life, non-structure plays a defining role in my retired life now and is healing in itself. I look at my appointment book these days and I’m delighted to see that I have the whole day free to do as I please. Not beholden to clients or contracts, I live on my own terms.

Each day I ask myself, What do I want to learn about today? Where would I like to go? Who would I like to spend the day with? It’s a delicious way to shape my day and my life.

Sometimes our years of hiding our authentic selves from others just to fit in and exceed in our careers has been so successful, that we no longer have access to our own voice. This is a time to unapologetically give ourselves permission to do those things we’ve put away and hidden from ourselves — so unlike my father, we don’t die with the music still left inside us.

Taming Stress from the Inside Out

tyg_new_book_shadow1.jpgOne of the greatest wellness tools I’ve ever discovered and used came in the form of a small book with a huge message: Taming Your Gremlin®. My love of the book lead me to study for a year with the book’s author, and master Gremlin Tamer, Rick Carson. To this day, Rick’s Gremlin-Taming® wisdom helps me bring about wellness in my daily and entrepreneurial life. His on-going coaching is a vital part of my business life and personal wellness program.

If I’m deep into a complaint of a stressful situation, one of the skills Rick reminds me to use is the powerful technique of “Simply Noticing.” In order for me to see that I am the one causing my own stress (because then I can choose whether to continue or not), Rick has me actively look at how I stress myself.

This activity is much more than a mental exercise — my whole body/mind/spirit gets involved. I jump in and answer a series of inquires to help me do so. I’ve now learned to do this for myself. When I use Rick’s technique, I take a thorough inventory of exactly how I’m stressing myself. (It is, after all, my unique way of creating stress for myself — so who better than me to explore my own self-stressing techniques?)

As if I were teaching someone how I “do” stress, I answer:

  • What thoughts am I harping on? (Am I making myself look at all the worst-case scenarios? Regretting something? Worrying?)
  • What am I physically doing with my shoulders? (And my neck? Head? Eyes? Arms? Legs? Am I tensing? Staring? Squinting? Wrinkling my brow?)
  • What’s the quality of my breathing? (Am I breathing? Is my breath shallow, rapid?)
  • What else am I doing? (Screaming? Crying? Pouting? Grinding my teeth?
  • How else am I making myself miserable?

Then a remarkable thing happens – I begin to see my role in my own stress. Sometimes, I even burst out laughing. Inevitably, I catch myself putting myself in my own “stress” zone and making myself feel awful – which reminds me once again that, I have choice. Which leads me to remember that, as Rick says, “Feeling Good is primarily an inside job.”

How do you stress yourself? Give us lessons in how you personally go about it! Read Rick’s book, apply some of the Gremlin-Taming wisdom in your own life and keep us posted!

Wednesday Wellness Recipe – Focus on Gratitude

This morning, I checked my usual health-related blog resources to see what’s new in the nutrition world. I had already written the recipe I was going to post on the WellnessCoach.com blog, but when I saw Dr. Mercola’s post today, featuring the Gratitude Dance video, I couldn’t resist. Seems like the Gratitude Dance is the best recipe I could ever give you for increasing your entrepreneurial wellness level this week.

Wednesday Wellness Recipe:

  • Click here and do the Gratitude Dance
  • Enjoy!

Fitness for Entrepreneuers on the Go – Yamuna Body Rolling

yamuna.jpgI recently discovered a wonderful new fitness/wellness routine that relies on specially designed 6”-10” inflatable balls. It’s called Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR). Yamuna (Ya-men-ah) is the name of the brilliant woman who developed the Body Rolling approach.

What I love about YBR is that the unique system provides health, fitness and massage-all “rolled” into one. The balls deflate and take up little space in a suitcase, so it’s great for entrepreneurs that do a lot of travel. There’s also a set of “Foot Savers” that you can bring along on the plane to promote circulation and massage your feet while in flight.

A brief description of the YBR method from their website: “YBR is a revolutionary approach to health and fitness that creates both positive and long lasting changes in your body. Unlike other ball exercises, the YBT approach goes far beyond random movements and stretches. The YBT method is comprised of various routines that match the body’s own logic and order to re-educate muscles and stimulate bone.” Read more on the YBR website.

I’m pretty fussy about my fitness routine. So I was skeptical when I first heard of this one. But I bought a set of the balls and Foot Savers and got started. I like what I am seeing so far, and it just feels good…both signs that this routine will be with me for the long run.

Check out the YBR website and try the system for yourself. Keep us posted about your experience.

A Wellness Lesson from the River – When Indecision is Costly

As entrepreneurs, the studies may be right and we may have to manage ambiguity and the potential for anxiety that comes with the territory. We may have a statistically increased likelihood of dealing with stress-related health challenges. But the good news is: there are many avenues and options available to us in our on-going wellness journeys.

From a wide array of meditation practices, nutritional supplements, exercise programs, and health practitioners (that range from chiropractic and acupuncture to therapeutic massage and osteopathy), the possibilities are endless. Of course, endless possibilities mean making decisions.

whitewater.jpgLest those endless possibilities have you drowning in indecision, I hope today’s post serves as a lifesaver.

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Back in the day, (while in his 20’s), my husband, Steve, was a commercial whitewater rafting guide with a company called All Outdoors (AO). Thirty years later, the love of rushing rivers still runs in Steve’s blood. And even though he runs two entrepreneurial businesses, he makes time for an annual whitewater trip to soothe his soul. Rafting’s a big part of his wellness equation.

Steve has his own whitewater raft and gear and takes a group of friends down the South Fork of the American River each summer. When he does, it’s a full-blown professional event. By that I mean it isn’t a bunch of guys with cans of beer playing around on the river without a clue. Nope. Steve is still the consummate rafting professional and runs his day-long adventures for his “crew” the same way he would have on a commercial trip with AO.

With a healthy respect for the power of Mother Nature, Steve feels quite strongly about safety on the river. While the inflated raft sits ready on the river, he has his crew stay shore-bound and listen to his “Safety Rap.” No one gets a paddle until they have life vests on and know exactly what to do in the event of a whitewater emergency.

One of the most important tips Steve gives in his “Safety Rap” is this:

“If the boat flips and you fall out of the raft, you could come up under the boat. If so, put your arms overhead, against the bottom of the raft. ‘Walk’ your hands along the bottom of the boat – but pick one direction and stick with it until you come out to one side. It’s a 16-foot raft and it can seem endless and overwhelming. If you go back and forth without ever choosing one direction, you’ll never come up for air. Remember: we can’t pick you up unless you do.” – Steve Krieger, from a recent rafting trip

When it comes to your wellness program (or your own business for that matter):

  • Where are you drowning in indecision?
  • If you just put your hands up against the bottom of the boat, which direction will you choose right now?
  • When will you take action?

Pick one small step. Take it soon. Then climb into the blog boat and keep us posted.

Wellness Coach Quote for the Day

One of my favorite quotes comes from psychologist and philosopher, Abraham Maslow. When I am in the “thick of things” — either lamenting over a previous day when my entrepreneurial life didn’t go the way I’d wanted it to, or worrying about the future — I rest my mind by reading this quote:

bluewater-ripple.jpg“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”

Abraham Maslow
1908-1970

Then I stop, notice my breath, and return to what is real and not imagined. Thanks, Dr. Maslow, for the reminder!